Reviews By Ron: MPC Road War Turbo

Road War Turbo XX-Firm:  Initial Impressions

MPC is a polarizing company when it comes to wheels. It seems that skaters either love them or hate them. Rarely do I find someone in-between. I believe some of that may be caused by their alleged inability to produce a consistent product. And although I have not experienced this myself, I have heard it from enough skaters to be open to the possibility. For the sake of full discloser, I personally love MPC wheels. The Road War is my outdoor wheel of choice and the Black Track is my favorite indoor/Dome wheel.

MPC has been slow to introduce new wheels over the past couple years so I was excited to learn about a brand new line up for 2012. One of the new additions to the MPC stable is a Turbo version of the Road War affectionately known as the RWT. The Road War Turbo not only comes in an X-Firm hardness rating, but a new XX-Firm as well. When a fellow skater got his hands on an early set of the XX-Firm edition and I jumped at the offer to try them. Unfortunately, this test is what I am calling a “trial size” version as it consisted of fewer miles than my traditional tests. As with all first impressions, please take it for what it’s worth.

It is clear that MPC was deliberate in its attempt to set apart the Road War Turbo from its Road War predecessor. One of the first things you immediately notice is the blaze orange hub that nearly makes the wheel glow. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the hub design is the same, but the RWT hub has been beefed up significantly. The original Road War hub has been widely criticized for its propensity to fail so I applaud MPC for using customer feedback as a way to improve its products. Although I didn’t make any attempts to crack or break the hubs, I am willing to wager they are much more durable.

The RWT weighs in at 146 grams which is slightly more than the Road War. I am guessing that the hub changes account for the additional weight. By today’s standards, the RWT is actually slightly on the lighter side for 110mm wheels. Based on my recent tests, the median weight for a 110mm wheel is about 150 grams and the Road War Turbo makes no attempt to defy that.

As for skating, within my first few strides, I couldn’t help but notice the wheels actually felt softer than the original Road War wheels. With the XX-Firm rating resonating in my head, I was anticipating a Flinstone-like feel. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by a fairly comfortable ride over varying conditions including a very rough patch of weather-beaten asphalt. In addition, the wheels felt light and responsive much like the Bont Mayhems (click here for that review) I tested and liked earlier in the season. I must admit, I was expecting them to skate like a harder, faster Road War but this was not the case. Instead, they definitely have a different ‘feel’ to them than the original Road War, but only time will tell if they capture many of the same qualities that many have grown to love about the originals. I am hopeful that is the case, and anxious to try them out again.

In regards to price, all indications put these wheels in the $16-$17 range. By today’s standards, that is on par with most other brands, even slightly cheaper. I find it difficult to spend upwards of $120 for a set of wheels, but I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

To summarize, MPC has stepped up its game with the Road War Turbo. They have improved the hub. They have attempted to provide a more comfortable ride without sacrificing roll. They have kept the prices competitive. For MPC haters, I would urge you to give the Road War Turbo a try. For the current Road War advocates, be advised that this is a different wheel. I am overwhelmingly optimistic, this means better.

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.