Test : K2 Mach 90 (2010 edition)
DesignAs of 2010, K2 offers a range of fitness skates with quite sophisticated designs. The Mach 90 is a strongly typed skate, mixing greyish blue with black with light green touches.
The webbed fabric constrasts with the highlighted white characters of the skate name.
K2 was particularly attentive to details with the chronometer-like designs adorning the cuff, frame and wheels. We really liked this piece of work.
Flexibility/RigidityK2 was first in introducing the concept of soft-hard boots in 1994. The brand sports full mastership of this technology that combines a soft fabric shoe with a rigid structure.
The Mach 90 does provide an effective hard shell although it is quite discreet. Forward/backward flexibility is good. The shoe does accomodate the moves while skating. It does not move sideways, lateral support is satisfactory.
ComfortTo put it bluntly, the Mach 90 truly feels like homely sleeplers.
Generous foam garnerings that envelop the foot provide for excellent comfort. Even after long skating sessions, one feels no abrasions or overheatings. Be cautious however, not to overtighten the laces.
The shoes designed for men looks somewhat narrow but in the end proves itself supple enough to accomodate wide feet.
Fastening and supportThe fastening system relies on a well-proven concept, combining lacing on the foot, velcro strap on the instep and micrometric clasp on the shinbone. Laces slide really easily, a noteworthy exception that provides for truly homogenous tightening. The velcro strap pins the foot down in the shoe without obstructing movement like a rigid strap might. Finally the rigid micrometric clasp completes the fastening.
Make sure you take a close-fitting size for your Mach 90, to enjoy maximum skating precision.
The liner will settle as time goes by. If you start with a somewhat loose fitting, you will end up having to overtight the lacing and might relinquish some comfort.
Support-wise, the results is satisfactory for a fitness usage, the hard structure works well.
But if you enjoy more agressive edging, sharp turns and stop-and-go moves, you'll find the Mach 90 reaching its limits and having a hard time tracking to the skater moves.
FrameThe design we have here is with 2 stamped plates rivetted to the shell. This is not the most efficient system for transfering the push; since the frame is made of multiple parts, there is some energy loss.
The skate is aimed at midrange fitness skating, its design is not supposed to deliver speed skating performance.
For a more sporty design, one would favor a Radical 90 or 100 model instead.
BearingsK2 has fitted the Mach 90 with Twincam ILQ9 bearings, a tried-and-approved reference on the marketplace. No deterioration of the bearings was noticeable for weeks of trial and they do provide smooth rolling. Spacers are inserted inside the bearings, so you'll need a "pusher" tool to remove them.
WheelsThe original mount is with 90mm 83A shore weels. The 7-spoke chore offers good rigidity. Its tranparent polyurethane bandage has a well-shaped eliptic profile and nice serigraphies.
The weels erode regularly, with no remarkable material gaps and the degradation is homogenous.
This design choice provides both comfort and respectable rolling efficiency. This weel is well suited to long strides without too much acceleration/deceleration. It provides excellent grip on dry ground but does not shine on the wet. If you would enjoy swift speed-ups and changes of pace, you will find the K2 wheel to yield too much under pressure. In short, this is a good wheel for its intended purpose, fitness skating, and it reaches its limits when one strains the skate a bit too much.
HardwareK2 mounted 6mm axes on the skates, quite good enough for fitness skating. These are hollow axes into which a screw fits at the other end, not simple threaded axes like on speedskates.
K2 wisely gave them a square shoulder on the end opposite to the screw, which inhibits the axis rotation as you work the screw so that you only need one tool on the screw end.
RuggednessOur test Mach 90 bravely endured a few weeks of cross-country and urban skating. They did not suffer damages despite some running down some steps and a few hardcore skating down flights of stairs. You hardly can hear the frame rivets wriggling when you run with the skates on.
FinishingsVery high quality. Inside seams in the linger are without defect there is no extra thickness to be noticed.
Glueings between the liner and the polyurethane structure are nicely done. Obviously the industrial methods are well mastered.
BrakingThe brake pad is effective from its very first use. No problem there.
ConclusionThis skate adresses very well the usage segment for which it is designed, short or medium-range fitness skating.
It combines exceptional comfort with efficient rolling. It will be better suited to long strolls on cycle paths than to urban rides for which it will be somewhat lacking in terms of support and precision.
K2 delivers good value for money with attention to detail and nice finishing.
Strengths and weaknesses
Plus+ Excellent comfort
+ Very nice finishing
+ Good value for money
+ Sophisticated aesthetics
+ Good grip
Minus- Insufficient support for urban usage
- Frame with 2 stamped plates lacks rigidity and responsiveness
|Value for money||08/10|
OVERALL MARK :
Technical CharacteristicsRecommended usage : short or medium-range fitness skating
Users : Men
Boot : Soft/hard Softboot
Fastening : laces, velcro strap and micrometric buckles
Sizes : 36,5 au 49
Frame : riveted 2 stamped aluminium plates - V02 design
Brake : pad
Max wheel diameter : 90 mm
Wheels : K2 90mm 83A
Spacers : Aluminium
Bearings : Twincam ILQ 9
Mass : 1470 gr for size 40,5
Recommended Public Price : 199 Euros
Useful linksK2 Web SiteText : Alfathor
Photos : K2 and Alfathor