5 things to know about off-road inline skating
Off-road skating is gaining popularity
Did you know that it is now possible to skate even on unpaved surfaces? At the end of the 1990s, Rollerblade produced the Coyote all-terrain model, one of the first models to allow this practice. Produced for only 2-3 years, there had been little development on the off-road skate side until 2018. After several years of research and testing, Powerslide launches the Next Outback 150 in 2018, a powerful model allowing the practice of extreme off-road skating.
With the rise in popularity of mountain biking and fat biking in recent years, several facilities have emerged for the practice of these sports. Now is the time for inline skaters to think outside the box. Sounds interesting? Here are 5 things to know for the practice of this sport:
Choosing your playground
The first thing to know about using off-road inline skates is that unlike traditional inline skates, they are not intended for skating on a flat surface. In fact, these are skates that are designed for downhill. Cool, right?
Wanted to use them to ride the rock dust trails in your area? This choice will have to be reassessed because the skating experience is very different. The weight of the frame and the rubber tires makes it a heavier inline skate than the classic models. The longer wheelbase also makes it a less maneuverable skate, much like skating on a rail. These characteristics will be very useful for a stable and comfortable descent, but for a stroll you will find that it lacks agility.
Ready to hit the slopes? Consider the following tips when choosing your playground:
- To start, choose an open space, a matter of getting used to maneuvering your off-road inline skates safely. Give yourself some time to consider zigzagging between the trees!
- Make sure the soil is fairly compact. In soft ground, the skate will sink, slowing your momentum or braking you sharply. A grassy mound, a rock dust trail, a mountain bike trail or even a "pump track" are all places where you will have a lot of fun! In Montreal, a place like Mont Royal is full of sites for you to practice!
- Check that there is not too much debris in your path. Even though the tires of off-road inline skates are big, 5-10cm and more stones or roots could brake you dry!
Choosing the right product
Do you want to try? Here's what you need to know to choose the gear that's right for you. At the moment there are two models of the off-raod inline skates on the market, both made by Powerslide:
- Next Outback 150: this skate is designed for extreme all-terrain inline skating. With a stable boot, solid frames and three large 150mm tires, no matter the terrain or weather conditions, you can go virtually anywhere. The skate has a strong boot that can withstand the toughest conditions and is complemented by an ankle (cuff) that provides superior support that is so crucial for extreme off-road skating. The Outback 150 comes with a thermo-moldable MYFIT liner with RECALL memory foam, giving you a perfect fit and excellent comfort, even during the longest rides.
- Zoom Renegade 125: this skate is ready for dirt parks, trails and everything the great outdoors has to offer. With its solid and durable boot accompanied by a supportive ankle (cuff), you'll be confident on any type of terrain, knowing that you have plenty of control even at high speeds. The sturdy boot comes with a sophisticated closure system that includes a strong ankle buckle, traditional lacing, and a 45 degree ratchet buckle that holds your heel perfectly in place. The skate also features a thick heel cushion and a MYFIT Recall Dual Fit liner with memory foam, giving you great cushioning to make big jump sessions just fun.
These two models will allow you to walk the trails comfortably and with control. The Outback has a few more upscale features, especially in terms of comfort. The Next boot is also narrower than the Zoom boot. The last major difference is in wheel size and wheelbase. With 150mm wheels and its 328mm wheelbase, the Outback will be more stable at high speeds, but with its 125mm wheels and 295mm wheelbase, the Renegade will be more manoeuvrable.
Already have a quality boot? You can change your frame and replace it with a frame with off-road inline wheels. But be careful, you must choose the binding system compatible with your skate:
- For most skates with a replaceable frame (165mm system), shop the Powerslide SUV 125 frame.
- For Powerslide skates (Trinity system), shop the Powerslide SUV 150 Trinity frame.
- For skatepark skates (UFS system), shop the Kizer SUV Complete UFS frame
Either way, make sure you have a sturdy boot! Being higher off the ground with 125mm or 150mm wheels, the forces on your ankle will be greater. You will want to have a tighter fit around your ankle to have more control and avoid injury. To cope with these forces and avoid play or movement with the sole of your boot, the attachment point of your frame must be solid. Boots using the Trinity fixing system, metal plates to fix the chassis (frame) or even carbon boots will be preferred.
Not sure you're making the right choice? Contact one of our experts to find the answer to your questions.
Ready to get started? Here are some accessories that you might find useful:
- Of the rustproof ball bearings: Off-road inline skating will take you to visit all kinds of sites and you may come across puddles of water or mud. To avoid seizing your ball bearings after a ride, consider getting rust-proof ball bearings. Already included on Outback and Renegade models, the construction of these bearings will protect them from water, dirt or sand contamination.
- Brake for your off-road inline skates. Although off-road skating will be preferred for experienced skaters who are able to brake without using a brake, you may want to add a brake to your skates to feel safer on your first outings. As these brakes are removable, it can be removed once you are more confident. This will give you greater freedom of movement. Powerslide offers a brake compatible with Trinity SUV chassis:
The use of protection
The practice of off-road inline skating involves its share of risks. To avoid injury, we recommend that you use full protective equipment including:
- A helmet: prefer certified helmets to protect you adequately against head trauma;
- Knee pads: to avoid hampering your movements, consider using flexible knee pads. As they are worn under your pants, you will have all the freedom of your movements.
- Protective shorts: Many falls are possible in off-road inline skating, including backward falls. The best way to protect your hips and tailbone is with protective shorts. G-Form offers a flexible and lightweight model that absorbs impacts well, such as the G-Form Pro X3 Short Liner.
- Wrist guards or gloves;
Take inspiration from the pros
Do you know Dustin Weberski? This Canadian is one of the most prominent figures in off-road inline skating at the moment. He regularly posts inspiring videos of his off-road rides on his Instagram account:
We contacted him and he generously offered us some tips that we will share with you shortly. We also got wind that he was working on an off-road inline skate with Powerslide. Its "pro model" should be available soon.