Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Halo Wheels, Straight From Heaven!


Radar has done it again, revolutionizing Roller Derby wheels with their newest offering: Halo Wheels!


Halo "H" Shaped Hub
Halo wheels were designed with an oversized hub which is shaped to have more urethane in the center and less on the edges.  Radar claims "this makes it easier to perform stops and offers excellent response. The middle of the hub has room for more urethane, which offers grip, increases control and improves ride."  And you know what?  It's absolutely true!


I tested the Halo 93a (pink hub) wheels and was super skeptical.  I'm a heavier skater so for the last couple years I preferred to skate on aluminum hubbed, 62mm wheels.  Every time I've tried to go to nylon hubbed, 59mm wheels I felt the wheels flex and felt sluggish.  However, the Halo wheels surprised me.  I absolutely loved them!


I felt no flex with the Halo wheels, felt no loss of speed, and they were very responsive.  On top of all that, they are super lightweight at about 10.6 oz per 4 pack.

Image may contain: shoes


Halo wheels only come in 59mm, which is a bit of a bummer for those of us who prefer taller wheels but the range of 6 hardnesses makes up for it.  The grippiest Halos are 86a and the hardest are 97a.


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New Solaris Pro Package


I've had many skaters purchase these wheels or rent them from my wheel library and have gotten almost all positive feedback and most wheels were purchased after being checked out.  Some skaters have had to try a couple different hardnesses before finding the right balance between speed and grip and one skater had an issue with chunking (in this case Radar replaced the wheels, no questions asked) but other than that skaters seem to love these wheels.  If you are looking to try something new, I'd definitely recommend getting some Halos.


Until we skate again!
 Shocker

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