Reviews > Crossfire 4D (Activa 4D)

Rollerblade's Crossfire 4D
Crossfire proves adaptable and fast

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

Add your comments, questions about the Crossfire 4Ds.

Related reading

• Go to the Planet's skate product reviews.

• Go to 2006 skate previews.

Rollerblade bills the Crossfire 4D and its twin sister, the Activa 4D, as the first inline skates
Photo of Rollerblade's Crossfire 90with adjustable length frames. The frames can be left in the regular position or extended to the long position. The regular position provides better handling and maneuverability (due to its shorter wheelbase) for rec and city skating. The long position provides extra speed and power for fitness or trail skating.

First Look

The Crossfire and Activa 4D models are part of Rollerblade's new Workout line of high-end recreational-fitness skates. They come with 90mm "big wheels." The boots are identical in design and construction to the previously reviewed Crossfire 90 and Activa 90 skates. The color scheme features grays and dark blues for the men and grays and light blues for the women. The styling is tasteful, if not dazzling.

Comfortable Fit

Photo of Rollerblade's Crossfire 90Like the Crossfire 90s, the 4Ds have a cushy boot that provides a comfortable and snug fit. Our feet issued no complaints even after hours of skating.

As with the Crossfire 90s, the skates seem a little short from toe to heel. If your foot straddles a shoe size, you might want to choose the larger size.

Set for Rec

The skates come with their 4Drive frames set to the short position. At this position, the frames measure 278mm (nearly 11 inches) from front to back axle, which is fairly long. A truly "short" frame — such as the kind found on freestyle skates — is generally about 250mm (just under 10 inches).

In our test rolls, we found the skates to be nimble enough in the short setting, although not as nimble as rec skates with smaller wheels. The skates handled well on flat ground, but once we arrived at our first hill, we discovered the drawback of the adjustable-length frame: It's heavy. Each one weighs 11.5 ounces (326 grams), which is about 5 ounces more than the frame on the Crossfire 90. (The extra weight is no doubt needed to get the three pieces of the frame to stay together.)

Going Long

Adjusting the frame is fairly easy and only takes a few minutes. You simply unscrew the nuts, slide out the bolts and pull (or push) the flanges on each end of the frame. In our trials, we found that one of the flanges moved easily while the other one required a little muscle. With some practice, a skater might be able to perform the adjustment with skates on. But we found it necessary to remove them first.

In the long position, the frame measures 300mm (11.8 inches), which is longer than the frames on Rollerblade's 90mm marathon skates. In this position, we found the skates to be quite fast — easily the fastest high-cuff skates we have ever been on. The 90mm wheels provide for a long roll; the longer wheelbase, for a more powerful push. That helped make up for the extra weight going uphill, but the skates still felt heavy. (They also rattled a bit on fast downhills.)

Laces, Buckle and Brakes

The laces and buckles of the Crossfire 4D are the same as those of the other Crossfire models. The quick lacing system works well. The buckle is fine, although we would prefer a larger lever that would require less cranking.

The heel brake works well in the short frame position but loses a little of its power in the long position.


With the Crossfire 4D and Activa 4D models, Rollerblade is trying to provide skaters with more flexibility. It is giving them skates that are designed to work well for both rec and fitness skating.

We liked the skates. We found them to be nimble with the frames set to the regular position and speedy with their frames extended. (They provide a good workout.) But we also found them to be heavy, a fact that was especially noticeable going uphill. We wouldn't recommend these models for smaller skaters, especially if they are going to regularly climb hills. On the other hand, they might be a good choice for strong skaters who want flexibility, speed and a high cuff — and who aren't afraid of using a hex wrench once in a while.

By the Numbers: Crossfire 4D and Activa 4D

Street price: $229
Weight: 4 lb. 3 ounces with brake

Frame: 4Drive: aluminum; normal length 275mm, extended 300mm.
Wheels: Active 90mm/84A; weight: 3.8 ounces (107.7 grams)
Bearings: ABEC 7
(The Activa 4D 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 Crossfires and Activas.

(posted on March 21, 2006)

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