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Frames: Specs & Personal Preferences

Frames . . . so many changes, so many choices, but what makes a really good frame anyway?

When considering a new frame for myself, I attempted to study other skaters and why they skate on what they do.  Many talk about the weight of their frames.  Others talk about height, some wheel size, length, stiffness, etc.

I am female, pushing 50 yrs. of age, not Chad, Eddy, or Barry . . . or "Joe" skater at 6'2" at 225 lbs.  I am 5'7" and, well . . . not 225 lbs.

As for weight of a frame, I say the lighter the better, of course!  Since I'm not a monster skater with a monster push, it's not going to flex much anyway!  And if in a given year, I let my weight fluctuate 10%, why should I worry about a few extra grams on my feet when my body is screaming at me?  My conclusion is to simply keep it under 200 grams.

Now height is a major issue for me, a supinator +.  I am so far on my outside edges, I'm ridiculous!  But after walking on the outsides of my feet for almost 50 yrs., I really can't expect to "roll" much differently.  However, I absolutely LOVE big wheels.  With that said, and frames pushed all the way to the outsides already, in a very supportive boot, my conclusion is to go hybrid, 3 X 100+84.  I will swallow my pride and not go with the 195 spaced boots and 4 X 100, just to say that I have them and wind up on my tush even faster.  Now that new Bont 3 point is an exception, but so is the price, and I'm just not worth it! 

As for length, I think skate manufactures assume a lot here.  They must all be men, thinking all skaters are men.  I mean how many people really have the same size stride with all of those different inseams out there?  Is a longer frame always better?  Should a 5'7" skater with a 50yr. old knee bend really be skating on the same length frame as the 6'2" monster skater who's a relative child?  Now there have been some improvements in this department, but they are few, especially on the shorter side of 12.8".  Having studied the infamous "frame chart "on the Race Reports forum, it is hard to find a major manufacturer producing a frame short than 12.8" with my preferred wheel configuration.  The whole market does not consist of the Eddy's and Chad's and Barry's.  We, the masses, are not them, obviously!  So for me, I don't want to be much over 12".  12.3" sounds nice! 


Well, I think that leaves me 1 choice . . . I'm really close to taking the plunge.  Want to take a guess, or make a suggestion before I do?  I'll get back to you when I plunk down the cash . . . 


roadskater's picture

Skate Frames I'd Like to Try

Thanks for the reference to the skate chart, Claire. I was poking about last night on the internet looking at various frame combinations when I was writing some glossary entries. Of course I left some out and may go back to get them later!

What I've noticed about 3x100+84 on Silver Hill on the a2a course is a bit more wobble than on my ancient 5x85 flag frame. It was ok when I went over that section a couple of times last year, but a bit more shaky than I recalled on 5x84. However, my left boot may have been contributing to this as it was not as solid perhaps as I thought it was.

In any case, I would love to try some sort of 4x90 12.8" setup, the same day I tried a 5x84, a 5x90 setup as short in length as possible, a 3x100+84 and a longmount 4x100 or 4x110.

I think I would just ruin that toe wheel on an over-14" 5x90 frame!

We saw mark s's kit with the 3-point mount in DC and it looked really interesting. The frame was a couple of wavy slices of titanium like wedgie fries or something. Neat stuff.

Keep us posted on the details of the choice, the joy of spending, and the road tests afterward.

Frames . . . the road test and purchase

  Today was "road test day."  What fun!  I changed my mind again, at least on one spec.  I really, really thought I was going to buy a 12.3" frame, and if I was 10 years younger, (and stronger with a better knee bend) I would have.  I was still having this gnawing feeling that I'd better make sure.  As this was to be my 2nd test, I went with the idea that I would simply be confirming what I previously thought.  This test was to be longer, 10 miles, and on pavement, both rough and smooth, that I was familar with and would include a hill or two.  I used 85A wheels, and I mounted the frames with less toe sticking out the front to accommodate my lazy stride.

  Here's what I found.  On what would seem to be the shortest 3X100, w/1X84, available, an 11.5", I was light-footed and able to climb a hill easier and more quickly than I thought that I could.  Since I'm somewhat of a control freak dragging going downhill, I didn't find the short length to be a problem.  Perhaps if I just bombed down the hill, we would be discussing the dreaded "ooze problem", or worse!  It's mostly pancake flat where I live in NJ.  The test was in Philly.  Super hilly runs with Carolina folk will be done K2s, brake, and leash.

  These frames are made of carbon.  I did find that it absorbed more road vibration than my aluminum frames, K2s, but not as much as I thought it would based on what I heard others say that were involved in testing the frames.  Once again, I think this is because I am not their size or weight.  I don't have their knee bend or big stride.  I don't think it is possible for me to get the same relief that the big boys do, but some relief is better than no relief, too.  I'll take it!

  Another pleasant surprise was that it was easier for me to get up to speed and to actually maintain it, even sprint a bit.  While I didn't scientifically prove this to myself, I didn't need to either; it was obvious!  I should mention that I was probably running about 80 or so grams ligher, too.

  I also found that I was actually able to put a small underpush in my stride.  Previously, I could only do this in my Salomon rec skates which of course have shorter frames.  Since that underpush is essentially a bent knee straightening scribing an arc, could it be that an arc is easier to scribe with a shorter frame?  Duh . . . 

  I think this company has solutions for the smaller footed skater, women skaters, juniors, and old wanabees like me.  The moment I got home from my test, I ordered.  By the way, the "big boys" said they would be placing their orders, too.  My order was placed with TUSA frames.    

skart's picture

I know that I don't have a

I know that I don't have a lot of experience but when it comes to picking a frame I would not be concerned about its weight too much. We all know that the last year or so many frame manufacturers were racing for the lightest frame possible. And they did achieve some pretty good results. However, we all started hearing about frames snapping, bending, etc. On the other hand, there are these Bullet frames that probably are the heaviest frames out there and I have not heard a single bad comment about them... Again, I am not saying that you need to put some bricks on your feet but I don't think that 50 extra grams would hurt you more than imperfect technique or poorly fitting boot.

 P.S. Just thought of another example. SubZero makes awesome frames... However, when SubZero came out with 100/90 Lite version of their 100/90 frame it was so underengineered that girls were snapping it while skating indoors!!! I have to note though that I have two other SubZero frames (5x84 and 90/80) and I love both of those :-)

Frame Weight

  I pretty much agree with you in that I don't need to go out and buy a frame at 159 grams, as a specific example, without other considerations.  Since there are so many frames in the 190-200 gram category, I set this as the maximum for myself just because I'm not going to be very demanding.  I'd be much better off watching my body weight and not worrying about such things when there are so many other specs that could ultimately be more important.  I certainly agree that technique and conditioning are by far the most important things that any skater could spend their time on.  However, it is fun to be somewhat of an equipment geek!   

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