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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 February 18th, 2016, 11:05 AM   #1
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Default New build, old guy

Hey there, I'm new to this forum and am trying to get some advice as to what kind of plate would suit my needs.

I'm 40, and haven't been on a pair of skates since I was 20. Recently, the local derby team has asked that I join the team as a coach and after some consideration, I accepted. Back in the day I was a speed/session skater and my last set up was Riedell 595's with Laser plates. My wheels varied depending on where I was skating. Anyway, I'm sticking with the 595's because they're super comfy, but I'm having a difficult time choosing a plate. I want something lightweight and well built with a good balance between power transfer and maneuverability.
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Old February 18th, 2016, 04:38 PM   #2
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Default Easy.

Sure Grip Avenger. Or if you like bling and are bucks up, a Snyder Royal. Both have a suspension geometry similar to your old Lasers but since they are double action, much easier to tune and find good cushions for. Do not confuse this with the double action Laser. Those were an abomination in my book.

BTW, sk8 boots have evolved a lot in the last 20 years. I have been selling off a lot of my Riedells and replacing them with Bonts. Being an old guy, I want comfy sk8s too.

~99% of the derby sk8s I build are DA45 plates on Bont boots.
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Old February 19th, 2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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I had looked at the Avenger and read mixed reviews regarding aluminum vs magnesium. I'd like to go for as little weight as possible without sacrificing quality -- as far as the mags go, are the complaints of increased foot fatigue valid? The Snyder Advantage was one I was looking at, but the Royal looks pretty legit. So you're saying DA45 is the way to go, huh? What's your opinion of the Powerdyne Arius?

I was looking at the Bont Hybrid boot and, being weary of ordering a boot I haven't been able to try on first, I decided on the 595. Bonts are nice, there's no denying that.

Last edited by ThatRabbit; February 19th, 2016 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Added content
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Old February 19th, 2016, 07:05 PM   #4
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I had looked at the Avenger and read mixed reviews regarding aluminum vs magnesium. I'd like to go for as little weight as possible without sacrificing quality -- as far as the mags go, are the complaints of increased foot fatigue valid?

The derby girls (level 1 team) I sponsor don't seem to think so and they pond the beejeebers out of their sk8s. At last I have not heard any complaints. I can go 4 hours in a Bont mag Avenger sk8, so I would say the stories are over blown.


The Snyder Advantage was one I was looking at, but the Royal looks pretty legit. So you're saying DA45 is the way to go, huh?

Yeah, but I'm kinda biased. I have sk8s ranging from Pro Lines and clones to tricked out full custom plates that are really not like anything on the market, but are still very DA45. I can sk8 what ever i want, and I keep going back to the DA45.


What's your opinion of the Powerdyne Arius?

Not a fan. I have a pair (I try real hard not to crack on things I have not sk8ed.) They are a pain to "adjust" as in pull them all the way down and then change the butterfly cushions.. Then reassemble.. The real issue is the way the design constrains the urethane in the plate / truck assembly. The action chokes up way too fast. Get some really soft cushions to get response deeper into a turn and you get a speed wobble. Get rid of the wobble, they no longer turn.. No happy medium.. I have custom machined some trucks that have minimized the issue but still no real joy here.


I was looking at the Bont Hybrid boot and, being weary of ordering a boot I haven't been able to try on first, I decided on the 595. Bonts are nice, there's no denying that.
Gotta get with a dealer that does not play stuck with it if it does not fit game.
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Old February 20th, 2016, 12:13 PM   #5
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I was having the same ideas about the Arius. I like the look, and appreciate new innovations, but functionality is important. Thanks for your input, it's certainly got me on the right track.
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Old February 21st, 2016, 03:29 AM   #6
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Default Doc if I may...

Rabbit...a fan of the 595 myself..they are not the same boot as they were 20 years ago... :/ So many Riedells don't fit or size they way the USED to. Still a quality product but however off the shelf boots (non custom or redline) ,the leather is painful to break in. Good luck
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Old February 21st, 2016, 03:04 PM   #7
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Default little Arius feedback

The lack of adjustment isnt my main issue with the plate. Its the axles. They have a beveled spot around the threaded area for the nuts, this spot is where the outside bearing tends to sit on a lot of wheels. This makes the bearings sit slightly out of alignment at times. I dont wear my Bont Royal Assassins anymore because of this. I cleaned the bearings and a couple sessions later they were crunchy from wear again. The kid doesn't mind though, lol. She gets to use them.

They dont deal with sidewalk cracks and other impact like situations as well as traditional quads. Since there is no buffering like on a traditional kingpin where the truck sits on a cushioned platform, the same sidewalk crack feels like it hits harder.

The truck to axle area is VERY close fit for most wheels, which is fine. However some "fanjet" stuled wheels will have issues if the inside bearing bore is machined a certian way. The ledge for the snap ring that holds on the tires of fanjet styled wheels can gouge the truck if the bearing sits too deep. What you have to do here is add a washer to the truck first to push the wheels circlip groove away from the truck. This happened to my trucks when wearing an older set of the "Faster" fanjet wheels that I got from a forum member. The newer ones they produce (Faster) does not have this problem but its still VERY CLOSE. So, some wheels where they have the inside bearing sitting in the hub could cause problems by rubbing the truck.

The axis pins have been reported to come out easily if you dont torque them down correctly. I have had this problem a few times myself (2 i believe). This is because the friction generated on the axis pin can sometimes twist the plates axis pin if enough torque was not applied. Bearings would have been WAY better than those silly bushings they currently use. They wear a bit and do develop slop which starts to take away from the one thing I love about the plate, its precision. Shim stock can be used to augment this, but its a pain in the arse.

There is "preload" with the current cushions I use. It was hard to get the axis pin in. I had to push the truck into the plates socket and hold it there while indtalling the axis pin. Not a big deal though, just need to be careful, just like with anything. One could reshape some of the cushions or now they make some fery soft ones down to like 70A? I do wonder if the cushions all fit like the ones I have. I dont think it would be a good thing for it to go together without having to push the trucks into the plate to get the axis pin in.

The plate is incredibly light, has great power transfer since it sits on a hinge setup instead of the truck resting on urethane, and for me , I find the action to be more predictable and precise. I don't have any problems turning the plate myself, I can wheelbite the front wheels if I want. I did not like the plate when it was on a bont, the whole setup was WAY too rigid. I much prefer the flex and feedback of the leather soled vanilla I have been using. Even after a 3 week adjustment period I still wasn't feeling the bont. It actually made me use my ankles a lot more than the vanilla boot. This was because the vanilla boot required more lean than the bont to get the same turning action, so less ankle articulation, less edging differences between my inlines and quads with the vanilla. The weight was fantastic though, vanilla boot being around 500g the bont 300g. My skates weight with the Assassin wheels is like 1260 grams or so with a change to the bont boot it dropped to about 1080g.

Current stats
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185lb
Boot: Vanilla freestyle size 10
Plate: Arius size 12 - 193mm wheelbase (yea super long plate i know)
No toe stop used. I have a jam plug installed

As much as I like the plate, and would love to say "GET ONE!"... I cant.

Its a great plate, but has shortcomings. Personally, for the price of it, I would wait until some of the bugs are fixed via a few certian forum members, order a bare bones plate lol and buy a set of modified trucks from them. Basically all that needs to change to make this plate ALOT better is the truck setup.

I wont get into the aluminum used for the plates, but it could also be a lot better.


Hope im not out of line Doc.
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Old February 21st, 2016, 07:33 PM   #8
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Hope im not out of line Doc.
Not @ all, I mean, I'm just some guy slinging text on a forum, right?? Bottom line here, If I can't make it turn the way I want but other plates do turn the way I want, it's a no brainer. There is a fundamental principal here that is often overlooked in all the discussin' going on. Any plate can be detuned to not be as aggressive when edging. Flip the coin, many plates cannot be tuned to turn aggressively as I like. The mechanics of the action get in the way, so why limit yourself by the design of the action??
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Old February 21st, 2016, 08:36 PM   #9
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Default Where I'm at...

I was, in fact, intending on buying the Redline 595's however, I'm putting some serious thought into Bont. Would the carbon hybrid be a good boot for speed, as well as derby? Keep in mind I'm only coaching a derby team and I'll be speed and session skating in the meantime. I could save some serious cheddar by going with Bont Hybrid and Avenger mags..

Last edited by ThatRabbit; February 21st, 2016 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Missed detail
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 03:45 AM   #10
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I was, in fact, intending on buying the Redline 595's however, I'm putting some serious thought into Bont. Would the carbon hybrid be a good boot for speed, as well as derby? Keep in mind I'm only coaching a derby team and I'll be speed and session skating in the meantime. I could save some serious cheddar by going with Bont Hybrid and Avenger mags..
I know some folks doing exactly those things in the sk8s you describe. Work fine, last a long time. I have built a few pair for just that purpose..
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 04:24 AM   #11
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I could save some serious cheddar by going with Bont Hybrid and Avenger mags..
And get a LOT of bang for the buck!

One wonderful thing about heat moldable Bonts is that once you get them to fit they STAY THAT WAY. None of the continual stretching of leather. While I appreciate "old school" as much as the next guy, for skating fun it is very hard to beat the modern design of the Hybrid and Avenger. It's fun to look at and have a nice Sunday drive in a classic car but don't expect it to out perform the new stuff...

Doc slings some mighty fine forum text! (and is an excellent all around go-to guy for your skate needs)

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Old February 22nd, 2016, 04:26 AM   #12
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Not @ all, I mean, I'm just some guy slinging text on a forum, right?? Bottom line here, If I can't make it turn the way I want but other plates do turn the way I want, it's a no brainer. There is a fundamental principal here that is often overlooked in all the discussin' going on. Any plate can be detuned to not be as aggressive when edging. Flip the coin, many plates cannot be tuned to turn aggressively as I like. The mechanics of the action get in the way, so why limit yourself by the design of the action??
Yea we be slinging text, lol. but you get the luxury of watching real world results of gear changes more than any of us. That adds more experience than just 1 skaters review of gear, because your immersing in a very diverse pool of peoples skillsets, body types, and skate experiences. That is what makes ya the Doc. if people got a problem , you've probably already worked on a remedy before, or have a DAMN good idea of where to start. Having enough experience to know almost instantly what WILL NOT work out is a huge blessing. Why ya think tons of skaters leave so happy?

The idea of dumbing down action rather than creating it out of thin air is a good argument. Hard to fight against there Until those Arius cushions are being mold injected for better size tolerances and improved shape for better turning/ramp up resistance I wont expect you to recommend it. Heh, extensive mods arent something users will be wanting to do straight out of the box to get good edging.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 04:40 AM   #13
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Default Bont..

If I have to choose between synthetic or leather uppers, I'd generally tend to lean toward leather... Am I going to see any difference in performance between the two?
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 03:18 PM   #14
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If I have to choose between synthetic or leather uppers, I'd generally tend to lean toward leather... Am I going to see any difference in performance between the two?

Based on personal experience, (My feet don't sweat much) I really do not see a difference. Past that, I'm certain a person with sweaty feet would notice the difference, especially over a long or energetic session on wheels.

YMMV.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 04:16 PM   #15
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If I have to choose between synthetic or leather uppers, I'd generally tend to lean toward leather... Am I going to see any difference in performance between the two?
Without a doubt, go with the leather. The Bont duralight is pretty, but not so great fitting in some cases.

When looking at a Bont, make sure you find someone who knows what they are doing. Bont's sizing system is odd (being nice). If you find a builder, they can help out greatly. Also, putting a plate, especially a 45 plate, on a Bont takes a little finesse and know how to get things where they should be. If the builder says they eyeball where the plate goes, or they use the Snyder tool, walk away and find another dealer.

As far as the plate goes, the Avenger is a good option. I have been on an Avenger for q few years. They work quite well for derby, especially if you are reffing. Since you have experience with Lasers, you shouldn't have many problems making them go fast as well.

This ^. Kennedy sk8s Bont Avengers. I watched him ref last night as I have over the last several years, both @ practice and @ bouts. His experience is about as close to what you say you do as anyone I know...

Last edited by Doc Sk8; February 22nd, 2016 at 04:44 PM. Reason: Add a quick note
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Old February 23rd, 2016, 03:02 AM   #16
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If you find a builder, they can help out greatly. Also, putting a plate, especially a 45 plate, on a Bont takes a little finesse and know how to get things where they should be. If the builder says they eyeball where the plate goes, or they use the Snyder tool, walk away and find another dealer.

[/B]
What am I looking for in mounting practices in regards to a 45/Bont combo?
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Old February 23rd, 2016, 03:35 PM   #17
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Thumbs up Best answer??

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What am I looking for in mounting practices in regards to a 45/Bont combo?

Hunt through the quad forum and find places where other members argue with me about the right way to mount sk8s. Then ignore the members that argue with me.

Member ogfarmskater is right close to you geographically. Check him out. For that matter, DVW and Kennedy both build a mean pair of Bont Avengers.
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Old February 23rd, 2016, 04:21 PM   #18
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What am I looking for in mounting practices in regards to a 45/Bont combo?
Placement of the front part of the plate is critical. Getting the fore / aft position is usually straight forward. Centering the plate get tricky. Ideally, the plate is centered on the boot at the front axle. This keeps the skate from pulling one way or another. Since Bonts don't have a clearly defined sole like a Riedell, finding the center can be challenging.
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Old February 24th, 2016, 02:36 AM   #19
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Default Scrubbing the threads...

Alright, I appreciate the help and hope I wasn't too much of a pain in the butt. I'll keep y'all posted. Thanks!
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Old February 24th, 2016, 03:41 AM   #20
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Exclamation This just in.

Powerdyne has a new "platinum" version of the Arius. Major rework of the trucks and trick new cushions, Hmm. Interestingly, they indicate the new trucks will work on the old plates. I will be looking into this ASAP.
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