Plates and chassis available for Quad Skates changes on a regular basis. In the 80’s and 90’s we had Variflex, Rom, Traco and Various forms of steel chassis. There was a vast selection and many skaters didn’t really spend any time researching which was the best chassis for your skates.
Today is a complete contrast. There are plenty of chassis available for your skates, ranging from Playmaker, Traco, Pro8 and Suregrip – not to mention several roller hockey chassis ranging from carbon fibre to titanium.
It was disappointing to read one so called “expert” cursed all modern chassis, stating they are nothing like a barely used chassis available in the 1990’s. Well, lets face it – production methods in the 80’s and 90’s were more “belt and braces” rather than cutting edge technology. To publicly denounce all modern chassis as “not of a quality standard” (re-phrased politely), is simply wrong. So who ever you are, expert of the best skate chassis in the 1990’s (gold star to you).
Now, for skaters who want some decent advice, read on… I hope this helps make your purchase decision a little easier.
In the 1980’s and 90’s the Variflex chassis was the strongest and cheapest available. It was, at that time, the best available baseplate. There were other chassis used on Bauer’s and Roces too – namely Rom, Traco and a very rare white chassis Bauer used for a short period. All of these chassis were flawed. Their hangers would regularly snap owing to the material they were made from – a composite material of ABS and Zytel. There were of course plenty of steel chassis all of which were strong, heavy and durable.
These days, we have fewer choices. The quality however superceeds all previous chassis produced. Today, all chassis are super tough. The playmaker and traco chasis are made from durable Zytel (a trademark of DuPont). The most important break through is the quality of the hangers. Modern playmakers hangers feature steel trucks which do not break. Well, put it this way, in 12 years of selling playmaker plates, I’ve not seen or heard of any.
Tracco chassis are strong but lack a pivot cup – this is an advantage for some skaters and a disadvantage for others. In either case, the Traco or Playmaker chassis is a perfectly acceptable lightweight chassis for 90% of the skater population. There is nothing wrong with them and I will go so far as to say they have help move skating forward in terms of making skates more affordable, safer, lighter and stronger.
Suregrip chassis (Alu Avenger etc) are expensive option for a lightweight plate. They are however very strong. The question of strength greatly depends on your style of skating – whether you’re a speed skater, jam skater or like slamming your boots to the ground. Strength of modern chassis are better than they have ever been – that said, I have not seen a playmaker or traco chassis snapped in half as a result of poor quality or skating. I’m convinced, based the number of baseplates sold – playmaker and traco chassis are the best available – best value for money, best wear and tear and best for 90% of recreational skaters.
For more info on Zytel – see here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zytel