I recently bought the Powerdyne Arius plate to mount on a new set of Bont Hybrid carbon boots. I’m coming from Sure Grip Magnesium Avengers on an Antik AR-1, and before that it was the same boot with the Powerdyne Revenge, so I’m no expert. But, I can say that the Arius is a great plate so far.
Riedell bought the patent for the general design of the Arius a couple years ago and started fine tuning it. Originally known as the “Immortal I-Drive”, the basic concept was the same. During the testing phase, which seems to have been extensive, Riedell enlisted the help of Grn Mnstr for quality testing and tweaking. I first heard of these plates at this past RollerCon and was immediately interested in them, if for no other reason than their novelty. Fortunately I was able to speak with a Grn Mnstr rep who had been skating on them and he described them as totally different than anything else he’d skated on.
The Arius doesn’t use a traditional adjustable kingpin/trucks set up. Instead, the trucks hinge on a pin and press against the butterfly cushions to provide resistance for the action. There is no twisting and pressing around a kingpin. This creates a more efficient action, but you lose all suspension.
So how do they feel? My initial impression was that they were super light; ridiculously so. We’re talking nylon plate light. I chalk this up to having less components to add to the weight.
The ride is stable, akin to the Revenge or Reactor. At first I had the yellow-green medium hardness cushions (86A) in them, which I quickly switched out for the light blue (83A). I would try the softest white cushions (80A), but those do not come with the plate. I’m 5’10” and 168 lbs (178cm, 76kg) and I found I had to stomp on the plate to turn it more than the Avenger. I expected this, and I personally prefer it. The Avengers were always a little too touchy for me. And because of the lack of kingpin, there is no fight, or float, to the action. It’s much easier to switch directions without having to fight to recenter. The height of the plate also contributes to it’s stability. The distance from the axle to the boot sole is almost a centimeter shorter than the Avenger, so you’re center of gravity is closer to the ground. I didn’t suffer from dreaded “death wobble” when doing single foot front to back transitions.
People ask me if it feels like a 45 degree action, because it looks like it would. That’s a difficult comparison to make, because it’s like comparing apples to orange. If I had to guess, it feels more like a 16 degree, or even 32 degree, but certainly not 45 degree. Again, it’s not a fair comparison, but most people want to hear a number, so that’s what I tell them.
Riding on these plates feels a little rougher and more rigid. You’ll definitely feel all the bumps and vibrations from the skating surface. This is because there is zero suspension due to it not having typical cushions or a pivot pin/cup. I also felt like it took a little more effort to accelerate at first, but I quickly adjusted and don’t feel like that is the case anymore. Because of the lack of suspension, I’m having to relearn hockey plows, hockey stops, and power slides. But, that was to be expected.
Overall, laterals are crisp, shuffling is stable, the plate is quick and light.
There are a few points of concern with this plate, but nothing that is a deal breaker (at least for me).
The plate only has six adjustment settings. There is no kingpin nut to make micro adjustments. You are wholly dependent on the six different cushion hardnesses. Changing out the cushions is easy as can be, but you do have to take off the wheels and disassemble the truck to get to the cushions. This doesn’t bother me because I was always a set it and forget it person. If you never make adjustments to your trucks, you’ll love this. But, if you’re constantly making little adjustments, this plate may not be for you. And speaking of cushions, as of this review, I haven’t seen them on sales anywhere. I’m sure that will change in the near future.
I had to buy short stem toe stops. Regular stem just stuck out too far for my tastes.
This was weird: The cushions need to warm up. The weather recently got colder and I noticed turning was more difficult at the beginning of practice. I believe the cushions get stiffer due to the cold and once they warm up after a few minutes of skating they get softer.
Overall, I’m very happy with the plate after the initial adjustment period. They take a little getting used to, but it’s worth it in my opinion.