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Roller Derby Forum Discussions about banked-track and flat-track roller derby events, teams, skaters, and training methods.

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Old June 21st, 2010, 05:21 PM   #1
kiss_and_tell
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Default Wheels so confused

Hey have been lurking for a bit trying to read up on wheels as I want to get a set next pay day to replace my radar camens which suck. Basically I'm new to derby but am finding these wheels slip a lot, we skate on a wooden floor but it can be pretty dusty and slippy, and would like something with a bit more grip. One of the refs suggested swapping out 4 of the wheels for something grippier now and then replacing the camens later when I had more cash.

Just wondering if you guys had any suggestions for good combos with the camens? Alternatively if I just ditch all the camens now is there any other combos people think might work well. oh and I'm about 140 pounds
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Old June 21st, 2010, 06:28 PM   #2
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I would suggest skating on only 4 wheels.. and leave the caymans out of the picture..

Yes.. they ARE that bad.

Wheels are not that expensive.. used stuff is plastered all over Skatelog.. and the internet.. youll find something..

If you need ideas.. look no further then your fellow skaters.. and whats working for them.. will work for you.

Enjoy
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Old June 21st, 2010, 07:34 PM   #3
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I have the same wheels as you...and yes, they suck. I don't understand the suckage, myself. My derby skates have radar caymens (95A); my art skates have powell bones elite (101A)... according to everything I've read about the hardness factor, my arse should be sliding all over the place in my art skates moreso than my derby skates...if I'm reading the info right.

There's a post quite a ways down where everyone recommends Atom wheels. When money falls from the heavens, I'm taking the advice of the more experienced!
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Last edited by panthergirl5182; June 21st, 2010 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Adding a sentence
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Old June 21st, 2010, 07:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by panthergirl5182 View Post
I don't understand the suckage, myself.
It's pretty simple. They're cheaply manufactured so that the packages they're sold with (like R3s) can hit a $100 price point.

Atom wheels are very good, they're not the only brand out there (there's also Sure-Grip, Radar, Backspin, Heartless/B'zerk, etc.) but Atom's catalog is very useful:

http://atomwheels.com/Quad/catalog.html

http://www.atomwheels.com/Quad/pdf/Catalog.pdf

Towards the end of the catalog there is a wheel performance chart which will help you out. Look up your weight and type of floor you're skating on, that will give you a durometer range (that number followed by an A) to shoot for when trying out new wheels. This "magic number" will help guide you to a set that gives you a good combo of grip and roll. Don't be afraid to experiment.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 07:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by panthergirl5182 View Post
I have the same wheels as you...and yes, they suck. I don't understand the suckage, myself. My derby skates have radar caymens (95A); my art skates have powell bones elite (101A)... according to everything I've read about the hardness factor, my arse should be sliding all over the place in my art skates moreso than my derby skates...if I'm reading the info right.

There's a post quite a ways down where everyone recommends Atom wheels. When money falls from the heavens, I'm taking the advice of the more experienced!
Hard good urethane is better than soft crappy urethane(i.e. plastic, which is NOT urethane).
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogzilla View Post
It's pretty simple. They're cheaply manufactured so that the packages they're sold with (like R3s) can hit a $100 price point.

Atom wheels are very good, they're not the only brand out there (there's also Sure-Grip, Radar, Backspin, Heartless/B'zerk, etc.) but Atom's catalog is very useful:

http://atomwheels.com/Quad/catalog.html

http://www.atomwheels.com/Quad/pdf/Catalog.pdf

Towards the end of the catalog there is a wheel performance chart which will help you out. Look up your weight and type of floor you're skating on, that will give you a durometer range (that number followed by an A) to shoot for when trying out new wheels. This "magic number" will help guide you to a set that gives you a good combo of grip and roll. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Not sure how I feel about putting a weight scale on that page. I wouldn't exactly consider 160 pounds heavyweight for someone over 5'8" or so, nor would I consider 111-129 lightweight for someone my height (5'1") or shorter. And it seems like body type has more to do with how much grip people seem to need than actual weight.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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Red Revenges stick like glue. justskates has them for $65, and if you enter the code rollerderby12 at checkout, you will get an extra 12% off.

http://www.justskates.com/Backspin-R...by-Wheels.html
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Old June 21st, 2010, 09:02 PM   #8
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get either a soft or hard set of witch doctors. Being light as you are you can get away with the softer set and they will not break the bank. Since your floor could be slippery, I would recommend the softer wheels(93a to 95a max). You can upgrade later to more expensive wheels. I will be selling a set of sure grip power plus wheels in a 93a hardness soon. They are red but dyed black. Too soft for me(210 lbs).
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Old June 21st, 2010, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panthergirl5182 View Post
My derby skates have radar caymens (95A); my art skates have powell bones elite (101A)... according to everything I've read about the hardness factor, my arse should be sliding all over the place in my art skates moreso than my derby skates...if I'm reading the info right.
Durometer, in this case Shore A scale, only tells how much the material deforms under pressure. While this number is useful in telling you how "hard" a skate wheel is it tells less about how "sticky" the wheel will be. In my experience the hard=slide, soft=sticky variation is more pronounced on the hard end of the scale. In other words just about all 78A wheels will be slow and sticky while above 90A some will stick and some won't.

In a nutshell that is why Caymans are around $15 a set and Stilettos are 10 times that even though they have about the same durometer. Good urethane and hubs cost more.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 09:50 PM   #10
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get either a soft or hard set of witch doctors. Being light as you are you can get away with the softer set and they will not break the bank. Since your floor could be slippery, I would recommend the softer wheels(93a to 95a max). You can upgrade later to more expensive wheels. I will be selling a set of sure grip power plus wheels in a 93a hardness soon. They are red but dyed black. Too soft for me(210 lbs).
Witch Doctors are awesome wheels.. they (Sure Grip) are still working on the blue ones now... has anyone seen the orange ones yet?
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Old June 21st, 2010, 11:25 PM   #11
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See? Experienced peoples clearing things up!

Now, I want pink wheels...
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Old June 21st, 2010, 11:50 PM   #12
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i used the orange ones. I feel since the surfaces described are vastly changing, the orange ones would not grip as good for you. I skate on a good rink floor(coated) so they worked great on it. Still have them and won't part with them, blues would not roll as good for me, I am too heavy and they would bog down on me. 95a is my lower limit, unless the rink I am skating at has a terrible floor. Then I have some really old Barrettas that stick to anything. If you are going to go fast, you need good roll(hardness) but you also need traction(good urethane) in the turns and it is a balancing act with whatever surfaces you skate on. Hope all this helps
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Old June 21st, 2010, 11:57 PM   #13
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Default So I wrote this novella . . .

I sent this to my league a few weeks ago because I knew folks didn't know what to look for in wheels. I'm gonna copy it here, but this is very specific to our surface. Then again, I think it may help you out.

Quote:
I know a lot of folks have all kinds of questions about wheels, so I'm going to try to knock some [poop] out because, well just because.

As a new skater with a package, you typically start out on some crap skates with crap plates and crap bearings and crap wheels. This is understandable because not everyone is willing to make a huge investment in a new endeavor that they might be unsure of. Eventually, you may find something on your skates doesn't work for you and that is usually the wheels.

Cheap, [poop] wheels are made of cheap urethane and tend to have no grip whatsoever. You're slip sliding everywhere and you just know that different wheels will dramatically change your game. Question is, what do you buy?

Start by asking other skaters what they use and like. Also, pay attention to body type and skating style. Most importantly, ask SEASONED players what they LIKE and WHY. Some people prefer a little grip, some like to slide, some like wide and some narrow. They all have advantages but only for the right people. Once you've asked around, see if you can borrow a set for a practice. We're usually open to the idea.

Now you're skating the wheels and you can make some assessments. Maybe they're perfect and all you ever wanted, but let's assume they're not. What do you feel is wrong with them? Are you sliding when you sprint? Are you not able to plow stop because there is too much grip? Figure this out and then figure out the information on what wheel you are skating on.

Perfect example: Your skates come with Carerras. The wheels slide way too much, so you ask a skater what wheels they like and they tell you that Flat Outs are the BOMB. Okay, why? "Well, they grip like mad." So let's try them.

You skate a practice in them. You sprint, fantastic grip in the corners. You plow stop, but you find you can't quite get your foot to slide, the wheels won't break loose and you keep rolling. You keep skating and later on you feel more exhausted than you typically would be. Those wheels might be too soft for you. Internet tells you that Flat Outs are an 88a wheel, what do you do with this information?

The "A" number is a durometer, it tells you how soft or hard a wheel is. The higher the number, the harder, and the typical speed skate wheels range is 88-100a [Okay we know this isn't completely true and that they type of urethane matters, but I wasn't about to get into that]. You know you need to try something harder.

You approach me and say "Hey Sucka, I tried some Flat Outs but I think they were just too soft. What would you suggest?" After I talk your ear off for about half an hour, I tell you "Well I really love these vintage wheels that you probably can't find but you can try them. They're 97a Ultimate Weapons." You say all of that mumbo jumbo means nothing to you but sure, you'll try them.

You skate a few hot, fast laps and feel that you're getting more from your push, that skating takes less effort. Yeah, that's cool. You plow stop and the wheels make a great big noise and you're like "Oh cool I screech and scare the [poop] out of people." Then you sprint and push as hard as you can, but you have to coast turns 2 and 4 because you can hear and feel the wheels giving way. Guess what, those wheels are too hard for you bro.

We now know 88a is too soft and 97a is too hard, so we've narrowed some things down. You've got two more options: 93a and 95a, I think you can figure out what to do from here.

Remember, your ideal wheels will give you grip where you need it, but allow a little slide so you can plow and hockey stop. Too much of one or the other isn't a great thing. Also, different wheels will favor different surfaces, this is why your wheels that work fine on our slick concrete floor don't act the same way as they would a tight floor like a [rink] or [sport court].

I know I didn't give anything definitive, but there is no single answer to this question. Your wheels should fit your skating style and only you will know that best. I CAN say that our skaters tend to prefer softer wheels on our floor, such as the Radar Flat Outs or Flat Outrageous, Atom Stingers, and Hyper Sugars, all in the 88a range. I can't stand wheels that sticky because I like to slide. I go between 93a and 97a, my 93a Devil Rays for dry days and my 97a soft Ultimate Weapons or White Shamans for humid days or days where the floor has been sweating from a good rain. There are also a lot of folks on Fugitives (varies), D-Rods (95a), G-Rods (93a) [Again, I'm speaking of the most common wheels in our league]. You've got a lot of choices out there to try before you buy, just be thorough in your research or you'll end up with a million sets of wheels and skates like me.

IMPORTANT NOTE: No skate equipment in the WORLD can make up for skating ability. The more you skate and the better you become, the easier it will be to discover what you need your skates to do for you, which will help you make wise shopping decisions. If you feel that your skating is boo boo, don't expect new equipment to magically make you better. I know lots of great skaters on really [poopy] (or less than optimal) equipment and they seem to get by just fine, or at least better than I am.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:17 AM   #14
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Hard good urethane is better than soft crappy urethane(i.e. plastic, which is NOT urethane).
Soooo....I'm gathering from various sites and comments here: caymens are not exactly urethane. Looking at the Atom site and a couple other sites (Bruised Boutique has a good description, leaving out weight), on a coated rink that has some wear and tear... I can most likely still have pink wheels (yes, this is very important to me).

I know when I bought my art skates, they came with some cheap wheels, not to mention the flash from molding wasn't removed before the bearings were installed... want to talk about grip??? I couldn't move! The rink owner's son happened to be there and helped me out with the art wheels.

The derby thing is new in the area; no one on the currently forming league can really answer wheel questions. I'm on hiatus due to non-derby leg injuries... so I have plenty of time to research. I am SO not giving up on my cheapass new skates; I like the feel of the shoe, just not the wheels.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:22 AM   #15
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Bingo Duong! The balance between stick and slide, and the application to your particular surface is where all wheel answers lie. I would say that all skaters serious about derby need about three sets of wheels to keep in the arsenal. If that sounds outrageous, ever fished?, hunted?, played golf?, cooked a meal that required true culinary skill?, worked on a car? There is no one wheel, there is no one tool.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:40 AM   #16
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Bingo Duong! The balance between stick and slide, and the application to your particular surface is where all wheel answers lie. I would say that all skaters serious about derby need about three sets of wheels to keep in the arsenal. If that sounds outrageous, ever fished?, hunted?, played golf?, cooked a meal that required true culinary skill?, worked on a car? There is no one wheel, there is no one tool.
I am starting to see that I need a "Derby Sugar Daddy."

Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever tried derby on the wooden wheels by SureGrip?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 01:20 AM   #17
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Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever tried derby on the wooden wheels by SureGrip?
A few decades ago, I'm sure someone did.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 02:18 PM   #18
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You don't want wooden wheels in derby.....no traction at all. 92a to 95a like jimduong said is what you are after. Last night I skated on some Sure Grip Power Plus wheels. They did not compare to the Anabolix wheels at all. But really, no one wheel does it all. You may have to have more than one set to adapt to different floors. Look over your skaters and find out who is skating good with control and find out what is working for them. I don't think you will have to spend a lot of money on wheels to get the job done. You may have to go to a hard outdoor wheel to get a grip on some of the surfaces.
You may have cheap skates, but wheels and bearings will bring new life into any skate. Later you can upgrade your gear and still have the wheels you use to get it done. Wheels are the important thing in any skate.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 04:59 PM   #19
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Cheers for all the help guys

Was looking into getting witch doctors but being in the uk there a little difficult to get (same with the atoms) and shipping from the US was doubling the price so I think I'm going to go for sure grip fugitives think about getting a pink or red set and the grey pushers what do you guys think? I know I'll prob need to get a few sets eventually but hopping I can get a bit more speed in the corners with some grippier wheels
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 05:12 PM   #20
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I didn't realize you were in the UK. You will have to go with what is working and available in your area. Someone will be using what you are looking for. Going for what works now may save you some money in the long run. We have "wheel testing" sessions here in the Houston area. That may be a thing to consider, getting together with others and having a test session by borrowing wheels during a skate session or practice. Lots of wheels to try on any given weekend. Wheel hunts are a really important thing everywhere skaters are. Noone wants to spend money for a wheel that don't work. However nearly everyone has lost money on it at one time or other. I have several sets of "junk" good for nothing wheels. Some are very expensive too.
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