The Name in All Terrain Sports
Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page!!! I will try and expound on all the obvious questions that anyone may have about Street Feet and Ranger All-Terrain Skates.
Topics: Brakes, Wheels, Weight loads, Skating Tips, Skating Terrain, Spare Parts, Test Locations, and misc.
First: A brief history
It may be interesting to some of you to know a little about us.
During the fall of 1996, I, Jef Anderson, had been working nights at the local roller rink while going to college. One morning I woke quite suddenly with an image of a new type of skate in my mind. I thought it was a very original idea, setting aside roller skis, and I immediately drew the image on my white board. My first prototype was built out of a 2x4, plumbers tape, and lawn mower wheels, and advanced as far as wheelchair wheels before I left the project for my approaching graduation and marriage.
The idea stuck though, and after seeing the Rollerblade Coyote and Roces Big Cat that were built so much differently from what I imagined, I thought I might try again. My business partner and friend, Jack Lu, had been considering the design of an All-Terrain Skate even before we began our relationship and we were both quite fortunate to be able to work together.
Our first trade show with the Street Feet and Ranger was Interbike 2001, the same week as the September 11th attacks. After a couple of years, we stopped promotion on our products except for this website.
Much to our delight, there has recently been an increase in interest for All-Terrain Skates. Kite skating is growing into a blooming market. There has also been interest in All-Terrain Skates for skijouring (skating with a dog or dog teams). Finally, there is the beginnings of a recovery for inline skating. More people are wanting to pull out their old skates and get some exercise and enjoyment. All of these trends combined means that we are going to be able to improve our already great design of Street Feet and create the Leap skate to be much different than the Ranger design. With these upcoming modifications, and the increasing interest in All-Terrain Skating, we are looking forward to a bright future as your supplier of quality products.
Lets Talk Brakes
Friction Brake (On Street Feet)
There are two kinds of brakes that we are currently using. The first type is on the Street Feet. It is a friction brake that actually rubs against the tire to create a braking motion. The brake piece is aluminium and is activated by the hand brake. Many people find it very comforting to have a brake handle to hold. Though the aluminum piece does wear a little, I have never had a need to replace my own brake piece. I have replacement brake pieces and it would be easy to change if there was the need to replace the brake piece.
How good does the friction brake work? When I was passing through northwestern Nevada, I visited with the organizer of a foot and bike race. The Race to the Angel involved an elevation rise of about 3000 feet in 4 miles. 11% grade. I attempted a descent on that road and was able to contain my speed to about 30 mph with a gentle pull on the hand brake. When I felt I was going too fast, I increased the pressure and slowed considerably without skidding. Though I didn't actually do it, I would have been able to stop completely if I wanted. In most circumstances, the friction brake does quite well.
Drum Brake (on Ranger)
The drum brake on the Ranger is built for the extreme situation. It is built to be able to stop a downhill run on a ski slope and can do just that. With the amount of braking power that the drum brake offers, a skater will never have to worry about the capacity of the brake. There is a price to pay though. It adds about 4 pounds to the Ranger skate. It also adds some complexity for any repair work that may need to be done.
Wheels are the key to All-Terrain Skating. The right kind of wheel makes all the difference in what kind of experience someone has on their first time out, so this is very important.
We currently use air inflated wheels on all of our products. This means that each wheel has a tube, a tire, and a rim. Air inflated, or pneumatic, wheels offer great shock absorbtion and comfort while skating. It is most important to inflate the tires to recommended p.s.i. before skating. If the wheels are too low or flat, the stem can be torn off of the tube. Also, your speed will largely be determined by how well the tires are inflated. We frequently are asked for spare wheels because, eventually, rubber tires wear out. Pneumatic wheels are considerably more durable than polyurethane wheels on outdoor terrain. We have replacement wheels available when needed. We have been charging $15 for a new wheel combo (tube, tire, rim) already intact.
A few notes on the wheel. The Street Feet wheel offers some challenge to the repairer of tubes. I have always used two flat head screwdrivers to get the tube out to patch. If you try this, be sure not to puncture the tube with the screwdrivers. The rim is very strong, and can withstand a great deal of prying pressure even though it may be scuffed during the process of patching the tubes.
We have been working on providing a high quality spun foam tire for replacement and that will be available soon. When that wheel is finished, we will probably do our future productions with that tire as standard. Then you will be able to purchase either type of wheel for replacement.
Street Feet and Ranger have similiar weight loads. Tensil strenght of the Street Feet Chassis is approx. 700 Kgs. That means that before the chassis bends, a weight load of about 1500 lbs must be applied. *Note: This is when the chassis is upright, not sideways. So, if a 200 lbs person were to drop from a height of 6 feet onto a solid surface, without the cuishon of the wheels, the chassis may be damaged. Ranger weight load is closer to 650 Kgs. or 1430 lbs.
1. Check tire inflation. Inflate to proper p.s.i. (noted on wheel)
2. Make sure wheels turn properly and do not rub against chassis.
3. Briefly check all bolts to ensure they are tight.
4. Find a flat open area without traffic to adjust to the style of Rockville All-Terrain Skates.
5. Wear a helmet, wrist guards, and other appropriate safety gear.
6. Put skates on, secure brake cable to leg using Velcro strap (provided), and attach belt clip (provided) to hold brake handle.
7. Use extreme caution while in or around traffic of any kind. Do not assume any right of ways.
8. For individuals attempting downhill skating of any type, always familiarize yourself with your course before skating.
9. Be certain the terrain you are skating is not beyond your ability.
10. Do Not Skate Alone! (particularly while downhill skating)
11. Be courteous to people you see while skating and respect others property.
Inline style skating
Inline skating is the inspiration behind Street Feet. Once someone gets used to the skating style of All-Terrain Skates, it is very uncomfortable to go back to traditional inline skates for outdoor skating.
When you put on the skates, pull the laces tight. That is very important. You need to be able to maintain a sturdy upright position. If you find that your ankles are falling to one side or the other, straighten your ankle and tighten the boot or buckles more.
To begin, make sure the wheels are properly inflated. Then give yourself a couple of miles on an open road without much traffic. It took me several miles to be comfortable with the skating style and now I will never be able to go back to my old inlines for outdoor skating.
Then make a v-shape with the skates. The toes will be pointed out (unless you want to skate backwards). As you start to move forward, lift each skate alternately and bring the lifted foot into your center of balance. Doing this will gain speed. That is a very basic description of beginning skating techniques.
There is a difference in the skating style of ATSkates. While inline skating, forward movement is achieved by a turn-push. In other words, it is quite easy to turn an inline skate sideways to push off and gain speed. With All-Terrain Skates, the motion is a glide-push.So instead of a quick motion, the skate glides in a gentle arch to a sideways position that can be used for the push off. That is after some speed is achieved. Because of this, Street Feet and Ranger are much more speed friendly. It is really quite comfortable to skate at 25-30 mph if the skater can reach that speed. I would say it is not typical unless there is a gentle downhill slope or something is being used for thrust - such as a kite.
Though I am surely not the greatest kite skater there is, I can give some very basic guidelines. Preparation is much the same. Make sure you find an area that is open and fairly flat. With a kite, the skating techniques are much easier but the kiting techniques are challenging. Pretty much all you do is allow most of your weight to rest on the back wheel while steering the skate in a direction that will move you perpendicular to the wind. Now, as I said before, I am not the world's expert on kite skating yet, so that is a very basic observation from a beginner.
Anyone is welcome to submit information for this section as I don't have a dog. Also, once the skijouring friendly Leap is released, I will have more information to offer.
What kind of terrain can I skate on?
Street Feet and Ranger have very different intended uses. Street Feet can be used very comfortably of most firm surfaces. Rough pavement, chip sealed roads, packed dirt roads, packed limestone trails, and grass. On surfaces like grass, it is much better if something like a kite is pulling you.
The Ranger is able to be used on most soft surfaces. Damp, or wet sand is good for the Ranger as well as dirt downhill areas or fields. The 2 inch tires hold up fairly well. The Leap's 12 inch wheels should be even better than the 8 wheels on the Ranger.
There will be parts to purchase on the main pages as soon as we receive our new wheels. Currently we are able to supply most any replacement part for the Street Feet or Ranger. Most common are wheels. We also have replacement brake parts, axels, spacers, bearings, and most any other parts to repair Rockville skates.
If you have some questions, I would love to include any useful information in this section. Please let me know if you need some additional instructions.