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Author Topic: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing  (Read 51891 times)

Offline Polk Salad Annie

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Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« on: July 21, 2010, 08:11:35 pm »
I am EXTREMELY new to the world of reffing and I would like to know what the opinion is for the best skates/wheels/bearings for reffing.

Background on me: 5'10, 200 lbs and pretty wide feet.
Currently I have Riedell R3s with Radar 95A 62mm Cayman wheels and nylon plates.

The floor that we are currently skating on is a basic wooden floor (pretty even) and grippy.  We're looking for a new venue for practice so I am leary of putting a lot of $ into anything...you never know what kind of skating surface you will end up on...

Any help/opinions/advice you are willing to give would be greatly appreciated!!!

Offline SeerSin

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2010, 08:13:32 pm »
R3s will be fine for a while, but get rid of the caymans. They'll work okay for a few months and then they likely won't be round any more.

Offline The Gorram Reaver

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2010, 08:22:10 pm »
I'd say your second investment after different wheels, if not the first, should be new plates.  You're tall enough & heavy enough that you'll probably have a plate malfunction at some point.  I'm about the same height & weight as you, and my lifespan for synthetic plates is somewhere around 60 to 90 days.  As refs, especially when doing a lot of OPR work, we use the toe stops a lot, and I've had several different problems in the toe stop area, either in the form of cracks in the plates or malfunction of the metal collar inserted for toe stop attachment.

Metal plates.  All the way.
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Offline DayGlo Divine

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2010, 09:44:11 pm »
I'd say your second investment after different wheels, if not the first, should be new plates.  You're tall enough & heavy enough that you'll probably have a plate malfunction at some point.  I'm about the same height & weight as you, and my lifespan for synthetic plates is somewhere around 60 to 90 days.  As refs, especially when doing a lot of OPR work, we use the toe stops a lot, and I've had several different problems in the toe stop area, either in the form of cracks in the plates or malfunction of the metal collar inserted for toe stop attachment.

Metal plates.  All the way.

You're painting with a little too broad a brush.

Generally, metal plates are sturdier than nylon and a better choice for heavier and/or more aggressive skaters. But not all metal plates are all that good, and some -- the PowerDyne DynaPro and especially the Triton -- have had some serious quality issues. Of course, those are also the plates that fall within the price range that beginning skaters and refs or those on a tight budget are usually willing to pay when they upgrade their gear, and they're what ships on most Riedell package skates. As dreadful as the nylon plates on R3s are (and I skated on 265 Vandals for a little over a year before upgrading the plates, so I know exactly how much they suck), they're more reliable than Tritons. The plates themselves flex a lot, especially in larger sizes and over time, but they are unlikely to break (the trucks are another story altogether). And if I were just starting out, knowing what I know now, I'd definitely take a pair of nylon Sure-Grip Probes over any of those three plates. They're about as basic as a plate can get, but they flex a lot less than the plates on the R3s, and I've seen people much larger than myself use them for years with no issues or complaints.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 09:54:09 pm by DayGlo Divine »
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Offline Darkjester

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2010, 02:27:47 am »
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Offline DayGlo Divine

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2010, 04:24:00 am »

Solid advice. One thing to note about the Rebels is that they run wide. I have wide forefeet, have to double-lace most of my skates as a result, and need hiking socks (or 2 pairs) to keep from sliding around in 'em. So if you've got narrow feet, you might want to think about having Knots do something custom for you with a different set of boots.
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Offline JimmyRage

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2010, 05:02:20 pm »
Toss those Caymans ASAP. They are crap wheels, no question at all about that.

In my semi-professional derby ref opinion, refs should make do with sticky wheels. Not ultra-sticky outdoor wheels but wheels that have a durometer around the fabled <90A region.

You're not a skater so you're not too concerned with speed. At the worst you'll need to keep up with the general pack when you're OPR, when you're inside you don't need to rocket anywhere near as fast as a 8-cylinder twin turbo jammer does. You're on the inside so you're inherently going to be faster than these skaters from the get-go.

You should focus more on being able to skate as stable as possible on any indoor surface possible. I'd recommend wheels like Radar Flat-Outs, they work wonderful on any surface I've skated on them (polished concrete, *dusty* concrete, wood, skate court, etc.) and they're not so sticky that they'll seriously slow you down.

I'm not sure at all about narrow wheels... I haven't tried them out yet. On paper they don't look worth it for refs because since they're narrow they remove some stability.

For Bearings, Bone Reds (china-built) and you're golden. They're plenty fast, they're top quality and they're so cheap you don't need to bother cleaning them out. When they pass the 'noisy bearing' point, just toss 'em and get new ones. IMO you should only get more expensive bearings if you're a skater and you're willing to put in the effort to clean them out every once in awhile.
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Offline Major Wood

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2010, 05:42:50 pm »
I'm going to disagree here. If you set yourself up to not perform to the best of your abilities, you may use energy just trying to keep up, instead of using it on reffing.
Also, I think I'm a pretty damn fast and agile skater, but I've definitely worked bouts where I have had to use every last bit of my skill in order to do my job. You should be working to be at a similar caliber of skater as the girls you are reffing.

As far as wheels, a lot of that is preference. I know that I personally like to have a little bit of slide possible, so I can do hockey stops effectively.

And bones reds are noisy bearings right out of the box. Some of the noisiest I've encountered. I am a die hard ILQ9 fan.
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Offline DayGlo Divine

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 06:19:50 pm »
I'm going to disagree here. If you set yourself up to not perform to the best of your abilities, you may use energy just trying to keep up, instead of using it on reffing.
Also, I think I'm a pretty damn fast and agile skater, but I've definitely worked bouts where I have had to use every last bit of my skill in order to do my job. You should be working to be at a similar caliber of skater as the girls you are reffing.

+1,000,000. Try jammer reffing someone with a competitive speed skating background, with inside pack refs who are lumbering noobs or otherwise sloppy skaters, and then tell me refs don't need the same speed and agility as skaters.

In my semi-professional derby ref opinion, refs should make do with sticky wheels. Not ultra-sticky outdoor wheels but wheels that have a durometer around the fabled <90A region.

Different people have different wheel requirements depending on the floors they skate on, the way they're built, and the way they skate. Don't assume that what works for you is ideal for everyone else.

You should focus more on being able to skate as stable as possible on any indoor surface possible. I'd recommend wheels like Radar Flat-Outs, they work wonderful on any surface I've skated on them (polished concrete, *dusty* concrete, wood, skate court, etc.) and they're not so sticky that they'll seriously slow you down.

I've skated on Flat Outs, and know countless people who have had them. From my experience (and I have a LOT of wheels), they don't grip any better than the average 93a wheel, but they are a lot slower. I sold mine and never looked back. The overwhelming majority opinion among the better skaters/refs I know who have had Flat Outs is that there are far better grippy wheels on the market for those who want or need them (and that's phrasing it politely; the unedited opinion I usually hear is "Flat Outs suck ass"). Examples: Atom Stinger/Poison, Heartless Voodoo/Stalker, Radar black Tuner/Devil Ray/Revolver/Zodiac, Radar Shadow, Sure-Grip Sugar/orange Fugitive.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2010, 06:23:56 pm by DayGlo Divine »
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Offline Darkjester

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2010, 07:05:00 pm »
Here's the thing about speed.

A fast, but grips well wheel can always be slowed down (t-stop, hockey stop, plow)..

But a slow muddy grip wheel can't always speed up when you need it; and that wheel will make you MORE tired due to fighting the wheel because unlike the skaters we only get 30 seconds between Jams to catch a brief rest sp we'll fatigue faster.
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Offline DayGlo Divine

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2010, 07:09:32 pm »
Here's the thing about speed.

A fast, but grips well wheel can always be slowed down (t-stop, hockey stop, plow)..

But a slow muddy grip wheel can't always speed up when you need it; and that wheel will make you MORE tired due to fighting the wheel because unlike the skaters we only get 30 seconds between Jams to catch a brief rest sp we'll fatigue faster.

And durometer isn't always the best indicator of which is which.
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Charm City Roller Girls
Opinions expressed here are mine. Not WFTDA's, not Charm City's, and not those of Zebra Huddle as a whole.

Offline mr fantastic

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 05:10:51 pm »
omg those caymans are terrible not just the wheels but the bearing they come with , I up graded to suregrip fugitives and mini logos bearings , not and expensive upgrade but wow what a big difference. I use my caymans for hockey pucks now

Offline Punk Kittie

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2010, 02:11:10 am »
I love narrow wheels but granted I artistic skated for many years.  After getting on skates again for the first time in 30 years, I kept wheel locking with the stock styles.  I have great success with the Radar Mojos which are an 88 with reds for bearings. 
At RollerCON though I purchased a set of the new Diamonds in a 92 with kwick swiss nitrate bearing and so for love them.  They are even narrower than the ojo.  I have not noticed corner slip in either style and never have a wheel clipping issue.
I had a set of Outlaw skates but also have a narrow foot and had to  change to wicked with double lacing.
If your at an event where the Riedell guys are go talk to them.  AT CE, they set up my skates, stretched the tight spots and taught me the best ways to adjust the trucks.  So for that reason, I am now a pretty dedicate fan.

Offline Brad Religion

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2010, 02:39:20 am »
In any event, there's not one "magic wheel" setup that will work on all the different surfaces you will encounter. Over the course of a month I reffed on a WAY grippy wood floor, sport court and two different concrete floors. While it would have been possible to skate the same setup on all of them, in order to perform at my best, I was doing a BUNCH of wheel swapping that month.

In my opinion - and it really is a humble one, because there are people here who know infinitely more than me about skates and wheels - you'll want at least two sets. A softer set for slippy tracks and a harder set for the really grippy stuff. And then there's the outdoor wheels, or the hybrid wheels for the odd occasion that they'd be handy...

Personally, I've got a set of Atom D Rods that I love dearly. I'm picking up G Rods tomorrow for when I need something a bit softer (and which can be used as pusher wheels when needed). I totally fell in love with the Atom Poisons that I skated the other day - those'd be perfect for reffing on a floor where nothing else would grip or when you find yourself reffing a demo/scrimmage in a parking lot outside a movie theater or TV station (I bet I'm not the only one that has done that).
Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls
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Offline ttjustice

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Re: Best skate/wheel/bearing for reffing
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2010, 04:39:50 pm »
At the moment, I only have 2 sets of wheels- Blue Fugitives and a set of Sugars.  I tend to use the Sugars on concrete and wood floors and the Fugitives on Skatecourt/ Sportcourt.  That doesn't mean I don't screw up and have the wrong ones on from time to time.  When I ref in the Cincinnati Gardens I normally use the Fugies but decided to try the Sugars for a bout- what a mistake!  They were so grippy on that particular floor I nearly fell on my face the first time I tried a t- stop and spent the rest of the night working my butt off just to stay up with the pack.  The other lesson I learned was don't forget to pack your other set of wheels. ;)

Our head ref really likes the Atom Omegas and swears they are the best wheels he has ever had.
Timothy T. Justice
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