Title:
INLINE ROLLER SKATE CONFIGURATIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Configurations of an inline roller skate comprising a base, wheels, and at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels. In accordance with one aspect, the inline roller skate further comprises a bias element positioned between the rocker and the base and biasing the rocker to an equilibrium position relative to the base. In accordance with an other aspect, the inline roller skate further comprises a rocker stop made integral to the base and defining a limit to the pivoting movement of the rocker in one angular direction by abutment therewith. In accordance with an other aspect, the inline roller skate further comprises a brake made integral to the base and having a concave frictional surface with an inversed-V shape.



Inventors:
Roy, Alain (Sainte-Henedine, CA)
Harvey, Pierre (Saint-Ferreol-Les-Neiges, CA)
Application Number:
12/525011
Publication Date:
02/11/2010
Filing Date:
01/28/2008
Assignee:
DESIGN NEWRON INC. (SAINT-HENEDINE, QC, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C17/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSZEWSKI, JOHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CANTOR COLBURN LLP (20 Church Street 22nd Floor, Hartford, CT, 06103, US)
Claims:
1. An inline roller sate comprising: a base, wheels, at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, and a bias element positioned between the rocker and the base and biasing the pivotally mounted rocker to an angular equilibrium position.

2. The inline roller skate of claim 1 comprising two bias elements, each bias element biasing the rocker in a respective angular direction, wherein the two bias elements are provided as at least one compressible resilient member.

3. The inline roller skate of claim 2 wherein the at least one compressible resilient member is in a compressed state when the rocker is in the equilibrium position.

4. The inline roller skate of claim 2 further comprising at least one pressure applicator mounted to the base in communication with the at least one resilient member and being externally operable to vary a pressure within at least a portion of the at least one resilient member.

5. The inline roller skate of claim 4 wherein a pressure diffuser is provided between the pressure applicator and the at least one resilient member.

6. The inline roller skate of claim 1 further comprising at least one rocker stop made integral to the base and positioned to abut against the pivotally mounted rocker upon pivoting thereof to prevent contact between the at least two wheels and the base.

7. The inline roller skate of claim 1 wherein the at least two wheels include an endmost wheel of the inline roller skate, further comprising a brake having an inversed-V shape braking surface recessed in the base and positioned to brakingly receive the endmost wheel upon a controlled pivoting of the rocker by a user.

8. The inline roller skate of claim 1 wherein the equilibrium position corresponds to an operating position of the at least two wheels when the inline roller skate is in idle use on a flat surface.

9. An inline roller skate comprising: a base, wheels, at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, and a rocker stop made integral to the base and defining a limit to a pivoting of the rocker in one angular direction by abutment therewith at a maximal pivot position of the rocker, said rocker stop preventing the at least two wheels of the rocker from contacting the base when the rocker is in the maximal pivot position.

10. The inline roller skate of claim 9 further comprising a bias element positioned between the rocker and the base and biasing the pivotally mounted rocker to an angular equilibrium position.

11. The inline roller skate of claim 9 wherein the at least two wheels include an endmost wheel of the inline roller skate, further comprising a brake having an inversed-V shape braking surface recessed in the base and positioned to brakingly receive the endmost wheel upon a controlled pivoting of the rocker by a user.

12. The inline roller skate of claim 9 wherein the position of the rocker stop is adjustable.

13. An inline roller skate comprising: a base, wheels, a brake made integral to the base, the brake having a concave surface having opposite sides generally arranged in a shape of an inversed-V and an apex, and at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, including an endmost wheel of the inline roller skate, the endmost wheel of the inline roller skate being angularly displaceable with the rocker between a freely rotating position and a braking position, in which braking position respective opposite side portions of the endmost wheel are in frictional engagement with a respective one of the opposite sides of the concave surface, and the apex of the concave surface is free from the endmost wheel, wherein the opposite sides of the concave surface generate respective braking forces with the wheel when the wheel is pivoted into the braking position by a user.

14. The inline roller skate of claim 13 wherein the brake is provided as a removable brake insert.

15. The inline roller skate of claim 13 further comprising a bias element positioned between the rocker and the base and biasing the pivotally mounted rocker to an angular equilibrium position.

Description:

FIELD

The present improvements generally relate to the field of inline roller skates, and more particularly to inline roller skates having at least two wheels mounted on a pivotable wheel mount or rocker.

BACKGROUND

The use of pivotable wheel mounts in inline roller skates is disclosed for example in U.S. Pat. No. 5,342,071 to Soo, and in U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,551, to Roy.

While such systems have been satisfactory to a certain degree, there was still a need to provide improvements.

SUMMARY

An aim is to alleviate at least one drawback of prior art inline roller skates with pivotable wheel mounts.

In accordance with one aspect, there is provided an inline roller skate comprising: a base, wheels, at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, and a bias element positioned between the rocker and the base and biasing the pivotally mounted rocker to an angular equilibrium position.

In accordance with an other aspect, there is provided an inline roller skate comprising: a base, wheels, at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, and a rocker stop made integral to the base and defining a limit to the pivoting of the rocker in one angular direction by abutment therewith at a maximal pivot position of the rocker, said rocker stop preventing the at least two wheels of the rocker from contacting the base when the rocker is in the maximal pivot position.

In accordance with an other aspect, there is provided an inline roller skate comprising: a base, wheels, a brake made integral to the base, the brake having a braking surface, and at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, including an endmost wheel of the inline roller skate, the endmost wheel of the inline roller skate being angularly displaceable with the rocker between a freely rotating position and a braking position, in which braking position the endmost wheel is in frictional engagement with the braking surface of the brake, wherein the frictional engagement generates a braking force when the wheel is pivoted into the braking position by a user.

In accordance with an other aspect, a solution is to provide an inline roller skate comprising: a base, wheels, a brake made integral to the base, the brake having a concave surface having opposite sides generally arranged in the shape of an inversed-V and an apex, and at least one rocker pivotally mounted to the base and receiving at least two of the wheels, including an endmost wheel of the inline roller skate, the endmost wheel of the inline roller skate being angularly displaceable with the rocker between a freely rotating position and a braking position, in which braking position respective opposite side portions of the endmost wheel are in frictional engagement with a respective one of the opposite sides of the concave surface, and the apex of the concave surface is free from the endmost wheel, wherein the opposite sides of the concave surface generate respective braking forces with the wheel when the wheel is pivoted into the braking position by a user.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Further features and advantages of the present improvements will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in combination with the appended figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of an embodiment of an improved inline roller skate;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view, enlarged, showing the rear portion of the inline roller skate of FIG. 1 with a rearmost wheel in a freely rotating position;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the rear portion of the inline roller skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a schematic rear elevation view of the inline roller skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5, which includes FIGS. 5A and 5B, is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4 showing two alternate configurations of resilient members;

FIG. 6, which includes FIGS. 6A and 6B, is a side elevation view of the inline roller skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7, which includes FIGS. 7A and 7B, is a cross-sectional view showing an alternate embodiment to the inline roller skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a side elevation view showing and alternate embodiment to the inline roller skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view showing an alternate embodiment to the inline roller skate of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 includes FIGS. 10A and 10B, which are fragmented perspective views, enlarged of the inline roller skate of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view, enlarged and fragmented, showing an alternative to the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view, enlarged and fragmented, showing an alternative to the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 13 is a rear perspective view, enlarged, showing the rear portion of the inline roller skate of FIG. 1 with the rearmost wheel in a braking position;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 14-14 of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, the improved inline roller skate 10 has a base 12 and four wheels 14, 16, 18, 20, including a fore pair of wheels 22 and a rear pair of wheels 24. The fore pair of wheels 22 and the rear pair of wheels 24 are mounted to a fore rocker 26 and a rear rocker 28, respectively. The fore rocker 26 and rear rocker 28 are pivotally mounted to the base 12 by a fore rocker pivot 30, and a rear rocker pivot 32, respectively. In normal idle use of the inline roller skate 10 on a horizontal riding surface (not shown), all the wheels 14, 16, 18, 20 are aligned along a horizontal axis 34 in a position referred to as the normal position and illustrated in FIG. 1, and in which each wheel is in a position referred to as a freely rotating position. The fore pair of wheels 22 can be pivoted from the normal position in solidarity about the fore rocker pivot 30, and the rear pair of wheels 28 can be pivoted from the normal position about the rear rocker pivot 32. Both rockers 26, 28 are similar in this example, and only the rear rocker 28 will be described in further detail.

Referring to FIGS. 2 to 4, the fore wheel 16 of the rear pair 24 can be displaced in an upward direction 36 by pivoting the rocker 28 in a forward angular direction 38 (FIG. 2). The forward pivoting can be caused by an encounter with a pellet, a twig or an irregularity in the smoothness of the riding surface, for example. Similarly, the rear wheel 14 of the rear pair 24 can be displaced in an upward direction 40 by pivoting the rocker 28 in a rearward angular direction 42. The rearward pivoting can be caused by a user which pivots the base 12 with his foot (not shown) while maintaining the wheels 14, 16 in contact with the riding surface, for example. This can lead to the rearmost wheel 14 being pushed into contact with a rear brake 43, in a braking position, such as depicted in FIG. 13. Typically, when the rearmost wheel 14 is not in contact with the rear brake 43, it is free to rotate, and is thus in a position referred to as a freely rotating position.

The rocker 28 includes a right side rocker member 44 and a left side rocker member 46 which are mirror images of each other (this is more clearly depicted in FIG. 3). For greater stability, the wheels 14, 16 are rotatably held between both rocker members 44, 46. Each rocker member, 44, 46 includes a fore arm 48 at the end of which the fore wheel 16 is rotatably held, and a rear arm 50, at the end of which a rear wheel 14 is rotatably held. In this example, the fore arm 48 is advantageously made longer than the rear arm 50 to ease the upward movement 36 of the fore wheel 16 upon encountering an obstacle.

Two opposing bias elements 52, 54 angularly bias the rocker 28 to an angular equilibrium position, each in a respective angular direction 38, 42. The bias elements 52, 54 generate a returning force to return the rocker 28 to the equilibrium position by default when no other forces are at play. In this example, the bias elements 52, 54 include a right side resilient member 56 in compression between the right side rocker member 44 and a respective receiving portion 57 (FIG. 3) of the base 12, and a left side resilient member 58 in compression between the left side rocker member 46 and a respective receiving portion 59 of the base 12. The resilient members 56, 58 each include a fore portion 60 which collectively act as the bias element 54 against the fore arm 48 of the rocker 28, and a rear portion 62 which collectively act as the bias element 52 against the rear arm 50 of the rocker 28. A base pivot aperture 64 receives a rocker shaft 66 (FIG. 3), at a respective end of which a respective rocker member 44, 46 is mounted. In this example, the receiving portions 57, 59 are respective recessed channels 57a, 59a defined within the base 12, and the resilient members 56, 58 are rubber bushings 56a, 58a.

An uneven adjustment between the front portion 60 and the rear portion 62 of the rubber bushings 56a, 58a can result in an equilibrium position that is different from the normal position. For example, the equilibrium position can be selectively positioned slightly in a forward angular direction 38 or rearward angular direction 42 relative to the normal position.

The rear brake 43 is made integral to the base 12. The rearmost wheel 14 can be pushed into the brake 43 by being pivoted in a rearward angular direction 42 by a user, as depicted in FIG. 13. The rear brake 43 is provided as a removable brake insert 43a which can be removed and replaced once worn. The brake insert 43a is held in a mating recess 68 (FIG. 3) of the base 12 by a threaded fastener 70. Caps 72 are used on the wheel pivots and rocker pivot 32 to help keep dirt and water from penetrating therein.

Turning to FIG. 5A, the details of the right side rubber bushing 56a are depicted. The base 12 includes a right side channel 57a. In this example, the right side rubber bushing 56a is held in the right side channel 57a in a pre-compressed state against the right side rocker member 44. By pre-compressed, what is meant is that the rubber bushings 56a are maintained in a compressed state even in the equilibrium position, i.e. they are compressed during installation of the rocker 28 to the base 12. The benefits of pre-compression will be discussed further below, and include increasing the returning force when the rocker 28 is displaced out from the equilibrium position. The left side of the inline roller skate 10 is a mirror image of the right side.

The rubber bushing 56a acts as two opposed bias elements 52, 54, a fore bias element 54 and a rear bias element 52. The fore portion 60 of the rubber bushing 56a acts against the fore arm 48 of the rocker 28 to bias the rocker 28 in a rear angular direction 42, whereas the rear portion 62 of the rubber bushing 56a acts against the rear arm 50 of the rocker 28 to bias the rocker 28 in a forward angular direction 38. The proportion between the compression force applied by the fore portion 60 of the rubber bushing 56a and the rear portion 62 of the rubber bushing 56a determines the equilibrium position. When these compression forces are equal at the neutral position illustrated, the equilibrium position corresponds to the neutral position. It will be noted here that some types of resilient members, such as relatively hard resilient members, are not necessarily held in a pre-compressed state when in the equilibrium position, and thus only apply a returning force when the rocker is pivoted out from the equilibrium position.

Because the rubber bushing 56a is pre-compressed, pivoting the rocker 28 in a rear angular direction 42 results in increasing the force applied by the rear portion 62 of the rubber bushing 56a, and lowering the force applied by the fore portion 60 of the rubber bushing 56a, and vice-versa when the rocker 28 is pivoted in the forward angular direction. The resulting returning force thus corresponds to the difference between the force applied by the fore portion 60 and the force applied by the rear portion 62 in this case.

The selection of the depth of the channel 57a, the compressibility of the rubber bushing 56a, the pre-compressive force present in the rubber bushing 56a, and the space defined between the channel and the rocker member are design considerations which influence the action of the resilient members. Typically, the respective widths of the rocker members 44, 46 and of the channels 57a, 59a allow the rocker 28 to penetrate into the channels 57a, 59a upon sufficient pivoting (this is depicted in FIG. 4). The operational thickness of the rubber bushings 56a, 58a can be defined as the thickness they occupy in their compressed, operational state, in the neutral position, which corresponds to the space present between the bottom 72 of the channel 57a and the surface of the rocker 28 against which the rubber bushing 56a abuts. The depth of the channel and the space between the channel and the rocker can be more clearly seen in FIG. 6A, where the channel bottom 72 is shown in dotted lines. The operational thickness of the rubber bushing 56a thus includes the depth of the channel 57a and the space defined between the channel 57a and the rocker member 44. It is typically desired to limit the operational thickness of the rubber bushing 56a and to increase the pre-compression in order to obtain a greater returning force for a given pivotal displacement. The depth of the channel 57a is selected to be sufficient to keep the rubber bushing 56a from escaping therefrom, at least under normal operating conditions. Location tabs 74, 75 are present in the illustrated embodiment to prevent longitudinal displacement of the rubber bushing 56a in a forward and a rear direction, respectively.

In alternate embodiments, the rubber bushings 56a, 58a can be held to the receiving portions 57, 59 of the base 12 (FIG. 3) by many various ways. For example, a center portion thereof can be maintained in position by a threaded fastener with a large head (not illustrated) driven transversally into the base.

Rubber bushings are subject to wear, and it can be advantageous that the configuration of the inline roller skate allows their replacement. Further, the amount of returning force resulting from a given angular displacement of the rocker is a function of the resilient member used. Therefore, it can be advantageous to offer the possibility to a user to select the type of resilient member used according to his personal returning force needs. The uncompressed thickness and compressibility of replacement resilient members can be selected depending of the amount of pre-compression and response force desired. These considerations render it advantageous to provide an inline roller skate having a configuration which allows the removal and replacement or interchange ability of the resilient members by a user.

The rocker members 44, 46 can be removed by disassembling the rocker shaft 66 (FIG. 3), the rubber bushings 56a, 58a then expand and become uncompressed. They can then be removed from the respective channels 57a, 59a. Designing an inline roller skate which allows a user to position and pre-compress a replacement rubber bushing during reassembly the rocker members 44, 46 with the rocker shaft 66 poses a practical limit to the amount of pre-compression present in the rubber bushings. If the pre-compression is too high, a user can experiment difficulties when attempting to apply the pre-compressive force required to be able to position the rocker members 44, 46 in a manner to allow assembly of the rocker shaft 66. For this reason, it can be advantageous to maintain the amount of pre-compression below a reasonable threshold which corresponds to the amount of compression which can reasonably be achieved by an average person of the type to which the particular inline roller skate is addressed.

As an alternative, specialized inline roller skates can be designed with relatively high pre-compressive forces to satisfy a certain class of users. However, the configuration of such specialized roller skates may require the services of a qualified technician to replace worn resilient members or interchange resilient members with resilient members having different response characteristics.

A solution which allows to maintain the user-interchangeability feature of the resilient members while allowing the application of a greater pre-compressive force is to allow application of an external pre-compressive force to at least a portion of the resilient members following the reassembly of the rocker. This can be achieved for example by the use of externally operable pressure applicators 76, 78, such as the pressure adjustment screws 76a, 78a depicted in FIG. 7A. Here, a fore pressure screw 76a is assembled in a respective fore threaded bore 77 in the base 12 positioned in alignment with a fore portion 60 of the rubber bushing 56a, and a rear pressure adjustment screw 78a is assembled in a respective rear threaded bore 79 in the base 12 positioned in alignment with a rear portion 62 of the rubber bushing 56a. The heads 80, 81 of the pressure screws 76a, 78a are externally operable by a user to adjust the depth of penetration of the pressure screws 76a, 78a. Hence, the pressure screws can be unscrewed prior to reassembly of the rocker 28 with new resilient members (see FIG. 3).

Immediately after reassembly of the rocker 28, with the pressure screws 76a, 78a unscrewed, the pre-compression in the rubber bushing 56a can be kept below a reasonable threshold, and even be nil. The pre-compression can then be increased to the desired level by adjusting the depth of penetration of the pressure screws 76a, 78a. It can be advantageous to provide a pressure distribution plate 82 between the channel bottom 72 and the rubber bushing 56a. This allows to reduce pressure concentrations in the rubber bushing 56a and contributes to reduce potential damage thereto which could result from direct application of pressure by the screws 78a, 76a. Here also, the right side and the left side of the inline roller skate 10 are mirror images, and the explanation does not require repetition for the left side.

In the alternate configuration presented in FIG. 8, pressure screws 78a are used only in combination with the endmost wheels 14, 20 (i.e. the foremost 20 and the rearmost 14) of the in-line roller skate 10, rather than being used in combination with both the fore arm 48 and the rear arm 50 of both rockers 26, 28.

An alternate solution to the application of an external pre-compressive force to at least a portion of the resilient members following the reassembly of the rocker is to provide an inline roller skate with a configuration, a mechanism or a tool which eases the application of pre-compressive forces during reassembly of the rocker.

When the rubber bushings are interchangeable, the inline roller skate can advantageously be provided in a kit with two or more types of rubber bushings. For example, rubber bushings of different colors can correspond to rubber bushings offering a different response force. For example, a first set of rubber bushings having a first color can correspond to an aggressive response, i.e. a strong restoring force for a given pivotal displacement, which can be achieved by using a material with lower compressibility for a given pre-compression; whereas a second set of rubber bushings having a second color can correspond to a touring response, i.e. a relatively weak restoring force for a given pivotal displacement. Intermediate sets of rubber bushings can also be provided in the kit.

As an alternative, or in addition to being used to provide a higher pre-compression in the rubber bushings, pressure screws can be used where desired to allow “fine tuning” of the response force offered by a given set of rubber bushings. Pressure screws can also advantageously be used to adjust the response force offered by a rubber bushing as this response force diminishes subsequently to wear or aging, for example.

Although rubber bushings are used in the illustrated example, it is to be understood that resilient members made of different types of elastic compressible materials can be used instead. For illustrative purposes, rubber bushings having a hardness between 40 and 60 Duro were found satisfactory when used on the example illustrated.

As discussed above, the resilient members illustrated act as two opposing bias elements. Instead of being provided as single resilient members 56 having both a fore portion 60 and a rear portion 62, the resilient members can be provided as two cooperating resilient members including a fore resilient member 160 and a rear resilient member 162. Such an alternative is illustrated in FIGS. 5B, 6B, and 7B. In this case the resilient members 162, 160 are maintained from longitudinal displacement by a separator 184. Though they are depicted with respect to the fore rocker 126, this alternative can be applied to either one of the fore rocker 126 and the rear rocker, or both. To describe these alternatives, like reference numerals in the one hundred series are used. In other alternate embodiments, the fore or the rear resilient member can be omitted. Some examples of this will be detailed further below.

In alternate configurations where resilient members are used, the resilient members can be other than compressible materials. Springs can be used, for example. Also, the resilient members can be connected to both the base and the rocker to be used in tension only, or both in tension and compression. It is also possible to use other types of bias elements than resilient members. For example, a sealed pneumatic chamber positioned above a respective arm of the rocker can be used to bias the rocker to an equilibrium position.

The use of a rocker which carries at least two wheels when the pivoting movement of the rocker is not limited has one drawback. When the rocker exceeds a given angular displacement span, a respective one of the rocker wheels can come into interference with the base, i.e. into frictional contact therewith, and a braking action stemming from the friction between the wheel and the base can result. This braking action can be advantageously harnessed in specific circumstances by providing a brake in combination with either one, or both, of the endmost wheels of the inline roller skate (i.e. the foremost and the rearmost wheels). Such a brake in combination with the rearmost wheel is depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 as discussed above. Further discussion on the topic of brakes will follow. However, the drawback is that undesired braking action may also result from interference of one or more wheels with the base.

A solution to this drawback is to limit the angular displacement span of one or more rockers. The angular displacement span of a rocker can be limited in one or both angular direction by the use of respective rocker stops associated with the base which prevent rotational interference of the wheels with the base.

In FIG. 9, three rocker stops 86, 87, 88 are depicted. A front rocker stop 86 and a rear rocker stop 87 are associated with the front rocker 26. With the rear rocker 28, only a front rocker stop 88 is used, due to the presence of the brake 43. The rocker stops 86, 87, 88 are fixed relatively to the base 12 and act as a limit to the angular displacement span of the rockers 26, 28 by offering abutment thereagainst when an angular displacement corresponding to a maximal angular displacement position is reached. The front rocker stop 86 and rear rocker stop 87 limit the front angular displacement 38 and the rear angular displacement 42 of the front rocker 26, respectively. The front rocker stop 88 of the rear rocker 28 limits the front angular displacement 38 of the rear rocker 28. The rear angular displacement 42 of the rear rocker 28 is limited by the brake 43 which can be operated to selectively apply a frictional braking force to the rearmost wheel 14.

Rocker stops (such as 86, 87, and 88) can be used with or without a respective bias element (such as 55, 53, or 54, respectively), though it is often advantageous to combine them with a respective bias element (55, 53, 54), an opposite bias element (such as 53, 55 and 52, respectively), or both. For illustrative purposes, the front rocker stop 86 and the rear rocker stop 87 of the front rocker 26 are shown used in combination with a respective front rubber bushing 160 and rear rubber bushing 162. The front rocker stop 88 of the rear rocker is shown used in combination with a respective front portion 60 of a rubber bushing 56a, and with an opposite rear portion 62 of the rubber bushing 56a. Using a rocker stop in combination with a respective bias element is advantageous because it allows to soften impacts between the rocker and the rocker stop, it also allows to bias the rocker away from the rocker stop.

For greater clarity, the front rocker stops 86, 88 of the front rocker 26 and rear rocker 28 are shown in perspective views in FIGS. 10A and 10B, respectively.

In alternate embodiments, a rocker can advantageously have only one bias element opposite a rocker stop. For example, a front rocker can have only a front rubber bushing instead of having both a front rubber bushing and a rear rubber bushing, and have a rear rocker stop. The front rubber bushing biases the front rocker toward the equilibrium position by application of a force against the front arm of the front rocker, and the equilibrium position can be maintained by abutment of the rear arm of the front rocker against the rear rocker stop. As it can be seen therefore, many possible combinations of bias elements and rocker stops are envisaged.

Although all wheels are susceptible to angular displacement due to pivoting of the respective rocker, the endmost wheels are the most susceptible to angular displacement. Therefore, when a rear brake is used, it can be advantageous to equally use a rocker stop associated with the foremost wheel, and vice-versa if a front brake is used. If no brake is used, it can be advantageous to provide at minimum a rocker stop associated with both endmost wheels.

To offer to the user versatility and personalization of the angular displacement span of one or more rockers, one or more rocker stops can be made adjustable. An example of an adjustable front rocker stop 286 for the front rocker 226 is illustrated in FIG. 11. The stop element 290 is provided at the end of a threaded rod 291 which is assembled into a respective threaded bore 292 in the base 212. The position of the stop element 290 relative to the base 212 can be adjusted by turning the head 293 of the threaded rod 291.

An adjustable rocker stop can also be advantageously used in combination with a brake. The adjustable rocker stop can thus be adjusted by the user to selectively turn the brake on or off, by selectively allowing angular access of the endmost wheel to the brake or preventing the angular access. A rocker stop used in combination with a brake can alternately be made to have only two positions (on and off), instead of being precisely adjustable.

A pivotable rocker stop 394 is illustrated in FIG. 12. The pivotable rocker stop has a stopper element 390 positioned at the end of a rod 391 which it pivotally mounted to the base 312 at a pivot 395. In the figure, the stopping element 390 is shown in the “brake off” position, and prevents angular access of the rearmost wheel 314 to the rear brake 343. The stopping element 390 can be pivoted about the pivot 395 and be turned to the “brake on” position (not shown).

The use of a brake is optional. If a brake is used, it can be used with either one, or both, of the endmost wheels (i.e. foremost and rearmost wheels) as long as the endmost wheel is mounted to a rocker which allows access of the endmost wheel to the brake. As it is shown for example in FIG. 3, the brake 43 is preferably provided within a mating recess 68 defined in the base 12, with a substantial amount of material, or other means of structural rigidity, can advantageously be provided on each side of the brake 43 in order to provide extra sturdiness for the wheel squeezing braking action.

The brake can advantageously have a concave surface 98 generally shaped as an inversed-V, such as can be more clearly seen in FIG. 4. Referring to FIG. 4, when the braking wheel 14a is moved in the braking position (illustrated in FIG. 13) by a user, respective opposite side portions 61, 63 of the braking wheel 14a come into frictional contact with respective opposite sides 65, 67 of the concave surface 98, and the apex 69 of the concave surface 98 is free from contact with the braking wheel 14a. The relative angular orientation of the respective sides 65, 67 provides that the pivotal force applied to the wheel by the user is at least partially transformed into opposing squeezing forces being applied by the opposite sides 65, 67 of the concave surface 98. The squeezing forces enhance the frictional braking force being applied to the wheel by friction when compared to brake which does not generate squeezing forces. The percentage of the pivoting force which is transformed into squeezing forces varies depending on the relative angle of the opposite sides. However, it is better that the angle there between be not too acute to reduce the likelihood of the braking wheel becoming trapped within the brake.

The brake can advantageously be provided as a removable insert 43a in order to allow replacement thereof following wear. As depicted in FIG. 3, the removable insert 43a is preferably held into the mating recess 68 in the base 12 by a threaded fastener 70. When the removable brake insert 43a is in position on the base 12, as can be more clearly seen in FIG. 14, the head 71 of the threaded fastener 70 can advantageously be recessed to reduce the likelihood of the braking wheel 14a encountering the threaded fastener head 71 during braking.

The material of the brake 43 can advantageously be made softer than the material of the braking wheel 14a, in order to reduce wear of the braking wheel 14 which could be caused by the brake 43. The material of the brake 43 can also be somewhat abradable, and preferably offers a relatively high amount of friction during contact with the material of the braking wheel 14a. Rubber can be used, for example.

The braking response force of the brake will vary depending on the type of material used therefore, and the angle of the inversed-V shape. Typically, a softer material such as rubber will wear faster, but will offer a greater breaking response upon a given pivotal force created by the user. A harder material such as a plastic will have improved durability but lower response. The brake is optional. In configurations where a brake is used, the brake acts as the rearmost rocker stopper, and the rearmost stoppers can be absent. However, the rearmost stoppers can still be present to operate in the event where the removable brake insert is removed by the user, for example.

In the illustrated embodiments, the base 12 is provided as a component which is shaped to receive a boot 99 (FIG. 1). The inline roller skate has four wheels and two rockers, and has two wheels on each rocker. It will be understood that many alternate embodiments can be provided. For example, the base can alternately be provided as part of a boot, and in many different configurations than the ones illustrated. As an additional example, alternate inline roller skates can have more or less than four wheels, more or less than two rockers, and some wheels can be mounted directly to the base, provided that these alternate embodiments have at least one rocker with at least two wheels mounted thereon.

Also, although symmetrical rockers are depicted, alternate rockers can connect the wheels in a cantilevered fashion on only one side instead of having two rocker members. The use of two rocker members is advantageous because greater stability of the wheels can be achieved.

The distance between the wheel and the brake can be made adjustable, and it can be made possible to adjust the position of the brake relative to the body, for example. This can allow a user to personalize the degree of response offered by the brake. Also, the brake can be made removable.

As can be seen therefore, the examples described above and illustrated are intended to be exemplary only. The scope of the inventive concepts is intended to be determined solely by the appended claims.