Roller Derby Upgrades
OK so Roller Derby may consume your life. If so you can spend, spend, spend on Roller Derby extras. But what can you spend all of your hard earned cash?
There are some other optional protection products out on the market. Foremost of which (and one I highly endorse) are impact shorts. If you’ve ever had a coccyx (tailbone) injury, you know how painful and debilitating it can be! I once fell on mine at school and was off for two weeks as a result. It wasn’t broken, but damn did it hurt like hell! I couldn’t sit on my butt for the first week, all I could do is lay on my front in front of the T.V and wince every time I tried to stand up. If you want that added security and protection, then do invest in a pair of impact shorts. There are a fair range available, and you will probably find that the higher up the price ranges you go, the more concealable they are, because by their very nature they are not small, sleek shorts that you can wear discreetly without anyone noticing. These things have padding on the thighs, hips, and any good pair worth it’s salt will have a coccyx shield (in my opinion this is THE most important component of any pair of impact shorts). If you are going to invest in these, then please do get a pair that specifically states that it has a tailbone guard!
Manufacturers that produce good impact shorts are:
If your skates came with very basic wheel bearings, you might consider upgrading later on to something a little more robust and a bit faster. Many roller girls and guys use Bones REDS bearings, and these are generally considered the standard by most types of skate-sports. Lots of skateboarders swear by them, as do longboarders and carvers, so Reds have a long history of skate-sports endorsements. However, that’s not to say there aren’t faster, smoother things out there on the market, but until you get to the point where you can confidently say that your bearings are holding you back, a couple of sets of Reds should see you right for a long, long time. Some people do invest in sets of Swiss Ceramic bearings, which can set a person back upwards of £130, but these types of bearing are usually best suited to speed-blading, and would probably serve little purpose on the Derby track as the size of the track will prohibit you from gaining enough speed and momentum to use the full potential of such bearings. Two sets of Reds (you need 16 bearings in all) should cost under £40 altogether and last you a long time if maintained and cared for regularly. (Cleaning and maintenance kits including speed cream are available from most online skate stores).
When you are more confident on your skates and you feel like you want to squeeze the most potential out of them without breaking the bank or upgrading to more expensive skates, a small but handy investment might be a new set of truck bushings. These are the small, coloured cushions that sit in the turning mechanisms of your skate’s trucks, and, like skate wheels, come in a variety of hardnesses (these work on the same kind of Durometer scale as wheels). When you buy a set of skates, the chances are they will come fitted with a set of hard or medium-hard bushings. For a more manoeuvrable skate, try upgrading to a softer type of bushing. This allows more movement and tilt in your trucks, therefore allowing you to make tighter, sharper turns without having to take your feet off the track to reposition them. Bushings can be purchased for around £12 to £15 for a full two-skate set. A very small price to pay for freeing up a lot more potential manoeuvrability in your skates!
Again, these can be found at most online skate stores.
Suregrip Super Cushions are a good example of a nice bushing upgrade.
Something else that you might like to consider (especially if you have just bought a spangly pair of new, beautiful skates!) are Skate-Savers. These are essentially shields that go over the toes of your skates to protect them from scuffing, grazing and other cosmetic (and eventually structural) damage. Remember, your skates are soft! It’s only a matter of time before prolonged exposure to Derby will wear them through to your socks. You can buy these at most online skate stores, although be aware that the big companies tend to use flimsy, soft-wearing material and will charge you upwards of £7 plus delivery just for stamping their name on a bit of leather-like material.
Don’t forget, always talk to your fellow skaters, we are all here to help you fulfil your potential! If you have any questions regarding your gear, or even if you want to try a particular piece of equipment out, chances are that someone near to you has equipment that they are more than willing to let you try out.
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Many thanks to Nads for this AWESOME info about Additional Derby Kit!