In stark contrast to my review about my borrowed Rollerbone Turbos, I did not skimp on my skate plates or even have chance to try them before purchasing – I made a leap of faith, and now the Roll Line Mistral plate is a staple of my derby gear.
The move to purchase a new plate was made by an unexpected University bursary and a flippant comment from a teammate advising me my skating was ‘clonky’. The comparison between an elephant on skates and me was motivation enough to take the plunge into the unknown depths of plates and boots.
Let’s face it nearly everybody skated on Riedell plates and boots back then – or at least everybody I looked up to in those days.
The Roll Line Mistral plate was recommended to me. Many of my teammates from Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder were making the move towards Roll Line, in particular, the Roll Line Mistral plate. They were looking for a lighter weighted plate that would withstand the force that men’s roller derby. I chose the Mistral skate plate because of it being in my price range and considerably lighter than the old style Variant M.
I am not good with skating technical jargon, so if you are looking for technical specs then speak to your local derby store. But I can say that the Roll Line Mistral plate is designed for dance and freestyle skating. It’s built to be lightweight and reactive, and in the entire time I’ve had it I’ve had to do little maintenance, so it’s also incredibly durable. They do have 7mm axles, which I found to be better than my previous experience on 8mm!
The cushions that came with the plate are the ones I still skate on. I’ve replaced my toe stops only once (and that was last month).
Getting used to the Roll Line Mistral
Getting used to the plate was, of course, hard. I think it is whenever you change your plate, and this was worsened by my decision to change boot at the same time (you can read a comparative review here). I wouldn’t say the adjustment period was unusual. It was about teaching the plate about my weight distribution and my skating ‘gait’.
I would also say that I did not put this plate on and instantly know we were a partnership to go skating together into the sunshine. Nor did I think this a couple of weeks after – though it felt as capable, at that point, as the Riedell Wicked plate.
The Roll Line Mistral impressed me months down the line. When our relationship was out of what would be the honeymoon period, beyond the point of brand spanking new shininess. This was when I realised what a good choice I’d made – around the same time I did my first 1 footed transition, jamming.
The Roll Line Mistral was beginning to enable me to feel safe and sure on my feet. To push my skating ability and try to be agiler and not feel clunky doing it!
The Roll Line Mistral is a staple in my kit. Since purchasing it, in February 2012, I’ve had 3 boots of different brands, 2 new sets of kneepads, several pairs of gaskets, 2 helmets, 2 pairs of elbow pads and 2 sets of wrist guards, I’ve even replaced my mouthguard. But my plate remains the same!
I would thoroughly recommend them to anybody looking for a good, durable and reasonably priced plate!