Test: Valo Light J.J.
The Jon Julio Light remains on the whole a Valo skate. The firm has a kind of trademark, and Valos are recognizable amongst all skates. I convey that this one is dark grey, with a two-part black and grey frame. For more than 350€ I guess people would have liked better a skate with a less basic looks… but can you really have it all?
For those who read foreign magazines or even watch videos on the Internet, you must have seen Jon Julio with red, black and white overboots. Lots of different colors. And in the end, the Valo Light JJ are grey! It’s nice but still a bit of colors instead of black and grey would have been welcome...
The skate in itself is a bit wider than the older versions.
The new soulplates are less resistant than before: they wear out faster… but it’s more practical to perfect your notches. Don’t worry, your skate isn’t going to melt down in three sessions, but it’s less resistant than before…
As for the overboot, it takes shocks very well and it won’t tear at first fall.
The straps and buckles are still the same. They are known to break under some specific twisting, but here again it’s not common. On the whole, the skate is wear resistant and it’s really pleasant.
As for comfort, the worst was to fear! Generally carbon skates are either too tight or too loose…
With the Valo Light JJ, the liner does its work and welcomes the ankle. The new in-sole protects the foot from the screws of the soulplate which jute out a bit.
However, the liner is still too small for my liking. Given the width of the skates, a little more foam on the sides and at the heel of the liner would have been great. Maybe I’m getting old, but I’m tired of foot pain!
Given that the boot is bigger than the liner, the great thinkers at Valo’s designed the Light with two pairs of laces, which means four laces for two skates (this is for maths-lovers).
The first lace holds the liner at the bottom of the boot while the second lace tightens the boot.
The strap gives a good ankle support without limiting the flexibility and comfort, which is quite nice.
On the whole, you feel well tightened in your skate although sometimes you feel a bit far from the boot.
Even if the skate is made of carbon, its removable cuff guarantees the maximum flexibility. It is true that the overboot is not very flexible at first and limits the flexibility of the whole cuff. But the cuff loosens with time and you gain in bending flexibility. In the end even with tops, the skate enables to get far enough and to be down as soon as the first skating hours.
Rolling and sliding
The new two-part soulplate was what I feared the most. The old ones were sliding so well that we were all wondering if it could be improved… the answer is yes!
The sliding is faster, more agreeable and with a certain grip, which improves the control, as well as your rotation at the end of a slide and your stability in switch-up. The notches of the soulplate are placed as well as on the last model. They are easy to find, even when you’re doing back backslide.
They go very well with an anti-rocker set-up, for being more stable during grinding. Even if you feel a bit far from your soulplate in curbs, it’s not the case with copings and bars. It’s just a question of habit. However, with the soulplate, the overboot, the carbon boot and the liner, it conveys a feeling of distance which can lead you to push more during slides.
The frame is still and always a basic model and slides less than the soulplate. The feeling is not that good as for grinding, even with the anti-rockers.
Let’s also note that the H-block is not wide enough. To sum up, there’s still nothing really good to remember on this frame. However it is very resistant to learn how to grind for beginners. But the skate is not intended for beginners at all. Rumor has it that there may be a frame project designed by Jon Julio, amongst others. Let’s wait and see…
The skate is set-up with Valo wheels and anti-rockers. The wheels are 55mm and 88A, i.e. a small diameter and a good hardness. In fact the wheels wear out quite fast. The black on-core crumbles away fast and you gain in grip what you lose in diameter.
An emergency braking will cost you two wheels or at least will flatten a couple of wheels. The anti-rockers have a good rolling and a good diameter, they stop quite well when you grind and roll when needed. The whole is set-up with waterproof ABEC 5 bearings – tested in the rain.
Even if it’s nice to get red and green feathers in the Valo Light JJ box, for the price we would have liked a more colored design better! However the skate is quite a success: it is lighter, more comfortable and the sliding is better even today. The skate is not easy to handle, especially as for the sliding feeling, as it is far from the foot. Nevertheless it is a very good model for skaters who like stability…
Strong points and points to be improved
+ The sliding of the soulplate
- The frame
Model: Light J.J.
Boot: carbon and plastic
Liner: Valo Light
Tightening: double lacing, and micrometric straps
Sizes: from 40 to 48
Wheels: Valo JJ Light
Max diameter: 58mm
Bearings: ABEC 5
Price: 299€ boots only or 350€ for the whole skate
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Translated by Close Yr E’s