Presented by

This week's column:

Hi-Los or Straight 110s?

August 29, 2012




QHello, Bill: I’m a 46-year-old skater from Austria. I’m 180 cm (5 foot 9) and weigh 73 kg (161 lbs.). I skate on a hi-lo frame with three 110mm wheels and one 100mm wheel. I compete in half marathons and track races and was the national champion in my age division in the 300-meter time trial in 2010 (on a 4x100mm setup). Recently, I tried a 4x110mm setup. I felt a little slower, especially uphill. But when I looked at my tracking data, I found that my speed hadn’t changed; it just felt more difficult to get my legs moving. Do you think I should stick with my hi-los or move to 4x110s? Thanks for all your columns. - George from Austria

Ask the Coach!

Hi, George: Considering your age and that you spend some time on the track, I would recommend that you stick with your hi-lo setup. You obviously have some speed and you could lose a little of it on a straight 110mm setup.

That’s what happened to many-times world champion Kalon Dobbin when he tried a straight 110mm setup on the track in Switzerland a few years ago. Eventually, he couldn’t adjust to the 4x110mm setup and went back to his hi-low (3x110 plus 1x100mm) setup.

On the other hand, if you want to focus more on long distance road races, you would probably be better off switching to a straight 110mm setup. On the open road, 110s provide better roll.

But a 4x110mm setup will only work if you are strong and have feet that are size 8 (European) or larger. You need a big enough foot to insure that no more than three-quarters of a wheel is in front of your toe and behind your heel. Any more than that and the setup becomes hard to manage.

Cheers, Bill

Ask Bill Begg!

Skating's top coach answers your

World renowned coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating in his weekly advice column, "Ask Bill Begg!" ... Every Wednesday on the Inline Planet.