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Tim O'Connor

If you have any opinion, please offer it...

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I have found a really nice set of 16 skate dolly wheels, eight per rail front and back on two rails, that I can buy and mount on my own platform. They run on straight/curved track and are made by a fairly well known indie dolly maker. The wheels are 53mm, with a durometer rating of 99A. The price for this kit is just under $250.00


On the other hand, I can buy wheels from a skateboard wheel manufacturer that has specially designed wheels for film dolly work, designed to avoid flat spotting. I've talked to this guy and he seems pretty solid. The company is near me on the East Coast and has been well established for many years. It's not a retail business but will sell to an individual for a minimum order of 32 wheels at just under $10.00 each. These wheels are 60A, which the company guy told me are what the company's research found to be best for dollying and avoiding flat spotting.


The second option has more assembly for me and costs a $100.00 more but also has twice as many wheels.


Either price would be okay with me. I am confused because there is such a gulf between

the softness/hardness of 60A and 99A wheels, at least in my understanding. Can they both be a good choice?


I'd really like to build this soon. I've e-mailed back both companies and asked what they would say to make me see the benefits of buying one or the other. With the Labor Day holiday, it'll probably (and I hope for their sake will) be next week before they reply to me.


Maybe I just don't know but it seems to me that the difference between a 60A and a 99A is more like going from a naked lens to an ND9 or something than going from no filter to a

skylight/UV filter. It seems pretty significant and I could use some advice if anybody knows about this aspect of wheels and dollying.


I posted more or less this same message in the gripping forum but have received no replies despite a bunch of views in the past couple days so I'm posting again and here as

I hope to have some information for when I next talk to these people.




By the way, does anybody else feel that a lot more people used to get Labor Day off than do now? I was shocked last year at how, up here in Boston anyway, all of the big retail stores were open and the parking lots were full like any other day. I thought that Labor Day was in part at least to honor and give a break to people such as retail workers,

stockers, backroom workers and others who typically don't get as great vacations as many of the other people in higher paying jobs whose workplaces were closed last year.

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I'm not a skateboarder, and maybe the difference is negligeable, but I'd go for the softer wheels. Anything to help with shock absorption.


ON the one hand, I could see where it would be a good experience to try your hand at DIY with the second package. As my grandpa would say, "If you have a choice, choose the harder route. It builds character."


But you are also spending more. And do you really need all those extra wheels?


Based on that, I'd lean toward the package option, #1.


And as for labor day...days off are for French types. :)


Kidding guys!




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Sorry. Don't know about putting skate wheels on a dolly, so I can't say what hardness would be appropiate for tracks. I have shot stuff using a skateboard as a dolly.


Harder wheels are smoother and faster on smooth concrete, through they tend to be loud no matter what type of road surface they're on. Also not very good on rough road- loud, bumpy and generally not suitable. They tend to slide easier - which causes flat spots.


Softer wheels are quieter, little bit slower on smooth concrete but ride better on rough road. Still possible to slide - so flat spots can still occur.


Softer wheels are the preferred choice when filming skateboarding - being quieter and smoother to ride.

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higher number the harder the wheel

higher number the higher acceleration and deceleration i think,

well it is.

Lower number, softer/smoother movement

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All this reminds me when I got my first set of Kryptonics skate board wheels with sealed bearings several whe I was a kid. They were sweet.





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Thanks for all the replies. Still, I seem unable to find a consensus.


A lot of insight from different angles, walks of life and it all makes sense. Daryl, you have a lot of experience with dollies and wheels,

which perhaps is the most applicable to my specific concern but everybody else's points are appreciated too.


I talked to the rep. from the company that makes the 16 wheel, two rail kit and he says that not only are all of their wheels 99a but the

company does a fair amount of production as both an offshoot of selling the products and as part of their R and D. Sure, he's going to want to sell

his product but it is one that sells well already so I'd have to think that the company must have done some serious testing before committing to using all 99a wheels.


I don 't want to ask endlessly about this but since I still have other stuff to build presently, I can hold off a bit on purchasing the wheels.


If anybody has ruminated further or anybody else would like to chime in. please do.



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