Roll Line Mistral Roller Derby Plates

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!

Roll Line Mistral

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!

Roll Line Mistral

Ta! xx

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Rollerbones Turbo Wheels Roller Derby Review

I sound like I skimp on the spending – I guess I do.

Rollerbones Turbo wheels are expensive. For a wheel priced £124, from most UK skate shops, I decided to borrow these wheels before rushing into a purchase. There’s always a risk of not liking new wheels. So I borrowed Giggity’s.

I guess I must address that these wheels are considerably well skated upon – but I feel this shouldn’t defer from my review. Unless of course you are the complete opposite to me and constantly re-groove your favourite wheels on a regular schedule and never ever let them become worn. In which case this review probably isn’t for you…

I’ve been skating on the Rollerbones Turbo 88a wheels for about three weeks. I consider myself an average skater and they are currently attached to my long-term partner plate RollLine Mistrals and Riedell 495’s, for my boot.

Considering how much everybody has raved on about what a life changing wheel the Turbo is, I was genuinely expecting to put the wheel on and join the fan club. That’s not quite what has happened – not that it isn’t a good wheel.

In fact in terms of slip or grip I don’t find it that different to my typical wheel, the old style Atom G-Rod. What I do find is that my edge work has been affected by the Turbo and in terms of grip, where I would expect my old trusty wheel to gain friction the Rollerbones do not.

It has made skating kind of fun, especially when (trying) to apex jump, or doing my token move of an inside transition. As a jammer, I would guess they are the only differences. I feel no loss of stability or role. Nor have I noticed a remarkable difference the other way.

It’s when I block that I’ve noticed the biggest difference. As I’ve said, my edge work feels different and blocking one on one I appear more eager to lateral across the track rather than plow to slow. Needless to say, when I do laterals the Rollerbones Turbo wheels feel dreamy. The change of wheel has lessened my ability, or rather increased the effort I have to put into a plow.

So would I buy a set of Rollerbones Turbo wheels?

Much like my opinion on the RollLine Mistral plate, I believe these wheels to be wheels that are a grower.

When discussing whether somebody should buy the plate I skate on I often say you will not put them on your skates and instantly be like ‘Wow! These are amazing,’ it takes months – weeks if you’re lucky.

After skating on Rollerbones Turbo wheels for three weeks, I think they’re a grower, and if I’d written this review two weeks ago my answer would have been no, I would not buy a set. I don’t think they are worth the money.

But the Rollerbones Turbo wheels remain on my skates.

I’m reluctant for Gigs to ask for them back. And so the week of extra wear did make a difference. I would buy a set and I would recommend them to others.

So there’s my mixed review of Rollerbones Turbo wheels. You can try your own set through Double Threat Skates test-a-wheel programme!

Rollerbones Turbo

My Not So New (Wheelie) Shoes!

Okay, okay! So my wheelie shoes, also known as skates aren’t that new. Everybody who reads this, or knows me, is deathly aware I’m injured and entirely off skates. Yet before my injury I made the change from skating on Antik AR1 skate boots to the Carbon Bont boots. So entirely in hindsight, let me review…

I’ve skated on my Antik AR1’s for the majority of my skating time. Prior to that I’d had two other skating boots, my rookie set up of Riedell R3’s, which after six months I made the mistake of ‘upgrading’ to the Riedell Wicked set up. After a persistent ankle niggle it seemed only right that I swapped to a boot that was all the rage for holding your heel in and protecting you ankle. £600 later, as I upgraded my plate (a review for another day), I was on a completely new set up with Antik AR1’s as my new boot.

antiks001

I think it is obvious to say I loved my Antiks otherwise I wouldn’t have skated on them for so long. They really are a lovely boot. I bought the simple off the shelve, non custom boot and I remember the day they arrived slipping them on, with no plates or wheels and panicking. I’d spent approximately £300 on a pair of boots that didn’t fit! My toes literally touched the end of the boots and the ankle clip around my heel felt tight. As all sane people do I continued to get them mounted by my good friend Lil’ Joker (a well known derbier). The blatant close-my-eyes-and-hope attitude paid off. Only 1 agility session later, and a couple of blisters, the Antiks fitted like a sock! An amazing high-top, gangsta (I like to think) sock! The heel technology did rub for quite a bit afterwards, whilst my foot got used to it and the boot moulded around my foot. However, other than occasionally writing a university essay in my skates, with my halogen heater on, I didn’t really heat mould them.

antik002

My decision to move to Bont was purely a faddy and jealous one. My partner, Chris (skate name Giggity) upgraded from Riedell R3’s to Bont, mainly because I bought them for him. His skating improved massively during this change, as it often does when you move from a starter skate. But his reactiveness and agility and the boots customizable and cheaper price made the decision. Bont were my next step. I made the plunge, fully customized them and skated a lot of practices and three bouts before my injury. (The Bont boots were nothing to do with my knee injury, just adding time into the review).

bont002

Initially, unlike the Antiks cuddling heel technology, the Bont felt loose and panic hit me again. This time I have no choice to return the boot, they are custom after all, and so get the loose boot mounted. If I’m honest I regret my decision to go to Bont. There are pluses of course! And they are right for some people. They definitely improved my reactiveness. They felt like converse on wheels, which meant I became a jumper skater – something I’d been trying to do on my Antiks for a while. The weight difference was clear. However the snugness was gone and my heel constantly came out during snappy turn stops (a signature move I might add).

bonts001

So which will I be returning on?

I think neither, purely because my fear of Riedell has disappeared and I want to start fresh. But if buying another boot was not an option then I’d be returning on my Antik AR1’s and would happily purchase another set of these boots (especially if I could get them in Navy! *hint*).

Toni May xx | TwitterBloglovin’

** All photos courtesy of Peter Worth, LBRG’s resident photographer**