Reviews by Ron: Bont Mayhem

Bont Mayhem Wheels

By: Ron Marfori

I got my hands on a set of 110MM Bont Mayhem Wheels and was anxious to give them a try. The Mayhem is the latest wheel in Bont’s line and comes in a variety of sizes but only an 85A hardness rating. Going into this test, I must admit I was a little skeptical that I would like these wheels. From a conceptual standpoint, a wheel designed for all road conditions doesn’t make a lot of sense. In my opinion, you want to go with the best wheel that the conditions will allow and that will give you the biggest competitive advantage. These wheels put that theory to the test.

At first glance, the Mayhem is a great looking wheel. Unless I am mistaken, my suspicions tell me it is an Atom wheel rebranded by Bont. In fact, I stood next to someone wearing Atom One wheels and the hubs were identical. I love the graphics Bont came up with on these. They are rough and rugged like you would expect from a name like Mayhem. Unfortunately, appearance is last thing on my list I look for in a wheel (but it is nice to know that companies take it into consideration.)

I tested the wheels over the course of 4 training skates. The first was a 32 mile route in which the trail conditions vary from ultra-smooth to very rough. I was immediately impressed with these wheels from the first stride. They felt light, fast, and responsive even though they weighed in as one of the heavier wheels I have skated in recent days. Their original weight (after 15 miles of use) was 153-154g.

After 50 miles they weighed in at 152g. My second skate was the true test. It is a 20 mile out and back skate that forces you to endure 2 miles of pure grit and then rewards you with an 8 mile stretch of smooth asphalt. Over the rough stretch, the Mayhem wheels felt better than any other wheel I have skated on through that section. I credit some of this to the hardness rating. I prefer a wheel that is very hard such as an x-firm or 87A rating. At 85A, the Mayhem wheel provides a more comfortable ride than I am used to and seemingly without the loss of speed.

The smooth pavement was a different story. The Mayhem wheels felt a little sluggish in the optimal surface conditions, again a phenomenon I credit to the 85A hardness rating. This partially confirmed my early suspicions. The Mayhem wheel isn’t quite as fast as other harder wheels on ideal road surfaces.

As for wear, I have skated slightly less than 100 miles on the set so far and they are showing some visual signs of wear. The weight is down 4-5 grams from the original weight and the average diameter is now 109.25MM. They did wear uniformly with only the slightest amount of pitting that I blame on the cheese grater conditions I subjected them to during training. Overall, I would say these wheels wear better than better than average to good.

As a skater who has not been a huge fan of Bont wheels in the past, I was impressed by the Mayhem. If they continue to wear well, these would make an excellent training wheel if you can afford the steep price tag of $18-19 per wheel.

They would also work well for races where conditions vary and especially when they include less than idea surface conditions. The Northshore Inline Marathon and A2A are two races that instantly come to mind. On the other hand, in optimal road conditions such as the Apostle Island marathon, I would opt for a harder wheel.  In conclusion, I would classify the Bont Mayhem wheel as a compromise wheel. It performs great to excellent in most conditions, but does not excel in any one of them. As a skater than trains on a spectrum of road conditions, these quite possibly could make it into my training rotation.

Other Reviews by Ron:

About Ron Marfori:  Winner of the 2012 Metrodome Inline Marathon and new addition to TWINCAM, Ron emerged as a lead pack skater in 2010, but excelled in 2011 finishing 9th in the Minnesota Inline Grand Prix.  If you have recently tried a new product and want to share a success story or warn others, let know.