Reviews > Crossfire 90 (Activa 90)

Rollerblade's Crossfire 90
Crossfire proves sturdy successor to Aero

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

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• Go to the Planet's skate product reviews.

• Go to 2006 skate previews.

The Crossfire 90 (and its twin sister the Activa Photo of Rollerblade's Crossfire 9090) are Rollerblade's replacement for last year's Aero 90 TFS. Like the TFS, the Crossfires and Activas carry 90mm wheels. But for the most part, they are all-new skates. They have a new frame, a new fit and a new shell. In addition, Rollerblade updated the skates' easy lacing system and color scheme.

First Look

The Crossfire and Activa 90s are part of Rollerblade's new Workout line of high-end recreational-fitness skates. The new color scheme features grays and dark blues for the men and grays and light blues for the women. The styling is tasteful, although not dazzling.

Easy on Your Feet

The Crossfires are the kind of skates you could spend all day in. The boot is comfortable, even "cushy," and provides a snug fit. We noticed no rubbing or hot spots after skating in them for several hours.

We did find (at least with our test models) that the skates seemed a little shorter from toe to heel than the 2005 Rollerblades. If you are one of those skaters with feet that straddle a shoe size, our advice would be to go for the larger size in the Crossfires.

Smooth Sailing

The combination of bigger wheels and shock-absorbing boots made for a very comfortable ride. This was especially apparent going over rough pavement and downhill at speed. The skates felt sturdy and well-balanced. They performed well on turns and made it easy for us to use our outside edges.

The pay back for larger wheels is some loss of maneuverability, and the Crossfire 90s proved no exception. On the other hand, the long wheelbase made them the fastest rec skates we've had our feet in (with the exception of the new Crossfire 4Ds with the frame extended.) We were surprised to find that the wheelbase of the Crossfire 90 (275 mm) equals that of Rollerblade's 90mm marathon skate of 2005: the Lightning 6.

Due to the speediness of the Crossfire and Activa 90s, we wouldn't recommend them for beginners or casual skaters. Especially on hills, you can quickly accelerate out of your comfort zone on these skates.

Brakes, Laces, Buckle

In our tests, we found that the brake on the Crossfire 90 worked well. (It's the same brake that Rollerblade used for last year's Lightning 6.) It sticks out behind the skate further than brakes on skates with smaller wheels. And that makes it a bit harder to use. But we still found the brake to be quite effective, and it didn't get in our way while doing crossover turns.

The TFS Power lacing system also worked well, although it took some getting used to. Loosening the skate is a two-step process. First, you push a red button on the outside of the boot. Then you pull up a tag attached to the top lace.

Tightening is quicker. You just pull up on the TFS disk on the outside of the skates. (Tightening while moving is easy; loosening is not.) Like many recent skates, the Crossfires come with thin synthetic laces. We had no problem with them. But we still prefer our old waxed laces, which (unlike these) are easy to replace.

The top of the cuff is secured by a small buckle of plastic and metal. It provided a comfortable fit but required a little more cranking than we are used to.


We were impressed with the Crossfire 90. We found it to be very comfortable and well balanced. It gave us a very smooth ride and did well on rough pavement. Due to its speediness, we wouldn't recommend it for beginners. But it would be a great choice for skaters who like the security of a high cuff but are aching for some extra speed.

By the Numbers: Crossfire 90 and Activa 90

Street price: $199
Weight: 3 lb. 14.1 ounces with brake
3 lb. 9.8 ounces without brake
Frame: Alu Tech: aluminum, just under 11 inches from front to back axle
Wheels: Active 90mm/84A; weight: 3.8 ounces (107.7 grams)
Bearings: ABEC 7
(The Activa 90 is the women's model.)

Related reading

• Go to the Planet's skate product reviews.

• Go to 2006 skate previews.

Ask questions, leave comments about the Crossfire 90s.

(posted on March 3, 2006)

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