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Old May 3rd, 2012, 05:36 AM   #52
I 'do' Swisher Sweet #143
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Originally Posted by Armadillo View Post
You gloss over the key aspect of stability on a skates, regardless of speed.

All speed skaters in motion are continuously adjusting their focus of weight onto their plates, and are typically rolling with only one foot down the majority of the time. Placement of the skaters focus of weight onto the skate needs to be precise in order to follow the optimum track. The better skaters are usually the most accurate at maintaining the proper focus of their weight over their skates and nailing the most efficient track line around the oval, but no one is perfect.

This is where skate stability factors into the equation. Since speed skaters are continuously making slight errors in placement of the focus of their weight onto their skate (plate lean), the skaters that have the highest level of turn response (like DA45) plates are going to experience the largest amount of path deviation away from the optimum track. Even if the amplitude of this kind of path deviation is slight, it still steals energy.
With a less turn responsive plate setup, the same degree of error in focus of weight placement (plate lean) will not trigger as much path deviation from the optimum line, and thus less energy gets wasted. This is how greater action stability yields a slight speed advantage.

I suspect most speed skaters have never skated on a shallow action speed plate where the action has been tweaked and freed up to the point where there is minimal resistance to truck turning until the widest limit of the truck swing range. Having the shallower action speed plate tuned this way, and I do not mean by making it all wobbly loose near neutral either, makes it very easy to hold the turn arcs without much foot effort at all, just like with a DA45, but without as much tracking errors for the same level of focus of weight errors.

If your steep kingpin plate turns freely throughout the full truck swing range, then a DA45 plate will not yield any significant arc tracking turning advantage at the level of turning sharpness required to negotiate the curves of the speed track oval. The DA45 plate will, however, more greatly amplify your focus of weight errors (plate lean) giving a wider tracking error with detrimental loss of speed. NOT TRUE AT ALL... IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW YOU HAVE YOUR SKATE ADJUSTED AND TUNED.

Small errors being more amplified by a steeper (DA45) action is exactly what what plate twitchiness is all about, and, the faster you go, the further the deviation away from optimum track will be. It remains an issue at slower speeds too, just not as much of one.

Well, Ill make it more simple:

1.) you're glossing over a key aspect - Human Nature. I have over two decades in competitive speed skating and I can't recall one time where I had a "constant" conscious thought about 'balance' (which is the focus of weight onto the plates). The only time I even remotely acknowledge the human ability and need for balance (weight focus, weight transfer, etc) is when I was slipping or pushing myself past the plane of balance. Other than that, when a skater is racing, the notion of balance is 100% natural and subconscious.

2.) Even more simply, this: A.) My main indoor race build consists of a beautifully engineered SG Avenger DA45 Skate plate. This plate has a 30* KP angle. It has a shortened nose (optimal for forward mounts, although I chose not to utilize that type of adjustment in my build); it has a three plane arch as its main feature for reinforcement, which makes it very stiff and very stable (pure Physics); it is light weight and extremely responsive. All the characteristics of what a good speed plate should be.

B.) the plate I no longer skate is the PowerDyne Reactor - a very renowned speed plate, and a very well engineered piece of skate gear, It too is fast, responsive, not as stiff as the Avenger, but still very stiff, and it is extremely well built.

3.) I'm not here to say that the Reactor is not a great speed plate (we all know or agree that it is, very much so... I think we all agree) but the reason I bring it up is this: The Reactor utilizes a 10* KP angle on its chasis.
The Avenger utilizes a 30* KP angle on its chasis.

I get around the tips of the diamond(tops of the oval) quicker, smoother, with more control and less effort than I did with the Reactor, PERIOD. All skaters who actually speed skate know that 99% of all moves and advancements during a race are made at those two points (the tops of the oval). I win more races on the Avenger than I did on the Reactor. All of this said for this:

Moral of the story: the Avenger is a Speed plate. Great to be utilized for other disciplines as well, especially Roller Derby. But it is by all characteristics, a speed plate.
BONT QRC/ Swisher 'Super Elite' Avenger Mg/ Aussie Scott S.E./ Bones Swiss Ceramics

I <3 Speed Skating & Derby ~ Swisher Sweet#143 (best Jammer EVER)
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