Sunday, September 27, 2009

First look: PowerStrider Olympics (CZ Model)

In Summary:
This new model has a good design and offers innovative features and impressive weight reduction without compromise in performance... I'm excited about this model, but how well will they hold up? More testing is needed.

The Details:
Shipping for this model consists of a smaller box and the lighter weight is immediately evident. The reason the box is so small is because the leg cuff is not attached. I actually think this is a smart move because it saves on box volume and assembled stilts still need to be adjusted and fitted by the end user. The stilts are not symmetrical, so the user needs to figure out right and left during assembly. (Remember the buckles should be on the outside when attached.)

Impressions while putting them on. Again the lightweight nature of the stilts is very nice. The footpads are minimal but it saves on weight and they look cool. Wearing boots, the front foot strap was a little tight, so it seems like people with unusually wide feet may need to add washers or do some tweaking to get a comfortable fit on the front foot strap.

Unfortunately the metallic-painted buckles are completely plastic. So they won't have the durability, grip and power that a metal buckle would offer. They do work nicely, so out-of-the-box they seem fine.

The instruction manual goes beyond the normal operating instructions and offers some good tips for learning and doing tricks. Unfortunately it's been translated mostly into "ingrish" and could use some editing by a native English speaker. I also noticed that the content was slightly different between the Chinese manual has different content! For example, the English version of the manual offers tips and photos from the Swebounce website while the Chinese version doesn't seem to have the photos and descriptions of jumping tricks.

The Cuff is comfortable and easy to adjust thanks to an innovative new clamp that can be loosen or tighten for adjustment via one lever and a thumb screw. The cuff is adjustable in the usual ways, so be sure you check to make sure the height and centering are correct.

A detachable hoof is a great idea, but one drawback is that the rubber hoof gets metal screw attachments sticking into it, which kind of makes those become weak points for wear. Of course, it is very nice to be able to just replace the rubber part without replacing an entire hoof assembly.

Starting out the first thing to note is how the bBearings are super smooth on these. Whisper quiet, There is no "clack"! The reduced weight of the stilts seem to make everything a little bit easier. The springs are nice and responsive and don't bottom out from running or jumping big. I'm in the middle of the 70kg weight range, so it seems that they are well calibrated.

Jumping and running works the same as any other pair of stilts but the lighter weight of the PowerStrider Olympics (CZ) feels good with every step.

After a couple hours of running and jumping, getting yogurt and hanging around town on these stilts there aren't any noticeable scratches, and the springs are pretty pristine considering that there is no spring cover. Inspecting the cuff attachment points, the single-screw and lever seems to have held them tight and there aren't any signs of splitting or wear on any of the parts. Wear on the hoof seems normal.

So far we are excited by the PowerStrider Olympics (CZ) since there don't seem to be any inherent flaws or design compromises. They offer good design, impressive weight reduction, and some other innovations.

More Testing is needed since we've only been on the stilts for one day. DC Power Stilts wants to see durability and performance over time, with a range of conditions. We will most likely endorse it if it hold up.

Pricing and economic factors are going to be important to the overall picture and DC Power Stilts will need to examine that to know whether we can offer this product or whether it will be a good value to our customers.


XDvandalDJ said...

It's good to hear they've held up to one day of use. I'm anxious to see some more pictures, and possible videos of them.

Can't wait to one day put them through some tests myself.

PowerStriders USA said...

Very comprehensive first review!
Thanks David!

We are very excited about the improvements to this model. We plan to share all feedback from DC Powerstilts (owners, managment, members) with our engineers, perhaps leading to further refinement in the Olympic.

The PowerStrider Olympic is also available in a forged-steel model. The steel model is "bound" to offer increased component performance, with the compromise of a bit of additional weight.

Considering that aluminum has been a satisfactory material with the PowerStrider, the steel version of the Olympic is likely best suited for daily performers and acrobats.

I look forward to further feedback from DC PowerStilts on this model.

Best wishes on Bock NYC! Wish we could be there. Say hi to Bill C. for me (a Pioneer in PowerStilts, he coined the term "Powerbocking").

Matt Mishak
National Sales Manager,North America
PowerStrider USA


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