Inline downhill: where to find your skates and how to get it cheap
A niche market
Inline downhill doesn’t represent a huge market for inline skate companies, which is why almost none of them retail a dedicated set up’s for inline downhill. Only Seba retails a specific custom based on a Seba Igor carbon boots, Seba 5x90mm frame, Seba White wheels and ILQ9 bearings.
This high quality skate has a price and is retailed 549€.
Most of the inline downhill riders are customising their own setup based on a boot, frame, wheels & bearings. Let’s have a look of how to build your own setup.
Avoid inline speed-skating low-cut boots
A hard shell boot is needed for Inline Downhill as you will need maximum of control. Short carbon speed skates have to be avoided as they don’t support your ankle; in case of a crash, people who use these kinds of skates can easily break their ankles.
Get a brand new boots or a second hand one ?
It depends on your budget.
The drawback is that you will have to buy the entire skates in most cases because they are equipped with 4wheels short frames which are not adapted for downhill.
Regarding second hand or old inline skating models, there are plenty of them around, mainly available on Ebay and other social online markets.
You can easily find old skates models for cheap. You will find below a short list of older model skates that are regularly used by inline downhill skaters :
- Rollerblade Macro, Spiritblade, E5 : World champion Daniel Ladurner is well known for using this model which is light and efficient. These models are easy to find at reasonable prices. The only drawback of these models of boots is their bottom: it's not flat and needs to be reinforced (though recommended for other brands too).
- Tecnica CT5, CT7, Galaxy : These models are relatively easy to find.
- Rossignol Descender : World Champion Harry Perna uses this model as it’s strong and reliable. This model is harder to find but usually retails between 100 and 150€ .
- Other models like Roces Mexico, Salomon FSK Crossmax or Deemax, Tecnica Twister are also a good choice for your downhill setup.
Frames: 5x84mm or 5x90 mm
For downhill, the most common frame is a 5 wheel frame of 84 or 90mm wheels. These frames must be strong enough to withstand the extreme forces of high speed and also crashes. A 5x84mm wheel is used in most often. 5x90mm can be used if you are tall and strong or for high speed hills as it’s much more physical and gives less responsive manoeuvrability than the 5x84mm wheels.
Get a brand new frame or a second hand one ?
It depends of your budget.
New frames available on the market
Very few companies these days sell a 5 wheel frame as the market is lead by the 4 large wheel frames of 100 or 110mm for speed and marathon skaters.
Seba is retailing a 5x90mm frame at 179€ which is very strong for downhill. The main drawback of this frame is its height (the tallest of his category), unnecessary increasing your center of gravity, which is prone to instabilities.
Boen still manufactures 5x84mm and 5x90mm frames which are really good and not expensive (about 100€ for the 5x84mm). 5x84mm ST340 is rock solid and exists as a low profile version too (XR340). 5x90mm is a bit too bendable for downhill usage (though still very resistant) and for 5x90mm, one would rather choose the Seba.
CadoMotus is also retailing a downhill frame which is a 6x84mm usualy retailing at 359€. This kind of frame is not usually used downhill but can be recommended only to very strong skaters or for reaching world speed records.
Second hand frames
Regarding second hand frames, there are a lot of old speed skates which were designed with 5 wheels frames in the last decade. It is quite easy to find affordable frames.
Mogema is well known and highly recomended as it’s designed with a dual box system. You can regularly find Mogema 5x90 RR, 5x90 XT, 5x84mm etc for a reasonable price (for example 55€ without shipping cost for a brand new mogema 5x90mm on ebay see this link)
You can read a very well written French article about how to choose the best downhill frame by following these links :
Wheels and bearing
These days the market for 84mm wheels is very limited. These wheels are mainly aimed at young speed skaters who use a long 4 wheel frames. Very few companies sell brand new wheels of this size. It is worth noting that the French company Roll’X, produces a very high quality their own brand 83 and 85A wheel for an average price of 7€. We can also talk about the legendary Hyper +G wheels in 85A, Hyper PGR 85A, Seba White/Black 85A or also Matter Juice wheels.
We will be very fast in this last section as most bearings are suitable for downhill. Macro and micro bearings can be used. The only thing to really say is to keep your bearing are well maintained and never completely “dry”, without any oil ; this last case could make the bearing get hot and exploding due to constant high speed.
Doing his own Custom
Once you have decided on the perfect set up for you, all you have to do is just put all the elements together and build your own downhill skate. One last French article explaining how to build a downhill custom based on a hard Rollerblade boot : http://www.estrem-dounill.org/blog/index.php?post/2012/02/02/Fabriquer-ses-rollers-de-descente
We hope this article helps you to build your own pair of downhill skates.
If you have a small budget, just have a look at Ebay or go to the Online-Skating Classified ads on our forum.
Usefull LinksBy Alexandre Lebrun
Help: G. Duplessis & X.I., Alfathor
Photos: Seba - © Estrem-dounhill.org
Thanks to Estrem-dounill.com