Test: MPC Black Widow Wheels (100 and 110 mm)
The MPC Black Widows are the "entry-level" wheels of MPC. According to the manufacturer's website, they are mostly destined to be used in training and on road / marathon.
Contrary to the higher-end models of MPC which are bi-density wheels, the Black Widow are mono-density wheels. That is to say that the polyurethane on-core is in one piece.
Description of the MPC Black Widow
In fact, that model combines the brand-new 8-spoke helicoidal orange core of the MPC turbo with the on-core of the RoadWar. That core gives an excellent rigidity.
According to the hardness that you choose, the color of the printing changes: red for the Firm and black for the X-Firm.
The "Firm" Black Widows are available with a hardness of 84A while the X-Firms correspond to a 86A.
With a weight of 124 g for a 100 mm and 148 for a 110 mm, the Black Widows are in the weight average of the market.
A decent finishing
The completion of the core is clean, the link with the on-core is successful, and there are only very few shavings. On the other hand, let's note the presence of a few bubbles on the inner side of the on-core.
Inserting bearings by hand is easy. In order to make it simpler, you can put your bearing on a flat surface with the spacer on, put the wheel down flat on top of it and push inwards, it fits perfectly in…
The MPC Black Widows have a rebound as good as that of the MPC Turbo, a quality which promises a good energy return during the push. The feeling when exiting a bend also conveys good return sensations.
We have found the Firm version of the Black Widows slightly sticky on straight lines, probably because they are a bit soft. It is not striking during bends. Yet, they have a very decent rolling.
The X-Firms offer a better rolling, but still remain below their elder siblings, the MPC Turbos.
We have found that the wheel was quite stiff on damaged grounds. It does not absorb vibrations much.
The Firm Black Widows have a very good grip in bends, no skid or skip to deplore when they were new. With use, the grip remains quite good.
The grip of the X-Firm version is a little less strong, especially because of its slightly higher hardness, but it remains satisfactory.
They seemed quite rigid to us, more rigid than the MPC Turbos, which is probably linked to the double-density given that the core is the same.
The Firm Black Widow set that we gave to Raphaël Planelles suffered a lot from the 3 intensive road sessions. Even if the ground surfaced with concrete is abrasive, the on-core wore away quickly. After 20 min, the first layer was gone and it became rougher. However, the wear is steady afterwards, as soon as the first layer is gone, the wear slows down. Then, you lose in grip. Yet, even worn, the grip remains good.
The X-Firm MPC Black Widow set has a slightly higher life expectancy but it also experienced quite a fast degradation after 60 km on varied roads.
The MPC Black Widow speed skating wheels have a competitive price of 11€ for a 100 mm wheel and 12 € for 110 mm, that is to say between 88€ and 96€ for a set. It is a very reasonable price compared to those charged by the other brands. It is close to the price of the Matter Image, the concurrent wheel by Matter (10€ for 100 mm and 12€ for 110 mm).
The "Firm" Black Widows seem more suitable for a road use, road route or winding / layered road. The "X-Firm" will be more suitable for marathons on rolling grounds as they vibrate on damaged grounds. As could have been expected, the general performances of the Black Widows are below those of the MPC Turbos, but MPC still proposes a good quality wheel at a very attractive price for intermediate skaters. They are suitable to start out in competitions.
If you do not have the budget for the G13s or the Turbos, the Black Widows are a very good opportunity.
Model: Firm and X-Firm Black Widow
Available diameters: 90, 100 or 110 mm
Hardness: 84A (Red Firm) or 86A (Black X-Firm)
Width: 24 mm
Weight: 124 g in 100 mm and 148 g in 110 mm
Fitting bearings: standard or micro-bearings with adapters
Advised public price: 11€ for 100 mm and 12€ for 110 mm
Recommended use: speed skating training on road and marathon
Strong points and points to be improved
Pluses+ The rebound when exiting bends
+ A good rolling for the X-Firms
+ A very competitive price
+ The grip in bends
- Fast wear
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Test: Roll’X X-Dual Speed Skating Wheels
Test: Bont Wheels - G3 110 mm 84A
Test : Wheels - MPC Road War Firm 110 mm
Test : 110 mm Roll'X Maraton'X Wheels
Review: Bont G4 High Roller Red 100mm 85A
MPC Web site
CadoMotus - European distributor
Thanks to Diederik (Cadomotus)