Freeline ConstructionFreeline skates are built VERY tough. They are tough, sturdy metal, able to withstand 3000 pounds of pressure a piece (I didn't test this personally, but the argument is that cars weigh around this much, so Ryan Farrelly, the inventor, wanted Freelines to be able to be run over and still be OK). The little square metal plates are covered with grip tape and marked for right and left. The 72 mm wheels are a special formula that Ryan developed, for just the right amount of grip vs. slide. The bearings are generic ABEC 5s, which worked out just great.
And that's all there is to these Freeline skates. The relatively simple design is one of the best things about them. There aren't too many moving parts to worry about, and everything is designed to take a great deal of punishment. Freelines are designed to ride hard, and Ryan knew when he built them that people would push the limit in any way they can, so he didn't want the design of the Freelines to hold them back.
While riding them, you stand in a similar stance to skateboarding, in that you are going to the side. But, that's where the similarity ends. You sort of pump or slide or weave your feet in and out, in order to create momentum. You can't just stand still on Freelines, they are built to move.
When you first get on them, it will take a while to get used to it. Ryan Farrelly said that most people can learn in about a day. Having a torn ACL, I didn’t get much of a chance to ride the Freelines myself, so I gave them over to Trent, my celebrity product tester. I watched Trent work pretty hard to learn to ride them, and we watched the instructional DVD that comes with them. There's another instructional video for Freelines on YouTube that was pretty helpful, too. Honestly, I think if you had Ryan or someone like that helping you, you might feel like you made some progress on the first day, but for Trent and I, it took about a week before we felt like we had done anything. And even then, it took Trent about a month to really get confident. But, like Trent said, they are definitely a challenge, but anything good is worth working for.
Trent wanted to add that Freelines definitely doesn't replace the skateboard. Ryan Farrelly said the same thing when I talked to him - he said that he's not trying to take away from skateboarding at all. He loves skateboarding - all the guys in his company seem to skate, and the last thing they want is for people to think they are trying to replace skateboarding. Freelines are something all together new and different.
One thing I would recommend not trying on your Freelines is taking on big hills. There isn't much you can do to recover if something goes wrong. Now, if you get a pair of these and get good at it and end up loving bombing hills, let me know so I can edit this! But, from our testing, it looked like you would have a better time Freelining around flatland or small hills / grades.