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History of Brake System: ABT Braking System
2021-01-23


Mostly novice or beginner skaters get overwhelmed with the colors, designs, and wheel types while buying a rollerskates pair. However, one more critical feature to consider is the braking system. It is essential to use a braking system according to the skill level for optimum safety and better performance.

One of the most difficult parts of rollerskating to master is the braking technique. It involves the understanding of the braking mechanism along with the skills to master the braking techniques available in rollerblades.

Usually, rollerblades come with three types of braking systems. The traditional braking system, ABT braking system, or no brakes at all.


Traditional Braking System


Traditional braking system requires you to use your heel to stop the motion. This brake is installed on one rollerblade and is interchangeable according to your preference. Traditional brake is a hard rubber pad fixed in a plastic holder. This pair is then fixed with the rear of the show on the axle of the wheel. The mechanism of the traditional brake system depends on the friction. You push the brake against the other rollerblade to cause friction and break the momentum.

Traditional braking systems are difficult for beginners because there is a complete cycle to brake. They have to lift the toe and balance on a few wheels to use the brake. This gives rise to potential balance and stability problems.


No Brake System


No brake system seems like a nightmare for beginner skaters, however, this is the braking system of choice for the expert level aggressive skates, roller hockey skates, and speed skates. Since it is only used by the experts, they can stop the skates using their feet in the T position. The absence of brakes allows for better speed and better maneuverability.

Expert rollerbladers develop many skills including single foot balance and lifting the toe as it is the foundation for more advanced moves. Since they have already practiced such skills, they can easily break the momentum, slow down, and stop the motion through their footwork. Therefore, they prefer no brakes at all.

In fact, a brake system, be it traditional toe-stop or ABT brakes becomes a hurdle for them to handle. A brake pad increases the weight of the rollerblades and compromises the freedom of motion.


ABT Brake System


Active Brake Technology i.e. ABT braking system is exclusively used in the beginner level skates. This is a simpler solution to break the momentum of motion. To use this brake, the skater puts downward pressure on the cuff of the shoe which is then exerted on the braking arm. The braking arm consequently transfers the pressure to the brake pad to cause friction against the ground. This system keeps the skates balanced on the ground with all four wheels thus making it easier for novices.

Advanced brake technology can be used with any wheel size and boot design. Nevertheless, it is usually used with medium or high cuff boot design and medium-size wheels because all of these features make a good combination for a beginner level rollerblades pair. Higher wheels and low cut boot design is favored by professionals with higher skill level and using the traditional or no-brake system is not a major issue for them.


History of ABT Brake System


ABT brake system was originally introduced by the iconic Rollerblade©, Inc company in 1993. In 1994, the Rollerblade company filed a patent for this design. This is the most reliable and convenient brake system to be used with more confidence. These are specially designed for novices with low-level stopping skills. While other braking systems require skaters to move or push on one wheel, the ABT system assists them to stop while balancing on all four wheels.

The design took the market by storm and the Rollerblade company won the product of the year award for this innovative design. The newcomers in the sport of rollerskating were thrilled to find a braking system that was so easy and had so much support and balance.

The ABT2 braking system is the updated version of the updated design. The brakes in the ABT2 braking system use light magnesium and steel material for better maneuverability and convenience. ABT 2 also called ABT lite is an ultralight and sleek design perfect for beginners.


Working Mechanism of ABT Brake System


Since the active brake technology (ABT) is designed specifically for beginners, it has no balance issue. The skater uses the brake while balancing on all four wheels. The skater can use the ABT brakes simply by sliding their foot forward. In the ABT system, the cuffs of the boot are attached to the braking arm. When pressure is applied on the boot cuffs, it pushes the braking arm and it touches the ground causing friction. This friction breaks the movement and the skater stops.

The height of the brake pad is adjustable through the movement of a screw without using any specific tool. A skater can adjust the height according to personal preferences and level of skill.


Advantages of ABT Brake System

1. The easy learning curve for beginners makes it different and appealing from the other systems.

2. ABT provides better balance and support because all wheels are on the ground even while applying the ABT brakes.

3. The adjustable height of the ABT brake pad makes it easily customized for individual needs.

4. ABT brake system provides increased safety because of its four-wheel balance.


Disadvantages of ABT Brake System


Though the Advance Brake Technology seems all good and a perfect partner for novice skaters, it has its own set of disadvantages too.

1. It is difficult to manage on downhill gliding and is not as effective.

2. Four-wheel balance makes the skaters a little too easygoing. They have a tough time mastering advanced skills because they lack the ability to balance on one foot.

3. ABT brakes deteriorate the speed and performance significantly because the brake pads are too close to the ground and tend to drag on the floor.

4. Worn out pads can be dangerous and can go out of work. The skater is then compelled to lift the toe wheel to stop.

5. In certain situations, skaters still have to use a T brake or toe brakes.

6. As the new manufacturing of Advanced Brake Technology rollerblades is officially discontinued, the availability of replacement parts is likely to be a problem.


ABT brake system is losing its popularity?


While the ABT brake system entered the market with a bang, it is losing its popularity gradually. Customers are losing their interest in this braking system because of its potential disadvantages of low performance and speed. Also, people believe that skaters still have to use the T stop of toe stop brakes in certain situations therefore relying completely on ABT is not a wise idea.

This loss of interest from the market eventually forced Rollerblade Inc. to discontinue the manufacturing of rollerblades with the ABT braking system. However, some models of rollerblades with ABT brake system are still available in some retail stores and the auction stores with old stock. The spare parts for the replacement are also available to be used by the owners of ABT brake rollerblades.

However, all is not lost for the Advance Brake technology because some novice skaters prefer this while beginning their skating journey. We still see people searching for the old ABT style brakes in the market.



You have many choices when deciding on the braking system for your rollerblades. There is no silver bullet solution for any situation. The Advance Braking system is great for beginners who are looking for more stability and an easy braking mechanism. Traditional brakes are for recreational or fitness skaters and the professional speed skater will do without any brakes at all.

Choose what suits you the best according to your skill level and embrace the fun, thrill, fitness, and adventure of roller skating.

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