Didn’t have to wait that long, did you?
Ok. I started the evening on the Scotts as they are my go to wheel for Lloyd’s. I haven’t been there for a couple months so I wanted to use something familiar to get used to the floor. About 10 laps and it was time to change.
First up, the Atom Lanzini Skins. First thing I noticed is that these wheels are a fair bit lighter than the Scotts. They have a plastic hub and they are 6mm narrower. First thing I noticed is they had a soft ride. Not a lot of floor feedback, which was actually quite nice. The softness also translated into a harder push to get that feedback I was looking for while accelerating, and although they did allow me to accelerate slightly quicker than I’m used to, I really had to work to maintain speed. The Skin did have the perfect amount of grip on the floor, I could push to my heart’s content without losing traction, but hockey stop and powerslide on demand. Nice. This particular set of Skins does suffer from my biggest wheel pet peeve. They are way out of round. Hmm, instead of out of round, I suspect the rolling surface of the wheel is not concentric to the bearing bore. It felt like I was rolling over train tracks. Nothing a trip to the lathe wouldn’t fix, but I really don’t think I need to machine brand new wheels.
Next up, Atom Jukes. This set is much better as far as concentricity goes. Not perfect, but pretty darn close. These wheels get up to speed quickly, being 59mm tall, but man did I ever have to work to maintain speed. This wheel is very slow. Any gain in acceleration you may get is kind of pointless if you need to work really hard to maintain. They have good grip, and I was able to push without losing traction, and hockey stop and powerslide at will. The short wheel also had me feeling more balanced? I had wondered about that and was pleasantly surprised. Oh, these wheels are also very light.
Radar Bullets. Very smooth wheel. Had better free roll (when not striding) than the Skins and Jukes. They had very good concentricity with just a bit of bumpy feel. I’m pretty particular about this and I think it would go unnoticed by most skaters. These wheels gripped better than the Jukes and Skins. I could still hockey stop, but more effort was required. I could get a great push, but the lack of lip and seemingly larger radius on the outside edge of the wheel felt really strange while crossing over. Good acceleration, and that same feeling of balance that the Jukes exhibited. This wheel seemed to be the lightest of the 3.
Back to the Scotts. These wheels are HEAVY compared to the other 3 sets. They have a removable aluminum hub, and a lot of urethane to make up the tire. They have as close to perfect concentricity as possible, as each wheel is cut by Scott Corey (the manufacturer) before they ship. They also seem to roll forever. My guess is that because they are heavy, they act like little flywheels. Grip was about the same as the Skins and Jukes, good long push without slipping, but easy to bust loose for that hockey stop or powerslide. I really like a lip for going fast. In Derby, people complain that a wide wheel will get you tangled up with other skaters, but I haven’t had that problem.
I am a larger skater (5’10”, hovering around 300lbs). I have chronic bi-lateral ankle sprains that have given me fits for the last 1.5 that I’ve been in derby. I wear fancy lace-up criss-cross ankle braces everytime I skate (have been for a few months) and have been in Physical Therapy for almost a year. My therapist suggested a higher ankle boot for the additional support. I had been skating on a Reidell 265 with Nova plates, Radar Tuners (93A), and Gumball Toestops
I purchased Antik AR-1s (custom colors, because why not?). I opted for the Pilot Falcon F-16 plate because a bunch of us had been impressed with it at Champs and I wanted to get off od plastic and into a metal plate. We practice on polished concrete, and I decided to get slightly harder wheels. I went with the Atom Lowboys (wide), and paid a little more for the Super Reds. I traded out the Gumballs for the Bionic Toestops because they’re not rounded, so they give more grip to the floor.
The skates were delivered on Friday, so I skated Saturday morning in them and Tuesday night. When I put them on on Saturday, I noticed that I didn’t feel like I had control of the toes, but a tweak of the kingpin made that much better. The kingpins have a “click” to them when adjusting , which is nice for making sure you adjust them evenly. They do not adjust with a standard skate tool, however, so I’ll be purchasing a different wrench. The plates are nice and light, and definitely don’t flex like the plastic.
The boots give me considerably more support in the ankles. I was able to state without pain for the first time in months. I didn’t feel like my ankles twisted at all during either session. The ball of my feel had been cramping in my Reidells (they were too long and too wide) to the point that it hurt to even put the skates on- I have had no cramps in these.
I can tell the difference from the 93s to the 95s in that I can feel the cracks in our floor and the rope more than before, but I feel like that’s not a bad thing; it makes me more aware of where I am on the track without watching.
I tried my 25/5 last night at the end of the session, just to see what difference the skates made. I cut 1:15 off my time. Instead of hurting in lap 5, I didn’t notice that I hurt until lap 20. To me, that makes the investment worth it!
To see the pretty: click here
A lot of skaters have been submitting their reviews on these plates, so I figured it’s time to write my own.
I have skated on 3 plates in my derby career long enough to actually form opinions about them. The nylon Powerdyne Thrust, the Powerdyne Revenge, and my current plate, the Sure-Grip Avenger in magnesium.
To be completely frank, I hated the Thrust (that’s the plate that comes on an R3), I hated the Revenge ($200, but barely better than the chuck of plastic my R3s came with AND it felt like a brick under my feet), and I am in love with my Avenger. I really feel like I’ve found the plate that is best for me.
The Sure-Grip Avenger is one of Sure-Grips newest plates, and it comes with 2 options - aluminum or magnesium. The aluminum version is cheaper, black, and slightly heavier than the magnesium, which is white stiffer, and more expensive. Both plates use the same aluminum DA45 trucks, which you can get with 8mm or 7mm axles.
While the magnesium Avenger is lighter than a Revenge by a few grams, it feels like a feather compared to my Revenge. My theory is that when you fight your skates and have trouble turning and cutting, they feel heavier than they are. When your plates work with you and make movement easier, they feel much lighter. Both Avengers are cheaper than a Revenge as well, and have less breakage problems.
The turnability is a DA45 plate’s biggest selling point - especially in the derby world. Being able to turn on a dime and cut across the track quickly and easily is very important in derby, and it’s just not something you can accomplish as well on a plate with a shallower kingpin angle. A lot of skaters swear by their Powerdyne plates, but I gave them a fair shot and wasn’t impressed. I’ve gone the DA45 route and I’m not going back.
I have mine mounted to a soccer shoe, a sort of build that this plate is ideal for, since it is light, stiff, and has a very wide base offering lots of support for the boot. I currently have a mix of blue and yellow Sure-Grip Super cushions in. I’ve been skating this setup for a few months now and love it. Getting used to a DA45 plate does take some skaters a bit of time, but it’s well worth it.
First set of skates, but I love them. I really like having extra mobility on my ankles without having to really REALLY work for it. I don’t think I’ve lost stability, but that may simply be that I’ve never skated on other plates. I do think that some of the people who dislike the 45’s have been on more traditional plates for awhile, and so expect them to behave similarly.
TBH, I think you got it right with your lead in statement… “They don’t work for everybody.”
I like them, and feel like I’m skating on bricks with traditional plates. Other people feel like they are skating on rabid badgers with ADHD if they try mine on. **shrugs** Try them both before you buy if you ask me.
Triple 8 Undercover Snow Wristguards are designed to fit under a snowboarder’s gloves, which makes them very comfy and low profile. They have a removable plastic split on both the top and bottom of the wrist, and both are shaped in a way that is not incredibly uncomfortable, like some other wrist guards.
They have a neoprene sleeve that slides on, and then an elastic and velcro strap that hold them in place.
These pads are a big pain to get on and off. They fit fairly snugly (in a good way) but that makes tugging them over your hand a difficult task. They also stink up super quickly, despite the holes in the neoprene designed to make them breathable. Some of the fabric on them will rub off over time, but it doesn’t affect their comfort or protection, just appearance.
Other than that, they are very protective pads, but don’t completely restrict your movement, and are very comfortable to wear.
Triple 8’s new Roller Derby wristguards are almost identical to these (but cost more). The only difference is the colors and the red disk on the Roller Derby ones.
I got my Deadbolt kneepads a while ago, but due to a bunch of unforeseen circumstances I haven’t been able to really skate hard with them until this week. So now I can finally write a real review on these babies.
Deadbolt kneepads are pretty much brand new pads (I am the first derby skater ever to have them) made by a company called Pain Killer Products. They are made in the US and are the first product released by this company. I followed the last year or so of their development pretty avidly, and was super excited when they were finally released.
These are not super slim kneepads. If you are someone always looking for the lowest profile pads on the market, THESE ARE NOT FOR YOU. That being said, Deadbolt will be releasing a slimmer version in the future. Also, I didn’t find that these pads negatively affected my crossovers at all. I’m not sure if that’s because I already put my leg farther forward during the crossover or what, but there were no issues.
What really drew me to these kneepads was a few of their design elements. The straps that hold the pads into place are completely different from any knee pad I’ve ever seen. They not only make the fit much more custom (meaning you can use the same size pad even if you gain or lose leg width or need to add gaskets or a brace underneath), but they make it so it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE PADS TO SLIP. This is such a huge problem for derby skaters and has always been an issue for me, so the idea of a pad that will never slip completely blew me out of the water. And it’s true, once they are on, they stay exactly where you put them and don’t move.
Also, the padding is removable for cleaning and constructed in multiple layers. The layer closest to your knee is cloud soft memory foam, and there’s also an air pocket as well as other types of foam. They really are like falling on clouds. I have some knee issues and when I first got them pads I jumped up and fell on them so hard it shook a table. My knees didn’t feel a thing. The knee caps are also replaceable and slide super well, reducing impact and making it much easier to get up after a fall.
I would say my only issues with the pads are that they don’t fit me very snugly around the kneecap (I have abnormally narrow knee caps and have yet to find a single pad on the market that fits them), and I wish they had more side padding.
This displays all of the pads features
My absolute favorite thing about these, though, is the customer service. The guys at Deadbolt are incredibly helpful and friendly. They go above and beyond good customer service. When I found out these pads had leather on them, I was upset because I don’t wear leather. They made me a custom set with no leather (honestly, for a skateboarding environment the leather might make some sense, but for a derby environment I think they work better the way I have them). They updated me every step of the way on getting my pads, and I am so proud to be the first derby skater on them. I have my first game with these pads next month, and I can’t wait
I highly recommend these pads to anyone who wants serious knee protection when they skate.