Quad Skate Anatomy

Beginner, Rollerskate, Terminology -

Quad Skate Anatomy

If you're new to park skating then you're probably trying to work out what is needed to maximise your skatepark experience! For starters, we recommend using your usual set-up. Sounds weird and duh we'd totally benefit from telling you that you MUST BUY ALL NEW STUFF, but in reality you want to get a feel for transition skating in something familiar before adding and investing in parts that will take your skating to new heights.

Most experienced skaters would have gone through multiple different set-ups. It can take a while to get used to a new boot, plate, truck or wheel so be sure to be patient with your adjustment period. We all have individual needs. Your set-ups should be customised to suit the personal style of the skater. Most skaters own more than one pair of skates, plates and trucks and many pairs of wheels, bushings, bearings and other interchangeable parts. It is important to experiment and figure out what works best for you individually.

Skate breakdown and advanced hardware.

Quad Roller Skate Anatomy


This simply refers to the boot or shoe that is mounted to the plate.
There are plenty of solid options on the market. Antik Skates make customisable leather mid-ankle boots and a small heel lift. Moxi has the Jack Boot designed a supported high-ankle boot with a heel lift. Riedell also has a line of derby designed low ankle boots with or without heels. Bont has a range of carbon fibre boots with zero heel lift, plus their new to market high ankle carbon fibre boot. Many skaters also customise their own skates by using regular shoes such as Vans.

If you are going to go down this path it is important that you choose a sturdy boot (preferably leather) with a strong, supportive sole. The best advice is to go to your local skate shop and try on a range of boots to see what fit suits your foot shape best.

INSOLE (not pictured)
If you are skating in 'actual' roller skates then this refers to the insole that provides comfort to your foot so you don't feel the mounting hardware. If you are skating in shoes converted to roller skates, then you hopefully have included a reinforcing Aluminium Insole. The purpose of this is to give support and structure to the base of the shoe so that when you mount the plates they don't just pull through the base of the shoe. 

The holes you lace skates through. This also comes in hook form. Some boots have very intricate lacing systems to ensure you don't have heel slip.

The cord passed through eyelets or hooks on opposite sides of a shoe and pulled tight and fastened. This probably isn't news to you.

This is a non-compulsory, but highly recommended accessory for most skaters. Its sole purpose is to protect the front of a skaters boot. Skateparks will increase the chance of wear and tear to your boots... especially if you're a toe dragger!

Urethane devices screwed into the front of the plate to allow a skate to come to a complete stop while rolling fakie (backwards). For roller derby, most skaters would use a long-stem toe stop but for park skating, we recommend either short-stem or more rotations in your toe stop to reduce the chance of hanging up or catching when skating transition.

This is the component of a skate that is physically attached to the boot with mounting hardware. This consists of the plate itself (with 4 or 6 mounting holes) and it supports the kingpins and pivot cups. This is the basis of a roller skate. Once you add the truck with all its components you have a roller skate. This is also the base that all sliders are connected to.

We highly recommend aluminium plates where possible. Cast metal and plastic plates might be lighter (and cheaper) but they will break easily. To check out plates that are compatible with CIB hardware.

The kingpins are partially threaded bolts that protrude from the front and back of skate plate. This is the base that holds the trucks together. Connected to it are the bushings, retainers, and the truck, and this is held together with a nut. The tightness or looseness of this determines the ease of turning. These will often need to be shortened if using wide trucks (Grind Trucks) to enable grinding.

A hollowed rubber cup that rests inside the base plate, this supports the truck hanger at the pivot point, allowing it to turn smoothly in both directions. These will disintegrate over time and will need to be changed out, luckily we've got you covered! 

The truck hanger is fastened to the kingpin and rests in the pivot cup of the base-plate. It contains the axle on which your wheels are mounted and provides the surface we so relentlessly grind on.

CIB has developed Grind Trucks compatible with a wide range of quad roller skate plates. Some skaters choose to alter Skateboard and Penny Trucks, however, this requires a lot of DIY know how.

Also known as cushions, bushings are urethane rings that slip onto your kingpin. There are two bushings per truck, one above and one below where the hanger sits. They come in many grades which determine how soft or hard it will be to adjust the turning radius and the response of the truck itself. Tighter bushings mean stiffer trucks, while loose bushings make for easier turning. For park skating you'll actually want to crank up your trucks a bit, wobbly trucks can lead to speed wobbles!

A retainer is a simple metal casing that sits either side of the bushings. This helps protect the plate and the bushings. Some skaters will remove these depending on the hardness of their bushings.

12) NUTS
Not this kind you eat! Also known as axle nut or kingpin nut. The nut is threaded on to the truck axle to hold the wheel in place. The same applies to the kingpin. Without these, your skates would fall apart!

13) AXLE
The axle extends from the truck base. This is the foundation that your bearings rotate around. One wheel is inserted on either end and held in place by the axle nut. These protrude a couple of inches on either side. Regular truck axels are much shorter than skateboard or CIB Grind Trucks.

This is a small metal circle which provides the service of protecting your bearings. Not a requirement, but definitely recommended. These can also be used to make different wheels compatible with plates that might have tricky axle spacing and can reduce wheel bite.

An anti-friction device called a bearing that is inserted between each wheel and axle. This is what allows the wheels to spin freely. They consist of 6, 7 or 8 balls enclosed in races between two shields encased in a shell. There are 2 bearings per wheel. If your bearings are squeaking or refusing to spin it's time to clean em' or upgrade them! You'll need 16 bearings in total to kit out a full roller skate. Most bearings are sold in 8 packs, which is a trend set by skateboarding.

The typical size range of wheels for street and vert skating ranges between 45-61mm. We recommend a harder wheel for speed. The harder the wheel, the faster you will go and the less you will stick to the ramp for tricks like slides and grinds. Since you have two axels per skate, you'll need a total of 8 wheels to kit out your quad roller skates.

CIB has developed a line of wheels made to help you reach your top speed with minimal effort. To find out more check out our Wheel line

This refers to any bolt or nut used in the application of putting the skate together.

Also known as a grind (incorrect) or slide block. There are a variety of custom and homemade versions out in the world. A slider or block is made up of 1-2 pieces of HDP (high density plastic) per skate. These are mostly custom-built and come in all varieties of shapes and designs and have been mounted in all manner of ways. The purpose of this is to allow the skater to perform horizontal sides across coping and rails. CIB has been developing Sliders and Slide Blocks since 2014 which work on a variety of skate plates. Find out more about Sliding.


Hopefully, this has helped you get a better idea of the anatomy of a roller skate! If you have further questions regarding the purpose of any parts feel free to join the conversation below. 

Cover photo by Kevin Bouffard

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