In Search of New Skates
Though I'm a relative newbie to skating, the wet inclement British weather doesn't stop me, I skate a lot and frequently.
My first foray into skate purchase, saw me buy K2 FIT 84s. A recreational skate, but after a time, they were not for me. They lasted 6 months, before I moved to my second inline skate, the reliable, trusty Bauer X60R.
I've used the Bauers for the last 16 months, and they are great in their limited capacity. Though designed for hockey, they make a good street skate, as they're light, firm and strong. They flex too much for the kind of skating I do, but I like them. They served me well.
The biggest problem with my Bauer X60R, is size and fit. They're too big. I have a pair of Bauer X40 Ice skates size 8, which fit perfectly. I bought the ice skates six months before the X60R inline skates. I erroneously assumed, all Bauer skates have the same size and fit, and bought a size 8 in the X60R. Wrong.
The X60R Bauer inline skates are a full size too big. I wear thick socks, but still the boot isn't snug fitting. I need to buy replacement skates.
A skate. A skate. My dinero for a skate.
I need a new skate, but which one. Initially, I decided on the Seba FR1 Deluxe. I tried a pair in a store. The Seba FR1 Deluxe, is not a skate I could live with. It felt very uncomfortable, very clumsy. Didn't like the plastic shell or the separate liner. It was a non-starter. I left the store empty handed.
Online, I looked at the Bauer range and decided on the Bauer XR Premier, a lovely looking skate. Four years since it went into production, and stocks are almost non-existent. I found a supplier in America that had my size, but they refused to ship outside the USA.
I considered other skates made by Bauer, including their top-of-range. Hesitated and waited to see if any new models were introduced. Meanwhile, I continued skating with X60Rs.
Months pass, and I saw a promotional video for the new Seba SX Freestyle. They look the perfect skate. Only a couple of stockists in the UK. I made an online purchase from Loco Skates in South England, and waited patiently for the skates to arrive.
Loco recommends purchasing one size larger for the SX Freestyle. The size 9s arrived, but were too big. Further disappointment when the store didn't carry a smaller size.
Loco Skates were great. I had no problem with the return or the full refund. I would buy from them again.
The SX is a lovely skate, with a strong carbon shell, generous padding and a rigid Seba Deluxe frame. Its a large, robust skate and feels quite heavy. I liked the skate, but decided against pursuing it further. The SX Freestyle felt too bulky.
I've been using Bauer hockey skates for the last year, by comparison with the Seba SX, Bauers feel light and minimal. After the disappointment with the SX Freestyle, I considered a Bauer upgrade. Again, I couldn't find the skate in my size.
Weeks pass and its back to the store for another look at the Seba FR1 Deluxe. The store had regular FR1, but not the Deluxe. I vacillate on buying them. I didn't like the FR1. In desperation, the salesman suggests, I try the Seba Igor Pro, to see how they feel. They have the Igor Pros in my size. If I wait, they can order FR1 Deluxe for delivery the next week.
I try the Igor Pro. They are very tight. Very light. A wonderful skate. They fit like a glove. I love them, but retail price tag is £450, way over budget for a newbie like me. The salesman explained it was end of season, and in the process of revamping their stocks with a clear out, I could take the boot for £300. An offer I couldn't refuse.
I go to the store with the intention of paying £225 for Seba FR1 Deluxe and walk out with Seba Igor for £300. A bargain.
The Igor is an amazing skate. I love it, but it has three problems:
I've learned to live with that. The discount helped.
I'm working on the stiffness and breaking the boots in, slowly.
3. Rockered Frame
The Igor Pro comes fully banana rockered, which is great for slalom and tricks. For more regular use its more
difficult, and I'm still not used to the frame. Presently I'm using a mix of 80-76-76-80 wheels as a temporary fix. This arrangement provides a more conventional skate. I plan on buying a replacement unrockered Seba Deluxe frame, but I found none in the UK. Proline skates in Wales, carry the shorter 231mm frame, too small for 80mm wheels. I need 243mm frames. There's Grindhouse in Europe, who stock them, but I'm in no rush. I'll decide after I save enough.
The Igors are gonna be my main skate. They are very stiff, snug, light, comfortable. The boot takes some breaking-in. They chafe, and rub, abrasions and sores. I love these skates. They are amazing, but I decide I need a second pair. After much research, I'm opting for the Seba High Lite Carbon. I found no stocks in UK in my size.
Im still waiting and saving.