Test : USD Carbon Free Richie Eisler
Cheaper... and maybe better?
Yep! "Carbon Free" means "no carbon" like "Sugar Free" means "no sugar"! The purpose of USD is simple: to propose a model with similar features to those of a "Carbon" skate but at a more affordable price. Is there a big difference with a "Carbon"? Does the Kizer Fluid 4 frame worth it?
Design: sober but nice
The design of the Carbon Free Richie Eisler is quite simple. It shows the outline of his Carbon big brother, only the material of the shell seems to have changed: plastic instead of Carbon composite. The Carbon Free keeps the same overboot. You change the color a little, and there's magic, you get a Free Carbon black with white stitching, black and white laces, and a black cuff. The frame is black and the wheels are white. It's smooth, discreet, efficient.
For those who prefer white shoes, USD recently released a white version of the Carbon Free.
Everything is done so that the rider think he wears Carbon skates... but without the carbon. A nice success in terms of design, sober and classy.
Solidity: a strength skate despite of the overboot
The Carbon Free seems stronger than its carbon version but it's just an impression, the carbons are much more stronger than it seems. The leather overboot fulfills its function. It is resistant to blows, friction and long slides on the ground without coming undone or coming off.
The cuff also resists very well to shocks. But before skating, take some time ton control the screws of the cuff. On this skate, the dangerous impacts often arrive at the buckle and strap. Fortunately, they are pretty well reinforced! So nothing to fear. Although it is equipped with a overboot, this model remains strong on all levels.
Comfort: a thicker sole would be better
This touches a nerve of these skates: after only two sessions, the very thin soles already began to tear! For the comfort of your little feet, we recommend you to change it for a thicker sole. It makes you really be more comfortable. It gives you more control and accuracy.
Even if the ankle is well surrounded by foam, the rest of the foot may feel some pain on the sides. The obvious lack of foam indicates that this skate fits large. Once again, replace the sole by a thicker one and you will feel better while skating.
The shock absorber is quite simple but it remains effective and protects you from rough landings.
The fastening is composed with 3 different systems. First, the laces will keep your foot at the bottom of the skate. To increase efficiency, we recommend that you work a bit of boot leather by hand to soften it, and the laces will be more effective
The lace is then completed by a strap that does not convince us. We would have liked it closes a little more in the early sessions. The heel does not move too much or take off the skate.... It's a beginning.
Finally, USD also added a micrometric buckle on the tibia, It is strong and useful. It holds the ankle very well, leaving it free enough for the top tricks.
Flexibility improves over time
The flexibility of the boot is very good at the ankle. The more you skate, the mor the boot softens at the ankle. Overall, the cut cuff and flexibility of the tongue help you to hold easily top tricks. You are alsoo fairly well balanced and you grind rather easily. The flexibility of the boot is nice from the first sessions. In addition, you feel it improves with time!
Gliding is all good!
A lightweight skate is always more fun to stall. It is also easier to handle. Again, the soulplate is really good. This is the same model as the Carbons. Thus, It has all these qualities:
- light with good backside plate notch
- a well-cut groove
- a good glide for Soul tricks
There are no complaints. You found quickly how to stall and you can enjoy a good glide on every spots. The USD Carbon Free Richie Eisler is dedicated to "street" skating but will gives you all the same great feel in skateparks and half-pipes.
Frame: a good combination with the souplate
The frame is a Kizer Fluid IV. It has a pre-cut H-block, wider and bigger. Gliding is still good even if the frame is hard enough. It blends perfectly with the soulplate. The is no gliding difference between the grinds and soul slides.Kizer Fluid 4 is available in three sizes: M for 42 EU, a little larger than those with which we usually skate.
But hey, it gives you more stability and it is easier to stall when you are accustomed to its length. Some may prefer to skate with a smaller size... but even if you lose a little maneuverability, a larger frame offers a better stalling thanks to the groove and antirockers.
Undercover wheels and antirockers
The Undercover antirockers have no bearing to save weight... but they roll enough not to block on the spots. They are stronger than other brands and slide pretty well. The wheels are also Undercover, 58mm 90A. Those wheels are verly large and very hard. They are still fun to skate anyway, you'll quickly get the speed and keep it a long time. A good finish for this skate.
Even if the USD Richie Eisler is a "fake carbon", it is a real success. It is a little more flexible than its big brother with a similar comfort and an identical finish. We would have prefered having a little more foam in the boot to improve comfort and accuracy. The glide is good and the boot is strong. In short, we almost prefer it to its "Carbon" version, but this is really a matter of taste ...
Strengths and points to be improved
Pluses+ The glide of the frame and the soulplate
+ The flexibilty of the boot
+ The solidity of the boot
- The comfort of the boot
Model : Carbon Free Richie Eisler
Boot : composite plastic
Liner: USD Mesh and néoprène, anatomical padding
Cuff: USD removable
Closure: laces, strap and micrometric buckle
Sizes: 39 - 47 EU | 5 - 12.5 UK
Frame: Kizer fluid IV
Wheels: Undercover 58mm 90A
Antirockers: 43mm Undercover
Max diameter: 58mm
Bearings: ABEC 5 USD
Price: 300 €
Recommended for: Street skating, skate park and bowl.
Translated by Alfathor
Thanks to "The Conference"