Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Deal On Wheels

Perhaps you are new to the world of roller derby.  You just bought your new skates to try out for your local team and they came as a package deal with wheels and all.  More than likely, these wheels will be great for a start but ultimately, you'll want some of those really cool wheels you saw on your favorite skater's boots.

Or maybe you have been skating for a while and if you're like me, you are in search of the perfect wheels.  Those that make you feel like you're rolling on air.  Those that give you optimum speed but a good grip, as well.  The problem is there are only about 400 kinds of wheels out there.  Well, I could be exaggerating, I haven't actually counted.  There are many questions to ask yourself, like; what brand do I want?  Do I want slim or wide?  Grippy or hard?  Hollow core nylon, solid core or hollow core alloy?  Do I want the same 8 wheels or do I want 4 of one type of hardness and 4 of another?  Does color matter?   See what I mean?!  Eventually you find yourself staring at your computer in a daze from information overload.   Do not fret; there are ways to get the answers you seek.

The easiest way to go about making a decision or at least narrowing it down is to find one of your fellow skaters close to the same body type and build as you and ask her what she prefers.  If she's really cool and wears the same size skate as you, she may let you try them out.  If she's even cooler and doesn't wear the same size skate as you, she may offer to let you put her wheels on your skate and try them.  Either way, it will give you a great idea of what you may be looking for.  Some wheel manufacturers, like Atom, offer a chart on their website that's based on your weight and the type of surface you're skating on.  That can point you in the right direction, too.

As far as having different wheels on each side of the skate, that's really a personal preference.  Some skaters prefer the grippier wheels on one side for getting a good push and the harder wheels on the other for speed.  I have found that I like the combination of grippy and harder wheels.  Again, this is something you have to figure out on your own.

Check out this link to Atom's chart and you should find it quite helpful.  Even if you don't purchase their wheels, you'll at least know what to look for in your quest for the best.

Happy Derbying!

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