Testing the Cardiff Skate Co. S1 / S2
A little bit of history
Contrary to what one might think, the three-wheeled skate concept isn't new. The first attempts go back to the 30's with the Fulgure brand. They had skates with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the rear. You would then push from the toe stop in order to propel yourself, with a move that was similar to that of cross-country skiing. In Paris, skating rinks with hilly areas had even been created to practice it. The Vitesse Ski brand also produced several models based on the same principle in the 50's.
Cardiff Skate Company is an American brand based in California. The skates were developed there and their production is made in China.
Description of the S1/S2
The S1 and the S2 have a triangular metal frame in which are inserted a 80 mm wheel in the front and two 90 mm wheels on the sides. There is also a wheel in the rear, but it is used as a brake! The plate on which you put your foot is equipped with a piece of plastic at the front and a flexible plastic structure at the heel to hold the foot in place.
The black design of the skate makes it quite discreet with touches of blue and orange. The chosen materials seems solid and inspire confidence. The manufacturer didn't skimp on quality.
How does that work?
The Cardiff Skates can be adjusted very easily. Contrary to the other models already on the market, like the Xjados or the Doops, you have to use your own shoes.
- First stretch the structure to the max, you'll hear a click when it's locked at its maximal size,
- Then wedge the heel of your shoe (preferably an ankle shoe that's close to the foot) into the heel structure,
- When your foot is on the plate, it triggers a button under the arch of the foot,
- The skate automatically adjusts and your toes are wedged onto the front plastic piece!
The whole tightening depends on the micrometric buckle on the instep and on the automatic adjustment of the skates' length. Take the time to wedge your shoe into the structure so that the heel isn't let loose. Then you can skate in confidence. In our humble opinion, a supplementary micrometric buckle starting from the heel and supporting the upper part of the instep would have been a real plus. It would have reduced the risks of heel slipping.
You can also use an instep strap, which is frequently done in quad and aggressive skating.
The tightening efficiency depends on the type of shoes you use with the skates. It is hard to judge that aspect. We would recommend ankle shoes. They don't have to be rigid on the sides, the attachable skate offers a stability close to that of a quad skate.
Comfort is also conditioned by the quality of your shoes. Aside from it, the skate parts such as the micrometric buckle are well manufactured and don't exert any pressure point.
Not much to say. It is set up on two pieces of aluminum in a square structure. Very rigid and solid, you can skate with confidence, it won't break!
One of the distinctive features of the S1/S2 remains their braking system. Cardiff Skate Co. designed an ingenious system: an 80 mm wheel is mounted in the rear of the skate, free spinning. When you lift your toes and keep your heel on the ground, the wheel rubs against a metal piece. According to the stress you exert on it, you can either get a progressive and gentle braking or a strong and powerful one.
Just as mentioned above, the S1/S2 have one 80 mm wheel in the front and two 90 mm wheels on the sides. The final product is very clean and we found only one little bubble in the polyurethane.
The S1 and S2 are equipped with 608ZZ ABEC set bearings. They are totally quiet and well lubricated.
Cardiff Skate Company has opted for cross-headed screws for the structure set-up, and hexagon socket screws for the wheels and the breaking system. All very well made. Nothing to report.
The Cardiff Skates S1 and S2 are at quite the reasonable price of 159 USD.
First thing: you should choose your pair of shoes properly. We first had a try with running shoes which proved to be a bit wide. Then we opted for leather dress shoes, thinner and more rigid. Sensations were far better straight away, except for the heel that tended to break away at first, because it wasn't properly wedged. You should find suitable shoes for that system, Converses for example. High-top models seem to be better. However, you may still feel that your foot is a bit loose.
You quickly get the hang of it when you start skating. The stride is quite similar to that of quad skating. Bends are taken more easily than expected. You can try and roll on the heel with your front foot to turn faster.
The S1/S2 are not made to roll fast. You'd better skate at jogger's speed (around 10 kph). The side position of the wheels makes the set-up very stable. But be careful when you exit the sidewalk or pass an obstacle, because the ground clearance is quite low and you may touch and block.
The braking is efficient and gentle, just as expected, with the rear wheel system. You can brake with the same technique as for inline skating. Another advantage: you can brake with either your left or your right foot as they are both equipped with the system.
The concept of Cardiff Skate Company is interesting and the skate is technologically advanced, the whole set-up is quite handy to get around and combine with public transportation. However the absence of another tightening strap has it that you need to take your time to find a suitable shoe for an efficient support. We have brought that observation to the manufacturer's attention who will probably improve its model. To be continued…
Strong points and points to be improved
+ excellent finishing
- absence of a supplementary support buckle
Brand: Cardiff Skate Company
Model: S1 and S2
Frame: Aluminum and plastic
Tightening: With automatic length adjustment and micrometric buckle
Wheels: 90 mm on the sides and 80 mm in the front
Bearings: Set ABEC 5 bearings
Spacers: metal spacers
Available sizes: S1 (36 to 41 EU) or S1 (42 to 47 EU)
Braking: By contact between the rear wheel and the aluminum piece set up for that purpose
Public price: 159 USD
Recommended use: Urban skating on short distances
Useful LinksBy Alfathor
Photos: Alfathor and Fatal Error