We love innovation at the Inline Planet. We are always delighted when skate companies — despite the relatively small size of the inline market — invest in R&D and update their products with new ideas and technologies.
We haven’t seen any big innovations in the last few years — nothing on the order of Big Wheels (2004-2005) and 3-point skates (2006).
But innovation is still happening. And to tell us about it, we enlisted the help of two of our favorite industry insiders, Speed Skate World’s Peter Doucet and Asphalt Beach’s Steve Larios.
Here's what they had to say:
Atom Wheel IQ 110mm
It’s a great time for skaters who like to go fast. All the major players in the wheel world — Bont, Atom, MPC and Matter — are pouring high-tech wheels that like to fly.
But the buzz this spring is about Atom’s new IQ road wheels. Early reports are that these wheels sizzle. Of course, they could also burn a hole in your pocket book. The 110s go for $26 (USD) a piece — about what a whole set of wheels cost in the old days.
Skaters don’t buy a lot of carbon frames. But skate makers haven't given up on the concept.
The newest carbon frame is the HiLow ($389) from EO Skates of France. Made of monocoque carbon fiber, it's both strong and lightweight (125 grams).
Another worthy new frame is Luigino’s Pilot P51 ($249). It’s light, very stiff and moderately priced.
If you’re a 3-point skater, you may want to wait for Bont's new 3PF frame ($349), which is expected to be released this spring. The frame is designed to fit Bont's new 3-point boots, as well as any standard 2-point boot (195mm spacing). Price:
Boot design hasn’t changed much in the last few years. But Luigino’s has updated the way you cook them for heat-molding.
Insteading of heating them in an oven or with a heat gun, you put them in a plastic bag and drop them in hot water. Luigino says the water heats up the boots’ thermoplastics more evenly than baking — and that makes for better molding.
All the new Luigino boots, except the entry-level Struts, use this new AquaTech method. Prices range from $599 for the Ultra Challenge to $250 for the Attitude.
Rollerblade Tempest 100 (women's)
Rec and Fitness Skates.
For the most part, skate makers didn't do much more than update the color schemes on their rec and fitness skates this year. But Rollerblade refreshed its marathon line, morphing the Speed Machine into the Tempest.
The Tempest skates feature hi-lo setups that shorten the wheelbase and lower the center of gravity. As a result, they should be easier for skaters to handle.
The Tempest 110 ($379) features a standard hi-lo setup: 110, 100, 110, 110. But the Tempest 100 ($319) offers something different: two 110s (front and back) and two 100s (middle).
Both of these models are likely to give the tried-and-true K2 Radicals a run for the money.
Rollerblade also came out with a new kids skate. The Spitfire ($80) adjusts four sizes to accommodate growing feet. And kids seem to love the styling.
Looking for a recovery snack after your workout? Try the new Powerbar Recovery ($1.69). It tastes great. And who knows? It might actually be good for you.
Peter Doucet is the webmaster of Speed Skate World.
Steve Larios is the owner of the Asphalt Beach skate shop in Nashville, TN.
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