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 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

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

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
  • 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!

  • 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!