Review: Jenex V2 Universal rollerski brake
One of the problems with learning to roller-ski is the lack of brakes. It takes a while to learn how to stop and even when you do there are steep hills that are very difficult to slow down or stop on. I really couldn't fathom using roller-skis without brakes. It was also a barrier for some of the athletes as they didn't want to train on steep tracks. Jenex V2 Universal brake is the solution that problem.
Jenex V2 Universal brake can be fitted to most brands and types of roller-skis.
What are they like to roller-ski with?
Most people upon seeing them assume that they get in the way of normal roller-skiing. Once they are adjusted though you don't notice them and your leg doesn't touch them until you need them.
They don't really add much weight.
Do they work?
Yes. You don't stop instantly but you can stop quite quickly. They can also slow down your speed so if you approaching a corner or feeling nervous going down a hill then you can feather the brakes to slow yourself without stopping.
The only limitation is on wet roads where the wheels can't generate enough friction and so you will slow down but you need to allow for a longer distance to stop and really step hills can be stressful.
The instructions provided are quite poor. They are printed in a tiny font and all the photos are in black and white and aren't aligned with relevant step. Printing across two pages would be an improvement and a video would be even better. It is not that easy to work out how to fit the brake but I eventually worked it out. It can be done with household tools such as a drill and screwdrivers. A vice, bench drill and loctite is also recommended. V2 includes the drill bit and all the screws you need. It takes about 1/2 an hour to fit.
The instructions assume the roller-ski is a hollow metal bar. If you have a composite frame then you will need to buy some screws and glue to fit the brake.
You may need to remount your bindings if they are too far back. There needs to be a bit of space behind the binding for the brake.
If in doubt get a roller-ski shop to fit them.
After you fit the brakes you need to adjust them for your leg so that they activate but only when you want them to and don't interfere with normally roller-skiing.
The Jenex V2 Universal brake are suppose to be maintenance free but in my experience that is not the case .
Because you fit the brake to only one roller-ski you need to remember to put the brake ski on the same leg every time. Most people will wear their wheels more on the inside than the outside. This is normally not a problem because as you swap sides you can even out the wear. However, with the brake fitted your can't swap feet. I did this by mistake one day and when a bike pulled out in front of me I leaned back on my right leg, where the brake would normally be, and fell straight back onto my butt. Consequently you need to rotate your wheels side to side about every 4 sessions or so.
It is good practice to check all the bolts and screws before each session as they can come loose. This is why a recommend using Loctitie to help prevent bolts coming loose. I carry a hex key for the juniors who forget to check their equipment until their brake isn't working or is jabbing them in the leg.
Note: There is a metal arm that goes from the brake to the tyre. It comes in two lengths. I always buy the longer length. The shorter one can be made to work but you need to add lots of metal spacers to do so.
The brakes are reasonably strong but if you have a crash you can bend the metal. However it is easy to bend back into shape with your hands and certainly with the help of some tools. I make a point of not putting any heavy weight on top of my roller-skis to avoid the brake getting damaged.
The brakes should last as long as the roller-ski.
Should you buy the Jenex V2 Universal brake if you go roller-skiing. 100% Yes. They add some cost but just having that safety margin takes away a concern that a lot of roller-skiers have. I encourage all my friends to get them.
The opinions in this article are the author's and may not reflect the opinion of the Australian Biathlon Association.
Remember roller-skiing can be a dangerous activity so take all precautions to ensure you know the risks and minimise them.
Caption: The rollerski brake is shown just behind the boot.