New 3-Bolt Design Allows Company to Cut Weight of Frame, Boot
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 Vaypor setup (boot, frame and four 100mm wheels) will weigh 300 grams less than this year's model, the company says.
Bont has managed much of the weight-loss by developing a new frame, the S-frame, which connects to boots using three, rather than the standard two, bolts.
The S-frame prototype weighs a scant 126 grams, says marketing manager Alexander Bont.
Most current 4x100mm frames weigh 180 to 220 grams. (Bont's current 100mm frame, the Sniper, weighs 195 grams.)
Bont says the new three-bolt frame was developed to correct a problem with current 100mm skates: wheel rubbing.
Most skate makers have stretched out the distance between wheel mounts (the points where the frame bolts screw into the boot) to accommodate 100mm wheels.
The old standard distance was 165 millimeters. The spacing used for most 100mm skates is 195 or (less often) 190 millimeters.
The greater distance allows the second wheel from the front to sit just behind the ball of the foot, thus keeping the skate (and the skater's center of balance) closer to the ground.
But "when we increase this gap to 195mm, there is the tendency for the carbon fiber base of the boot to flex causing the second wheel to rub on the boot," Bont says.
To correct the problem, Bont developed the S-frame, which, by using three bolts, greatly cuts the distance between frame mounts.
As a result, the frame didn't have to be as stiff, which meant Bont could make it lighter.
The change also allowed the company to use less carbon fiber to stiffen the bottom of its boot, reducing the weight even more.
"The combination of the 3 point Vaypor boot, S-frame, and Wayv wheel will make Bonts 2006 skate approximately 300 grams lighter than the 2005 skate," the company said in a press release.
The skate will be available in January or February.
Bont has yet to announce the price for the new skate. The 2005 Sniper 100mm frame costs $289; the Vaypor 3D boot, $799.
Bont is applying for a worldwide patent for the three-mount setup and plans to license the technology to other manufacturers.
(posted on Nov. 7, 2005)
Read Bont's press release
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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson
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