Test : Wheels - MPC Road War Firm 110 mm
We've been following the evolutionof the MPC products for several years now. We have especially tested the VT MPC in 2007 and the 100 mm Road War in 2009. Today, let's make room for the 2011 Road War in 110 mm! The American firm saw its products gain market shares through the years, at the expense of Matter, thanks to the results of its skaters and to the quality of its products...
Back on the latest events
At the beginning of 2011, the MPC wheels – especially the Road War, made the headlines. Numerous skaters literally exploded the cores because of a structure weakness on the upper part of the wings: mechanical laws don't really like 90° angles! As a result, the European distributor CadoModus made a product recall. Given that we're a bit masochistic, we decided to buy the very model in order to make our tests quite objectively.
Description of the 110 mm Road War MPC
You can recognize easily most of the MPC models thanks to their specific helical core. The 9 branches are oriented like the blades of a rotor. The core is red for the « Firm » model. The wheel has quite an original particularity on the market: it is made of two different gum hadnesses: the inside part in made of a very tender and flexible material, a bit like the one used for bouncing balls. It is meant to convey more comfort and reactivity to the wheel. The outside part, opaque white, is harder in order to give more rolling and squash less.
The model we tested was 110 mm, and weighted 142g. I was said to be 138g. It can be compared to the Hollow Core Matter Juice's 136g, to the Orange Bird RollX's 144g, and also to the GT Bont's 148g.
After a first observation round, here is the first snag. We have been used to get irreproachably finished wheels from MPC, and here it seems that the quality requirements are not what they used to be. Although the gum remains perfecly smooth, there are polyurethane shavings at the junction with the core, which we had never seen since then.
We have also noticed that out of a wheel set, there are very often one or a couple of wheels the core of which separates from the gum. This can happen with brand-new wheels as well as with wheels having several kilometers on the clock. When you see the final price, it's hard to swallow! MPC is currently trying to fix the problem in inserting an interlock: It is a kind of material crest all around the core which will be used as a junction point for the polyurethane. A couple of models are being tested but they don't seem to be on the market yet.
No problem to insert bearings with your hands. To get it easier you can pur your bearing on a flat surface with the crosspiece on top, put your wheel above and push in the axis, it enters without problem...
The bounce of the Road War MPC is still very appreciable, they rebound to a good height. Very good! This is a guarantee of reactivity and good restitution of energy during the push.
The hardness of the outside part of the gum is estimated to be 86A, MPC doesn't indicate the hardness on the wheel – just like Matter.
The Road War owes partly its comfort to the flexibility of its core: It limits the effect of vibrations unlike full solid cores like the Hollow Core. The wheel is thus quite comfy for a road use.
When they are brand-new, the grip of the Road War is excellent on dry ground. Their grip is steady and reassuring, despite their hardness. You should be careful as the more you use your wheel the less grippy it gets.
On wet ground, the grip is correct but not exceptional. Anyway, in case of rain, you'd rather settle for the big sister of the Road War, the much talked about Storm Surge, which remains the prime example on the market as for rain...
The main characteristic of the Road War remains the relative flexibility of its core. When the core is too rigid it's not pleasant to skate with, as you can feel all the vibrations, and as very often the grip is not as good and the gum takes it all. The fact that the core of the Road War gets slightly out of shape is interesting to improve the grip in the bends, especially on track. This is why the Road War is multifaced.
Let's be honest, we were a bit disappointed as for the deterioration of the wheel. The speed of wear and tear is normal and correct... but given the price, which is far above the prices of its competitors, we would have appreciated to get a steadier deterioration.
Indeed, tiny cracks appear with time on the polyurethane... and even sometimes a longitudinal crack letting you think that the wheel could break in two!
Let's put things into perspective, we have made them undergo over 500 km of tests on varied grounds, and most of the speed skaters doing competitions won't wait until this stage of deterioration... but given the price, you feel a little twinge of sadness.
With the use, the MPC still offer exceptional rolling sensations, and it reminded me the first tries with the VT when they first came out. This is a multifaced wheel fitting for track and road skating. It is pleasant to skate with for its rolling, its grip and its comfort... But for 18€ we would have liked that MPC focused a bit more on the finishing of its products. It seems that the global quality of the wheel has dropped with years whereas its price has increased. We regret above all the core problems: the breaking of the wings and the detachment of the gum. Both are being fixed, which is fortunate! You can't become the leader on a market in lowering the wuality level...
Model: Road War Firm
Color: Red / translucent white
Diameter: 110 mm
Hardness: estimated 86A
Width: 24 mm
Bearings: standard or micro-bearing with adaptors
Advised Public Price: 18 €
Exists in: 84 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm, 110 mm
Advised use: Speed skating in competition, track and road.
Strong points and points to improve
Les plus+ Very good rolling
– Breaking of the wings of the core
Useful linksBy Alfathor
Translated by Close Yr E's
Photos : Alfathor