Review: Orangatang Morongas

A few months back Orangatang unleashed the new version of their freeride wheel, dubbed the Moronga. Replacing their previous freeride wheel, the Balut, the Moronga picks up where the Balut left off, getting some increased downhill performance without any sacrifice to its ability to slide like butter. The Moronga utilizes both the same core and urethane (Euphorathane) introduced with the Balut, and comes in the standard Orangtang duros and colors: 80a (Orange), 83a (Purple), and 86a (Yellow). They ‘re 72.5 mm in diamater, with a 35mm contact patch and centerset core; they come stone ground, decreasing the break-in time.

Photo: Loaded Boards

Photo: Orangatang Wheels

The Euphorathane urethane lends itself well to the wheel and feels much different than it did on the Balut — for the better — making for very smooth, consistent slides on almost every pavement type and hill I brought them out to. The Morongas feel like they want to stay under you and resist getting sideways until you’re finally ready to break them out, even when going fast. This is thanks to a redesigned lip profile on the Moronga, allowing them to be used at much higher speed with a greater deal of confidence. Despite feeling awesome, however, they had a tendency to sound loud (although I did note that the 86a duro was much quieter than the softer 80a and 83a duros), so you might want to be careful if you’re sessioning early in the morning or late at night in a neighborhood.

morongas_on_chubbyThe centerset core and new lip design give the wheel grip when you need it, while the narrow contact patch allows for a smooth, predictable slide. This new lip profile is accomplished on the Moronga with the additional urethane added around the core to help support the lip and maintain its shape through the entire life of the wheel. It’s this same lip profile that gives the Moronga the big leg up on the Balut when it comes to going fast, since it provides added grip without sacrificing the narrow contact patch for smooth, controlled slides. While I haven’t cored my set yet, I’ve taken a ton of urethane off of ’em and feel like I’m still skating the same wheel as day one. Because they’re centerset you can also flip them as they cone to help keep things perfectly even, helping to extend their life even further.

The beefy core that’s deep down inside the Morongas forces the wheels to maintain their shape while sliding, helping to reduce ovaling and deformation. In the 3 months or so I’ve been riding a set of 83a’s slopestyle, they’re still perfectly round and are wearing much slower than other wheels I’ve skated recently. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be flat-spot free and haven’t heard too many people talking about flat spots being an issue (feel free to leave a comment below if you’ve heard otherwise). The big thing, though, is that they still feel like the same wheel I’ve been skating since day one, a consistency I appreciate.

83a-morongas-used-may-2013

The wear, having skated them pretty consistently since February.

All-in-all, we’re very impressed with the Morongas. It’s clear that Orangatang worked hard to take what worked from the Balut and build off of it to make an even gnarlier, more versatile wheel. The improvements over the Balut mean you’ll be able to skate this wheel faster and harder than ever before, while still being able to rail fat slides when the moment strikes you. It’s still not a downhill racewheel, nor is it meant to be. Since I’ve been riding the Morongas I’ve been able to confidently leave for sessions without having to worry whether or not I brought appropriate wheels for whatever the day might bring. As I said in our video review, I’ll be keeping these wheels as a part of my quiver for the foreseeable future.

So how do the three duros stack up against each other?

80a (Orange): Grippiest of the 3 wheels. Takes a bit more to get them to break out but produce buttery smooth slides, especially at speed. Best while riding fast.

83a (Purple): My favorite all around wheel right now. Hard enough to slide when putting and soft enough to grip corners while steaming. Smooth slides, although like I said up top, they can be a bit loud on some pavement. They also wear a little slower than the 80a.

86a (Yellow): Tons of fun and slide forever, these are something else. They still have a lot of grip for how hard they are, but once you get them sideways they just keep sliding. Not the best for shedding speed but a ton of fun when wanting to learn how to go bigger. These things take a beating without losing too much thane, in my experience.

The Morongas will run you $54.00, if you pick them up from our good friend Scott over at MuirSkate you’ll even get free shipping.

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