Monday, November 20, 2017

PowerDyne Arius Platinum Plates

Young man on the Edvard Petrini's
pedaled roller skates known as Takypod in
Sweden, circa 1910
Did you know that roller skates have been around since 1743?  I had no clue until I started researching the history of skates for this article.  A few years ago a family friend gave me a pair of antique roller skates complete with  metal wheels and a skate key which I now proudly display in my shoppe.  It's crazy to imagine people skating in them and actually enjoying it, but they must have because roller skating never really went away.

In recent history, creative innovators have advanced the design, performance, and functionality of roller skates.  Many of these changes involved using new materials, tweaking angles, or shifting the placement of different components; however, the mechanics pretty much stayed the same...until the Arius plate was created.  

About 5 years ago, PowerDyne introduced Arius Red plates and boasted that they were "lighter, stronger, more stable, more powerful, more maneuverable, more durable, and more efficient than any other plate, hands down."  That's right, they used the word "more" 5 times in that one sentence.

To PowerDyne's credit, Arius Red plates really were quite impressive.  They were unbelievably light, could take a beating, and performed well, but the most surprising aspect of these plates was the absence of a kingpin!

PowerDyne Arius Red Plates
Now, as we know for all other plates, kingpins hold cushions and trucks in place and are adjusted by tightening/loosening the kingpin nut for optimal performance.  Well, with the Arius plates, the axles press the trucks against specially designed Butterfly Cushions...eliminating the need for a kingpin.  Once you find the cushion hardness/combination that's right for you, there's no need to make further adjustments.

Arius Red Butterfly Cushions
I have talked to quite a few skaters who used/still use Arius Red plates.  Many said it took a bit of an adjustment period, from 1 practice to two whole weeks of skating, before they felt comfortable.  Finding the right cushion hardness by trying different combinations seems to be key; however, most said that after they got everything set up they loved how the plates performed.  As a dealer, I got to know the plates fairly intimately when mounting them to boots or working on them for customers and I found them to have a couple design issues.

The first was that the original toe stop screw was difficult to tighten enough to firmly hold a toe stop.  PowerDyne ended up coming out with a new toe stop screw that helped with this issue, but you still had to tighten it down hard to get the toe stop to stay put.  The second frustrating design was that the cushions were held in place by tiny screws, 1 on each side of the cushion which meant 4 tiny screws per plate, 8 total for the pair.  These screws were a pain to remove/install and were easily lost.

Apparently PowerDyne listened to their customers because, in 2016, they introduced the Arius Platinum plate.  This version featured the same innovations as the original Arius model, but also included a couple upgrades making them not only perform better, but easier to work with.  You can see in the pic below that the toe stop screw is now located toward the front of the plate instead of behind the toe stop, the new design makes securing the stop much easier.

Arius Platinum Plate

New Split Butterfly Cushions

PowerDyne also redesigned the trucks and cushions, eliminating those 8 tiny screws altogether (yay!).  Unfortunately, the new Split Butterfly Cushions are not compatible with the old plates and vice versa, but it's a small price to pay for making the cushions so much easier to replace/swap out.

A couple months ago, I ordered myself some Arius Platinum plates mounted on the new Solaris boots (my next article will cover Solaris boots).  The first time I tried the new setup, I encountered ran an issue that I wasn't expecting... I couldn't control my feet!  I felt like my skates were moving in and out on their own and I didn't feel comfortable lifting my wheels off the ground to do a simple crossover.  I must say, I freaked out quite a bit on the inside but tried to remain calm.  I changed out the cushions out for harder ones, which seemed to help somewhat but I could tell something else was wrong.  After trying the new skates out twice without much improvement, I grabbed my old skates to compare my plates...the axles on the Arius plates were spaced an inch further apart than my old Venus plates! According to the Arius plate size chart, I should need a size 8 plate for my size 8.5 boots and that is the size Riedell mounted on my boots before sending them to me.  I ended up removing the size 8 plates and mounted size 6 instead, which only had about a quarter inch larger axle distance.  The next time I tried them out I was able to skate like I had with my old setup, the difference was like night and day.  I'd definitely recommend comparing the wheel distance of the Arius plates with whatever you are currently skating on to see if you may need a size other than what is suggested.

Now that I've been able to skate with the correct size Arius Platinum plates for a few weeks, I can say I really do like them.  They feel different than plates with kingpins...I feel more stable yet jukey/agile at the same time.  I haven't had any issues with my toe stops, the screws tighten as expected and don't loosen on their own.  Playing around with the different hardnesses of cushions has been interesting, the plates come with 4 sets of cushions so you shouldn't need to purchase separate cushions right away.  PowerDyne offers 9 different cushion hardnesses for the new plates which means it's likely there is a combination for any skater out there.

Custom Solaris Boots with Arius Platinum Plates
(Pic courtesy of Jules Hannah)
You're probably asking yourself, "if these plates are so great, why doesn't everyone have them?"  Well, the $349 price tag is definitely a little steep.  One option that isn't going to be around for very long is to go with the Arius Red plates currently on clearance for $199.  Very limited availability on these!  These are no longer available. 

If you end up purchasing the Arius Platinum plates, they could very well be the last set of plates you ever need to buy, which isn't a bad investment.

As always, feel free to send comments/questions/feedback to me at

Until We Skate Again,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to post your comment. If you asked a question, I will do my best to post an answer within a couple days. If you need an answer quicker than that, feel free to e-mail me at

Until we skate again!