(May '23) I'll be adding info specific to some manufacturers, and the first bit is for the new Graf skates, available at the bottom of this page.

I'll also be adding video of the install. Very sorry for the delay, but the new injury page is a monster, but it'll be good.


This page will show the Overdrive install for all skates without a cowling, including all the newest Bauer, CCM, and True skates. Below are the two Overdrive blades: old one on top; new one on the bottom. The only difference between the two is the holes. The blades are made from the same steel and punched from the same blank, and they use the same hardware. The lettering was removed to make it easier to get the new holes in.
The install is extremely easy and takes advantage of the fact that the blade holders all have a standard hole position. No drilling is required, but the holes on Overdrive must line up with the holes on the blade holder. To ensure this, the new Overdrive holes are slotted to allow for different sizes and models. The middle hole is slotted more in case of a difficult fit. Then, you can slide the blade up or down to get at least two Overdrive holes to line up with two on the blade holder.
Overdrive sits wedged between the boot and blade holder, not out in the open like the old Overdrive, so the screws don't have to do as much work, and two screws easily hold the blade. For over a year, all of my test blades were attached by two holes, and I never had the blades loosen.
It still might happen that Overdrive does not fit a skate, and in that case, I'll return your money.
Finally, the hole position also had to allow for more bite. I was surprised to find that the old setting of the blade didn't work as well on these skates, and my foot kept slipping out when I was down. The blades needed to stick out more. The reason is because these skates work at a lower angle. The bite you'll now get at these low angles makes for a great push while down.

Below (and above) is my Bauer S27 with the blade installed as it would be on all skates without a cowling. It works perfectly and creates no problems at all with the rest of the skate. I cover this at the bottom of the page. But as I type this, I can hear the handyman goaltenders out there just itching to put a shim on the other side of the holder. This was my first concern, but I found that there was no need for a shim.

Below are three shots from a customer (I have to go back in my email to get his name) who installed on his CCM 9380 Super Tacks, a really nice skate. His shots are way better than mine, so they're worth a closer look. I'm going to start including washers, because you can see how the screws sank into the plastic.

To install the blade, you'll remove three rivets, slide the blade between the boot and the blade holder, and then secure it with three screws or rivets; both hold equally well. And that's it! No drilling required.

Unlike the old install, there is no positioning to worry about either. Once you insert the screws, the blade is set. It is also very secure because it's wedged between the blade holder and the boot, so you don't have to torque the screws down like the old install.

Other than a Philips screwdriver, the only tool you'll need is nibblers or something similar to remove the rivets.

The hardest part of this install is removing the rivets, because on some skates, they are placed in a little hollow that makes it hard for nibblers to reach (above, blue arrows). My nibblers are old and worn, so I had trouble getting to the rivets. If you want to save yourself some trouble, have your skate guy at least loosen them to make to make them easier to pry out. I used my awl and pounded the rivets with a hammer from inside the skate to pop them about 1/8", and then I pried them up and out. I'm not sure I'm recommending this, but it worked. Once you've got the rivets out, the hard part is over.

With the rivets removed, you'll slide the blade between the boot and the blade holder. The blue arrow shows where I stuck my awl to pry the holder up and allow the blade to slide in. Anything thin enough will work, like a flathead screwdriver or even a nail. Slide the back part of the blade in first and line up the back hole only (green arrow). Don't line up all three holes at once; this is easier.

On a minor note, to line up the hole properly, I inserted my awl and wiggled it around to nudge the blade into place (below left). Again, a screwdriver or even a nail also works.

With the back hole lined up, insert a long screw, thread a T-nut onto it from inside the boot, and then tighten it down to sink it into the sole of the skate (below, steps 1,2,3). Next, remove the long screw and replace it with a short screw (below, steps 4, 5), BUT, do not tighten the short screw much. Keep it loose so you can line up the other 2 holes. If you tighten it down, the other 2 holes don't line up perfectly.

Below is a graphic from the regular install page, and since this blade uses the same screws and nuts, nothing changes here.

Next, you'll swing the blade so that the second hole lines up (below, green arrow). Then you'll insert a long screw and follow the same procedure: thread the T-nut, tighten it down into the sole of the skate, remove the long screw, replace it with a short screw, but keep this screw loose. (steps 1-5 above)

With two screws done, the top hole should be almost lined up, but if not, insert an awl, or screwdriver, and wiggle it a bit to line it up (below right). Then, you'll follow steps 1-5 above to finish the top hole. If you have a hard time reaching inside the boot with the T-nut, if your hands are big or there's no room inside, you can just leave the top hole. The blade will hold with two screws, and next time you get your skates sharpened, have your guy pop a rivet in there, and he better not charge for it!

With the three short screws in, you can now tighten them all down, but be careful not to torque them too much because you don't want to strip the screw-head. Again, there's no need for them to be super tight. After a week or two, you can check them in case the sole inside the skate has compressed with the pressure, thereby leaving the screws a bit loose. Don't worry if you forget. The blades won't fall off. In testing these blades, I changed them dozens of times over the last year and never once remembered to do that.

Also, don't worry about ruining the hardware or losing it. If you need more, let me know and I'll send it out, no charge. And if you change skates, I send replacement hardware for free.

So that's the install, and if you're familiar with the install on skates with a cowling, you can see how this one is much easier. However, if you don't feel like doing it, this should be super easy for any sports store, and since they'll likely use rivets, it will be very quick, but they had better not try charging more than $10, because it's not much harder than changing a light bulb.

My initial concern with this install was whether lifting the blade holder on one side only would twist or warp the main blade. It doesn't. Most skate sharpeners have a tool to measure such a thing, and I was happy to discover that lifting the blade holder like this didn't affect it at all. Every time I measured this, the blade sat square its full length, and it still does.

This makes sense because Overdrive is 1/16" thick, and when it slides into this position, the boot absorbs some of that height by indenting very slightly. The blade holder absorbs the rest, and you see it doing just that with the green arrow above. Any residual effect is absorbed by the rest of the blade holder. And the chance of a plastic blade holder twisting or warping a hardened steel blade is zero. The blade holder is strong and durable, but it's still plastic, so it has a certain softness (blue arrows, that's from removing the rivets) and will always give way to the hardened steel of the main blade.

There is no change in the feel of the skate, no effect on sharpening or anything else I can think of. None. I wouldn't have bothered with this blade if there was.


I'm just going to tack on a few thoughts here about the new skates as they pop into my head. I like these skates but can think of two reasons why some people will not.

1- Obviously, you have to worry about protection, and though I haven't heard of any problems in the pros, they change their skates often. For the rest of us who buy skates every few years, the worry is whether these skates will soften over time. I have seen some skates go quite soft around the ball of the foot after a few years, leaving very little protection.

2- Comfort. Without a plastic shell, the boot must be very hard to provide protection, which can make for a harsh fit. We're not dealing with running shoes here, so if you have foot problems, think twice and try on a lot of skates. Take your time to choose the right ones or they might be a ton of trouble. My experience was that a softer fit also provided better agility. Not all my skates fit well, but I do remember one pair of Bauers that fit perfectly, and I could almost dance in them. Pivoting behind the net to stop a puck was a thing of beauty. With the new skates, it's not as smooth.

And as I have mentioned over the years, the treatment around the ankle is a bad, worse because the boot is harder on these skates. The solution to these problems is not difficult. They'll clue in one day. *Update May, 23* The new Bauer skate tries, but no. So pathetic.

The photos below are from a customer who bravely sorted out the problems for me and then sent some great photos. I'll have dig through my emails to get his name and post it, but this is a bit of a rush job, so that will have to come later. Thank you until then.

Here's the problem. The new Graf blade holder has 4 holes, Overdrive has to be attached by holes 1+3, but #3 does not line up. If I had made that back hole a little longer, it would have lined up, but it would not have solved the problem, because Graf doesn't use that hole, at least not on these skates. At the bottom of the pic, you can see 3 screws, but his thumb is covering an unused hole that is not drilled. Holes 1, 2, and 4, are drilled, and if you moved the blade back, you could attach it by holes 2+4, but I do not recommend that because the blade won't sit right. You'll lose bite at the toe, which you need for moves while down, and you'll have too much grip farther back on the skate. There is no problem at all with attaching the blade by two screws. It will hold.

Below, he has attached the blade by the top hole using the Graf screw. One nice thing about the Graf install is that you don't have to remove rivets. Just take out their screw and then re-use it. Now, there's a decision to make. The blade will pivot on the top hole, and this will swing the blade in or out at the back of the blade (green arrow) and also to a lesser extent at the front of the blade (red arrow). On hole #3, you want the Overdrive hole to stay within the Graf hole, and the curly bracket shows the extent of this 'wiggle room'. Just know that pushing the blade in at the green arrow will push the blade out at the red arrow, and vice versa.


Below is the result on his left skate. He postioned the Overdrive hole at about the middle of the Graf hole and drilled to expand the blade holder hole. Then he drilled into the boot to create a new hole for Overdrive. You can see on the bottom side of the blade holder that the other hole #3 is not drilled. If Graf starts using this hole and Overdrive still does not line up properly, then you'll have to remove that screw before drilling to expand the hole. You do that by first unscrewing the screw until it's almost out, then hitting it with a hammer. That will pop the screw holder inside the boot. Repeat if necessary if it doesn't come out. If you don't want to damage the screw head, then use a nail. Then drill. When you attach the blade by that hole, you will likely have to use an Overdrive screw, as those Graf screws require some dexterity to install and they may spin in the bigger hole.


Below is his result on the right skate. He did a good job, and I'll have to get his name up, because I really appreciate these photos.


And below is the result on the left skate. I've photographed Overdrive many times, and the slightest shift in the angle or light will make it look as though the blade is in or out more. The blades sit the same here.


And below are two angles on the left skate. This looks good, and that extra edge at the top of the skate will really help when you're down.