This is my attempt of a comparison between the Usd carbon II and the Usd carbon free. Im not going to state much facts but talk about my personal opinion and experience. Yours obviously might differ but this might help you if youre considering buying a carbon II or an carbon free.
When I saw the skate online I didnt like it too much – I thought the white stitchings where too much. But as it happens quite often it looks way better live. Also you can just take a black marker and paint over the stitchings to get rid of some of the details. Beside that the skate pretty much looks “the same” as a carbon 2. The main difference is that there is no carbon in the heel area but black “plastic”
Ive read that the skate is not as light as a carbon – but holding a carbon II in my left and the carbon free in my right hand (both size 42) Id say I cant notice any difference. Both skates are extremely light weight.
The skate feels exactly like my carbon 2 – My shoe size is 42 and so is my carbon II and carbon free size. Also I have pretty wide feet – I remember having a lot of problems findinng a good liner for my ufs thrones back in the day, but the carbon free (and the carbon II) fit perfectly. As its kind of a hybrid skate (part soft part hardboot) you can control the fit pretty good with the laces.
In my opinion thats the main difference – the carbon free is way more flexy when it comes to topsides. I put on a carbon II on my left and a carbon free on my right foot and the difference is immense.
To be honest the first few minutes I was afraid the skate would have too much flex for me – but after tightening the laces, powerstrap and buckle a bit – and probably getting used to it it felt perfect. Id even say topsides on curbs are too easy with this skate.
Both skates – the carbon II and the carbon free have an extremely sneaker like feel. You can move your foot pretty naturally to the front and back. Thats pretty awesome and in my opinion really helps to get a natural unforced style – Skates that restrict your natural movements too much suck.
Usually during skating I have pain right next in my small toe – probably from 100 years of topside grinds – this got better in the carbon II but skating the carbon free I nearly didnt feel it. I guess its because of the “softer” material used for the shell.
Id say if you like skates with a lot of support the imperial is perfect for you – for people who like skates that are flexy but not too much the carbon II is a good choice – and for people who like their skates pretty flexy the carbon free is the perfect solution.
buckle & receptor.
Where the carbon II has a metal buckle the carbon free comes with a plastic one. I dont know when but usd changed the receptor. The green carbon II and the carbon free eisler both come with an overworked receptor. After testing it a few weeks I have to say its a nice improvement – nothing too exciting but its easyer to open and does just what you expect an receptor to do – though twice I managed to somehow get caught up and opened the buckle. Its not even a problem I just thought Id mention it.
frames & wheels.
The skate comes with the brand new kizer fluid 4 frame, Plastic grindwheels, Undercover 58/90A wheels and abec 7 bearings.
Ive always loved the fluid and I have to say the new fluid 4 have gotten even better. It still slides super fast and looks pretty much indestructible. Actually Ive been skating Fluids for as long as I can remember and I never managed to break a single frame. The frame has a new overworked groove that workes really well for me. I cant say to much about the wheels bearings and grindwheels – they roll pretty fast and look good, the grindwheels/rocks are made from hard plastic, they slide fast and are not too big or too small.
The carbon free has the same soulplate as the carbon II. Its got a big but not too big soulspace and the negative soulplate is big enough to do negatives even on “bigger” rails. It slides really fast on soul and royals. Even if I could I wouldnt change a thing.
The skate comes with a good shockabsorber that works perfectly even on big gaps.
Neither the carbon II nor the carbon free come with an exchangable liner – that makes them a lot less bulky. To ensure direct control the padding is not too thick – but that doesnt make the skate less comfortable. I didnt notice any difference between the carbon II and the carbon free here. Carbons are the most comfortable skates (beside salomon) I ever skated (but thats just my opinion).
Ive heard that it doesnt make sense to put the skate in the oven and heat it to make it fit better – I dont know about that but Id say if you want to try it and you dont let it in too long its not going to “hurt” the skate.
I would not recommend just buying the carbon free cause its cheaper – for me it actually felt like a completely different skate. Id say the carbon free is a high quality product so you dont have to worry about it being inferior to the carbon carbon but the + on flex makes it a different skating experience – so if you think your carbon II is just perfect you should stick with it cause the carbon free definitely has more flex. I really like the extra flex but Im not sure if im going to continue skating carbon IIs or if im going to skate the carbon frees from now on. On the one side I really like the flex of the carbon free on the other side it might just be a little bit too much for me. Im definitely going to skate it a few months and decide then. But thinking about it now I guess im going to stick with the carbon free. Its an amazing skate – quite similar to the carbon 2 but with more flex.
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