100mm or 110mm or HiLo: Make Your Choice
With the legalization of wheels above 100mm from January 1, 2008, around the World a lot of senior men can now be seen on 110mm wheels – and we’ll see a lot of them at the World Championship. Not all are on 4x110mm setups though, with a lot of skaters using HiLo frames. Where the 4-wheel HiLo gained initial popularity for its ability to put 100mm wheels on 165mm boots, the additional frame length required to accommodate a full four 110mm wheels (13.2-inches) has meant the HiLo is popular again.
Amongst the girls it remains divided. Although many went onto HiLos (you can get 3x110-1x100 at 12.8-inches, and 2x110-2x100 on 12.4-inches), quite a lot still using 4x100mm.
FACT: Typical total skate weight can expect a 5.5% increase 4x100 vs 4x110. More wheel means more urethane, so 110s are heavier - you can definitely notice a skateful of 110s attached to your feet compared with 100s. The larger wheels are harder to accelerate too, for two reasons – 1/. they are heavier to pick up off the ground, and they tend to ‘stick down’ on the ground for longer with each push, making a ‘fast feet’ acceleration difficult.
FACT: 12.3% wheel weight increase 4x100 vs 4x110. They require more energy to ‘spin up’ to speed.
TIP: On your local track at speed, expect to step in new places on your 110s, as you’ll be travelling further per stroke than before
Although a HiLo frame can be the same length as a 4x100 (12.8-inches), you’re higher off the ground on 4x110s, which also makes ‘fast feet’ accelerations a little more difficult. When the skater in front of you hits the gas on 100mm wheels they will be hard to hang on to, but once you get on them at speed, it will be easier to sit on (although you might find problems staying ‘in step’ with them, because on 110s you’ll have your own tempo).
Deck Heights compared: (Left to Right ) 4x110 = 60mm, hi-lo = 50mm, 4x100 = 55mm
EXAMPLE: Smaller/Junior skaters points racing at sub-World class speeds could find them tough110s roll more, sure. They always feel like they are rolling, at all speeds, but the real benefit from them only comes at higher speeds – because at low speeds their Roll-out/Energy-in ratio is low, and they are taxing on the body to repeatedly accelerate.
EXAMPLE: Skaters who employ fast feet as their accelerative weapon could take time to get used to 110mmThe best benefits from 110mm wheels come at high speed, using big, full strokes (remembering that bigger wheels are only faster if they’re on the ground rolling, not when they are in the air and being landed all the time while using fast feet). The increased footprint of the larger wheels provides more grip on corners, but a slip on 110s is more difficult to recover from, particularly if it requires some scrambling.
3 setups compared: foreground 4x100 = 100/2 + 55 = 105mm, middle hi-lo = 110/2 + 50 = 105mm, rear 4x110 = 110/2 + 60 = 115mm
FACT: 4x110 setups are 10mm taller than 4x100 or hi-lo
Worth noting, is that skaters definitely have to be STRONGER to skate on 110mm wheels. Many strong Senior men have had to get stronger still to make best use of the bigger setup. Likewise, expect some adaptation to your strength and technique to occur from skating on 110s over time. So if you want the benefits from them, a lot of it depends on the skater – not just the skates.
TIP: Consider boots with more support at the ankle. Don’t forget, because you’re higher off the ground (at least 5mm), potentially on a longer wheelbase, and on a skate that takes increased strength to master – you might find benefits from a higher-cut boot to provide a higher level of control and stability.
For the right skater, mastering the 110mm wheels (either in a 4x or a HiLo format) will give you access to an increased top-end speed – one that can be attained and maintained with composure using a slower and more deliberate tempo. You might find following the burst accelerations of someone on 100mm wheels tough, but hit the lead as you’re powering to the line and you can go faster, for longer.