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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old January 6th, 2007, 05:16 PM   #1
mikeyb
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Default Off the shelf Bonts

I'm thinking of getting a new Bont skate planned for release in March called the Semi-Race. It's a cross between and fitness skate and a speed boot and has a carbon last, like a speed boot. It will be 3-point mounted to an aluminum frame.

I've seen and met plenty of people happy with custom Bont skates but haven't spoken or heard of experience with their off-the-shelf boots. Do many skaters find them comfortable? Does the last favor narrow or wide? I'll assume the construction is good. Is it high arched or more intermediate? Do their boots tend to favor a particular skating style?
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Old January 6th, 2007, 11:01 PM   #2
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I skated on off-the-shelf Bont boots for about 10 months before switching to customs. They're fine with me, once I got my blister problem sorted out (took almost 3 to 4 months). But that's due to my technique. It worked fine for me.

Then, after half year into the customs, I put the old boots back on for a day (need to do something on the custom boots), and it was so painful. I guess my feet are so "pampered" now that it won't take anything less than customs.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 10:19 AM   #3
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Off-the-shelf boots are made as generically as possible. Not too skinny, not too wide. A perfect fit is never possible straight-off-the-shelf since nobody has perfectly average feet!

I have very narrow feet and a low arch, so I tried on virtually all the boots in my size in the shop. Each was fractionally different, but all had the same 'basic' sizing, which is to be expected since they (presumably) all come off the same mold. I bought the ones that hurt least.

I found my ZX5's wide at the toe, and narrow just in front of the ankle. The arch was normal (too high for my low arch), and the "bumps" for the ankle bones were in totally the wrong places.

All of these problems were all solved with heat molding and 3mm insoles. It does take time to get it right - several passes through the oven and serious prodding in various places to get the right shape (especially in the sole area), but it was doable.

Short answer: if you have no patience and plenty of money, or you just have really bad feet, get customs. If you're a cheap-skate (like me) then you'll have to go through a similar process to get the fit you need.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #4
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As you can guess, I'm collecting advice on a few forums. The boots Bont is planning are sort of a hybrid. I believe they have 5mm (or 6?) of padding, a carbon last shaped for 'masters' skaters (sad to say, I fit that one to a tee). I'll be able to check one out before buying. I also have flat feet, but they tend to form around a normal arch without pain. If I'm disappointed in the fit then I'm gonna follow the chorus of advice, and go custom.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #5
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mikeyb, if your talking about a hybrid boot with padding, i'd tend to save the expense of going custom. The padding would make up the fdifference in your foot from the variance in the boot, wouldn't it? You say 5mm of padding- my goodness, that's a quarter inch! Surely your foot is not that much different than the last. And remember, it can be heat molded to take up the difference, so you effectively have even more than a quarter inch to work with.

Very few skaters really require customs in the first place. If you have a boot with so much intersticial padding, the notion of customs is lost on me.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #6
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I too am very interested in this new Bont set up. Cant wait for my local shop to get one so that I can check it out first hand.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #7
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That's why I mentioned the extra padding. This brings the boot a little closer to a fitness boot hopefully with some of the ease of use. What set me off on this was a recent skate trip I went on. One of the skaters was using a custom Bont with 4x100 TruRev frame. The setup was amazingly light to me compared to my Salomon fitness boots and so I'm trying to shed some pounds. Also, my fitness boots are a bit loose in the heel (to be expected) though I've gotten used to them. Even with 5mm of padding, the Bont should have a much closer fitting heel/hind foot area.
Downside of this setup is if the boot doesn't work out, I won't be able to make use of the frame elsewhere as it's a 3 pointer.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 03:07 PM   #8
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Default Bont Boots

Bont boots tend to run wider in the ankle and narrower in the toe. For people that have a narrower than normal heel and ankle the brand doesn't work very well. I love Bont boots but with a narrow heel and ankle, customes are the only Bonts that work for me. I had a pair of Vaypor's and no matter how much molding I did they never quite fit right. Once all that padding starts to soften-up and break down your probably going to be less than pleased.

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Old January 8th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
Downside of this setup is if the boot doesn't work out, I won't be able to make use of the frame elsewhere as it's a 3 pointer.
You can always step up and buy an Apache or Vaypor and still use the frame. I decided to listen to everyones advice and ordered a full custom. I think in the end it will be cheaper than buy 28 pairs of stock boots.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 06:21 PM   #10
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I've discussed this with Bont's US rep, Glenn Koshi. There's a nearby skater who does heat molding for Bont and Glenn will send a couple sizes of both the Semi-race and the Apache to his place for me to check out. As a company, Bont clearly makes themselves available for service and I need the help. This will give me alot of options. Otherwise, I'm unaware of any local retailers for speed skates in the Philly area.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 02:45 AM   #11
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I just went to Philly a few days ago and got molded by him. It was just a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Baltimore. So I'll be waiting for my Vaypors
If you ever want to drive down here, I'm avalible to skate m-F 9am-4pm. I don't like to work to much, it interferes with my skating.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWI-Sheldon View Post
I decided to listen to everyones advice and ordered a full custom. I think in the end it will be cheaper than buy 28 pairs of stock boots.
I went the same route. I had Glenn Koshi (great guy!) mold my feet in late November. Since the Bont factory was being moved then, mine haven't started being built yet, but hopefully very soon. I ordered 2007 4x110 Vaypors in the new yellow color. I don't know the exact graphics/colors, but there were only a few colors to choose from, and yellow sounded good to me. Don't care much about the color, as long as they fit well, and are stiff and fast. Can't wait!

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Old January 9th, 2007, 03:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I ordered 2007 4x110 Vaypors in the new yellow color.
You know they just announced a 13.5" frame. You might want to think about it if they didn't make your boot yet.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 08:11 PM   #14
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You know they just announced a 13.5" frame. You might want to think about it if they didn't make your boot yet.
A 13.5" inch frame with 110 wheels equates to an 18" skate. Longer than a 5x90. Not many skaters have the power to continuously push a skate that long.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #15
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In my opinion, the power required to push a "long" skate doesn't depend on the overall length from the front of the front wheel to the back of the back wheel, but rather on the distance from the contact point on the front wheel to the contact point on the back wheel -- in other words, the manufacturer's stated frame length. In the absence of rocker, the frame length (and also fore/aft positioning) determines how easy or hard it will be to carve the skate, which has a big effect on cadence, kind of like switching gears on a bicycle. The frame length of a 13.5 4x110 is just barely longer than a 13.46 5x84, and a 13.2 4x110 is slightly shorter. A 5x88 is 14.0 inches long, and a 5x90 is longer still. I don't think that 13.5 will be nearly as "hard to push" as a 5x90. I am going to stick to 13.2, though.

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Old January 10th, 2007, 06:18 AM   #16
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Hi mikeyb...I too am looking at getting the Semi-race, and I am coming off another stock Bont boot (stock Pyrotechnics). They were fine off the shelf, but didn't fit perfectly. I didn't bother with heat moulding as the reccomendation I have had from Bont is that if the fit is reasonably good off the shelf, don't heat mould them because you may introduce other fitment issues.

The deal with the Semi-race may be different. As I understand, the new fitness and low end speed packages/boots coming out in March will be out of China (up until then, all Bont boots are made in Australia). One would assume that Bont will be using the same last as they do in the Australian factory for stock boots, but there are always little problems with changes to manufacturing locations/methods/volumes.

CG
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Old January 11th, 2007, 11:18 AM   #17
mikeyb
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Hi Inlina. When the Semi-race comes out I'm going to have Glenn send in both this skate and an Apache for me to try out. I'm going to use the Bont rep as a surrogate skate shop and make a choice from there. I can always get a short track Apache or get some semi- or full custom. I'm not sure if they're cancelling the ZX5, but this might be a good option as well.

Hi BWI-Sheldon. I travel to Washington via Baltimore 4 or more times a year to visit family. If I can break away for a skate I'll give you a buzz ahead of time.

Mike
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Old January 11th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #18
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I'll be waiting
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Old January 12th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #19
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Honestly the bont looks the same as my custom as being high cut with a strap around the ankle.

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Old January 15th, 2007, 04:19 AM   #20
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Hi NCS. Just noticed your post. Actually it's your concept I'm looking to. We posted on the Gatorback site. However, it may be hard for me to get to these other custom boot makers from Philly. Can you share the number of your boot maker and I'll give him a call and see how it works?
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