What plate should I choose and what are the differences is a question we often get.
Different models, different specifications, different characteristics. It can be hard to choose...
The choice of your plate size really depends on your skills and style, while most dancers prefer a sport setup with a shorter size (1 size down), recreational rollerskaters or beginners are advised to buy longer plates for more stability.
First you need to check your budget, you can spend as much as you like on plates, but considering your skills and style it's not always worth it to buy the most expensive plate.
The kingpin angle should also be considered, because the angle is responsible for the feel of your skate. A small number (10 or 15 degrees) will give you a more traditional feel, faster acceleration and more stability because your weight is considerably more on the kingpins. A bigger angle (the 45 degrees or actually 33 degrees) will give you more maneuverability, and a faster response because your weight is more on the part of the plate that is responsible for turning, but therefore those plates are less stable then others.
Riedell sells the most innovative plate of this moment, the Arius plate. They bought the patent a couple of years ago and started to finetune them in cooperation with a couple of fine skaters from the US: Stop thinking about kingpins and pivots! This is a whole new system. The Arius doesn’t use a traditional adjustable kingpin/trucks set up. Instead, the trucks hinge on a pin and press against the butterfly cushions to provide resistance for the action. There is no twisting and pressing around a kingpin.
This creates a more efficient action, but you loose all suspension. The result is a much lighter plate that's a lot more responsive, there is no dead point compared to a traditional setup.
The only cons I can think of is that changing the butterfly and finding the right durometer (hardness) in the beginning can be a hassle, but definitely not a dealbreaker, and the plate feels a little less comfortable because it has almost no suspension, so you should feel all the imperfections in the floor, although I never heard an Arius skater complain, not even outdoors.
We think it is the best plate you can buy at the moment, every skater who tries the Arius is convinced and doesn't want to go back to skating with a more conventional system.
That having said, almost nothing is more personal than skates, so there are plenty of skaters who feel it just exactly the other way around, so this is only my technical point of view and the opinion of a few clients of ours. And maybe you like a more traditional (oldskool) look and you're happy with a kingpin and pivot, or simply don't want to spend over €300,- on a plate.
If you're trying to decide what plate to buy, we have a few models available in our shop, so stop by at an event or join us at our kitchentable. We love talking about these things! And drinking good coffee in the meantime :-)
(sources: derbysmack/skatelogforum and some of our clients)