Ok, so i'm going to flash forward with 5 years experience of working on roller skates and talk about my favorite Plates!
The Reactor Plate by Powerdyne
Suggested Use: Roller Derby
Why people normally buy them:
Skaters that are serious about getting good or being faster choose Reactor Plates, or Reactors. This is because they are as light as they come (about as light as the plastic/nylon plates) and are the strongest, made of aircraft aluminum.
They are also, 'top of the line' plates. The truck adjustment is devised to keep your trucks stayed at your preferred setting until you adjust them again, whereas the standard nut-on-kingpin (i made that up, not sure what the 'proper' term is, but if you have gotten this far and you don't have Reactors or Roll Line, look at your trucks and see how the nut is at the end of the kingpin? k. it's not locked in place. will loosen up over time. ) adjustment tends to loosen up over time.
Does this mean I'll never have to adjust my trucks again? NO. But the maintenance on the truck setting will be WAY easier. Because your bushings are still going to wear, or squish, you will need to replace them for most accurate settings and best reaction.
What people don't normally know about them:
adjustable mounting slots, unlike other plates, these plates have slots instead of holes for the mounting bolts. this is so you can 'pre-mount them' which means, you just mount the bolts into the slots only, try them out, and then you can slide them forward or backward depending on your preference. Once you get your setting right, you mount bolts into the other holes.
A backward or 'speed mount' puts the ball of your foot just in front of the axles, so that your foot is cocked and ready for striding. Whether this makes you faster or not is hard to test, but I felt a dramatic improvement in my speed and energy.
interchangeable cushions, Now there are three different hardnesses for Reactor cushions that are made of poly-BD (best-quality polyurethane). There are RED (soft), BLUE (medium) and ORANGE (hard). Heavier skaters, or those really tough on their skates should go with HARD, lighter skaters should go with SOFT. The red is a little bit harder than the stock bushings.
What size you should buy: If you ordered a new plate today, for a standard mount, order the same size as your boots. If you are a half size, I would suggest to order the next size up if you've been skating less than 2 years or still feel beginner or intermediate and a size down if you know that you are an advanced skater with better control.
Reason why? is this- Imagine skating on a plate that extends in front and off the back of your boots. (HUMUNGO plates that stick out) Imagine it. Are you there? Okay, it feels like you are skating with flippers on. Like you are swimming through the floor, with your feet.
Now imagine a plate that is much too small. Liike, all 4 wheels are in between the ball of your foot and your heel. You have barely any control at this point because it is really hard to balance.
Those are the two extremes. Many very advanced skaters prefer a smaller plate so they have more agility,
Jammers tend to feel a dramatic difference in energy.
I love less, so my plates are a full size (6) smaller than my boots (7).
If you are buying USED REACTORS and the person you are buying them from bought them in 2008 or before, the plate size is one size smaller than your boot should be. Now they are sized the same, but they used to be marked 1 sz smaller than the boot, like most other plates are measured. If you aren't sure what size they are, take a measuring tape and measure from the front axle to the back axle and checkt he "Reactor Sizing Chart"to be sure.
How to adjust them: They come with tools. DO NOT LOSE THEM! There are 4. 2 allen keys/wrench
adjusting the trucks-
trucks are adjusted by tightening the tension on the cushions. The more tension on the bushings, the tighter the turn. The looser the trucks, the slower and easier the turn.
There are two things you need to do to adjust the trucks. First, loosen the "hex screw" with the tiniest allen key/wrench. This screw locks the truck adjustment into place. You must loosen it first, before you adjust the the actual tension.
Next, take the larger wrench that comes with the tools, (oh, and btdub, don't lose them) and adjust the dial with the numbers on it. Unless you take the dial off and set the 1 at 12 o'clock, the numbers don't mean anything. They are a guide to help you keep track of how many times you are rotating the dial (tightening the cushions). It is a helpful tool, you just have to start by setting the dial at 12 o'clock before you start tightening.
The front trucks should be looser than the back ones. The way I remember this is that the words 'front' and 'tight' have the same number of letters contained in both words.
After you have tightened the trucks, YOU MUST TIGHTEN THE HEX SCREW! If you don't it will fall out. If it falls out, call me 267.374.9674,.. I have extras to send to you.
adjusting the toe stop-
The larger allen key/wrench is used for the toe stop adjust. Stick it in the hole, loosen the screw inside of there and adjust the toe stop stem closer to the ground or closer to the boot based on your personal preference.
After you have adjusted the stop, YOU MUST TIGHTEN THE SCREW! If you don't it will fall out. If it falls out, call me 267.374.9674,.. I have extras to send to you. sound familiar?
What to maintain:
Like all plates you have to maintain the cushions. When the cushions start to pancake, squish, become flattened or crack it is time to replace them.
Remember, you can order three different hardness made of quality urethane that will last you longer and perform better than the cushions that come stock with the plates.
What not to lose:
THE TOOLS, DUH!