Monday, February 18, 2013

Catching Up With the Undead

I was finally able to test out Sure Grip Zombie wheels for the past few weeks.  They are a recently introduced (within the last year) roller skate wheel available in three sizes; Max, Mid, and Low, and three hardnesses; 89a, 92a, and 95a.  All the wheels are a nice sleek black urethane and the hubs are colored are the stats: 

  • Zombie 58mm Low – Smaller 58mm outer diameter and slimmer 38mm width wheels provide instant acceleration and increased lateral response.
  • Zombie 62mm Mid – Slimmer 38mm width for increased lateral response.
  • Zombie 62mm Max – 42mm full width wheel design for maximum grip and stability.
  • 89A Purple Core – Polished concrete and other slippery surfaces for insane grip. Can also be used as a pusher wheel.
  • 92A Black Core – For use on coated surfaces and tile. Loaded with an insane mix of grip and speed.
  • 95A Red Core – For use on sticky surfaces, track, or soft skate court where a hard wheel is desired for increased roll.

These wheels look sharp, but how do they perform?

Normally, I wear wheels that are about 90a hardness for practice, so I tried out a combination of 89a/92a in the Low size.  Aluminum hub wheels are usually reported to be less grippy than those with nylon hubs so I was prepared to slide all over the place-this didn't happen.  I was so stuck to the track I didn't dare try a hockey stop at full speed for fear of snapping an ankle.  Aluminum hub wheels don't flex under a skater's weight like nylon hubs, thus making them roll faster, have a smoother ride, and (usually) gives the skater less grip.  This can be especially helpful for us skaters with a bit more heft.

Once I got over how grippy these wheels were, I was pleasantly surprised at how these rolled around the track.  The ride was smooth, I didn't feel any noticeable weight difference, and even though I couldn't slide at all my speed wasn't compromised.

Some of the wheels had little pieces of urethane coming off of them.  It looked like some of the urethane had gotten onto the aluminum hub during production and ended up coming off after the wheels were used...none of the pieces I saw coming off would make a difference in the way the wheel worked, it was just aesthetically unpleasing.

Another item skaters have contacted me about is that sometimes bearings do not want to stay in the wheel when changing wheels out...this is something that occurs with a lot of aluminum hubs due to the rigidity of the metal.  This is actually not something to worry about as long as the bearings aren't moving around in the hub.  It might be a little annoying, but it's worse to get a bearing stuck in a wheel!

We have sold quite a few sets of Zombie wheels in all sizes and hardnesses and almost all of the feedback has been positive.  I would recommend these for skaters who are ready to step things up from a nylon hub but may not be ready to spend a lot of money.  At $55 for a 4 pack, Sure Grip has produced a decent wheel just about every skater can afford.

To sum things up, here are the Pros and Cons of the Sure Grip Zombie wheels:

Fast, smooth roll
Light in weight
Cool looking
Relatively inexpensive

Grippier than expected
Small amount of peeling may occur
Bearings may slip out when changing wheels

Have you tried these?  If so, tell us what you think in the comments...

Until we skate again,

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently skating Zombies (Low + 95A). I won them in a contest right before Christmas and since I wasn't dishing out the money, I decided to go for the size I'd never skated before (previous wheels - Roller Bones Turbos/mids and max types of wheels). I tried 58mms for a couple of laps before, but wanted a stiffer hub, so the Lows where the ideal choice for me.

    I was surprised at the grip of the 95s! Even in an unheated practice space, -30° weather outside, they grip, and are very predictable.
    As for smoothness of roll, I can't really tell, I've mostly rolled on very rough concrete.
    Bearings do slip out, but they're not ridiculously loose either - A happy medium really.

    I agree with your pros, and your cons are pros to me (not the peeling, obviously!)

    I would definitely get another set once this one is shot!

    Édith Paf
    Fredericton's Capital City Rollers

    p.s.: These wheels do not keep their grooves for long (I'm an aggressive plow stopper, oops!), but I don't believe it affects the grip.


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Until we skate again!