What is better: 3 wheels vs 4 wheels inline skates

What is better: 3 wheels vs 4 wheels inline skates

A very common question we are asked is which skate setup should you choose. Should it be big wheeled roller blades or small? Aside from the style of the boot you are also offered options in how many wheels your frame can hold. The most common are 4 wheels and 3 wheels, but can also reach up to 5 wheel frames.

What is the difference between 4 wheel and 3 wheel inline skates?

4-wh frames are best for beginner skaters or urban / freeride skaters as a 4-wh setup will provide the most stability and maneuverability for your skating sessions. With a 4-wh touching the ground at all times (flat setup), you have the most contact points on the ground ensuring you to have the most stability as you will have an equal balance throughout your entire foot and less gaps between the wheels. These roller blades can come in various different ways aside from a flat setup.

Setups can come with a natural rocker where your first and last wheel are slightly higher than your two center wheels, this type of rocker setup can provide advantages when it comes to forward-to-backward transitions and wizard skating, as well as slalom style skating. Anti-rocker is another 4-wheel setup that is traditionally used in the aggressive skating style. The Anti rocker setup consists of the first and last wheel being at the same height and the two center wheels either being slightly raised or of a smaller size to make room for an h-block which is used for grinding in the aggressive style of skating.

The most common wheel sizes used for 4-wheel setups are: 76mm, 80mm, 84mm, and 90mm. Although for aggressive skating styles, wheel sizes can go as small as 55mm. If your are choosing your first skate setup and are in doubt, we suggest to go with a flat 4-wheel setup as you will be lower to the ground and more stable.

Easier to balance on 3 wheel rollerblades or 4 wheel?

3 wheel frame setups are more commonly seen in speed skates where the skater will typically sacrifice maneuverability and stability for more speed. Although 4-wh setups can achieve similar speeds as 3-wheel setups, a skater with a 3-wh roller blades will have to work far less to maintain that speed. 3 wh setups are great for experienced skaters who want to add more speed to their flows and possibly dive into a different style of skating. 3 wheel skating setups are not recommended to be rocketed as their are already less maneuverable due to the size of the wheels. The most common wheel sizes used for 3-wheel setups are 100mm, 110mm, and 125mm.

What is the advantage of 3 wheels vs 4 on inline skates

Big wheels mean faster speeds, you will maintain a longer roll, and can get over cracks and bumps easier for a smooth ride. If you are indecisive of which wheel setup to get, we recommend trying a 4 wh setup first and slowly increasing the size of your wheels until you are full comfortable with the speed that you can achieve on bigger wheels and then transitioning over to a 3 wh setup. This will make the process a lot easier as you are already accustomed to the speed and now the only main difference is the number of wheels under your feet.

Let's see more major points between inline skates 3 vs 4 wheels. With 3-wheel setups there will be times when you feel off balance if not in the proper stance as the tipping points are different from 4 wheels. One example is when coming off of a ledge or curb, while riding a 3 wh setup there will be a point where only one wheel is touching the ground. With a 4 wheel setup you will always have at least 2 wheels touching the ground.

One of the major downsides to 3-wheel setups is that they require more skill and energy to get up and down from speeds. 3 wheels as opposed to 4 wheels will require a shorter frame can open up the benefits of a smooth ride, added speed, and longer rolling distance to anyone who has the endurance to skate in the proper stance such as having their knees bent. An added bonus is that these 3-wheel frames are always lighter as they are only 3 wheels and there is also less hardware that runs through the wheel that attaches them to the frames.

Are 3 wheel inline skates better?

Above it all the choice is ultimately up to the skater and the style they are trying to achieve, styles can and will change over time but the most important thing is to have fun and always practice safe skating! The same advice would be for either beginners or professional inline skates 3 wheels vs 4 wheels. There are many models that have frames that can be easily removed and swapped for frames that hold the number of wheels you desire to skate with. With technology advancing there are even frames that can be used with either 4 wheels or 3 wheels.

Check the next article regarding the big wheel inline skates experience.

Professional freestyle slalom skater since 2006. Inline skates instructor. In the top 20 world best slalom skaters in the world at WSSA rank 2012-2018. Co-founder of InMove skates club and store in 2011. Event organizer of slalom and freeride competitons under WorldSlalomSeries. Creating helpful inline skates tutorials for beginners on YouTube channel InMoveSkates.

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