This week's tip:
Should You Be on 105s?
New wheel size offer benefits of 110s without the drawbacks
By Debbie Rice
Bont Highrollers: big (100mm), bigger (105mm), biggest (110mm)
Photo: Debbie Rice
Here’s the plain truth: 110mm wheels don’t work well for everyone.
They’re great for big, strong skaters who can handle the extra load and extended wheelbase.
But for smaller skaters, they can be a drag.
That’s why many have switched to hybrid setups with mixes of 100mm and 110mm wheels.
But now there’s another option: the straight 105 setup. As the name implies, it’s a setup with four 105mm wheels per skate.
And that means it's lighter and has a shorter wheelbase than 110mm setups.
Before last year, I was skating on a hi-lo setup with three 110mm and one 100mm wheel. And I wasn’t completely happy with it.
The setup was supposed to be the answer for smaller skaters competing against skaters on 110s. But for me, it always seemed like a huge effort to get the wheels up to speed. And the hi-lo never provided the kind of streamlined, consistent feel you get with wheels of uniform size.
So, naturally, I was eager to try one of the new 105 setups. And when I did, last year, I was sold immediately.
I found that my105mm setup provided me with roll that was as good or better than my hi-lo and gave me the snap, agility and balance of my old 4x100mm setup.
It also rolled better indoors, allowing me to lengthen my stride and lean more deeply into the corners.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. After my conversion, I encouraged all the women on Bont’s pro team — Erin Jackson, Briana Kramer, Janelle Cole and Sophie Webb — to try straight 105 setups.
They did. And now all of them are skating on 105s. In fact, Briana won last year’s Northshore Inline Marathon on the new setup.
Making the switch
Psychologically, some skaters may have a hard time dumping their 110s in favor of 105s. After all, 110s are supposed to be the fastest things on the planet — and, in fact, they are the choice of most of the top male pros.
But why should someone my size — 5 foot 4 and 120 lbs — skate on the same setup as Michael Cheek, who is over six feet tall, or Joey Mantia, who has tree-trunk legs?
It doesn’t make sense.
At this point, 105mm wheels are the new kids on the block. Many skaters have never heard of them. And some companies still don’t make them.
But as far as I’m concerned, 105s hit the sweet spot for smaller skaters. They provide great roll, foot speed and maneuverability. And they don’t weigh you down.
Debbie Rice skated quads before inlines and became a master of both. She has won numerous titles, indoor and out, including the 2009 Master World Marathon Championship. She also holds the Guinness record for fastest woman on skates — 61 mph. A former cast member of the Roller Jam television series, she now jams for the Bont's Quadstar Derby Team. She is a Bont sales representative and team manager of Bont USA and Bont Quadstars Derby Team. A Houston native, she currently lives in Tampa.
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