In response to our story 104mm and 110mm wheels compared, a Pure Skating News reader this week asked:
"If you had a 110mm hi-lo frame, would that put you in between a 4x110 and a 4x104 set-up in terms of acceleration and top end speed?"
The top-end speed of these three skate configurations, in terms of wheel diameter rolling potential, can be thought of as:
- HiLo (3x110,1x100); then,
However, skaters need to be mindful of the type of skating being done, for as wheel diameter (and rolling potential) increases so too does the skating speed required to take full advantage of it. If you're not regularly skating at those speeds, you could be needlessly carrying, pushing and accelerating too much skate hardware for the job – and limiting your own skating potential.
The acceleration potential of any skate set-up depends on the type of skater you are, and the type of acceleration you want to optimize: from zero (standing), or from a rolling speed (and the speed range of that initial speed):
- Skater size, strength and stroke rate
- Type of acceleration (from zero, or speed-to-speed)
- Typical skating speed range
- Importance of economy (a single accelerative effort – like a 200-500m, or repeated intervals of acceleration – like a points, elimination, or perhaps marathon event)
There are a number of factors that can be manipulated with skate configuration:
- Maneuverability (affected largely by frame length), Acceleration (wheel size & frame length), Top-end Speed (wheel size & frame length), and Stability & Economy (deck height) to name a few...
A big, strong skater with a lower stroke rate can definitely achieve higher top-end speed using 4x110mm (a Mantia, for example). The lower stroke rate allows the 110 to roll out as well as overcome the turning resistance of the frame's length (smaller angles to track the skate through during the stroke, as more road-per-stroke is passing under the skate), and the lower turnover rate is not impeded by a 4x110 frame's higher decks.
A smaller skater with a different technique (a Guyader, for example, making use of more frequent turnover) may use excessive energy trying to accelerate a 4x110 and not achieve the speeds they could (alone) on a HiLo skate, particularly in repeat situations. Without modifying his technique to match a particular skate type, this skater benefits from shorter frame length and lower decks, and a skate that can be accelerated more efficiently with less strength-per-stroke.
Following the indications above, your individual size and skating style, as well as your target event types, should guide you as to the correct skate configuration to get the best performance out of yourself.