Roll Line Skil Thunder Demon – Wheels review

Oryginally posted: http://freeskatenews.pl/showthread.php?tid=1338

Roll Line Skil is a newcomer to inline skating world – the brand was mostly known for their quad skates and parts dedicated for them. They made jump to freeskating/powerblading market not that long ago, offering wheels, bearings and frames dedicated for this skating style. They were kind to send us their new wheels named Thunder Demon in 88A hardness, unfortunately – in sizes 72mm and 80mm.
These wheels are completely new product, so I’ve tried to describe their benefits and eventual defects as precisely as I could. Because of two different sizes, I’ve put together two setups: one for freeskating/powerblading, 4x80mm, where Thunder Demons are outside wheels (as outside wheels always wear much faster than the middle ones) and aggressive setup where I’ve used four 72mm wheels with antirockers in GC Featherlite II frame.

I didn’t go easy on them, but you must remember other people experiences with these wheels can be much different: after all, not everybody weights 70kg and have the same skating style as me.

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Technical specs

These wheels were made with powerblading in mind, much like Undercover Powerblading model. Because of it, their hardness is higher than found in most of freeskating wheels.

Hardness 88A comes in three sizes – 72/76/80mm. You can clearly see that wheels are properly made. Urethane is evenly poured and air bubbles are rare. Minimalistic graphic in green & white colors adds final touch.

Core

Core of these wheels is one of better I ever saw in fsk/pb wheels. It holds bearings very tight. Hyper Pro 250, Hyper Concrete and old Salomon FSK cores are looser in comparison, and UC Powerblading ones even more. Design is similar to one in UC PB, but diameter is a bit larger, and so are vent holes. Plastic seems to be slightly more flexible than in other wheels. Cores withstood tens of jumps, stair rides, and still are solid with no signs of wear. They have “Made in Italy, Roll Line” stamped inside.

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Profile

Wheels are halfway between elliptical UC PB and more round Hyper Concretes. Thanks to it, landings are still stable enough (means much when wheels have 88A hardness) but wheels are still faster than softer and more flat Hypers.

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Urethane compound

There is lot of it. Hardest compound that is more or less comfortable to freeskate, but also used in number of aggressive wheels. It have its ups and lows of course. Theoretically wear should be slower, slides easier to perform, in expense of comfort. Thanks to such hardness in cooperation with aluminum frames, you’ll feel every little bump on the surface, not to mention wheels aren’t suitable to skate on wet surfaces.
That’s a theory.

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Skating experience.

Wheels have been tested in varied conditions. For the start, some jumps and slides. Wheels were very unstable at first, my feet slipped frequently. I think that’s because I was used to relatively soft Hyper Pro 250 which have superior grip. But it got better, probably because wear flattened profile a bit and I got used to the wheels. It wasn’t most pleasant experience in my life, but jumping is perfectly possible.

When it came to slides, I soon noticed very fast wear of urethane. Wheels got noticeably smaller in rapid condition. They slide excellent on almost any surface, but after one day of skating they were clearly worn down on the sides. They wear much differently than Hypers and UC PBs, “layers” of urethane and small pellets are more visible. I skated downstairs on these and it is simply a bit less comfortable than on softer wheels, that’s all.

Wheels are good choice for powerblading and wear should be slower if you exclude slides (do not mistake wheel slides with grinds!). There were some problems though, wheels slip on smooth concrete surface of skatepark, and they can slow you down on ledge grinds (I’m talking about antirocker setup here) if you won’t get low enough.

Skating on these doesn’t cause much trouble if you aren’t bothered by occasional slips on smooth or dusty surfaces. Grip is fine, but compared to Hypers only mediocre. I was more cautious taking sharp corners with these. Major downside is how they behave on wet surfaces – skating is simply impossible, wheels slip like crazy even on moist asphalt.

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I would write a bit about 72mm wheels before I end this review. I used them for aggressive skating, before I used old Salomon FSK wheels (81A hardness) which wore down fast because of their old age, but were comfortable to ride on uneven surfaces thanks to their soft compound. After I’ve put Thunder Demons in my frames I’ve felt like on aggressive wheels again. Harder, and with more flat profile, still provide good rolling, even with my old bearings. Uneven surfaces are less pleasant to skate and wheels slip occasionally in comparison to Salomon ones, but that’ not a surprise. Their 72mm diameter should be enough to make them last longer than small aggressive wheels in 54-60mm diameters, even if they’ll wear down like 80mm size. Sometimes I had a bit of wheel bite on halfpipe coping when doing royales, but I can’t say if it was my bad day, or if wheels are too large and catch, but I’ve felt I should inform you.

Conclusion: as for now, I wouldn’t recommend these wheels for freeskating if their price will be similar to Hypers or Undercovers. Why? Even though they have good cores and profile, compound isn’t that good. I really like doing slides and use them as a braking technique, more spectacular than T-stop. Sometimes it’s necessary to react quickly with slide. Fast wear disqualifies these wheels for fsk ride.

Aggressive and powerblading are another story. If you’ll focus more on grinds and tricks on spots, where harder wheels are required, these should do their job just fine. You won’t even feel much difference in hardness is comparison to small aggressive wheels. Thanks to more round profile, you’ll gain more stability on landings.

They say that hope dies last. But if Roll Line will adjust compound a bit and release versions of different hardness, these should be a worthy competitor to Hyper, Matter and Undercover products.

Please ask questions directly if you have any.

I’ll update this review when I get another set of wheels and skate them a little more!

Thanks to Herbata for text revision and translation, and to Roll Line Skil for sending test wheels for free!

High res pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/11072222291…LineSkill#
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