Now that wheels are getting bigger (again, again), it means we are getting higher and higher off the ground. There’s a big discussion about this, some say it doesn’t matter, some say it is critical. I’m one of those ones that believes that as your foot gets higher off the ground then the stability challenge to the ankle, thighs and core becomes great. This means the higher you go, the more critical each extra millimeter becomes. Although weight, stiffness, length and ‘looks’ are important, let's forget them just for a moment. I actually believe as we go even higher, the most critical statistic (for most skaters) is overall deck height.
So here’s a very simple plain review of frame heights, measured by me, not manufacturers 'claims'. There are 2 ways of measuring deck heights:
1. With wheels - This is called “Overall Deck Height” - this is the measurement, in mm, from the floor to the top of the frame, at the front mounting plate where your boot is bolted on to your frame. This is the height that your foot is from the floor.
2.Without wheels - This is called “Deck Height” - this is the measurement from an imaginary line between the centers of the axels to the top of the frame, at the front mounting plate where your boot is bolted on to your frame.
The important one to you and me is Overall Deck height, as this is how unstable you’re gonna feel at the end of a race, in the last lap, at top speed in the final corner, burning legs, breathing heavy, tasting acid/blood, and you’re about to be overtaken by that guy you wanted to beat.
The frames are ranked here in order of Overall Deck Height….
Lowest set-up at the top of the list. 110’s in BLUE, 125’s in RED.
I’ve been skating on the 125’s since October 2013, and to be honest it takes a lot of getting used to (if you can really FEEL your skates properly), to be race ready.
My 110 set-up was EO M2 and I was 103mm from the asphalt. On the 125 set-ups I’ve tested so far, I’m between 112mm and 115mm from the earth, an extra 9-12mm. I think my personal limit is somewhere between 105 and 110mm I guess. Higher than this and I’m just not good enough.. yet.
My next test is a custom frame designed and produced by EO. they made it 13.4" long, because I have big feet (size 47, US 12, UK 11.) and they took photo's of my boots and designed the frame to the boot is only 1mm from the middle wheel. As low as possible. This means the 125 set-up is only 108mm overall deck height, just 5mm higher than my EO 110 set-up, and only 2 or 3 mm than the average 110 set-up.
Well, now we've got the real stats on 'height', now we just need to figure out what length we want... I've seen 12.4", 12.6", 12.8", 12.9", and now PS are testing a 13.0"... I'm staying on my 13.4" Big Foot version. But maybe if I race on track or indoor I might need to go to 13.0". Not sure if a 13.4" frame will turn that well. But for road, and big tracks it's be the bomb.
So the answer to the question; "How much higher are 125's?" is varied. It depends on what you've been skating on before, it depends on what you're used to. If you're going from EO M2 110 up to a PS XXX 125, then you will be a massive 10.5mm higher (That's almost half an inch!). But if you are currently skating on a Cado Motus DualBox5 110 or a PS Carbon Vi2 110 and you move up to a EO Carbon 3.8 125 then you will be only 4mm higher (a little over an eight of an inch).
This article has been all about the height, but there are other considerations. 3x125 feel different, turn differently, the development of lean on the outside edge is different to 110's and they are more sensitive to your mistakes. However, they are lighter and have a faster top end speed. So now it's just up to you to decide what to do ....
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