This Is How I Roll! P2 – Roller Derby Gear Reviews

I have changed my skates a little since my last this is how I roll post, and I have gone through three sets of skates in my derby career so far. I really like my current set up and I have seen many ask about reviews and opinions on my wheels and boot – the plate is widely used so I will only pop up a short “I really like these” note. I have posted before to show that I use particular brands and products, however I haven’t actually reviewed the one thing that should really get a review (especially as I can’t actually find a proper review anywhere!) – the Suregrip Isis boot.

Continue reading “This Is How I Roll! P2 – Roller Derby Gear Reviews”

I have a problem.

A serious problem.

I bought more wheels. Things that happened today mean I now own the entire Suregrip Fugitive Mid range.

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However it is also sad as I recently found out when trying to purchase my final mixer set, that Suregrip are no longer going to produce the Suregrip Fugitive mids (fugi mids), they are however using the “Rollouts” as a replacement. Pretty similar however ever so slightly different in size. And it is sad they are changing the wheels, I’m sure it’s with good reason and maybe they have improved them, however I have the Fugi mids and I like them. I admit I would love a set of Radar Diamonds…. but sadly the fugi mids are much more in my price range – especially as there were few mid/slim wheels available at the point I bought.

My obsession with Suregrip Fugitive mids started when I spoke with a friend. TurboPete of Southern Discomfort and had a wealth of knowledge. So I bugged him for help and advice and thankfully he helped me out instead of telling me to do one. Turbo happened to be playing the Big O tournament in the land of derbygoodness and so we arranged for him to bring me back some wheels, under his advice and guidance we agreed that the Fugi mids would be ideal for my skating style and ability. I got them, I loved them. However I had chosen the 90a duro which did not feel quite so helpful where I could do with less grip…

So late last year I ordered a full set of 96a and a half set of 93a. I realised my mistake more recently in ordering the 93a, generally the idea with pushers is to have atleast a 4 duro difference for the mix to be effective.

Now, I don’t want to rock the boat with the whole pusher/anti pusher debates. I do feel that pushers/mixed durometer can be felt working. I do however feel a skater should be more than competent skating on a full set of wheels. This is my reasoning for having the full sets I do, and the half sets I do.

  • Grippy floor = full set of 96a
  • Slippy floor = full set of 90a
  • Also a half set (4) of 93a

I have felt a little bit of sliding on my 90a as of recent since coming back from the Christmas break and I do feel as though our floor has been cleaned within an inch of it’s life to have lost a little grip. So today I chose to order a half set of 87a bearing in mind the state of some of the floors in the UK I figured it is best to err on the side of caution and have a sticky wheel available to mix with a harder wheel to avoid losing speed as a jammer – I have experienced a problem in which sometimes I push too hard coming up to corners thanks to my figure skating background so having just a small bit of stickygrippy really can help when leaning into a corner.

So now I am able to mix:

  • 96a/90a mix
  • 93a/87a mix

So welcome to the family my half set of 87a purple Suregrip Fugitive Mids! I hope these will arrive before Thursday as I would like time to be able to bed them in as Saturday… wait for it…..

IS BOUTDAY!

Yes…. Saturday 15th will see me playing my first bout with Mansfield Misfits. We will be playing against Barnsley Blackhearts and will also be joined by the Inhuman League and Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder for a mens roller derby bout! I am sure I will write a bit more about this at some point this week!

Oh and my Suregrip Isis boots? Doing well! I went to Rollerworld Derby with my derby wife and our lovely Jevo for a free skate and lovey derby night out. I was taken out by a small child who decided to just stop infront of me with no warning or looking behind him whatsoever. Ninjasmallpeople. Cut up my knee which sucks as it is my prefered fall knee. But on the plus side, no blisters! Working with Compeed plasters, two pairs of socks and the power of unicorns!!

Suregrip Isis boot – the aftermath..

So… the Suregrip Isis boot..

IS MINE!!

After going back and forth in my head, bugging people about whether or not to get them or whether to just duct tape my skates back together and hope for the best, I caved.

So I tried my size 5 and my size 6 on, the size 5 fitted ok but was slightly too tight on my toes and restricted movement/bend to push off, whilst the size 6 was pretty perfect! I tested them out size wise by doing a run on the spot to check for maneuverability. Seemed all good! Karat had asked me re pusher setups as she currently runs on Radar bullets 93a and had noticed some slipping under her, so when at the Derbystore it just so happened that they had some other durometers of the bullets on the shelf – all of a sudden she had gone from just getting some Zeronuts to having some matching Radar bullets in 88a – yellow. I am now considering whether or not to get some more Fugitive mids to go with my current ones, this time in a 87a setup..?

It would appear when I got my plates that I may have gone for an accidently shortforward mount… even though I bought my plates in accordance with the Suregrip plate size table thingy. But this still works for me!

In return I booked tickets to go see the Lego Movie for the night it comes out in the cinema over here. Yay! Lego 😀

Lego derby girl

So they had their first outing on our Sunday night session, and I managed an hour and a half before having to give my feet a break. Aparrently stopped at the right time to avoid a blister! Lucky me! I put them back on after our rather awesome derby friendly medic wrapped my ankles up and off I went again. I didn’t skate as much but I rolled around paying attention to what our guest coaches were teaching us.

Karat also had luck with her wheels – response? She had not lost her speed/agility but could feel herself better sticking to the track on crossovers and corners. DERBY GEAR WIN!

We ave our very first bout as a team in two weeks time. I have two weeks to break my boots in.

Thankfully… the only issue I am having is with my left ankle. And I have noticed the more research I have done on the Isis boot, there is a general consensous that the Isis boot is that perfect it doesn’t really take much to break in – if any! So for the next two weeks I will be giving them as much breaky in love as possible!

Fingers crossed and I will update soon!

This is how I roll!

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Today I’m talking skates. Bear with me, it is easiest to start this from last night!

Last week I was back blocked pretty damn hard at a bit of an odd angle which twisted and injured my lower back and shoulder blades. So instead of putting my skates on and causing further injury, I went along to help out at last night’s practice – which I have lovingly nicknamed “scrimmage Sunday” (as opposed to “Train hard Thursdays.) At one point I spoke with skater/coach Little Miss Chief who on Saturday made the move to new Reidell boots and Avenger plates.  Originally she was looking at Roll line plates based on the store owners opinion – now I love speaking with derby store owners as they impart so much wisdom on you, however I have mixed feelings on Roll Line due to feedback from other skaters. I have heard a variety of opinions, most relating to Roll Line plates being generally better for figure and artistic rather than derby, whilst they are sold as being pretty “reactive” they are also sold with a hefty price tag. I must note that I have never tried a skate which uses a Roll Line plate so my opinions on this are subject to change or validation if/when I ever try them. What I have tried however are the Suregrip Mag Avengers – a plate I recommended to LMC based on experience. For whatever reason, LMC ended up with Mag Avengers rather than Roll Lines. Last night was her first time using these and when asked how she was finding them the reaction was exactly the same as my first. Whilst they felt good, something didn’t quite feel right. The problem? The plates had been mounted perfectly, but neither the store or LMC had changed how the DA45 trucks sat in the pivot cup. The way in which you are able to alter the seating of the pivot on these plates is fantastic! And this is something LMC did not know as she wasn’t expecting to get them so did not really look into. After sitting down, looking at and explaining how she can alter the plates to suit her, LMC was up and chuffed with the difference the slight alterations made, the ease in which she could do this said it all for her first real impression on the plate. The main impression it makes is that it is light, reactive, responds really well to your movements and really adds to agility. I had to explain to LMC that when I undertook 27 in 5 for the first time on these plates, I cramped up so badly. Why? I didn’t realise the difference in the level of work you have to put in on these plates compared to the standard probes. I was working myself so hard to get round on the Probes which essentially kept my feet flat and didn’t follow my skating on corners, whereas on the Avengers they reacted so quickly and kept up with the movement of my feet meaning I didn’t need to push as hard as I did on the Probes. I have found them ideal for my skating style and so I thought I would share my skate setup with you all!

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I use a Suregrip Rebel boot in black (size 6) with an Avenger Mag plate (plate size 2). I upgraded from the standard Probe plates to the Avengers – awesome early xmas/birthday gift from MamaCidal/PapaCidal – the Man was wonderful and mounted these for me, whilst they are a standard mount they do sit slightly further into the boot than they probably would, but this was done to suit my weight distribution in the way I skate.

Wheel wise I am a mid wheel girl. I currently own

          8 x Suregrip Fugitive Mids – 90a

          4 x Suregrip Fugitive Mids – 93a

          8 x Suregrip Fugitive Mids – 96a

          Blue Zeronuts and Bones Reds bearings

          I also have custom toe snouts from Derby Vixen

I originally started on R3s which were too narrow for my feet, then I picked up some Suregrip Rebels in standard form. I got rid of the original Fugitive wheels and went to Atom Poison Slims. I liked these but felt they weren’t quite right and figured I’d go for full on mid wheels. When I made the move to mids, there was not a huge amount of choice. Luckily the Man introduced me to one of his friends and generally awesome skater/person – Turbo Pete of Southern Discomfort. Turbo Pete has been invaluable for derby knowledge and has always helped me out without qualm – when playing the Big O tournament I spoke with him in regards to the wheel situation. As he was in the US and was surrounded by derby galore – we arranged to get some new wheels, based on his opinions and knowledge the decision was made to get the Fugitive Mids. From research it would appear quite a few overseas skaters use these, whilst most of the UK girls use Atom as a “go to” brand. Main reasoning for this? It turns out no-one really stocks the Fugitive Mids over here. This sucks. I find this kind of sad because these wheels are fantastic. The quality of the mid is much higher than that of the standard Fugitive wheel (some belief surrounding this is a higher quality material or better mapped out process), and to quote a something I saw on Skatelog forum the Fugitive mids have “much more bang for the buck” (or something along those lines.) I started with the 90a mids which I instantly took to, over time I felt with my skating style and weight etc I required something harder and I called upon Turbo Pete again to figure this whole thing out. I had previously mixed my Poison slims with my 90a as pushers, which were too soft and the mix was not ideal and probably a bit naughty – still it worked. I got rid of the Poisons and purchased more Mids, this time in a full set of harder 96a and a half set of 93a to be able to mix and match to suit the different floors we would encounter. Best move ever. (Well. It’s neck and neck with the Avenger plates.) The 96a suits our practice floor much better (our practice floor = pretty dreamy for derby) and the 93a help me out as gentle pushers when I feel I need a bit more support and grip. But when it came to visit Northampton for a training session and friendly scrim – my 90a mids were my saviour! There is a huge part of me which wants more and more wheels (a common illness in the derby world is “Wheelitus” – which is the over powering desire to buy more and more wheels) – I have heard very positive things in regards to Radar Diamonds for instance! But until I win the lottery this will have to wait. I WANT ALL THE DERBY!

When speaking with fresh meat about what they want to buy, I have highly recommended getting sturdy pair of boots to start with as they are fully able to upgrade the plates and wheels as they find their feet and figure out what kind of skater they are. The best thing about a huge majority of leagues is the fact we all have a variety of wheels, whether brand/hardness/size, and we are always more than happy to help other girls (spend money) try out our wheels for size.

The difficult thing to get across is the general idea that just because it works for someone else, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can spend days (even months) researching kit and speaking with various people but you have to remember that some brands have a bigger following than others whilst some brands are easier to get a hold of here and so become the norm. If I had listened to everyone else I would have gone out and bought some Atom Jukes or Heartless – both brands have their pitfalls, increasing feedback about wheels chunking too easily or wheels wearing down far too soon. But I listened to Turbo Pete and took a risk on a wheel which maybe wasn’t so loved – I don’t feel loved is right turn of phrase exactly, I would say that it is a wheel which isn’t so known and is sitting in the wings when it could be centre stage. Biggest isn’t always best. But again – this works for me, maybe you derby person sitting there reading this may go and try a fugitive mid and have your mind blown, or you may laugh at the idea of using a Suregrip wheel that isn’t the very much used Zombie wheel.

Kit wise I have a mish mash of pads – I would love to have matching pads but this is just not realistic! I have Scabs Pyscho knee pads, Anarchy elbow pads, some other wrist guards and a SFR helmet with awesome stickers. Also a variety of mouth guards (none of which ever seem to fit properly) and a team colour water bottle complete with stickers.

Kit bags – make sure your kit bag is big enough for what you need it for. But not too big that you can’t carry or pull it along. Pockets and sections are dreamy – separate your clothing/scrim tops from your kit – separate your skates from your pads where possible (you don’t want the sweat and condensation to mess with your bearings/plates).

My last bit of kit wisdom? Wash your kit. Air your kit. Love your kit. It will make it last longer and you won’t stink out your teammates the way I do – I will wash it… after our last session on Thursday. Promise Misfits.

Stinky pads award hands down.

Little Blue x