retro inline speed skate wheels

EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about inline speed skating wheels

During the late 1980’s, Kryptonics revolutionized the inline skating world with the introduction of their 72mm urethane wheels. This innovation marked a significant turning point as it made inline skates surpass quad roller skates in terms of speed.


Consequently, frame manufacturers began emerging, offering various frame configurations. Notable brands such as Darkstar, Mogema, and Raps gained popularity, often paired with Bont short-track boots, enhancing the speed differential over traditional roller skates. At this time, a key figure named Tom Peterson, previously employed by Kryptonics, departed from the company, taking along their esteemed Chemist, Neil Piper, to establish Hyper. The Hyper brand dominated the 90s, launching wheels like the Bankrobber, Shock, and later the Hyperformance.


While occasional competitors such as Labeda, renowned for producing roller hockey wheels, introduced their own competitive wheels, Hyper consistently outperformed them, releasing superior products. Subsequently, Hyper wheels were acquired by Bravo, a European company. Production shifted to Italy and later Thailand, but unfortunately, the quality of the wheels never matched their original excellence when manufactured in the United States. Nonetheless, Hyper continued to manufacture a wide range of wheels for Rollerblade. Meanwhile, Neil Piper, the accomplished chemist, departed from Hyper and established his own venture, initially known as Robot, which later rebranded as AEND. Under the AEND banner, Piper’s company introduced numerous renowned wheels, including Matter wheels, Bont wheels, and Atom wheels.


In the early 2000s, another prominent hockey wheel manufacturer, MPC, famous for the Rink Rat branded wheel, unveiled a groundbreaking inline race wheel called the Black Track. This remarkable innovation was handed to Bont team skater Luca Presti, who promptly set a new 500m world record during its inaugural use. Consequently, the Black Track wheel dominated track events at subsequent world championships, firmly establishing its dominance.

hyper hyperformance

Kryptonics initially offered a 72mm wheel known for its speed, but later Hyper introduced an 80mm wheel that surpassed it in terms of velocity. This 5 x 80mm wheel configuration dominated the inline racing scene for several years until it was discovered that 84mm wheels offered even greater speed. Subsequently, there was a competition among manufacturers to produce larger and larger wheels. The 5 x 84mm format enjoyed a period of dominance until Salomon introduced the 90mm wheel and Bont introduced the 88mm wheel around the same time. Ultimately, the 90mm wheel emerged as the prevailing choice.

Some skaters accused skate manufacturers of deliberately increasing wheel sizes, drawing a parallel to how computer companies gradually boost computer speeds each year. However, this perception was unfounded. The introduction of larger wheels necessitated substantial investments in new tooling, which significantly impacted company profits. The next significant advancement came with the introduction of the 100mm wheel. However, due to the impractical length of a frame accommodating five 100mm wheels, the configuration shifted to four wheels. This format remained popular for only a few years before the launch of the 110mm wheel.

As skaters speculated on how large wheels could potentially become, the governing body FIRS intervened and imposed a limitation on wheel size, stipulating that 110mm wheels were the maximum permissible at the inline world championships. Consequently, manufacturers had no incentive to produce larger wheels. Nevertheless, Powerslide persisted in advocating for FIRS to permit the use of 125mm wheels. Eventually, FIRS relented and allowed the utilization of 125mm wheels in marathon events.

That’s the history so now let’s look at the players in the inline speed wheel market. 


Kryptonics Wheels

Following Tom Peterson’s departure from Kryptonics, the company shifted its focus to manufacturing skateboard wheels. Interestingly, Tom Peterson eventually acquired Kryptonics, the very company he had initially been associated with. As a result of this acquisition, Kryptonics ceased the production of inline race wheels and no longer operates in that particular market segment.

Labeda Wheels
With the decline of inline speed skating in the 2000s and Labeda failing to keep up with competitors such as MPC and Matter, the company made the decision to withdraw from the inline speed market.

Hyper Wheels
Following the relocation of production from the United States to Italy, the wheels manufactured by the company vanished from the international race scene within a remarkably short span of one year. Although the brand continues to exist, it has shifted its focus away from race wheels and no longer actively caters to that market.

Matter Wheels
Matter has established its dominance in the road wheel market over the past decade. Building upon the previous formulas developed by Hyper. Piper, a key figure in the company, has continuously refined their urethane compositions. Matter wheels have become a reliable choice for many, but the landscape is poised for change. Powerslide, dissatisfied with the absence of a competitive track wheel, has engaged in discussions with TLTF regarding a potential acquisition. Currently, AEND has halted its collaboration with Matter, leaving the latter without a manufacturing partner. It is highly likely that Powerslide will continue with the production of Matter wheels, although the location of future manufacturing facilities remains uncertain. While Matter has championed the adoption of the 125mm wheel format, it is ironically Bont that has emerged as the dominant force in the 125mm marathons during the world championships.

MPC Wheels
MPC wheels have asserted their dominance in the realm of track wheels, while also excelling in the production of top-quality rain wheels like the Storm Surge. The company manufactures wheels for several notable brands, including Rollerblade, Bont, Cadomotus, and Junk. Currently, there is a noticeable emergence of faster wheels from various brands, raising curiosity regarding whether the new Enigma range of wheels will be able to match the performance of the latest offerings from Junk, TLTF, and Bont.

One distinguishing feature of MPC’s wheels is their patented design, which incorporates a softer inner ring compared to the outer urethane layer. MPC firmly believes that this technological advantage is what keeps them at the forefront of the competition, enabling them to outperform their rivals.

Junk Wheels
Junk Wheels, a rising wheel brand, is manufactured by MPC. The company is under the ownership of Francisco Ramirez, who holds the unique position of overseeing the MPC speed division while simultaneously launching his own brand. Junk Wheels primarily emphasizes sprint wheels, and they presently offer one of the most exceptional track wheel options available in the market.

Bont Wheels
Bont, the world’s largest inline speed skate company, has been involved in wheel production for over three decades, forging partnerships with Hyper in the 1990s. Throughout their history, Bont has introduced several popular wheel models, including the Highroller and Red Magic.

It is worth noting that Bont does not manufacture wheels themselves; instead, they collaborate with partners to create wheels based on specific requirements. Bont had a longstanding partnership with AEND, but unfortunately, AEND declined to produce a wheel for Bont that could rival the quality of their own Matter wheels. As a result, Bont made the decision to end their collaboration with AEND and joined forces with WRW (now TLTF) to produce wheels together. However, a disagreement ultimately led to the dissolution of their partnership, prompting Bont to shift their wheel production to MPC.

Bont has achieved considerable success in collaboration with MPC, particularly with the highly acclaimed Red Magic wheel. Notably, their 125mm wheel, known as the Red Magic Hardcore, stands as the sole aluminum speed wheel in the market and has enjoyed dominance in the marathon scene, despite its higher cost. Bont has also introduced a 110mm variant of this wheel called the Avenger, which is still in the process of proving its capabilities and market reception.

TLTF Wheels
TLTF formerly WRW was established by Kurt Labeda, who, along with his two brothers, assumed control of their family’s wheel business from their father. However, due to disagreements, Kurt experienced a falling out with his siblings and was absent from the wheel industry for an extended period. Nevertheless, he has made a remarkable comeback and currently produces inline wheels that are widely regarded as some of the best in the market.

TLTF, the company Kurt Labeda is associated with, operates as a small, specialized boutique business that exclusively focuses on manufacturing inline speed wheels. In contrast to many other inline wheel producers who cater to various brands and produce urethane components, TLTF concentrates solely on the production of high-quality inline speed wheels.

TLTF has also formed a partnership with the NSC (National Speedskating Circuit) to manufacture indoor wheels for the skate series. This collaboration enables TLTF to supply specialized wheels tailored specifically for indoor skating purposes in coordination with the NSC.

Cadomotus Wheels
Cadomotus previously collaborated with MPC to manufacture Blue Magic wheels. However, a significant issue arose when a defective batch of wheels created a rift between the two companies. As a consequence, Cadomotus decided to terminate their partnership with MPC. Consequently, they have discontinued the production of competitive race wheels and are no longer active in that particular market segment.

Piper Wheels
In response to the issues faced with Matter wheels, Neil Piper, a prominent figure in the industry, has taken the initiative to launch his own wheel brand known as “Piper Wheels.” These wheels incorporate a combination of new cores, as well as some older cores sourced from the Atom wheel range. Given Neil Piper’s expertise and reputation, the introduction of innovative concepts within the Piper Wheels lineup is highly anticipated. With Neil Piper overseeing the production, there is confidence that the wheels will feature high-quality urethane, as expected from his involvement.

Atom Wheels
Atom Wheels underwent a change in ownership as they were sold to another company. However, following the acquisition, the new owners made the decision not to continue producing speed skate wheels. As a result, the production of speed skate wheels under the Atom Wheels brand was discontinued by the new company.

Rollerblade Wheels
Rollerblade, historically, has not placed a strong emphasis on manufacturing race wheels at the highest competitive level. Instead, their primary focus has been on producing high-quality wheels that cater to the mid-level market segment. While Rollerblade has partnered with MPC to develop a race wheel in more recent times, it has not gained significant traction among competitive racers. Despite the collaboration, the race wheel produced for Rollerblade has not been widely observed being used by top-level racers in competitive events.

European Wheels
Historically, Europe has struggled to produce racing wheels of notable quality. Although several attempts have originated from France, these efforts have consistently fallen short for various reasons. Despite continuous endeavors, European manufacturers have faced challenges in delivering racing wheels that can match the performance and reputation of their American counterparts.

Asian Wheels Taiwan, China, and South Korea have all made efforts to manufacture top-tier inline racing wheels, but thus far, they have not succeeded in achieving global prominence in this field. Although wheels from Taiwan and Korea have made appearances at the world inline championships in the past, they have failed to gain widespread recognition and market acceptance. Currently, China holds a dominant position in the worldwide production of inline wheels; however, they have yet to come close to matching the United States’ reputation for producing high-quality race wheels. The USA remains renowned for its ability to manufacture race wheels that meet the demands and expectations of competitive skaters.


The inline race wheel industry is unique and distinct from other businesses worldwide. Among a skater’s equipment, the wheels play the most significant role, and no skater wants to compromise by using anything less than the absolute best speed skate wheel. Companies in this industry may dedicate years of effort to develop and refine their wheels, but unless they can achieve the pinnacle of performance, they are likely to face challenges and struggles in the market.

I trust that you found the exploration of the history and key players in the realm of inline speed skating wheels informative and captivating. It is indeed a fascinating domain within the sport, where advancements in wheel technology can greatly impact a skater’s performance and competitive edge.


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