Plates, we love ’em, but they can be confusing and surrounded by jargon when all you want to know if they are going to do the thing. Never fear! We are your skate tech guides, here to help you at every twist and turn on the way to your dream roller skate set-up.
Plates are the most critical part of your skate set-up. Your body speaks to your plate to create movement, so choosing the right plate is going to make a big difference in how you skate. Choosing your brand and model is not the only thing to consider though; your plates house all the other adjustable bits that get you rolling smoothly. For example, you can adjust your cushions and pivot cups to change the way your skates feel. Softer cushions allow for more movement, while hard cushions allow for more stability. Pivot cups and cushions should be changed from time to time when they are worn to reduce the risk of damaging your plate hardware. Once you have your plates have fun experimenting a little bit with your setup to find the perfect feel for you.
Before we dive into some recommendations, lets get the cogs churning with a couple of things to think about when choosing your next set of roller skate plates.
- What kind of set-up do you want? All plates are going to do the job of letting you roll, but some plates lend themselves better to certain roller skating disciplines. If you’re lucky enough to have multiple sets of skates you can get peak performance by tailoring each set-up to a specific discipline. If one set of skates is your limit, think about ways of getting versatility from your set-up.
- Price is indicative of quality, durability and performance. Not all plates are made equal and this is signalled in their price point. If you’re on a budget and new plates seem out of reach right now, you can make some easy and affordable upgrades with some tips we’ve shared over here.
Recreational Skating and RollerFit
Are you a RollerFit devotee, or maybe flat ground recreational skating is more your vibe? The world of roller skate plates is wide open to you my friend! There are lots of great options for recreational style skating and skills. The things to think about here are your budget and how much manoeuvrability you’re looking to get from your new plates.
For the price, the quality of the Variant M is pretty mind blowing. These plates are a great option for someone on a budget who is still looking for a lightweight and heavy duty plate that provides good control and responsiveness. Something to keep in mind is that the Variant M plates come with 7mm axles, but this does not exclude you from the wide world of wheels, it just means you need to put 7mm bearings in them.
RRP: 290 AUD
These plates are a great mid-level option for those who want improved performance but don’t feel they are quite ready to spend the money or need the level of performance that higher-end plates provide. The Mariner Variant C offers great performance, is lightweight and has a strong and durable aluminium alloy construction.
RRP: 340 AUD
The Reactor Pro Plate is an extremely popular choice amongst roller derby, dance, park and recreational skaters due to its ability to offer maximum stability without compromising too heavily on agility. It is a completely different feel to the Roll-Line options so it might be a good idea to try a few things before committing to a plate to see what you prefer.
RRP: 599 AUD
A list of recommendations for general skating or RollerFit would be incomplete without saying that we highly recommend anything that’s Roll-Line. We think Roll-Line is in a class of their own when it comes to making seriously good quality skating products. Other notable plates that are great for recreational skating are the Powerdyne Neo Reactor plates or the Suregrip Avanti plates.
If you’re looking to get your groove on, having the right plate can help you achieve those dance goals and smooth out your flow. Choosing the plate is an important decision, but something else for dance skaters to consider is how they want that plate mounted. Many of the RollerFit team who dabble in roller dance enjoy a short-back mount so that the wheelbase of their skates sits underneath the heel and the ball of their foot. You can also 100% dance with a standard length mount. Choosing how your plate is mounted ultimately comes down to personal preference and how much versatility you like with your set-up.
The Mistral is a favourite with some of the RollerFit team because of its affordable price and its level of performance for a plate under $600. It’s lightweight, durable, and has a coiled spring response system for enhanced performance. Keep in mind that the Mistral has 7mm axles.
RRP: 540 AUD
The Dance plates are some serious business and another RollerFit team favourite. These plates have a wider angle wheelbase which lowers the centre of gravity and makes it easier and provides more stability when shifting and holding your edges. Just keep in mind that the Dance plates only come with a 7mm axle. If these are in your budget we can assure you that they won’t disappoint.
RRP: 680 AUD
The Arius is a premium roller skating plate for all types of skating. It offers lightweight and heavy duty construction. The biggest drawcard for roller dancers with the Arius plate is the adjustable kingpins and butterfly cushions which allows for a completely customisable and responsive setup.
Our favourite roller dance plates recommendations are on the medium to pricey end of the $$ spectrum. But if you’re on a budget the Roll-Line Variant M are a great affordable option, as well as the Suregrip Avanti plates. An honourable mention should also be given to the versatile Powerdyne Reactor Pro plates (even though they sit on the more mid-exxy end of pricing).
This section is for the wild ones looking to shred at the park and in the streets. For park skating, you don’t need a super fancy plate, but you need something that is going to be able to endure the impact that comes with park skating.
If you’ve been on the socials or looking at a park skating Reddit feed, you’ll see people searching for the ultimate plate that is compatible with any and all park skating paraphernalia, especially wide trucks and slide blocks. Let me save you the hassle, if you’re in Australia this is your go-to plate if you want to have wide trucks now or in your park skating future. Suregrip has two options in the Avanti range, Aluminium or Magnesium. Both will be compatible with wide trucks and blocks, so it just depends on preference and budget. The difference between these two models mostly revolves around their weight. The Aluminium plates are solid whereas the Magnesium are lighter with their hollow design (don’t fret they are just as strong, if not stronger than the aluminium). If you’re going to ride the stock narrow trucks that come with these plates, the Magnesium trucks come with adjustable pivot arms while the Aluminium ones are fixed.
RRP: 199 – 389 AUD
Some other honourable mentions in the realm of park skating plates are the Powerdyne Reactor range. These plates are great quality, their only downfall when it comes to park skating is that they are not easily compatible with wide trucks and have long kingpins which can get in the way when grinding. But if you’re willing to go the extra mile and do some mods to make it work, these plates will serve you well in the park. Ideally, you’ll be looking for a metal plate to endure all the impact of park skating, but if you’re on a budget or just need an interim fix, the Suregrip Probe plates are also a decent option to keep you rolling.
Thanks for coming to our Skate Tech Talk! If you’re still unsure about what plate to choose or maybe you’re wanting a complete custom set-up, you can always get in contact with us to discuss your options.