MX Sebas 2006 - Skate review
Sebastien Laffargue's pro model
Additional Photography by Phil Downer
Well these were a pleasant surprise! I'd ordered them while in Shanghai in
August but my size (UK 10.5) wasn't available and I was told they'd be sent
over. To be honest, I'd almost about them until the DHL man appeared on my
Taking them out of the box the first thing I noticed was that they
came with two decent handled Allen keys (one for the wheels and the other for
the chassis) and two pairs of alternative heel shocks one of which feels very
soft and the other fairly hard. I'm guessing the one in the skates is somewhere
in the middle. Nice attention to detail anyway.
The Seba was offered with a choice of 3 different chassis lengths 243mm,
231mm or 219mm, which can accommodate (just) 80mm, 76mm or 72mm wheels
respectively. I've heard rumours that the shortest one is no longer available
but that's not definite. Having large feet I have the 243mm on mine and it's a
pretty impressively made chassis. I've noticed that when I tighten up my wheels
on my Salomon FSKs, the chassis can rub on the bearings and impede their
rolling. This doesn't happen here as they have been nicely machined to ensure
that the only contact is with the inner race of the bearing. The chassis also
differ from the FSK ones in that they aren't UFS so should fit on boots like
Twisters without too much trouble.
The other nice thing that I noticed about the
chassis was that they are separate left and right ones. This is useful for
example if you need to tighten a wheel while you're wearing them. On both feet
the Allen bolt heads will be on the instep of your foot which is much easier to
access. A small point but having occasionally had to contort myself to do up an
FSK bolt, it's one I'll appreciate.
Moving on to the wheels, these are
labelled as Seba 80mm 85a's. I'm not sure
but the orange hubs look identical to the ones used on Hyper + Grips, so I'll
hope the urethane is the same too. I guess time will tell.(1) The bearings are
ABEC5 rated and feel very smooth but again time will be the test here.
On to the
boot itself. The liner reminded me of my Rollerblade Lightening 5's being lined
with 'coolmax' and cut quite low towards the Achilles. It has quite a large
strap handle to assist with pulling them on and for carrying them. The boot
feels pretty stiff and is narrower than my FSKs (hopefully not too narrow).
There are ratchet straps on the cuff and to hold the heel down along with a
Velcro strap across the top of the foot. Combined with the laces they hold your
feet firmly allowing the positive control of the skates required in slalom.
cuff is held on with some fairly meaty looking screws so I'd imagine the problem
of these falling out on Twisters is unlikely to reoccur here.(2) The washers
around these feature an off centre hole so that they can be rotated to any of 4
positions to change the angle of the cuff to better tailor the boot to your
feet. One thing to note about the heel strap is that it has a ratchet to tighten
it and a quick release that isn't necessarily obvious in the way it works. (well
it took me a while). To release you just need to push down on the outside of the
clip. It's simple, just not obvious.
The boot comes in two colour combinations - black and silver which I have and
one with more red in it. So what does it skate like? Good Question - I'll let
you know as soon as I've used it more than just going to the shops.
My initial run was cut short as, with the chassis in its default position, I
found myself pronating quite badly. This may be due to the fact that I've used
FSKs for ages and they naturally cause your feet to sit on your outside edges.
Anyway, it's fairly easy to correct, just by loosening the chassis mounting
bolts and sliding the chassis to the inside of the foot before retightening. 2
points of note here are firstly, the mounting bolts are 3/16" instead of the
usual metric 4mm which would be a pain were it not for the provided Allen key
and secondly, it should be possible to adjust the chassis to just about anyone's
requirements given that there are 2 slots in each chassis and no less than 7
mounting holes both front and rear.
Having moved the chassis slightly, I tried them out on an LFNS and was
pleasantly surprised. They seemed to work fine for a street skate with nothing
rubbing or causing discomfort and they seemed plenty quick enough. I still
needed to move the chassis on the left boot further in as it was still pronating
a little, but I did that when I got home and I shall try them again at the
weekend both on the Stroll and in their intended role, on the slalom course.
With the chassis moved slightly further to the inside, the skates felt a lot
better but several people commented on the pronation.
at the skates while they were off, it looks as though this is to do with the
angle that the chassis mounts are at and, short of introducing some kind of
wedge between chassis and boot, is going to be a permanent feature. As I
mentioned it could be that using FSKs for years has mean that my 'natural'
position makes this more pronounced and others may not feel it to the same
extent so I'd advise taking some time when you try them to see how they feel for
you. In terms of doing a street skate, they are perfectly fast and comfortable
enough. They'll be a little less hardwearing than an FSK for street use but
that's not surprising as that wasn't their design aim, but I reckon they'd be on a par with the K2 Soul
series of skates. Of course, what they were designed for is slalom and between
the cones they felt good. A more positive feeling than FSKs and, in my opinion,
more so than Twisters (3). I spoke to Cedric who also has a pair, and his
impressions mirrored my own so I guess that must say something. It'll be
interesting to see how Nathan and JB adapt to them once theirs arrive courtesy
Overall, I'd say that the Sebas are a well thought out and well constructed
skate. Taking on board the usual proviso that they'll need to be a comfortable
fit for your feet, I'd have no hesitation in recommending them, particularly if
slalom is your main thing and you like to do a bit of street skating as well.
They should be available from about mid-February but I have no idea of price at
(1) Having spoken to Sebastien, I can confirm that the wheels are indeed made
by Hyper which is great as it not only means that you're getting good wheels, it
indicates that they haven't cut corners to save money.
(2) Again, I spoke to Seb about this and he said that these screws will still
come loose and you should keep an eye on them, but that it will happen less
often than the ones on Twisters and they are working on improving them further.
(3) Note, my experience of Twisters is limited to a pair from a couple of
years ago and not the most recent models.
Thanks to London Skaters for the review.