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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Speedskater Reviews the New 2121e Miller Frames

By Eric Partch

Jim Fink introduces this review of Miller's 2121e frame authored by his skate buddy Eric:

Another, deeper point of view on Miller's new frames from skater Eric Partch who is using the 2121e model. Eric does not work for nor represent Miller Sports in any way. Eric is an accomplished speed skater indoors and out. --JF

First Impressions

Miller FramesFirst you see the totally cool color-shaded anodizing and then you notice the missing wheel! What gives? The picture at the bottom of Miller's web page tells the story÷by defying racing dogma and removing the second wheel, the designers have made a loooow profile frame and, in addition, given themselves the flexibility to totally rethink our favorite chassis.

The asymmetrical spacing of the wheels means there is no one frequency at which the entire wheel-frame setup can vibrate. This lack of a pronounced resonant frequency makes for a smoother, more efficient ride on all surfaces. The biggest plus is the lower profile that makes the frames more steady side-to-side.

The Mogema Diamonds feel great when you are skating centered directly on top, but they give a feeling of being able to "fall off" to either side. This requires the expenditure of both energy and attention to stay "on top." The Millers have a larger "sweet spot" on top and don't "fall over" when rolling from outside to inside edge. To me, this is their big advantage, and gives the skater greater confidence, which leads to a greater ability to relax and conserve energy.

I weighed the entire frame, boot, wheel setup before and after and found that the entire difference in weight came from the lack of one wheel-axle-bearing. Therefore, there is essentially the same amount of metal as in the Diamonds. The metal was redistributed to combine a very stiff rear with what looks to be a more flexible front end. This provides a smooth and stable ride. Individual road cracks seem to be more noticeable with a more pronounced "clunk" than with the Diamonds, but when going over rough asphalt, the ride is smoother with less "energy suck" from sympathetic vibrations.

The Double Push Just Got Easier

The copy in the Miller Sports web page was right when it said that whatever you do now, you will be able to do better. Everything just becomes a little easier. The reduced weight forward from the missing wheel plus the reduced gyroscopic effect from the missing spinning wheel is what delivers the improved ability to turn. This facilitates a really pronounced "under carve" for the double-push which is entirely comparable to the improved carving ability the new "shaped skis" have over the old long, stiff boards.

Frames have been getting shorter and more maneuverable as the double push has been adopted as the most effective skating style. The Miller 2121e and 3121e continue this progression by improving the maneuverability of the standard 12.8" frame. The lack of the second wheel in these frames will allow this 12.8" standard to be reduced, which may provide some additional benefit.

The one area I haven't been able to assess is the high-speed stability of the frames, not having had the chance to do any 40-mph descents yet. My impression in a fast pace line is that these frames are a little more unstable or "squirrely" at high speed than the Diamonds. More time will probably make me totally comfortable but that remains to be seen.

These frames are a major improvement that will allow those of us who can't or won't pop for a Lust or Xenan skate to experience the "low-rider" benefits they provide. Bravo, Miller!