Testing the Reign Helios Inline Hockey Skates
Going into a non-familiar market isn't an easy task for a brand. And yet, Powerslide has decided to throw themselves into the world of roller hockey in creating the brand Reign. The German company have put into it all the knowledge and know-how they have learned from the other segments of the skating market. The brand brings a fresh perspective on the practice and on the manufacturing of skates in a very competitive sector.
We asked Romain Masson, player of the French Team of Roller Hockey, and Eric Perraudin, French national coach, to test the Reign Helios and give us feedbacks.
Reign presents a model that stays true to the design standards of roller hockey, yet with a few variations. The carbon sole goes quite high on the malleoli, like on freeride or speed skating models. Let's note the bulges in the lower carbon structure for more rigidity. The boot and the frame, both black, are enhanced by silver edgings at the heel and above the wheels. The frame is a 3-wheel extruded frame. The stripes on the sides of the boots bring a touch of modernity to the look. Let's note side and toe abrasive pads. There are two holes under the boots for better breathing, a concept inspired by existing fitness and speed skating models.
The first time you put them on, the Reign Helios may seem a bit stiff. But after a few minutes of skating, they prove to be very comfy. The front-back flexion is very pleasant, the tongue and the upper have just the right rigidity, allowing good bending, without pressure points.
If you are a massive or powerful player evolving towards high level skating, you will feel a slight flexion in the middle of the skate at the malleolus, close to the laces. It may be a con, according to your skating style.
The sides of the ankles are very well supported, with great skating comfort, even while turning or braking.
The moves of the boot make the forward push easier. Note that the skate is slightly tilted forward too (like in ice skating with the GRAF) for better reactivity. Control is optimal: the inside of the boot has been adapted accordingly.
It may turn out to be a bit a bit too rigid according to where your shin guard is positioned.
If your feet are thin, the support is excellent, they won't move, the ankle has mobility while remaining supported. The liner is very close fitted.
The wax laces broke on the first tightening. Undoubtedly, Powerslide will solve the problem. The eyelets go high at the ankle, and you may not need to use the last pair. They efficiently block the laces, which is one of the strong points of the skate: they don't come loose.
The inside of the liner proves to be very comfy, especially at the ankles and at the toes. The malleoli quickly find their place in the liner, and the material closely molds to the shape of the foot. The finish is perfect: no folds, no pressure points, only maybe at the toes where the boot gets thinner. The tongue should be revised to be less thick and rigid.
The sizing of the Reign Helios roller hockey skates is very precise. It is essential that you take the size you usually take for your shoes so that you can use them at full potential. If you have wide feet, the Helios may be too narrow.
At use, the Helios offers speed and incredible reactivity at the start. The forward tilt is impressive. It is close to ice skating sensations, like said earlier. The front of the liner gives good perspectives.
Frames and Wheels
It is Powerslide's originality: the 3-wheel frame is equipped with the Trinity 3-point mounting system! this concept lowers the gravity center to the max under the boots. So that you hardly feel the height gain, linked to the size of the wheels. Moreover, distributing the forces between 3 points instead of 2 considerably improves the power transmission during the push.
Powerslide and Reign have largely drawn their inspiration from their experience in freeskate to successfully design this extruded model: the sides are thicker in the stress areas and hollowed, for weight gain, in the zones that are less exposed; there are reinforcement bridges in-between the wheels, wide bases to better transmit the power from the boot to the wheels.
The frames are very rigid. Moreover, they offer many adjustment options, which is an innovation in roller hockey. You can also modify the height of the axles to tilt your set-up slightly forward. The frame is not riveted, as it is often the case on hockey skates, and can thus be replaced.
At first use, the Trinity frame may feel short for a skater of average foot size (43 EU), with its 215 mm. And yet, after a little adaptation time, it is surprisingly revolutionary! 3 wheels of 100 mm on a hockey skate, this has never been seen before. At first, one may think that the skate isn't suitable at all for the practice of roller hockey, but after a few adjustments (front/back) of the frame (very easy), the Helios turns out to be a real bomb in terms of efficiency and mobility. Our little apprehension concerning backwards skating (because of the height of the wheels) was quickly wiped out and the skating is in fact very pleasant.
The Wicked bearings that are used on the Reigns are ABEC 9. The 2017 catalog announces ABEC 7, but there is not much difference on the final result. The rolling is smooth, great product.
Standard American Wheels
We have tested 3 wheel hardnesses, from 72 to 76A, indoor. The Prime Wheels are made in the USA, in the Matter factories, one of the best speed skating brands in the world. They grip to all surfaces and are really comfortable to skate with. Their technicality makes you gain in speed. It is a top quality product. Despite intensive use, their wear was very limited. A big positive point for this product. We also really like the color variety, looking good!
Axles and Screws
The performant and precise screws and bolts offer adjustment options. The mounting and disassembly are very easy. The Torx threads are very useful for the fine-tuning of the frame. There is the possibility of doing a rockered wheel set-up, but it is not necessarily indispensable in roller hockey. The insert of the front wheel is more hollowed than that of the two other wheels, which is a clever thing to delay the wear caused by the putting on/taking off of the wheels....
General Finish of the Skates
The overall finish is excellent. You may need to reinforce the toes and the inside and outside of the boots with rigid pads, where the skates touch the ground during braking, for extra protection. There are already leather patches on the outsides, but in roller hockey, the insides too are put to a severe test.
Compared to the general performances of the Reign Helios, and to the technology offered with the Trinity system and the 3-wheel frame, the Helios are at their right price, 600€.
Powerslide have successfully managed their technology transfer towards roller hockey and their experience delivers a very innovative product. We would advise the Reign Helios for the practice of roller hockey in competition, whatever your level. It is designed for hockey players looking for a comfortable skate, reactive, that efficiently transmits the power they build up. The Helios could be spotted at the feet of the Czech World Champions during the last Worlds, as well as in a good number of high-level teams, including the USA. Feedbacks are unanimous on the performance and speed gains, especially on big fields where 100 mm wheels can be exploited at full potential. No doubt that Powerslide can, and will, put in the shade renowned brands with their Reign hockey skates.
Note: following this test, Powerslide told us that several extra abrasive pads were going to be added to the next version of the Helios: one on the inside, and a thicker one with a shock absorber at the toes. The laces have also been replaced. The Helios version available now has benefitted from improvements compared to the tested model.
Strong Points and Points to be Improved
+ Increased maneuverability
+ Power transmission
+ Wheel quality
+ Removable frame
- Fragile laces
- Only one boot width available
- Protective pads : too thin at the toes, and lack of on the inside of the boot.
- Full Product Sheet of the Helios
Les points forts et les points à améliorer
+ La réactivité
On aime moins
- Le lacet fragile
LinksPhotos: Powerslide and OLS
Tested by Romain Masson
and Eric Perraudin