A review of Seba FR1 80

In last post you could read something about Seba FRX 80. I realize that FRX skates are budget model and you shouldn’t judge all company products according to their quality – so here is review of FR1 written by another skater, nicknamed Guru.

FR1 for years was best freeride model made by Seba brand. Year 2011 brought major changes – Seba updated shell design and frames on these skates, and created FR Deluxe with better liner and frame, a skate that took the mantle of top-tier freeride skate in their catalogue. Unfortunately, it seems that FR1 got quality drop – while I admit that pre-2011 models were nearly indestructible skates, I can hardly say the same for newer versions. Many people in my city skate old FRs and they still perform well despite their age, but almost all skaters I know, who bought new design, have multiple problems with them. Below is article written by one of the users.

“It took me a while to write this review for sure. I was thinking that my skates are rare, inglorious exception. But now I see other people have similar problems with their Sebas. That’s why I finally decided to put together a piece about these skates.

Story begins when I showed broken Cell III frames to my parents and asked them if they really want their son’s bones to share similar fate, or for him to leave few teeth on the ground…

It worked, I got new, better skates from higher price range.

Introduction

Seba FR1 is a flagship model of the brand. It is dedicated towards freeriders, eventually to slalom skaters.
I had high expectations about these skates, because they are supposedly made to withstand much. I skated them for about three months – urban skating, 1m high jumps, slides, a bit of freestyle slalom. I do not weight 100kg and did not used them in skate park. So I used them for things they are designed for.

skates

Shell and cuff

Cuff have option to change its position to four different settings. Nice addition, it can help a bit with slides, but it is mostly a gimmick.

Shells is well shaped to your foot, and is also pretty light, which is a plus.

After two weeks white discolorations appeared on the shell. A bit more of abuse, and they will for sure become holes. Manufacturers fault obviously – weak plastic.

243715156843914cdecolorations

Thanks to special metal plates that serve as a frame mount, you can change frame position in many different ways. Personally, I never used this option. I think this can be help for people who have problems with legs, for example pronation or supination, or one leg shorter etc.

One abrasive pad has been torn off during a slide.
pad
Custom Line liner

Very comfortable, and gives good fit. I liked that there is option to lace top of it, which gives better control. Many skates don’t have that feature. I really recommend this liner, because it is good purchase for asking price (translator note: about 40% less than most aggressive liners).

Both liners got ripped by cuff screws, and at this rate in next season I would have to replace them. Sketchy designed cuff screws are obviously at fault, because liners themselves are good.
liner
These skates have poor shock-absorber under heel, about 7mm thick. It doesn’t help much when doing gaps or riding down the stairs. To get to the city center I have to skate about 2km of hardly ideal surface (sett) because there is no other way. And I could feel it too well, it caused pain to my legs.

Buckles

In lower buckles there should be definitely longer ribbed belt, because as they are, it is impossible to tighten them fully. Straps themselves held up well and do not get damaged in any way.
Three buckles broke in four places. Two of them broke because of awkward closure position.

buckle1 buckle2 buckle3

Classic extruded aluminium 6000 frame (R1)

It’s a good frame, pretty stiff. Construction is reinforced with bridges. I felt confident using these frames and slides (shuffles) were pretty easy on them. They withstood many jumps, gave good acceleration thanks to their rigidity, and behaved well in slalom.

Twincam Titalium bearings

They are adequate for price range of these skates. Easily withstood urban skating usage.

Seba 80mm/85A (white) wheels

I wear out these wheels in about two months of skating. Urethane held the core to their last moments. They easily lived through jumps and were pretty fast.

Unfortunately, cores were a bit too loose in most of the wheels. All it took to take out bearings from them was tilting the wheels to the side.

Hardware

Most of screws rusted already. They unscrew easily, especially the ones that hold the buckles and I had to tighten them too often. Few times screws in lower buckles unscrewed when I skated and then buckle act like a catapult, shooting screw and washer in to the air in a showy way. As I stated when describing liners, screws rip them and manufacturer did nothing to prevent this from happening.

Another problem is screw mounting frame to the boot. It is too long, and you can feel it through shock absorber (there is now cavity in it caused by pressure) and liner padding during landings.

I spend a lot of time trying to unscrew frame axles, and destroyed many allen keys. Fially I removed red Loctite from them and that helped.

Cuff screws are hardly ideal too. They get loose too easily and you have to watch over them constantly. My friend had to skate without one screw because he lost it during one session. It would be better if these screws had standard allen key slot if they get loose so easily, so you wouldn’t have to carry one more additional key with you…
rusted screw
Skating FR1s was pleasure and these would be really good skates, if only they would not have so shocking number of defects. Skates are dedicated to freeride, so personally I would prefer if they had UFS frame mount and thicker shock-absorber. If cheap skates like Cell III had some kind of grindable soulspace, there is no reason why FRs shouldn’t – only exception is FRA with add-on.

Warranty

There is no service point of Seba skates in Poland, so you had to send skates to France if there are any problems that shop can’t handle. That means you lose your skates for about three weeks. Their contact with consumer is not so good, as you usually get response after two or three weeks. At first I wrote about shell, wheels and buckles. They only replaced buckles and said that discolorations (weakened plastic) are my fault and that warranty don’t cover wheels. After that, I got new set of wheels instead of new shells, because they are obviously cheaper. However, I didn’t gave up, and during that time new issues showed up:

-weakened plastic of the shells and discolourations caused by it
-three buckles broken in four places
-ripped liners
-torn off abrasive pad
-rusting screws that turn out to be nearly impossible to unscrew (axles) or got loose very fast
-wheel cores that are too loose
-buckles that shot screws in the air
Only after listing all these problems Seba were so kind to accept my warranty…

In larger spectrum, I’ve gained a lot using these and made good progress with my skating. I got new skates for free during holidays + new parts. But the way they handled my case is reason why I wrote this review. If I wouldn’t defend my rights as a customer, wouldn’t contact them on time, or if I was simply shy – Seba would never accept my warranty and I would be left with rusted, broken skates that cost 1000 PLN (about 240 Euro).

All companies have their ups and downs and all products can break, but it’s the way how company handles these issues, that means in the end.”

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3 comments

  1. Iván

    wow, you destroyed that skates!!
    I’ve just bought a pair of FR1 but I think I’m going to return them (overall, after reading your review). Could you recommend me a freeride skates?

  2. Gerna

    Hi Kmhciura,
    I wish I had read your review earlier. I bought myself a pair of FR1 two weeks ago. I think I was blinded by the brand name and the glorious history of Seba’s FR1. I had little doubts about this brand from France but I had good experiences with another brand from France Salomon that really makes quality wintersport products.
    So all this made me confident to buy a pair of FR1 2014/15 from France.
    So one pair of new FR1. High quality? Maybe some parts of these skates have it. But certainly not all parts.
    It begins with the following list of impressions.
    Plastic parts look cheap and weak (no glass fiber in it?), buckles look mechanically weak,
    Insoles were ugly folded in the liner. One insole is red of color and the other is light red (bleached by sun light?), The black insoles in the outer shell are ugly glued and even not on the right place. The screw plates at the inside of shell are edgy and some are coming too far out to the inside. This will damage the liner soon enough as you already showed us.
    And then one really bad thing. I tried the FR1s in home so I have not been on the street yet. I pulled the laces tight but not extremly. Later I untied my skates and saw that one of the eyelets had becoming loose from the liner.
    This was really a dissapointment.
    For me it was the first time Seba and the last time Seba.
    One positive thing was that they fit well.
    Maybe I let a shoemaker reinforce the eyelets and maybe I do some improvements myself on the weak spots you showed us. I admire your patience you had with Seba. Sending emails, sending your skates back, waiting for replies, waiting for your skates to have them back etc.
    But I do not have that patience. The only thing I want is skating on skates I can rely on.

    Kind regards,

    Gerna

  3. alex

    Thank you for this review. Just read it too late too. Bought my first Seba Skates, The FR1 80. So, one pair for my girlfriend, fits perfectly and she is happy. One pair for me…the left fits perfect, but the right liner tortures me. They sewed it not exactly, so there is a kind of edge that presses against my leg…had to loosen it while skating..but still it presses. So used my old skates for a week to let it heal. My opinion? Bad quality – and bad design of the tongue of the inlet. The places of the seam are quite on places where they easily put pressure on your legs. In my case, on the right boot, the seam is not perfectly made…so I got this pressure points.
    Also, at my girlfriends pair, the inner-sole was displaced. We had to correct that, but now, it’s fine. But I can’t change the seam, so will try to exchange the inlet. I agree with this article…not that quality I expected – They have to do a lot of improvement work, design work and quality work to hold their name. I am disappointed. All in all…should have taken the Rollerblade Twister…

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