If you Roller Ski or Cross Skate, then maintenance isn’t an option, it’s an absolute requirement.
While the helmet is not technically a part of the Rollerski/Cross skate, it is by far the most important piece of your equipment. Check the helmet for wear and tear. How old is it? Does it fit securely and are all straps and clips intact? Has the helmet seen an impact?
If you fall, even once, and the helmet touched ground, then you need to seriously consider how hard the fall was and look closely for scratches, fissures, or any sign at all that the helmet is damaged.
My personal choice is the Bluegrass golden eyes with extra-long skull protection.
Rollerskis & Cross Skates
Because Roller skis are short in length, very high stress is directed to the frame, wheels and parts. Therefore proper maintenance of your Roller skis is important for your own safety and also for the longevity of your skis. When purchasing Roller skis, be sure to thoroughly read the instructions that accompany the skis. The same applies for Cross skates.
After each session wipe any dirt or other grime from the ski or skate with a damp cloth only
Do not wash with pressure cleaner. The Skis/Skates should be kept in a dark and cool place, where the wheels will stay longer in good condition. (Not in your car!!)
Switch skis and rotate wheels so you limit the wear and tear.
Check your binding screws often to ensure they are secure. If the binding comes off your Roller ski while you are skiing, so do you! Keep Binding clean and check all moving parts, some may require lubricant or grease.
The same applies to Cross Skates, check your straps for signs of wear and tighten screws if necessary.
Wheels and Bearings
New wheels and parts are normally well greased inside. Depending on the use and the conditions, the ratchet, bearings and the axle must be lubricated with low friction water repellent grease at all times.
Keep your Rollerskis clean and store them at room temperature.
Check the frame and wheels and “feel” the bearings before each outing. When skiing in wet conditions, wipe skis clean and dry and lubricate the wheels properly after skiing. Only use a solventless lubrication.
Note that any deep scrapes along the bottom of an aluminium frame may cause a weak point in the material and possibly a serious accident if it snaps. If you are using carbon roller skis, ensure that there are no serious impact fractures anywhere on the frame
Ratchet Wheel Maintenance (that’s the wheel on a classic ski that only moves in the forward direction)
- Loosen the axle and take the wheel off the frame (most Rollerskis use a 13mm bolt for the ratchet wheel)
- Take off the axle. Use soft rubber or a wood mallet (to protect the threads).
- Clean and dry all parts with a clean cloth. Do not use solvents!
- Grease the axle and the ratchet (and also the inside of the wheel) with low friction water repellent grease.
- Using too much or too viscous a grease may cause the ratchet mechanism to slip in colder temperatures.
- Check the bearings. If they feel and sound “rough”, replace them.
- Place the axle inside the wheel and carefully insert the bearings.
- Mount the assembled wheel onto the frame (the axle must be placed at the very bottom of the fork slots) and make sure, that the axle nuts are tight. IMPORTANT: Always use 2 wrenches to tighten the ratchet wheel simultaneously from both sides! If you tighten one side at a time, you seriously risk torquing the axle enough to bend open the axle slot on the frame.
- If any grease should get smeared on the outer surface of the wheel, be sure to clean it off as the grease can degrade the rubber compound which the wheel is made of.
Non Ratchet Wheel Maintenance
Check the bearings periodically, otherwise service in the same way as the clutch wheel.
Check Cross skate tires for any damage to the rubber including punctures. Always carry a spare tube with you. Also check the valves for any damage and keep your tyre pressure (usually 100psi) up.
Some models ( Skike V08 lift,..) also feature ratchet wheels so apply same maintenance as above.
Rollerski/Cross Skates Tips and Poles
Don’t stop your safety check until you’ve confirmed your poles aren’t damaged. An untimely pole snap on pavement could cause a fall. Not fun.
Just as important, have a look at your Roller ski pole ferrules: they should be very securely glued on to the pole, aligned properly with your grip, and not be able to twist (either the grip or the ferrule). Your Roller ski ferrules should have a beefy and roadworthy carbide tip. Check that the tip itself is securely inserted into the plastic ferrule and there is no wiggle or bend in it at all.
Lastly, your tips need to be sharp in order to work! Sharpen them as often as possible, mainly because it’s very quick and easy to keep tips sharp with a few strokes of a diamond file rather than wait until they are completely rounded.
Have fun outdoors!!
Information about Cross Skating & Roller ski in Australia @ www.nordicsportsaustralia.com.au