The legendary Bont short track Platinum K390 ice speed skating blade is back. Made with Böhler K390 powder metal tool steel which is slow ground to produce a perfectly straight piece of steel. The powder metal structure is very fine which gives exceptional gliding properties. Able to hold its edge up to 8 times longer than normal steel blades the tube has the highest bend retention of any blade on the market.Specifications
- Cup material: Aluminum 7075 T6
- Radius: 9m
- Length: 15", 15.5", 16", 16.5", 17", 17.5", 18"
- Blade thickness: 1.1mm
- Hardness: 64 Rockwell
- Bend: Machine bent
- Cup height: 25mm(Standard)
The Bont Platinum K390 is regarded by many short track skaters as the best short track blade ever made. In the old days, national team skaters would contact short track blade manufactures and go through a lot of blades checking to find which ones were straight and the leftovers were sold to shops to onsell to the skaters. We didn't think that is a fair system and we wanted everyone to have access to the best blades all the time. With the Bont Platinum short track blade, every blade is good so no one needs to check to find the best blade in a batch.
Here are the steps we took to create the fastest short track blade:
- Normally, when you buy blade steel, it comes on a roll. When the blade is made, we take the steel and insert it into the slot in the same direction the steel is curved on the roll. But, it is not ideal because it has way too much curve and it is wavy. For the Platinum short track blade, we paid an additional cost to receive flat sheets of steel rather than buy it on the roll. The steel is flat to start with even before we grind it. Even after grinding, rolled still will still have a memory of being bent.
- We buy the steel that is 1.3mm thick and then cut it to shape and then it gets attached to a plate where the grinding stone grinds 0.1mm off it, it is flipped and 0.1mm is ground off the other side. It does not sound like much, but with such hard steel, it takes quite some time to grind it perfectly flat. It is common I in short track blade manufacturing to put 10 blades on the plate and grind them down quickly using cheap stones to save costs. When you grind the steel quickly it heats the metal and causes it to warp. Machining time is expensive so this cuts costs. For the Bont Platinum short track blade, we imported special high-end grinding stones from Germany and we slow grind just two blades at a time. We pay a number of additional costs for this project to create the same high-end blade for all skaters. If it is not already clear, our mandate for this blade is to create the best blade at any cost. There should not be good and bad blades, only the best short track blades.
- The slot that holds the blade has a gap on each side to give room for the glue. This gap leaves room for the blade to warp. We tested many many types of glue to find one that bonds better than on previous blades and when we found a new improved glue we were able to reduce the size of the slot by 0.1mm. This doesn't sound like much but it means less warping as there is less gap for the steel to warp.
- While the glue sets, there is a chance that the blade can warp. The glue we use takes many hours to dry. Depending on the length of the blade, we hold the whole blade at a minimum of nine different points to perfectly maintain the blades bend while it sets for 14 hours. These jigs are incredibly expensive and we have a number of them to complete a production run.
- We did a 'brilliance polish' on the side of the blade so when you lean over and the side of the blade is touching the ice, there is as little friction as possible.
- For the tube stiffness, we worked with a number of the world's best national teams. If the tube is too stiff it can cause skaters to crash. If it is too flexible, it will absorb the skater's power. We used CAD-CAM software mixed with real-life testing to find the optimal tube stiffness.
- The tube is made of 7075 T6 aluminium which is why the Bont Platinum is a silver color as it is very difficult to anodize 7075 aluminum.
The result of all this work is the best and fastest short track blade every produced. We are sure you will appreciate the effort that we put into this blade to allow you to perform at your best.
Our professional speed skating team are some of the best skaters in the World. They love to give us feedback! From the little things like the placement of the buckle to trialing the latest materials, they help Bont create products that not only look good but perform at the elite international level.
CONSISTENCYConsistency has been the focus when creating our ice speed skating blades. Machining time is expensive and blade manufacturers grind the steel in batches at high speeds to reduce costs. This results in the steel warping due to the high temperature of the grinding stone grinding the steel. Our aim for the GT3 and the Platinum was to make every blade the same so we purchased the best grinding stones from Germany and we slowly grind one set of steel blades at a time. This is an extremely slow process with higher costs but the result is steel that has no warping. All skaters, not just Olympians, should enjoy perfect blades. However, we didn't stop with the grinding. We looked at the other aspects of making the blade even more perfect. We developed a new stronger glue that allowed us to reduce the tube slot width by 0.1mm. The tube slot needs a certain amount of room for the glue on either side of the blade. The greater the gap, the more chance the steel has to warp while the glue sets. By reducing this gap, we improved the consistency of the straightness of the blade after gluing. Lastly, we invested heavily in jigs. Each blade is clamped in 9 locations while it sets and we let the blades set for 14 hours until the glue has fully cured. This means that we can only make a few sets of blades per day, but each set is perfect.
Aluminum tubes do not like to be bent. They always spring back to the straight position. To solve this problem, we have two solutions:
- We make the tube out of an aluminum that is more likely to stay bent than other brands of blades.
- We cut the slot for the steel blade in the aluminum tube on a slight bend. The tube is straight but the steel blade is already on a slight curve. This curve is slight and you will still need to bend the blade more to get the optimum bend to suit your radius. However, you now only need to bend the aluminum tube a very small amount to get your optimum bend. This small amount of tube bending is not enough to stress the tube and the result is a blade that holds it's bend for a much longer period. Some skaters may never need to re-bend their blades.