Pin the Pivot!
Properly adjusted pivot pins are important. Here is a guidance how to take care for this.
Most modern roller skate plates and high-end vintage old-school plates come with adjustable pivot pins. But many skaters don’t know about the function and the relevance, and how the correct position can be adjusted. Mindless of the fact that the pivot is the central element of a roller skate truck and undamped forces hit the ball and socket connection permanently.
Correct adjustment prevents injuries
Properly adjusted pivot pins are important. The ball of the pivot pin should exactly touch the socket (bottom of the nylon or brass cup). An incorrectly adjusted pivot pin can
- cause vibration when skating,
- provoke the break of the king pin, or
- destroy the nylon cups and ruin the plates.
All finally can lead to falls and injuries while skating.
Correct adjustment for best skating
The pivot pin guarantees the optimal geometry of the truck and best turning of the skates. If it is too loose, the pivot ball will most likely be properly seated in the cup when the skater is on the skates, but it won’t be when the foot is lifted. In worst case, the pivot may depart the cup.
Too tight adjusted, the truck starts to twist between the cushions. The more the over extension on the pivot pin, the more the truck is twisted forcing the axle in a downward direction and in addition rotating the truck loop (the ring that located the cushions) closer to the king pin. The can cause an unintended impact between the king pin and truck.
Correct adjustment isn’t difficult
Two wrenches are needed. For the lock nut it is for plates with imperial threads (e.g. Sure-Grip, Snyder, or Pilot) most likely a wrench size 1/2’, for metric threads (e.g. Roll Line, Boiani, or STD) it is mostly size 13. The pivot pin can be turned with a small tool supplied together with the skates, or a suitable wrench. If the plates have a toe-stop, maybe it must be removed to reach the pivot of the front trucks.
Correct adjustment step by step
The following step-by-step instructions will show you how to adjust the pivot pin rightly. The numbers refer to the pictures below.
- To adjust the pivot pin, first loosen the lock nut with a wrench.
- Then use the little wrench which has been supplied together with the skates or plates to turn the pivot pin. First of all shorten the pivot pin by turning in counterclockwise direction.
- After the pivot has by turned slightly in, turn clockwise until the ball just touches the bottom of the nylon cup.
- The right position can be felt. Put a finger in the gap between the truck and the cushion retainer. If the pivot ball touches the pivot cup and you turn further, the truck will be starting to raise. The correct position is just before the lifting of the truck.
- After this adjustment hold the pivot pin with the little wrench (so it doesn’t rotate), and tighten the lock nut.
Now the pivot pin should be sit accurately in the cup. Bear in mind that for a correct fit, the pivot pin has to be re-adjusted each time, after modification of adjustment of the trucks.