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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Non-Reversing Wheel Technology

By Liz Miller

I am an inventorI am often approached by inline inventors seeking my opinion, and sometimes my support, for new inline technology. Some designs are intriguing. But I must confess, others make me laugh.

Bruce Honaker's patent pending non-reversing wheel technology seemed funny at first (see his original video), but he convinced me to let novice skaters be the judge. So I solicited opinions from Get Rolling site visitors and learned that this innovation strikes a chord with many potential inliners. Their eager responses (below) led me to accept Bruce's offer to hand-craft a prototype pair of skates in my size to test. Unfortunately, they are not available to skaters yet, but are definitely available for licensing to a qualified third party.

Liz tested: "It works great!"

Update 8/2008: See my YouTube demonstration on my own local hill.

I did a brief indoors test the day the skates arrived and was very impressed that the non-reversing technology worked as described. I tried to backward swizzle and they didn't even budge. Tried half a spin (requires one skate to go backwards) with no success—as expected. However, I could stride forward, make basic turns and even apply the heel brake with absolutely no hindrance. Wow! And in Dan's opinion, an "ingenious" design. The best part is that it can easily be removed by the skater once he or she feels confident enough to learn more advanced skills.

The following weekend I loaned the skates to a student whose own inines were so poorly made, they were hindering his progress in the beginner lesson I was teaching. That particular location has certain "gentle" drainage slopes that challenge any first-time skaters who face the wrong direction in the wrong place. My non-reversing wheels tester completed every drill so successfully I forgot he was on special skates. I think he forgot, too. He neither complained nor raved about the skates; he just completed a successful lesson.

My final test was on a significant hill in my Danville neighborhood. Going down, it is steep enough to require braking or slalom turns to avoid hitting the fence separating our neighborhood from the next. Skating up, not only was I able to roll to a complete stop with my back to the bottom of the hill, I could actually walk or shuffle forward one skate at a time, to make my way uphill with absolutely no backward rolling.

The non-reversing technology has also been tested by those who crave speed. Read a review from Canadian inline speedskater Hal Lightwood on who very methodically tested it on a pair of Bont speedskates. Here is Peter Doucet's video review of what he calls "WART technology" and also an article introducing it from his web site, SpeedSkate World.

Mini-Survey Results

Here are a few responses from those who watched Bruce's video:

  • Patrick: "Dang, that seems like a great idea!!! Especially for young kids, or for that matter anyone just starting out."

  • My name is Jim. "I'm 25 years old and am pretty good at all sports except in-line skating. I've tried it over and over but can never establish balance. I keep rolling backwards and falling on my butt. I've also banged up my knees pretty good too. It got old fast. My new set of Rollerblades collect dust in a closet now. I think this invention is a pretty cool idea; actually it's ingenious. I'd be willing to try in-line skating again if I could get a hold of these skates! When are they going to start producing them? I'll be first in-line (no pun intended) to get a set for me and my girlfriend who has also tried it but failed like I did. She told me she thinks these should have been invented and on the market years ago. Good stuff! Keep me posted."
  • David in Phoenix (Arizona, USA): " After having seen the video for the "Wheel Anti-Reversing Device" by Inventor Bruce Honaker, I find myself wishing I were young again. It would have taken the spills and bruises out of trying to learn. (I tried roller skating twice. Not being a masochist I moved on to other things.) I am certain I would have had many hours of skating fun with this device while I learned. Now that I have a grandson (to me, the cutest kid in the whole world), I can't wait for him to try on his first skates. This Anti-Reversing Device will be as important on his skates as trainers will be on his first bicycle."

  • Tess and Family:" My husband and I like to skate. So do my daughters, but we've put it off for years until now. The thought of just putting on these skates and skating without falling and breaking many bones has made us want to actually go out and invest in the time and less-effort it would take to learn how to skate, and do a pretty good job right from the get-go. We sincerely hope these skates will soon be on the market, because of the friends and family that are anxious to finally learn how to skate. We can only hope that they will be out before Christmas!!!!"

  • Rick, his wife and his neighbor: "If this is for real, it could be great. My wife and I are 50 and have been interested in skating for some time. My neighbor saw the anti-reversing skate idea on your site and told us about it. It sounds like a great way to learn to skate with a lesser chance of getting hurt by falling backwards. Where can we get these? My neighbor says that it would be perfect if we could allow the wheels to reverse when we get good at skating.

  • Skateless mom in Seattle: "I am a thirty something mother of two girls living in Washington. When I was twenty five, my husband of two days and I were on our honeymoon at Venice Beach California. My husband wanted to go roller skating. Skating looked like fun, and everyone was doing it.

    "Since this would be the first time I tried skating on in-inline skates, I was concerned about falling, but he really wanted to go. We had to go down a couple of steps to exit the skate rental trailer, so I decided to go outside and sit down on a bench to put on my skates. The bench was at the bottom of a very slight incline. I sat down on the bench, put on the skates, stood up, tried to start going forward up the incline. I immediately fell forward. When I fell, I skinned my knees, elbows, and both palms, and sprained my left wrist. I took off the skates, and have never skated again. And, in relating my accident to others over the years, I have probably discouraged many people from ever trying to skate.

    "I have thought of that day many times. It completely turned me off to skating. I have often wondered, why no one ever invented skates that didn't roll backwards, at least for first time or novice skaters.  It seems like such an easy thing to do.

    "Now that it looks like this kind of skates are on the market, maybe I will try skating again.  Where can I buy or rent some? Do you know if the skates in the story can be converted to normal skates once a person learns, or does one have to buy a new pair? I would think some kind of switch could allow the don't backward feature to be switched off. My kids had roller skates like that when they were little.  They could walk forward because the wheels didn't roll backward."

If You're Fascinated

Would you like to express an opinion about non-reversing wheels technology? Take a look at my demo video and then let me know if I can share your words with the inventor and add them to the above comments for other Get Rolling visitors to see.

This technology is available for licensing by a qualified third party by contacting For more information about Bruce's invention and its progress, visit his web site,

Other August 2006 Stories

bulletred picture Inline Mastery Ladder - Find your rung (physical capabilities) on my new learning ladder and learn how to climb to the top.

bulletred picture Technique: Scissors Coast - Proper respect for the one building skill that every skater needs the most and then takes for granted forever after.

bulletred picture Treat Your Feet - Tips to help you treat tired or crampy feet and lower legs after a long day on wheels, plus advice for pain prevention.

bulletred picture Skating with Nordic Poles - Triathlete Joshua Delucca Colon describes his journey learning a new way to cross train for endurance events.  

bulletred picture Growing Young Before Her Time - Brigitte plans to celebrate her 50th birthday at the local skate park, doing what she loves best, hammering the half pipes.

bulletred picture Point Isabel Trail in Richmond, CA - Tracing the San Francisco Bay shoreline, this bike trail offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge with whirling pelicans and seagulls overhead.

bulletred picture Leader in Learning - Get earns an award of excellence; college text book features Liz Miller’s Inline Skating chapter among 41 others.

bulletred picture Review: eZeefit Ankle booties may just be exactly the accessory you need for your favorite human-powered sports.

bulletred picture Skater Crossing - Online destinations where skaters congregate and find information.