Jenex Aero 125 S Skating Rollerski
September 14, 2003 - By Jim Hull
When I started roller skiing six years ago, I tried several skis, and settled on the Jenex V2 950's. I thought they had a good ski-like feel, with decent speed reducers, and a leg brake that appealed to my limited skill in keeping the skis under control. Even with those aids, I hit the deck a few times, most often from hitting small debris on the trail and have the skis suddenly stop. For that reason alone I moved to the Jenex Aero 150 when they became available; the risk of injury from a crash was a powerful motivator. The first generation 150's did an exceptional job of rolling through poor trail conditions, but their extra ride height challenged the balance more than a bit, and they were quite a bit heavier than my previous skis. With that as a bit of background, here is a recap of my experiences with the new 125 Aero S.
Being an intermediate ability skier, the 150’s always challenged my balance, and I found it very difficult to do any kind of relaxed V2 on them. That changed when I switched over to the 125’s this spring. They are dramatically more stable, and the reduced swing weight is instantly noticeable. I can now actually consider the day where I might be able to V-2 on my roller skis without having to concentrate hard enough to cause ripples in the pavement around me. The 125's also have a noticeably lower swing weight, which I suspect will make the transition to snow easier. Halfway through the summer roller ski season, here's what I would list as the positives and negatives of the new 125's.
Pluses. Much better stability than the 150's, if still not as stable as the wider solid wheel skis. Effective speed reducers; like the 150's they allow for varied workouts and better control on the downhills. Rolls well through poor trail conditions; not quite as good as the 150's ability to ski on hard-packed gravel though - A fair trade for the added stability. Fast enough to work on balance at higher speeds. Good tire wear. Decent on wet trails. Inexpensive replacement tires.
Minuses. Still heavier than other skis, and the rear wheels hang a little off the binding on follow through, even with the pilot bindings preloaded with a 5/16" ball bearing. Tires bleed air quickly and need to be checked/reinflated often. Crash durability: The shaft design, length of the wheel forks, and attached hardware can make for potential leverage and impact points that can result in a bent shaft. It can take a little fiddling with the wheel alignment to get the skis to run straight.
You can no longer use the tire pressure to “tune” the ride as you can with the 150: Jenex recommends the tires be set at 85 psi only. The other small issue I have is that the speed reducers may have lost a bit of granularity with the smaller wheel, compared to the Aero 150. The first notch still works well to provide a harder workout without totally killing the way the ski feels, but notches two and three make it hard to actively ski, and end up being for the downs only.
I actually thought that notch three was unusable, but skiing the trails at Soldier Hollow this weekend made me reconsider – the drop under the overpass there had me wishing for a drag chute, even on max reducer. I’ve never been accused of being a brave descender (cluck, cluck), so maybe this is just me.
Bottom line. I have a clear bias here – I’ve got some old injuries that I cannot risk aggravating, so a ski that rolls through the junk, and has a very effective speed reducer is a must for me. Overall, there is NO question that I would buy the 125's again. I'm currently only have one set of skis; the 125's rough trail ability, low tire cost, and effective speed reducers are a winning combination. They make roller skiing fun, and give me a better chance of training on my skis without getting injured and spoiling the snow season.
[Editor's Note: Jim weighs 160 and has not experienced any wheel problems with the Aero 125. See the Related Link Has Jenex fixed the Aero 125 Rollerski wheel failure problem? for information on the relationship between weight and wheel failures. - Mike]