Mission R Series 2003 Hockey Skate Review
By Steve Costanza
In 2003, Mission decided to make a skate for the recreational outdoor player that was economical and durable. The outcome of that quest was the R series roller hockey skate. Designed for outdoor play, these skates are rugged, comfortable, and dependable.
I purchased a set of these skates this past summer for just the purpose they were designed for: outdoor use. I wanted a skate that I could wear outside, but that could take the beating that I could give. When they arrived, I quickly removed them from the box to view my purchase. The yellow Labeda wheels did not make them the prettiest skate Iíve ever seen, (more on the wheels and bearings later), but figured itís only cosmetic.
I personally like the look of the all black boot the R offers: plain and simple. With a stiffness rating of 3:3, break-in is achieved in no time. These skates were comfortably fitting my foot after a few hours of serious skating. (Mission skates fit true to your US shoe size) These skates are not bake able, but that isnít really necessary since they have a low stiffness rating. They have a snug fit (I wear a 9.5 shoe, but ordered 10 skates for no half sizes available) and offer plenty of support around the ankle.
The boot is made of synthetic leather which provides protection to the foot and ankle during hard turns and quick play. Although not visible in the picture above, the boot provides plastic bumpers on both the inside an outside of the skate to prevent damage to the leather in case of ground contact. (See chassis image)
The Hi/Lo chassis is made of 6000 series extruded aluminum and the axle system flush mounts to the chassis. The axles are not self locking. This chassis isnít as durable as other Mission chassis. Most chassis on the higher end quality skates manufactured by Mission are one piece, connecting the inside and outside of the chassis. The R series chassis has three pins that run through the chassis. These pins provide support to the chassis, holding the inside and outside together.
The chassis seems to be stable and secure. When I skated, however, my left skate made a clicking sound any time I pushed off. I checked the pins for tightness, and they were very tight. I am not sure where the clicking came from, but it didnít seem to affect my skating one bit.
Wheels and bearings:
Personally, I think Labeda makes the best wheels on the market for hockey play. With that in mind, I was glad to see that the R series skate came with Labeda wheels. The Shooter Outdoor wheel durometer rating is 78a. The wheels come in a Hi/Lo setup, meaning the front two wheels are 72mm and the back two are 80mm. I do the majority of my outdoor skating on a somewhat smooth tennis court surface. I seemed to have worn out these wheels a little bit faster than I expected. However, after proper rotation, the life of the wheels stretched out a bit longer.
The bearings that came with these wheels are Mission ABEC-3 bearings. The bearings seem to be OK, but I personally do not like Mission bearings. They tend to be over oiled and collect lots of dirt and grit, causing them to slow down. I think an ABEC-5 rated or higher bearing would be better suited for these skates.
Overall, I am very pleased with my R series skates from Mission. They have been very dependable, have survived a pretty good beating, and didnít break my pocket book. The original price for these skates was $100.00 US, but I have seen them online for as low as $69.00 US now that the 2004 model skates are rolling out. So, if you are looking for an in-expensive skate that will perform, check out the 2003 R series skate from MissionÖyou wonít be sorry.
Just a quick note: I replaced the original chassis and wheels on my R skates. The chassis was replaced with Mission Penetrator chassis, and the wheels with Labeda Asphalt wheels. I have noticed a difference in both replacements. The chassis may just be psychological knowing that the clicking is gone and it is sturdier. The Asphalt wheels have been remarkable as far as wear goes. I have put tons of hours on these wheels, rotated them frequently, and the wear is minimal. I also use ABEC-7 bearings in the Asphalts for a little extra go. The difference is definitely noticeable.
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