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Old November 3rd, 2011, 06:53 PM   #64
I'm Contrary. Moo.
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Philly
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My response to the Derby Life article:

First off, there is no correct way to mount plates. There is what you like, and what works for you. I have many pairs of skates with many different purposes, and all are mounted differently. Outdoor, Jam Ref, Outside Pack ref, session, all are a bit different depending on what you want them to do.

Same goes for derby: What do you want out of your skates? Agility? Speed? Stability? Each of these things requires different mounts (as well as different kingpin angles and actions, but that's not what we're talking about here).

So I'll keep it basic, and talk about 3 different mounts that appear most frequently. I'll also try and break down what they do and why they do it.

But first, let's look at the foot!

The arrows above reflect the pressure/contact areas of your foot. They are where your balance is while you are standing/walking barefoot. Notice that the balance of the back of the foot is right about the outside ankle bone, and the front is just ahead of the ball of the foot (where the big toe joins the foot). If you stand up (right now, do it!) in your bare feet and shift your weight forward and back, you will notice these points.

An "Agility Mount" (sometimes referred to as short/forward) uses these points as a reference. It places the axles directly below these points. Since everyone's foot is different, every "agility mount" will look different. So it's not exactly short-forward, it's more "short-correct".

An agility mount mimics the contact/pressure points you already use, and places the axles in such a way to use those points to your advantage. I find that jumping, turning and sprinting are all more natural on an agility mount. After all, we all (or most of us) know how to walk, and translating those points directly to a roller skate helps immensely with jumping and hopping and overall control.

A good analogy would be this:

The feet are placed right above the axles, giving the maximum feedback, input and control.

Then we have the "standard mount" that Doug and Ivana are so keen on. That looks like this:

Notice that the front and rear axles are outside of the pressure/contact points of the foot. This gives it more stability, as the axles (which are in effect the place where the wheel hits the floor) are outside of your balance area. Longer wheelbase, more stable. However, the tradeoff is maneuverability. The further away from your foot contact points, the less energy is directly transferred from your foot. Your balance no longer gives direct input into the action of your skate, as the further away the pressure points, the more muscle/lean/input is required to turn the axle. This, combined with the longer wheelbase, make for a less responsive, less maneuverable plate. When you jump and hop, you are no longer using the natural balance points, but are using artificial points to the front/back, causing you to waste energy and time.

To use the skateboard analogy, it's like this:

He's not going to fall off the board anytime soon, but he's not going to make any sharp turns either. The weight and power needs to transfer through the board to get to the trucks instead of having direct input. And jumping? Heh.

Finally, we have the outdoor/track mount. This is the true "short-forward". It looks like this:

Take an agility mount, and move it forward. The reasons for this are quite specific, as it needs to do a few things:

1) Maximize the power transfer from a long stride
2) Roll over debris (rocks, twigs, etc) without catching or upsetting your balance

With the wheels shifted forward, the front will "lift" over small obstacles without them catching under your weight. It also allows you to push with a full stride (heel to toe) which is most frequently used outdoors (you don't get much time in a derby pack to use that kind of stride). As such, it's great for outdoor use, but I wouldn't recommend it for a derby track. It also has the disadvantage (or advantage, if using outdoors) of not turning nearly as well. With the wheels so far forward, it is difficult to transfer enough weight/energy to the front axle in order to turn it. Almost all turning is done with the rear axle, by digging your heel in. Skateboard analogy again:

He's not going to get tripped up by any rocks, but he'll have a damned tough time turning without lifting up the front. You can also see here how the turning is done with the rear axle, as the most weight (balance) is concentrated there.

So there's my take on mounting. Tune in next week for how this affects SA/DA/15/45/etc/etc
-I count points.

Last edited by Gle8; November 4th, 2011 at 01:12 AM.
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