Italian company Ski Skett has been making roller skis since 1973, offering a wide range of ski options, from low-cost aluminum shaft skis to high-end carbon/fiber glass skis.
Carbon Flex Skate 80
Carbon Skate 100
Skate Racing Skis:
Classic Racing Skis:
As you can see, Ski Skett offers no shortage of choices, 19 models in all, though skis with the same name followed by a different two letter code are the same shaft with different wheel setups. For example, the Fire skate skis come in the PE, PL and PV versions, each featuring a different speed wheel.
Ski Skett offers two different wheel diameters in its skate lineup – either the wide diameter 100mm wheels (20mm wide), or the 80mm diameter (30mm wide). All of the training skate skis, with the exception of the Shark, come with a 600mm shaft, in either aluminum, or the new carbon/fiber glass combo. All skate racing models are equipped with a 530mm shaft while the Shark is offered with either a 600mm or 530mm shaft.
All the classic and combi models feature a 700mm shaft.
Ski Skett racing skis are obviously designed with an eye toward speed at all costs. The classic racing skis have ratchets on both front and back wheels, and the one of the skate race models also has four ratcheted wheels. The race skis are not available in the US and would only appeal to professional roller ski racers.
Ski Skett combi skis use a classic shaft and 74mm diameter x 40 mm wide wheels. Based on the performance of the Ski Skett classic ski, the combis could be promising, but we did not have a pair to test.
Ski Skett also offers two entry level skis – the El and the Pony Junior. Both have a dual back wheel for maximum stability, and can be fitted with a strap and buckle binding allowing the user to ski in running shoes. These models are designed for recreation and general fitness and are not suitable for serious ski training.
The new carbon and fiberglass skis look very nice, with an angled skate fork to keep the ski closer to the ground, and multiple wheel options. We were not provided with demo models, so have no information on actual performance.
Many Ski Skett models can be equipped with optional speed reducers on the front wheel. Speed reducers consist of a bearing and a knob – tightening the knob simply presses the bearing against the wheel. Again, we were not able to test the speed reducer.
Splash guards are also available on all models as an add-on.
We were sent two models to test, the Shark skate and the Nord classic. More details on the other models can be found at http://www.skiskett.com/demowebshop/english/web/publish.asp?levl=10&area=123
Ski Skett Shark ($169):
Summary: The Ski Skett Shark is a basic general purpose skate roller-ski featuring 100mm wheels. It is affordably priced, but otherwise has little to distinguish it from similar skis by other manufacturers.
Pros: Cheap, wide shaft, gets the job done, available in multiple wheel speeds.
Cons: Stiff aluminum shaft makes for rougher ride on bad pavement.
The Ski Skett Shark is very similar to the Pro-Ski S5e, falling into the large class of single piece aluminum shaft skis with 100mm wheels. The medium speed wheels on our test model are identical to the wheels on the S5e as well as several other skis we tested.
Performance was as expected, providing a fine training experience. The large 100mm wheels handle cracks and bumps quite well, though the stiff aluminum shaft does not do the best job of absorbing vibrations on rough pavement. The upside to the stiffness is that power return is very high.
The Shark is quite light, weighing in at 1200 grams per pair unmounted. This is a little lighter than the Pro-Ski S5e.
The one distinguishing feature of the Shark is the shaft width – just a little bit wider than similar roller skis, it provides a more “ski-like” platform. The difference is subtle, yet noticeable, and combined with the light weight, makes for a good ski experience, especially on good pavement.
Another plus of the Shark (and most Ski Sketts) is the ability to customize speed. The Shark comes with four choices of wheels and three choices of bearings. This means you can easily customize your skis to roll at any speed. And it would be simple to have an extra set of wheels for specific conditions or events – or even to match to different training partners. This is certainly cheaper than buying a second set of skis.
We tested a medium speed pair, which left it where you expect – in the middle of the pack speed-wise. This set-up was considerably slower than the Pro-Ski S5e we had and significantly faster than the Marwe. Because of the ability to customize, the speed comparisons are not that important. It is worth noting that the acceleration profile on the Ski Sketts was noticeably different than other skis tested. The skis resist the initial acceleration, but once up to speed, glide at a good rate. It gives the ski the sense of being slower than it actually is, and makes the glide phase a bit less smooth.
Replacement wheels in the most common speeds are $29 – this is not a bad price, but significantly more expensive than the RollerSkiShop.com, which sells the exact same wheels for $16.
The Shark is not available with the Ski Skett speed reducer.
FasterSkier’s Buying Advice: The Shark is a fine no-frills skate ski. The big plus is the price – starting at $169, the Shark is significantly cheaper than many similar skis.
Ski Skett Nord Classic ($250)
Summary: The Ski Skett Nord Classic is a general purpose classic training roller ski. It is quite light and features a wide aluminum shaft, giving it a nice “ski-like” feel.
Pros: Light, wide shaft, good tracking.
Cons: Stiff aluminum shaft is not great on rough pavement.
The Ski Skett Nord Classic is one of Ski Skett’s many classic options, and like the Shark can be customized with a variety of wheel and bearing speeds. The skier can also choose to place the ratcheted wheel on the either the front or the back.
The ski itself features a unique shaft design for a classic ski. The fork is integrated into the shaft meaning that the entire ski is all one piece. The advantage is that the ski is lighter (less hardware) and there is no weak attachment point where the fork meets the shaft. On the flip side, a broken fork means the entire shaft must be replaced.
The Nord is quite light as classic skis go, and combined with the wider shaft, this makes for a very nice “ski-like” feel, especially when striding. Many classic skis are heavy and clunky when kicking, but not the Nord.
The main drawback of the Nord is that the stiff aluminum shaft transmits vibrations of rough pavement, decreasing performance on poor road surfaces. Additionally, the downside of the light-weight is that the ski does not feel particularly solid.
The wheels are 40mm wide. This is somewhat narrower than typical classic skis. This results in better tracking and cornering, and also means you can skate on them in a pinch. In Fact, there is a version of the Nord that is considered a combi ski. The narrow wheels also require a bit more balance, but are not too tippy to ski well on.
FasterSkier’s Buying Advice: The Nord Classic is a good option as a classic training roller ski. The customizable wheel options mean that you can easily pick the most appropriate speed, and place the ratchet on the front wheel. This ski may not be your best option if you will be skiing on poor pavement on a regular basis.
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Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.
June 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm
The wheels on the sharks look exactly the same as the wheels on the Pro-ski S5e’s…which also look exactly the same as the replacement wheels I just put on my Elpex F1’s (that happen to be made by PSI France). Could it be that many of these companies use the same source for wheels (at least for some of the skate models)?
June 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm
Hi Sven – I think I mentioned in the review that these wheels are in fact identical. They come from Eastern Europe. I have tested skis from at least four different brands that use them. I haven’t noticed anything similar on the classic wheel front though – just the 100mm skate wheels.
June 10, 2009 at 10:09 pm
We have a small fleet of the Sharks for our high school ski team. One thing not mentioned is how durable they are. Unlike other rollers skis I have used, these wheels seem to last a really long time. If as others have said, they are the same I suppose it’s a wash, but at least we can attest to the fact that they last and last, in both hot and cold weather.
June 11, 2009 at 5:34 am
Thanks for the info on durability. As the wheels are the same as used on many other skis, this demonstrates that these wheels are a good buy in general! Very good to know. There was no way I could test durability. A good ski should last for years without switching wheels. I’ll report back in 2012! Other people should post their personal experiences with durability.
June 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm
The Skisket Shark is perhaps your best bang for the buck for skate rollerskis. They have that Marwe on-snow feel to them but at a fraction of the cost.
Another ski that is similar (the owner of the company told me he uses same wheels as Skisket/Marwe) is the Woodski, made in Manchester, NH. Check them out here http://www.woodrollerski.com/ I believe the price starts at $129 w/o bindings.
June 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm
I would disagree that the Shark has the same on-snow feel as Marwe. An aluminum shaft ski feels quite different than a wood or composite shaft ski. What you like may be a matter of personal preference, but either way the experience is definitely fairly different.
I have been testing the wooden roller skis. I didn’t get them until recently, but I will have a full review of them soon!
June 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm
I would have to disagree on durability. Last summer I demo’d a pair of Sharks from The Nordic Skater in Norwich, VT, really liked them, found them to be a little bit fast, and the 530mm shafts a little too short, so I ordered a pair with the same wheels, but longer shafts, as I am often keeping up with faster skiers, and skier with fast rollerskis on long workouts. The wheels I got were markedly slower, significantly slower than Marwe’s, and wore out incredibly fast. I got the skis in August, by October they were almost unusable. A friend had a similar experience. In contrast, I started using a pair of Pro-ski s5es after that, and found them only slightly faster than Marwe’s, and found they had great durability.
June 18, 2009 at 1:05 am
Topher, I really appreciate what you are doing. I too have been doing some roller ski testing as a result of what I learned last winter from introducing roller skiing to a high school XC ski team (we won our first state championship). We have a wide variety of loaned/donated roller skis. I propose that we need to refine how we describe & measure roller ski speed. The work you are doing at Faster Skier could be a great help in this regard.
In my view, the ideal roller ski speed would be the slowest ski that allows you to do over-distance training (@ heart rate zone 1-2) using each of the ski techniques AND allow interval training (heart rate zones 4-5) on the terrain available. High intensity training will often mean using hills so the ideal roller ski should allow slow enough descents of those hills to remain safe.
Of course, the roller ski resistance required to meet these goals will vary with the skier’s power and ski techniques used. So different skiers will need different levels of resistance. There is virtually no information available to the consumer to help with this choice and that’s what I suggest Faster Skier aim to provide. How would a buyer choose among the 4 wheels & 3 bearings offered for the Shark?
From my experience, it is relatively easy to find a classic roller ski that will allow both HR zone 1-2 & zone 4-5 training on moderate hills. Finding a skate roller ski that allows zone 1-2 training while using V2 (or two-skate for you CXC folks) AND that isn’t screaming fast going down hills is more challenging. And that is the reason for my testing.
But even more challenging will be developing the data to help consumers identify the ski that matches their needs. Here is my suggestion: add a component to your blog that would allow other roller skiers to contribute data. Some RV user blogs have little databases that allow RV owners to contribute gas mileage data for different RVs. I suggest you create something similar (and enter data from your testing too) about roller ski speed. The info that might be collected would include – roller ski model, some kind of owner’s fitness measure, roller skiing experience, whether it is possible to ski in HR zone 1-2 while skating or striding and whether descending interval hills is easy-medium-hard. Some of these are subjective but still helpful. An objective measure of a roller skier’s fitness is a bit tough but even age & racing level would be a start. A race PR time would be another option. Use of a heart rate monitor would be helpful but not required.
Later this summer I will be able to provide data for high school roller skiers & some of the coaches for several commonly used models.
June 18, 2009 at 10:02 am
Hi – Very interesting idea! I agree completely that accurate data on roller-ski speed would be very helpful. Collecting that data in a reliable way is very challenging. I’m not sure if the type of tests and use database is worth it. All that information would not really add more value to general anecdotal reports. I encourage people to post their experiences on these reviews, and it may be a good idea to have a method for people to create profiles of any ski and record their experience.
But honestly, I don’t think it matters that much. I have trained on so many different skis over the years, and coached athletes on an even wider variety. While skis at either end of the speed spectrum can be problematic, I find that anything within the very large middle range works well. It is mainly a matter of personal preference and fitness level. I don’t see a need for precision measurements for selecting roller skis. The nerd in me would like to do it, but will it make people train better? One of the things that kept popping into my mind while testing roller skis was “They are just roller skis!” Yes there are many differences, and some are better than others, but at the end of the day they are merely a simple tool, and I could get an excellent workout on any pair (with the exception of the race skis).
Another major issue is that there are so many variables that are almost impossible to control. Temperature, road surface and ski age have a major impact on performance. I have old skis that were some of the slowest in the game when new – 15 years later they are crazy fast. Even one season of use can change the characteristics. It is very difficult to be specific about speed. So I don’t’ think anything other then general statements of speed are useful – “this is a fast ski” or “this ski is average.”
That said, I’ll give this some more thought. Again, it is a very interesting idea. I’m just not sure that A) this information will be useful, and B) even if the data is good, that it is really needed to improve training. But I am very open to discussing it further.
Thanks for your thoughts!
June 18, 2009 at 1:24 pm
Topher, thanks much for your well grounded response. I’m with you on approaching ski speed in a practical way. And you are correct, pavement roughness and bearing condition are major variables in addition to skier fitness. Some bearings require a much longer break-in period. You’ve described my own past experience perfectly – I’ve made whatever I had work and done some good training.
Four observations from my coaching have caused me to rethink my 30 years of roller ski experience however: HS kids too easily make the classic training mistake – going too hard on easy days & to easy on hard days. It is very difficult to develop complete weight transfer skills on skate roller skis & speed makes that development very much harder. It is surprisingly hard to stay in HR zone 1 while doing V2 but V2 develops the most complete weight transfer. Faster rollers discourage involvement in roller skiing because of fear. As a result, I’ve concluded this is a really important & practical issue not just a question for the geek in us.
Here’s a suggestion for a doable addition to your reviews that would be very helpful. Report in your tests if it is possible to V2 on skate or combie rollers and stay in HR zone 1. For classic rollers, report if you can stride in Zone 1 – I haven’t found a model where this isn’t true however unless the pavement is really rough. Any ski that is faster than requied to stay in Zone 1 should be consider ‘fast’ or ‘very fast’. Those that have too much resistance to allow Zone 1 training should be considered ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’. Everything else is ‘medium speed’.
I’ve found some racing rollers & the Jenex V2 150s are faster than needed to stay in Zone 1 while doing V2. Conversly, the softest #3 Rollerski.com 100mm wheels are so slow that I can’t get below HR zone 4 even using my slowest V1 on flat smooth pavement. What this demonstrates is we don’t need great precision of test data but rather some rough objective anchors for the meaning of speed because there is a very wide range of available product out there. I think we are going to find that there are important differences among the middle speed roller skis. But the only way we are going to know that is with more objective testing.
I don’t have a good suggestion for you on the issue several readers have raised about decending speed. We have approached that problem in 2 ways. The most important is selection of terrain. It really doesn’t take much of a hill to do good interval work. Even so, decending speed is the main reason we particularly favor the Jenex V2 rollers in our fleet because all of them have switchable speed reducers. The V2 150s in particular would be impractical even in gently rolling terrain w/o the speed reducer.
Hope this helps in the creation of a practical approach to this issue. Later, I’ve got lots of info to add about wheel wear, bearings & ski stability. And thanks again for your wonderful dedication to the sport!
June 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm
I like your idea for how to classify slow and fast skis. It is simple and makes sense. But there is one major issue. I will be able to V2 at level 1 on a pair of skis that would be way too slow for a 13 year old. And Kris Freeman will be able to cruise all day at level 1 on slower skis, and harder terrain than I could ever dream of.
I think it is easier to classify skis as “fast” or very “fast.” It is the slow side that is more challenging. This is because kids who need the faster skis to V2 on, probably don’t have the technique to balance on them. It is usually pretty obvious what a fast ski is.
So how do we standardize?
I like to recommend skis that kids will grow into – maybe a bit slow initially, but as they build strength and fitness, they will reach a point where they can use a full range of techniques at a reasonable effort. This means there will most likely be more V1 then is optimal early on, but trade offs are inevitable.
Another factor to be considered is the terrain available for training. One of the nice things about having a variety of skis around for testing is that I can pick a pair for a specific workout. If I am going to be on relatively gradual terrain, I can chose a slower pair. If I want to cover some ground in a distance workout, work on my stability, or keep up with a faster skier I can chose a faster pair. But now we are getting into the idea of having multiple pairs of roller skis – not a good thing to encourage for a sport that is already so gear intensive.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on wheel wear, bearings, etc…
June 27, 2009 at 12:36 am
Topher, I’ve tested a simple approach to roller ski speed classification. I picked a relatively flat & smooth 1.5km section of bike trail. With my Garmin Forerunner, I skied this using about a dozen different pair of rollers going slow enough to stay in heart rate Zone 1 while doing V2 or 2-sake. The data pretty much speaks for itself. The skis grouped into 4 speed categories based on lap times– say Fast, Medium Fast, Medium Slow & Slow. The lap times for the four categories were under 7:30 min., 8:00 min., 8:30 min. & over 9:00 (I’m an average 63 year old). It was relatively easy to keep average heart rates within a few beats on each lap & the results were reasonably reproducible on a second day.
I learned a lot from these tests. While I’ve skied all these roller many times, I’ve never done this kind of back-to-back comparison. It produced some surprises & confirmed most impressions. So a HR monitor, stop watch, pad of paper & a fixed course can provide objective speed data. Descending speeds seem to track these results well.
First, virtually any classic roller ski will allow HR zone 1 overdistance training – I tested a V2 930 w/ their slowest wheels. Among the skate rollers, here’s how they grouped:
Fast: ProSki C2 w/ plastic wheels, V2 150XL & Swede Ski classics (w/ a soft rubber 70×60 mm wheel- go figure?)
Medium Fast: Marwe 610, V2 125XL, Pursuit w/ 1 fast #1 & 1 medium #2 wheel
Medium Slow: Pursuit w/ 1 medium #2 & 1 slow #3 wheel, V2 850
Slow: V2 830, Pursuit w/ 2 slow #3 wheels
Surprises were the speed of the old Swede ski & how fast the smooth feeling Marwe 610 & V2 125 were; they feel like they are a category slower than they are. I was also surprised that the slowest 100mm wheels are a little slower than the V2 W83 70mm wheel, V2’s slowest.
Near the test section of bike path is a badly worn strip of rough asphalt. I did a few runs on this section with 4 rollers – V2 125XL, Marwe 610, Pursuit w/ #2 & 3 wheels & V2 830. Again I was surprised. While the 100mm Pursuit & 105mm Marwe suffered a slightly smaller speed penalty than the 70mm V2 830, they were all miserable compared to the V2 125XLs. Pneumatic tires win on rough pavement and easily beat a composite shaft for vibration dampening.
The other advantage of pneumatic tires is a small ability to change resistance by about 5-10% using tire pressure. This is only an option if you are not a heavy skier on rough pavement where low pressure risks pinch flats or tire sidewall failure. This hasn’t happened for me (I’m 155 lbs.) but it has happened to some bigger guys I know.
Another interesting finding is that as roller ski resistance went up, the power demands on my body shifted to upper body & arms even though I could stay in Zone 1. While I could stay in Zone 1 on all of them (another surprise), the slow rollers were not much fun & require a cadence of about 60 to stay in Zone 1. Based on all of this my ideal skate roller ski would be something versatile like the V2 125 or 150XL w/ speed reducer or anything in the medium slow category.
Hope this adds to our understanding of roller ski selection!
June 27, 2009 at 12:52 am
Sorry, there is a typo above. That should be ProSki S2 not C2.