It Will Be Rolling Out Two Big Wheel Models for 2005
By Robert "Wheels Like Donuts!" Burnson
Rollerblade and K2 won't be the only skate makers trolling the market with Big Wheel skates next year. Salomon has refashioned its high-end Pilot Pro line with two hi-low model, one with three 100 mm wheels and one 84 mm wheel and the other with three 90s and one 84.
It's unclear why Salomon went with the hi-low setups, featuring three large and one smaller wheel on each skate. The new Big Wheel skates from Rollerblade and K2 have uniform wheels sizes: either 100 mm or 90 mm.
Uniform 100 mm setups have become popular with professional racers, although some prefer hi-low setups and still others are racing on traditional frames with five 80 or 84 mm wheels.
Still others skaters are experimenting with jumbo frames with five 90 mm wheels. And at least one skater, Eddy Matzger, is experimenting with two 100 mm wheels in front and two 110 mm wheels in the back. (Eddy recently won the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate on such a skate.)
Salomon's Pilot V Pro 2, which will be available in the spring of 2005, will have a 100 mm wheel in front, followed by an 84 mm wheel and two more 100s.
Unlike most of the Big Wheel skates, it will have the standard 165 mm spacing between frame mounts. That will make it easier for skaters to customize their skates with other frames.
The new Pilot V's boot looks much like the current Pilot Pro model. It will include a power strap, a cover flap over the laces, and side cuts for ventilation. It will have a heat-moldable Custom Fit pro liner and come with Twincam Gel ILQ bearings. Pricing is not clear. A sample model recently sold on Skates.com for $449 (US).
For skaters who are not yet ready for 100 mm wheels, Salomon will offer the Pilot 9 Pro 2 (essentially the Pilot V Pro 2's little brother.) Instead of three 100 mm wheels, it will have three 90 mm wheels (along with the 84 mm wheel in the second slot.)
The Pilot V Pro 2 will not come with a brake. (No word yet on whether its little brother will have one.)
The Pilot 9 Pro 2 will come in a women's model.
The new skates are due to be released in Spring 2005.