Test : Bont semi-Race (2008)
Everybody was talking about the new Bont Semi-race inline skate. It is here ! At Last. We were waiting for its release to test it. The last born of the australian firm try to offer a compromise between speed performance and longue distance comfort. Our impressions...
A good compromise between comfort and performance ?
Bont decides to strike strong with this product : the Semi-race is available for less than 400 euros (335 euros indeed). The goal is simple : find a perfect compromise between performance requirements of race and comfort of a long distance skate.
A mid cut carbon shell
Bont designed the Semi-race with similar lines as on of its best skates : the Vaypor. The main difference is made on the upper which is high on the Semi-Race.
The skate offers a 3 points mounting combined with a carbon fiber and epoxy resin shell. The SMT (Super Mold Technology) is available, it means the boot is heat moldable.
Flexibility: a good compromise between rigidity and freedom of move
The ankle is takent in the carbon just as for a race skate. We feared the lack of flexibility but we were soon convinced by the boot. If you do not over thight the Velcro on the top, everything will be all right.
The flexibility does not come from the boot which has no spoiler but the ankle is free enough to move forward and backward. The edge of the boot is soft and does not cause any issue or injury to the achilles tendon.
On the top of the shoe, the strap with velcro gives a good tightening. If you tighten too much, it can arrives that this strap opens itself during the flexion.
A good support
La rigidité latérale est plutôt une bonne chose sur de la longue distance. Elle offre un bon maintien, y compris sur des freinages en T répétés dans des descentes inconnues et/ou techniques.
Le très bon maintien de la cheville par le carbone évite la fatigue notamment sur les freinages et la poussée en côte lors de longs trajets. Le geste est précis et donne une bonne impression d’efficacité dans la poussée tout en économisant l’effort. The lateral rigidity is a good thing in the long distance. Carbon also offers a good support of the ankle. It helps to feel confident in downhill. It avoids fatigue. The moves are more precise and gives a good impression of efficiency in the push.
A simple and efficient closing system
The closing system is a combination of laces on the bottom of the foot, a micrometric adjustable buckle on the top of the foot and a velcro strap on the tibia. We appreciated the fact that laces are hidden and held. It does not move all the time.
The boot is hard from the bottom to the top. The first time, we were sceptic on the way to enter the foot in it. But when the closing system is completely open, the boot is soft enough to let the foot sliding easily into the liner.
Once the foot is in the shoe, the support is good, even if the closing system is open. The lacing does not takes more time than with another skate. The adjustable micrometric buckle offers more precision on the top of the foot. In comparison, the strap on the tibia must be really tighten to be efficient. The tongue of the liner give a good protection to the ankle : the skaters does not feel the closing system on his foot. In short, the whole offers a precise and effective tightening. We noticed that the rigidity of the red material limits the tightening on the bottom of the foot.
Confort : take the time to heat-mold the skate
The Semi-Race boot is large. Take care of the size. 43 often corresponds to a traditional 44 in european size. The foot is well in the liner. The inner material is well done and pleasant. The carbone which take the ankle is really rigid. It has consequences on the comfort. A heat mold will be necessary to have the benefit of the Semi-race qualities and keep the foot intact.
To conclude on the well-fitting, we can say that the Semi-race is a bit surprizing the first time. Once wore, it gives sensations near of a real speed shoe : rigidity and reactivity during the push. Confort is good if the shoe perfectly fits to your size. It is long and large. It remains comfortable in spite of the rigidity : a very good compromise between the comfort of a Fila M100 and the efficiency of a pure speed boot.
There are the famous S-Frame. His name is linked to its S structure used to improve the rigidity. The entry-level model on the Semi-Race is extruded alloy.
The finishing of the frame is clean, the edges are not sharp. The machining is done well, there are no chips. This model is thin and pleasant to the eye. The graphics would probably be better the other way with the black toward the back rather than the front, but it is only a personal opinion.
The fact is that frame combines the excellent rigidity of a 3 points mounting and lightness.
Wheels : Hyper
Bont choose the Hyper Stripe + R 100 mm. The hardness is not specified on the wheel but then older models where around 84A.
Ce modèle n'a donc rien de très nouveau hormis sa sérigraphie. On retrouve les caractéristiques de ses aînées en Stripe : un noyau en étoile à 7 branches.
Elle donnent une accroche et un roulage corrects mais sans plus, que ce soit sur le sec ou le mouillé. Elles restent confortables à patiner sur différents types de revêtements. L'usure varie entre normale et rapide selon les avis de nos testeurs. This model has nothing really new but its serigraphy. We find the characteristics of its elders in Stripe : a core in star with seven branches. The grip and the rolling are correct on both wet and dry floors. These wheels remain comfortable to skate. The wear varies between normal and quick in function of our testers.
ABEC 7 Bont bearings
Be careful when you take the bearings in their boxes because they are heavily oiled! You must take the time to dry them and remove the excess oil before you put them into the wheels.
The Australian firm proposes a standard ABEC 7 stamped with its name. In use, the bearings went squeak after 15 km on a wet road but still rolling well during the rest of the journey. Despite of that, they survived to shocks and bad treatment on paved roads and rough roads during more than 600 km. They have not blocked despite the rain.
To place the frame correctly under the boot with the 3 points mounting, it is not very hard. Forget the central point in a first time, set the front and the back first. The screws are well placed and you have not to dismantle the wheels to adjust the frame. The hardware did not show any sign of weakness.
To conclude on the rolling part, we can say it offers a good compromise between rigidity and rolling for the long distance. The frame is low, the center of gravity too, the foot is positioned at the same height as in a M100. Bearings could have a better resistance to water and wheels a better rolling but it will certainly make a more expensive skate.
The finishing of the carbon shell is very correct, there is very few bubbles. The link with the upper is clean too : almost no glue. inside, the sole does not move. You hardly feel the edge between the shell and the upper when you touch it with your fingers. The seams are also well made. In short, for the proposed price, nothing to say.
A lateral plastic part has been added to reduce the damage in case of a fall. So finishing is very clean and well done. The lacquer coating of the shoe remains very fragile anyway: it does not flake but the slightest scratch is immediately visible.
Bont succeed in providing on of the best price / quality ratio of the market with the Semi-Race. At 335 euros, the other firms should worry for their business. The finishing is clean, the global level of component is good, the Semi-Race will certainly seduce a lot of long distance skaters such as persons who whould like to start racing. The rigidity of the shoe, the quality of the frame and the price are better than most of other brands products. The price of a long distance skate for a speed skate : what could the people demand ? In addition, skating has just arrived in french shops ...
Good points and points to improve
Good points+ Really attractive cost for value
Points to improve- Global quality of wheels
- Bearings a bit fragile
- Hard to tighten the front of the foot
|Value for money||10/10|
NOTE FINALE :
Brand : Bont
Product : Semi-Race
Year : 2007 - 2008
Shell : Carbone and epoxy
Liner : black microfiber
Upper : Mid-cut
Heatmoldable ? : yes (SMT Concept - Super Mold Technology)
Frame : Alloy S-Frame 12'5 from 35 to 37 european size - 12'8 for larger sizes
Bearings : Race Bont ABEC 7
Wheels : Hyper Stripe 100 mm 85A
Brake : optional
Price : 335 euros
Recommended for : long distance and to discover the pleasure of races
The "opponents" : Powerslide R4, C8 et S3, Rollerblade ProMarathon, Fila M100, Rollerblade Lightning 10, Roces Cruiser...
Liens utilesTested by : Apache, Gillou & 8WD
Pictures : Alfathor & all rights reserved
Thanks to Bont and Raps