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Inline Racing Skates and Equipment

Gator Brake Ready to Roll - Gatorback Skate has released its new bolt-on brake for speed skates. The $50 brake can be fitted to most 100mm frames. It is designed to be used with the GatorLeash, which attaches to the frame and provides extra power for stopping. Inventor Mark Farnsworth says that the Gatorback system allows skaters to stop as quickly as cyclists. (Go to Gatorback announcement.) (Feb. 14, 2006)

Bont Unveils New Three Point Boot - The wraps have come off Bont's 2006 Vaypor 3D. The innovative new racing boot attaches to the frame at three points rather than the usual two. The extra mount allows the boot maker to use less carbon fiber, which makes for a lighter boot. ... Always thinking, Bont is releasing a version of the boot with a special fit for Asian feet. (Go to Bont announcement.) (Feb. 8, 2006)

Fila Skates Arrive in U.S. Market - The competition heats up again in the U.S. skate market with the introduction of Fila skates. And Fila won't just be selling skates in the United States. It will be putting them on the feet of its new Fila USA racing team. (Go to the Planet story.) (Jan. 9, 2006)

Bont Puts the 100mm Racing Skate on a Diet! - The Australian skate maker Bont has turned up the heat in the market for 100mm racing skates by dramatically cutting the weight of its high-end Vaypors. The 2006 Vaypors will weigh a full 300 grams less than this year's model, Bont says. The company has achieved the weight loss in large part by developing a lightweight (126 grams) frame that attaches to the boot with three, rather than two, bolts. (Go to the Planet story.) (Nov. 7, 2005)

2006 Lightning Will Have 90mm Wheels, Longer Frame - Rollerblade is streamlining its Lightning line of marathon skates. Gone next year will be models with four 84mm wheels. Instead, the basic model will be a 4x90mm skate with a new longer frame. (Go to the Planet Preview of the 2006 Lightning.) (Sept. 29, 2005)

Rollerblade's Speed and Marathon Skates for 2006 - Rollerblade is updating its line of speed and marathon skates next year. The lineup includes new lightweight frames, a Reebok-like pump system and the company's first-ever 100mm skates specifically for women. But one thing you won't find, at least in the USA, is a carbon-shell model like this year's popular Lightning 10. (Go to story and photos) (Sept. 28, 2005)

Bont Releases Low-Cost, Start-up Race Package - The venerable Australian company Bont has come out with an inexpensive speed skate aimed at skaters entering the sport. The complete skate consists of of Assassin boots, Inferno 4 x 90mm frames, 88 mm Cragar wheels and Baby Bont bearings. The price is a bargain: $329. (Go to a photo of the skate with comments by Bont's Glenn Koshi.) (Sept. 26, 2005)

Miller Sports Plans New Boots, Frames for 2006 - Miller Sports is redesigning its speed boots for 2006 and also plans to update its line of frames, said co-owner Derek Highstreet. The California-based company used to be one of the most prominent makers of inline speed and fitness skates in the United States. But in recent years, it has focused its efforts in Europe and Asia. This year, it did not update its U.S. product line or web page, leading some skaters to wonder if the company was still in business. "We are certainly still here," Highstreet told the Planet. (More Industry News.) (Aug. 11, 2005)

The Garmin Forerunner: Made for Runners, Great for Skaters - Want to know how fast you skate and how far you go -- and be able to quickly scan through two years worth of workout stats? If so, consider buying the Garmin Forerunner 201. Contributing writer Travis Brown says that though this GPS device was designed for runners, it's great for skaters, too. (Here's the Planet review!) (Aug. 2, 2005)

Tru-Rev's New Racing Frame Will Allow Switching of Front Wheel Size - Tru-Rev's new hybrid frame will allow skaters to switch between 90 and 100 mm wheels in the front position of their skates. The Switchblade frame will come with inserts that can be flipped up or down to accommodate the different wheel sizes. Tru-Rev is suggesting using the 90 mm position for indoor racing, the 100 mm outdoors. The frames will be available in two to three weeks. (Here's Tru-Rev's announcement on Race Reports.) (June 9, 2005)

Forget Dr. Scholl's ... The Best Solution for Blistered Feet Is Ezeefit's Ankle Booties - I skated with pain for more than a month after my new racing skates arrived. I tried all the recommended remedies, but nothing worked. ... Then I got my feet into a pair of Ezeefit ankle booties. ... Ah, what a relief it is! Happy feet are back again. (Here's the Planet review of the Ezeefit ankle booties.) (April 23, 2005)

Rollerblade to Roll Out New Racing Skate in June - Rollerblade plans to update its line of inline racing skates this June with the Problade World Champion. The skate will feature a new lightweight frame and four evenly-spaced 100 mm wheels. The company says Rollerblade World team member Alexis Contin is already competing in the new skate. No information is yet available on pricing. (The company's current top-of-the-line racing skate, the Problade 100, sells for $500 online.) (April 22, 2005)

110 mm Wheels Were Breaking Out All Over the Place in Seoul - It wasn't just Franck Cardin of the Saab-Salomon team that made the jump to 110 mm wheels at the Seoul World Inline Cup. Supersonic's Juan Carlos Betancur reports that the French skater Tristan Loy also raced on the company's 110 mm wheels. And Hyper's Jim Larson is reporting that inline-to-ice champ KC Boutiette skated on his company's prototype 110 mm wheels. (Boutiette was on a hybrid 110-100-110-110 frame.) ... How did the Bigger Big Wheels perform? Not bad, judging from the race results: Cardin finished second; Loy, fourth. (There's no word yet on Boutiette's finish.) (Here's a photo Boutiette on his 110s near the end of the race.) (April 12, 2005)

GatorStop Nearly Beats Bike in Demo at Orlando Marathon - It was an epic battle between blade and bike: inline speed skater Mark Farnsworth and his Gatorback braking system versus a bike racer and his hand brake. Side by side, they sprinted until they reached 25 mph. Then, simultaneously, they hit the brakes to see who could stop first. "The result was close with the cyclist barely beating me," says Farnsworth, who is preparing for the launch of his patent-pending GatorStop braking system. ... Even in defeat, the GatorStop sounds impressive. (Here's the Gatorback web site.) (More Planet News about Racing Skates and Equipment.) (April 11, 2005)

New Company Prepares for Launch of Braking System for Racing Skates - Gatorback Skate is preparing to launch a braking system that the company says will make outdoor speed skating safer and more fun. The GatorStop system will have two parts: a heel brake that attaches to the frame of speed skates, and a leverage device that attaches to the boot. To use the brake, skaters will reach down and pull a leash connected to the leverage device. Company founder Mark Farnsworth says the GatorStop works better than previous brakes for inline speed skates. He will demonstrate the brake Sunday at the Great Orlando Inline Marathon in Florida. (Here's the Gatorback web site.) (April 8, 2005)

Supersonic Will Ship New Wheels, Including 110 mm Giant, This Week - Supersonic plans to ship its new Serial Winner Edition wheels this week. Company co-founder Pascal Briand said the new wheels provide more "grip" than Supersonic's other offerings. The bright yellow wheels will be official equipment for the 2005 Saab-Salomon racing team, of which Briand is a member. ... The new wheels have already proven themselves, he said. "Three weeks ago, I won a marathon with the 90 mm version; and last weekend, (teammate and fellow co-founder) Franck Cardin became the French long distance champion (70 K) with the 110mm version." The wheels will come in sizes of 80, 84, 90, 100 and 110 mm for both standard and micro bearings and in hardnesses of 83a and 85a. (Here's Supersonic's site.) (March 21, 2005)

Size Limit Halted Bont's Plans for 105 mm Wheels - The skate maker Bont had hoped to liven things up this year by introducing 105 mm racing skates. But its plan got shot down by the new 100 mm size limit of the International Roller Sports Federation. Now Bont is playing catch up. It plans to go into production soon with its 100 mm wheels. (Here's the Planet story!) (March 14, 2005)

Company Says Its New Wheels Are Revolutionary - GyroWheels is making some big claims about its new wheels. According to the company, the wheels are immune to yellowing and cracking and have "special grip power and high anti-abrasion" qualities. ... The Korean company says it uses nano-technology to apply inorganic particles to the polyurethane resin of the wheels. This, it says, gives them better grip and resistance to scratches. ... The company says it uses a technology -- which it doesn't describe (perhaps a squirt of sunscreen?) -- to protect the wheels from the sun's ultraviolet rays. ... The wheels can be ordered from Bobbink Inline Sports. Prices range from $7.60 (U.S.) for 80 mm to $13.20 for 100 mm. (February 23, 2005)

"Big Wheels Keep on Turning" - Sure, there's been a lot of hype about the new big wheels, but are they really faster? ... That's what skater Mark Farnsworth wanted to know before he made the switch. So he designed a study and tested three of the new Big Wheel frames. He and two buddies conducted a series of time trials to see how fast they were on their old frames. Then they repeated the trials with the new frames. They found they were 1 to 4 percent faster on SubZero's 90/80 frame (with three 90 mm and two 80 mm wheels); 1 to 3 percent faster on Tru Rev's 4x100 frame; and 1 to 3 percent slower on SubZero's 5/90 frame. "The good news is that if you have been considering an upgrade to bigger wheels, it really does look like they are faster right out of the box," he says. "In the words of Ike and Tina Turner, 'Big Wheels Keep on Turning ...'" (Mark Farnsworth's Frame Study) (February 23, 2005)

Are 100 mm Skates Really Faster? - Many speed skaters will tell you these days that they definitely go faster on 100 mm wheels. The big wheels, they say, give them more "roll" and that means more speed. But Canadian racer Aaron Arndt is not convinced. "So, you can feel more roll?" he asks on the Bont forum. "That's great. I am jealous. I wish I did, but I don't. Period." ... Arndt, a member of Bont's North American Racing Team and a coach with Breakaway Skate, says he is sticking with his five-wheel frame. (He doesn't say what size wheels are on the frame, but obviously they are not 100 mm.) (Click here to read the discussion.) (February 10, 2005)

Arco Comes Out With Its Own 5 x 90 mm Frame - Arco has become the latest company to come out with a frame that takes five 90 mm wheels. It advertises its new 905+ frame as being 5 percent faster, but it doesn't say faster than what! And in fact the frame is a little heavier than some of the new 5 x 90 mm frames. It weighs 206 grams. The Powerslide Mag 9, perhaps the lightest of the bunch, weighs 175 grams. ... The Arco ad announcing the new frame doesn't mention a price. ... The new 5 x 90 frames have become popular with tall speed skaters. But some shorter skaters have found their extra length gets in the way of crossover turns. (Here's a discussion about 5 x 90 mm frames at Speedskating.com.) (February 4, 2005)

Bont Shows Off Two New Stock Racing Boots - The Australian skate maker's January newsletter provides a sneak peak at two of its 2005 racing boots. The ZX5 is an update to its mid-priced boot. At $365 US, it weighs 390 grams (size 7) and will come in choice of 165, 190 or 195 mm mount spacing. It also features Bont's new Super Mold Technology, which the company trumpets as the first technology that lets skaters achieve a custom fit from a stock boot. ... The second new skate is the entry-level Assassin, which replaces the popular Shark2. At $199, it weighs a little more and is less stylish than the ZX5, but it has most of the same features, including Super Mold Technology. It will be available in mid-February; the ZX5 in mid-April. (January 31, 2005)

Company to Come Out With New GPS Device For Skaters - So far, few details are available about Navman's new GPS Sport Tool. But one model reportedly will be aimed specifically at inline skaters, (although I am not sure why a GPS device for skaters would be any different from one for runners or bicyclists?) Sport Tool will use a satellite-based global positioning system to keep track of speed and distance traveled. It will also have an alarm that will sound when your speed falls below a preset level. The inline skater's model will cost 79 ($149 US) and is due to be released Feb. 6 in the UK. No info is available on US distribution. (January 31, 2005)

Mogema Defend Decision to Release 110 mm Frame - In the face of a new world racing rule limiting wheel size to 100 mm, why come out with a frame that takes bigger wheels? The Dutch skate maker Mogema is citing a couple reasons to explain its new M155 XRR frame, which takes four 110 mm wheels. First, manufacturers learn from testing the latest technology. Second, skaters who train on the bigger wheels can improve their strength and performance on 100 mm wheels. (Read the explanation in the Mogema forum) ... Here's another reason: according to at least one reputable source, Alex Bont, wheels as large as 125 mm will be allowed in World Inline Cup marathons this year. (January 25, 2005)

Tru-Rev's New Hybrid Frame Uses Uneven Spacing to Lower Foot - The frame maker posted a picture of its new frame on Race Reports. The frame is designed to hold three 100 mm and one 90 mm ◗❈❅❅●✎✴❒◆✍✲❅❖❃●❁❉❍▲ ✈❏■❉▼▲ ◗❅❂ site) that the wide spacing between the first two wheels provides added pushing power by positioning the ball of the foot directly over the second wheel.

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