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Skike VO7 Silver

Skike VO7 Silver: $339

Skike: All-terrain Skate
A new off-road skate from Austria

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008

The story of the off-road skate is as rocky as the terrain it travels.

It started with the Roces Enduro in 1996; continued with the Rollerblade Coyote; and then, after the big skate companies lost interest, was carried on by upstart inventor-driven companies, which made skates like the TrailSkate, Terrablade and LandRoller, among others.

The latest entry into the all-terrain category is Skike, an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, product which was developed on the rough mountain trails of Austria.

In some ways, Skike resembles the venerable TrailSkate (made by GateSkate). It rolls on two over-sized (150mm) pneumatic wheels (the kind you blow up), which are positioned at the front and back of the frame.

Also like TrailSkate, Skike has no boot. You wear your gym shoes or boots, step into the adjustable frame mount, and strap yourself in.

Calf-activated Brake

Skike parts ways with TrailSkate when it comes to brake design, a critical issue for off-road skaters, who often find themselves on unstable surfaces, where traditional heel brakes perform poorly.

TrailSkates (along with Terrablades) address the challenge with hydraulic brakes built into the wheels and controlled by hand levers.

Skikes, on the other hand, use a comparatively simple calf-activated brake, similar to Rollerblade's ABT system.

To activate the brake, you push one or both of your feet forward. This moves your calf down, lowering a metal (brass and aluminum) brake onto the back wheel, which slows you down.

Skike officials say the brake is effective on almost any surface and is easy to use.

"Anyone can quickly feel safe on Skikes," said Skike Sports International's Clemens J.A. Krueger. "Because of this, you can use them for fitness, but also – and for me, more importantly – for fun."

Nordic Skating

European skaters use Skikes for Nordic inline skating in combination with ski poles.

The company says Skikes can go anywhere a mountain bike can go with a few exceptions: rough, stony surfaces or soft, soggy ground.

Skikes appeared in Europe a couple years ago but haven't been available in the United States ... until now. Online retailer Skates.com is taking pre-orders for Skikes and expects to start shipping them in early March. (Skates.com's Skike page)

Compared to most other all-terrain skates, Skikes are a bargain. Skates.com is offering adult models from $239 to $339.

Big Dreams

Buoyed by the success of Skikes in Europe, Krueger is optimistic about the future.

He says this year will see the formation of the World Skike Association and the first "skiking" national championships in the Netherlands.

"We already have some country associations and may ask for Olympic recognition in several years ... who knows?"

...

Skates.com's Skike page

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