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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 15th, 2014, 10:46 PM   #1
mimi's dad
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Default Super Cushions

Doc would you recommend the super cushions by sure grip and if so what is the difference in the various hardness? I currently have the standard sure grip cushions and do mostly speed skating and floor warden.

any help is appreciated.
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Old January 16th, 2014, 04:05 AM   #2
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Doc would you recommend the super cushions by sure grip and if so what is the difference in the various hardness? I currently have the standard sure grip cushions and do mostly speed skating and floor warden.

any help is appreciated.
Before I jump too deep into this, what plates are you rolling??
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Old January 16th, 2014, 09:02 PM   #3
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Rock double actions in white on the labeda U3 boots
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Old January 17th, 2014, 05:17 PM   #4
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Rock double actions in white on the labeda U3 boots
OK.... Into the cushions... Cushions are there to provide some degree of support and stability, while allowing the sk8 to turn. It is typically up to the user to figure out where their sweet spot in that balancing act is.

Contrary to some opinions (and the adjustment on these particular sk8rs sk8s) a stiff action provides no real benefit. The stiffer the action, the more the sk8 controls what is going on and the harder the sk8r has to work to get the sk8 to do what they want it to do. Many time I have had people bring me their sk8s asking me to tighten them up so the will steer better. Investigation typically finds:
1) The action has no flex what so ever.
2) The sk8s do not go where the sk8r wants them to.
Consequently, I loosen the action instead of tightening it and presto, the the sk8r has less trouble getting the skates to behave as they wish.

So it would appear a tight action has these effects:
1) The sk8 goes where it wants to because the sk8r cannot provide enough force to overcome the sk8s suspension.
2) The sk8r may injure themselves (Bruises and blisters, pulled muscles, etc) fighting with the sk8s trying to make them do what they want. (Don't believe me?? Spend time reading the Derby forum)
3) Ultimately, an overtightened action can result in broken parts and / or premature wear.

Too loose an action is not a good thing either.
1) The sk8r needs to be strong enough to control the sk8. Wow, that sounds like a tight action, and it a certain sense it is. ( The sk8r is a key part of the equation) Too tight, the sk8r needs a lot of strength to make the sk8 turn. Too loose, the sk8r needs a lot of strength to keep it going straight and if they can keep it going straight, keep it from getting the dreaded "wobble" at speed.
2) Actions loose enough to rattle can come apart at seriously inconvenient times or wear put prematurely, but in different ways and locations.
3) Even if it stays together, having the action too lose can result in boot bite.

So, how to find that sweet spot?? You start out with what comes on the sk8s. Typically I recommend adjusting them to what I call zero lash (Yes the majority of my misspent youth I was working on fast cars and motorcycles for fun.) Zero lash is where you can just turn the retainer by the adjuster nut with your fingers without applying your kung-fu grip. If that adjustment is too loose tighten it at 1/4 turn increments until you find your happy place. Sk8 that for a few sessions and then loosen 1/4 turn. You should find your happy place has moved. Continue until you hit zero lash. Then it is time for softer cushions.

Conversely if you cannot find where you want to be after say 2 to 3 turns in, stiffer cushions are in order. DO NOT crank the action any further. The more you preload the action the less turning range it has before the cushions will not deform any further and essentially turn solid. NOT good for turning or keeping the sk8s in one piece. An example: Local sk8r with a DA45 Invader was breaking trucks. Why? He had cranked his purple cushions until they were essentially solid wen going straight. This caused all the forces to seek out the next weak spot on the sk8 which was the yoke of the truck. It did not want to flex so it broke instead. Solution a set of red cushions. These he is running at about one turn tighter than zero. He is much happier with the action from the sk8 and no more breakage.

Some basic urethane cushion facts.
1) Urethane cushions do not compress. They change shape in response to forces applied. This means that the shape of the cushion and the associated hardware have an impact on how the cushion responds to load. An example, for any given hardness (durometer) and similar compound, the larger the diameter of the cushion the stiffer it behaves. (Note: You experience the same effect with the new thin tire wheels on the market. I have been rolling various Turbos and Bont FXX along with some of the Royal Assassin micro bearing wheels almost exclusively and am quite enamored with the roll vs grip characteristics this design change has produced.)
2) All cushions have resistance to changing shape. As the cushion changes shape two things happen. First, some of the energy applied to the cushion is stored in the cushion. Second, the energy that is not stored is turned to heat and essentially lost. This happens as the load is applied and as the load is released
3) The energy that returns is associated with "rebound". The more energy returned, the higher the rebound and livelier the cushion feels.
4) Different urethane formulations have different amounts of rebound and parts should be designed with that in mind. Hence, all urethane cushions are not created equal.
5) The surrounding hardware can impact the feel of the suspension by freeing or constraining the cushion. For example, a flat washer will allow more freedom of action tha the typical cushion "cup" retainer.

Now to the SG Super cushions and your sk8s.
1) The Super barrel cushions are a drop on for your sk8s. Take the action apart and change the cushions. Reassemble and sk8. Pretty simple.
2) The purple ones are similar in intended use to the ones on your sk8s, but the rebound is much higher, making the sk8s feel much more alive. Red is firmer. Yellow and blue are progressively softer.
3) SG also make a super cushion in the shape of the cone. This was developed for the DA45 truck because the barrel will not clear the housing on the floor side. It will also work on your sk8s. They will act softer than the barrel they replace for the same adjustment setting.

Do I recommend them?? Let's put it this way...Almost every sk8 I own that will take them correctly have them. In fact, I have modified some of my sk8s to use them instead of the original parts while maintaining the correct geometry. They are really quite a bargain at the MSRP of 12.00 a set (shopping can find them for less) and can make you current sk8s feel like a whole new pair.

Can I recommend which ones will work the best for you?? I would not presume to try. I do know that I use a mix yellow or purple barrels and blue cones on my non DA45 sk8s. I use all blues on my DA45s in most cases.

Hope that helps.
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Old January 18th, 2014, 02:26 AM   #5
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It does help I think I am going to try a red a blue mix and do the blues in cones. I will let you know how they work after I order them and get them installed.

Thanks doc
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Old January 18th, 2014, 02:30 AM   #6
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It does help I think I am going to try a red a blue mix and do the blues in cones. I will let you know how they work after I order them and get them installed.

Thanks doc
Good luck, be careful, have fun and keep us in the loop. I have never seen (or heard of) anyone trying that combo before.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 06:42 AM   #7
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They tend to sell for $1 each. With four cushions per skate that's $8 a set. Cheap. Get four sets, give yourself some room to experiment a bit. Most folks don't use the reds, and if they do, they do so in combo with the purples (on bottom, as they're softer). YMMV, of course. I bought myself one set of reds back when I got my first DA45s. It took forever to find a good use for those cushions, heh.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:03 PM   #8
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where are you guys finding them for $1 a piece? I find them for almost $2 each by the time you pay shipping.

thank you
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Old February 2nd, 2014, 05:53 AM   #9
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where are you guys finding them for $1 a piece? I find them for almost $2 each by the time you pay shipping.

thank you
Yeah. Shipping is a bummer. That is why you order at LEAST a full set of 2 colors. Or even a full set of all 4. Make it a little more worth the price of shipping. I mean, if you gotta pay the shipping on them anyway. You can usually find someone to sell the cushions you did not fancy at some point anyway and sell them at a $5 markup. Remember, they would have to pay shipping too if they ordered online.
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Old March 6th, 2014, 04:43 AM   #10
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Default Super Cushion bargin

I got the best price on ebay. One of the dealers offers free shipping. His cushions cost $1.88 each (some other dealers charge 1.50 + shipping). For me it was cheaper to pay more for the cushions and receive free shipping. BTW, super cushions are a very good investment. Made my skates much more lively.

Keep rollin
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