By Mel @troubleon8wheels
If you've been following Roller Girl Gang for any length of time, you'll know that it takes me a long time to feel that I know a product before forming an opinion.
It's really easy to form an initial opinion, but I am doing my best in all parts of life to hold on for a little longer, stay curious and keep an open mind. What initially may not feel quite right, may simply be me not being used to something.
The Komplex wheels are a 57mm wheel, with a narrow width - around 28mm of the actual wheel surface. The wheel hub slightly protrudes at the back of the wheel to hold it away from the skate axle and in a suitable position for stability. We are all influenced by earlier experiences and I'm no exception. The roller derby league I learned to roller skate with used the Grease Green Roll Line wheels as their favourite wheel, and I loved them. In fact, I still have them somewhere! Slim and 62mm, they feel dynamic and fast. The type of roller skating I now is a little different though, and I prefer a smaller wheel.
A customer actually enquired if I can get the Ghibli wheels in, and on closer inspection, it's easy to see why. Available in a juicy range of colours, they are a breakfast cereal collection of loops on your feet! I do try to select what I need according to the use and not the aesthetic, but fell short of this recently! The lilac 88a wheels and mint 93a wheels are just too delicious!
The Ghibli wheels are available in 5 different hardnesses, to suit different floor types. As a non-artistically trained skater, it makes very little sense to me, so I was keen to test the wheels on a variety of surfaces. I once had a set of lovely Roll Line artistic wheels and the first time I performed a T-stop on concrete I caused a flat spot on them... Following this, I realised that those particular wheels were designed for wooden floors only, and that all urethane quality is not the same.
Anyway, I have been happily skating about on the supersoft 88a Ghibli wheels for a good couple of months now. I really love them. Turning on them feels easier and fine movements feel smoother. I'm hoping that with more practise I will nail that grapevine!
I like the open hub and they way they spin. I was once advised to put better quality bearings in wheels that are for a more specific function, and would love to credit this person, but I can't remember who it was! Since then though, I have followed this, and rather than pop a super greasy and stiff basic bearing in a nice wheel, I've used a mid-price bearing, Moto Deluxe, REDS or Better Bearings Lickety Splits are all lovely. Swiss or ceramic if you can afford it!
These are the wheels I took to Skate Love Barcelona this year. I knew the floor was very smooth concrete, but also there would be many hours of skating, for several days. I do find that using harder wheels for longer times leaves my body feeling achey the next day, so I do prefer to stay under 92A hardness wheels if I'm skating for longer than a couple of hours! Between the 88A Ghiblis and my old 85A Luminous wheels, my knees were pretty happy! The Ghibili wheels felt great on a variety of floors, from sports hall floors, polished concrete and even the odd bit of tarmac, a very small cobble, up stairs and over a bridge... I felt in control of the wheels (which I enjoy!) When I wrote the listing for Komplex wheels, I didn't fully understand what a 'medium' floor was, so had to test these to find out. I'm going to update the listing now.
On the final night, I was at skate plaza at Badalona Beach and (name drop alert) had a quick chat with Candice Heiden about enjoying softer wheels that I used to, and also that now I felt ready to write about the Komplex wheels. "Komplex wheels?" she asked. "That's what I skate on!" You know when you have that warm feeling of validation? That's how I felt. I trust my judgement now, and the Ghibli 88A wheels are right for me. I have also been skating on the 93A Ghibili wheels while testing out the WIFA skates - though skating on this hardness on sports hall floor or wood only.
Now that I've mentioned the WIFA boots - they are lovely! The suede or nubuck outer and the leather lining are just lovely. WIFA consider these boots to be 'flexible' but note that they are an ice skate manufacturer, and anything is more flexible than an ice boot! The quality of finish is great and I congratulate WIFA on creating a boot with a wooden heel that is 90% sourced in Europe. If you were with me during the classes I was testing them out, you'll know that I didn't allow myself chances to complain (when it's new equipment, I will moan that I'm not used to it!) The plate was also fitted with a very low set toe stop, and I'm used to a high set or no toe stop.
Do I need to write a conclusion?
At £62 for a full set of 8 wheels, I think they offer fabulous value for money. You'll see me rolling on these for a good while to come.
Do you skate on Komplex wheels? What are your thoughts?