Review: Surf-Rodz SZ Freeride (wheels)

Cory Medlar is a guest writer and skater from New Hartford, CT. Cory, aka CMED, currently rides for the Surf-Rodz CT Collective and TR Custom Longboards and has been longboarding for 2 years. I’m thrilled to have him contributing, below is a brief bio and background on Cory.

I am a 26 year old thrill seaker born and raised in Greenville MI, and moved to BEAST COAST 3 years ago for work. I have been an avid snowboarder for the past 17 years and always got bummed when the season came to a close, one year a friend suggested longboarding to take my mind off the seasons end as well as a great way to stay in shape in the off season. I dove in head first and found I love it and it parallels snowboarding well. My favorite part of longboarding is getting out and seeing how far my legs can take me.I now ride for the Surf Rodz CT Collective as well as TR Custom Longboards, both making and maintaing great gear. I just began sliding this year and love how much fun it is to go fast…sidewayz!!! I love riding my Surf Rodz INDeeSZ for miles and miles in the rain or shine and sometimes even the snow! I enjoy tinkering with my set-ups and constantly trying to dial them in, trying new bushing, wheel, and truck combos are what I do to keep it fresh. My favorite events are those that take place in the hustle and bustle of NYC (Central Park Race, Mini Bomb, Broadway Bomb)…nothing like weaving your way through a city thats soooo alive! Now a days you can find me out and about skating in the Litchfield Hills and New Hartford CT. “Longboarding is my religion and the streets are my pulpit!”

Wheel Stats: 70mm, 83a, 45mm contact patch, Sideset wheel
Tested on the following setup: SZ Freeride V2, INDeeSZ 10mm (197mm), 10mm SZ Precision Bearings,  Red Cone Solidz (roadside), Black Barrel Solidz (boardside).
Rider Stats: Cory Medlar, 155lbs., 5’7″, Regular Stance

I picked up a set of SZ Freeride wheels to check out the Freeride capabilities of them. I got them home and went directly to the Waterbury parking garage to break em in doing some hard carving on the rough pavement. I have to say right outta the packaging these wheels were impressive, the HUGE lips seem to be what gives them their excellent grip, and the wide contact patch is great for creating a smooth slide. I took the wheels for a few hard carving runs to wear off the mold release and the fun began. I carved them for about 20 mins before I could not wait any longer and started throwing some small standies to begin wearing them in. I let my buddy Kyle K. (a standup CHAMP) give em a go and he had ZERO problems whipping the wheels all around toeside/heelside it did not matter! I then continued to bomb the dirty tight garage for around 2 hours and was pleasantly surprised at just how much grip an 83a Freeride wheel had in the dusty garage at those speeds; I credited that grip to the large flexi outer lip of the wheels. The lips are VERY DEEP and they also have a slight contour to the inner edge allowing the lips to deform more and hold a line, but they also have a rounded edge so you can get a SUPER easy release for the slide.

I also took these wheels home to the Litchfield hills and New Hartford for some slide sessions to get a good feel for how they slide at speed on good pavement. Most of this slide testing was performed at around 25-30MPH. I was able to take these wheels up to speed and throw toeside/heelside predrifts with ease! The release point of the wheel is VERY consistent and the wheels are easy to control during the slide, it’s almost as if you are constantly on the edge of grip whenever you need it! The slide is almost “creamy” as the release/slide/regrip all has very minimal chatter giving way to a fast, quiet, and easy slide. I found myself being able to pick where I wanted to go with these wheels during the side and it only took a small flick of the foot to go there!

I normally ride Orangatang wheels and more specifically my Freeride wheel of choice was the Durian 80a formula…NOT ANYMORE!!!!! I LOVE MY NEW FREERIDESZ, and with a price of 45 dollars that is way more competitive than Otang urethane. As far as durability of the SZ urethane it seems to be holding up to my abuse quite well, I have been riding them hard for 3 days now with a 3 hour garage session on them as well as 4 other slide sessions of at least 2 hours each and about 30 miles of just straight pushing (pushed great for a 83a 70mm wheel). So far after this amount of riding they are showing a slight cone due to the fact that they are sideset, the wear almost mimics that of an ABEC 11 Flashback (but in wear pattern only not overall durability). The thane does not seem to shed too quickly and there is ZERO ovaling/egg shaping of the wheels, I am not a super heavy rider so your wear results may vary a bit but IMO the durability is quite good for that price point.

Oh yeah I also forgot to mention the WHITE WHEELS LEAVE KILLER THANE LINES RIGHT OUTTA THE WRAPPING!!! If you are looking for a wheel that will leave thane lines all over but don’t wanna sacrifice performance to get it, then these are the wheels for you! The other cool thing is that since the wheels are white they can be custom dyed with Rit Dye to get whatever color that you want.  So get out there and go fast SIDEWAYZ!!!!!
I hope to update this review as I log more time on these wheels, but based on the riding I have done so far I would recommend these wheels to anyone looking for a GREAT Freeride wheel that can also get it done on the DH side of things. Thanks for creating these chunks of Urethane Madness and please don’t stop your conquest of all things precision longboarding!!!!!

Cory M.

Review: ABEC 11 Gumballs (Wheels)

With Memorial Day past summer has officially begun. With longboarding season long underway it’s time to start doing some gear reviews to give you some insight on what to, and not to buy this season. If you want to write a gear review for the site make an account here on the blog, write your piece, and submit it for review. Make sure you use a valid e-mail address in case any edits need to be made so you can be consulted first. After a quick read and a couple possible edits it’ll be posted quickly and added to the reviews section. Leave any comments at the bottom of this post if you have questions about anything.

To start the summer off I wanted to look at a set of wheels. A good set of wheels can make all the difference and are definitely on the cheaper end of the parts spectrum. The ABEC 11 Gumballs come in two different hardnesses, 76A and 78A. For this review I was riding the harder, 78A wheel. The first thing you notice when looking at the Gumballs are the fact that they’re FAT. Lots of contact with the ground means the Gumballs will give you a lot of traction through turns and at high speeds. Both sizes are more than large enough to roll over almost any small obstacle that might get in your way and make for a very smooth ride over both pavement and cement.

If you want to slide, the Gumballs require some breaking in. Out of the box the wheels are much softer than you’d find with, say the ABEC 11 Freerides or Orangutan Purples, and offer a superb amount of grip for taking corners at high speeds. Once broken in, however, the wheels can be slid with a little effort for speed checks and slides but will still maintain their grip at high speeds without any effort. Even well broken in the wheels are grippy as all hell and don’t want to leave the turn, you have to give it a little effort to get them sliding, once you do they’re predictable and hookup again without much effort at all.

The amount of grip the Gumballs offer really make them better suited to downhill rather than freeriding. While you can get the wheels to slide, it does take a considerable amount of speed and effort. Once you get the wheels sliding, they give you a predictable slide and hookup again without much effort, making them great for speed checks and drifts through turns at high-speeds. Overall the Gumballs are a great choice for  both cruising and going fast as their big size creates a smooth, stable ride through most riding situations.

The ABEC 11 Gumballs will run you around $48 and can be purchased via Amazon here: