Friday, May 23, 2014


I’m sure most of you have seen this video floating around, by Devaskation, with Atomatrix talking about the Atom BOOM wheel. It caught my attention when she said it was specifically made for concrete, because that’s what I skate on most often. I love the fluidity of juking on a slicker floor, but also want some grip on my wheels to back me up. The BOOM wheel is a hybrid, which basically means it’s good on multiple surfaces. This made me think about the evolution of my relationship with different wheels, and how there are so many variables when considering a wheel in Roller Derby.

The first wheel upgrade I ever bought was a full set of Sugars, which were one of the first hybrid wheels for derby. Considering I was previously just skating on the stock wheels that came with my skates, I was ecstatic. It was my first year, I wanted to jam, so I wanted a big grippy wheel to pull me around the track. Our team has always practiced on slippery floor; dusty gym floors or polished concrete, so I was craving a way to get more traction. I was new, so my skills were poor, I was a little heavier, and my stance was shit, so I needed a big, fat sticky wheel. Sugars were heaven.

Then I was given four Heartless VooDoo wheels and paired them with some Omega. The person that gave me the Heartless thought they felt like “mud” but she was a slight jammer who probably didn’t need as much grip. After that someone pushed Poisons at me, knowing I would like them and I did. They came with an aluminum hub which made them feel sturdier, and I liked the grip. I tried to pair them with a new wheel and thought B’zerks looked cool, so I got the Madman. It’s a wide wheel that I now wonder how I ever skated on. Eventually I traded it out for a slimmer Omega wheel.

Last year, I thought the Reckless wheels looked good (I have very scientific reasons for choosing wheels…) and bought the Ikon to go with my Omega. Generally, I have liked a grippier wheel paired with a harder wheel so that I can really dig in my crossovers, while not tripping myself up.

As a jammer, I like a slimmer wheel for footwork.
Photo by Danforth Johnson
I hadn’t had a full set of one wheel since the Sugars, but I couldn’t resist trying the BOOM. I got some from DevaSkation and immediately loved them. I don’t slide around on our concrete floor but don’t get tripped up on a stickier floor. When I hockey stop, they're generally silent on concrete if that means anything to you. So far I’ve only had them on concrete and a wood rink floor, and I didn’t feel like I needed to switch them out. In Fargo, the concrete floor was a little slicker, but I felt like I adjusted easily after a few jams.

They come in “Firm” and “X-Firm” instead of with a durometer number, and as Atomatrix explains in the video, it’s a new formula that she didn’t want to put a number on. She also totes it as the best hybrid on the market with a 30 day guarantee. They also come wide (62mm x 44mm), slim (59mm x 38mm), and X-Slim (59mm x 35mm). Atom is also selling a red, white and blue wheel with proceeds going towards Team USA.

I got the USA one in X-Firm and Slim. For those of you who get confused by all the numbers like me, the 59 means how tall it is (the diameter of the wheel) and 38 means how wide the wheel is. Then generally there is a number for durometer, or the grippiness of the wheel. When there is more wheel contacting the ground, by using a wider wheel, it requires more effort to move around. A taller wheel also means it can be slower to start rolling while a smaller wheel is quicker. I like a quick, agile wheel, so I tend to look at shorter and slimmer wheels. These wheels have felt great so far, but it’s probably taken me the five years I’ve been skating to get comfortable on skates for this kind of wheel.

With the different options they give you, and the versatility of the wheel itself, it is a good wheel to have in your arsenal to pull out at any time. It’s competitively priced at $40 per 4-pack and you can even purchase the “official wheel of Team USA” if you feel so inclined. Check out and pick up a set, I’ve seen nothing but good reveiws about their service!


  1. My wife has found that for her the Firm and X-firm have more difference to them than a lot of people have said as far as grip/stick. She loves them but is currently trying to find the perfect combination.

  2. Thanks for the feedback! I've only skated on the X-firm, and like I said, all the variables are different for everyone!

  3. I wear the firm and love them also! Great wheel and NO chunking so far:)