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Crack-Resistant Skate Wheels?

eebee's picture
Has anybody bought and skated-out any 100mm+ sized wheels within the past year, where the wheel hubs did NOT crack? The Bont Gen III's did not work out too well in this department (see Tour de Lions, 2009!). Are Hyper wheels back on the scene yet, I wonder? I need to buy wheels and wanted some feedback about the recent batches and brands of wheels out there right now, that can obviously stand up to 1,000 to 2,000 roadskate miles. Downtown or nightskate wheels - even better (lots of kerbs, steps, railroad tracks and potholes!). I probably skate over 2,000 miles on a set of wheels, as long as they are still structurally sound, and I don't change them out until T2T or A2A. So I'm interested in recommendations for such long-distance wheels. I'm really only interested in hub stability, and not wheel wear, at this point. That is, if I can wear the wheels down with the hubs still in tact, so much the better.


JonathanS's picture

Hyper wheels

I've been using the Hyper sidewinders, the softer ones, and have really enjoyed them. I had to go with something soft, both for comfort and I felt more secure in corners having a grippier wheel. I probably have 300 miles on them so far. They skate great, but they do seem to wear a little fast. Of course I was on Matter yellows before that, which are apparently 50,000 mile radials since they never wear down. From what I have experianced with the Hypers is that they have almost as good of roll as the Matters did, even though they are a much softer compound. No problems with any high speed wobbles. I go over railroad tracks 2-4 times a week, cracks in sidewalks, potholes, so they haven't been babied, but again, only about 300 miles, so take it for what its' worth. Jonathan S
skatey-mark's picture

Yellow matters

Yeah - those yellow Matter wheels are nigh indestructible... The white/natural ones might give a little smoother ride. I had bought a set of 100mm wheels but sold them before I got a chance to try them. (I upgraded to a 110mm setup, so had no use for the 100s anymore.) With the Matter wheels, I had heard some rumblings of hubs cracking too. But it was with the hubs that resemble spokes, as opposed to the more solid-looking hubs. I don't have any personal experience in that area, that's just what I heard... I'm having good luck with the Bont Gen4 wheels so far. But they cost more than the Gen3 wheels. (Still haven't tried my set of Gen3 wheels.)
skatey-mark's picture

Bont wheel update

I just checked the Bont forums, and there was a new post about their new wheels they're developing. Alex acknowledged they've had some cracking issues, and I guess they're switching to a new hub material as a result. http://bontskates.yuku.com/topic/1450/t/Wheels-Update.html I think something to keep in mind when buying any wheels, is that we (endurance skaters) are a different market than what most wheels are designed for. For many skaters, 26 miles is a very long race. For me, it's hardly worth getting my skates out unless I'm going to skate 30 miles or more... :-) So we put a lot more miles in training, too - not just on race day. I'm just speculating here, but I would guess that when a manufacturer road test their wheels, they're getting feedback from their sponsored skaters. They probably tend to not use wheels as long as we do. (We'd go broke if we put on new wheels every 100 miles.) So it's somewhat understandable about how some longevity-related issues could slip through the test process. Anyway, it's a shame that the wheel options seem to be getting fewer and fewer. I fondly remember the old Hyper Mach 2 days, which was probably one of the best training wheels ever made. (For 100mm anyway. For 80/84mm, I really loved the Explore Elite wheels.) I think some of the locals here have some blue wheels they've had good luck with. I can't remember which brand they are though. Maybe Gyro? I'll see if I can find out. Dave W. might know... - SM -
eebee's picture

Bearing removal

Thanks for the replies! And thanks for that link, Skatey-Mark. It's reassuring that they're aware of the cracking-hub issues.

"One thing to be careful of is popping the bearings out using the back of an allen key. We have very tight bearing holes and this is one way to crack the hub. Please try to use a bearing press or just push the bearing out from the other side."

I hate to sound whiney but I never had problems with the old Hyperformance+G wheels if I changed out the bearings, no matter how heavy-handed I was in their removal. But that's a weak argument for me since I don't have that wheel as an option any more, and furthermore, I don't change my bearings until I put in new wheels! Once in the hub, I just spray my bearings to death with various chemicals in no particular order.

I agree that these wheels and their manufacturers serve primarily skaters who don't roll out of bed for anything less than a brand new set of wheels...not us road-, trail- and downtownskaters, so I'd rather ask you guys and get your input over those in the hardcore racing world. 

If I were to go purely on looks, the Sidewinders seem a bit flimsy, but I'd be interested to hear how those hubs held up over 1,000 miles. The Matter yellows 'look' sturdier hubwise. I'd be interested to hear more about those blue wheels you mentioned, Skatey-Mark.

I may just have to suck it up and plan to go through four sets of wheels a year instead of ... er... two!! I'm not willing to revert to scooter wheels though, either. 

Bryan's picture

Certainly wouldn't be me

My first set of G3s is in a bag on my workbench. Six wheels have cracked hubs and one wheel, which was on the front of my right skate at the time, had a complete hub separation. I believe I only had around 400 miles on the set, but I'd have to double check to be sure. They skate well, but I'm not at all impressed with either the hubs or the overall wheel wear on those. I need to move up to G4s next time I spend some $$$, as I've heard that, especially for skaters above 180 lbs., the longer service life more than offsets the higher purchase price.
eebee's picture

Cracked Wheel pics

Thanks for the input, Bryan! There wouldn't happen to be a hammer next to that bag on your workbench, would there? Office Space Fax Machine therapy. Anyway, here are some refs to pretty photos and further cracked-hub stories we've discussed here: http://roadskater.net/bont-generation-3-gen-3-wheel-all-spokes-hub-broke... http://roadskater.net/bont-generation-3-gen-3-100mm-inline-speed-skate-w... http://roadskater.net/a-great-big-thanks-to-nistevo-llc-and-matter-wheels And I'd like to add that I'm not going out searching for Rocky steps, kerbs or railings to grind in my speed wheels. Railroad tracks and gatorback inevitably crop up at least once per 30 or 40 mile roadskate, which we average about once a week at this point in the season. So I'm looking for wheels like the old Hypers, that could handle it.

Hi guys, thanx for adding me

Hi guys, thanx for adding me to your forum. I signed up to give some input on this topic. The new hubs that flex are faster than the old stiffer hubs like the ones you would find in a Hyper Stripe for example. I have never seen one of them crack. But, they are not as fast as the new hubs that have more flex. With more flex, there is more of a chance that the wheel will break, but we work hard on minimizing that chance. We could put a super thick hub in our wheel that will never have any chance of breaking but it won't be as fast. The G3 wheels have thinner spokes than the G4 wheels so they have more flex in them. If you are a heavier skater or skating on very rough roads, I would suggest the G4 wheel. Our team use each set of Highrollers for at least 2 full marathons. They then go through the wheels and check to see if there are any wheels that can be used for a 3rd one. The used wheels then get used as training wheels until they are dead. So they do get a very good workout and are not discarded after just one race. alx
skatey-mark's picture

Good results with Bont G4 wheels so far

I should add that I've had really good luck with my G4 wheels so far. I skated A2A on them last year, and have been skating on the same wheels for the last couple months. I probably have several hundred miles on them now with no signs of cracking. The wear seems to be pretty good too. It's about time to rotate them, so I'll measure them and see where they're at, but I'm guessing I still haven't worn more than 2mm off them. I'll probably skate on these wheels the next couple weeks (including Tour to Tanglewood), then put a fresh set on for A2A. I also have a set of G3's that I haven't tried yet... I'll probably save those for next year... - SM -
MikeB's picture

G3s okay so far

The G3s are holding up quite well (knock on wood, probably shouldn't have just mentioned that). They'll be on at TTT, but please keep the string updated. It is quite informative. The Hyper+G disappeared and I thought there was a replacement in the works. Perhaps it never developed. thanks eebee.
roadskater's picture

Hyper Sidewiders

I think the replacement is here, in the Hyper Sidewinders. As we suspected, meet the new price, not the same as the old price. All of this "technology" is making skate wheels lots more expensive than they used to be. Less wheel material, less hub, bigger price, more likely to fail. Sounds great! Meanwhile plebians like some of us will be skating on the old stuff, even the old new stuff, for awhile. It's OK! I'd gladly be skating Hyper Stripes if I had bought them in bulk when I first caught wind of that...I think they were blowing out for $3.50 in batches of 100 or so (not sure of the details, but it's in today's smaller ballparks of a figure). The best technology I could get would be to work on fitness and lower my weight. Pounds off my body would be more effective than ounces off my wheels, mesay. (You don't have to jump in and agree with me too much on this, ha.) My point is I wish we still had the Hyper Mach II and Hyper Hyperformance+G at the old prices, PLUS the wonderful, new, amazing wheels that are available at almost double the price. I don't waste my time hating either option. Both sound good. Brand new old technology wheels should be better than flat, worn down, new technology wheels, for those of us who don't want to or feel we can't afford the new stuff. It's pretty silly to miss a $6-$8 skate wheel, but there it is. Meanwhile I'll be getting some new wheels, but I fear they'll be with the older hubs, since I'm not so fast or pretty!
eebee's picture

Wheel 'Speed'

I appreciate Alex jumping on here to give his input! Knowing nothing about the skate-wheel manufacturing business, I find it useful, thanks!

Again, I'm a nobody so I don't expect what I want to count for much. A 'fast' or 'light' wheel is nice, but my mediocre existence in the outdoor speedskating world would require me to lose another 10 lbs to even perceive a difference in my skate-event experience. I'm interested in a sound wheel. If this means I 'have' to buy the more expensive wheel then I guess that's what I will have to do to (hopefully) avoid buying a new set every three months. It just won't be because I need to shave a second or two off my 87 mile A2A time.

I'm not a professional racer. I am a middle-aged, single working Mother (nobody else's fault, I know). Long distance road/speed skating saves my sanity and life on a regular basis and for this I would like to have wheels that don't break after 3 months. I skate almost every day and train every year for a few events, but I guess I'm an oddity in that my motivation right now isn't to beat so-and-so. It's fun to race, but that's not my reason for taking part in skate events.

I don't spend money each year on a new skate set-up, and therefore miss (read: don't really care about) much of the 'new' wheel sizing breakthroughs. Suddenly what worked perfectly well a year ago is no longer available. 

Honestly, for the majority of the year I would take sluggish over fast any day, as long as the hubs stayed in tact. 

I don't expect Bont to rework their manufacturing facility just to accommodate me, but these are my thoughts, for what they're worth!


roadskater's picture

Ha funny I wrote mine before reading yours

I promise I had not read your notes before I wrote mine. And even if we have talked about all of this, that's surely no guarantee of agreeing, but it sounds like there are two of us who want a good reliable cheap wheel that isn't very slow. The G3 looked like it might be a candidate. If they can use a little less technology and a little more hub, then lower the price just a little bit if possible, it'd be a worthy successor to the Hypers we loved. I appreciate much of what Bont has done to keep skating moving along, and most of all, that they've stayed in business. I've seen them listen to customers and make some changes. Also I appreciate Alex's posts and emails, which have been very informative. Customers seem really happy with the G4s, mostly the Mint, comparing it favorably with the Matter Naturals (whatever their name is). Maybe offering a beefier hub in a G3 (or G3D for durable) would be the answer. Meanwhile, the Sidewinder is slightly cheaper than the G4 it seems. Anyone tried them?
eebee's picture

Put on the old Hypers

I put on my old worn-down hyper wheels - what's left of them - to run in a new set of bearings in case my soggy T2T bearings aren't salvageable (I'd have to actually try to clean them to find that out :-D).

The hyper wheels are so much more solid/sturdy. However, they are hard as rocks under my feet, and that's just skating around the park! 

For A2A we'll be trying new wheels out, as yet to be bought. Nothing like changing stuff at the last minute, eh?!

roadskater's picture

Yeah Forget NASA We're Testing in the Field

Yes it is nigh impossible not to change something at the last minute for the procrastiskaters. Well I hope there's not rain as then it'll be a tough decision. Old scrubbed flat wheels or new curvy profile wheels.

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