WHY ARE GRINDPLATES STILL NEEDED? Here’s what a current argument against grindplates may sound like: “Well, I skate anti-rocker (or freestyle) and seem to grind just fine while maintaining my speed and control using my (insert company name and frame model here) frames. Grindplates will just add unnecessary weight to my skates.” Yes, in some aspects this argument is correct. It is hard to justify adding weight to skates, especially for a technology that exists in very limited circumstances. However, I would like to present some of the advantages of using them. 1. Smoother grind, better control, and maintaining speed: Grindplates enable a smoother grind on a variety of obstacles no matter the type of set-up that you are riding. In addition, they enable a skater to maintain grinding speed longer and better control the grind. This is because grindplate materials (UHMW plastic, steel, aluminum) usually slide better than standard frame materials and provide a slight amount of friction, which adds control. 2. Reduced frame wear: Grindplates save frames from excessive wear, especially on street obstacles. 3. The ideal groove: Grindplates will help maintain, or even develop, the ideal groove better than with just using frames alone. Grindplates are more wear resistant than standard frame materials. 4. Increased wheel clearance: For those who ride flat (8-down) or semi-flat (6-down) set-ups, grindplates
create a buffer zone between the grinding surface and the second and third wheels. As a result, the second and third wheels are less likely to contact the grinding obstacle. WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT? If grindplates are not produced anymore, then how can a skater use this forgotten yet effective form of rolling technology? Well … there is not a simple solution. Even if one is lucky enough to find a pair of grindplates on an older pair of skates, one may find that the grindplates cannot accommodate the larger middle gaps on current UFS frames. Or, the grindplates will not mount well on the inside of the frame due to the variety of shapes of current UFS frame grooves and walls. Until grindplates are produced on a mass scale again, the only solution is to self-produce them! Making grindplates, plastic at least, is actually relatively easy with the right woodworking tools and skills. In the future, I hope frame companies will create a new generation of grindplates. In order to accommodate different forms of skating, I envision frame companies offering steel, aluminum, or UHMW plastic grindplates as optional inserts that can be attached to current frames. For example, I am currently using custom, self-made UHMW plastic grindplates on a pair of Create Original frames, and I really like how they are working. Finally, thank you to all of the companies that have contributed to the support and the evolution of grindplates over the years.
Issue 8 of Balance rolling magazine.