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Customize your MG-R1 skates!

August 2002

by XSFred
 

 

 

Why ?

Frames adjustment

Heel stability

Heel blisters

Instep comfort

Vibrations dampening

Ankle comfort

 

 

Why ?

 
 

So you just bought a magnificent pair of skates, and they fit just right ; all the other pairs you tried (and you tried many) were unpleasant in some way.

Until the first ride, where they grow increasingly uncomfortable.. What to do, send them back? Well you are sure that the other models will be worse, and this one is only a tad wrong. Maybe you can live with that?

Well you cannot. Because you are a serious skater, you skate long distance or difficult pavement, and you know that damaged feet will not take you anywhere. Now is the time for a little customization of your skates - a little only : everything described below is :

  • harmless to your skates.
  • easy to do.
  • at your own risk.  :)

 

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

 

Frames adjustment

 
 

Proper frame adjustment conditions most of your comfort, and most of your skating efficiency : enough to justify a little bit of your attention :-)

All boot-frame combos allow you lateral adjustment, (most will also allow longitudinal adjustment, not studied here). If your frames are too much to the outer sides of your boots, that is, with a large space between them, your weight will apply to the inner edges of your frames, causing your feet to pronate. If your frames are too much to the inner sides of your boots, that is, with a small space between them, your weight will apply to the outer edges of your frames, causing your feet to supinate.

Depending on your body's geometry, that may make things better or worse for your feet's comfort. What you want is an adjustment that lets your feet neither supinate nor pronate, with a perfect lateral balance when your body is completely relaxed (I like my feet to supinate VERY slightly).

So you have to adjust your frames the following way : take out the two wheels which prevent access to the two screws that attach the frames to the boot ; if your ankles tilt to the outside, push your frames to the outside, I recommend to move the frames by two or three millimeters between each try, keeping them as parallel as possible. Some skaters "toe in" a little bit at the end of the adjustment, this is not discussed here.

When you are finished, you should be able to stand at rest, with laces unfastened, body relaxed, without any tilting of the ankles. Quite a few coaches will make you skate with laces unfastened to make sure your frames have been properly adjusted.

When doing this adjustment, I had a severe case of pronation : even after I pushed the frames all the way to the inside, my ankles were still tilting inside. So I had to insert little wedges (see picture) to make the wheels stand on the ground even closer. I made these wedges by cutting out and drilling a very ordinary aluminum ruler, that happily enough had exactly the triangular section I wanted.

The end result is twofold :

  1. the wheels are close enough to allow no tilting at all of my ankles
  2. there is a small but definite (a few degrees ?) angle to the frames.

 

Both effects are definitely wanted.

Having done that solves 70% of the comfort questions.

 

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

Left foot seen from below, frame pushed nearly all the way to the inside.

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

Left foot seen from below, heel part, identical adjustment

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

Close-up of one of the 4 identical wedges inserted between boot and frame

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

Final result : boot soles are horizontal, but frames are clearly not vertical. You can see the little wedges under each heel.

 

Heel stability

 
 

Good skating implies that your heel is locked down to the sole. If the geometry of your boot is not perfectly adjusted to your foot, this may not be assured at all times. An easy way to ensure the heel does not move is the foot strap - if you came from rec skating, you are probably familiar with them.

The ones on the picture are home-made : I never found a model small enough to adjust to speed skates. They are built with cheap and ordinary material : 25 mm strap, hook & eye material, extensive use of neoprene glue. Easy, efficient.

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

 

Heel blisters

 
 

If you believe you can escape this subject, think twice. While blisters tend to invade all areas of the foot, I only faced the classical heel blisters.

First make sure you took good care of the previous two items : blisters are frequently created by unwanted moves of the foot inside the boot. Sometimes it is impossible to make the foot totally immobile in reference to the boot : vibrations from rough pavement alone can cause that. Many skaters strongly believe in thick socks, or thin socks, or special socks, or no socks...

I believe in preventing friction between the foot and the boot. You can

  • line your boot with silk : tedious
  • smear the boot with grease : easy

 

I used silicone grease, inert and less prone to retain impurities. I know it does not sound very pleasant, but you only need a very small amount.

 

 

Instep comfort

 
 

For increased efficiency, you may have a tendency to fasten your laces very tight. Many boots are actually sold with a double lace. If the laces are loose, you waste efficiency ; if they are too tight, your feet hurt. The particular case or the Mogemas is worse because the tongue is very thin.

So I decided to make it thicker by adding a rubber layer, again glued with neoprene glue. After a number of uses, the rubber is crushed to one millimetre, but this is enough.

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

 

Vibration dampening

 
 

Carbon boots and aluminium frames make for very rough rides - no shock absorbers here. While rec skate makers insert shock dampeners between the frame and the boot, I simply put one in the boot, at the heel level. This one is kept in place by, again, neoprene glue. It is useful in skating boots because it retains its elasticity and accepts repeated vibrations.

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

 

Ankle comfort

 
 

Even after all previous adjustments and improvements, your boots may still prove hard to wear in long rides, particularly in the ankle area. You may :

  • heat mould your shoes to adjust them better
  • use a dampening sock if the problem is small

 

I use a scuba diving sock, cut off at the instep. The ankle area is totally protected.

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

 

Final result, bibliography

 
 

The final result is very comfortable - as comfortable as carbon boots can get. My longest ride ever with these boots was Paris-Orleans, 117 km in 6 hours, where the limiting factor was definitely the skater, not the skates.

Richard Nett did a lot of work on skates, boots and frames ; his webpage is http://nettracing.com/index.htm and the particular matter of wedges is studied here : http://nettracing.com/tab.htm

Click to enlarge view of Mogema skates

     
 

You can contact XSFred here.

 
     

 

 

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