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SFR RX23 Skates Review

by Peter Maisey

 

Call me a cheapskate if you must. I went into my local skate shop intending to spend up to £200 on a new pair of skates to replace my 5 year old worn out, distorted, battered Salomon’s, and came out with a £60 pair of SFR’s. So am I really a cheapskate, or did I get a decent pair of skates at a bargain price?

The model I came away with was the SFR RX23, size 9, 84mm wheels. Apart from replacing a very worn out pair of skates, I also wanted to step up from 80mm wheels. The original target was a skate with 90mm wheels. I wanted to give myself a better chance of completing the 2011 Goodwood double marathon, having failed to complete the distance two years in a row on 80mm wheels.

So why chose the the SFR’s with smaller wheels than I intended? Well they looked nice. Now I know that shouldn’t be important, but it clearly is, otherwise skate manufactures wouldn’t bother with the fashion aspect of skate design. And they were extremely comfortable from the very beginning, something I have big problems with in any kind of footwear. That comfort was further enhanced when I inserted the custom made foot beds I use.

The skates have an ankle (power/cinch) strap, which makes a significant difference in ensuring my heel wasn’t constantly lifting in the boot. I only realised how significant when I skates with my old pair again.

Apart from the looks, the most noticeable difference between the SFR’s and my previous skates is the weight – 25% lighter – increasingly significant over the 52 miles I planned to skate in them.

Skating outside for the first time in my beautiful new skates, I noticed how comfortable the ride was. The larger wheels seemed to do a good job smoothing out the uneven paths I was skating on. One of my favourite routes has a wooden foot bridge, with the ribbed wooden planks usually used for garden decking. From a teeth rattling ride in my previous skates, the bridge was no longer of any real significance.

As well as having a larger diameter than previous wheels I have used, the wheels supplied as standard with my SFR’s also proved to be softer, adding to the ride comfort. They were nominally 82A, but wore quickly enough to make me suspect that the hardness rating doesn’t mean a great deal. However, the combination of larger diameter and softer durometer made the skates a pleasure to wear outdoors.

The only downside to the skates I purchased was the wheel bearings. They really didn’t last too long. But I ignored the nasty crunching sounds for some considerable time and continued to skate in them during the weeks leading up to Goodwood.

Preparing for Goodwood I decided the wheels were too worn and too soft. I changed both wheels and bearings, the wheels to Hyper Dubbs, and bearings to ABEC 7’s. The Hypers were also rated 82A, the same as the wheels that came with the skates, but were actually much harder.

So how did I fare at Goodwood? Well, I managed to complete the double marathon, having failed in my two previous attempts. After 52 miles, of course my feet were sore and tired. But no blisters! I have taken part in all 11 Goodwood marathons and this was the first time I have not had to plaster up to prevent blistering.

So, all in all, I think I bought a bargain. I achieved what I set out to do when I bought the skates – complete the Goodwood double marathon. I have skated in the dry and in the wet, through mud and gravel. And after all that I still have a pair of skates in pretty good condition.

So I reckon that these skates would be good enough for a beginner to consider without having to go through the “I don’t want to spend much money because I might not enjoy it” problem. This £60 skate is certainly good enough to get them started while they decide whether skating is for them or not.

For myself, I don’t plan to replace my skates any time soon. They are good enough for what I want to do, certainly in the near future.

 

 

  

 

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