800 Miles Later: A V2 Aero 150S Update
December 18, 2002 - By Mike Muha
Yes, it's skiing season, but that doesn't mean it's time to put away the rollerskis. In southeast Michigan, snow can be a fleeting event. I expect I'll be rollerskiing at Kensington Metropark this Saturday over the salt piles...
I thought I'd use this opportunity to give you an update on the long term costs of owning the V2 Aero 150S.
I recently had to replace one of my V2 Aero 150S wheels. Not only could I see through the rubber treads to the cords, the rubber was completely gone in two small spots. This tire lasted over 100 hours of skating. Using a conservative estimate of distance over time (8 miles per hour), that's over 800 miles or 1,300 kilometers. The other tires, although worn, still have plenty of rubber on them.
I bought two more wheels, put them on the rear, tossed the worn wheel, and now have a spare wheel for emergencies.
The mileage was a big surprise in a couple of ways. First, when I did a similar amount of rollerskiing last year on my old V2 830's (33mm wide rubber wheel), I had to replace my wheels twice - I was on a third set of wheels by winter. Given the comparable list prices between V2 wheels (about $35) and 830 wheels (about $30), I saved quite a bit of money in maintenance by skiing on Aeros.
Second, the wheels wear evenly. On my 830's, the wheels would wear into a sharp V profile. Depending on how long I skied on a set of wheels before I rotated them across skis, the wear could be uneven. This uneven wear caused the ski to arc out or in as I pushed off. With the Aeros, I never had to swap wheels between skis; swapping skis between legs was good enough to get even wear. Wheel wear never affected the ski's ability to track straight. (I did swap wheels front-to-back once. The rear wheels do wear faster than the front wheels).
When I first skied on the Aeros, they worked phenomenal well on wet pavement. As the wheels wore, they become more slippery on wet pavement. Worn, they tend to act more like like traditional "little wheel" rollerskis.
V2 Aeros wheels do have a problem that non-pneumatic tires don't have: they can get flats. A number of rollerskiers around here have reported one or more flat tires. I have not. I'm not sure if these are the causes or not, but I think most of the people getting flats do a lot of open road or dirt road skiing where glass and sharp rocks are likely to be present, and pump their tires up to max pressure. I tend to stay on bike paths and keep my tires toward the minimum allowable pressure.
So what happens if you get a flat? You can patch the tube using a normal bicycle patch kit, put in a new tube (retail, about $9), or replace the entire wheel. Patching the tire is pretty effortless; getting the tire off and on the rim is a major effort and not for the faint of heart. My recommendation: buy a new wheel unless you're really cheap. (Jeff Ray is testing similar-sized and less expensive wheelchair castors - the small wheels in front of the wheel chair. I have not heard from Jeff how they perform or if they're reliable.)
Another interesting item is that new wheels feel like they run slower then worn wheels. Must be greater resistance in the deep treads compared to a (worn) slick...
What about the Aero 125? The 125 wheel has had a checkered history. The original manufacturing run of wheels had fatal flaws: the wheels failed. Some Michigan rollerskiers have experienced this nightmare first hand. Jenex has worked hard to come up with reliable replacement wheels, and started shipping a newly designed split-rim wheel in early December. Hopefully those of you with the bad wheels have received your warranty replacement wheels by now (just in time for your transition to snow. Sigh).
The new split-rim design sounds great - it's supposed to make changing the tire and/or tube trivial, "so easy a six year old can do it". If this is actually the case, the cost of ownership for a V2 Aero 125SR could be even less than the 150S, assuming the tires wear at the same rate.
I'm even more pleased with my V2 Aeros now than I was the first six months I owned them!