Testing the Sure Grip Avenger plate
About Sure Grip...
Originally, Sure Grip was a manufacturer of fiber wheels for quad skates. As soon as 1937, the brand distinguished itself with the grip of its models, offering alternatives to wooden wheels. From 1945, Sure Grip started producing its own quad skates. The first aluminum plates arrived in 1947. In the 2000's with the revival of the discipline, Sure Grip invested in roller derby.
The Avenger range
The Avenger range is made of two models available in different sizes:
- aluminum (black)
- magnesium (white)
The Avenger is easily recognizable on the market thanks to its angular design, the massive lines of which convey a feeling of robustness. Still, the brand made the effort to hollow out the plate in order to lighten the weight.
In Europe you can only find models with 8 mm trucks. In the USA there are also models with 7 mm axles, and even a 7 mm flip axles version!
Below is the chart of weights and interaxial spacings released by Sure Grip for the magnesium and aluminum models. The weights given by the manufacturer correspond to those of a complete plate including trucks, toe stop and kingpin. We have doubts as for those measurements: the plate that we have weighed is 70 g above Sure Grip's specifications!
|Size||Avenger Magnesium||Avenger Aluminium||Axle distance|
|0||378 gr.||438 gr.||130 mm|
|1||382 gr.||445 gr.||140 mm|
|2||386 gr.||451 gr.||150 mm|
|3||389 gr.||458 gr.||160 mm|
|4||393 gr.||464 gr.||170 mm|
|5||396 gr.||471 gr.||180 mm|
|6||399 gr.||478 gr.||190 mm|
For more information, please refer to the detailed chart linked at the bottom of the page.
Compared to a nylon plate, aluminum wins the laurels hands up. The plate obviously bends less. Moreover, the Avenger cushions are not too soft and not too hard. The rigidity of the trucks can easily be adjusted in screwing or unscrewing.
Reactivity and handiness
Huge! The 45° truck structure enables the plate to turn right away while the trucks progressively follow the move. On standing starts, you can win more than a second for a lap. Power is better transferred, there is but little loss of energy. Their reactivity is close to that of the Lazers but with more stability in bends. You turn quickly and easily. It is a very handy plate, here again due to the 45° trucks.
Many skaters use that model and no breakage has been recorded so far. Let's deplore the lack of spare truck stock in France.
The finishing is decent without being amazing. The design may have been optimized with a better machining, it is a rough-hewn angular plate. The tightening of the axles on the kingpin is carried out by a simple bolt while the big brands of European plates offer systems with bolts and counter-bolts. The model is quite basic compare to a Roll Line for example, there are less adjustment possibilities.
Yet, the height of the truck is adjustable, which is not the case on all plates.
With the 45° trucks you gain in stability and grip. You can take sharper bends, you have more support in bends due to the trucks: the pivot radius is reduced and they pivot better. You don't feel it at first but you can do great weight transfers. You can bend a lot more in turns and have a more aggressive skating without losing grip.
It is an interesting plate for plow stops as you gain in grip. You should tighten your trucks enough if you want to slide.
According to us it is the best current quality-price ratio on the market. The 200€ magnesium plate is a bit expensive compared to the Roll Line Mistral for example. The aluminum model is 130€.
We were conquered by the Avenger plates. If you wish to buy an American plate, Sure Grip offers a quality product. We may lack a bit of hindsight on its rigidity. It would be interesting that European distributor Powerslide starts importing its flip axle models. With 200€, the Sure Grip Avenger can face the flip axle Boen models, which are a good alternative for roller derby.
Walid (Master Yoda #3615)
I picked up the plate (magnesium) out of curiosity. Unlike my colleagues below, I already have the experience of good rigid plates.
The colors enable to easily differentiate the model, because for real they are both silver (the true color appeared when I wiped off the writings with acetone).
At first, I said to myself "alright so your 200€ plate doesn't do better than a 99€ Lazer". Then with time, I moderated my opinion and discovered for which actions the advantages were tangibles. I would say that the big positive point of the plate is its grip in bends, which is due to the geometry of the kingpins and the trucks.
Classic plates like Powerdynes convey a feeling closer to that of a rail, whereas the Avenger can turn quick and sharp. That plate enables to get back the functioning of the 12° or 16° trucks if you tighten the cushions enough, but it also has better support in bends if you loosen them.
I skate with the original cushions, the purple ones. Very tightened at first, they loosened until they met the right balance (still I skate more tightened than any of my team mates).
As for the weight, indeed it is very light even if you should moderate the weights announced by the manufacturer. I skate without toe stops so I gain a few hundred grams more.
I don't mention anything about outdoors skating because I have never tried. I only skate with equipment I am 100% sure of and the Avenger is not yet on the list.
Here are the drawbacks of the plate according to me:
- Mr. Sure Grip, please include nuts into the plate's package. Currently we are force to buy them separately in shops (that's petty!)
- Mr. Powerslide, please import spare trucks. Currently only one shop in Europe has some, and they import them directly from the US!
As a conclusion I would say that it is an interesting plate for derby, not the best in the world but a plate that does a good job. I have mounted a dozen pairs at least for team mates, and until now we haven't had any negative feedbacks.
Emilien (FatalError #501)
I switched from nylon to aluminum so that changes were huge for me. The 45° angle of the trucks makes the plate very handy and pleasant to skate with on a track (less in the street). As for the visual aspect, I really love it black for a change!
Germain (Sgt.Hurtman #999)
My feelings are based on a shift from nylon to aluminum. For my new set-up I chose the Sure Grip Avenger Aluminum (the black model) to replace my old Powerdyne nylon plates that go with the Riedell R3s. Weighing close to 110 kg, I used to skate with the trucks tightened to the max and my Powerdyne nylons were bending. With the Avenger, no need to tighten everything to the max (for the moment), it's rigid! And that's what is expected from an aluminum plate.
Due to the rigidity, you lose less power when you speed up, all the energy of the stride is transferred to the wheels, contrary to nylon which, because it bends, doesn't relay all the power (one lap in 10 sec with the nylon plates, against 9.6 with the Avengers).
Another cool point is the 45° trucks: you lose grip far less easily in bends and they are very permissive once you are familiar with them (as a results I need to revise my technique for hockey stops and other slides... but not slipping in bends when you skate on a track deserves compromises).
I have another pair of skates with Roll Line Mariner plates for street skating. I confess that I don't feel much difference except for the angle of the trucks.
The Aluminum model is decent as for its weight. WIth the Magnesium version you gain a few more precious grams but it also applies to your wallet. Let's say that the Aluminum model is quite affordable whereas the price of the Magnesium version is a bit excessive (like most derby equipment if I may say).
I don't really mind about the design... I am much more worried about the American thread of the trucks and toe stops.
Strong points and points to be improved
- no thumb screw for the axles and toe stops (American norm, no metric)
Brand: Sure Grip
Model: Avenger Magnesium (white) and Aluminum (black)
Trucks: 45° angle DA45 trucks
Cushions: 4 different hardnesses - 72A (blue), 79A (yellow), 85A (purple), 93A (red)
Truck weight: 124 g
Hollow kingpin weight: 18 g
Harry stud kingpin weight: 24 g
Aluminum model price: 130€
Magnesium model price: 200€
Useful linksBy Alfathor
Translation: Chloé Seyres
Thanks to Walid, Germain and Emilien
Pictures: SureGrip, Online-skating.com