Rollerblade Activa II 90 Fitness Skates
By Kim Perkins
Rollerblade Activa II 90 for women
What most skaters want from their first pair of skates is mindless fun straight out of the box. But for their next pair, they usually want more.
That's where a skate like Rollerblade's Activa II 90 comes in. Designed specifically for women, it comes with 90mm "Big Wheels," a stiff aluminum frame and a pull-cord lacing system for on-the-fly adjustment.
We (see sidebar, right) all liked the fact that the liners, which are specially shaped for women's feet, pop out for easy washing. But we were not in agreement about the fit. Two of us liked it; a third found it uncomfortable. This may have been due to the fact that she has wide feet with high metatarsal bones. The tongue appeared to crumple over the top of her foot, causing uneven pressure.
The Activa II comes with Rollerblade's easy-to-use TFS Power system. The system uses a thin lace that is anchored near the toe and zig-zags up the foot through loops. You tighten it by pulling a small knob; you loosen it by pressing a button and pulling on the lace loop on the front of the skate.
We liked this system very much, having suffered through many long races in skates that were no longer start-line tight. The system allows you to re-tighten your laces on the fly, for example, as you are rolling down hill at 30 mph.
The laces are made of Dyneema, a durable synthetic fabric made by Dupont. Due to their thinness, the laces appear to be a little fragile. But in our testing, we saw no signs of wear.
Balance, Wheels and Bearings
Activa's cuff provided us with lots of ankle support, allowing good range of motion in standing and crouched positions.
We liked the front-to-back balance of the Activa. But we found that the bigger wheels and correspondingly larger frame made the skate feel bottom heavy. Part of this may have been due to the SG9 bearings, which seemed sluggish. (They may spin better after being thoroughly broken in.) (The skate weighs 3 lbs and 14 ounces.)
The Activa’s aluminum frames are firm, sturdy and fully adjustable. You can move them backward and forward, and more importantly, side to side. That makes it possible to jockey your frames to fit the particulars of your setdown.
Our frames were pointed out slightly when we took them out of the box. This was uncomfortable for us, although it might work for less advanced skaters. But in any case, as noted above, they can be adjusted.
The Activa II 90 has some nice features, including an adjustable frame and state-of-the-art lacing system. It provided a good fit for two-thirds of Team Estrogen. But it's big wheels and sturdier frame add weight, and that keeps this skate from being a speed demon.