Before I start the actual review, let me spell out what I think makes for an awesome derby plate: Durability, agility, maneuverability and roll performance, stopping performance, lightweight, speed and precision.
I want to be able to turn on a dime, and at the same time be able to roll like mad on hard wheels and not have my ankles and legs weighted down by heavy plates. Of course, I want the plates to last and not break down on top of the rest.
I currently have two sets of white Avengers, a set on my Vanilla Boots and a set on my Riedell 951s. They are both set up short forward mount. The Avenger in white has a new DA45 truck, which is slimmer than the original version and optimized for this with the fixed king pin in the Avenger.
Onto the review….
From my perspective, the Sure-Grip Avengers with the DA45 action meet my requirements across the board.
First, let’s look at durability. For those who are nervous about the strength of the Avenger and subscribe to the idea that if it’s lighter, it has more potential to snap or break mid-jam, odn’t worry. I weigh more than the average skater (most likely) and I practice sometimes 6 times per week. I have had no breakdown with this plate since I started skating a prototype in October 2011. So, Durability, check!
Next, agility, maneuverability and roll performance since they are all intertwined. Wait…How is roll something to which the plate contributes? Read on….
There is no skate action better balanced for derby than a DA45. It can be tuned with various cushions to go from silly-loose as to be uncontrollable or so tight they will not steer. So, that leaves a lot of tuning room in between. Don’t get me wrong, any skate can be tuned in a similar manner, yet that is where the DA45 geometry steps to the front. For any given state of adjustment the DA45 will turn easier and sharper, faster than anything else out there. On scale of 1-10, you can get any skate to turn into the 6-7 range, although some take more work than others. The DA45 goes to 10 due to the unique combination of the “45 degree” king pin angle, the precious adjustable pivot and of course the double action cushion arrangement. The geometry also lets the wheels stay flat on the floor longer than other designs. This improves traction, which means you can generally run harder wheels. That’s where roll comes in.
Want a short forward mount? This plate is perfect for that, and Sure-Grip even writes “your plate will not hang over the front of your boot”, which lets the place be mounted further forward into the derby sweet spot. This leads to more agility, better maneuverability and roll performance, all there in spades, check!
What makes them so light? The white Avenger plates are made of magnesium alloy and feature a holl0w center. The kingpin is hollow as well. Both of these features were designed to save weight, which translates into less fatigue on your feet, easier pushing and overall lightness. There are lighter plates out there, but they are plastic. They bend and twist which costs the skater performance and there is always the possibility of a plastic plate breaking. It’s lightweight and with none of the disadvantages of most plastic plates. Check!
Speed, you will certainly have that as well with the Avenger. The sleek design lends to less air over surface friction, and therefore, less drag, more speed. You can focus on working smarter, not harder. Riding on these plates reminds me of driving an expensive BMW, the handling is supreme, and pick up is unsurpassed. The plate does a remarkable job of sending energy to the front or back, which allows for your wheels to meet the needs of the jam at hand, whether it be quick pick up speed or long strides. Speed and Precision, check!
These plates have made turning, hockey stopping, snowplowing and powersliding so much easier. They make juking and running on your skates feel like you are running on air. So, Stopping, check!
The Avenger in white is starting to take off in my league with skaters replacing their old DA45 Magnums or what not, and newer skaters getting them on their first set up. The feedback is pretty awesome. Never before have I heard so many positive comments about a skate plate! personally, they have revolutionized my skating, and I can not recommend them more.
This plate runs $191 MSRP. You can find them on various derby websites and www.suregrip.com. If you have more questions about “how the (white) Avengers work”, then just check out the website above.
~Athena #7 of the Steel City Derby Demons.