A few comments on the previous posts. I hope my comments help.1. The Harb carvers differ significantly in performance from inline skates or anything else with an inline wheel setup. Many of the movement and balance issues are the opposite that a skier faces. Because the wheels are directly under the foot in an inline, the biggest problem is to keep them from tipping. The opposite is true for skis and Harb carvers. The skier (and Harb Carver) must pry the ski onto an edge against the device’s “desire” to restore to a flat state. Also the balance for a Harb Carver, like skis is on an edge to the side of the foot. In fact because a ski is in snow and a Carver is on a line of wheels on a hard surface, the balance and control standards are higher for the person using the Harb Carver – just what you would want in a training device. At the last International Congress on Skiing and Science there was a paper given by the Austrians on the limitations of inline skates for race training. They presented just before Dianna Rogers presented on the Harb Carvers (notes from this presentation are on WWW.HarbCarver.com. They were very interested in the differences and actually bought some.
[color=black]2. I have not used the TRIS device. They do have some nice features (I do like the binding), but I have heard they also some drawbacks in comparison to the Carvers. However, two summers ago the head of one of the largest ski clubs in the Tokyo area tried the Harb carvers. At first, he wasn’t interested because he said that he had already tried them (he thought they were the Japanese device). Once he tried them, he said they were different and cheaper. The Japanese version is approximately $360-400 in Japan. He liked them so much better that he bought several from me to take back and they are still using them. I can tell you that the “U” design doesn’t work unless the aluminum is quite heavy (read expensive). It weakens and bends too easily and also tends to create axle bend/failure. The heavier materials solve things but make the device heavier and more expensive.
3. Can you make your own? Physically, yes. Given the right materials, equipment, ability, and time They are under patent though that has never stopped people from trying doing the same with other things. More importantly, I would say that it is a waste of time and money. The wheel configuration is crucial. If it is off they don’t want to turn or they turn with alignment issues – pulling one way or another. Further, even if you have one to exactly copy, the materials are costly and they must be machined with precision (no drill press use here). If the axles or bindings are off by just a very little, they suck. Also, the parts get a lot of stress and do bend, break if they are not the right standard and design. Believe me. Before I started selling them, I tried making a few and I could have saved a lot of time and money. I also bent a few axles and broke a few parts. I also know that face planting into the pavement when something bends or breaks is not fun either.
4. The binding issue. I have a setup that has a snowblade binding. Something like it will be in the next design generation. Just slapping one on an existing carver is not really worth it. As someone mentioned, the rail is too narrow and adding a plate adds weight and height. I only did it so I could use my old Randonne boots in them (easier to skate back up hill – then I just went to using the car with other buddies for a lift). The Snowboard bindings that were posted look beautiful, but adding $160! No way. In actuality, the simple binding that is used is very effective (even if it does look a little “garage”). They are secure, light, simple, and don’t hurt your boots. For those people who have to get in and out, I have some easy improvements tips on my website.
Yes, I do sell them, so take what I say with that in mind, but also because I sell, demo and use them all the time, I have a lot of practical knowledge about them. For anyone wanting to try them out I will give a free demo and let you have fun with them and then decide for yourself.
The wheels and bearings are special from Labeda and are chosen for the best combination of stickiness, wear, and cost. You can buy other wheels or bearings off the shelf stuff, but there has been a lot of testing of wheels and bearings to arrive at the choice that is on them.