The blades in short track ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


13 décembre 2017

The blades in short track

The blades are probably the most important component of a speed skater equipment. When the time comes to choose a new pair of blades, it is important to know that not every model fits every skater. So here is a small guide to help you understand all the components of the short track blades.

By Marc-Antoine Caron from  Marchands de vitesse
In collaboration with Passion/Speed/Skating
Photos: Schaats Foto's and stock photos

When skaters ask me for advice to choose the best blades for them, I need to know two things: their weight and their level of skating. With these informations in mind, I can suggest the the right category of blades. We can separate de blades in four categories. The differences between those categories are the tube of the blade and the runner.

The tube
The tube of the blade is the most important part when comes the time to judge the stiffness of a blade. Each company offers different types of tubes which gives more flexibility or more stiffness. It is important to have a tube that fits with our weight and level of skating to be able to have the right feelings on the ice. A skater that has too much flexibility in the tube will overwrite too much his blade and it will result in a loss of energy between his feet and the ice when he pushes. The bend of the blade will also be affected. On the other hand, a skater that as too much rigidity in the tube can have difficulties feeling his blades. Finally, a few years ago, we saw pre-bent blades arrive on the market. It is now a standard on all new model of blades and it allows the tube to keep its rigidity for a longer time. A pre-bent blade has already a bent in the tube. There is less work to do on the blade to get the perfect bent. It allows the blades to conserve its initial attributes.

The runner
The runner of the blade is the part that touches the ice, the part that we sharpen. It becomes more sophisticated as we advance in the different categories. The runner will be harder, it will be stiffer, it will keep its sharpness longer and it will glide more. There are essentially three types of metal, there is the standard steel, the bimetal and the powder metal (PM). First, the entry level and some of the intermediate blades uses standard steel. It offers a good flexibility and it is easy to sharpen. Then, there is the bimetal which is the perfect combination of softer steel at the base of the tube and a harder steel that touches the ice. It combines flexibility and solidity and offer an excellent glide. Finally, there is the powder metal which is the fusion of powder steel. It gives a very pure metal that offer an exceptional glide, an incomparable sharpening and a very high rigidity. However, it has one inconvenient, his fragility. Most of the blades that brakes are made of powder metal. But at a certain level, it is a risk worth taking!

Here is an overview of the four categories to guide you through all the models available. Those categories are based on my observations made in the last years.

Entry level blades
Those blades fit perfectly for the young skaters and the beginners: the Maplez Premium PB, the Bont Ultrasprint, the Pennington Begginer and the Evo Futuro.

Intermediate blades
Blades like the Bont GT3, the Pennington Katana (Bimetal) and the Evo Krypton 12C27 have stiffer tubes than the entry level blades to fit skaters who enter the provincial circuit.

Advance/Intermediate blades
They are made with bimetal and have a stiffer tube. It is perfect for provincial skaters and up. Some skaters of lighter weight will skate all their career on this type of blades. They are the Maplez Gold PB, the Pennington 8005 and the Evo QuarQ.

Advance blades
The Maplez Curvado PB, the Bont Platinum, the Pennington 9005 and the Evo Argon blades are very stiff and made of powder metal. They only fit advanced skaters.

All the models mentioned above are available online at Marchands de vitesse.

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