This week's column:
Hi-Los or Straight 110s?
August 29, 2012
Hello, 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
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.