Prices at the “roller skating stock exchange” for vintage Vanathane skate wheels are rising, because skaters see the their excellence.
Also almost 30 years after discontinuation of the production, wheels made from Vanathane are regarded as the pick of the bunch by many skaters. For a good reason: Vanathane wheels provide a perfect balance between slip and grip on hardwood skating floors, with resistance against flat spots/flattening. Ideal for the current popular moves in style skating or rhythm skating. Recently the manufacturer Sure-Grip reacted on the market and introduced a remake of the wheels claiming to use the “original Vanathane technology”. Time to present some basic facts for market participants about Vanathane wheels.
- Vanathane was a trademark of Vanguard Wheels/Classic International Sales Co in Tulsa, OK.
- Production of Vanathane wheels stopped in the late 1980s at Vanguard, and was continued for some years by Crest/Unarco Rubber Products also in Tulsa, OK.
- New Vanathane wheels (remake/replica/reissue) are not the same as vintage ones, because new requirements for environmental and occupational health and safety prevent the use of the original chemical process.
- Vanguard offered seven different Vanathane skate wheels: All American Plus, All American Gold, All American Beauty, All American Two, All American Dream, All American Dream Junior, and the Excalibur
- Most sold were four of them: All American Plus, All American Gold, All American Two, All American Dream.
- All American Plus: 57 mm diameter, 31 mm width, hardness 55D (Shore D scale).
- All American Gold: 60 mm diameter, 30 m width hardness 55D, colors white or beige (“gold”).
- All American Two: 57 mm diameter, 31 mm width, hardness 60D.
- All American Dream: 55 mm diameter, 31 mm width, hardness 60D, with aluminum hub/insert.
- All American Plus and Gold are the same compound, difference in the larger diameter of the Gold.
- All American Two and Dream are the same (slightly harder) compound, difference in the aluminum hub/insert of the Dream.
- Vanguard manufactured and sold Vanathane wheels to many other companies with their own brand (e.g. Chicago, Roller Derby, Pacer, roller rink owners, Vanathane rentals, etc.).
- For other companies branded Vanathane wheels and vintage orange rentals are same as All American Plus, mostly also identical shape.
- Visible difference between vintage All American Plus wheels and remakes: Vintage wheels lettering marked with “+” and “VM”, remakes with “+” and “+”.
- Visible difference between vintage All American Dream wheels and remakes: Vintage wheels lettering is broad and glossy, remakes is thin and flat.
- For cleaning of Vanathane wheels after the skating session, water and a scotch-brite sponge are best to use. For persistent dirt, I also used a steel brush successfully, but you might hesitate to treat your treasure so bad…
Now you should be prepared for hunting after the great vintage Vanathane wheels.