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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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Sept. 10, 2009

What Size Wheels and Frames Are Best For a Small Foot?

QHey, Bill: How do I pick the right length frame and wheel size? I am a 40-year-old former speed skater (mostly indoors) with good technique, and I am trying to make a comeback. I'm just under 5-foot-tall, weigh 120 lbs., and wear a size 3.5 to 4 (US) boot. I don't have the luxury of experimenting with different setups, so any advice would be appreciated. - SkateGirl in North Carolina

Hi, SkateGirl: You are not far off my daughter Nicole's size. So giving you advice is going to be easy. The thing to keep in mind is plate (frame) size vs. boot size. For good technique and maneuverability, it's best to have three-quarters of a wheel in front of the toe and three-quarters of a wheel behind the heel; so the front and back of the boots extend to the hubs of the wheels.

My daughter wears a size 36.5 boot (4.5 US) and skates on the smallest possible plate for 4x100mm wheels. She uses the Bont 3-point setup with a very light 11.92-inch frame. (The wheels fit so close together on this setup that she sometimes has to sand down the mold joins so they don't rub.)

Most other skaters are going with bigger frames, which are reputed to be faster. But Nicole has found success on her short frames and smaller wheels. During the last three years at the World Championships, she has finished second, third and fifth in the marathon; first and third in the 1000 meters; and first, second and third in the 10,000-meter points elimination on the track.

Currently, she is looking at a 105mm setup; and at some point, she may switch to a 110mm wheels in combination with smaller wheels for road courses and marathons. But at this point, she finds 110s to be cumbersome.

Cheers, Bill

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