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gripSPEEDER takes a new approach to inline speed skating

gripSPEEDER takes a new approa...
gripSPEEDER features both grip wheels and speed wheels
gripSPEEDER features both grip wheels and speed wheels
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gripSPEEDER features both grip wheels and speed wheels
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gripSPEEDER features both grip wheels and speed wheels

When it comes to inline speed skates (aka fast rollerblades), more wheels mean better grip on the road, but also more rolling resistance and thus less speed – fewer wheels mean more speed but less grip. German company funMACHINES is attempting to combine the best of both worlds, with its gripSPEEDER.

The skates' chassis contains five wheels: three small soft grip wheels in the middle, and two larger and harder speed wheels mounted on flexible horizontal titanium forks at the front and rear.

When the user is in the glide phase of their skating, the grip wheels are left dangling 4 mm above the ground – this means that only the speed wheels are in contact with the road at that point, minimizing friction.

When the user pushes off to accelerate or they dive into corners, however, the suspension provided by the flexy forks is compressed, allowing the grip wheels to temporarily provide extra traction by making contact with the ground.

Additionally, the designers state that by having the feet located closer to the ground (down between the two speed wheels, instead of up above a row of them), users can go faster by pushing more directly against the road.

If you're interested in getting a pair of the skates, they're currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Pledges for a set, complete with boots, start at €949 (about US$1,178). Assuming they reach production, shipping is estimated to take place in December.

Sources: gripSPEEDER, Kickstarter

2 comments
CAVUMark
Reasonably priced for a few.
MD
Seems they are taking a page off the very old website "doomwheels.com" Basically doomwheels are 2 very large wheels with the "skate boot" mounted down low in between.. Designed a few decades ago for offroad kite-skating 9on salt pans and other large (mostly) flat surfaces... These "merely" add a few inline wheels in between. For this version of a skate to add any real benefit, they would need to be very carefully tuned for the rider, and surface conditions... There is an infinite number of solutions for adding additional wheels for grip and stability while maximising straight line speed... Possibly a load sharing arrangement between the different sized wheels at either end of the skate would also work well, a simple 30kg preload on the smaller wheels would lift them off the ground for straight line speed, while bringing them into contact for power strides.... Who knows what will work best.. one has to have a go at least... For the asking price, there must be some sort of professional league of inline speed skaters... Mostly Carbon composites provide minimal advantage for a huge price premium, where space (specific strength) is no object.