Having been blading for the past 20 plus years I feel I’ve found the fountain of youth with this setup currently attached to my Rollerblade NJ5's. Since my escapade to Europe with Jan Welch I have found a new untapped discipline in rollerblading #bigwheelblading!
To be a master of your craft you must learn and appreciate all disciplines to become a true master. When Jan asked me to review these frames I jumped at the task—despite only having had these for under a month. In that time, however, I had already undertaken my first 20 mile blade in Austin with dingleberry himself (Jan).
The second I stood up with these monsters under my feet, time kind of stopped and pulled me back to when I first strapped on a pair of three-wheel Rollerblades back in ‘89. The smoothness of the roll the ease of my strides and the speed it gave me took me back to why I love blading.
But writing a review about them? Shit, I’donly ridden them for distance blading up until then! How could I even give my thoughts on the matter without putting them through the ringer? So that's when I decided to use them for Jeremy Morgan’s Duke City Ditch Comp down in New Mexico to truly test these buggers out.
So let's begin with distance blading. Having clocked about 100-150 miles on these frames, durability is up to par with any frame I've came across for distance. My only complaint is after 15 miles or so they start to feel slow like the bearings are giving way or starting to seize. I also started to get a creaking noise while under a load. For example, I hear it when pushing off one foot to another coming from both the front and the back wheels.
My frames are set up on the Rollerblade NJ5 boots—which I love and need about ten more pair! I have a wider foot than most bladers and I squeeze my feet into a size ten so that I can see the front wheel—it’s important to me to be able to see my front wheel—which isn’t always possible with large shell setups. The comfort of the boot to frame combo is awesome for my feet, but to go further than 20 miles my feet to start to hurt pretty bad and start going numb. After a 30 plus mile blade from Denver to Boulder they seemed like bricks near the end, so really the NJ5 combination with the Kizer Trimax wasn’t all that great for ultra distance.
I give these frames with my boot setup a 7 out of 10.
Moving on to my preferred sub-discipline of blading as of recently: aggressive big wheel (I don’t know what else to call it!)
Regardless of what to call it, I used the Duke City Ditch Comp to test this frame as well as my creativity. Learning to wheel slide is still a bit of a challenge, but with this setup I'm learning that fast frames react quickly on turns even with a flat set up on them (once I rocker them I will share my thoughts).
I have to say the speed coming up to tricks is amazing!! You seem to glide with ease over small rocks anti-rocker people would eat shit on. Cracks? What cracks? These roll over everything—which is perfect for the Ditch Comp. Soul tricks are not the only tricks you can do with these frames despite popular belief. I was trying to land royale with them at the comp but could not, in the end, get one. I think once I master wheel slides it will help me land a royale on a rail.
Chris Burns has landed a unity to fakie on a ledge in them (at least.. so I'm told by Austin Coop. The clip should be in his new project Grilled Cheezy Feet!! Follow @cheezyfeet on instagram for more updates).
As for the frames holding up for the contest, well, in the end, the hardware failed me! These crap-ass 8mm wheel bolts suuuuuck! They sheered at the thread end and made it a pain in the ass to change out bearings because the bearing spacers were binding where they meet in the middle. I had to hammer half the bolt in just to change bearings out during the contest. I have to say KIZER: you can come up with better hardware, I will be changing that soon too.
Other than the hardware, these frames are my new favorite toy to blade with—despite the negative that a lot of bladers that think big wheels are a joke. I’d rate these frames at 8 out of 10 for grinding—mainly because I enjoy the challenge.
To conclude my thoughts about these frames, I want to try to explain the feeling they give me. I want you to think about the first time you put on a pair of blades and rolled around—or even better the first frontside you learned or the first session you attended! That is what these frames have opened me up to... my roots. I started with rec blading and moved to aggressive. For me, to be able to have both these disciplines in one blade is heaven to me. I'm thinking in a way I have never thought before about blading. So if you love blading as much as I do buy these frames. Why? Because they are only $100 complete with wheels--making these the best entry frame to big wheels for all types of disciplines of blading.
Oh and I must not forget my shout-outs to Luke Bender for his amazing photos, clips , and sheer willingness to help me with this. I’d like to thank Jeremy Gallegos for superb lighting skills for the profile pic, and also Austin Coop for clips too!
Additionally, I’ve got to thank Jan Eric Welch for being one of my best friends in the world, and for asking me to write this. Finally, special thanks to Frank Stoner—another best friend in the world—for editing my horrible first draft!
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who simply put on a pair of blades to help support our industry!!!