People have toyed with the idea of putting a power source other than human legs on roller blades for about a decade before the first true motorized roller blades came on the market. The problem designers faced was having a power source that was small enough to be suitable for roller blades and powerful enough to do the work for any sized rider. Improvements in battery technology solved the problem.
The basic idea behind motorized and electric roller blades is the need for speed and the need for a little assistance in negotiating rough terrain. The motor can be run all of the time or simply kicked on when the ground gets too steep or too tough to keep going. The advent of electric and motorized roller blades means a rollerblader can go almost anywhere.
The majority of motorized roller blades on the market are electric. The user gets the option of a power source that varies from six volts to 24 volts. The size and the weight of the roller blades increase with increasing power. The idea is to match the amount of power to the terrain and the size of the rider.
The better models of electric roller blades use a deep cycle battery. The advantages of this type of battery are longer riding time between charges and a lower level of power loss due to discharge. Most roller blades that have electric power have the battery attached to the roller blade but larger and faster models are available with a huge battery that can be carried in a backpack.
The speed is definitely there. Speeds range from five miles per hour to a very fast 25 miles per hour depending on the battery. Maintenance of the roller blades is important when using an external power source. All of the working parts of a roller blade experience more force and a higher rate of attrition so lubrication and inspection before use become more important than ever.
There are a few models of gasoline engine powered roller blades. The gas engine is connected to just one of the roller blades. The engine is 25 cc. The gas tank holds a little over a quart of gasoline. The average speed is 20 miles per hour.
Electric and motorized roller blades are a great alternative form of transportation for people who live near where they go to school or work. The larger and more powerful models make a 10 mile commute a reasonable choice if there are safe areas to roller blade along the route.
More power naturally means a higher potential for injury. Your effective weight almost doubles for every five miles per hour that you go. The need for proper protection for your head, elbows, and knees is increased with motorized roller blades. No laws directly impacting motorized roller blade use have been enacted as of yet.
You can buy them or build your own. Kits are available that convert your regular roller blade to a motorized roller blade. Most electric roller blade conversion kits come with a battery charger and an adapter so you can charge anywhere.