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3-Wheel vs 4-Wheel Inline Skates: Which One to Try?

3-Wheel vs 4-Wheel Inline Skates
Written by Brian G Smith

You want to try inline skating, but how many wheels do you go with? Tri-skates or 3-wheel skates aren’t as sturdy as the regular 4-wheel skates. It’s not recommended for you if you are just learning how to roll along.

However, because of the large size of the 3 wheels, you can go faster and have improved maneuverability than the 4-wheel skates of the same size.

Let’s explore the sought-after information about each inline skate so you can make the right decision for yourself.

3-wheel inline skates

Pros

  • Can achieve high speeds
  • Lightweight and nimble
  • 125mm wheels are an available option
  • Children can achieve higher speeds with the larger wheels
  • Speedier liftoff
  • The frame is shorter for increased agility

Cons

  • Larger wheels cost more money
  • Less stable than a 4-wheel skate
  • If you are used to 4 wheels, it might take time to get used to 3 wheels
  • You can fall backward easier because of the shorter frame

4-wheel inline skates

Pros

  • Great stability
  • Suitable for more aggressive skating
  • The wheels have superior weight disbursement
  • Favorable for Slalom and freestyle skating

Cons

  • Not as fast as the 3-wheel skates
  • The big wheels compromise agility
  • More effort is required going longer distances

3-Wheel vs 4-Wheel Inline Skates: How Do They Differ?

1. Positioning of the wheels

3 wheels

Design-wise, the 3-wheel skates fit your feet better than the 4-wheel skates. The middle wheel is positioned under the arch of your foot and is placed far away from the lowest point. Manufacturers can use larger wheels because the skates sit lower.

4 wheels

The second wheel of the 4-wheel skate rests under the ball of your foot. This raises the height higher, and to adjust for this, the wheels must be smaller.

Winner

The 3-wheel skates fit your feet more comfortably than the 4-wheel skates.

2. Wheel size and speed

3 wheels

Bigger wheels have a larger diameter and can move faster. The tri-skates also have increased room and the plate to fit more significant-sized wheels underneath the boot. You can acquire wheels that are 125mm in size.

4 wheels

Most 4-wheel inline skates have wheels around the size of 70mm to 80mm. You can go fast, but they have a smaller diameter than the 3-wheel choice.

Winner

The 4-wheel skates aren’t clunky or slow, but the larger wheels on the 3-wheel skates outmatch the 4 wheels and are the faster option in this category.

3. Weight

3 wheels

This type of skate varies in weight, but they are mostly heavier than the 4-wheel ones. Depending on many factors, they can be 2kg to 5kg or more.

4 wheels

Most inline skates hover around the 3kg mark, but the weight will vary from skate to skate. They usually weigh less than the 3-wheel ones.

Winner

The weight of an inline skate will depend on the brand, cost, size, shape, the material of the frame, and whether the skates are for a child or an adult. A cheap plastic pair can weigh around 1kg, but you will get what you pay for. In most cases, the 4-wheel skates weigh less than the 3-wheel skates.

4. Braking

3 wheels

The traditional style of inline skate brakes can be positioned at the back, sitting behind the last wheel of the undercarriage.

4 wheels

There is usually a rubber toe stop on the right foot (although you can also position it on the left foot if that’s your preference). The maneuver is called the toe stop drag.

Winner

There are 3 types of braking systems for inline skates. They include traditional, advanced braking (ABT) and no braking whatsoever. Your braking power will depend on the one you choose. It’s a draw for this category.

5. Stability

3 wheels

These skates aren’t constructed for balance. They have a low rider height, but larger frames are needed because of the bigger wheels. Adding height to the boot of the skate affects your stability.

4 wheels

These skates have smaller frames because they have tinier wheels. You are lower to the ground’s surface, reducing your center of gravity (overall). You will be able to keep your balance better. It’s also easier to spread your weight over 4-wheel skates than the 3-wheel ones.

Winner

Stability is essential in skating, especially for people just starting. The 4-wheel skates win this for stability and are great for beginner skaters. You can always move on to 3-wheel inline skates once you gain the skill and experience on the 4-wheel ones.

6. Maneuverability

3 wheels

The lower frame and size of the wheels make it much easier to maneuver without a lot of effort.

4 wheels

You can maneuver on the 4-wheel skates, but your actions won’t be as tight as the 3-wheel skates.

Winner

Skating is more than just gliding forward in a straight line. You need to be capable of changing direction; circular movement and turns are also required. The 3-wheel skates have the advantage since the wheels don’t go on too far from the base of the skate. It’s easier with the short frame and large wheels to turn in a tight circle.

7. The Cost

3 wheels

These inline skates tend to cost more money because of the larger wheels. The more material used in the design, the more money it is to buy.

4 wheels

The smaller wheels usually cost less than those of the 3-wheel skates.

Winner

You can find 3-wheel vs 4-wheel inline skates at many different price points. The cost will depend on the brand, model, design, and specifications. However, the 3-wheel skates are usually more expensive because the larger wheels cost more. 4-wheel skates can increase in price the more bells and whistles you have on them, like high-end frames, professional designs, and bearings. But overall, the 4-wheel skates are the cheaper option.

FAQs

1. Why is inline skating not popular?

Ans. When it comes to inline skating and extreme sports lost their popularity to snowboarding and skateboarding, which are both events in the Olympics. It didn’t help that sales dipped low and sponsorships were taken away.

2. Which skates are good for beginners?

Ans. It’s good to start with the 4-wheel inline skates if you are a beginner. Once you feel confident with your skills and experience, you can always graduate to the 3-wheel and see which one is the better option for you.

About the author

Brian G Smith

“Hey, are you out of your mind?” - this is what I often hear when people see me performing some really dangerous stunts. While most people use scooters to commute, I use mine to hone my stunting skills. Yes, that’s me, Brian Smith. I’ve a small group of like-minded people in my team that love to do all sorts of stunts with their kick scooters and skateboards. My fans also ask me to teach them a thing or two every now and then. This is why I am here. In my leisure time, I like to write about what I do with my scooters and what I am going to do next. One thing I want to say to all my fans - Don’t hit the streets without proper information and training..

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