Matter's 100mm Juice F1 wheels
Top performers for demanding skaters
By Francisco Ramirez
With its new Juice line of outdoor road wheels, Matter proves itself, once again, to be one of the top wheel makers on the planet. Matter chemist Neal Piper, formerly of Hyper, clearly knows what he's doing. These wheels are fast and responsive — just what you want for top performance. The trade off is rough going on bad pavement and relatively short life.
The Juice F1 wheels are light-weight, responsive and hard (87A). They feel light under your feet and are easy to get moving when it's time to sprint at the end of a race. Their hardness, like a race car's stiff suspension, means you feel every bump on the road. Some skaters won't like this. But demanding professionals who want the most responsive equipment will be pleased.
These wheels provide great top-end speed. And that's what you want when you're sprinting to the finish line. I also found it easy to accelerate with these wheels. They are the kind of wheels you should have on your skates if you want to find out just how fast you can go.
The Juice are the best rolling outdoor wheels I have tested, a notch above the top-rated Star Grips. Once you get them moving, they go!
The grip is not bad for such a hard wheel. But mixed with softer wheels, they grip well. I used them combined with softer wheels (the Juice natural F2s) in last month's Disney World Inline Marathon and felt confident flying around tight corners at high speed. For even more grip, mix them with the Juice F3 green wheels.
Matter's hollow core hub design
Here's is the one thing I don't like about these wheels: They wear out faster than other top wheels. After the Disney marathon, my new set already showed significant wear, more than I expect to see after one marathon. Demanding racers will probably only be able to use these wheels for two marathons (tops) before relegating them to practice. Others wheels, such as the Matter Green F3, the Tru-Rev Titans, the PC-Vane Blue Boosters and the Hyper Mach IIs, last longer, although not necessarily equal performance.
A few years ago, $12 for a wheel would have sounded outrageous. But now it's starting to look like a bargain. In fact, at $11-12 a wheel, the Juice are now among the lowest priced premium racing wheels on the market.
Are they worth it? ... That depends on what you want. If you want to go as fast as you can, the answer is yes, the Juice are worth every penny. But if you want a wheel that will last for 1000 miles, look elsewhere.
The Juice hubs are stiff and responsive. They are made with Matter's excellent Hollow Core Technology. The hub on the 110mm Juice is one of the best I have tested for wheels this size. Bearings fit nicely into the hubs, notably better than on Matter's indoor wheels. Apparently, Matter has been listening to its customers. (The wheels evaluated in this review have the original, not the new sonic-welded, hubs.)
The yellow lime color and white hubs make for an attractive wheel.
The yellow Juice F1s were the wheels of choice for Matter-sponsored World Cup skaters last year. Now, after trying them, I can see why. These are the best rolling wheels that I have tested. They sacrifice some comfort for speed, and they wear down faster than some wheels, but they provide superior performance. This would be my top pick when racing on smooth road courses.
Aside from smooth road courses, these wheels work well for training on bare wood floors.
Combine with natural Juice F2 on a medium-good road course or with the green Juice F3 on a rough course.