Testing all-terrain skates: Powerslide Vi SUV
The choice of the colors is clear-cut: red, white and black… it does not go unnoticed. You cannot but think of the Coyote which would have undergone a complete makeover. A large amount of the skaters who saw these skates find them ugly, men and women combined. As for us, we would have liked more urban or sober colors.
The Vi boot
The boot of the Powerslide Vi SUV is broadly based on the fitness skates of the Vi range. It is made of a quite high-cut sole in CFK composite: a mix of glass, carbon and polymer fibers. The material as well as the X shape of the sole guarantee a very satisfying rigidity to the whole.
It is topped with a white cuff which also proves to be rigid. After investigation, we have learnt that it was made of glass, carbon and polymer fibers.
The tightening system: ATOP II
The Vi SUV is equipped with the brand new ATOP II knob system, easy to use and efficient, completed with a micrometric buckle at the shin. Once tightened, the ATOP II System carries out its role and the front of the foot does not move at all. The laces on top are meant to adjust the liner at the shin, but they are not very useful. The micrometric buckle brings more precision in the tightening, which is very appreciable.
The Vi SUV offers a comfort close to that of a fitness skate. The liner is efficiently padded. It was designed by Sergio Mc Cargo, a world reference in the field. Good news: the liner is thermoformable between 80°C and 100°C in the oven.
The innersole is quite thick… and when you take it off, you realize that it even has a small shock absorber at the heel.
You may criticize the ATOP II for that vise-effect around the foot. Thus, we have taken off the innersole in order to make more room inside the skate. With your foot lower in the skate, the tightening system is less oppressing and your foot is well settled in the boot. Just like all the models of the Vi range, the SUV is cut on the small side.
One may think that the relatively low-cut boot would lack support for all-terrain skating, but it is not the case! The cuff fulfills its purpose: it is enveloping and rigid. So that you have a good movement amplitude without making your ankles work. Powerslide found a good compromise.
The frame: double void magnesium
The frame of the power slide Vi SUC is made of AZ61 magnesium. It is quite compact (11.6 inches, i.e. 29.46 cm). The double void shape enables to save material and increase rigidity. It only weighs 218 grams (just like a speed skating frame). Equipping the frame with T25 torque simple axles was a very good choice.
The rigidity of the frame is well distributed. Rigid enough in its center and a bit more flexible at the ends. With use, it showed to be resistant to jumps and changes of direction. Moreover, the pneumatic wheels serve as shock absorbers.
The wheels: 125 mm
Powerslide chose a 12.5 cm diameter, probably in order to make the skate easier to handle and more stable. The Vi SUV is so much easier to handle than a Coyote that you forget about the diameter difference. The width of the tires is almost the same (2 mm). The inflation pressures are also very close.
The first thing you become aware of when you skate with these skates is a regular and characteristic click. After investigation, we realized that the valves hit against the side of the frame. A machine-gun noise with which you cannot go unnoticed! We have found a solution: We fixed the valves to the spokes with a thick wire. No more noise!
If you skate on asphalt but also use the skates in a more 'all-terrain' mode, do no hesitate to inflate them enough, otherwise the SUV will be a bit wheezy on hard grounds. On the other hand, pneumatics bring an incomparable gliding comfort whatever the surface: you skate noiselessly, without having to concentrate on the grip or vibrations. It is very relaxing.
The SCRS rings have rubber, which minimizes the introduction of dust and water. The rest of the bearing is made of a nylon cage, teflon and tin-free steel balls. The bearings did not protest once during the whole test, the gliding is noiseless and fluent.
The braking system
Powerslide opted for a classic rubber brake. It is not originally factory-fitted on the Vi SUV, which is quite a good thing. Indeed, not only could it hamper your pushes or bump into uneven ground, but it would also be ineffective on too loose grounds. You would rather learn to brake without it!
With use in the field
If urban use is not the predilection field, the Vi SUV is alright on asphalt as long as its tires are inflated enough. It is obviously a bit wheezy, but the tires absorb the unevenness of the ground. It is like gliding on silk.
On quite solid ground, the Vi SUV is not faulty, the wheels do not complain to roll on little holes and even branches. Be careful to hold a skating stance with your weight mainly on your heels. Warning: Obviously, avoid loose grounds that make you pull up short without notice. If you stay on relatively solid grounds, you will have a blast.
You can have a go at skating with poles on dirt tracks, which is a good physical workout, just like Trailskating or iXC Path, but easier to handle and less bulky.
After a few hours, you forget you are on SUVs, they are very light and easy to handle, you find yourself doing cross-overs without thinking about it, pushing, sliding (works well on ground but not recommended on road, the rims would not like it). As for land traction, the sail reduces weightbearings and enables to go on looser grounds (not too loose either, be careful!) As for jump landing, the wires absorb shocks quite efficiently, reducing the pressure on the frame.
We want more! Yet, you should fix the problem of the valve clicking on the frame, it is really irritating. Once fixed, it is a real pleasure.
Powerslide designed a worthy successor to the Coyote, making the most of the latest technological improvements. An ultimate little criticism yet: the lack of reflexion on a more efficient braking system on damaged ground, just as had done Rollerblade 15 years ago with the ABT X-Treme.
Strong points and points to be improved
+ light for an all-terrain skate
- valves clicking against the frame
Boot: CFK Composite
Mounting: 195 mm
Tightening: ATOP II and micrometric buckle
Frame: 294 mm Magnesium (218 grams)
Wheels: Pneumatic Road Warrior 125 mm x 25 mm (210 grams)
Accepted pressure: 85 PSI / 5.9 bar
Bearings: Twincam 608 SCRS SUS Rustproof
Axles: Aluminum 7075 T25 Torque
Total weight (size 41): 1790 grams
Translation: Chloé Seyres
Photos: Alfathor and Powerslide