Can a few of you out there explain Hi Lo to me?
I'm a former ice hockey player, turned roller hockey player. Good old hockey skates (ice) have a "rocker" to them...or a natural arch (i.e. the very center of the blade is the "lowest" point of the blade).
Now I hear about Hi Lo on inline skates, and from what I can tell, that just means that the back two wheels are larger than the front two, so that the skates angle down, for lack of a better way of putting it.
Being a former ice hockey player, is there an "ideal" chassis or wheel configuration? I would have thought that the best thing for me would be a smaller wheel in front and back, and the two larger wheels in the middle to sort of duplicate the "rocker" of an ice hockey skate. Then again, that might be a terrible thing to do to the wheels, bearings, boots, or my feet.
If anybody can explain this, I'd really appreciate it. And if not Hi Lo, what are the other inline skate options?
Re: Can a few of you out there explain Hi Lo to me?
The Hi-Lo setup is just as you described. Mission has patented the setup, and so you can only find a true Hi-Lo wheel configuration on a Mission brand skate. Bauer favours the "One-Up" setup, which utilizes a 72-72-80-78 configuration. They claim it more closely mimics an ice boot's skate blade, but in reality it simply sucks ass, and everybody who purchases a Bauer boot just swaps the wheels for a traditional Hi-Lo venture. CCM/RBK does their best Hi-Lo impersonation with a 72-76-76-80 configuration, and while this is better than Bauer's idea, it still isn't quite as effective as a true Hi-Lo. I'm not sure if the boot shape in conjunction with the chassis on a CCM skate enables the wheels to be swapped for the traditional Hi-Lo.
None of this is really apropos to you, though, because you should be using a Sprung chassis. Especially with your experience in ice hockey, you're going to want one of these bad boys. Sprung chassis use two rocker armatures attached to a molded frame, so each wheel is on its own individual suspension. You simply throw four 76mm wheels in there, and away you go. It replicates the feel of skating on ice far better than any other chassis/wheel setup. I play both ice and roller, and my transition from one to the other got a whole lot more seamless once I started using the Sprung chassis. It also affords you the benefit of attaching it to an ice hockey boot, which you're probably more comfortable with and used to. You could even buy another pair of the same boot you're currently using on ice for even greater interplay between the two sports!
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of swapping chassis and just want to buy a boot and go play, I would recommend the traditional Hi-Lo setup on a Mission boot. It has proved itself to be demonstrably superior to other wheel setups. Your idea of putting two smaller wheels on the outside is not well advised, as it wouldn't make for the same subtle rocker you would find on an ice blade. Instead, you'd just fall a lot and lose a whole lot of speed.
Hope that helps.