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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 March 19th, 2017, 09:53 AM   #1
submeg
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Default Switching to Speed Skating: which boot?

Hi all,

I've been skating for a few years with SEBA FRX80s. The boots are good in that they have great support and the wheels are 80mm, so you can work up a bit of speed.

However, the boot is rather heavy and I do want to be able to go faster (who doesn't right?) I mainly skate in a straight line, not around a circuit, but if I can find a better place to skate, then hey, I'm not adverse to change.

I'm wondering what skates I should look for...I've had a poke around here and other places, and people have said a couple things:

1. The jump to 150 mm wheels can be quite different and difficult to control.
2. The low cut boots are very different to skate in and take time to master.

With those ideas, I know that I don't have all the time in the world to dedicate to proper training on a daily basis, but I do like to try and get out as much as I can. On average, I usually skate 2-3 times a week, over a distance of 15 km at a time; the boots are just too heavy for me to keep going.

After a bit of research, I narrowed down my search to two boots: the SEBA Marathon 100 and Powerslide Endurance. Reason being that they look a bit lighter than my current setup and the wheels are larger

I'm skating for a) fitness and b) fun. I'm not doing it for any particular racing/ events, just because it's a great energy burner.

For what I'm looking for, what would you people suggest? Is it better to get the low cut boot and spend the time learning first or are the higher boots good enough?

Very appreciative of any feedback! Cheers.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 06:30 PM   #2
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Higher boots are just fine. We even have a few indoor racers on tall boots (PowerSlide.) They'll be a little heavier and you'll have a bit less ankle motion, so you won't have quite as much transfer of power and tight accuracy in foot placement, but if you're not racing, there's not much need for it over the comfort.

Going a full jump from a recreational skate to a low cut speed skate is a fairly big jump, both in general comfort and in exercising new muscles. And if you're just in it for the general exercise and you're already worrying that it'll be too much, it quite possibly will be.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 06:48 PM   #3
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Recommending a boot is difficult because we don't know how you skate, and some people find it much easier to make the switch to speed boots than others, so really you need to try a few different models to see what they feel like.

That said, I think staying with another Seba model or something similar is just a sideways move. If you want to learn speedskating then you best do it as properly as you are currently able, not stick with what is most familiar. "Proper" speedskating technique is actually restricted by supportive high cuffs that you find on rec skates.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 07:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
...That said, I think staying with another Seba model or something similar is just a sideways move. If you want to learn speedskating then you best do it as properly as you are currently able, not stick with what is most familiar. "Proper" speedskating technique is actually restricted by supportive high cuffs that you find on rec skates.
The Seba Marathon and PowerSlide Endurance boots both hinge forward at the ankle to allow a crouching stance. While it is a bit more restrictive than a low cut speed boot, it's not as much as you might think. Which is why I mentioned that we have a few indoor speed skaters that do skate on them.

If he's not looking to compete, "proper" speed skating technique may take some of the fun out of it if he's also prohibitively uncomfortable with a low cut boot.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:43 PM   #5
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Fair enough, mayguy. I just don't believe in doing things half-assed.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:56 AM   #6
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I can understand both points of view, hence why I haven't been able to make an easy call.

In terms of style, I have come from a street background; footpaths, roads, straight lines, small jumps, those kind of things.

The only reason I worry about it is that the difference in support will be large and the main problem I have here in Australia is there are no stores that carry speed skates. I have to either ship them in (found one distributor that does powerslide skates) or order online. My ability to test skates is non existent.

The only reason I am concerned is that the jump in wheel size AND the low cut boot is a lot of change. Does the 100 mm wheel feel that much bigger that 80 (which is what I am on currently)? If it doesn't perhaps the low cut boot is the right way to go.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 12:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by submeg View Post
The only reason I am concerned is that the jump in wheel size AND the low cut boot is a lot of change. Does the 100 mm wheel feel that much bigger that 80 (which is what I am on currently)? If it doesn't perhaps the low cut boot is the right way to go.
This is a good concern. You probably don't want to jump straight into a 125mm (the largest standard sized inline wheel currently available) setup and a low boot. Chances are that your ankles may not be strong enough to keep the wheels at an optimum position.

That said, and to answer your question on wheel sizing, yes you will feel a difference. As there is more rotational mass, you will probably go faster easier. However, there is a trade off in that to get the wheels up to speed requires more power. But once there, it takes somewhat less effort to keep them going.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 06:18 PM   #8
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I wouldn't recommend switching to speed skates if you aren't going to train, to go to speed skating club, don't have someone to help. You'll need to learn how to skate again and level of comfort is, well, another.
Switching to low cut boots may work out and may not.

Maybe, just put some long frame on your old boot?

PS: I own two pairs of speed skates and waiting till custom ones are ready.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 08:21 PM   #9
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I ditched my speed boots for comfort on long distance skating, have not given up anything in terms of speed or technique. I use the Seba Marathon. They are very forgiving for forward flexion, much more a mid-cuff than high cuff boot. By comparison, the Powerslide Endurance is a soft-boot type skate(meaning soft liner, with outer exo-shell design), it will be more restrictive given it's higher composite cuff. and, even though hinged, these type soft-boots do not easily flex forward with ease, you need to pressure them, which can place the unsuspecting skater onto toe wheels more often then not. Also, in this classification of skates would be K2 and RB similar cross-trainer skates, both also with composite shells, and still 'soft-boot' design and construction.

I personally prefer the Seba Marathon over all others in this boot category as the carbon-fiber integrated boot is built solid, giving more control over the skate, with the fit and response of a 'comfy' speed boot. The soft-boots tend to be just that, soft and mushy underfoot.

Between the Seba FRX you have an Seba Marathon there are worlds of differences. The FRX is plastic composite type shell with marshmallow soft liners, the marathon is an integrated carbon-fiber shell boot, using speed boot design, with just a dab more padding than a speed boot, in just the right places.

You can see the differences in cuff heights between Seba FR1 next to the Seba Marathon in this pic below. I have since put a Powerslide 3x110 wheel set up on it in place of the 4x100 wheel frame set. And, now that I am looking at this pic, to my left, I see hubby (in the FR1 skates) using my Powerslide Megacruiser pro 3x110 frame on his FR1's. He usually has a 4x80mm frame set up for this skate.

SEBA FR1 and SEBA MARATHON (middle-right)
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Old March 21st, 2017, 11:52 PM   #10
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If you are looking to go faster for fun without the commitment changing to competitive speed skating, Mat was right on. Jump to 4 X 110mm wheels with 13.2 frames for stability. Fun and stability are key and always going fast is your goal. This will do the trick. If you only go to 100mm you will wish you had gone all the way to 110's. Spend the money one time and go fast. There isn't much difference when outdoor only skating from 100mm to 110mm other than more speed.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 12:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Vadim View Post

Maybe, just put some long frame on your old boot?
That was my first thought too, I tried to see if the SEBA Marathon frames would fit the FRX80 boot, but I was informed they don't? If I could switch the frames out, would this be a better option? However, the weight of the boot is still there... Would be good to know if the Powerslide Endurance boot is lighter.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 12:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by shesk8 View Post
I ditched my speed boots for comfort on long distance skating, have not given up anything in terms of speed or technique. I use the Seba Marathon. They are very forgiving for forward flexion, much more a mid-cuff than high cuff boot. By comparison, the Powerslide Endurance is a soft-boot type skate(meaning soft liner, with outer exo-shell design), it will be more restrictive given it's higher composite cuff. and, even though hinged, these type soft-boots do not easily flex forward with ease, you need to pressure them, which can place the unsuspecting skater onto toe wheels more often then not. Also, in this classification of skates would be K2 and RB similar cross-trainer skates, both also with composite shells, and still 'soft-boot' design and construction.

I personally prefer the Seba Marathon over all others in this boot category as the carbon-fiber integrated boot is built solid, giving more control over the skate, with the fit and response of a 'comfy' speed boot. The soft-boots tend to be just that, soft and mushy underfoot.

Between the Seba FRX you have an Seba Marathon there are worlds of differences. The FRX is plastic composite type shell with marshmallow soft liners, the marathon is an integrated carbon-fiber shell boot, using speed boot design, with just a dab more padding than a speed boot, in just the right places.

You can see the differences in cuff heights between Seba FR1 next to the Seba Marathon in this pic below. I have since put a Powerslide 3x110 wheel set up on it in place of the 4x100 wheel frame set. And, now that I am looking at this pic, to my left, I see hubby (in the FR1 skates) using my Powerslide Megacruiser pro 3x110 frame on his FR1's. He usually has a 4x80mm frame set up for this skate.
So the Marathons come up somewhere in between the ankle and the full height of the FRX80 boot? Interesting! Thank you for the detail about the boot, that is what I was wanting to hear!
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 12:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by AZ Roadrunner View Post
If you are looking to go faster for fun without the commitment changing to competitive speed skating, Mat was right on. Jump to 4 X 110mm wheels with 13.2 frames for stability. Fun and stability are key and always going fast is your goal. This will do the trick. If you only go to 100mm you will wish you had gone all the way to 110's. Spend the money one time and go fast. There isn't much difference when outdoor only skating from 100mm to 110mm other than more speed.
So if I went the marathon route, it would be better to go 110 straight out?
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 01:27 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by shesk8 View Post
I ditched my speed boots for comfort on long distance skating, have not given up anything in terms of speed or technique. I use the Seba Marathon. They are very forgiving for forward flexion, much more a mid-cuff than high cuff boot. By comparison, the Powerslide Endurance is a soft-boot type skate(meaning soft liner, with outer exo-shell design), it will be more restrictive given it's higher composite cuff. and, even though hinged, these type soft-boots do not easily flex forward with ease, you need to pressure them, which can place the unsuspecting skater onto toe wheels more often then not. Also, in this classification of skates would be K2 and RB similar cross-trainer skates, both also with composite shells, and still 'soft-boot' design and construction.

I personally prefer the Seba Marathon over all others in this boot category as the carbon-fiber integrated boot is built solid, giving more control over the skate, with the fit and response of a 'comfy' speed boot. The soft-boots tend to be just that, soft and mushy underfoot.

Between the Seba FRX you have an Seba Marathon there are worlds of differences. The FRX is plastic composite type shell with marshmallow soft liners, the marathon is an integrated carbon-fiber shell boot, using speed boot design, with just a dab more padding than a speed boot, in just the right places.

You can see the differences in cuff heights between Seba FR1 next to the Seba Marathon in this pic below. I have since put a Powerslide 3x110 wheel set up on it in place of the 4x100 wheel frame set. And, now that I am looking at this pic, to my left, I see hubby (in the FR1 skates) using my Powerslide Megacruiser pro 3x110 frame on his FR1's. He usually has a 4x80mm frame set up for this skate.
Good to know about the differences between the PowerSlide Endurance and Seba Marathon boots. From what I understood the Endurance was fairly similar to the FRX. There's also a PowerSlide Marathon boot that seems more like the R2/R4 boots, just with the taller cuff support with hinge. I assumed the PowerSlide Marathon and Seba Marathon were fairly similar to each-other as well (not similar to the Endurance or the FRX.)

Our guys that do indoor speed are on the PowerSlide marathon boots. One downside of the PowerSlide Marathon boots is, since they seem to be based on the R2/R4 shell, they're not heat moldable, where the Seba Marathon is.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 01:32 AM   #15
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I'm pretty sure the FRX boots are all 165mm mount. You can get 4x100mm, 100/110 HiLo (aka: trixie), and 3x125mm frames with a 165mm mount, but not so much 4x110mm frames. You might be able to find some 4x110mm frames with a 165mm mount, but they end up pretty tall. At that point it's almost worth it to look at 125mm to get the extra roll at almost the same amount of height.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 03:47 AM   #16
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Our guys that do indoor speed are on the PowerSlide marathon boots. One downside of the PowerSlide Marathon boots is, since they seem to be based on the R2/R4 shell, they're not heat moldable, where the Seba Marathon is.
I'm guessing the heat mouldable gives a better fit, hence better power transfer and less tiredness? Is the difference significant?
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 03:50 AM   #17
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I'm pretty sure the FRX boots are all 165mm mount. You can get 4x100mm, 100/110 HiLo (aka: trixie), and 3x125mm frames with a 165mm mount, but not so much 4x110mm frames. You might be able to find some 4x110mm frames with a 165mm mount, but they end up pretty tall. At that point it's almost worth it to look at 125mm to get the extra roll at almost the same amount of height.
If I were to swap the frames out, would it make that much of a difference in speed, compared to if I just bit the bullet and jumpined on the SEBA Marathon 110, considering it's a "mid cuff" and so a bit more range of movement and better power transfer? I'm not adverse going to a slightly shorter boot, I just think jumping straight to speed skates wouldn't work and I wouldn't enjoy it.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 08:55 PM   #18
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I'm guessing the heat mouldable gives a better fit, hence better power transfer and less tiredness? Is the difference significant?
Yes, and primarily, for me, comfort. I have flat feet and a lot of boots have a fairly pronounced arch. So I need the boots to be moldable so I can flatten the arch out. It's more important to some than others. Probably depends on how "normal" shaped your feet are, or at least how close they are to the "standard" they're built to (the industry term for the form they make a boot to is called a "last".)
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 09:04 PM   #19
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That was my first thought too, I tried to see if the SEBA Marathon frames would fit the FRX80 boot, but I was informed they don't? If I could switch the frames out, would this be a better option? However, the weight of the boot is still there... Would be good to know if the Powerslide Endurance boot is lighter.
Seba marathon frame won't fit coz your boot has 165mm between mounting blocks and frame has 195.
Almost any 165mm frame will fit. For example Luigino Striker 3x110 (the only pic I found in the web)

pic from nettracing.com

Weight of the boot will be still there but comfort will stay with you too
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 09:09 PM   #20
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If I were to swap the frames out, would it make that much of a difference in speed, compared to if I just bit the bullet and jumpined on the SEBA Marathon 110, considering it's a "mid cuff" and so a bit more range of movement and better power transfer? I'm not adverse going to a slightly shorter boot, I just think jumping straight to speed skates wouldn't work and I wouldn't enjoy it.
Yes, a larger wheel frame on your current boot would make a fairly large difference... but you're even more "stuck" in 165mm mount since you'll have even more 165mm mount equipment unless the frame you get is dual mount (which is even less common.) It'll be a bigger jump in speed and performance to go to the SEBA Marathon 110. But, like what is frustrating for many of us, we don't always get to try them before we buy. And the same for the next step of a lower cut speed boot.

But no one can tell you neither what's more important for you nor how any particular boot is going to fit or perform for you.

Great answers, huh?

To put it in perspective, though, Richard Nett, the guy that runs NettRacing got pretty disenchanted with speed boots in general. He was having issues with ankle strength since he wasn't training as much as he used to. Some people don't have as much of this issue, but in the end, he was an wasn't enjoying skating as much. He got a hold of the SEBA boots and even though he had less direct control, he wasn't fighting the pain and strain, so he could skate with less fatigue and the control issues were less of an issue since he wasn't fighting the pain that was preventing him from having the form he wanted. So, it was a trade off, avoiding pain won on its own merits, but he also noticed his lap times were better as well, plus he wasn't as fatigued afterwards.
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