Testing the 2015 Rollerblade Twister Pro
Presentation and test
Number 1 of the slalom skates back in the days, the Twister was caught up over the years by the French brand SEBA with the SEBA High, but mostly with the SEBA FR1 in the same range — the range of skates with a plastic shell and an inside liner design, for polyvalent urban practice.
Design: distinguished sobriety
The Pro version of the Twister remains in keeping with the range (See Rollerblade's 2014 catalog) with the same openwork plastic shell, but anthracite — instead of black like the other Twisters, enhanced by a few yellow elements, like the laces and the printings, on the shell and the cuff. The frame also stands out for its width and finishing (aluminum, black painting, yellow printing). The sober-white wheels convey a feeling of overall quality.
You'll like it or not. However, Rollerblade dares the difference in bringing touches of colors to the Twister Pro in order to easily identify the model during group outings and on the shelves of the skateshops. And if you are the more sober kind, Rollerblade provides black spare laces in the package.
Support: total and rigid
Your foot fits well into the Twister Pro as soon as your first session. I didn't have any unpleasant friction or blister like you often do with a new pair of urban skates. After several session, the support remains unchanged, the liner gets a bit thinner and you'll have to tighten your laces and buckles a bit more to increase the support.
The cuff is probably the most determining element as for ankle support. Make sure you don't tighten it too much otherwise you won't have any freedom of movement, and totally lose the front flexion you love so much during your long urban skates.
Tightening: fast and efficient
The shell already provides a good part of the tightening of the foot. The boot has been designed so that your foot is already well supported, even before tightening your laces. The laces bring more precision and adjustment according to your habits or your practice (soft urban skating or aggressive freeskating). The buckle at the instep is well placed and enables to quickly fasten your foot. It is very resistant and doesn't move in case of a fall. A micrometric buckle, just like on the SEBA FR, would have been welcome in order to tighten your foot little by little. Unlike on the SEBAs, the buckle is riveted onto the shell, which makes it difficult to replace. The cuff covers the whole shell, which increases the tightening, but it may be a problem for people with small calves. Yet you can still cut the excess of plastic of the cuff to bring the ends closer together.
It's certainly the biggest asset of the Twister Pro. The brand had announced that the liner had been improved and they haven't done things by halves! As soon as the first sessions, you feel comfortable and it is still the case after a few hours of use, you still feel good in your skates. They are far from the former Twister liners with a poor design that forced the skaters to change them every 6 months in order to keep good comfort and support.
The cuffs are fixed in order not to move. Unlike the SEBAs (FR, High, GT) the front flexion of the skate is nonexistent and can only be possible if you
don't tighten the cuff too much or if you make some DIY adjustments.
On the whole, this lack of flexibility brings the difference and offers a real alternative for the practice of freeskating (jumps and slides) and for skaters
who like strong support at the ankle.
The boot (without the frame and wheels) in size 42 weighs 1000 g. Which makes 1740 g for a full set-up. You can probably gain a few grams in modifying the frame, that looks very rigid but also very heavy.
In comparison to the other models of the same range (SEBA FR, Roces Metropolis), the Twisters Pro have an average weight, it will not be a determining criterion.
The frame: New set-up
The Twister Pro was revealed for the first time in 2014 with a carbon frame (see the model in our 2014 catalog), but it was not taken on for the 2015 series version. However, the new frame of the Twisters Pro is far more massive than that of the classic Twisters. No risk of breakage, this frame has reinforcement bridges between the wheels. The finishing leaves a lot to be desired, I will go into further details later.
Wheels: top quality
The twister had the reputation of having series wheels of poor quality. Sellers used to advise complementary wheels as soon as you bought the skates in order to anticipate that negative point. Rollerblade took it into account and solved the problem! The series wheels, the Hydrogens, proudly display the printing "Made in the U.S.A.". Some sources say that the Rollerblade Hydrogen wheels would be manufactured in the Matter factories. Whether it is truth or fiction, they are quality wheels.
The wheels of the Twister Pro have a diameter of 80 mm, a hardness of 85A, an elliptical profile and a small core. The white polyurethane has a great texture and a very good rebound.
With use, the wheels grip a lot, which is a very good point. Once the superficial layer gone, the grip is still very satisfactory. No flaws to declare, neither on smooth nor on rough grounds. You could easily compare the Rollerblade Hydrogens with the SEBA Street Invaders and the Roll'X Xbirds.
Bearings: Series standards
Rollerblade uses SG9 bearings. They are of very good quality and after 1 month of use, including a good bunch of street skates in the rain, they don't make any noise and still roll. I haven't done any jumps, therefore I cannot guarantee top quality for that practice.
The screws and axles are resistant and of good quality, and resist to manipulation. The axles are efficient. The tools supplied in the package are standard. The series spacers are not very handy: they don't have any upper cage to remain at the center and you may sometimes have a hard time introducing the axles into your wheels. If needed, change them!
Finishing: The negative point...
When you have a closer look at the Twister Pro, you can note a few incoherences and a very basic finishing. Some holes seem to have been pierced without any purpose... The design of the the boot also leaves a lot to be desired. The fixing of the plates (under the boot) are simply put at the bottom of the shell without any special fixing system. All these negative points as for the finishing leads us to believe that the boot is manufactured in a very basic way in the factory, and compared to the number 1 of the range, the SEBA FR, one must admit that the Twister Pro looks cheaper.
For 259.90€, the Twister Pro is in the same price range as the SEBA FR1, the leader on the market of urban skates.
Rollerblade surprises us positively with this enhanced version of the Twister. The improved comfort and the quality of the wheels place the Twister Pro as a serious competition for the SEBA FR1. If you like strong ankle support and
distinguished looks, the Twister Pro is a great choice.
If you hesitate, try different models of the range and let your feet guide you.
Strong points and points to be improved
- Poor finishing
Model: Twister Pro
Insole: Shock absorber
Shell/Upper: Vented, molded
Liner: Specialized 5 Stars Fit, specialized footbed, v-cut
Cuff: Single fixing point
Protective: Removable lateral slider
Closure: Laces, micrometric buckle, locking cuff buckle
Bearings: SG Twincam 9
Wheels: Hydrogen 80 mm 85 A
Frame size: 243 mm
Axles: 8 mm speed-type aluminum axles
Sizes: 34-47 EU
Weight: 1740 g in size 42
Recommended use: Leisure slalom skating and urban freeskating
Useful linksBy Antoine Colange
Photos: all rights reserved