Actually, 125mm wheels have existed for a while, but they were almost exclusively seen on trail skates and, as far as I am aware, that I had some rubber on them. These look like real road wheels.
Maybe Chris Miner can translate it for us to understand what is going on.
Personally, I doubt that having another change of wheels, is going to help the sport but, considering the bad situation of many trails (at least those next to me) I might need those things to keep skating.
Very likely another marketing gimmick to sell some new stuff, maybe there is someone who would benefit, but the current state of our sport may not be suitable for more costs (new wheels, new frame, perhaps new boots..) uhmm...
I'll do my best:
At the 2013 World Championship in Oostende (Belgium), Powerslide presented for the first time its new development for the 2014 speed skating season.
The Powerslide VI Alu 125mm frame was presented. It remains to be seen if there will be other versions of the Powerslide frame line, such as the Triple X skated by Bart Swings.
Should we expect to see special Powerslide team jerseys like there were on the subject of 110mm?
The setup looks very interesting and the deck-height (?) doesn't look much bigger. We're looking forward to the first tests.
What do you think? Looking forward to your comments on Facebook.
Thank you Chris. Powerslide was the main force behind 110mm wheels to get them approved by CIC/FIRS for races everywhere. I feel that they will use their name to support this product as well. And, I am sure that 3x125mm is faster than 4x110 (for the marathons, at least), I do not need to wait for any tests, but I am also concerned that the added speed (think downhill) might cause more serious injuries. At Napa I found myself going downhill at 55km/h+ on 4x110 and, while it was a great sensation, I must admit that I was also quite scared. Finally, as I said earlier, I am not sure that the skating community is ready for another technical switch..... We all spent enough money as it is already.
Chris, thanks for the translation.
We don't need this. I don't think this would necessarily result in faster marathon times, especially on hill courses like Chicagoland. Sure, you can cruise at 40 MPH down the big hill, but that doesn't mean anything if you can't keep the pace up the big hill. Also, it's ugly...
All complaints we have heard with the update to 110mm.
Here is the other part of it, we have finally gotten to a point with the gear where there is reasonably parity with ice speed skating. This move would negate that and likely only serve the hurt the sport. Most rec skaters also look at 110s and think speed geeks are nuts. This will only further the alienation.
Andrew Smith wrote:
... This will only further the alienation.
I agree 100% with Andrew here. As it is, 110mm wheels (and even 100mm wheels, really) already created a barrier between the speed nuts and the rest of skaters. This would only cause that barrier to become higher.
However, and I am not saying that I want to see 125mm wheels on the road, I am confident that marathon times would get faster still. My recollection from dirt trail skates with 125mm wheels which occasionally I employed on paved roads, 3 big wheels are not necessarily harder to push than 4x110. Glen Koshi once told me, and I agree with him based on my experience, what makes skates harder to push is the length of the frame or, better, the length between the two extreme contact points of the wheels. I also think that 125mm wheels would benefit bigger guys. In fact, I am better at climbing on 110 then I was on 84. It is like gears on a bike, we do not all climb hills on the same gears... Nevertheless, right now it is the last thing we need. Regarding the ugly or beauty factor, that is personal.
The only other very-big wheel skates I was aware of and tried on were these trail skates (more suitable for nordic skiing than anything else, really). Very different items, though
I feel confident, however, that 3x125 would be superfast. Even when 100mm, and more so when 110mm wheels appeared there was a big group of people saying that one would have paid the price going uphill. Besides, the fact, that we seldom face any real hill, that proved wrong, and the large majority of speedskaters went for 110mm wheels.
Also, based on my direct experience, the tougher set-up I ever used was 5x90. I loved the stability on that long frame, but it was a nightmare to push in a headwind, in particular. Still, as I claimed earlier, this is not the moment to think about another wheel switch...
The boot on the skate looks like the Vi Pro Carbon. Is it or it's counterpart the ViRS available in the U.S.? If so, where?
I am reading that, at NSIM 2013, the Powerlisde team (Aldridge and Rijhnen) where on 3x125mm wheels. Rijhnen got 3rd overall....
Yes, I was not mistaken... the "big" Powerslide guys were on 3x125.. Take a look at the video below.. the start of the race. Keep an eye on the left side of the screen (watching the screen)....
Adding to the topic....
Well, apparently, if one wants 125mm wheels now he or she can get them!
I'm a firm believer in sizing wheels to the person and the race. I keep seeing kids with 110mm wheels struggling to keep them not only upright, but struggling to get off the start line with any kind of acceleration. A lot of smaller adult skaters are also keeping with 100mm wheels for similar reasons; if your legs aren't long enough to efficiently push through as well as strong enough to overcome the leverage (plus ankle strength), you might be wasting energy.
The taller the total height the more energy gets pulled from your legs and through to speed, which is good if you have it, but each stoke, being longer, takes longer. If you're not able to push that much energy to overcome the leverage, you might be better off with a shorter total height, which results in a shorter stroke, which results in a faster stroke, which might work better for shorter and/or less strong legs.
At the same time, some marathon racers are keeping with lower deck height for the same reason. Sure, they'll get passed through the middle as the skaters with taller wheels can use the leverage for top speed, but make it up further down where they still have some leg strength left to push through the end.
But, all of those refer to total height, not specifically wheel height. So, if someone is just adding 2mm (a specific case that PowerSlide mentions, I know, in most cases it'll be more like 6mm) to their total height, it might be a negligible leverage change. Of course, 125mm wheels are just plain going to be heavier, but there's less of them. Also, 125mm wheels are going to be challenging to keep structurally stiff enough to be useful, which goes back to weight. As mentioned, the frame that was tested wasn't as stiff/strong as some may like, and just like the wheel comment, that's the engineering struggle that's been at issue all along: strength Vs. weight. I remember fighting those physical issues and theoretical arguments regarding frame strength since the 5x80mm days (I prefer very strong frames, went from the original gold Mogema that I bent to EagleHawk's and never looked back 'till I finally increased wheel size.)
Back to the total height, back in the 5x80 days some people noticed the higher profile frames could be faster. A lot of us thought it was because we could lean further in to the corners without hitting our boot sides on the floor (a constant issue for some of us), but the physics taught us that it was also (mostly) the leverage and using higher profile frames would wear some of us out a bit sooner. It was a small difference at the time (5mm, 10mm, I don't remember, exactly), but, obviously, that difference kept going to where we are now.
On the other hand, taller wheels (not total height) often roll with less resistance (construction and urethane material being equal) and have more surface area. This does a lot of things, almost all beneficial. It increases the surface area, which usually results in more grip. It increases the radius in relation to the skating surface, which makes bumps and rough surfaces less of a problem. Larger wheels mean less wheels, you just can't fit 5x100mm wheels in the same wheel span that you can with 5x80, which means less bearings, aside from the factor of carrying around less steel, which is heavy (not as applicable to those using full ceramic bearings), bearings are expensive (very applicable to full ceramic bearings.) Going to 3x125 goes one step further on the number of wheels aspect. I don't know the wheel weight of 125mm wheels, but I presume they're not 1/3 more heavy, so you should be netting a reduction in wheel weight.
At some point the quest for bigger is going to get absurd. Are we there yet? Maybe. But everyone is different, which brings me to my main point: The whole "better" argument isn't as valid as "viable for certain situations." As long as they're certified by the governing body, it'll be up to coaches and skaters to decide if they're viable for them and the races they're participating in, if all goes as planned.
But, not everyone understands the physics (not saying I'm a physics expert), so they simply choose to use what their idol races on, in the hopes that they can be as fast. It's the old "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" aspect of auto racing, and it applies here, to a point. (Sure, it's a different marketing example, but bear with me) Just because [insert some race car driver here] races a particular car around some track at 200MPH doesn't mean you're going to be able to jump in the same car and do anything like that. You're either going to kill it off the line or put it in to one or more walls fairly quickly. So, just because [insert winning skater here] uses certain equipment doesn't mean it's good for you. Not only does skill and strength come in to play, but also skating style and...
wait for it...
Sponsorship. The sad truth is that more than a few top athletes use the equipment their sponsors are pushing. So add that to the "it'll be up to the coaches and skaters to decide" line above. Sometimes they're highly modified and customized (usually in the boot department), but look like the stock stuff. This is true across all sorts of professional... anything (even musicians.)
My first exposure to this was in the early 90's with KC Boutiette. He was a champion inline speed skater (eventually went to Ice and competed in the '94 Winter Olympics), but he was sponsored by RollerBlade. Now, in that era, RollerBlade really just made plastic recreational inlines. His boots may have been (custom) made by RollerBlade, I remember them not looking like much else that was available at the time, but his frames were basically high profile Mogema frames painted black and a big 'ol RollerBlade logo on the side. I never asked him, mostly because I knew I wasn't going to buy RollerBlade (branded) equipment for my speedskating, even though he blew me away every time we were on the floor together.
That was when I learned that just because someone is faster (better), doesn't mean I need to mimic everything they do. The reasons they're doing what they're doing might not apply to you.
Thanks for another very interesting and thought provoking contribution!
Matt Egan said:
I'm a firm believer in sizing wheels to the person and the race. I keep seeing kids with 110mm wheels struggling to keep them not only upright, but struggling to get off the start line with any kind of acceleration.
I've been watching a lot of skaters lately while doing some video editing, and was struck by the variety of equipment people manage to skate on both quickly and slowly and also the people who are only barely up to their hardware. A lot of people would do well to simply put on some hockey or slalom skates and forget about race boots and 110mm wheels. Having seen myself skate recently I'm sure it isn't the equipment that's holding me back.
But, all of those refer to total height, not specifically wheel height.
Makes me wonder if there was ever a similar race to higher skates on ice? BTW, aside from rolling resistance, I never before understood the reason why bigger wheels should make one faster. But thanks to your break down, I think I get it.
The longer stroke length makes a lot of sense to me, but I can also see now how that is not for free. Probably most who go for bigger wheels don't concern themselves with the details, and figure they will get used to them eventually. Probably most do get used to them, but don't actually take advantage them. In the end, those people would probably be faster on a lower set-up on which they can better push.
On a somewhat related note, I think many would do well to drop the standard arms behind the back posture for the same reason. For a lot of skaters, this posture seems to just throw off their push. Combine that with 110mm wheels and you have a skater who looks fast until they start moving. =)