Gyro's Mercury Road Wheels
Price and performance - Gyro's Violet Mercury F1 wheels may cast a long shadow.
Great wheels at a great price
Update: Gyro Mercury F1s Need Help in the Heat (Aug. 8, 2007)
By Francisco Ramirez
Gyro wheels aren't well-known outside of Asia. But you may have skated on them without knowing it. For several years, Gyro has been making wheels for other companies, including Supersonic.
But with its new, inexpensive line of performance wheels, this could be the year the Korean company emerges from obscurity.
The feel of the Violet Mercury F1 wheels is hard, stiff, responsive and fast.
These wheels are unusually hard. Gyro rates them at 85A, but my durometer found them to be even harder: 86A. As result of the hardness, you feel every pebble and imperfection of the road. That will kill your legs (cause undue leg strain) on a bad road. But on roads that are in fair to good condition, this wheel is a winner!
Amazing! These wheels were made to roll! These wheels felt faster than any I have tried. They seem to be a notch faster than the Matter Yellow. They also seem harder and more responsive.
Not surprisingly, given their hardness, their grip is not outstanding. They grip well in tight turns at high speeds. But they slip sometimes when you push off at the start of a sprint or standing start. That could cause you to lose precious time. (They slipped for me at the start of a 15K race last weekend. So I combined them with two Gyro Mercury Pink F3 wheels on the toe and second wheel positions. The result: great grip and superb roll. Using this combination, I notched a personal best in the 300m time trial in the Eastern Seaboard Series.)
After 75 kilometers of hard skating, they hardly show any signs of wear. I would be confident, at this point, to wear them for at least two more races.
This is where this wheel takes no prisoners! The 100mm wheels are $8; the 110mm wheels, $9. That makes them one of the cheapest outdoor wheels on the market. Considering their quality, they are an outstanding bargain.
The 110mm Mercury has a 8-spoke offset hub
The Mercurys have the same off-center hub design of the Tru-Rev wheels. This is a very good hub design: stiff and responsive. Bearings fit just right in the hubs. There's no extra play and you don't need a hammer to install them.
As I mentioned earlier, I skated my fastest time ever on these wheels in the Eastern Seaboard Series. I also shaved two seconds off my best lap time (.85 miles) in training. They are the fastest wheel I have tried.
With dark violet urethane and white hubs, these wheels look sweet.
Gyro has hit a home run with the Mercury F1 wheels. They are every thing a speed skater could ask for from a wheel. They provide speed, control and enough grip, especially when combined with softer wheels, to make them the top choice for outdoor racers. And to top it off, they are priced below any other 100/110mm wheels we have tested this year.
These wheels are further proof that we have entered a buyers market this year. There are a lot of great wheels on the market, and now Gyro joins Hyper as the second company with 100mm wheels under $10.
For most racers, skaters will want to combine the F1s with softer wheels for better grip and comfort.
Update: Gyro Mercury F1s Need Help in the Heat
While the Gyro Violet Mercury F1 wheel continues to be one of our top picks for outdoor skating, we've encountered a couple of issues in the warm weather.
The first concerns wear. Skating in the heat, we found that the Mercury F1s shed urethane more quickly than we expected. Of course, all wheels wear more quickly in hot weather. Heat softens urethane, making it less resilient. But we were surprised at how quickly our F1s shrunk in the heat, given their outstanding durability in cooler weather.
We also noticed that the F1s, which were never the grippiest of wheels, slipped even more on hot pavement. We noticed this on the last quarter of our push when accelerating. However, we were able to overcome the problem by combining them with softer wheels.
Despite these problems, we still think the F1 is an excellent wheel that provides an excellent combination of price and performance. But if you plan to use them in the heat, we recommend combining them with softer wheels.
Here's one combination we liked using all Gyro wheels: a Pink Mercury F3 (soft) at the toe, two Violet Mercury F1s (hard) in the middle, and a Blue Mercury F2 (medium) at the heel. On the other hand, we wouldn't recommend combining them with two of the soft F3s because that reduced roll noticeably.
We also found it effective to combine them with Matter wheels.