Wheels, now that is a question for many of us, and still being quite a novice in the roller derby world, and a bit of a wheel collector - or would like to be if my funds would allow it - what are other people’s thoughts?
I started off with Anarchy Mayhems and the bog standard starter kit, with no knowledge at all about what it was all about - skates are skates or so I thought.
These were soon ditched as they rubbed my feet and I wanted some leather uppers, so I replaced them with the Suregrip Rebel Avengers with the wide wheels which I couldn’t even tell you the durometer or diameter!!
Our team at this stage (in it’s first year) never really thought about wheels, we had what we had with the skates and that was that, we were just coming together and we had a lot of learning to do on so many levels and still are, but back to the wheels!! In May 2013 we were playing in Plymouth (my Cherry Popper) against Plymouth B and London Battersea Power were playing Plymouth A. We shared changing rooms with the London team and the London girls asked us what wheels we were using and we just looked at each other and watched them go out with different wheels to check out the floor!!!! This moment must have had moved a cog in our minds, as not far from here, we started experimenting!!!
My first purchase was the Reckless Envy’s, slims, and these helped to build my confidence a lot, but they were not right for me with the venues we were skating in. I then changed to Reckless Evaders 91a x 4 and 95a x 4, which I found I could stop better and they gave me a bit of slide, and I loved these wheels, until hitting the Truro Leisure Centre floor where ice skating springs to mind!!!! All was good in my wheel world until I changed my boots and plates to Bont hybrids mixed with the white magnesium plates (I am not going to talk about my love of these boots here, other than I do seriously love them!) and I just could not get on with the wheels on these extra light boots and skates, and also I had taken a few pounds off myself, which also makes a huge difference on wheels! I tried out a friends Roller Bones day of the dead 88a and 91a then this was too grippy so 91a and 93a, and although this felt great, it felt too clumpy. I then went to Anarchy in the UK 2014 and was persuaded to try the Radar Prestos, and went for the 93a and 95a 59mm combo and this provided a good level of grip and slide for me on our local floor however I have invested in the 91a’s to mix and match for other venues. I didn’t even think when I started out in this sport how much a wheel change could change my skating!! We all have our wheels we like, however I would love to try many others!!
So I have a wheel fetish, I can’t lie, but as I have been told the equipment is only as good as the user! I do believe however, that the right equipment gives you the confidence to move forward and improve your skills, and learn new ones! Wheels are expensive, so ask your team to try out their wheels, and also other local teams, and derby friends. For those that live in the UK there is a company in the UK that lets you rent wheels rocknrollerderby.com so check them out if you would like to try before you buy.
I love to hear wheel stories, so if you have any thing to add, please comment below.