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skatey-mark's picture

So I'll be the first to admit I have a skate fetish...  I have many, many pairs of skates from rec skates to off road skates to, of course, my speed skated.  And there are many, many parts I have laying around for those -- Just about any configuration could be put together...  I started getting curious about quad skates a few years ago, thinking it would be cool to have a pair to play around with -- after all, A2A started out as a quad event!

It wasn't until I started reffing for the Carolina Rollergirls that I got serious about finding a set of quad speed skates though.  Even then, I had no idea what to get.  It had been close to 20 years since I was on a set of quads, and those were probably crap...  Sure I knew what equipment to get for inline and what the pros and cons were, more or less.  But with quads, I had all the uncertainty of someone new to the sport.  So many options...  It was very daunting, and not having a lot of spare time, it was something I was only thinking about...

Until one day, Tom mentioned he bought a pair of Oberhamer quad speed boots on eBay.  They didn't fit him, but they were my size -- so I tried them on, and they did fit.  So I decided to take the plunge and bought the boots from Tom, then inundated him with questions about what other parts to get.  I ended up getting a Nova Speed plate,which seemed like a good bang for the buck...  Some orange Witch Doctor wheels, which were popular with the Rollergirls at the time, and some bearings -- I think they were China Reds.  Interestingly, most quad skates have 7mm axles as opposed to 8mm that inline use, so they take different size bearings.  (By the way, the '8' in '608' is the inner diameter of the bearing, in this case - 8mm...)  So unfortunately, I have to use different bearings with these skates than on my inlines.  My next pair of quads (keep reading -- the skate fetish continues) will have 8mm axles so I don't need different bearings...

I'd say it took about 3 weeks to get used to the quads.  Tom was nice enough to mount the plates to the boots for me.  (There is no standard mounting mechanism for quads -- you literally drills holes through the sole of the boot and put bolts through to the plate...)  Quad technique is a bit different than inline, and takes some getting used to.  I started out with the trucks fairly stiff until I got my balance on them.  However, it wasn't long before I felt like I was fighting the skates in the turns...  Time to loosen those trucks up...  You don't have edges in quads like you do on inlines, so the trucks flex, allowing the wheels to stay flat on the floor while your boot "rolls over"...  Very strange sensation...  Of course, loosening up the trucks requires more balance so that your boot stays vertical when you want it to be...  Getting the right tension in the trucks takes a lot of tweaking.

During the "adjustment" phase I was going to the rink twice a week -- once for roller derby practice (which was fairly easy skating) and once for indoor speed practice.  The speed practice defintiely made me relearn how to do crossovers quickly.  Quads are a bit slower than inlines, so it makes for a harder workout when I go to indoor speed, which is a good thing.  Now I'd say I'm very comfortable on my quads, and my biggest problems is lack of grip on the corners.  But I had some new wheels on order that will hopefully help with that!  (Radar Speed Ray wheels -- green...)

So, now, after skating indoors on the quads I'm thinking it would be cool to have an outdoor setup.  Now, I could just buy some outdoor wheels and slap them on my current skates, but what fun is that?  So now, I'm looking at boots & plates again.  I already have a heel brake to put on the skates when I finally figure out what to get.  I do know that the play will have 8mm axles...  There's a "RC Sunlight High Profile" plate that looks promising...  Wheels will probably be "Route", only question is what size -- you can get them up to 70mm (my indoor wheels are 62mm).  I think bigger should be better for outdoors, it's just a question of if they'll fit on the skates or not.  More research is needed...  :)  I have absolutely no idea what boot I'll get.  I'm definitely looking for comfort in the outdoor setup.  Right now, I'm just keeping my eye on eBay to see if I can spot a good deal...

Hopefully by the end of the summer, I'll be able to play around outdoors on some quads...  I'll post again when I finally figure out what parts I'm getting.


timv's picture

Old school skates

Cool stuff, Mark. Nice posting!


Reading about your experience getting started with quads is a great reminder of what newcomers to inline skating go through trying to figure out the equipment, as I'm sure you can appreciate even better. I tend to doubt that I'll ever get into that particular diversion, but it's always fun to read about stuff like this. Please do keep us posted on how the quad skating and related hardware purchases go.

skatey-mark's picture


Yes!  It definitely reminded me of what it was like to feel overwhelmed by all the choices, and have no idea what criteria to use to pick one option from another...  It wasn't that long ago that I experienced that with my move to inline speedskates, although that seemed slightly less traumatic since I had been on rec skates for quite some time -- I at least had some idea what to look for in wheels, bearings, and frames.  Boots were another matter entirely though!

So it definitely gave me a little reminder of what the new skaters go through!

roadskater's picture

Skating on Quads, plus Carolina Roller Girls

Thanks for the story of your intro to quads, Mark. Interesting stuff. Please tell us more about the Carolina Roller Girls. So far all I know is that some of them came and skated the Tour to Tanglewood (one on quads the first day, 45 miles or more), and that they skate out of Raleigh. I think I heard they just won a bout in Austin, which seems like a big deal! There was recently an article in the Greensboro newspaper's free extra paper. So tell us more when you have time and please keep us posted on tickets and bout results.


Also if you'd like to email me or send site feedback, I can make a quad section of searches for skatebay.com and for here as well. Eventually the ebay searches below will rotate among skates, boots, bikes, frames, jerseys, and more. It'll be a bit less boring that way. And any time anyone buys anything on ebay by going through here first (even a pressure washer or whatever) it helps pay the bills for roadskater.net to stay alive. To do a special section on skatebay, I just need to know the terms to look for and the terms to exclude, especially brand names good and bad.

skatey-mark's picture

latest quad skate purchase...

Just won an auction on eBay for a pair of quads...



  • Riedell 395 boots
  • Sure-Grip Power Trac plates
  • Bones Swiss bearings
  • a mishmash of wheels, including 4 blue Hyper Cannibal, 2 purple Hyper Jive, and 2 yellow Wicked Lips (these are all indoor wheels, I assume...)


If I had to buy all this stuff new, it would cost around $750 I think...  I ended up getting it for $255.  I'm not including the cost of the wheels, since I'm assuming they're worn down and need to be replaced anyway.  Just goes to show if you're patient, you can usually find a good deal on eBay eventually...  :) 


This is pretty high-end gear, so now I need to decide if I want to use these indoors or outdoors... In theory, this setup is much better than what I'm on currently. I'll probably give them a try indoors a few times and seet how I like them. Of course, it will also depend on if they can have a heel brake or not... If the heel brake won't mount, then they'll be the indoor pair.


I'll post more once they arrive and I get a chance to compare them to my other skates...


- SM -

roadskater's picture

Quads: Different Wheels Each Side?

Hey Mark. Is it common with quads to set up with different hardness left/right? This could get like NASCAR if you don't watch it, right? Or Formula One (F1) perhaps: "I'm gettink a leetle poosh in die kornahs!" Looks like fun stuff. Enjoy!

I see you noticed how to include a hosted photo. For now all have rights but some day that will likely be abused and will become a skateylove privilege. I'll be working on other solutions so bigtime skateylovers will have some photo uploading but for now that works. I think it will be a broken link eventually, however.

Thanks for sharing and if it was a skatebay.com clickthrough thanks for that too (no need to reply on that). The skatebay stuff should rotate when i can get to it. So much to do!

skatey-mark's picture

Quads: Different Wheels Each Side?

Well, I'm no expert on skating in circles (indoors), but it seems that there is quite a bit of voodoo in mixing wheels, both for quad racing and inline.  The difference, I think, is that mixing the wheels on inlines probably is the same on each skate, where it might be different on quads.  Tom describes quad speedskating as being a "controlled slide" around the corners.  Think about driving in the snow and you get the idea.  Now, coming from the inline world, that never sat quite right with me and I suspect it comes from the "old days" of biodegradable wheels and rosen sprinkled all over the floor.  With grippier wheels, I don't see why you'd need to skid around the turns -- seems inefficient to me.


But anyway, the voodoo is all about optimizing the grip versus roll...  We don't need to worry about that outdoors (usually), where we'd normally just replace all the wheels if we needed more grip (like in the rain).  Too much grip will slow you down, of course.  And due to the nature of quads, having the grippy wheels in different positions on the skate will have different effects.


I think it's somewhat common to have the grippier wheels on the inside of the turn -- so on the left side of each skate if you're going counterclockwise.  And maybe less-grippy wheels on the outside.  This guy took it a step further  and has different combinations on each skate.


I'm not sure how long the picture will last -- I expect it'll break soon.  But I'll get a picture up on my own server if it does.  I agree that photo uploading would be cool, and a better solution in the long run to prevent abuse... 

sommemi's picture

Quad boots

Hey! Those are my boots! LOL  I have the same boots on my quads. This was neat reading this entry... make sure you keep me informed on how your quad adventures goes, and I'll keep you posted on my adventure into inlines, k? (By the way - I never did get the concept of a heel brake for quads... hockey stops and t-stops are much easier.... or the quick turn around and go up on your toes works good too...)

And yes - there is a magic voodoo to the mix up of wheels, but it's something that people get into when they start going to nationals... it's not significant enough when you are just beginning - I still don't mix my wheels... but it's been a while too.

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