Roces Melbourne 2002
Inline skate review
by Bill Hicks.
For the last two years, I have been using a pair of Salomon TR9's (2000 model reviewed here) for teaching my inline classes. In the attempt to make them last as long as possible, I started looking for something similar to use. Several members of my local club (the Washington Area Roadskaters) use Roces skates and wouldnít trade them for anything. Based on their comments, and after much discussion with one of their US representatives (Jeremy Long) I decided to try out the Roces Melbourne.
Upon opening the box after receiving the skates, the first thing I noticed was the red colored aluminum frame. While I have to admit it does go well with the red, black and silver boot, I was somewhat surprised as Roces shows a silver frame on their website. Since then, I have found other sites that do show the red frame.
The next thing I noticed was that the frame was hard mounted and not moveable. My personal preference is to have the frame centered at the heel and between my big toe and the next so this gave me some concern that I might not be comfortable with the skate.
I have been skating the Melbourne for a couple of months now, using them for my classes and occasionally the Friday Night Skate in Washington DC. In addition, I wore them during a Zephyr Pennsylvania Tour the end of June, 2002. All told, I have put approximately 500 miles on them since purchasing them.
I have to say that the Melbourne is one of the most comfortable skates that I have worn. It rivals the Salomon TR9 for fit and comfort. The stock insole etc. is very nice and absorbs vibration very well. They seem a bit heavy when lifted, but once on my feet I really donít notice them. They are very smooth rolling and even with 80mm wheels, very easy to turn.
My only complaint is the brake pad. It is very small, approximately 1.25 inches in width, by approximately 2.25 inches long, and very, very, very soft! Because of its softness, it wears out very quickly (I have replaced the brake pad twice in the 500 miles). Granted, I teach a lot of beginning level skaters so I use the brake pad more than the average recreational/fitness skater, but with my Salomon TR9s I never went through more than two pads a year!
Roces Melbourne - Overall Conclusion
If you are interested in a skate that you can wear for hours and hours and still be comfortable, and are willing to carry an extra brake pad around, then you seriously should consider the Roces Melbourne. At around $200 US, itís a bargain and comfort wise, comparable to the Salomon line.
Bill is an experienced instructor who's been teaching since 1997, and is a regular long-time contributor on the Usenet newsgroup rec.sport.skating.inline. He can be contacted via this form.
Images kindly supplied by The Sports Authority, http://www.sportsauthority.com
Comments on this review
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As usual, this review is only my opinion about these skates, and your mileage may vary. You should always carefully judge whether the skates you intend buying are best suited for you and for the purpose you intend using. Remember that fit and comfort are extremely important, and you may wish to read the inline skating buying guide here on this site.
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