SEBA FR1 Skate Review
Review by: BigSteev
Freeskating in the post-FSK era
When Salomon announced that they were getting out of the Inline skate market I, and Iíd imagine many other FSK users, wondered what would be the alternative when their current skates perished. Iíve tried Twisters and didnít get on with them, Iíve tried the Seba slalom models and found the chassis position caused me to pronate too much and K2s just donít fit me comfortably. By best option so far has been a custom combination of an aggro boot (Salomon Vinny Minton or Chad Sands) mated with an FSK or Viper chassis. This has proved comfortable but a tad heavy on street skates, but now I think my problem has been solved.
Introducing the Seba FR1.
A quick glance reveals itís roots in the Seba slalom model and indeed many of the components are shared, but where the slalom model has a softer, more hockey boot like shell, the FR1ís boot is a hard plastic shell more like a Twister or a Roces Lowrider. This should prove harder wearing for street use and the addition of replaceable white blocks to protect from wear to the outside of the foot through things like failed slides enforces this notion. Like the slalom model the boot has multiple mounting locations for the chassis, but unlike it, I felt balanced on my centre edge as soon as I put them on. I also felt the boot was a little wider so instantly more comfortable for me. They do come with laces, but Iíve chosen to run them without, partly as it make it quicker to put on/take off and partly because I donít have any spare chequered laces at the moment. Even without laces, my feet felt well held in the boot. I noticed that the padding around the ankle is designed to help with heel hold, and combines well with the ratchet ankle strap to achieve this.
Another carry over from Sebaís slalom models is the adjustable cuff. This can be raised or lowered or angled by loosening the retaining bolts on the cuff and rotating the washer to the desired position. A little experimentation should reveal the most suitable position.
Wheels, bearings and chassis.
The wheels are 80mm 85a Seba branded offerings which work fine for me, though possible a little hard for a lighter skater. I believe them to be made by Hyper and are far better than what came on FSKs. The bearings are the well renowned ILQ-9 Twincam (slalom pro model) which is nice to see. (bearings are an easy point for skate manufacturers to save money so itís good to see your getting quality components for your money. The chassis is 6000 series aluminium and, on my size 11s, comes in a 243mm length. It looks strong enough and there wasnít any noticeable flex in use. They are also nicely machined so as not to impair the free spinning of the wheels.
A lot of people had issues with FSKs causing ankle pain, and in many cases this seemed to be attributable to the way the shells were joined in the ankle area and the raised edges of the plastic facing inwards. Whilst I never experienced that, the one piece construction of the Seba boot should mean that that problem wonít be an issue here. However, I have notice that the 2 tiny rivets on the inside of the cuff bolt have already caused some wear on the liner. I intend to cover these with some duct tape to reduce the friction with the rough edges before this becomes a major issue. The styling, black boot with white cuff, is very reminiscent of a Deemax3 so has fond memories for me. There is a blue option but Iím unsure as to whether these will be available in the UK.
Note that the skate comes with 2 quality 'T' Allen keys and a different set of shock absorbers to fit under the heel. It does not come with a heel brake so may not be suitable for beginners (though @ £200 they're aimed at more experienced skaters anyway). That said, it's quite likely you can add an aftermarket speedskate brake like the Powerslide one (not tested yet though).
As I mentioned, as soon as I tried them on, I felt centred and the boots felt
very comfortable. It didnít take much for the cash to leave my wallet and I
think the fact that I was happy to use them for the Santa Skate that evening
should speak volumes for the confidence they inspired in me. Although I knew the
skate would not be particularly fast, I would be skating with a video camera so
Iíd need to be able to get from back to front easily, be manoeuvrable and do
that without paying too much attention to the potholes of the London streets.
They worked perfectly and remained comfortable throughout.
Iím happy! Iíve found what will be my Salomon FSK replacements. Maybe theyíll work for you too.
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