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Clap frame time trials.
I was able to time trial 5 frames this week to try and make some sense of all the new frames on the market.

I took 1 day for each frame to make sure I was fresh for each trial. The trials were done at 7:00 am so there was no wind to hamper the trials. The course  I used is a 5 mile loop around Lake Miramar with many winding curves. You can see below the dark line that boarders the lake is the course so you can see the amount of turns in the course.

Here are the times:

Bont Slingshot Clap (14 ozs): 15:07
Mogema Clap (12 ozs): 15:25
Boen Tornado (8 ozs): 15:33
Xenan 100mm Wheel (8 ozs): 15:41
Verducci V-Drive (14 ozs): 15:42

Maple Diamond Clap (11 ozs): 14:51
Bont Slingshot Clap (10 ozs): 14:55

(Corsa boot)
(Corsa boot)
(Corsa boot)
(Corsa boot)
(Corsa boot)

(Mogema MG-R1 boot)
(Mogema MG-R1 boot)

Bont Slingshot Clap
Mogema Clap
Boen Tornado
Xenan 100mm
Verducci V-Drive
To start off, months ago I got my first chance to try a clap frame. I was all excited expecting to feel like I had wings on my feet only to be completely let down. The impact from the weight of the frame bearings and wheels hitting my heel could be felt throughout my body. The mechanism was very slow in returning to it's closed position, when sprinting it felt like I had to slow my foot speed down to wait for the mechanism to close.

The next frame that came along was the Xenan 100mm wheel frame. Most of my skating is done in a draft line that is pulled by a fast bike so the skaters aren't doing allot of pulling. When I tried the Xenan frame I was blown away by how slow my cadence was over a 80mm wheel standard frame. Also how slow my cadence was over the skaters I normally skate with. My cadence was much slower and in turn I wasn't as tired as I would normally be.

Next I tried the Bont clap frame, the clap mechanism closed incredibly fast and there was no slowing down my sprint cadence to wait for the clap to close. It opened up so easy because the spring didn't have to be strong enough to close the weight of 5 wheels, bearings and frame. Seeing as it only claps 3 wheels (which I now think is the perfect amount) and the hinge is in the middle of the 3 wheels means it needs very little spring tension to get it back into place which it does extremely fast.

There is a significant clap noise but no impact like the first clap I tried (nowhere near). The noise is annoying but is so fast and crisp I felt like I was 10 years old and had playing cards in the spokes of my bike. Ok, it gets annoying fast, I'm going to reproduce the plastic block the frame hits and shave it and replace what I shave with a cushion material.

Addition: I worked on the recoil block today and went out on a trial skate and all clap noise is gone. Unless you told someone you had a clap on they wouldn't know.

The only problem I could see with the frame is the weight (I've started working on that), at 14 ozs it is quite heavy but even as heavy as it is the extra weight seems to help my feet swing into a better position (better form). I found this same feeling when experimenting with mini bearings a year ago.

Back when I was testing the mini the weight reduction of the mini made it hard to get my trailing foot to kick behind across my body for a good weight transfer which made it feel like I was setting my foot down early and shortening my stroke. Well now it's just the opposite, with the added weight of the Slingshot my trailing foot is kicking so far across the back I'm getting a huge weight transfer which is completely lengthening my stroke (probably more to the inside). It's a real flowing balanced feeling as opposed to setting your foot down early and having a short choppy unbalanced stroke.

The question is what's better, to have the added weight giving you a longer balanced stroke but wearing you out sooner because of the extra weight, or the skate being lighter making for a shorter stroke and becoming tired sooner due to a short inefficient stroke.

Mogema Clap:

It performed well but was edged out by the Slingshot and with the Mogema weight at 12 ozs I think if the Slingshot dropped 2 ozs from it's 14 ozs to 12 it would be under 15 minutes for a lap.

Don't forget to look at the Mogema boot review.

Boen Tornado:

I put this frame in to show how a standard fixed frame would perform. At 8 ozs and having small wheels for the lower speed of a time trial I thought this would get closer to the Slingshot but to my surprise it didn't get close.

Xenan:

This is a pack racing frame not a time trial frame. 90 % of the races out there are pack races so in my opinion you would want to use this frame in 90% of the races. I feel this is the best frame for pack racing 10k and up.

Don't forget to look at the Xenan frame review.

Verducci Vdrive:

(This is the lighter 14 oz version as opposed to the older 18 oz version)

Wow, I felt like I was going so slow. I thought I was going to come in with a 16:00. It wasn't to far off at 15:42. On the Slingshot my limitation was my aerobic ability but with the V-Drive my ankles just locked up. When I got back to the shop I found out why. Measuring both frames the V-Drive was 1/4 inch higher both front and back than the Slingshot. I measured a standard high profile frame (Boen Tornado) and it matched the Slingshot so I guess the V-Drive is in a class of it's own, maybe we can call it a extra high profile frame (being higher off the ground may explain why it felt like I was going slower than I actually was).

I think my ankles would be to weak to use a frame higher than a high profile frame but I think if you were strong enough to properly use an extra high profile frame you would have a faster top speed than just a high profile frame. Again like the Xenan if I was able to attain a higher constant speed like Julie and Chad and other very strong skaters this frame would excel but I don't have the motor for it. Another thing is, I did time trials on my own with an average speed of 20 mph. If I was in a race I would be drafting which would allow me to reach a higher constant speed, possibly high enough to increase my cadence enough to allow the frame to become efficient.

Don't forget to look at the Verducci Corsa boot review.

Addition #1: I added a time trial with the Maple Clap and the 10 oz Bont Slingshot but I used the new Mogema MG-R1 boot instead of the Corsa. I feel the MG-R1 performs better for me but is not as comfortable as the Corsa.


Addition #2: I have settled on using the Bont Slingshot clap frame for my races over the Maple clap frame, even thought the Maple clap time trialed better. During our training sessions I was having trouble keeping up at high speed with the Maple clap but not with the Slingshot. The back of the Slingshot is slightly higher than the Maple which makes the Slingshot more like a high profile clap frame and the Maple more like a low profile clap frame. The Maple may be good at longer distances but if I get dropped at the beginning of the race during a high speed sprint I've already lost where with the Slingshot I have a better chance to hang with a higher speed sprint. Another problem I found was on the front of the Maple the aluminum block that houses the bearings for the front hinge I feel is to heavy. It makes the frame very front heavy so I have trouble getting my foot back into position after a push. I feel half the metal that houses the hinge bearings could be safely removed which would solve the front end weight problem of this frame.


Addition #3: For pack racing I will be going back to a fixed frame. I beleive clap frames are good for non drafting time trials only. With a clap frame power is generated throughout a longer stroke that goes quite far to the outside where with a fixed frame your power is generated in a shorter stroke that goes only a little to the outside. These are two different type stokes for two different type races. On a clap frame in a pack race when there is a sprint or an interval and you roll to the front of the skate to sprint the wheel collapses towards you and you continue to push out never seeming to get a solid connection to the road.

When the person on the fixed frame rolls up on his front wheel he gets an instant response because the wheel didn't collapse towards him. The person on the clap has now lagged a fraction of a second and will now need to close the gap that has opened because with his front wheel collapsing wasn't able to respond as quickly as the person on the fixed frame where the wheel didn't collapse towards him and could get an instant response from the road. On the fixed frame where the wheel doesn't collapse it gives you a faster response to the road which allows you get your foot back into position sooner (saving energy).

The reason the clap frame worked so well in the time trial is because in a time trial you are going 100 % from the start of the time trial to the finish. In a pack race there are times where the pace slows to allow you to breath for a second and get your feet back underneath you to get ready for the next sprint.

When doing the time trial on a fixed frame within 3 minutes of the start (going 100%) I could feel my strokes migrating to the outside (pronation) and becoming inefficient. Now at 3 minutes with the clap frames my feet were migrating to the outside but the outside is where the clap frame generates it's power so at 3 minutes with the clap frame I was just starting to hit it's sweet spot. To get your feet out to the point the clap frame works you have to be low, this can be good and bad.

It's good to be low in a time trial where you are breaking your own wind. It 's bad to be low when you are pack racing against a pack on fixed frames because during the rests they can stand more upright and stroke and maintain the same speed you are but you with the clap frame have to be much lower (inefficient position if power isn't needed) to get the same forward momentum.

Being lower is good on the time trial to break the wind but when your in a pack and have someone to draft and don't need to be that low your tiring yourself for no reason. The clap frame won't generate power unless your in a low position so draft or not your stuck in a low position throughout the entire race (makes me tired just thinking about it). Another thing that makes a clap frame not good for pack racing is in pack racing you want to keep your feet as directly underneath you as possible and with a clap frame this is not possible.

People are constantly swapping positions and coming up the sides, if you have to push your feet way out as you do on a clap your chances of getting clipped are increased and a clip may put you out of the race. Another thing I noticed while doing intervals at 100% effort with a clap is I couldn't get my legs to lock (lactic acid) no mater how long I made the interval  (which is why it worked so well in the time trial). With a fixed frame within 45 seconds to 1 minute doing a 100% interval my legs would be locked and I purposely pushed till this happened. I liked this pumped feeling because after a day of rest I definitely felt stronger for the next training session.

The added resistance you feel with the fixed frame is what allows it to have a snappier acceleration in a sprint or breakaway that simply isn't there with the longer stroke of a clap. Also there's the weight issue, when I tried a fixed frame lately after 6 months of racing on the Slingshot my foot speed was extremely fast on the fixed. The drilled out Slingshot was 10 ozs and the fixed frame was 8 ozs. What a difference 2 ozs made in my foot speed, much less the Maple clap at 11 ozs or the Mogema clap at 12 ozs or an undrilled Slingshot or Verducci at 14.

I now put the Xenans back on and drafting at high speed was a breeze, so much so I put my standard 80mm fixed frame back on after using the Xenan frame and I was hating life. If I'm doing a time trial race that's over 3 minutes where there is no drafting and no resting my clap frames will go right back on (proven in the time trial).


Addition #4:
I'm finding each frame has it's strength and weakness. Half of the training that  I do is in a draft behind a bike at high speeds. I would use no other frame behind a fast bike than the 100mm wheel Xenan frame. There is no other frame I can attain and hold the high speeds I can behind a bike then with the Xenan frame. Different situation, I show up for a training skate and there is no bike and it is quite windy. There is only me and a moderately fast person to work with. I have the Xenan's on and can't pull to save my life. Where normally I have no problem pulling away from this person I can barely hang.

Speeds to bring my cadence up high enough to make the Xenan efficient are not met. It feels like I'm pedaling up a hill in 10th gear on a 10 speed bike. I could barely keep up with this person much less pull. Next lap put on my Bont Slingshot clap frame. Skated like I was shot out of a gun, I had to slow over and over to let the person catch up. Into the wind you could get so low with the clap and at the same speed with the clap my cadence was much increased so instead of feeling like I was going up hill in 10th gear I was now in 2nd gear and screaming up the hill.

It didn't matter how strong the wind was you could just bang through it. Would I wear the Xenan again on a windy day with just two of us? No. Same thing behind a bike with the Bont Slingshot clap. Trying to follow a bike at 23 to 26 mph with a clap is like being in 2nd gear on a bike and trying to attain 23 to 26 mph, your feet would have to be moving so fast you would burn out very quickly. Now these are two different types of training sessions. Now a race is different again. Using the Xenan in a race the pace would have to be extremely high (like doing the whole race in 10th gear on a bike) and you would need a perfect draft and forget about pulling.

Also if you were to drop from the pack on a Xenan frame which is like being on a bike in 10th gear you are going to have problems. Same with the clap. It's like being on a bike where through the whole race your in 2nd gear. When the race starts using the clap your fine as you have a very low gear to start in but 1/4 the way into the race you start to tire because your cadence is so high. Now when you drop with the Clap you couldn't have a better frame to drop with, not that your planning on dropping but if you did you have the best possible frame for the situation. Now there are two other frames better suited for the middle gears needed in a race.

One would be a standard high profile fixed frame and the other a mid or low profile fixed frame. I would say the high profile would be like being in 8th gear and the mid profile like being in 6th gear and the low profile like being in 4th gear. These are just guestimates but you get the idea. Being on a high profile frame you could pull a bit in the race where on an Xenan forget it. Also with the high profile frame your cadence would be a little higher than the Xenan so if the race had an average speed of 21 mph the high profile would be better as the Xenan frame would need the average speed of 23 or 24 to be efficient or be in the right cadence range.

As you can see there are two different ways you can drop from a race, one is skating on a frame that is in to high a gear (10th gear, Xenan) and you drop because your legs give out but your cardio is ok or you are skating on a frame that is in to low of a gear (2nd gear, clap frame) and you drop because your cardio gives out but your legs are still ok. You have to decide why you are dropping from a race, is it because your legs are giving out because your skating on a frame that is in to high of a gear or is it because your cardio gives out because your skating on a frame that is in to low of a gear. Frame requirements can change from race to race so just because a high profile frame worked well in one race dosen't mean a low profile frame wouldn't work better in the next. For skating high speed in a bike draft I would suggest the Xenan frame. Once you tried an Xenan in a high speed draft you wouldn't be able to go back to any other frame for skating at high speed.

The Xenan frame could also be used in a race with a very large pack where many fast people are rotating taking pulls to keep the pack speed up and with the large pack it would make for a good draft. Remember using this frame is like being on a bike in 10th gear so the speed has to stay high and forget about pulling and the less intervals throughout the race the better for this frame. Next would be a fixed high profile frame. This you could use in a large to medium sized pack and you would be able to take a few pulls with this frame. It would also work better for intervals throughout the race be cause of the feeling of being in 8th gear as opposed to 10th with the Xenan. Next would be a mid or low profile fixed frame.

These would work good in a smaller pack where you may need to do more pulling and the pack speed would be lower. You would have to watch out though because if your in a big pack of people on high profile frames that are in 8th gear and the pace really picks up your going to over rev on a mid or low profile frame that is in 6th or 4th gear. Then there is the clap. Even though the Bont Slingshot clap is a high profile frame the clap mechanism of the frame makes you feel at though you were in 2nd gear. This frame is good for skating alone (pulling) or doing time trial races (pulling) or if there is just two of you and it's windy (pulling). Did I mention this is a good frame for pulling?

What would work good is to be able to lock a clap frame which would make it a high profile fixed frame (8th gear) and use it that way in the beginning of the race then if you were to drop off the pack in the middle of the race and have no one to draft you could release the mechanism and then you could use the clap mechanism of the frame (2nd gear). Then if you saw a pack coming from behind you could again lock up the mechanism to make use of the draft (8th gear). Simply put, with no draft to work with your better off on a clap frame and with a draft to work with your better off on a fixed frame.

Another thing I would like to see is a 100mm wheel clap frame, so if you locked it up you would be in 10th gear (like the Xenan) then when you released the mechanism and used as a clap you would go from a standard 2nd gear of a 80mm wheel clap to 4th gear because of the bigger 100mm wheels. You would have a Xenan frame (10th gear, extreme high speed) and a low profile frame (4th gear, for pulling) all in one.

I will now try to have a setup for each skating situation, so it looks like I will need 3 or 4 setups, unless I am able to lockup the Slingshot clap then I would only need 2 setups (an Xenan and a Slingshot as the Slingshot would double as the clap frame and the fixed high profile frame).


Addition #5:
I had a chance to try a Mogema M55 mid profile frame and am seeing very good results (take a look at a frame height comparison chart). I am able to keep my hands behind my back throughout our entire training session where normally with a high profile frame for half the session I had my hands on my knees. I'm finding with a mid profile frame my ankles aren't getting tired which is allowing me to be strong throughout the session where normally on a high profile frame multiple times throughout a session I have to slow down to allow my ankles to recover. It seems it's my ankles that are the weak link of my legs and not my upper legs. If my ankles give out no matter how strong my upper legs are I have to slow to allow my ankles to recover.

I am able to pull with this frame like I can pull with a clap frame but unlike a clap frame it's also efficient while drafting. With the clap frame where the front wheel collapses towards you makes it a poor high speed drafting frame where with the mid profile M55's where the front wheel doesn't collapse towards you means it will work in a draft. Because the M55 is a little lower than a high profile frame it's pulling characteristics are greatly increased. A high profile frame will reach a higher top speed than a mid profile frame so you have to watch out in the beginning of a race that you don't get dropped by a pack skating on high profile frames but if you hang for the first few high speed sprints you will be much stronger through the mid and end of the race where the high profile skaters ankles may be tired and or weak.

I skate on a Mogema MG-R1 boot which in the time trial above it was 20 seconds faster in a 5 mile loop than my previous race boot. I do believe this is because the MG-R1 holds my foot tighter than the Verducci Corsa I skated on previously. With the Corsa having carbon around the toes in the front of the boot I had trouble getting it tight enough to hold my toes tight without hurting them. If you got a size that held your toes tight that meant your toes were up against the carbon and that simply didn't work (within miles my toes couldn't handle the pain). I ended up getting a size 11 Corsa when my street shoe size was 9 1/2. I raced very happily for a year and a half on my Corsa but I had to skate in a size that didn't fit as tight in the toe box as I would have liked.

Another thing I found while building 150 pairs of custom boots for myself for testing only to be thrown away is that if you build a higher cuffed boot you had to leave room from side to side on the lower part of the heel or you couldn't get an edge with the boot. I tried over and over building test boots with Verducci height cuffs only to find if I built the boot with a tight heel side to side on the bottom you simply couldn't get an edge with the boot. As soon as you left a little room side to side on the bottom of the heel you could then get an edge with the boot and the boot worked great. I again saw this proven when people I had sold the Corsa to came back asking me to heat mold their boot to take up some of the slack side to side in the lower heel. I would explain to them with the Corsa having a little higher cuff believe it or not that room is needed for the boot to perform.

They disagreed and insisted on the room being taken up. I said ok I will make it fit tighter but it goes against all the tests I had performed. I heated the heel area of the boot, had them put the boot on, then put slight pressure side to side in the lower heel area using a clamp. I let the boot cool in this position and they were so happy as the slop was taken up. I told them to let me know how it works because if it doesn't all we needed to do was re-heat the heel area of the boot which will return it to it's original position and let it cool and it will be back to it's before tightening position. A few weeks go by and every time I got a call saying they couldn't get an edge with the boot. We heated the boot let it return to it's origonal position let it cool and they were right back to getting an edge again. The higher cuff on the Verducci boots does work good in respect to ankle bone comfort.

Most boots on the market in the ankle area put all of the side to side pressure on the tips of the ankle bones. With some peoples ankle bones being higher and some lower and some more forward and back companies for years have tried putting ankle bone pockets in the best position they could but making a boot this way you still will only being able to fit a certain percentage of people and the people with non average ankle bones ended up with blistered ankle bones. Verducci 2 years ago like no other company took a cuff and put it smoothly around the ankle above the ankle bones where most everyone has a uniform ankle and distributed 50% of the side to side pressure on this cuff above the ankle bones that fit uniformly on 99.9% of the people. This was the first boot that pulled me out of building customs and gave me a boot to offer off the shelf that didn't hurt your ankle bones. Like I said, I raced on the Corsa happily for a Year and a half.

My toes weren't exactly tight and the lower heel of the boot had to be a little loose because of the higher cuff but my ankle bones were happy. Now a year ago the Mogema MG-R1 came out, the first time I tried the boot I took 20 seconds off my 5 mile loop time. The reason for this is the MG-R1 simply fits tighter. In the toe box it has soft leather to cradle the toes unlike the Corsa having leather backed up by carbon cradling the toes. This softer leather in the R1 is not backed up by carbon which allows you to buy the boot tight in the toe area then allow for a month or so break-in period where at that time the toe box fits like a glove. The R1 is a lower cut boot and for the life of me can't figure out how not using Verducci's higher cuff cradling idea that Mogema made a lower cut boot that didn't hurt my ankle bones.

I can understand why the Corsa isn't hurting my ankle bones but why did every boot before the Corsa blister my ankle bones and now here's a boot that isn't using that higher cuff and it's not hurting my ankle bones. What does Mogema know that every companies boot I tried before the Corsa didn't know. Anyway the R1's ankle area doesn't hurt my ankles, I don't know why I just know it doesn't. With the R1's ankle area being lower you are now able to take that slop out of the boot side to side in the lower heel and still get an edge with the boot. With the higher cut Corsa you aren't able to crick your ankle as much from side to side as you are with a lower cut boot so with the R1 being lower cut you can now take out the lower heel slop and get an edge using the more ankle flexibility you've gained by lowering the ankle cuff.

I feel both of these boots have close to the same support but both getting their support in different areas. The Corsa's support is in the higher cuff, even though the toes are a little loose and the lower heel is a little loose there is no problem with support. The R1 gets its support in a tight lower heel and a tight toe box, even though the cuff is lower the support is good because your foot is tight front and back. Don't get me wrong, with the Corsa being a little loose I still feel it performs 2nd best for me of all the boots on the market and anyone looking for comfort I feel this boot is #1. So with all that said I feel the reason for the 20 second gain in my time trial using the R1 boot over the Corsa is because the toe box is tighter because your toes are cradled in soft leather which allows for a much tighter toe box and the 2nd reason is because with the lower ankle cuff you are now able to take the slop out of the lower heel area and still get an edge using the added ankle movement gained by having a lower ankle cuff.

This is why the R1 boot is performing best for me right now and more important is performing comfortably. Have there been other boots on the market with a low cuff and soft toe box? Yes. Did they perform well? Yes. Were they comfortable? Absolutely not. Back to what I started writing this article about, the Mogema M55. I believe with the MG-R1 boot being a lower cut boot the M55 mid profile frame complements this boot perfectly. My foot is comfortably tight in the MG-R1, these are two words that don't normally go together, comfortable and tight but I found it in the R1 and am very happy a boot company has finally made it possible off the shelf. Skating on the M55 mid profile frame coupled with the MG-R1 boot has made me the happiest skating of any setup I have tried to date.

I can now see why Jorge Botero skates solely outdoors on the mid profile M55 frame and anyone that can edge Chad out at the line knows something we don't ("Somehow with a final lunge at the finish, Botero was able to edge his wheel in past Hedrick in a photo finish to take the win"). Needless to say I'm very happy to have found this Mid profile frame to pull so well while still being good in a higher speed draft. It is now more fun to skate without my ankles getting weak half way through my skate and didn't realize it was a problem till I tried going back to a high profile frame after skating on a mid. I do believe a low profile frame would be to low as you are already giving up some of your top end speed with a mid profile frame and with a low it may be to much of a high speed disadvantage.

Jorge said himself being on the mid profile M55 he has to watch out not to get dropped in the beginning of the race but beyond the start he feels stronger due to less ankle strain and I now can totally see what he means. Jorge has a M55TR (high profile frame) which he uses indoors but he still uses his M55 Mid profile frame outdoors. Skating with less strain on my ankles has made me wonder how I could have skated for so long (now realizing unhappily) with the strain a high profile frame was putting on my ankles. Now with a high cuffed boot where you have more ankle support a high profile frame probably works because the ankle isn't working as hard as it would be in a lower cuffed boot but then again the higher cuffed boot needs a looser heel side to side to work. Words for thought, if you get a chance to try a mid profile M55 give it a try, you may not be able to go back to what you were skating on before.

One other note, I still use my Xenan frame while training at high speed behind a bike and Andy now offers a 90a 100mm wheel (http://nettracing.com/wheels.htm - http://nettracing.com/pict/wheels/x10090.jpg). He sent it to me to test and at first I though it would vibrate me to death and I would be sliding all over the place. I normaly used his 85a 100mm wheels. I put the 90a wheels on and skated on them 5 times over 2 weeks and to my surprise the vibration felt the same as using a Hyperformance 84a wheel on a 80mm wheel frame. It must be the fact a 100mm wheel having a larger hub makes for more shock absorption and allows you to use a harder wheel and still be at an acceptable vibration level. The wheel stayed sticky even when it was somewhat worn and I never had any problem with slippage (if I were to race with this frame I will be using the 90a wheels). Obviously with a harder wheel like this there was much less wear. The clincher was when I put my 85a wheels back on to see the difference and it felt like I was skating in molasses. There is no way I can go back to an 85a wheel as the 90a wheels were gliding so much better (was sustaining the same speed with less effort) and with the 90a's I was able accelerate so much quicker. If your going to order a new set of wheels for your Xenan frame give these new 90a wheels (where the vibration feels comparable to an 84a wheel on an 80mm wheel setup) a try as I feel you will be able to sustain the same speed with less effort and they will wear much longer without slippage.

Addition #6: I do believe after 6 years of searching I've finally found the boot frame setup I've been searching for. I've tried boot after boot and frame after frame in the last 6 years but there is something new on the market that could be overlooked if you didn't look close. Through the years of trying boots I've always liked the lower cut boots but could never use them because they simply didn't give enough ankle support for the higher mileage skating we do. This left only higher cut boots with more ankle support for me to skate on. I've always used high profile frames with the high cut boots as the low profile frames drastically hindered my top end speed.

As I mentioned earlier in this article if you want your lower heel tight side to side in a boot the boot needs to be a low cut boot. I've learned this through making custom after custom and manipulating multiple off the shelf boots. I've found no other low cut boot to work better as far as ankle bone comfort and toe and heel tightness than the Mogema MG-R1. Most boots made today are higher cut boots which have to have the loose lower heel side to side to get an edge. That's great, a low cut boot that fits tight in the heel and toes and easy on the ankle bones.

But we're right back to where we were before, a low cut boot that dosen't have enough support for a high profile frame and with a low profile frame your giving up to much top end speed. Well after 6 years of searching there is finally a frame that solves the high profile frame is to high for a low cut boot and with a low profile frame you give up to much top end speed problem. Mogema's M55 mid profile frame has solved that problem. The M55 is 3mm lower than a high profile frame and 6mm higher than a low profile frame. I can't believe someone hasn't made a frame in all these years in-between a high profile frame and low profile frame.

There was simply to much of a height difference between a high and low profile frame. I knew after the first session I skated on the MG-R1 boot that it had performed better than any other boot I had skated on but something still wasn't right. I tried all the claps many high profile frames and 100mm wheel frames. Then just a shot in the dark I tried the 3mm lower M55. I was instantly skating stronger (not faster but stronger) then I have skated in years. Just like giving up lots of top end speed with the low profile frame (9mm lower than a high profile) you give up a little top end speed with the 3mm lower than a high profile frame M55.

I feel if I could attain 28mph on a flat with a high profile I can now attain 27mph with the M55 mid. In the beginning of a race I have no problem hanging in the draft giving up that 1 mph but where you get it back is when the speeds start to fall 5 to 10 minutes into the race and allot of the people with high profiles start to feel their ankles getting weak. You did give up that 1 mph for 5 to 10 minutes of the beginning of the race but I guarntee you will be much stronger with fresher ankles beyond that 5 to 10 minute mark while the others on high profile frames will start to loose their edge. I knew this was the case for the first 2 months of training I did on the M55's but didn't want to say anything till I had a race under my belt.

Well I can tell you, the next race I did was the best race I've had in years. Where normally I would get back to the car after the race and collapse now with the M55's on I was ready for more skating. It all came down to my ankles being stronger throughout the race which allowed me to hold my form and skate efficiently where with high profile frames I would be stronger for 5 to 10 minutes but from there on simply lost an efficient stroke. What I've learned is you really have to go with a low cut boot as a high cut boot has to be loose side to side in the lower heel which is simply inefficient. You can overcome this inefficiency early in a race as you are still strong but as you tire this looseness will wear on you (believe me I know). Now in shorter races like indoor or 5 to 10 minute outdoor races the inefficiency of I higher cut boot doesn't come into play but in my own experience after 5 or 10 minutes it is very noticeable to me.

So a low cut boot is almost the only way to go in a race over 5 or 10 minutes but for 6 years I've shown myself a high profile frame simply doesn't work on a low cut boot which brings us back to the mid profile Mogema M55 frame. This frame has only been out for a year so I don't think the word is really out yet of how well this frame is working on lower cut boots in races over 5 or 10 minutes in length. Now using the MG-R1 boot indoors and races under 5 to 10 minutes outdoors you will need a high profile frame as you will need that 1 mile per hour you lost with the lower M55 frame.

Also your ankles will stay strong for the shorter indoor and out door races on the high profile but any longer than the 5 or 10 minutes I feel you will be much better off with the lower M55. Now I have had problems putting the M55 frame on other manufactures boots (Verducci, Simmons, Bont etc.) as with any lower profile frame you have trouble with the 2nd wheel hitting the front bolt of the boot. Mogema to cure this problem on their MG-R1 boot made the bolts slide from front to back on the bottom of the boot so you are able to center the M55 frame front to back 50/50 for a perfectly centered frame.

Now I can't see someone wanting the M55 frame for a higher cut boot as you won't be having trouble with ankle support due to the boot being higher and again that frame won't center front to back properly on a boot that doesn't have the front to back sliding bolts but then again a high cut boot is inefficent so you may be better off in a low cut boot anyway. Now I see the frames coming out with the 84mm wheels and am being asked if I've tried them and are they working. The 84mm wheeled frames will be higher than the M55 frame which will put you right back to where you were before at just about a high profile frame height. The 84mm frame will work for inefficent higher cut boots but not an efficent lower cut boot. Yes you will be able to go faster for about 10 minutes with the 84mm frame then I beleive a person with a 3mm lower M55 frame with rested ankles within 10 minutes will come up and pass you.

With the lower MG-R1 ankle height the M55 frame height is perfect, I wouldn't want the M55 frame height to be any higher or lower than it is right now. You know 3mm's doesn't seem like much and if someone told me 3mm's would make a night and day difference in your skating I would be skeptical but I'm skating better than I have in years and the 3mm is what made the difference for me. So just to recap, for your heel to be tight in a boot (which makes for an efficient boot) the boot needs to be low cut. Are low cut boots working well with high profile frames? No, not for races over 5 or 10 minutes.

Will a low profile frame work good on a low cut boot. No, you will give up to much top end speed. Your best choice for a frame for a low cut boot is the mid profile M55 frame which is lower than a high profile frame but won't give up near the top end speed you would with a low profile frame. Again, a low profile frame will stick way out the front of the boot unless you get a boot with sliding slots front to back and as far as I know the Mogema MG-R1 is the only boot that does this. I don't see myself switching from this setup soon. It's the first time in 6 years I can really say I'm completely happy with my boot - frame setup. Actually it's kind of sad, in 6 years I have not stopped my quest to find the perfect boot - frame setup and now I think I finally found it which very well may put an end to my 6 year boot - frame search.

Please email support@nettracing.com if you have any questions.


Readers comments:


I am very happy with my Powerslide skates, the boots fit great and didn't kill my feet after skating for an hour. I was very surprised. I would also like to say I wish I had not bought the 3x100 chassis that I have, I was just wanting to try something new. After skating on them I found my self skating worse then I ever had. After 15 minutes I was dead tired and my ankles where dying . You warned me about this and I agree with your impressions. I currently have 5 by 84mm chassis mounted and am very happy. Sincerely JC






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