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Ask Bill Begg!

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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

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July 15, 2009

What Wheels Are Best for Inline Marathons?

QHi Bill: I will be skating in my first inline marathon in a couple of months. I need new wheels and am wondering what wheel hardness is best for most marathons. I was told 84A was a good choice. Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. - Chris, Andover, MN

Hi, Chris: Wheel hardness is one factor to consider when buying wheels — and it's very important. But just as important is rebound. You can find one 84A wheel that rolls and rolls and another that goes nowhere. The general rule of thumb is the rougher the road, the more you need rebound.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to durometer is that manufacturer ratings are often inaccurate. I was just reminded of this after we arrived in Taiwan for the World Games. We brought several sets of MPC Streetfights, and I tested each with a high-quality durometer. A new set from Germany registered 84A; an older set, 88A; and a set we bought in Zug, 86A.

That said, here are some race-tested wheel recommendations:

  • If you will be skating on medium to smooth bitumen (asphalt), use 84A or 85A wheels with good rebound, like the yellow Matters.
  • If the surface will be a little rougher, try the green Matters.
  • For big open areas, go with the mint green Bont Hi Rollers.
  • For rougher roads with lots of corners, use the Bont Cabriolet.

I should also mention MPC's new Road War wheels and Luigino's Atom wheels. AM Wing and Gyro also make some competitive wheels. And Hyper is back.

But in fact, Bont Mints and Matter Yellows have won most World Inline Cup marathons this season.

Cheers, Bill

 

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