Product News:

Sneak Peak at the 2006 Rollerblades

New Frame Will Stretch to Fit Both Street and Road Skating

New Product to Include Ultra-Light Racing Frame and More Big Wheels

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

A sneak peak at Rollerblade's 2006 product line reveals a company further embracing Big Wheels while working hard to maintain a leadership position in the inline market.

While continuing to offer recreational and fitness skates with wheels as small as 76 mm, the company will be increasing its offering of 90- and 100-mm skates.

Next year's product line will include ten Big Wheel models, including the company's first 100-mm fitness-marathon skate for women.

Does Whatever a Spider Can

To compliment the high-end Big Wheel skates, Rollerblade will fit them with its new lightweight Pro Fuel and Top Fuel spider-web frames.

The frames are made of 7000-series aluminum. The Pro Fuel, which takes four 100 mm wheels, will weigh in at an 190 grams, the company says.

One of Rollerblade's most significant innovations -- and marketing experiments -- for 2006 will be its introduction of an adjustable-length frame.

After removing two bolts, skaters will be able to telescope the frames in or out.

The Long and Short of It

In this way, they will be able to choose a shorter wheelbase (10.8 inches) for tight turns and quick starts and a longer wheelbase (11.8 inches) for higher cruising speed on roads and trails.

The frame will be standard equipment on two of the company's 90-mm fitness skates, one for men, the other for women.

Most of rest of the changes for 2006 are more subtle:

  • The blue and white color scheme of the women's 2005 Lightnings warms to a more flashy gold and white.
  • The 5-wheel men's Lightning will have a button on the back cuff, similar to a Reebok pump shoe, that will inflate the liner around the ankle, giving a closer fit.
  • A new shell made of two different kinds of plastic will reduce weight "without sacrificing strength" for the mid-level rec-fitness models.

(Continued ...)

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Related Reading:

Russian photos of the 2006 Rollerblades

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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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