Yeah, so I’m not going to lie and say I loved these plates from the start. In fact, I really disliked them and thought ‘oh my gosh, what have I done?’ It wasn’t love at first skate but after a month of skating the Roll Line Killer plates had truly won the fair lady’s heart.
The reason I didn’t like them to begin with was because my first session with my Vanilla Blackout Brass Knuckles mounted on these beautiful aluminium plates was a public scrim. Yep, a scrim. I appreciate that I had been a bit stupid but it was the only time that I could get up to Sheffield so Nottingham Hellfire Harlots sponsor, Derby Store could mount them properly before Christmas. We then had minimum skills the week after that I scraped a pass through in places.
I expect an awful lot of myself at times (ok, most of the time) and it had been stupid and completely unrealistic of me to think I could settle straight in to them after skating on Suregrip Magnesium Avengers for over two years. Don’t get me wrong. the mag avengers are great plates, they’re lightweight and make lateral movements feel much easier and are a dream upgrade from R3s. There are a lot of mag avengers on the Roller Derby Recyclables Facebook page being sold second hand so they’re an ideal upgrade for relative newcomers to roller derby who are on a budget but need something sturdy and more reactive than R3s.
- They’re gorgeous. Might as well get this little fact in first. I have the Killers in black and many people have admired them and wanted to talk to me about them.
- They’re smooth. One footed glides now seem to go on forever, transitions went from having to think about them to ‘oooh, this is nice’ and I’m feeling less resistance when I go from skating to picking up my feet and running out of the pack.
- They’re light. Pick up your feet and duck run, track a jammer on your butt stepping side to side or juke around a lone blocker who is trying to hold you – it all feels good.
- They’re reactive. I asked our bench coach for his perspective on how my skating has changed and his response was that whilst I could do hockey stops before, they’re now much quicker and sharper.
- They come with everything you need. Seems a bit obvious but my mag avengers came with a spanner and an allen key and no wheel nuts. I picked up a set of purple astro nuts to go with them that were cheap but that’s not the point. With my Killers I got wheel nuts, toe stops and tool kit.
- They’re easy to adjust. There is this clicking system with the kingpins that mean you can really fine-tune how tight or loose your trucks are. Damian taught me a little trick where you loosen the allen key in the middle a little and click a tad tighter on the kingpin – I found the sweet spot immediately after that.
- They work best with plastic hub wheels. I felt an immediate difference when I swapped my old metal hub Suregrip Zombies for Atom Booms. It was explained to me that the flex in the plastic wheels would make the plates feel even more reactive. I can confirm this is absolutely correct!
- I had support. When I was complaining that I didn’t like the plates because they didn’t feel amazing immediately, Damian reassured me that I just needed to give them a little time and they’d shortly feel amazing. I would have had much bigger emotional wobbles had Damian not had faith that I would soon love them and I really appreciated it.
- Derby Store mounted them for me. I nearly drilled through my own leg trying to mount my last set of plates sat on my sofa. I’m not allowed power tools and I accept my skills lie elsewhere.
- I don’t have to work so hard. When I first started skating on the Killers I kept putting myself on my arse and its because I was trying too hard and over-compensating. I feel like my stance is lower when I’m lapping and in general, I feel like I’m skating much faster than I did before.
- The name. Before I went legit, my derby name was Kill’Her Instinct. This had no bearing on my decision to go for the Killers over the Mistrals. Well, maybe a little. I chose the Killers because they were made for roller derby and let’s be fair, you can’t go wrong with a Roll Line plate so figured I’d go for new and shiny over tried and tested.
- Compared to the mag avengers, there is virtually no metal on the base (see comparison in the pic!) it was hard to get used to with the flexible soles of my boots and I was starting to experience pain in my shins. I’m going to be upgrading my boot to Bont Vaypors later on in the year to solve that problem but also try and stop the foot pain I have as my feet are pretty mangled in part because my boots never actually fitted.
For me, the pros so clearly outweigh the cons. As plates go these are not crazy expensive and it is widely understood that the Roll Line Killer plates are closely modeled on the Roll Line DB12 plate that is twice the price of the killer. I just love mine, particularly with my new Atom Boom wheels.
For the money you pay, they are excellent value and feel just beautiful once you get used to them. I highly, highly recommend them and don’t think I’ll ever change my plates again, I think I have found The One.
If you have any questions about the plates, feel free to post questions in the comments below.