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Author Topic: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix  (Read 258 times)

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Offline CTCat

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DD has been skating on Jackson Elles for close to a year and is ready for better boots and blades.  She is working on her axel and likely will be starting doubles in the next month or two.  She is tiny, and our pro shop has ordered the Jackson Fusion Debut Standard for her to try.  (I will post on that when we get them.)  The question is which blades?  I had assumed we would get her an MK Pro or Coronation Ace, which is what everyone her level seems to have, but I am intrigued by the Ultima Legacy Matrix, which is lighter weight.  The Ultima Aspire is the next step up from her current blade.  I know very little about differences between blades, so any feedback is appreciated!   

Offline Query

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 03:35:17 PM »
There are people who know a lot more about blade types than me. If you are indeed a "former competitive skater", you should know more than me.


That said, of the Aspire, https://www.discountskatewear.com/p-2960-ultima-aspire-blade-ub20.aspx says "Our newly redesigned introductory blade is ideal for the skater who is beginning lessons and learning jumps. Designed to accommodate all basic skills required of the beginner Freestyle or Dancer."  Jackson itself, at http://www.jacksonultima.com,  describes it as a "beginner blade".

It sounds like your DD is significantly above that level, so it might not be ideal.

As for the rest, I've only ever used the Coronation Ace. I suspect it is mostly personal preference. They are all "Intermediate" blades. I think, but am not sure, that the Coronation Ace is a slightly lower level blade than the other two, and might allow less room for easy advancement - but I've seen very good skaters use all of them.

Before getting a Matrix blade, make sure your skate tech has the equipment to sharpen them. I do personally like the better rust resistance and longevity of stainless steel that Matrix blades use, as opposed to the easier to rust steel that the other blades you mention have (AFAIK), and am told that Jackson has better quality control, but it took me a while to get used to the shorter and more curved "spin rocker" at the front of most Ultima blades. Because of that spin rocker, Ultima blades will be a bigger change from her beginner blades, because you only have to roll forward a little bit before the toe pick touches the ice, compared to most MK and Wilson blades, so she needs to have good fine motor control to use them. If your coach thinks she has good fine motor control, and is comfortable with teaching a student using them, the better rust resistance and longer edge life between sharpenings, which translates to a longer total life, might be worth it. (Doesn't apply if she is still growing fast, and would need new boots and blades again in a few months.) But maybe her coach is the right person to help you make the decision. I think it is possible some coaches don't understand using some blades. In any event, it would be polite to ask the coach before buying.

A lot of people choose to buy skate blades in person, rather than by mail order, because you can check them. In particular, place a straight edge against each side of the blade, in turn. Ideally, they should not be warped at all. If they are warped, it should be by much less than a mm. One of the nice things about Ultima Matrix blades is that warping is rarely a problem, perhaps because they aren't soldered or welded the way intermediate and high level MK and Wilson blades are, so you can mail order them confidently - but if you rely on a pro shop to mount them, they would probably charge a fair bit to mount someone else's sell. I would go to the best-recommended pro shop you can manage to drive to, to get both boots and blades - ask your coach about who that is, too, and which skate tech at that shop is best.

If your pro shop also sells Reidell Eclipse blades, they might be cheaper, BTW, but I know nothing about them.

Offline Sibelius

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 04:31:56 PM »
So SOMEONE is going to try those new Debut's!

My daughter is going to start working on her Axel soon.  She's been in her Elle's for about 7 months.  Her coaches recommended the MK Pro.  I decided to try out the Eclipse Mist blades, which are supposed to be a copy of the Pros, and CA's.  I posted here that I got them from a reputable ebay seller who had them on closeout in smaller sizes (8 1/4, 8 1/2, 8 3/4) for $89 a pair (vs. the $230 they retailed for, and that the others sell for).  We had them mounted on her Elle's in October and she's doing fabulous on them.  The toe pick is pretty big and she's caught it a few times, but her spins are better and her jumps are no worse.  I thought it best to get her used to the new profile before we moved on with boots so we'd only be changing one thing at a time and $89 to try it out was a no brainer to me.  Seems to be working well.  The price was the real deciding factor, I was having a hard time with the idea of spending $230 on an unknown quantity. I ended up buying 3 pairs to take her through a size 4 boot. Reidell does have a newer stainless model with the same profile as the old Mist called the Aurora.  They offer a 60 day NQA return policy on their current model blades if you want to try them out.  I confirmed with both Reidell and her fitter about that, though her fitter said not to use that option until she's ready for the $600 blades since you can use the NQA return option only once.

Let me know how that boot shakes out.  I don't have much more time before we need to get a new one.  Her fitter tells me there are some options available soon to have different soles put on the Debut, either the brown Fusion sole, or even the carbon fiber one.  Additional cost and lead time, but nice to have options.  My skater is not a fan of the grey sole that's available now.  Loves the look of the boot, just not the grey.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 05:54:20 PM »
DD has been skating on Jackson Elles for close to a year and is ready for better boots and blades.  She is working on her axel and likely will be starting doubles in the next month or two.  She is tiny, and our pro shop has ordered the Jackson Fusion Debut Standard for her to try.  (I will post on that when we get them.)  The question is which blades?  I had assumed we would get her an MK Pro or Coronation Ace, which is what everyone her level seems to have, but I am intrigued by the Ultima Legacy Matrix, which is lighter weight.  The Ultima Aspire is the next step up from her current blade.  I know very little about differences between blades, so any feedback is appreciated!   

I would challenge you to weigh the actual blades.  You'll probably find that "lighter" doesn't mean a great deal lighter.  I went from the heaviest blades on the market (classic Gold Seals with the solid base plate) to a reduced weight version with carbon fiber stanchion and base plate (not solid) and they only turned out to be 22% lighter (512 grams vs 654 grams per pair).  The difference will probably be even less if you're comparing the lightweight blades to MK Pro or Coronation Ace, which do not have solid base plates.  And now I'm going back to the traditional Gold Seals because the lightweight blades make more noise on the ice and it was actually pointed out to me in a judges' critique that my blades were noisy (I never heard that from anyone when I was in my original Gold Seals).  The lighter weight, less solid metal amplifies the sound of any scraping on the ice.  I noticed this to be true with my Gold Seal Revolution blades as well as my Ultima Matrix Supreme blades.  Oh, and one more thing:  Compare how much sharpenable steel there is on each of the blades you're considering.  A number of the newer blade models give you less of it so that you need to buy new blades more often.  That's another reason I'm going back to a traditional blade.  You cannot go wrong with MK Pro or Coronation Ace.

Offline CTCat

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 09:53:31 PM »
Her coach recommends the MK Pro, so we will probably try that.  That said, I am very intrigued by some of the newer blades.  I know virtually nothing about the technical aspects of blades.  I skated WAY back in the day and had custom Harlicks with Pattern 99 blades because that was what my coach recommended and am just now educating myself about the differences in rockers, etc. 

Offline Christy

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 05:07:14 PM »
I went from the MK Pro to the Matrix Legacy and the main reason was that I could go at least twice as long between sharpenings. I found it took around 5 hours to get used to the new profile.

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 02:33:49 AM »
I use an Ultima Aspire blade on a Freestyle boot. It works for stroking and single jumps, but the sweet spot for spins is hard to find. I think it has something to do with the blade's profile (it's somewhat flatter than the others, I think).

But it's cheap. That's why I use it haha.

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2017, 09:25:31 AM »
  Oh, and one more thing:  Compare how much sharpenable steel there is on each of the blades you're considering.  A number of the newer blade models give you less of it so that you need to buy new blades more often. That's another reason I'm going back to a traditional blade.  You cannot go wrong with MK Pro or Coronation Ace.
<<Emphasis added>>

Can you give specific examples of this?  I've recently been looking over blade options, and haven't come across this.  Remember, in the traditional MK and Wilson blades, the amount of steel that can be removed during multiple sharpenings is limited by two factors:  (1) Chrome relief region.  Typically the entire body of the blade is not hardened and tempered; only a region near the edges.  This region is clearly demarcated because the chrome plating is removed to expose the hardened and tempered steel.  (2) Spin rocker.  With commercial sharpening machines, you can't sharpen right up to the drag pick.   With repeated sharpenings, the spin rocker gets flattened, and the sweet spot moves further back.  Some skate techs can trim the drag pick and re-profile the spin rocker (with a cross grinder), but many don't know how to do this or have the proper equipment.  If you're fussy about your spin rocker, and your skate tech can't make the proper adjustments to the drag pick and spin rocker, you'll reach end of service life before you reach the chrome relief boundary. 

Also, some recent blades have runners made from high grades of stainless steel (such as 440C) that have longer edge retention than carbon steel, resulting in longer ice time between sharpenings and increased overall service life.

Although it's probably correct that "you cannot go wrong with MK Pro or Coronation Ace", it's definitely worthwhile to explore other options.  Caveat: Models that are "comparable" to MK and Wilson models most likely will not be exact clones.  There will likely be differences in details such as spin rockers, pick configuration, and blade thickness.  Here's my previous comparison of the Eclipse Aurora vs Wilson Coronation Ace:

http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=6851.msg88283#msg88283

The Aurora comes out on the plus side with the exception of the flatter spin rocker (if that's important to you).

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2017, 10:51:17 AM »
DD has been skating on Jackson Elles for close to a year and is ready for better boots and blades.  She is working on her axel and likely will be starting doubles in the next month or two.  She is tiny, and our pro shop has ordered the Jackson Fusion Debut Standard for her to try.  (I will post on that when we get them.)  The question is which blades?  I had assumed we would get her an MK Pro or Coronation Ace, which is what everyone her level seems to have, but I am intrigued by the Ultima Legacy Matrix, which is lighter weight.  The Ultima Aspire is the next step up from her current blade.  I know very little about differences between blades, so any feedback is appreciated!   
There are many blade parameters.  A principal one to consider is the radius of the main rocker.  The Elle comes pre-mounted with the Ultima Mirage blade;  the Jackson website gives no details, but you should check with Jackson what the radius of the main rocker is.  The Ultima Aspire and the Ultima Legacy Matrix both have 8' radius main rockers; whereas, the MK Pro and the Wilson Coronation Ace both have 7' radius main rockers.

Offline Sibelius

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2017, 01:34:21 PM »
Mirage is an 8' main rocker, spin rocker = not much.  My skater went from that blade to the 7' main rocker Mist with no negatives so far, other than the BIG drag pick which has been caught a few times.  Her fitter likes the Ultima blades because of less variation in mfg., she has to reject fewer blades than those from Wilson and MK.  We probably would have gone with the Legacy if not for the bargain we got on the Mist.

Offline Query

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2017, 12:35:08 AM »
I went from the MK Pro to the Matrix Legacy and the main reason was that I could go at least twice as long between sharpenings. I found it took around 5 hours to get used to the new profile.

Wow. It took me so much longer to transition from MK Dance to Matrix Dance.

Were you fairly young? I've noticed that many young people transition much more quickly than older adults, to many sorts of new equipment.

Or maybe I am just that much less athletic and adaptable than you.

Offline Christy

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Re: Which blade? MK Pro vs. Coronation Ace vs. Ultima Aspire or Legacy Matrix
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2017, 08:41:53 PM »
Wow. It took me so much longer to transition from MK Dance to Matrix Dance.

Were you fairly young? I've noticed that many young people transition much more quickly than older adults, to many sorts of new equipment.

Or maybe I am just that much less athletic and adaptable than you.

Definitely not young  ;)  I'm not sure if the two blades are close in profile, but it just clicked. I had a similar experience moving from Matrix Legacy to Matrix Elite, yet could not get used to a shorter Elite blade (1/4 inch) so sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't/