CAG ONE Computerized Radius
What is CAG ONE computerized skate Radius?
The radius may be the most important thing regarding skate sharpening, yet also the most misunderstood. Most skaters don’t know about setting up for a custom radius to suite your specific skating style. However, even minor changes in the radius will make the skate react and feel very differently. Therefore, I thought I would take a short bit of time to explain this to people if they are interested.
What is the Radius?
The radius is sometimes referred to as the hollow or groove. I’m willing to bet that you were never asked by a local shop what radius you would like ground onto your skates!! That’s partially because a lot of the people working there don’t understand it properly. Also, the skate shops don’t want to take time to readjust and re-dress their wheels to a new radius… this results in using up the wheel much more quickly, again cutting into their profit margins! So, most skate shops simply leave their diamond dresser set up at a “mid-point” around 1/2” radius.
A SMALLER RADIUS results in a “deeper hollow”, more pronounced tips, a “sharper” feel (we’ll address sharpness next), and more edges (surface area). With more surface area in contact with the ice, the skater feels more grip, but also results in more drag (slightly slower).
A LARGER RADIUS results in the opposite: a more “shallow hollow”, less pronounced tips, a “no so sharp feel”, and less surface area in contact with the ice. This gives the feeling of less grip, but also gives much less drag (faster).
What is Sharp?
If someone makes a comment after a new sharpening that their skates aren’t “sharp”, what they really mean to say is that “This skate does not have enough edge to suit my skating style”. Olympic speed skaters actually have their skates honed with no radius (just flat). They are looking for maximum glide. Obviously they have to be extremely careful in corners without the benefit of even a small radius to help in grabbing the ice (that is why when they fall it is almost always during a cross over in a corner). But, don’t ever think these skates aren’t sharp!
What Size Radius is Right for Me?
So, the all important question becomes: “What radius should I have on my skates?” The local shops don’t even ask you what you want. Instead, they just stick with one size and sharpen all their skates to that size. When it comes to radii, one size does NOT fit all! There are many different things to take into account in determining the proper radius. Even after settling on one, you may want to make small adjustments on subsequent sharpenings to “fine tune” to your personal taste.
The factors that go into determining your radius include weight, skating style (skater assignment), and ice temperature, and skill level. We will look at these in more detail here.
WEIGHT—an extremely light skater can tolerate very small radii (deep hollow). Because of their lighter weight, they do not cause the skate to “dig” into the ice as much. A heavy skater trying to skate on a small radius will bite into the ice so hard they will have trouble stopping without chatter or going over the top of their skates. They will also loose glide to excess friction and be working harder. Of course, they will hold a very tight turn! Based upon weight, a general starting point would be as follows: very light (3/8”); average (5/8”); heavy (3/4”); hockey goalie (7/8” – 1 1/4”).
SKATER ASSIGNMENT—HOCKEY—1/2” is a common radius for kids through high school. Forwards will generally prefer smaller radii than defensemen of the same weight. Goalies continue to have very large radii to “kick out” the puck without catching an edge.
SKATER ASSIGNMENT—FIGURE—kides under 60lbs usually skate on 1/2” radii. A 5/8” radius will take care of most recreational skaters. When in a professional program, it is best to discuss proper radii with the instructor, based upon the type of programs they will be performing.
ICE TEMPERATURE—Optimum ice temperature for a rink is usually around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from 17-23 is considered “hard hockey ice”. 25-26 degrees is considered good figure skating ice. Usually on colder/harder ice, people prefer a slightly smaller radius (and vice versa)
SKILL LEVEL—As people get advanced and along the professional ranking, they tend to use smaller radii, as they have the combination of leg/ankle strength and talent to “get away with it
What Radius of Hollow (ROH) Is Right for Me?
The selection of a Radius of Hollow for your skate blades is an individual decision, but we can give you the facts and recommendations to help make your decision easier.