Friday, May 12, 2017

S1 Lifer Visor Helmets

Hello Derbyverse!  I know it's been a long time since I've posted, I'm sure you know how life can get in the way sometimes...in any case, there are quite a few new products on the market that I've been trying out or getting feedback on so I can pass this info onto you!

Glitter Black Visor Helmet

The first product I'd like to talk about is the S-One Lifer Visor helmet.  The original Visor helmet was released a little over a year ago and sold out quickly; however, as with many first time products on the market, it had a few tweaks to work out.  A few months ago, the Visor 2.0 was released with improvements such as a better way to keep helmet panties from slipping off and a removeable visor for those times you don't want to use it, it gets scratched up, or you want to swap out with the Iridium visor which acts like sunglasses for your helmet.  The Iridium visors are not approved for WFTDA play, but would be awesome for trail skating on sunny days.
Iridium Visor
Clear Visor





Caveat: I haven't personally worn the Lifer Visor helmet.  I've worn Lifer helmets for years and haven't had any issues with them. From personal observations as well as testimonials, some skaters tend to get hit in the face more often than others or wear glasses which can cause quite a bit of damage when hit by the stray shoulder.  Other skaters wear contacts which dry out pretty quickly when skating on the track and the Visor helps to prevent the wind from drying them out.
Silvie Postlewaight,
Currently Skating With Glasgow Roller Derby 



I received reviews from quite a few skaters who have been using the Lifer Visor helmet and here are the pros and cons they mentioned:

Pros:

  • Visor protected the skater's face from a hit that ended up gouging the visor. (Potential eye damage avoided)
  • Protects the eyes and noses of shorter skaters.
  • Helps keep bugs from flying in your eyes when skating outside.
  • Visor is easily removeable/replaceable so you can choose to wear it for some activities and take it off for others where you are less likely to get hit in the face.
  • "I feel like I look really darn cool when wearing this helmet." -Lauren Malis

Gold Glitter Lifer Visor

Cons:

  • Visor got scratched during the first part of an international game to the point vision was impaired.  Unfortunately, this skater lives in a country where getting a replacement visor is cost prohibitive otherwise getting a replacement visor would quickly solve this issue.
  • Some skaters reported the Visor helmets were hotter than the normal Lifer helmets; yet still not as hot as many of the hockey type helmets they previously tried.
  • One skater stated that the extra weight bothered her, none of the other skaters mentioned this.
  • One skater mentioned when being hit from the side, the noise was startlingly loud.
  • Takes some practice getting helmet panties off and on.

Glossy Red Visor Helmet
For the most part, I got very positive feedback on the helmets.  Most of the skaters just stated that they loved their helmets with no extra information to back it up.  In my experience, when skaters have issues with their gear, they have no qualms stating so...when things are going great and working well, I usually don't hear much feedback.

Overall, if you have issues getting hit in the upper face due to being a shorter skater or just from skating styles of those around you, I'd definitely give the S-One Lifer Visor a shot.  One thing I'd like to point out, the visors come with a thin removable film on them so if things look blurry at first, make sure you've taken this film off.

Purple Visor Helmet

Hopefully that gives you a little insight on these helmets.  If you have any further feedback, feel free to leave a comment or message me at 2N1SkateShoppe@gmail.com


The next articles that I currently have in the works are for Halo, Savant, and Anabolix wheels as well as the new 187 Slim elbow pads and Smith Derby knee pads.  If you have any feedback on any of these items, I'd love to hear from you!

I'm also working on some general Roller Derby articles for Marni Boer's project All Things Derby, so check out all the goodies she's got going on over there.

 Until we skate again! Shocker

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New Gumball and Superball Stoppers Toe Stops From Grn Mnstr

Revamped Gumball and newly introduced Superball toe stops have arrived, but are they worth trying out?

The original Gumball toe stops were the first stops developed specifically for Roller Derby and they were amazing compared to the other options available; but they had two annoying flaws.

  • They needed to be broken in which usually involved a lot of turn around toe stops on a rough surface; and
  • They wore down rather quickly.


Let's take a look at the new Gumballs.  

The packaging is almost the same as the old style, retail at $20/pair, and they are available in two stem lengths; Standard 30mm and Short 17mm.  However, this is where the similarities end.  Grn Mnstr listened to skaters when developing the revamped Gumball stops, which now feature:

  • More material;
  • Better durability;
  • A pre-molded flat spot for more usable surface area; and 
  • Fancy new multi-colored stems: Blue, Green, Magenta, Red.


When I first received these new toe stops, I was skeptical.  The material felt the same to me as the old ones and I thought I'd have to do a bunch of turn around toe stops to break them in; however, that wasn't the case.  They performed well right out of the package.  

One of my teammates also tried them and had this to say;

"The new ones break in a lot easier! I didn't have to go outside to wear a flat spot, which was nice considering the snow ruined that plan! The transition wasn't weird at all, I played in a game right after putting them on with no issues. I also like the pretty colors!"  -Purrenrage, Rage City Rollergirls




Both the new Gumball and Superball stops come with 4 different colored stems, which are randomly placed in packages so skaters don't know which colors are included until the package is opened.  The stems are unmatched, which makes my OCD twitch a little, but the 12 year old girl in me secretly likes that every package contains two different colored stems.




The Superball toe stops come packaged in an interesting cube box which features illustrations of a caped, roller skate wearing super hero stopping a train and bounding over tall buildings.

There is also a window which shows off the most unique aspect of these stops...they are the first dual durometer (dual hardness) toe stops.  The majority of the Superball Toe Stops is comprised of classic natural Gumball rubber for ultimate grip and traction; however, for better durability, eight slightly harder pods that run through the stop were added.


Dime for Scale (sorry, out of bananas)


The packaging is much larger than any other toe stops I've come across, but after opening the box the reason becomes clear.  Superball toe stops are HUGE!  At 60mm wide (2.36"), these are the largest toe stops I've heard of.  They are 3mm larger than the Big Bloc toe stops and just over half an inch smaller than a regulation size hockey puck.  (see image to the left for scale).




The stops are shaped in a way to prevent wheel bite (when wheels grind against toe stops) and I found this to be essential due to their size.  They also feature hollow stems which makes them lighter than they look (see image to the right).

Grn Mnstr states that this combination of dual compounds and oversized stopping surface insures the best in stopping power and stability, and I must agree.  I am often skating backwards, bracing my teammates as a jammer attempts to break through our wall.  With other toe stops, I would find myself sliding a bit but with these I was able to keep the wall stationary.  The grip and stability really are incredible.  Here is what another teammate of mine thought about them:

"Pros- Super stable & solid and good to go right out of the box.
Cons- Aesthetics. They're comically, almost obscenely large and goofy looking.
Looks aside, I really like them and am looking forward to seeing how they wear."
 -Cybil Shephurt, Rage City Rollergirls
Superball toe stops retail for $32/pair, but considering they all the features they offer and their performance so far, I think they are worth it.

If you are interested in purchasing either of these stops, here are links to the 2N1 Skate Shoppe pages for each of them:

Gumballs
Superballs

Until we skate again! Shocker

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Faster Wheels

Congratulations to the Roller Derby haiku winner, Alysha Shipley, for submitting the following poem:

First lace up your skates,
hit the track and free your mind.
Roller Derby Chick!

To claim your prize, please send me an email at 2N1SkateShoppe@gmail.com with your shipping address and you'll get a box of goodies in the mail!

Today, I'd like to discuss Faster wheels.

Faster Wheels in 3 (Dual) Hardnesses

Revolutionary
Faster sent me a set a while ago to try out and I must say, they are quite interesting.  The wheel is designed in 2 parts, the tire (urethane part of the wheel) and the hub (inner part in which the bearings sit).  When the tire gets worn down or has been regrooved a few times, it can be removed from the metal hub and replaced with new tires.

Faster Tire
Faster Hub




















Price
Many experience a bit of sticker shock when they first see Faster wheels' initial price (around $150 for a full set of 8 wheels); however, replacement tires range in price from $75 to $85.  This may still seem like quite a bit of money for just the outer portion of the wheel...but most of Faster's wheels are dual durometer.

Dual Durometer
There are a couple different styles of dual durometer (dual hardness) wheels on the market.  The Juice Wheels Martini series is comprised of a hard urethane core with a stickier surrounding layer.  Faster created wheels where the outer, white portion of the tire is hard and the inner, colored strip grippy (see pic of complete wheels above).  This allows skaters to evolve from pusher setups (which I don't recommend for flat-track derby) to having a whole set of matching wheels.

Importance of Consistency
Some skaters use a "pusher" setup, which usually means the left wheels (when viewing skates from above) are stickier/softer than the right wheels.  I don't advocate this type of setup for most Roller Derby skaters.  All players, regardless of position, need to be able to push off their wheels in any direction.  Jammers need to juke and blockers need to hit to the outside as well as inside of the track.  This becomes trickier when skating on wheels set up to grip in one direction and not the other.  Pusher wheels are great when speed skating, but when it comes to Roller Derby, the action occurs in every direction.  The dual durometer Faster wheels offer ensures consistent grip in any direction.

Pros and Cons
Pros:
  • Consistent grip while not sacrificing speed.
  • Removable and replaceable urethane tire.
  • Attractive wheel composition (important to some skaters).
  • Variety of durometers, widths, and heights available to choose from.
  • Created and sold by actual Roller Derby skaters!

Cons:
  • On the heavy side of the Roller Derby wheel spectrum.
  • Initial price may be an issue for some skaters.

There are a lot of skaters who love Faster wheels and I would recommend anyone in the market for a new set to consider them.  If you don't want to plunk down $160 before trying them out, check a set out from the 2N1 Wheel Library for a $50 deposit and you can skate on them for 2 weeks before deciding whether to return or purchase them. 

Until we skate again!
Shocker