Welcome to part two of the skate maintenance series! This week we are going to cover items 7-13. Check out part one for info on items 1-6.
The various bits and pieces:
These little guys are also referred to as cushions, and that is exactly what they are. They are spongy rubber pieces that absorb shock and allow the truck to pivot. They also spring the truck back to neutral position. There are different hardnesses for Bushings just like there are for wheels.
*Keep an Eye on – Permanently compressed bushings. If they lose their springiness they will no long provide shock absorption which can lead to a broken truck or kingpin. It also means that they may not bring the truck back to neutral position which results in having to put more effort into skating in a straight line.
These are metal separators that assist in holding your Bushings in place. Nothing too fancy when it comes to these.
*Keep an Eye on – Not much goes wrong with these so long as your Bushings are still healthy. Just give them a quick once over to make sure they aren’t cracked or rusted.
Healthy bearings are very important. Inside of a bearing are a bunch of little metal balls. There are various types of bearings. Some allow you to remove the front and back and others have a plastic backing that makes it so only one side opens.
*Keep an Eye on – Noisy bearings. If you’re crunching around, you’re losing speed from friction and when they get really bad you might find yourself stopping with minimal effort. A sign that they desperately need to be cleaned. Since there are metal balls inside of bearings, water is their worst enemy. If you end up skating in the rain, it’s a good idea to take your bearings apart, then clean and oil them.
We could talk on this topic for a wheely long time. Lots to learn and think about when it comes to wheels. When researching new wheels consider the durometer, diameter, and width.
*Keep and Eye on – Dirt build up and flat spots. It’s always good to give your wheels a nice wipe down. Soap and water does the trick when your wheels are particularly dirty. Check for flat spots as well. To promote even wear shuffle your wheels around if you can.
We don’t really think much of the nuts on our wheels. However, these little guys are pretty darn important and they are a pain in the butt when you lose them. So treat them with kindness.
*Keep an Eye on – Tightness. You don’t want them so tight that they are causing friction against your wheels. Do check them often. If you can hand spin them they definitely aren’t tight enough. Few things are scarier than a loose wheel in the middle of game play.
This rubbery piece of goodness is how I stay in bounds and prance through packs.
*Keep an Eye on – Holes in the rubber and bent threading. Hit the breaks y’all and show your toe stop some love. If the metal is starting to poke through buy a new set because one it’s no longer going to work properly, and two you’re likely to damage your venue’s floor. And skate venues are precious. Also check the threading. Just because your toe stop never loosens doesn’t mean everything is going well. The forces we exert on our toe stops has the ability to slowly bend the threads which will result in your tow stop popping out and possibly altering the threading inside the toe stop hole on your plates. This requires rethreading to fix your plates (I unfortunately know this from experience).
Hex screw or Toe stop Washer/Nut:
These are two different methods for keeping your toe stop in place. Which one you have depends on your plates. Hex screws are built into the plate of the skate and require a hex tool for tightening. While the nut and washer are on the stem of a toe stop and require a wrench to tighten.
*Keep an Eye on – Tightness. Few things are more annoying than losing a toe stop mid game. The washer and nuts have a tendency to loosen more often. Toe caps (material used to protect the front of skates from damage) make it worse. I highly suggest putting the toe stop through a toe cap and then adding the washer and nut so that they rest against the plate instead of having a layer of fabric in-between.
How often should I clean my gear?
The cleaning suggestions are very much dependent on your skate environment and how often you skate. Sport court is the devil when it comes to making your skates dirty. I once skated in a place with permanent sport court and the amount of dirt my wheels collected was gag worthy. So individuals who skate in a sport court environment will likely have to show their skates more love more often.
I usually give my wheels a spin and listen to my bearings. When they start sounding a little noisy, that’s usually my cue to clean them. I also like cleaning my wheels and bearings before a big tournament when I know I’m likely to skate several times in one weekend. It’s a nice way to get mentally prepped for kicking butt. If you like having a predicable schedule that’s okay too. Feel free to slap some reminders on a calendar for cleanings and inspections. All that really matters is that you take the time and actually clean and inspect your skates. Don’t let your quads become a danger to you or anyone else around you.
So that about wraps it up folks. Thanks for making it to the end! I once again, hope some of the info here was helpful. If you all want me to make videos showing how I clean my bearings or anything else I mentioned here let me know in the comments. If you want another blog that goes into more depth on any topic also comment below. I’m happy to share what knowledge I have to help you all in any way!
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