Select your wheels for a race

There are so many different factors which influence my choice of wheel. Firstly, it depends on if the race is on track or road. Will the race be a short sprint where grip is key to success or something longer where it’s about finding the right balance between enough grip and roll? Secondly, I’d look at the kind of surface. Is it smooth or rough? Very important also is the shape of the corners. Are they very tight which requires more grip or are they rather wide and swooping? 

After these first considerations I usually have a general idea about which wheels could fit my needs. The next step is to test different kinds of PU and/or hardness during a training session. With MATTER we have 2 famous PU choices: The one from the CODE WHITE and the one from the G13. Generally, CODE WHITE PU is mainly used in sprint as the grip is upgraded and the G13 is more focused for long distance. The session should consist out of several sets so you can change wheels in between and compare both the times and your feelings. I try then to select the hardness to upgrade a bit more my skates to get the extra roll or extra grip needed.

Its not just the compound and hardness that solves everything. On some tracks, or depending of my tactics, I might need a bonus in the corner. In these cases I like to use the Propel, such as during my one-hour record in Geisingen. My tactic was based a lot on the quality of my push in the corners.

I also try to make sure that the conditions (weather, time, temperatures ect…) during the test are similar to the racing conditions you'd expect for your event. Too much variation might have an impact on the ideal wheels choice. For example, when the temperature is warm, most of the world’s best sprinters will confirm for you that the CODE WHITE F1 becomes the fastest wheels. Jan-Martin Mende confirmed it again this year (2020) with a 200m flying lap in 13.85 sec during the Dobbin Sprint event in Geisingen and the temperature was around 30°C that day.

Finding the right wheels for you is a bit of an art and really is an important skill for every serious skater. Just like other technical parts of our sport it takes practice to master this skill and you will get better the more you do it.