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Ask DocSk8 (Expert Indoor Skate Building Advice) This forum is different then the other SkateLog forums in that it is not a discussion forum, but rather a place you can ask skate building expert Fred "DocSk8" Benjamin about building and repairing indoor speed, derby, and jamskate quad roller skates. Please start a new thread for each new question.

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Old January 16th, 2017, 10:28 PM   #1
bigred875
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Hi DocSk8! I'm a 6' 230lbs(ish) 40yo male returning to skating after 25 year break...this seems like a theme here!

I bought a Labeda U7 voodoo setup off Amazon for $200 when I heard my mother bought skates for my son and nephew for Christmas. I thought they would be good enough but sadly I've reached their limitations for me.

The boots feely squishy, the wheels/bearings feel like they drag and anytime I apply any power I feel like a good percentage is lost if i don't put it down exactly right.

I came >< to buying my teenage dream skates on ebay yesterday...$500 down from $650 for a baby blue labeda/laser setup with what looked like decent wheels and bearings....would that have been another dumb impulse buy?

I have a friend who was a professional artistic skater as a kid and teenager...and now big into the derby scene...meaning, she's a decent SME recommends the "Riedell Black Widow Roller Skate Set" from their catalog.

I have a consult setup with a rink an hour away TOMORROW(!!) in an attempt to get in front of someone that knows what they are talking about....but will likely put a deposit down on something

any and all advice is welcome...I am REALLY excited to be back and that there is a new found interest with my family and from what i can tell, the public in general. thanks!
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Old January 18th, 2017, 12:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bigred875 View Post
Hi DocSk8! I'm a 6' 230lbs(ish) 40yo male returning to skating after 25 year break...this seems like a theme here!

Welcome back.

I bought a Labeda U7 voodoo setup off Amazon for $200 when I heard my mother bought skates for my son and nephew for Christmas. I thought they would be good enough but sadly I've reached their limitations for me.

There is no "package sk8" good enough for an adult if you are serious about sk8ing. Even if it has great components, most sk8 manufacturers really have not a blinking clue as to how to properly align and mount a sk8.


The boots feely squishy, the wheels/bearings feel like they drag and anytime I apply any power I feel like a good percentage is lost if i don't put it down exactly right.

What plate is on the bottom of those?? The reason I ask is I use the U 7 Boot for all sorts of fun things. Seem to be fine for me so far.


I came >< to buying my teenage dream skates on ebay yesterday...$500 down from $650 for a baby blue labeda/laser setup with what looked like decent wheels and bearings....would that have been another dumb impulse buy?

Yeah he started out way high. Here is the issue w/ that sk8. The 375 (blue Labeda) boot is almost impossible to find in clean shape, period. That is a gen II Taiwan made boot and none of those I have run across run true to size. Typically big.

Is it really the right size for you?? That is even tougher, finding a clean one in your size. (Note: Those are a bit more forgiving in having a size over..) BTW I never recommend approximating your correct size to get your old school dream sk8, unless you are going to set it on a shelf and admire it. Boots that do not fit correctly do not work correctly. They are NOT your street shoes.

The Shamans are the blue Hybrids. They are sticky and soft. Not something I would put someone @ your weight on. One last thing. Even though a lot of folks think they love their Lasers, I don't love 'em and do not recommend them.

I have a friend who was a professional artistic skater as a kid and teenager...and now big into the derby scene...meaning, she's a decent SME recommends the "Riedell Black Widow Roller Skate Set" from their catalog.

Odd, I have been building derby sk8s since before WFTDA had a rule set. I would not recommend that sk8 @ all. Besides, that package (Black Widow) was discontinued a couple of years back. It is not in my 2015-16 or 2017 Riedell catalog.... On top of that I am not impressed with the way Riedell assembles sk8s. If one of my customers wants a "package" I get the pieces and build them a proper sk8. Costs more, takes longer but works right.

I have a consult setup with a rink an hour away TOMORROW(!!) in an attempt to get in front of someone that knows what they are talking about....

Good luck with that... Where is this rink with a person that actually knows sk8s?? Big diff between knowing sk8s and just knowing the catalog. Even if they have a big stock of stuff to try on, beware the seller that wants to move inventory. Did he/she measure your feet (good start) or ask your street shoe size (run away)?? Do ya have wide feet?? Like over a measured D width?? If they offer you the next size up to accommodate the width they are not your friend. (another run away moment) Compromising your fit is the worst way to start out a new pair of sk8s..

but will likely put a deposit down on something

Really?? I suggest you hold your horses and learn some more. No sense in making another mistake. Or just send me your money.. Oh wait, fast is not part of my business model.

any and all advice is welcome...I am REALLY excited to be back and that there is a new found interest with my family and from what i can tell, the public in general. thanks!
Then I suggest you stand back and do some more homework. There is huge difference in performance between something off the shelf and a carefully considered pair of sk8s built for your feet. I have on several occasions taken a pair of sk8s that a sk8r though they loved and then fixed them so they worked correctly. The look on their face is priceless.

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Old January 18th, 2017, 01:43 AM   #3
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thanks doc! I am glad I didn't get the labeda's...they look like new stock...i was a little suspicious. I was told by someone else I probably wouldnt like the laser plate too...but that setup just looks so sweet to me

I met with the GM at a rink in MA. He was very helpful but maybe not up to your standards. I think the problem is that my labeda's are too big. While he didn't measure my foot he had me try on some riedell boots and it seems I am a 9.5.

The plate is a "RTX 6000"

The good news is they don't have that skate in my size...I would have to wait 4-8 weeks for it or something....

I did however order a similar package:
195 boot
PowerDyne Reactor Neo Aluminum
Radar Speed Ray Black
KwiK Zenith

What I am not sure who is building them....i figured riedell would know how to make their own skates :/
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Old January 18th, 2017, 04:02 PM   #4
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thanks doc! I am glad I didn't get the labeda's...they look like new stock...i was a little suspicious. I was told by someone else I probably wouldnt like the laser plate too...but that setup just looks so sweet to me

I met with the GM at a rink in MA. He was very helpful but maybe not up to your standards. I think the problem is that my labeda's are too big. While he didn't measure my foot he had me try on some riedell boots and it seems I am a 9.5.

The plate is a "RTX 6000"

That is a piece of plastic junk. It is a rehash of the old Quad Cruise plate that has been around since the late 80s / early 90s. I can safely say I have never put anyone but a 5 year old on a set.

The good news is they don't have that skate in my size...I would have to wait 4-8 weeks for it or something....

I did however order a similar package:
195 boot
PowerDyne Reactor Neo Aluminum
Radar Speed Ray Black
KwiK Zenith

What I am not sure who is building them....i figured riedell would know how to make their own skates :/


I wish you luck. There are several things I would have done differently, but it may be fine for you.
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Old January 18th, 2017, 06:06 PM   #5
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Thanks...it wouldn't be the first time my impulses got the better of me...I feel did a bunch of research (I have been looking at things for a month or so) and that I did ok...just ok though..the bearings don't feel right.

What would you have done differently? I didn't realize you built/sold skates or I would very likely asked for your help. That's kind of my luck! The place I am going through offers the same dollar amount you spend back on admission to session skating. They agreed to extend that to anyone that is with me ...also knocked a few $$ off....I am very happy with his customer service....
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Old January 18th, 2017, 11:03 PM   #6
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Thanks...it wouldn't be the first time my impulses got the better of me...I feel did a bunch of research (I have been looking at things for a month or so) and that I did ok...just ok though..the bearings don't feel right.

What would you have done differently? I didn't realize you built/sold skates or I would very likely asked for your help. That's kind of my luck!

This may get kind of long, but here goes.

We would have actually measured your feet. My preferred tool is the Brannock Device and I have had excellent results with it over the years. I do not trust sk8rs to try things on unless I am right there and can explain what is happening. Not street shoes, remember??

195 boot

Not my favorite. If it fits properly it's a good boot. Unfortunately, I have had more than one bad experience with folks not being able to keep their heel in the shoe. One of the advantages of getting the sk8 in pieces is they can be returned if they don't fit right. It's about a 2 minute check.. I would have steered you toward a Bont.

PowerDyne Reactor Neo Aluminum

Lots of other sk8s out there in that price range... This one is a bit of an odd ball. If it had to be a PowerDyne I would have pointed you @ the Reactor Pro. Past that there are all sorts of things to discuss. How do you sk8?? What are your goals?? Things of that nature. My personal preference for easily available is a Snyder Royal or Dance Imperial lite. However, most of my floor time comes on full custom plates or souped up old school "Frankenplates" I love to tinker and swap stuff around.

Radar Speed Ray Black

I would find those way too soft for my taste. Even the green ones are not hard enough to suit me.

KwiK Zenith

Never been a fan of the KwiKs. Other things are out there that seem to wear better... However, my experience is quite limited on these. They may have improved since I last tried them..

The place I am going through offers the same dollar amount you spend back on admission to session skating. They agreed to extend that to anyone that is with me ...also knocked a few $$ off....I am very happy with his customer service....

Not a bad deal, that. Let's hope the service after the sale is as good as it was before and during.

Again I wish you luck. These will perform so much better than your current sk8s that you will think you found heaven's front door.. However, I suspect you will only have found the driveway.


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Old January 18th, 2017, 11:46 PM   #7
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We shall see...thanks...
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Old January 23rd, 2017, 09:42 PM   #8
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Default My Riedell mounted package skates were a disaster

Total waste of money. Right skate was many degrees off alignment from the left. Both were wrong... The unscrupulous shop that I was sized at and bought the ordered pkg from were going to charge me an extra $180 to fix the screw up from Riedell. Then to top it off the boot was a full size to big even though they measured me on a Bannock device. Seems like they had no idea what they were doing either. Nerd Skates FTL. Left me with a real sour taste dealing with the local shop. Contacted doc and when I sent the pics of the skates and the damage done to my feet Doc hit the nail on the head and guessed that even though I was fitted the shop had no idea what they were doing. Went with his advice on both cushion set up and plate placement and he was bang on. Getting guidance when coming back after a long layoff is paramount. Any knownothing can sell you skates but it takes a pro to do it right.
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Old January 24th, 2017, 12:18 AM   #9
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sweet...buyer's remorse and I don't even have the skates yet....
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Old January 24th, 2017, 12:30 AM   #10
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Not a bad deal, that. Let's hope the service after the sale is as good as it was before and during.

Again I wish you luck. These will perform so much better than your current sk8s that you will think you found heaven's front door.. However, I suspect you will only have found the driveway.


I'm still digesting all of this...the good news is the shop offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.....he mentioned size in particular. I also mentioned my concern about the mounting and forget exactly what he said but he put my mind at ease at the time....

at this point I think if the boot fits, I will like it....

I am not sure my skill level would benefit greatly from a high end plate. My requirement is for it to not to twist under stress right now... the mounting is giving me the biggests anxiety at this point.

What are your thoughts on bones ceramic swiss bearings? I'm a little surprised about the wheels...what would you recommend instead?

Thanks a lot for all the feedback.... ugh, if only i had waited! I would have hired your services!
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Old January 24th, 2017, 08:56 PM   #11
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I'm still digesting all of this...the good news is the shop offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.....he mentioned size in particular. I also mentioned my concern about the mounting and forget exactly what he said but he put my mind at ease at the time....

at this point I think if the boot fits, I will like it....

If they stand behind their stuff so much the better. I hate to say it, but so many places do not.

I am not sure my skill level would benefit greatly from a high end plate. My requirement is for it to not to twist under stress right now... the mounting is giving me the biggests anxiety at this point.

Here is a secret. One can learn to sk8 on anything. The question is, do you want to?? Most incorrect mountings are easily fixed by someone that knows how.


What are your thoughts on bones ceramic swiss bearings?

Expensive?? I think quite a lot of bearings are over rated. IF I run ceramics, I run Qube 8 Balls. I have some fellow sk8rs whose opinions I respect say the Cheezeball Si3N4 bearings are dandy. I have a 15 year old set of Bones original ceramics. Still work fine...but then so so much older sk8 bearings from back in the day. Fafnir 8 balls (38Ks are NOT easy to find but sk8boarders use to run them a lot), NMB and NTN can be found in 608s easily as well. My 7mm versions of these are great. Several of us not caught up in the marketing think we could sk8 on NMBs from back in the day if nothing else was available and be happier than pigs in mud.


I'm a little surprised about the wheels...what would you recommend instead?

Those are pretty soft for your (and my) weight. I run 98s and up. However, I prefer sk8s with a much more responsive action than the Neo. ( I have gen1 Reactor, a Reactor Pro and a modified Pro Line essentially the same..) I don't sk8 those much.

One of the reasons is I have to run softer wheels to get a comparable amount of grip compared to my DA45s or other similar custom one offs. Action design and suspension adjustment can have an amazing amount of impact on traction.. Softer wheels are always the last resort for grip.


Thanks a lot for all the feedback.... ugh, if only i had waited! I would have hired your services!

Like I said earlier, quick / hurry/ fast are not part of my business model. Too much personal life always seems to interfere. However, I have been known to fix screwed up sk8s...

Again, wait till the come in and you get to roll them. Any issues you cannot resolve between yourself and the rink, I'm right here.
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Old January 25th, 2017, 07:56 PM   #12
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Like I said earlier, quick / hurry/ fast are not part of my business model. Too much personal life always seems to interfere. However, I have been known to fix screwed up sk8s...

Again, wait till the come in and you get to roll them. Any issues you cannot resolve between yourself and the rink, I'm right here.
ok, so bottom line...if the mounting is messed up, that can be fixed? this was my thoughts as well...that would hurt the pocket book if the rink abandons me but its better then chucking the skates...so to speak

ya...so...you went way over my head with the suspension/wheels talk. I have zero knowledge about the differences between plates. I feel like I want a more responsive plate then the one i have. Do i have options if I find the same problem with the new plate?

All of this sounds similar cars...grip is not suspension...i have much to learn lol

ok, so "if" I were to make an impulse buy on wheels...and they happen to be "wicked scotts" you think 98s would be good?
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Old January 26th, 2017, 04:01 PM   #13
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ok, so bottom line...if the mounting is messed up, that can be fixed? this was my thoughts as well...that would hurt the pocket book if the rink abandons me but its better then chucking the skates...so to speak

Certainly can. Because I tee nut mount everything it allows me to deal with many issues that standard mounting hardware will not, like the new mounting hole being right beside the old one.


ya...so...you went way over my head with the suspension/wheels talk. I have zero knowledge about the differences between plates. I feel like I want a more responsive plate then the one i have. Do i have options if I find the same problem with the new plate?

Certainly Do. PowerDyne (Riedell) has several cushion options that will let you get them most you can out of that suspension design.


All of this sounds similar cars...grip is not suspension...i have much to learn lol

Uh maybe I mis communicated. Sk8 suspension is heavily involved in "grip". To the point that 1/4 turn can make or break the adhesion limit you may be looking for.


ok, so "if" I were to make an impulse buy on wheels...and they happen to be "wicked scotts" you think 98s would be good?
Unfortunately, that would fall into the "How high is up??" category of question. I know nothing about the floor you sk8 on, the way it reacts to weather changes, how clean it is, the way you sk8 and the way you like your action set up.

Don't get me wrong, I have Scott's of almost all flavors on various pairs of of both mine and my wife's sk8s. 95s up to VFH in Phantoms, Wickeds and Super Enforcers. Our preferred wheel for certain. However without some practical knowledge of your floor, I would be as reliable a source of recommendation as a dart @ the board. Make friends with the local sk8rs that use the kind of sk8s you have. See what they are sk8ing. Talk to them about their results with wheels and everything else for that matter.. Then take all of it with a grain of salt. That is what started me down my path. I took some "info" I got from sk8rs as gospel.. Did not get the same results. So I started finding out why..
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Old January 26th, 2017, 05:29 PM   #14
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Awesome! super helpful, thanks a lot for taking time out of your day to respond to all of this... I know how taxing that can be...even if it is something you love doing. No one likes being repetitive and I am sure I am asking the same questions as most noobs.

I'm going to chill until i get the skates and put some laps on them...thanks again!
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Old January 26th, 2017, 10:15 PM   #15
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Do keep us posted.
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Old January 26th, 2017, 11:53 PM   #16
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will do!
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Old January 31st, 2017, 02:49 PM   #17
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ok, so Riedell lied, they said 7-10 days...the 195 was not in stock either...they said it was going to take another 3 weeks. I cancelled the order....way to keep skating alive Riedell... I feel bad about screwing the rink over but they could have done a better job following up. I sent a polite "just checking" email at the 7 day mark but the tone was my excitement about getting the skates....not WHERE ARE THEY?!?!>! I sent an email this morning (14th day), similar tone, not upset...just looking for a solid ETA to soothe my ADD/ADHD and just got the call. Would I have found out without following up? Then there was the nightmares you guys filled my head with about mounting issues.

anyways...DocSk8, i humbly request your services! You have a pm
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Old January 31st, 2017, 06:20 PM   #18
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anyways...DocSk8, i humbly request your services! You have a pm
Everything happens for a reason. You'll have exactly what you want now and for probably a MUCH better price (more skate for your money).
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Old January 31st, 2017, 06:26 PM   #19
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i hope so...the skates I have now are not working out at all....mostly the fit

i need to make sure this is 100% right.....i just did the foot measure thing and from the wall to the longest toe of the longest foot it is 10 1/2" x 3 7/8"

From what i could tell that translates to:

Riedell - 9
Bont 7.5 (is that right?)
Luigino 9.5
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Old January 31st, 2017, 06:56 PM   #20
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