Jun 18, 2020
Being an elite athlete teaches you a lot of life lessons. For me, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to never give up. I have been on a personal mission for Bont Skates to be able to provide our skaters with the fastest and best inline speed skating wheel on the market at any cost. In the early days, I would take our new inline wheel to the inline speed skating world championships and have to face the embarrassment of our sponsored skaters not only passing up on our free sponsored wheels but paying another brand for wheels. Our inline wheels were only slightly worse than the competition, but elite skaters only want the absolute best wheel, and no one wants to skate on the second-best wheel. I was effectively paying our skaters to promote other wheels. I never wanted to be in that position again.
Bont Polycarbonate prototype Inline skate wheel
I spent a lot of money developing some pretty unusual concepts like polycarbonate hub wheels in an effort to produce the best wheels. It failed. Many other attempts came extremely close to being the best but I did not quite get there. The first problem I had to overcome was gaining access to the best urethane. After years of trying, finally, we developed a partnership with MPC wheels. This gave us the best inline wheel on the market, but it wasn’t the outright best wheel as MPC manufacturers wheels for many brands that are all very similar. Sure, we felt our Red Magic wheel was slightly better than the competition because the red pigment in the hub produced a slightly stiffer hub than the other color hubs, but they were all very similar.
A Bont-WRW collaboration hub in an effort to create the fastest 110mm wheel.
It took quite a few years to convince MPC to allow Bont to provide our own aluminum hub to be wrapped in MPC urethane. As Bont is the largest inline speed skate brand in the world, it gave MPC the assurance it needed to work with us on this project. I knew that an aluminum hub would provide a faster wheel than a plastic hub as a higher rebounding wheel with other aspects of the wheel remaining constant produces a faster wheel. The question was, would this project be economically viable? The Bont Red Magic Hardcore 125mm aluminum hub is the fastest 125mm wheel in the world, but it is expensive. I said to myself that I am going to make the best wheel in the world, even if it is not profitable. Two years later and we have the Avenger Hardcore 110mm aluminum wheel. Finally, after 20 years of trying, I have produced the outright fastest 110mm inline speed skating wheel in the world.
About the author:
Alexander Bont has been skating since the age of two years old. He was part of the Australian national short track team for 7 years. He has also competed on quad roller skates, long track ice skates, and inline speed skates. Alexander has won a number of Australian national titles including national records in short track and state titles in inline speed skating. He is the owner and CEO of Bont Skates.