Have you flown with the Eagles? Hopefully you’ll have the chance soon, because this new company out of China has entered the market and makes a range of blades for freeskate, drift, and slalom blading. After discovering Flying Eagle on Instagram and Facebook we were curious to learn more, and the good folks over there were happy to send along a box of stuff including a pair of their top-end F6 Falcon freeskates, a set of the Supersonic 110mm 3×3 frames, and the “Portec” backpack that we think is supposed to say “Protec” — but we’ll get to all that later. First, it was time to shoot photos and then get the skates under our feet.
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Pulling the Flying Eagle skates out of the box, build quality was apparent. Holding the Falcon in hand, the plastic felt high quality (you know the feeling) and the frame/liner seemed substantial. Fit, finish and assembly were all on point. The skate is light but with a precise feel. It felt like it would skate “stiff.” It did. And that could have a lot to do with the mounting plate inserts used on each frame mount point. Whoa! These plates are beefy and provide a super stable platform for your frame to grab onto. As a blader used to aggressive skates and the small mounting hardware we use on our UFS frames, this was a marketed change. For the better. Can’t recommend it enough.
At the other end, the lacing system is easy thanks to the d-ring style eyelets that help adjustments to really take hold, while the 45° strap has dense foam and a metal closure, and the main cuff buckle is similarly refined with clean lines and metal parts. It’s also well-ventilated and features just the right amount of shock absorbing material under the heel. Like we noticed, FE spared no expense when it came to the details.
Inside the plastic shell is a very dense liner with a neoprene toe cap and — Ta da! — lace holes on the liner’s upper so you can either use two pairs of laces, or, if you’re like us, just run the laces from the plastic shell into the cuff as you get to the top. Links the parts together and keeps the tied laces short. And they’re V-cut for getting full range of motion from your foot/ankle for all slides, carves, squiggle-dee-bops, whatever. During use, the liner provided ample support and padding, while for a first in any blade the built-in sole ventilation seemed to work. I’d swear I felt the air ripping through the soles of my socks. Either way, I plan to spend a lot more time in these liners.
One of the most recognizable elements of the Flying Eagle skates (at least the 4×4 models) are the frames themselves, based around the brand’s logo, a flying eagle. But more than just an aesthetic choice, the eagle design allows for some really serious cross-supports and bracing on these frames that resulted in a crazy responsive ride. They come out of the box rockered, and feature some sick-ass low-profile hardware on the middle wheels. Between the stiffness of the chassis and the precise mounting, the wheels roll with nearly zero friction. Fast fast fast. Our pair of size 9 Falcons had 243mm aluminum rails, just like they said on the side.
Like any pair of blades worth their price, the Falcons came with a badass Flying Eagle skate tool that any blader over a certain age will know as a “K-tool.” This one has a longer allen wrench side and a nice bearing pusher/puller that came in handy when we were setting up our 110mm ride. The philips head screwdriver is for servicing those center wheels and their special hardware.
Speaking of the one-tens, these are the Supersonic variety and though they are without the usual FE-style frame design, their weight/stiffness/speed ration is pretty impressive. I asked the FE folks why these frames had a different split than the 3×3 even spacing I’d seen on more mainstream models, and it was explained that the wheelbase is 9.8” for stability, while the rear two wheels are closer together for better performance with speed, slalom and sliding. One things absolutely for certain, if you haven’t ridden stiff boots on 110mm wheels you need to do it now. From my time on them, the 3x110s are feeling more stable and responsive than 4x80s. So try them for yourself. At the very least you’ll go fast as hell.
Last up is the “Portec” backpack, which despite its unfortunate misspelling is a useful pack with straps and back-padding reminiscient of accessories from other action sports — i.e. it’s really nice. The padding is molded and deep, with soft but supportive straps that make shouldering your blades on a long hike deep into a ditch spot a lot more comfortable. We generally just tossed our skates into the bag, but these outside straps worked just fine during our tests. There’s also a cool internal expanding pocket with dividers, pockets, stuff like that. And a key clip. Nice!
After spending several weeks and sessions on these skates we can only report that Flying Eagle is for real. They have brought some refined manufacturing decisions to the freeskate space, in the process creating a responsive and comfortable skate. Look for FE blades showing up on more feet soon, and find out more at their website HERE.
Photos and review by JE
Supersonic Photo by Linett