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Slalom Cone Skating Forum Discussions about slalom cone skating, high-jump, and other freestyle trick skating. (Note that vert, street, and park skating discussions should be posted in our aggressive skating forum.)

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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:49 PM   #1
Shaw
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Default Are entry-level slalom skates too expensive?

In the US, freeskates have for the most part started at $200. There are cheaper options now (RB80, PS Metropolis), but those are still ~$170. This isn't a high price tag for an enthusiast, but I've always wondered if the price tag for these skates were a bit daunting for beginners who don't know whether or not they'd want to commit to skating.

Personally, I started learning slalom with a pair of Chinese Rollerfuns, which were significantly cheaper than those options while still being a hard-shelled freeskate. The skates weren't the best, but they were good enough to learn on and held up pretty well as I learned most of the basics of slalom and slides.

Recently, I've been toying with the idea of starting my own online store to sell entry-level freeskate options, and I'm certain that I can offer a quality freeskate for under $150. I'm not sure what the rules regarding advertising on this forum are, but I haven't fully committed to the idea yet and I'm still trying to gauge how much interest there would be in cheaper entry-level freeskates.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 08:22 AM   #2
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situation is same in AUS and probably the same around the world barring china/korea.

the cheapest freeskates are typically in the range of ~190+, and there is not much anyone can do about it given that a rubbish pair of soft recreational skates in a department store is already 50+

the biggest issue is that the build of a freeskate is much more different to a pair of rental skates, and it is difficult to get a feel of the sport unless you are willing to invest a significant amount of money (compared to other sports) into it. unfortunately, unless the price of the freeskate is significantly cheaper than 150, or if rental boots are built comparable to freeskates in terms of rigidity and ankle support, it would remain difficult to get newcomers into the sport.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 08:03 PM   #3
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The way things are looking, I can probably go significantly lower than 150. I have secondhand experience with low-mid tier skates in China, but not with the really cheap or more expensive models, so I'll have to test them to see how they hold up.

As it stands though, the mid-tier models should still sell at a very competitive price, and they'll hold up just fine for slalom, fsk, slides, jumps, etc. I don't really plan on competing with the $50 rec skate market, because in my opinion those are borderline usable and possibly dangerous. There will always be people who do little research and just buy the cheapest skates on the market, but you can only go so low in price before you're buying garbage. My intent is just to provide a cheaper alternative to Seba FRXs, Rollerblade Twisters, Powerslide Imperials etc. for people to start with, that will last until they learn the basics and can decide whether or not they really want to commit to the sport and buy a higher-end skate.
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Old August 7th, 2015, 02:19 PM   #4
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Great idea. If you had reasonable prices you could probably even sell in a few stores. Here in NY you can only buy rollerblade twisters at stores (no other slalom skate). I begged a skate shop owner to carry Seba's and he laughed SOOO hard. He was like, "Yeah, we're not going to stock a $400 skate that won't sell." I know at least 3 people that have a pair of Sebas sitting in their closet due to size issues.

I'm a dreamer, but I believe you really could go far and maybe even promote the sport if it were more accessible/affordable. I'd buy a pair straight away.

I've skated slalom (by my lonesome) since the 90's and had no idea anyone else was still doing it until my local (upstate) store stopped selling wheels. Then I had to look for wheels online. That's when I read about a rockered set up and found out people were not only still skating cones, but it evolved into a whole new sport. I Think you might have some good success, also you may open eyes!!!

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old August 9th, 2015, 04:54 PM   #5
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The only reason you can only buy Rollerblade in most stores is because they have a long standing reputation and relationships with major retail outlets. No one has been in the game longer. They have excellent customer service and are very good with promotions, even in today's half dead skate market. Rollerblades were a fad in the states, but roots were planted and for some, those roots run deep.

One reason why it was a passing fad is because many people were on cheap arse crappy equipment and, as a result,had a bad experience.

I don't think you can beat what is already available.

Inlinewarehouse, established 1994, has affordable skates as well as top quality equipment. They ship anywhere and always offer 15% off and price matching. Follow the links below to see why you probably can't compete.

The only way to start a skate shop is to develop a following in your niche of skating, push out something new, or muscle in with shear buying power. It doesn't sound like you can do any of the above. I don't want to knock you down, just share insight.

I do applaud your desire to grow the sport and improve accessibility. It sounds like you truly love skating and want others to have the same opportunity to enjoy what you have enjoyed. Making a buck of something you live&love is always nice, but it may tough for you to compete.

In the aggressive market we have deep loyalties to certain product lines, crews, and purveyors.
In the speedskate market, we have certain well known 800 pound gorrillas that dominate sales and nothing is inexpensive that is worth buying.
In the fitness realm, most people stateside do some internet research, buy what they can afford that looks good and hasn't been hated on in reviews.

The products are out there for all skaters at all price points. You just have to find them.
I guarantee you that the stores you dream of selling at have been approached by Rollerblade in an attempt to sell their Bladerunner named line of inexpensive, good quality, intro level skates.

Most of the no name china freight crap isn't even safe. Junk bearings, chunking wheels, and no comfort or reliability.

Here are the links to skates that are available at better prices than you are speaking of. They are better quality than you are speaking of. They are also being sold by a company with deep roots and the skills to match.

Men's fitness skates with many affordable options:
http://www.inlinewarehouse.com/Mens_...e-FITMSK8.html

Women's Fitness Skates with many affordable options:
http://www.inlinewarehouse.com/Blade...WBRSKATES.html

Kids fitness skates with many affordable options:
http://www.inlinewarehouse.com/Inlin...ITJRSKATE.html

If you truly want to grow the sport...Go skate and talk to people about it and it's benefits while you are out doing it.

You mentioned that you learned on Chinese rollerfuns, anyone can learn to skate on a cheap pair of fitness skates or cheap aggressive skates and then buy in when they get better.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 11:16 PM   #6
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I'm not going to be selling fitness skates, my plan is to sell hard-shelled short-framed freeskates. The cheapest options on inlinewarehosue that fits that description are Powerslide Imperials ($169), Rollerblade RB80s ($169), and possibly Roces Venis ($160).

In my opinion, soft-shelled fitness skates are an outdated design that excels at only one niche: long-distance fitness skating. Soft-shelled boots are designed for comfort, not performance. It's basic physics that a more rigid boot will provide better energy transfer, so a hard-shelled freeskate will outperform a fitness skate in all areas aside from comfort, and it's not as though freeskates are uncomfortable. Crocs are more comfortable than sneakers, but what would you want to wear for running or any other physical activity?

Having a pair of fitness skates will especially hinder you if you're trying to learn slalom skating, and fitness skates aren't particularly well suited for jumps or slides either. From my experiences skating in France/China, where inline skating is significantly more popular than the US, I've seen that most people who regularly go street skating opt for a freeskate rather than a rec/fitness skate.

I'm quite familiar with crappy Chinese skates; I owned a pair which broke within two weeks. I've learned a lot since then, and I have no intention to sell shoddy products. I have four years of experience as part of a skating club at a Chinese university which saw roughly 100 new pairs of freeskates being bought by beginners every year. I've done my research on which Chinese brands are reputable enough to put their name on a product that won't easily break.

I also didn't learn how to skate on Rollerfuns, I learned first on Roller Derby Neutrons, then K2s. The Rollerfuns are just what I started learning slalom and slides on. They weren't great skates and they were hideous to boot, but they worked, they lasted long enough to learn the basics, they were cheap, and they were miles better than any pair of Bladerunners. My K2s were 4x more expensive than those Rollerfuns, and by far the most comfortable pair of skates I've ever worn, but given the choice today I'd go with the Rollerfuns because they're more maneuverable and they'll turn exactly when I want them to turn.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 03:58 AM   #7
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Americans would rather pay a bit more for products from American or European companies than buy Chinese freight doodoo skates. We have no faith in your WalMart quality disposable diaper skates. We value our economy and hate crap from certain countries. We would rather buy from an ally that values democracy and freedom. You could have 100 years experience with a Chinese university skating club and we would still rather buy a pair of USD Sway, Razor Cult, Rollerblade Swindlers (if we were limiting our budget to >$150, which most of us won't do) ...all of which we can slalom our American arses off in. Then we can take the same skates and hit the skate park to do real tricks. We might even set some cones up on the coping of the ramps just to knock them off when we grind through. There is simply no market in the US for what you are proposing. We invented the sport and we did it with the same kind of hard shell skates you are talking about. They were easily available for less than $100 dollars a pair at all major sporting good and department stores. We quit buying them because we didn't want them. That was twenty years ago and no one wants them now either. We have evolved and specialized. Those of us who do skate have deep roots and our own companies. Maybe you have heard of supply and demand. You can come with the supply but wont find any demand. Again good luck. There are better options available and people here don't slalom skate, we go big or go fast. People slalom skate because it feels good and isn't risky. 99% of Americans would call you a douche bag if you measured out and set up cones to dance around between them in the park. I'm just being honest with you.
If your are seeing dollar signs in this plan, you are seeing things. It isn't gonna be worth it and it isn't going to be easy. No offense and you are welcome for the free business consultation. As I said at first good luck.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 04:15 AM   #8
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I should have mentioned to you that I definitely understand what you are saying about soft shelled skates and also your point about budget skates. I began skating on some of the first rollerblade brand skates in the early 1990s. They had hard shells and metal frames. Then I rocked the ever loving crap out multiple pairs of California pro junk brand skates with upgraded hyper wheels and German bearings, juice grind plates. I had the first pair of hard shell rollerblade macroblades and did nothing in them but freestyle skating any and everywhere. I rode hard shell Solomons at the parks and started speed skating in carbon boots at the same time. I have been skating for 25 years, always in inline skates, have never owned quads, have never been a fan of anything soft shelled. If has happened in the US skate market I have seen it or been involved. I love to see how popular slalom is in other countries simply because I love to see people happy on inlines. It just isn't happening in the states. People love to buy nice equipment and push their limits. People love to speed skate, endurance skate, play hockey, and rip shiz up at the parks and on the streets. Introducing cheap hard shelled slalom skates is not going to spawn a new cone skating movement.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 06:06 PM   #9
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What makes you so certain that the skates I plan to sell are low quality? There's no denying that China makes a lot of wal-mart grade junk, but many Chinese companies are also capable of providing quality products, comparable with foreign brands while still being relatively low in price. Look up Xiaomi Piston headphones, Fenix flashlights, or Sanrenmu knives. These brands receive glowing reviews on English enthusiast forums, and are regarded as extremely good values. I'm hoping to do the same for inline skates.

Besides, Powerslide, Seba, and Rollerblade all make their skates in China, and due to the sheer size of the Chinese market for skates they're able to sell them at considerably lower prices than you see in Europe and the US. The mid-high range skates I'm looking at retail at a comparable price to Seba's FR models in China before they jacked up the price. I'm also fairly certain that Powerslide Imperials and RB80s were made as a response to Seba entering the entry-level market in China before they decided that it was better to leave that to the Micro brand. The higher end skates I'm looking at actually retail at higher prices than the Chinese equivalent for Powerslide Imperials and Rollerblade RB80s.

Price in itself doesn't mean anything though. I have my doubts for the cheaper models as well, so I'm going to do my part to abuse them and record some videos demonstrating that they'll hold up for beginner-intermediate level slalom tricks, freestyle slides, and minor jumps. If they don't hold up, then I'll either put a disclaimer that they're only suitable for recreational/fitness skating, or I simply won't sell them if they're shoddy enough to be a safety concern.

I have no illusions about sparking a slalom revolution in the US, I know perfectly well that it's a niche market. There's still the urban skating market to take into consideration though, and increasingly people are recommending Twisters or FRs to beginners rather than soft-shelled rec skates. I often see beginners asking about FRXs instead of FR2s or FR1s, and I hear far more inquiries about RB Twisters and PS Imperials than Seba Highs and PS S4s. If I can convince people that the low-mid range skates are nearly as good as FRXs and Twisters (and I do think they are), then I believe there's a reasonably sized market for them.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 01:45 PM   #10
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FWIW.

I just purchased 2 sets of Seba FR Jr. Skates red and blue with adjustable inside liner for my kids. Yes it would have been nice if the skates were $99.00 US.

When I speak to the Moms about what skates to get their kids I say if you want to spend 150 you can get a great pair of skates. What ends up happening is they buy a pair of black soft boot skates that have plastic frames with bright color graphics and crappy wheels. Then a month later I see them collecting dust on the garage floor. I try to tell them just use rentals until they know they like skating. Then but good skates. So if you can make something in the $89 range you will sell lots.

What really needs to happen is Dicks sporting goods and Sports Authority need to get their heads out of their you know what's and start carrying top quality brands. When ever I see the name Roller Blade I just think ewwww! I'm even get annoyed when people call this sport roller blading. I now say inline skating.

Nothing will change until the big box stores begin to carry the quality brands.

Shaw good luck with your vision may be when the kids grow out of these FR Juniors we will take a look at yours. Honestly I prefer to not buy at the inline warehouse and purchase from a real skate shop but it would sure be nice to walk into a local big box sporting goods store and try on a pair of Trix or Evo's or what ever else I'm Not aware of.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 06:36 AM   #11
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I'd like to see a modular skate product: One boot, all disciplines.

Interchangeable composite and aluminum frames.

Optional soul plates. Different cuff types.

I just don't understand why Rollerblade and Powerslide have a thousand different products that all do the same thing.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 01:42 PM   #12
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That's actually very interesting. I am going to do some work with that idea. I will keep you in the loop. What are some characteristics you would like to see from skates in the disciplines of skating which you practice?
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Old August 12th, 2015, 02:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by svt camr View Post
fwiw.

What ends up happening is they buy a pair of black soft boot skates that have plastic frames with bright color graphics and crappy wheels. Then a month later i see them collecting dust on the garage floor.

>>>>>dead on.... Nothing creates more bad opinions about skating, than trying to do it on crappy equipment...<<<<<<

what really needs to happen is dicks sporting goods and sports authority need to get their heads out of their you know what's and start carrying top quality brands.

>>>>they used to, but quit when the market fell out.<<<<

roller blade i just think ewwww! I'm even get annoyed when people call this sport roller blading. I now say inline skating.

>>>>rollerblade is the company that spawned the freaking sport and they make some very high quality products. Soft floppy fitness skates in general seem to be the problem, regardless of who makes them. Rb twisters are good skates, they make several good aggressive skates, trooper,solos,trs, and there current speed skates with "gravitational torque technology" were innovative but kind of gimmicky and people didn't take well to the frame flex and overall weird look (the boot was made by a top boot designer....maybe you have heard of mariana- boot maker for cado motus).
It's just people calling bandages band aid or calling colas coke. It an association with a major brand that people identify with.<<<<<


nothing will change until the big box stores begin to carry the quality brands>>>>again<<<<.

>>>you are totally correct about that. Sun and ski sports used to have an entire wall of inlines and a hard mat floor for tryin them out. Which brings us to another point. Both shies and athletic equipment sales have operated under the paradigm that you can try it before you buy it. That is impossible with an internet only market and turn around time for sizing issues is usually a couple weeks, which is a major deterrent for sales.<<<<

shaw good luck with your vision...
>>>ya, seriously, good luck...pardon me for letting my political views and socio-economic interests impede you r&d. I do think its a tough market to break into without bulk buying power and some inside link to a micro market that is flourishing.<<<<
.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:47 PM   #14
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That's actually very interesting. I am going to do some work with that idea. I will keep you in the loop. What are some characteristics you would like to see from skates in the disciplines of skating which you practice?
For myself in particular, I'd like to see prerockered frames in various sizes (I actually want the back of my frame to be displaced 1mm more than my front, and rockered frames for 84mm, even 90mm wheels), a wider variety of lacing/buckling configurations, and lighter alternative parts.

To explain the last one, composite materials may be strong and low cost, while lighter materials which are just as strong (or stronger) may cost more. I'd like to see such options, as well as heavier materials for strength training.

For a larger skate company that has to manufacture these parts for distribution it's not economical to produce an entire line of accessories that will inevitably be overstocked and undersold, but if these options were made to order it could work.

For other disciplines it would be very nice to see an alternative UFS mounting plate for those who want to powerblade or even full out grind at skate parks.

As a personal aside, I very much like my skates to be as unbranded as possible. Of course I'm happy to brandish a logo, but I don't like unwanted graphics. However, I very much want to order a water applied graphic on my skates, and would be willing to pay a lot of money for personalization.
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Old August 14th, 2015, 05:06 AM   #15
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@SVT_CAMR

I'd like to sell kid's skates eventually, but I don't know anything about jr. skate models so I'm sticking with equipment that I understand until I'm more familiar with the importing and retail process.

I definitely get what you're saying about parents buying overly cheap skates for kids which gives them a poor impression of their sport. In their defense though, a lot of people just don't click with the sport and get bored of it after a few weeks, and kids especially have short attention spans. Many skates will end up collecting dust no matter how good they are. It also doesn't help that the scene is so small; it's so much easier to stay motivated when there are other people skating around you. I haven't had any real slalom practice in over a year because I live in a place where nobody does slalom skating.

It'd be nice if more big box stores carried good skates, but inline's just too small for them to justify stocking quality skates if most people just want a pair to toy around with, and the people who really want to commit to the sport are too few to really sustain anything more than specialty stores. It's symptomatic of our society in general that wal-mart is so successful even though most of the products they sell have awful quality. I don't think I'll be selling the cheapest skates you can find in America, but I'm confident that the skates I'll be selling are much better than the <$100 soft-shelled junk you find in most big box marts.

@FRGL1
I think Seba FR-As are the closest you'll be able to find for all discipline skates. It'd be really hard making a boot that's suitable for speed skating which prioritizes weight while also being durable enough to handle aggressive skating. Having a freeskate and a powerblading set-up already gives you access to the majority of disciplines anyways. Freeskates can handle everything outside of grinds and aggressive skating, and powerblading set-ups are probably a bit clunky for slalom but are good for everything else. Neither is ideal for speed skating, but a light freeskate with a speed skating frame isn't terrible, and you can also remove the cuff for more flexibility.

If you're willing to pay a premium for custom colors/graphics, the brand I'm currently talking with is working on a carbon-fiber freeskate in the future. When those hit the market, you'll be able to order custom colored boots from them. Powerslide and Seba also sell custom skates in China. You can pick your own colors, have your name or whatever else written on the front straps, and I've also seen custom skates where the Trix/KSJ logo was replaced as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDfk2tdfMsY This is an older video, there's a greater selection of materials to choose from now. There is a fairly hefty premium for them though, I ended up buying stock KSJs and spraypainting them myself rather than order customs. If you're interested however, I can try to get in touch with Powerslide/Seba reps in China for you, or you could try contacting one of their reps in the US to see if they can arrange something.
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Old August 14th, 2015, 08:30 AM   #16
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well if you are gearing up above 84mm frames, then i would be guessing that you probably want to prioritise speed above all else. to be honest, i can't really see a place for 90mm rockered frames. (84mm rockered frames could possibly still be used for people with huge feet using size 13-14 skates.)

the displacement of frames varies by frame and boots. some boots offer a vertical (along the direction of the foot) displacement.

the fundamental issue is that there IS an availability of <100 skates. because of this, the majority of people who have uninformed interest of the sport will end up in department stores purchasing one of these boots. if i were to hazard a guess, i would say most of the left out skates are impulse skates. in my opinion, it is literally impossible to target this market as skating do not get that much exposure in the general environment to begin with.

if you plan to compete in the entry level market, then i say you have a pretty good shot . the small number of people who trickle past the ****-department-skate filter usually run into another filter which is the price point of entry level skates hitting past the 200's.
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Old August 14th, 2015, 04:19 PM   #17
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Yep. I won't have the exposure, name brand recognition, or prices to compete with the cheap K2s, Bladerunners, and Roller Derby skates being sold everywhere, not to mention the benefits of being able to try on different sizes of skates and not having to deal with shipping.

It's exactly that group that does a little research and trickles past the department shop junk that I'm hoping to market towards. The biggest problem is to convince people that these skates aren't complete garbage compared to the $200+ skates already on the market. I don't have too much experience with marketing, but at the moment I'm planning on offering discounts to anybody who will post a review, even if it's negative, onto skatelog, r/rollerblading, facebook, etc. I'd provide free samples to high profile bloggers, but I'm not sure there are any in the US slalom/freeskate scene.
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Old August 25th, 2015, 09:32 PM   #18
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Yep. I won't have the exposure, name brand recognition, or prices to compete with the cheap K2s, Bladerunners, and Roller Derby skates being sold everywhere, not to mention the benefits of being able to try on different sizes of skates and not having to deal with shipping.

It's exactly that group that does a little research and trickles past the department shop junk that I'm hoping to market towards. The biggest problem is to convince people that these skates aren't complete garbage compared to the $200+ skates already on the market. I don't have too much experience with marketing, but at the moment I'm planning on offering discounts to anybody who will post a review, even if it's negative, onto skatelog, r/rollerblading, facebook, etc. I'd provide free samples to high profile bloggers, but I'm not sure there are any in the US slalom/freeskate scene.
Make me weight training frames and I will pay for them

I am in the market for making my skates as heavy as I want to make them light.

A YouTuber named Dom Lay seems to reside in the United States and has a small fanbase on YouTube. You might also consider talking to Bill Stoppard of PintoPonyProductions, based in Canada.

Bill Stoppard is sort of my god for all things street skating.
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Old August 26th, 2015, 12:22 PM   #19
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Make me weight training frames and I will pay for them

I am in the market for making my skates as heavy as I want to make them light.

A YouTuber named Dom Lay seems to reside in the United States and has a small fanbase on YouTube. You might also consider talking to Bill Stoppard of PintoPonyProductions, based in Canada.

Bill Stoppard is sort of my god for all things street skating.
Increasing a skates weight is the wrong way to go. This heavily loads up on the knees. If you want resistance training, wear dense and restrictive pants. It will impede movement without actually adding weight that can jerk more loads onto your joints.

Resistance and weighted training is great, but if you really want to add weight do so at the knee , not below it.


What I would like to see in inline skates is a footbed similar to that of a quad skate for lateral support across the blade and arch of the foot, with laces on the left and/or right side of the foot. Above the foot would be a heat moldable hard plate that conforms to the top of your foot. After molding the plate one could tighten the inside of the foot around the arch or blade of the foot, or loosen either side independently.

For a cuff one would want the articulation point to be at the ankles joints. If you wanted a removeable system I would think the best way woukd be to habe it bolt up under the heel, and between the frame/boot area. The SEBA Trix isnt that bad looking the way they habe it set up.

The problem in making a skate like this is all the specializations cost money, and often have to be hand made.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 08:47 PM   #20
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Ankle weights yo...

And carry milk jugs...

And wear a cape...

O.g. Like a m.f.

Lol
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