Plates in Brief!

Written by Double Threat Skates


Posted on August 12 2014

We get SO many people asking us about plates that we thought we'd write up a little description for you. If you have only ever skated on your starter plate (which is usually a nylon one around 16 degrees) the world of plates can seem very confusing!

Like with anything, nothing beats trying something out, and of course everyone has their own preference for the kind of 'feeling' they want when playing roller derby.

Often the difference in a plate can be described by the angle of the kingpin, though changing the cushions or the tightness of the  trucks can drastically alter the kind of feeling you get. So keep that in mind! Put very simply, the steeper the angle of the kingpin, the less pressure it takes for the axles to tilt, which is what makes your skates turn. So a really steep angled plate favours sweeping lateral movement, while a stricter angled plate favours efficient forward power transfer, control and precise edge work. Most derby plates range between 10-20 degrees with the 45 degree plates at the extreme end of the scale. 

Every plate has it's pros and cons, so it's just a matter of trying something that appeals to you (depending on your strengths and weaknesses) and going from there. It's not unusual to prefer a different feeling from your plates as your style changes and adapts throughout  your derby career. Though a plate will never replace good old fashioned hard work and practice, the right plate can absolutely enhance your movements (just as the wrong plate may hamper you from truly reaching your best).

NYLON OR ALUMINIUM?? A nylon plate will flex, which means some of your energy is lost in that absorption compared to an aluminium plate. Aluminium is generally stronger than the materials used in non-aluminium plates.

10 degree Kingpin angle (eg: PowerDyne Reactor, the new SureGrip Avanti):

This is what we would call a more 'rigid' or 'strict' angle. 

People who love this plate like the snappiness of being able to quickly transfer your weight from either side, giving you strong edgework. This kingpin degree originally comes from a speedskating setup, so you also get a lot of power pushing forward.

People who don't like this plate may feel it is a little too 'rigid' compared to a higher angled kingpin.

Awesome top level skaters who are this plate are: Suzy Hotrod (Jammer for Gotham), Fifi Nomenon (Blocker for Texas), Amanda Jamitinya (Bay Area) and Jackie Daniels (Windy City).

15 or 16 degree Kingpin angle (eg: PowerDyne Revenge or Rival, or Pilot Falcon):

This plate is what we would call a good in between mix. We often recommend these degree plates to a skater who is upgrading for the first time who isn't sure about committing one way or the other. This plate will give you the ability to sink into your lateral motion a little more than a ten degree plate. It will still give you good control,  really strong ability to push forward and snapback. A good mix of power and strong laterals.

Awesome top level skaters who were this plate are: Rogue Runner (Jammer for London Brawling), Stef Mainey (Jammer and Blocker for London Brawling), Bonnie Thunders (Jammer for Gotham), Sutton Impact (Blocker for Southern Discomfort), Jonathan R (Jammer for New York Shock Exchange), Kid Block (London Rollergirls, ex-Tiger Bay Brawlers Blocker and Jammer)

 20 degree Kingpin angle (eg: Crazy Venus or Roll Line):

These plates are traditionally a 'dance plate'. The higher degree kingpin gives the ability to really sink into your lateral motion in a nice swoopy way. Depending on your setup, you do start to lose a little bit of power pushing forward.

Awesome top level skaters who were this degree plate are: Mad MelArena (Jammer for Victorian Roller Derby League), Demanda Riot (Bay Area), OMG WTF (Gotham) and your very own Kitty Decapitate (Blocker for London Brawling).

DA45 (eg: Sure Grip's Magnesium Avenger or Snyder): 

These plates are often referred to as a 45 degree plate however the kingpin is actually around 30 degrees.

As soon as you put these on, a lot of people  automatically feel super agile because of the tighter turning circle you get with the higher degree. This can have its ups and downs.

People who love this plate enjoy the swoopy, swervy feeling it can give you. 

Those who are not fans would call the feeling 'squirelly' and a little hard to control your super precise edegwork, as well as losing power to push forward.

Awesome top level skaters who were this plate are: Serelson (Blocker for Rose City Rollers/ex-Denver Rollergirls), Evada Peron (Jammer for Terminal City).

No Kingpin Plate!

The only one on the market is the PowerDyne Arius plate. A revolutionary new design, it takes out the forward to backward wastefullness of the round cushion by using butterfly shaped cushions that only allow the axles to move side to side, which makes energy transfer a lot more intuitive. With any plate, you can alter it's feeling with the cushions, however with the Arius, this seems to really give you a more personalised feeling. Simply by changing the cushions, you can get a super snappy feeling OR a softer, looser one (yet still retain the snap of being able to change direction quickly).

Awesome top-level skaters who wear this plate are: Juke Boxx (Team USA), Gal of Frey (Rose City Rollers), Delta Strike (London Rollergirls) and Gaz!