Crazy Skates VXi Roller Skates Review
Crazy VXi Roller Skates have come a long way since they were first released.
The Crazy VXi is the successor of the Crazy VX which featured a metal plate and was in fact the only low cut skate to feature a metal plate at the entry level price point (the only other one that I'm aware of is the Riedell RW Wave, a high top boot).
With the release of the VXi, the metal plate was replaced by a light weight nylon plate and the round toe stop that was featured on all Crazy skates was replaced by the non-marking Arrow toe stop.
After their initial release and heavy marketing as an entry level derby skate a flaw was found in the plate where the aluminium toe-stop thread was ripped out entirely when enough pressure was applied during braking. This flaw lead to them being repositioned as a recreational skate only.
The flaw was a result of the nylon around the toe stop thread being too thin. After months of redevelopment and testing a new version of the plate was released with thicker nylon that was capable of withstanding a much higher amount of force. The VXi's have since been repositioned as an entry level derby skate again.
Now the VXi is available in a standard model and a more expensive build your own model where you can choose different colour plates and laces to customise the appearance.
- Sure-Grip GT-50 - $212
- Riedell R3 - $215
- Riedell Dart - $179
These skates are aimed at the entry level adult recreational and derby market. They are most directly comparable to Sure-Grip's GT-50's and Riedell's R3's, except they come in cheaper at the same price as the Riedell Dart.
- Price: $179
- Boot: VXi synthetic (black)
- Plate: Apollo nylon (black is standard)
- Trucks: Aluminium
- Toe Stop: Adjustable Arrow non-marking (grey)
- Wheels: Bandit 63mm x 42mm (yellow or black)
- Bearings: 8mm ABEC 3 (608)
- Australian owned
- Made in Singapore
I've found that the VXi's are a great value skate for the money. At $179.00 they are cheaper than the skates they aim to compete directly with but offer similar quality and performance.
The boot is a narrower fit boot than the Sure-Grip GT-50 and slightly wider than the Riedell R3, so depending on the shape of your foot you may find it more comfortable. I found that the tongue is more comfortable than the R3, but that where the back of the boot sits on my ankle is not ideal. This is going to vary depending on the shape of your foot and ankle, but I found that it was a little bit too high for me.
The latest version of the boot has a second layer of heavy duty nylon around the toe box which is a nice added bonus since it means the toes of the skate will last longer than they would with just the single layer.
The plate features 6 mounting points compared to the 4 on competing models, what this means is that there is less pressure on each bolt, in particular around the ball of the foot where the most pressure is applied when skating. This also helps to reduce flex where the boot moves separately from the plate and as a result, the skate is more responsive than it's competitors. They also incorporate a "power wedge" between the toes of the boot and plate. This means that pressure applied to the toes and ball of the foot is directly applied to the plate, brake and so on, without the lag time while the toes of the boot flex down to the plate as they do in the competitors models. This means a more immediate response.
The ABEC 3 bearings are a bit of a let down given that all 4 of the skates that it is competing with have ABEC 5 bearings. The bearings it comes with are fine for a beginner skater, but you will likely want to change them out for something better fairly soon down the track.
Toe Stops and Wheels
There is not a lot of difference between the toe stops and wheels from the various brands at this level. The toe stops are all fine for recreational skating and the wheels are all hard, best suited to in door skating. One difference to note though is that the Bandit wheels on the VXi's are 63mm, 1mm bigger than the 62mm wheels on the competitors. What this means is that they will take slightly longer to build speed up (especially when combined with the slower bearings), but, they will maintain momentum marginally better. Does this balance out the slower bearings though? There is not a lot of difference performance wise between the skates in this bracket so maybe yes. Another difference is that the toe stops use an allen key tightening system similar to what you find on most high end skates where the competing skates use a large bolt to tighten it.
The VXi is a newcomer to the skate market, brought to you by a relatively new Australian brand, but it has been though the forges and a quality skate has been produced. If you are looking to start derby or just recreational skating, I'd definitely recommend this skate. It's not as comfortable as the GT-50, but it offers great performance for the price tag.