A Norwegian designer has come up with a way of making asphalt-based exercise a little safer. His RollerSafe street skis use a wireless disc-braking system that makes it easier to control speed and come to a safe stop.
RollerSafe calls its ski the world's first roller ski with wireless disc brakes. The radio-based system integrates a receiver in the ski that controls the hydraulic braking mechanism. The small trigger-based controller is integrated into the pole handle. The user is able to quickly and safely control his or her speed without any major physical motion – just a simple flick of the finger.
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RollerSafe inventor and industrial designer Atle Stubberud conceived the idea for a radio-based controller while attending college in the steep, hilly city of San Francisco in the late 90s. At the time, he began work on a system designed for inline skating but fell short of delivering it to market.
For those unfamiliar with roller skiing, the sport is sort of a warm-weather version of cross-country skiing that is performed on long, wheeled skates. Because it mimics the flat terrain focus of cross-country skiing, braking systems on models like the Skike are primarily limited to simple friction-based designs and are often sold separate from the skis themselves.
The idea of the RollerSafe is to provide an option that increases safety on hilly rides with hardware that's easy to use. Stubberud imagines it being useful to everyone from beginners to racers.
"Available brakes on roller skis today are manual and mechanic, often with a function where the users have to bend down or be very experienced in order to brake downhill," Stubberud explained to us. "RollerSafe aims to solve these issues. Integrated disc brakes ensure efficient brake effect at any speed; hydraulic system ensures enough power; wireless remote control ensure(s) ease of use for all kind of users; and battery capacity of 10+ hours ensures safe use independent of duration of trip. In addition, we aim to make it look nice; users are putting more trust into solutions that are well designed and follow the natural form of the skis."
The RollerSafe ski is still in the prototyping stages, but plans are to have it ready for market by later this year. It will be available at the newly launched website RollerSafe.no. The company showcased a RollerSafe prototype at the recent ISPO Munich sports show, where it won strong positive feedback, including a nomination for the show's BrandNew Awards.
Stubberud told us that the initial RollerSafe product will be a full ski, but in the future, he may pursue a version of the hardware that can work with existing ski models. Due to the nature of the components, it's unlikely to come in the form of an off-the-shelf system that can be retrofitted by ski owners. It could, however, make an attractive solution for manufacturers looking to integrate a braking system into their ski models.
Learn a little more about the concept in the video below.