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Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 20:40
by MatLOVIN
Was browsing the interwebs and came across this interesting question about using speed rings (washers) on the outside of your bearings with a spacer so you can tighten the axle nuts fully and still have a completely free moving bearing. Seems like a smart idea... (backed up by some mechanical engineers...)

I've been a longboarder for a while now. I used to do downhill and mostly just cruise now. Two things that were always considered necessary were spacers and speed rings. The spacers go inside wheels between the bearings and allow the axle nuts to be tightened without causing excess wear on the bearings and without causing drag that will slow you down. The spacers are sized so that they only make contact with the center shaft of the bearing.
Speed rings are just little washers that go on the axles on the outside of the bearings and serve much of the same purpose. Used together, these allow you to tighten down those axle nuts real well and still have free spinning wheels. I have told this to almost every skater in our league, and I don't think a single one has believed me. You don't have to find that "sweet spot" when tightening those nuts where it doesn't cause your wheel to drag yet keeps your axle nut from flying off.
The whole assembly looks like this.[1]
So, I have to ask. Am I the only one who has been doing this?


Image

http://www.reddit.com/r/rollerderby/comments/1c2fxf/spacers_and_speed_rings_am_i_the_only_one_using/

Re: Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 21:06
by La Bicha
Do you think they somehow improve the skating, or is it just so you can tighten the nuts more easily? Either way, could be an interesting idea.

Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 21:13
by da silva surfer
Are all wheels suitable to use spacers? I've never used them, how do you get the spacer to sit on the right place on the bearing in between?


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Re: Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 21:43
by MatLOVIN
La Bicha wrote:Do you think they somehow improve the skating, or is it just so you can tighten the nuts more easily? Either way, could be an interesting idea.


Well you wont have to find the sweet spot anymore, I imagine that'll have some knock on benefits too, but as I'm not a mechanical engineer I'm not entirely sure. It will mean the bearing will always rotate rather than the entire wheel rotating on the axle (not sure if this has much benefit, but will reduce axle wear, altho I doubt that's a big issue).


da silva surfer wrote:Are all wheels suitable to use spacers? I've never used them, how do you get the spacer to sit on the right place on the bearing in between?

If you get the right sized spacer then yes (to my knowledge), quad wheels tend to use different side spacers to skateboarders so just be sure to get the right size. They're not essential as most wheels have an inner hub to prevent the bearings getting squished together. I always assumed this meant that the spacer was useless as the hub is gripping the non-rotational bit of the bearing, so I'm not entirely sure they would still be needed. Not sure I understand, but the spacer sits in the right place because the axle is going through it? it will misalign when the wheel is off, but you can tap it back into position when putting the wheel back on.

I'll grab some suitable washers tomorrow and see if it makes much difference.

Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 21:49
by da silva surfer
Oh duh! I forgot the axel goes through :P I didn't know they came in different sizes cause have seen them rattle about inside the wheel so have always been confused about why they are useful.

Re: Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 21:52
by Black Thorn
Both me and Bam have had real issues with spacers in our rollerbone turbos - I lost a wheel during a scrimmage, and Bam only avoided this because she realised the nuts were loosening really quickly. I also found that the wheels performed much better once the spacers are out. I have since read (although I can't remember where) that turbos are not designed to have spacers, something to do with the offset design of the hub? Anyway be careful if you are putting spacers in your turbos!

Re: Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 14 Apr 2013, 22:28
by MatLOVIN
Black Thorn wrote:Both me and Bam have had real issues with spacers in our rollerbone turbos - I lost a wheel during a scrimmage, and Bam only avoided this because she realised the nuts were loosening really quickly. I also found that the wheels performed much better once the spacers are out. I have since read (although I can't remember where) that turbos are not designed to have spacers, something to do with the offset design of the hub? Anyway be careful if you are putting spacers in your turbos!


Cheers for the headsup. What nuts are you using / what was bam using? I'd be surprised if it would be causing nylon lock nuts to come undone (but interested to know if so).

I'm unsure about the spacer as the hub probably has the same effect, but think the washers just make good clean sense :)

Re: Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 15 Apr 2013, 11:29
by Black Thorn
Just bog standard axle nuts - my wheel came off the first session I wore the wheels with spacers, since I have taken them out (4 or 5 months ago?) I haven't even had to adjust the nuts.

I always used to use washers, I just always lose them so decided not to use them at all rather than on half my wheels! That said I only used to wear them on this inside, not on the outside between the bearing and the nut.

Re: Spacers and Speedrings

Posted: 15 Apr 2013, 13:11
by the Blizzard
Remember you can only do & undo your nuts so many times before the nylon inside wears and makes them loose. I'm talking about the normal stock nuts. Look inside and they have bit of plastic that stops them coming loose. Haven't considered using spacers or washers, as I always leave a tiny bit of rattle for my wheels, never locking the nuts tight. The nylon insert in the nut keeps it from coming loose, not how far I tighten them.

Interesting to hear though how the spacers/washers work!