My Bont Jet Adventure (Inline Skating Speedskating Boots, Skate Brakes, Stopping, Frame Placement)
I have had my Bont Jet skates for a couple of months now. It’s time to say a few words about them...
First off, a little bit about my skating background and my goals for my new skates. I have been a recreational inline skater for ~15 years and my trusty skates for the last 12 years have been Rollerblade Spiritblades. I decided to get new skates in order to go much longer distances (thus getting more exercise!), hopefully well into 20-30 mile range several times a week.
My journey did not lead directly to the Bont Jet.
I first got the itch for a new pair when I saw that REI had Rollerblade Marathon Carbon skates on sale. (At this point I had done no research on speed skates!) I ordered a pair and had them for about a month, at which point I decided that they were not for me! I had a constant pain in my right ankle and the skates were pretty heavy. (The bigger wheels were great though.) Thankfully, REI has the best return policy of any retailer I know: If you’re unsatisfied with a product, they will take it back - no matter how long you have had it.
Then I dove into researching speed skates online. The greatest asset was the fantastic skating community. I sent out a plea for help and A LOT of people answered. Thank you, everyone!
Soon my sights were set on the Bont Semi-Race skates. They seemed to be a great beginner skate with the higher ankle cuff and the 3-point boot (lower deck height). I also have skinny feet and several people told me that Bonts run narrower than most other brands. Many people let me know about their positive experiences with the Semi-Race, especially Claire (Thanks again, Claire!). I measured my feet to be 250-252mm, which is soundly in the size 7 range. The Semi-Race size 7’s arrived, I tried them on, and they were too small! Yet during that process, I also decided that I was going to actually prefer a lower ankle cuff. Enter the Bont Jet (size 7.5!).
So far I am really enjoying the Jets. I haven’t gotten out on them as much as I’d like. Three reasons: 1. It’s been rainy here lately, 2. I’ve been having issues with blistering, 3. I needed to get a brake. I can’t do anything about the rain (it’s actually very welcome right now), but I finally have #2 and #3 under control!
These skates (as with all Bonts and many other brands) are heat moldable. I think I have molded them a total of four times at this point. The most recent time was because I had to compensate for my new Ezee Fit ankle booties (http://ezeefitsports.com), which will help with blistering. I have yet to go out for any distance with this new set-up, but I highly anticipate a great improvement in a pain-free skating experience!
Getting the brake was an interesting adventure (but I’ll spare the details since this is turning into a thesis!). I ended up getting the Bont brake which attaches nicely to the Bont S-frame (aluminum only at this point). The brake material, on the other hand, is horrible at this point. I wore down the brake pad in ONE outing. Bont is working on it as fast as they can. In the meantime, I am currently using a Gatorback brake pad, thanks to Mark’s donation (thanks Mark!) and my dad’s innovation. The Gatorback pad is skinnier than the Bont, so my dad cut out a piece of the worthless Bont pad and wedged it in next to the Gatorback.
Whew, anyone still reading? I guess it wasn’t really much of a review. Maybe it might help someone else who is looking for new skates to hear out my thought process.
See you on the trails...