In a previous post I extolled the virtues of SRB rollerskis. My opinion of them nearly changed some time ago when I needed to buy some replacement wheels and I was slightly taken aback to find that they started at 25€ apiece and went up from there. Four replacement wheels shouldn’t really be half the cost of a new pair of roller skis IMHO 😦
As per the Rollerski Directory article I got my wheels from The Skate Hut. I bought:
- JD Bug Original 100mm Wheels (x4)
- Blazer Pro Wheel Spacers (x2)
- Enuff Abec 9 Waterproof Bearings ( the wheels came with ABEC 5 bearings which in hindsight would probably have been OK )
Total cost, including delivery, was about £26.
The first issue that I came across was that the holes in the centre of the bearings was different for the new wheels. The original SRB wheels use a 10mm hole for the short axle whereas the new wheels have an 8mm hole suitable for an M8 bolt. The simplest solution was to swap the wheel mounting method to a bolt so I duly purchased some suitable hardware:
- A2 Stainless M8 50mm Hex Head Bolt ( x4 )
- A2 Stainless M8 Thick Nyloc Nut ( x4 )
- A2 Stainless M8 Form A Flat Washer ( x20 )
I got these online from Westfield Fasteners for a total cost of about £12. I bought more washers than necessary because I wasn’t sure of the new wheel spacing ( see below ). I used Nyloc nuts for security but you could possibly use a normal nut and a spring washer instead.
You can probably get this stuff from a DIY store but stock control at my local B&Q is appalling Buying online in this way I got exactly what I wanted delivered through my door in a couple of days.
Assembly was relatively easy except for one small problem. For the new wheel the inner part of the bearing casing rotated while the outer didn’t. A normal M8 washer was too large in diameter and interfered with the black plastic part causing unnecessary friction. The solution was to use one of the small washers that were used under the head of the bolt fixing the original wheel to the short axle as an extra spacer. This was a stroke of luck, otherwise I would have had to source or make a smaller washer.
In the end I needed one extra M8 washer on the mounting bolt to make the wheel fit snugly on the two mounting forks. The final hardware layout is shown in the two images below.
I mounted the wheels with the head of the bolt on the right hand side as viewed when standing on the skis looking forward. In this way the action of the wheels when rolling forward would try to tighten the bolt rather than loosen it. I have seen a case on other modified skis where the bolt was mounted the other way and did manage to work its way loose.
Overall the new wheels work well. I’ve done a few hundred km on them and they’re not wearing excessively. The ABEC 9 bearings are certainly faster than the the original SRB ones which is probably to be expected because the originals were designed to be slightly more resistive for training purposes. From my limited observations the new bearings are about the equivalent of fast, well waxed ( but not race ) skis. They’re borderline too fast for endurance training or on paths that have reasonably fast downhill sections but are also shared with cyclists / walkers etc.
The current setup is not suitable for serious rollerski racing but I have used them in a race with expected improvements in time over the normal medium speed training wheels. However Skate Hut do a range of bearings including some ceramic ones that would undoubtedly be faster ( at a price ) should you wish to go down that route.
There are undoubtedly other suppliers for the parts that I used but the two I dealt with delivered the items quickly, at reasonable cost and with no fuss. I have no affiliation with either but I would happily use them both again.