If you have been into inline skating for any decent amount of time, then chances are you have heard the term rockering before. You might even know what rockering is, and this will just be remedial information for you. But if you do not, then this could be quite enlightening for you.
Out of the box, most inline skates are configured in what is known as a “flat setup”. All three, four, or five (child’s skate, standard recreational or short racing skate, and full size racing skate wheel counts, respectively) wheeled skates will have the wheels set at the same height. This is a flat setup, and is an all around good way to start out skating. It is also the standard setup for recreational / fitness skating.
The next main setup is known as a full rocker, or banana / crescent. This involves setting your front and back wheels slight higher than your middle two wheels. This is going to provide the inline skater with great maneuverability, which is good for those who wish to emulate ice skating on dry land. It also provides less stability, so balance can be an issue. Obviously it should go without saying that use of full rockering should be used with great care, and then only by skilled inline skaters. Novice inline skaters will likely find them selves unable to control their direction very well, and will also spend large amounts of time on the ground, possibly with skinned palms or knees.
The next type of rocker is called a front rocker. This style of rockering has the lead wheel on each skate set high, with the trailing 3 in their regular placement. This rockering style is generally used by street skaters, and has two main purposes: the high front wheel allows the skate to better go over imperfections in the ground instead of digging in and stopping, while the remaining 3 flat wheels still provide you with a decent flat profile for pushing power, so that good speed can be kept.
Another type of front rocker setup is one sometimes used by inline hockey skaters, and involves the rockering of the rear 2 wheels, and using smaller wheels for the front two. This makes it resemble a flat setup, sine all 4 wheels are in fact touching the ground. It is purported that this setup provides better maneuvering in corners while still giving the speed of larger wheels when going straight, but this is debatable.
Lastly is the anti-rocker setup. This is the reverse of standard rockering, in that your front and back wheels will be on the ground, while your middle two will not. This, coupled with devices called “grind plates” facilitate ease of sliding along hand railings, curbs, benches, and other surfaces on which an aggressive, or trick skater may wish to grind. The means by which this rocker is accomplished can be done in one of two ways: use small wheels for the two center wheels, or raise the center two wheels. The use of small wheels is the most prevalent means.