The rocker and the bend in speed skating ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


17 janvier 2018

The rocker and the bend in speed skating

There are certain things in speed skating that seem like a mystery to parents of skaters and even skaters themselves; for example the bend and the rocker. The objective of this article is to try to simplify these two aspects by explaining the basics of the preparation of blades.

By Marc-Antoine Caron from  Marchands de vitesse
In collaboration with Passion/Speed/Skating
Photos: Schaats Foto's, Passion/Speed/Skating and Marchands de vitesse

The rocker
First of all, the rocker is the radius or a combination of radius that follows the blade. Depending on the level of the skater and what he is searching for, the rocker will help him turn well, slide better, or improve his pushes. The more advance the athlete is, the more of an impact the rocker will have. In short track, rockers use to be constant, however nowadays progressive rockers have become the general norm. There exist an infinite number of combinations for progressive rockers. The progressive rocker will have a radius that will vary throughout the blade. When the skater moves his weight on the blade, he will be able to use the different radius depending on what he wants to do or depending on his position on the track. 

The general rule is that the front of the blade should be the roundest, the center more flat, and the back a bit more round than the center. The rounder the blade is, the smaller the radius is, making it easier for skaters to turn. Therefore, bigger the radius, harder to turn; on the other hand they are able to glide better and to be steadier. A rocker that is flatter requires more strength in the pushes the reason for that is that there is a greater surface of the blade in contact with the ice. Furthermore, skaters that are more advance will generally have rockers that are flatter since they will be strong enough to push them, and have more stability in the turns.

There are two ways in doing a rocker. Certain people do it by hand with a jig and a stone, while most people do it with the help of a machine that follows an already traced rocker. It is important to know that rockers must be verified and updated regularly. The simple fact of sharpening skates can modify it.

The bend
Subsequently, the bend, also known as the curve, is evidently the arch in the tube. Similarly to the rocker, the bend also depends on the level of skating of the athlete. It allows the skater to turn better, and to equally keep the blade on the ice in the turn. Moreover, the bend must correspond to the rocker to have a better contact of the blade with the ice surface. The flatter the blade is, the less you need bending. In fact, a beginner skater will benefit of a greater curve in the blade especially in the turns since he is less incline then a more advanced skaters.

The curve in the blade is made with a bender. We work on the tube, and not directly on the blade because of the fragilty of the blade. It is harder to work the bend of the blade then the rocker of the blade. Many years of practice are needed before being able to master the art of doing a good bend of the blade.

The rocker and the bend are essential for skaters, however are often neglected. It is vital to verify the blades as often as possible to make sure that they have the optimal combination. We are specialist in the preparation of blades and benefit from the expertise of Francois Drolet who was for many years preparing blades for the Canadian national short track speed skating team. For any  help or advises, don't hesitate to contact us.

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