Skate preview: 2007 K2 Radical Pro
K2 to Roll Out Bigger Big Wheels
New Radical Pro will be first plus-100mm fitness skate
By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson
(posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006)
Click photo for larger image
2007 K2 Radical Pro
K2 says the new model (available: late February) will be the "fastest, lightest, and highest performance skate on the market for 2007."
Fitness skaters eager to try bigger big wheels won't have to wait much longer.
K2, the inventor of the soft boot, plans to roll out a new 110mm hybrid marathon skate early next year.
The new Radical Pro — a souped up, redesigned version of the company's Radical 100 — will sport two 100mm wheels up front and two 110mm wheels in the rear.
With the new skate, K2 is poised to be the first company to put wheels larger than 100mm on the feet of fitness skaters. (That is unless one of the other skate makers has a similar skate waiting in the wings.)
The Olympic Cuff
The new skate will also feature a redesigned cuff that the company says will be the lightest and most supportive on the market.
The cuff was the result of a collaboration with the Norwegian cross-country ski maker Madshus.
"The Madshus design group came to K2 skate engineers looking for a way make their cross country skiers, particularly (Olympic gold medalist) Ole Einar Bjorndalen, faster than the competition," says K2 product manager Michael Powell.
K2's engineers came up with a new carbon boot "but their real innovation was the revolutionary carbon cuff they developed," Powell said.
K2 engineer Paul Bennett, who worked on the project, said they started with a standard inline cuff, but then "realized we could go thinner on the foam pack and make a better fitting composite cuff."
Working with Bjorndalen and other cross-country champions, they went through five evolutions of shapes and designs. The cuff proved its worthiness at the Torino Winter Games. "It took 15 medals," says Bennett.
K2 then adapted the cuff for inline skates, which meant making new molds and moving the pivot point back.
"The result is a very light weight and supportive cuff," Powell says. "It gives support and flexes where it needs too."
The Radical Pro uses the same upper boot section as its forerunner, the Radical 100. But largely due to the new cuff, the new boot is 110 grams lighter, Powell said.
The idea of giving the skate 110mm back wheels came from K2 skate engineer (and racer) John Svensson. "He loved the weight of the new boot but wanted a skate that went even faster," Powell said. "The end result is the fastest, lightest, and highest performance skate on the market for 2007."
K2 has been testing the skate's new 100/110mm frame for nearly two years. Famously, Eddy Matzger used the frame when he won the last Athens to Atlanta Road Skate in October 2004.
K2 Radical Pro
Expected street price: $399.99
Wheels: Star Grip two 100mm, two 110mm
Mount spacing: 195mm
Available: end of February 2007
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