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inline skate wheels - decisions decisions -

MikeB's picture

The wheels on the skates wear down and down,

down and down,

down and down,

The wheels on the skates wear down and down, all through the day.


Okay, so my wheels are showing visible signs of wear and have seen numerous rotations.  It's getting close to 'bite the bullet' time and get some replacements.  Plus thanks to the nice people at roadskater.net, I was able to completely save a set of bearings that seemed lost to an unplanned rain skate.

So truly I have one full set of bearings that need rubber as a back up, and a current set up that will need new rubber fairly soon (100mm Powerslide 83a).  My skating habits are all outdoor blacktop; some smoother than others with an occassional 1 mile stretch of gatorback; and never again in the rain.

What do you fellow skaters recommend?

What works well for you and why?

Where to turn for a decent deal?

Anything to avoid or watch out for?

As usual, all help is greatly appreciated.




eebee's picture

Eternal Optimist

Hey I know that song! But MikeB, you are an incorrigible optimist: "...with an occasional 1 mile stretch of gatorback..." And your sunny outlook is truly astounding: "...and never again in the rain." I have only my opinion and vague answers for you, unfortunately. Roadskater and I used to love Hyperformance + G wheels but the 100mms & up have disappeared off the face of the USA in the past 2 years. According to Londonskater Rick at A2A, they were still plentiful at the Berlin Marathon a few weekends ago. I said I'd look into buying some from Germany but totally forgot about it. We scrambled for this year's new set of wheels about 8 days before A2A, having worn last year's T2T and A2A sets all throughout this year, flat, pizza-cutter style, or otherwise mangled. We settled on trying out Bont Gen3's, which are so far working out fine for me, at least. In our pre-A2A panic we poured over a lot of online (mostly forum) skate wheel reviews, and did not have time to make spreadsheets out of the findings. Tsk :-). It was obviously a confusing mess of opinions and data from the whole spectrum: male, female, heavy, light, speed demons, rec demons, purely dry skaters, occasional rain skaters, etc. Exhausting! For my part I tried to rule out any wheel that cropped up 2 or 3 times in conversation as the hubs cracking, wheels being out of round, or otherwise dubious, even if it was only the result of one bad batch. Firstly I tried going straight to tried and tested skate wheel vendors' websites like backstreetinline.com, but honestly a google search worked great too. I asked about wheel vendors once before here and there's a small thread about it with other people's preferred wheel vendors listed. This answer is inadequate, but I'm sure some others will hop on and chime in.
eebee's picture


Here's a link to the thread from last year about wheels. And I believe this year Skatey-Mark was the one who pointed us in the direction of the Gen3 wheels we ended up buying. We went to http://www.bontwheels.com.


roadskater's picture

More on ordering inline skate wheels online before A2A 2008

A few notables... bontwheels.com got our order Sunday night. They shipped Tue via USPS Priority Mail. While they suggested express mail, I didn't want to ship express after they took 2 days to ship, and Priority Mail (first class for anything over 13 oz.) has a service rating of 2-3 days generally, especially from near L.A. to near ATL. They arrived on Thursday or Friday, I forget which. They looked great and I think they rolled well. I may still like Hyperformance +G a bit better, but that might just be the orange hubs, who knows? We bought some 84mm wheels from Connie's Skate Place, which is a Yahoo store I think. (I thought Yahoo stores was closed, so this might not be the case.) We had good service and their price was reasonable. We ordered from there as it was close geographically. If you find a shipper uses USPS Priority, that will tend to be at least 2 and usually not more that 3 days in the USA. With UPS Ground, a large area will actually come next day. You can go to the UPS site and generate a ground delivery zone chart to figure the number of days. Anyway, we got some Hyper +G from there for the 84mm wheels, and it worked out well. I think these were the blue hub and graphics ones. OK I am supposed to be doing other things now! Oh yes. I emailed backstreetinline.com and while I love their prices and shipping, I asked specific questions and got vague answers, so I didn't order Gyro wheels. They've changed colors and formulas a bit and I wanted a specific item, and since I couldn't be sure, I skipped it. In general, color wheels are fun, but I'm still not sure but what white wheels are best. For A2A, I think I'd go with 83a vs. 85a in the same wheels, given how long the day can be and how any comfort without a huge performance difference will actually improve your time, often enough. OK gotta go!
skatey-mark's picture

I used the Gen4 wheels at

I used the Gen4 wheels at A2A and was very happy with them. The Gen3 wheels are about half the price though. So, it's probably worth trying those out first! (I have a set that I haven't tried yet...) Matter wheels are okay, but I have to say I'm not in love with the Yellow Matters anymore after switching to the Bont wheels. The YMs last forever though, because they're made of the hardest substance known to man. (Or so it seems.) Others have used the White Matters and like them. There are also a few locals using Gyro wheels, and they seem happy with them. Wheels are a pretty subjective thing. In general, the heavier a person is, the harder a wheel they'll need. In the past I always thought harder == better roll. But I think you eventually reach a point where it doesn't matter. The Yellow Matters were 87a. The Bont Gen4s I skated on recently were 85a and I liked them a lot more. I think 84a is probably even hard enough for me now. I agree with Elizabeth that the Hyper wheels were great, and a great value. I have a TON of old worn-out 100mm Hyper Mach 2 wheels. They were definitely my wheel of choice for the first couple of years after I switched to a 100mm setup. It's a shame they don't exist anymore. - SM -
MikeB's picture

Gen vs Hyper

Thanks for the info. Since I have 2 sets of bearings to outfit - guess I'll do the Gen 3s on 1, and wait a bit longer on the other. There was an insinuation online somewhere that Hyper was getting ready to roll out a new line.
roadskater's picture

My Suspicion is a New Higher-Priced Hyper

It's just the cynic in me, but I'm thinking that Hyper was looking at the crazy prices others were getting for their wheels and has decided to shut down the market awhile and reintroduce at a new, higher price. I'm just guessing here, but perhaps new hubs and a more techy look...anything that can make rink rats and road dogs think there might be an extra millisecond in those wheels! Of course, it could be that Hyper was making no money, but that'd be hard to believe. Those Hyper +Gs were sweet and I was OK using them at the old price forever. Let's hope the Bont Gen whatever (the white cheaper ones ha as I'm too lazy to look on the other page of "this here web site thingy") will do the job and stay reasonably priced. If we don't watch it, the middle-to-low-income skaters and cyclists won't be able to participate in the sports we love.
timv's picture

My wheel strategy

The approach that I recommend: Stay at least one generation, and preferably two or more, behind what's fashionable. If you don't have to buy the latest and greatest size and style, you can look for half-price closeouts of the stuff that the cool kids don't want anymore.
MikeB's picture

great strategy

That is great advice.  Wheels couldn't change too much from year to year plus it's not like I could take advantage of the very latest benefits of the newest wheels anyway.  Value is the key for me........thanks!

Blacktop skater

My experience with wheels on open roads is; that the harder ones not only last longer and are faster but also will flick loose gravel, and other small stuff, on the road away (not including banana peels and chewing gum grrr). I am a big fan of the Hyperformance + Grip and sure hope that they will be back in stores sooner then later. I normally use 84A or 85A but, after hearing the war stories, changed to 83A for the A2A thinking that it may eliminate or at least lessen the unwanted foot massages that travel all the way up to the brain. LOL  

It never occurred to me, that weight has something to do with it, but it makes sense what skatey-mark wrote. 

 Safe rolling

Take care,


P.S. I got a present “Ceramic Bearings” !!!!!!! Oh la la… now you see me, now you don’t. I am not sure if it will make any difference to my skating times but, it feels good knowing that they are in there. Will see how long they last and what kind of trouble they can get me in.  hahaha

MikeB's picture

oh la la

Ceramic bearings huh?  Wow.  Very nice.  I hope they're as smooth and fast as the manufacturers say.  Then those pesky brown bears will have to just stick to salmon instead of solomons! 

After some road miles please weigh in with a ceramic bearing report - that would be really interesting.

roadskater's picture

Nettracing Hyper Stripe 100mm

I'm hearing on two lists that nettracing.com has Hyper Stripes 100mm wheels for $4.50. I saw them last spring in bulk for $3.50 but didn't bite, so this is a good price. I think Andrewinnc had mixed results with these...not sure...something about not liking the hubs that much I think. Let's all hope for some Hyperformance +G will come out at the old reasonable prices. If you find any now I fear they'll be overpriced.

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