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Custom skates: A quick breakdown

Sliding Tiger Wizard
Custom skates offer one of the best ways to familiarise yourself with all the components and their strengths. However, it can also be time-consuming and require effort to achieve the right setup. To assist you along the way, here's a guide that might prove helpful.
  • Boot

    Let's begin with the part you'll likely use the most. Even if you decide to change the frame later, you'll probably stick with the boot you already have. Therefore, we recommend visiting a physical store to try out a few boots. I suggest opting for a hardshell boot with a replaceable cuff. This allows for more customisation, and you can swap out the cuff if it breaks, enhancing its longevity. Another advantage of hardshells is the ability to replace the liner, improving the overall fit.
  • Liners
    Selecting the right liner can be tricky since each liner fits differently in every shell (the hard outer part of your boot). This makes customisation more challenging but equally enjoyable. Pay attention to the size and thickness of the liners. For instance, the FR1 liner may feel uncomfortable in the powerslide NEXT shell due to its thickness. On the other hand, a thinner FR intuition liner in your normal size might enhance the feeling of the NEXT boot. Many aggressive skates can benefit from a MyFit liner, known for being heat-mouldable and providing a great feel for aggressive skating.
  • Frame

    Your frame is, next to your boot, the most important part in determining the feel of your ride. Check the Sliding Tiger blog for more detailed guides, but here's a quick overview: ensure it's compatible with the mounting standard used on your boot (normally 165mm with a raised heel for freeride and freestyle, UFS for aggressive and trinity for Powerslide's patented system). The wheelbase (length) of the frame, along with whether it's flat or rockered, influences manoeuvrability. Popular aftermarket frames include Endless, Wizard, NN, and Oysi.
  • Bearings

    Now, let's discuss bearings. They determine how smoothly you can ride and can be chosen based on different goals. For rain or wet conditions, go with rustproof bearings or ceramics. In dry conditions, consider ABEC 7 or 9 for a good balance of price to performance. Wicked, a Powerslide daughter brand, is the standard for bearings, but others prefer twincam for its two metal shields and its MW standard (comparable to ABEC). According to some team members, twincam bearings also provide a smoother ride.
  • Wheels

    Finally, let's talk about wheels. Choosing the right wheels can be challenging since everyone has different preferences. It's mainly about trial and error to find what suits your style. Some team members prefer FR speed and UnderCover team wheels for their balance between sliding ability and grip. Others enjoy adding a unique look to their skates with LED or firestone wheels.
I hope this guide excites you to explore and find what fits you personally. While I can't provide a guide that is clearer or easier to follow, remember that skating is a highly personal adventure, and no two people have the same feet, making it even more challenging to create a comprehensive guide. If you have specific questions, I recommend making some friends in the skating scene and asking them about their experiences.
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