It can be daunting to think about all the different choices when it comes to purchasing an inline skate frame. You want one that fits your budget and is durable enough to last you many years of skating – but there are so many brands! Luckily, we’ve researched these important details in this helpful guide on how you should go about choosing a brand new inline skate frame.
It won’t take you long to understand the importance of frame flex, frame height, and frame length. You’ll learn about all the different types of frames – understanding what good/bad choices are for each one – before being able to select a new or replacement inline skate that will suit your skating style.
Compatibility with the boot/frame
When buying new inline skate frames, it’s important to note whether or not the mounting slots will line up with the mounting point on your boot. This can depend on what type of mount you are looking for but there are a few options including
- Mounts with a two-point system
- A 3-point mount or a 3pt mount
- Mounts for UFS
- Mounts for Trinity
2-Point Mounts (Most Common Mount Type)
PT refers to point. A 2pt frame has two contact points between the boot and wheels. You will see this mount mostly on recreational skates, fitness models, speed models, and off-road models. 2pt mounts are not found on aggressive skating equipment.
If you want to learn how to determine which kind of mounting point will fit your needs, then all you need to do is look at the distance between the two mounting points on your boot. Some people like a 165mm for recreational skating while others may prefer 195mm for speed skating. Of course there are other measurements such as 180mm but these are less common than other options.
3-Point Mounts (for Bont Skates)
A 3-point mount has three hooks or loops that attach to the boot. This frame mounting system only works with Bont inline skates. One advantage of this type of frame is that it helps make your skate stiffer, which then helps you transfer more power while skating. A stronger kick transfers more energy through the rest of your skate and into each stride. Plus, this kind of mount lowers your frame so you feel even more stable on uneven terrain.
The Trinity Mount has been around for a while now, and it is an innovation that we have made solely to provide you with the highest quality experience. These are similar to our 3-point mounts – only they work best with Powerslide boots. Designed to offer you enhanced power transmission and improved stability, this mounting system has become one of our main competitors within inline skati
Universal Frame Mounts/UFS Mounts (Exclusively for Aggressive Inline Skates)
Aggressive inline skates mount exclusively to Universal Frame Mounts. Because these mounts work for every kind of aggressive inline skate, they are called universal.
Unlike two point mounts which have a different mounting plate height at the front and back, this frame has an equal height mount.
Different Frames Work for Different Skating Styles
What type of inline skate frame you need depends on what kind of skater you are. Street/freestyle/freeride? A different frame is required for those styles than someone who only skates aggressive or downhill. Recreational skaters require a different frame than speed skaters.
5 Inline Skate Frame Types to Know
- Frames for urban skating
- Frames for aggressive inline skating
- Frames for speed skates
- Frames for freestyle slalom
- Frames for downhill skiing
1. Urban Skate Frames (They Focus on Maneuverability)
One of the most popular types of skates for those daring enough to take on city streets is urban or freestyle inline skates. These shorter frames are perfect for jumping any obstacle in one’s way, whether it be from a car or person walking around aimlessly.
Short frames allow for faster and sharper turns and stops, which is imperative when navigating through congested city streets.
For navigating through tight places in busy areas, there are certain skate specs you’ll want. Skates with urban frames are good for this. Frames made from heavier metals will last much longer than most other types of inline skates.
2. Aggressive Skate Frame Type
His frame is made out of a dual-layered soleplate that can withstand tons of punishment. The plate sits on the frame so you can do jumping off tall buildings or grinding without worrying about it breaking. You can also use it for performing any kind of tricks your want to pull off because this thing has got some serious guts.
Typically, this frame has a grooved area at the bottom that locks onto surfaces such as ledges and railings. This design also limits wheel size because these frames are designed for use in skate parks or on city streets which require smaller wheels for easy maneuverability.
This frame stands apart from any other I’ve seen before. The lower edge extends past the wheel, allowing for easier grinding over practically anything. It also comes with the H-block mentioned earlier, which is perfect for grinding down obstacles of all shapes and sizes.
Some aggressive frames have a flat rocker while others are anti-rockers and still others are freestyle. Frames with a flat rocker use wheels of equal size, such as 4x76mm or 4 x 80mm.
When using an anti-rockered setup, one uses two small wheels at the middle of the board and two larger ones at the end – this helps guide your grinds and keeps you safe.
Aggressive inline frames usually come with four wheels, two on each side. These 4-wheeled aggressive inlines are popular for grinding because they give riders a lot of room to move around – more than just one wheel at a time.
3. Slalom Skate Frame (Designed for Precision Skating)
If you are looking for something more than just fun and games, a slalom frame may be what you’re looking for. These frames are typically made out of lightweight yet remarkably durable aluminum.
Considering how important it is for these rollerblades to be agile and agile, they use shorter frames. It’s crucial for this type of slalom skateboarding to be able to turn quickly around cones during competitions.
Slalom frames are similar to Aggressive Skateboards and Speed Skate Frames because they lack brakes.
When you need high-precision and quick action, these frames will do the trick. But when you need to make sharp turns or do some tight maneuvering, then the slalom inline frames are perfect for you.
4. Speed Skate Frames (for Inline Speed Racing/Distance)
The frame can often be made from very stiff and lightweight aluminum, the same kind used to create airplanes.
Compared to most, this one is much longer. Typical speed skating wheels generally have four 110mm wheel configurations. Occasionally, there are five wheel types, but 3 125mm wheel setups are not uncommon.
Obviously, the more wheels on a race skate will require a wider frame. Out of this wide and stable construction you get increased speed and power for those times when it matters most: racing or skating long distances. Wider frames are different from what we see in recreational skates because they don’t usually feature rockered bearings – meaning that all the wheels are typically the same size.
5. Downhill Inline Frames
When going down hills at high speeds, it is important to stay low and stable- such as when using a racing frame. This is because these frames are usually long and keep you up close to the ground.
That’s why DH rollerblades tend to have more rigid frames than other models. These frames also tend to be heavier because they’re sturdy and well-designed for tougher terrain.
Frame Flexibility/Torque: The Stiffer the Frame, the Better
I’ve even heard some roller bladers say, I hate how my frames are so flexible. Or, I wish I didn’t buy these skates because they’re so flexible and it’s making me crash a lot.
Frames should be strong enough to support weight with minimal flexing. With stronger feet, energy is transferred to the wheels more easily.
What is wrong if my inline skates flex? I will address this issue under the two sections that follow.
In the case of new skaters who aren’t obsessive about tricks or speed, weight does not seem to be much of an issue. But for those heavier people out there, the frames may not work well if they’re too flexible.
Too Much Flex Tends to Cause Speed Wobbles
If a bike goes careening down a hill at full force, it might do something called speed wobbles where the front wheel of the bike starts shaking back and forth really quickly. You may not know how to balance and control yourself at all so you might end up spilling and breaking one or two bones.
Less Stiff Frames Tend to Cause Unwanted Sliding
When switching to a sturdier frame, most of these bladers have noticed less sliding and speed wobbles while still keeping up their pace.
A poorly set frame can set your tires in an unnatural position. It’s something you want to avoid while going downhill at high speeds because it makes it difficult for the car to turn and will make it more likely for an accident to happen.
If you’re purchasing a recreational skate and don’t care about speed or power, either plastic or cheaper aluminum frames will suffice. However, if you plan on racing competitively or skating for hours at a time, the best option would be to buy a rigid steel frame.
Inline Skate Frame Length
One important factor in determining how well your inline skates perform is the length of the frame. Frames can vary greatly in size and some are much shorter than others, while some fall right between short and tall.
Generally, if the inline skate frames are of the same type, then the long ones tend to be more stable than shorter ones; likewise, they’ll also go faster.
Downhill Rollerblades would be better suited with a really long frame. Downhill Inline Skates usually have very long frames, and typically five or more wheels to provide balance while going down hill at high speeds.
Speed and performance are the main points of long-distance frames and speed skates. Longer frames are standard for these two specific types of skating equipment.
If you are most concerned about being agile and maneuverable while skating then opt for a smaller size skate. Smaller skates will translate into reduced weight – which will result in increased agility and mobility.
If you are an avid roller blader who performs many tricks or makes speedy turns, then it would be best for you to own a short-frame skate. Freestyle Slalom Skates and Aggressive Inline Skates are made for people such as yourself who need this type of shoe.
Frame Height/Deck Height
When looking at height, the distance between the top of the frame and the ground changes depending on how tall or short the wheels are. For example, if you have a taller wheel then your frame will sit lower; whereas if you have shorter wheels then your frame will be higher up off of the ground.
When shopping for rollerblade frames, look at the maximum wheel size stated by the manufacturer of what size wheels will fit. When I got my first pair of blades, it said that my max wheel size was 90mm – but it came with 80mm wheels (4x80mm).
Once my skating skills advanced from beginner to intermediate levels, I changed the wheel size from 80 mm to 90 mm. This improved performance and speed – but also made me taller and less unstable!
If you’re new to inline skating, make sure your frame sits close to the ground. Frames that are made for 80mm wheels typically work well. A lower frame keeps your center of gravity low, which makes for an easier ride.
Frame Material and Weight
Inline Skate Frames can be made from different materials, including plastic, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber.
Plastic Inline Skate Frames (Cheapest, Usually Found on Beginner Skates)
Many beginner inline skates come with plastic frames. They are sufficient enough for someone new to skating who is lighter and doesn’t do much jumping or rough surfaces. But, if you plan on doing lots of jumps or riding rough surfaces, there may be an issue with them snapping easily because they’re made out of thin plastics.
An unfortunate drawback of plastic rollerblade frames is that they are often too heavy. This might not be noticeable if you’re just starting out but it can make things difficult later on.
Don’t be Taken in
And, don’t let the marketing speak online confuse you. In stead of being honest and telling people that theirs is a plastic frame, they tend to use fancy sounding words instead. One friend I know bought new skates because they said it had Monocoque Frames.
But wait, what is monocoque? It turns out they were flimsy frames made of thin plastic that provided no support.
Aluminum Inline Skate Frames (Lighter and Stronger Than Plastic)
Many people use aluminum frames when it comes to inline skating. They are lightweight and sturdy, but the cheaper models will be too flexible which could lead to discomfort for some. For those who want an ultralight frame without compromising on quality, an aluminum frame is usually best (more about this below). While prices may vary between different types of metal in a frame – there is one thing that remains constant; aluminum frames always outlive plastic frames (and we’ll go into this later).
Titanium Frames (Stronger Than Aluminum)
You can also choose titanium frames for your rollerblades. However, most people believe that titanium is too heavy because it makes the blades weigh more than they would with an aluminum frame. While this may be true, you don’t need as much titanium to make a strong yet lightweight blade.
What this means is that since the aluminum frame weighs less than the titanium frame, it will be weaker and more prone to breaking. This property has made titanium popular for construction of jet engines because it builds up strength over time.
Carbon Fiber Rollerblade Frames (Lightest)
Carbon fibre is the most common type of frame for inline skates, for it is both strong and lightweight. It is also popular because there are many styles of carbon frames to choose from.
Carbon inline skate frames are considered one of the best pieces of equipment for those who compete or race, thanks to its impressive performance.
What About Frame Price?
When it comes to rollerblades, you often get what you pay for. Entry-level, recreational inline skate frames are usually not very high quality because they’re made from cheap materials which makes them break easily.
Do you wonder why the Wizard Frames are so expensive? Well, these high-quality frames will last for an extended period of time – even if abused. They’re also exceptionally rigid and do not bend at all when traveling at high speeds.
When you’re looking to buy new inline skate frames, there are many factors you need to take into consideration. You’ll want to think about the frame’s length, height, weight, material type, flexibility level, and compatibility when it comes to attaching it onto other parts of your skates such as mounts and axles.
Your skating style plus weight should also be a major deciding factor when choosing your frame. If you’re into speed skating or a heavy skater, choose the stiffest metal frames in your range – but if you’re looking for recreational skating and are lighter-weighted, then go for flexible plastic frames.