I think most active rollerbladers are familiar with doop skates right now, or at least with Xsjado skates. It is brilliant concept, well executed and basically most “universal” skates you can get. While I was skeptical about these skates – Xsjado always seemed to me like bad news of broken parts and ripped straps – trying is believing and I immediately “fell in love” with my first pair, basic skeletons, bought without footwraps.
Doops are a whole different beasts than Xsjados though. They are for sure more streamlined and less “hardcore” version of skate, one that is not made for grinds (doesn’t mean you can’t), and for whole different kind of customer. Both share the same “DNA” though, and cross-breeds are possible.
I’m a person with obsession of modding. I really hate to own “stock” version of things. I’ve flashed my smartphone and tablet with unofficial Android versions with added custom scripts (for example now my Nexus 7 supports X360 wireless pad for gaming, neat, huh?), I’ve put custom firmware on my mp3 stick, I’ve made custom Excel spreadsheets with all kinds of useful things for my work etc. It is a notion of having something suited to my likings, rather than something common and made for mythical “average customer” in mind that drives me for modding. Skates are no exception. I already owned two pairs of Xsjados, so I decided to convert one to pair of semi-doops. Because I had the parts and because I could.
Only parts I did not have, were doop baseplates. As I’m in-between sizes in Xsjado 1.0 and doops, had bad experience with small sized Xsjado 1.0 (while larger size “just works”), and all of my parts were for size L, choice was obvious. Oli Benet was so kind to send me some plates, because (most likely) no shop on surface of Earth is having them in stock to sell separately. He also warned me these are going to be huge – and they were.
Like, really, really huge. Comparing them to original Xsjado souls is a bit deceiving because while large 1.0 plates still do look good on feet like mine, large doop plates looked horribly. That’s where tools come in handy.
Plastic used to made these is surprisingly easy to work with and I’ve used coping saw (with blade for metal and other hard materials), file and sandpaper to cut my plates to more reasonable size. It took me less than half hour from start to finish, and this is with adjustments. Now top view actually does look decent:
Why even bother to cut plates, and don’t just go for size small on doops?
Thing is, being in-between sizes sucks. Powerslide fixed this issue with 2.0 plates on Xsjados, but doops inherited it from 1.0 ones. So in my case it was either:
a) Going for size S doops, having plates of more reasonable length, better looking skates but with toe overhang, cuff too tight in ankle area with uncomfortable pressure points, and no room for Xsjado shock absorber.
b) Going for size L doops, having bulkier skates with really long baseplates, but no toe overhang, proper cuff size for my ankles, and spare room to put Xsjado shock-absorber in. Leaving it there and riding skates that look too big for my feet.
c) Going for option “b)” but trimming the plates to fit my size better.
And while it voids warranty (I didn’t had to worry about it doing a frankenskate) I feel “c)” is best solution for people with feet like mine, who want to enjoy doop skates without compromises.
Some important things to remember:
Have your cuffs positioned as far to the front, on plates, as it is possible. Only this will allow you to centre frame position under your feet AND won’t make toe straps useless. On mine skates, one centimetre to the back would mean almost loose toes.
Xsjado shock absorber is a must. Unless you plan to use shoes with really bulky soles (like Nike Airmax) you’ll need it to make your heel sit tight and not shifting to the sides. With typical low-top style shoes there is too much room in back of the large cuff. Xsjado shocks will give you better control and will help on landings. Get them.
As we are on topic of doops, here are some ideas to customize your skates further.
While doops are highly adjustable out of the box, it doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from some changes (do at you own risk!):
Loops to carry skates around – really, self-explanatory. Use screw that holds padding attached to the cuff. Fabric, leather, rubber – your choice. I suggest doing longer loop and attaching it between plastic of cuff and padding, so weight of the skate won’t be put on the screw alone. With Xsjado straps I used it is also good to attach it like that:
Xsjado buckles and ratchet straps – simple, these are made for aggressive skates and will withstand more abuse. It’s good to upgrade especially if you are freeskater that won’t go easy on these Freestyles.
Making skates flex less or more – if you do not like original flex, there are many ways to make skates more suited to your likings:
a) Get Xsjado 2.0 top cuffs. These do not have pre-made v-cut and will reduce some of backward flex.
b) Put buckles on top of skate instead of Velcros – buckles allow you to tighten skates more at top, and do not flex as much during skating, giving you better “lock” above the ankle. Most Powerslide/Rollerblade/USD/Seba (and many more) cuff buckles do work. If you want best ones ever, you can always look for Salomon aluminum buckles, these are almost legendary among some people.
c) Get Xsjado 1.0 cuffs – these do not have pivot point and thus flex less to front and back. They also give your ankle magnificent amount of support to the sides, but aren’t stiff as concrete at the same time. It’s what you can call “sweet spot”. Remember Chris Farmer has been doing topsides on Xsjados for years.
d) Get Xsjado 2.0 ankle parts – if for some reason nice thick padding on doop ankle parts bothers you, these are alternative. They have thinner, more condensed padding. Some people like it, as these flex more. Xsjado 1.0 ankle parts have padding of similar thickness to doop ones, so these won’t make a difference. But it is good to keep that in mind if your ankle parts will break and you’ll be looking for some cheap replacements.
e) Get Xsjado 1.0 cuff pads – while most people feel 2.0 and doop padding is an improvement, you should give them a go if you want your skates to be a little more snug around your ankles and have less v-cut feel.
And last but not least… get Xsjado 2.0 plates and do things in reverse to what I did. Converting doop skates to aggressive ones is easy. Hey, and you don’t need to sacrifice these big wheels for some grinding experience. Kizer, Bake Frames and Roll Line SKIL have powerblading frames that let you grind with big wheels. Powerblading Xsjado setups are glorious.
That’s all folks. See you outside, hopefully spring will stick for good around the globe. Be sure to visit thedoopstore.com or your nearest skateshop and try doops if you haven’t yet. And if your nearest skateshop do not carry them, avoid it, because for some reason they decided not to sell one of most fun and versatile rollerblades ever released. They are evil people, no doubt.