Nylon or Aluminum?
Nylon plates are sometimes referred to as plastic. They are lightweight, which is why some
skaters prefer to use them their entire derby career.
The sometimes drawback to nylon plates is they will flex if the skater is larger or skates particularly hard (digs deep in strides).
Aluminium also referred to as metal plates will not flex like a nylon plate, so effort is not lost pushing out only to have it absorbed by the flex of the plate.
Lower priced aluminum plates tend to be heavier which can be cumbersome to some skaters especially smaller skaters. The more expensive plates tend to be lighter and are usually preferred.
Single Action vs. Double Action
Single action is when there is just one cushion between the chassis and the truck.
Very simply, double action has two! There is a cushion on each side of the truck.
Many skaters will then customize what hardness the of the cushions, for the super picky you can even have different hardnesses on each side of the truck.
7mm vs. 8mm
This is the size of the axle in diameter.
7mm is what is commonly referred to as the
more "old school" axle.
The 7mm was preferred by speed skaters who were looking to reduce weight,
so they would go with a the smaller 7mm.
8mm is now the more common axle size.
In the world of skating there are two basic types of skating plates, 10 degree and 45 degree,
each has its advantages and disadvantages. Most companies derive this number by what angle
the kingpin is drilled on, in many cases this kingpin is not drilled on this angles but the standard
still stands at 10 degree and 45 degree. Although there are many manufactures that have
developed plates in the past; these two simple designs still represent the industry standard.
Aside from 10 degree and 45 degree, we have toe stop or no toe stop, light and heavy plates,
adjustable pivots and nonadjustable pivots, rubber or urethane cushions, special mounting, and
exotic lightweight materials such as titanium or magnesium.
A 10 degree skating plate is designed to place the skater over the kingpin and cushions,
creating a more stable skating feel. This type of plate has also been called a Free-Skating plate
as it was one of the original designs and allows a skater to be confident and under control in
any skating situation. The truck design on a 10 degree plate is typically a more vertical
approach which will help keep a skater more upright, typically a less aggressive setup. Looking
back in history we can see many uses of this simple design, probably why it has remained the
industry standard in skate design.
The 45 degree skating plate is designed to place the skater over the pivot pin creating a more
aggressive stance and feel. For many years this plate has been referred to as a figure plate as
it got its humble beginnings on the skating floor doing figure loops. The truck design on the 45
degree skate is designed with a horizontal approach in relation to the skating floor, typically
more sensitive to the skaters movement allowing him or her to change direction faster but still
Kingpin angle information quoted from Suregrip.com
Short Forward Plate Mouting
The theory of the “Short” mounted plate is not a new theory but rather a new approach to the old style. Traditionally the plates were one or two sizes smaller and mounted forward on the boot, similar to the picture below. Today we see much more aggressive plate setups sometimes 3 sizes smaller than a manufactures recommendation. The short forward theory started in the 70s and 80s when short track speed skaters wanted to turn sharper; Its simply mechanics that a shorter wheel base will yield a tighter turning radius.
In the 70s and 80s the plate of choice was the Sure-grip Magnum or the XK4 style plates, back then the plates were single action 45 degree. The 45 degree king pin angle will allow the skater to turn over on his or her edge further and with less effort than with a traditional 10 degree king pin angle. In the past all plates that used the 45 degree action were commonly called figure plates. Once skates found out how this plate skated they never looked back. To this day the 45 degree plates are widely praised in both figure and speed skating.
Today we use a new double action 45 degree truck that use our super cushions allowing the
skater to dial in his or her performance. This plate has transformed the short track speed and derby
markets by allowing them to fine tune their skating style and make the plate skate the way they want it to. Usually skaters use one of our 45 degree action plates when using the short forward technique."
-Sure Grip International, "Short Forward Theory"