Review: Loaded Boards Tesseract Review

Loaded Boards recently released the newest addition to their downhill and freeride lineup, the Tesseract. Drawing from lessons learned when developing two of their last major releases, the Tesseract blends some of our favorite features found in both the Chubby Unicorn and Kanthaka to create a super versatile and unbelievably fun board.

tesseract bottom

It’s got variable wheelbase options from 24.5” up to 26”. At the wider wheelbase option your kicks aren’t as functional for ollies, but they’ll still get the job done. It’s symmetrically shaped and features symmetrical rocker, dish-concave kicktails, flared wheel wells, gas pedals and W concave. Every time I look at it I can’t help but think it looks like the Kanthaka and Chubby Unicorn had a baby, and this is the beautiful result.

tesseract full viewThe Tesseract is a bamboo core sandwiched between two layers of fibreglass. Topping things off, quite literally, is a layer of cork. The cork is there to help dampen road vibrations and prevent damage to the graphic from spreading the same way a wood veneer usually does, as cork doesn’t scratch the same as other woods. While I have reservations about the use of cork since it can dry out and crumble, as many Birkenstock owners know, it really does work as a dampener. The board is incredibly light, yet super stable and agile at speed, something I almost wasn’t expecting since it’s so thin. The gas pedals are well placed and the wheel well flares make for some pockets that lock your feet in perfectly and allow you to know where you’re standing at all times. The W concave is much less aggressive than what we found on the Chubby Unicorn, making it more comfortable for longer sessions and long distance pushes.

I’ve also been able to pop fat ollies on this board, most of the time without even slapping the tail all the way to the ground. We’ve really been having a blast riding it, both for freeride and downhill and think it’s an extremely versatile board that will be a go-to in a lot of people’s quivers. It’ll be in in stores by the end of July, including our friends at MuirSkate, so check it out when you get a chance! Check out what else we had to say in the video review!

You can also scoop a fresh Tesseract deck with some fast shipping via Amazon:

Photos courtesy of Loaded Boards. 

A Loaded February: New Loaded and Orangatang Products

With their two huge product releases around the holidays last year we expected things to be quiet at Loaded until just before the 2013 season kicked into full gear, if at all this year.cooking_morongas Instead, the guys in sunny southern California decided to hit us with another 1-2 product release punch by first dropping the new Orangatang freeride wheel, named the Moronga, and following it up last week with the announcement of their new Advanced Freeride Glove.

Last winter Orangatang made waves by announcing their first centerset freeride wheel, the Balut. With their big, centerset, and exposed spoked core, new urethane formula, and unique size, the Baluts were extremely different from Orangatang’s established line-up and quickly became a favorite freeride wheel for many. As riders began using the Baluts for much faster speeds and bigger slides than originally imagined, Otang started taking note of what was and wasn’t working and went right back to the kitchen to cook something new up. The result is their new freeride wheel, dubbed the Moronga. The Morongas are using the same urethane introduced with the Baluts, known as Euphorethane, and feature a completely symmetrical shape and centerset bearing seat, meaning you can flip them any which way to ensure an even wear. They feature a narrow 35mm contact patch and the same 72.5mm height found on the Balut, making them very easy to break into a slide and predictable the entire way through. morongas_on_chubbyThey are built on the same core as the Balut, making them lightweight while ensuring a long and even wear, but addressed the issue of cores popping out of the wheels by pouring urethane all the way around the core (see update below). This also allowed for what may be the biggest change with the Morongas: the new lip profile. Much sharper and more defined than the Balut lip, Orangatang took extra care to ensure that the lip profile is maintained through the life of the entire wheel. This is accomplished in the way that the lip blends back down and into the bearing seat and is something we’ll explain more in depth in our upcoming first look and review. I’m excited to get to know them a little more and report back on what we think in the near future. You can find them at shops all over for around $55.

UPDATE: I actually got a chance to clarify this point with Kyle Chin over at Loaded. The reality is, while there has been lots of talk about cores popping out on the Baluts, there have only actually been a few recorded cases. As it goes, the internet tends to make things a bit more extreme. The real reason for the redesign was to create for the new lip profile and size when approaching a DH/freeride wheel.

me_MtTom_morongas

With the both Chubby Unicorn and Moronga releases it’s clear that Loaded is focused on upping their freeride game, something they reaffirmed yet again with their announcement of the Advanced Freeride Gloves. Gloves are a piece of gear that rarely get much love, but can make a difference in how comfortable you are on the hill and how confident you feel when putting a hand down. Loaded currently makes two glove options, the Freeride Glove and their Race Glove. The Freeride Glove is my personal favorite glove for any discipline of skating. I’ve rocked the last two versions of them and haven’t been able to find another glove that can match the breathability and support. Their main issue, however, is due to the fact that they’re almost all cloth. Because of this they’re susceptible to much more wear and tear from accidentally putting fingers down, crashes, and grip tape than leather alternatives. The Race Glove is a much beefier alternative that features a leather construction and carbon fibre knuckle protection. They look nice and provide the protection you want when going fast in an unpredictable downhill environment, but don’t breath very well for the casual rider on the hill for extended periods of time. loaded_AFG_pictureEnter the Advanced Freeride Gloves (AFGs). Designed as a middle-ground between the two gloves, the AFGs are made of premium leather and feature a Coolmax Fabric lining which wicks sweat away from your skin to keep your hands drier and cooler than they would be otherwise. They also have a fair-sized mesh patch on the back of the hand to allow for added ventilation. They’ve also got some additional padding not found in the Freeride Gloves, especially over the knuckles, for those unpredictable moments that you find yourself pulling a Superman through the air with no clear idea of how you’ll be landing. To top it all off these gloves actually look really sharp (and we all know style points increase your skating ability more than anything else, so make sure your swagger is right). They’re retailing for $68.00 and will be available through retailers on Tuesday, February 26th.

Dane Webber, photo credit to Loaded.

Loaded Boards Kanthaka Review

What seems like wayyyy back in late November, Loaded Boards announced what the industry had been waiting to hear for so long: the freeride/downhill board that had been, the Chubby Unicorn, was here. There was another announcement that day that didn’t receive as much fanfare but managed to turn heads nonetheless: Loaded’s first true double-kick (DK) ripper, the Kanthaka.

The Kanthaka comes in two width flavors, 8.625in and 8.875in, which we tested for the review. The length measures at a nice and comfortable 36” with a 17.5” wheelbase, meaning you’ve got some meaty 7.5” symmetrical kicktails to give you some gnarly pop without ever thinking twice about whether you’re riding the tail or nose. Of course, Loaded also went ahead and created a dope new pseudo-MC Escher inspired graphic (which has held up surprisingly well to board slides) that’s sure to draw some second-looks. We road the Kanthaka with Indy 169 trucks and Bones Hard Hardcore bushings but you can also ride Paris 155’s, or an equivalent, if you’re feeling like some RKP love.

As you’ve no doubt come to expect from Loaded, the Kanthaka sports some unique features that haven’t found their way to other DK boards of this size and shape. For starters, Loaded’s penchant for durability is evidenced in the Kanthaka’s bamboo construction as well as the addition of a carbon fiber layer on both the nose and tail, for extra abrasion resistance.

kanthaka2The Kanthaka also sports an elliptical concave as well as some super subtle rocker which when combined, make for a sturdy and comfortable standing platform whether you’re sliding or riding street/pool/park, etc. Much like the Chubby Unicorn, integrated wheel-well flares made their way to the Kanthaka, helping to fully form pockets between the tails and the bolts to lock your feet in when sliding.

While at first I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the wheel wells when not skating down hills I found them to actually help a little in the park, giving a little extra feedback so you always know where your feet are on the deck, something most people aren’t used to on a street deck. The deck also has a surprising amount of pop to it, making big ollies a breeze.

kanthakaconstruction

Overall we’re pleased with the Kanthaka. It took some getting used to since it’s different in many respects to other boards in similar sizes and shapes, but in the end we were shredding it and had a great time. The biggest complaint we heard from people was that the pockets felt a bit odd at first and took some getting used to; but once we adjusted our stance accordingly we tended to not think about it. While I think there’s room for some minor improvements with the flares, like making them slightly less aggressive, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. The Kanthaka is extremely versatile and can hold its own whether you’re bombing through city streets, hitting hills, or going to the park – a Swiss army knife of skate decks. We’re excited to see Loaded bring some more innovation and style to the short wheelbase DK game and know the Kanthaka will make for a very versatile addition to anyone’s quiver.

kanthaka1

Loaded Chubby Unicorn Review

If you haven’t done so already head over and take a look at our first thoughts on the Chubby Unicorn. Instead of doing what I usually do in reviews, this post is going to compliment what was already said in our first thoughts, as well as what we talk about in the video review.

Side view of the Chubby Unicorn and its urethane rails.

As we said in the first post as well as the video review, the Chubby Unicorn is SUPER comfortable. The fat W concave mixed with integrated wheel wells create comfortable well formed pockets to lock your feet in during slides, and encourage good form while tucking. The thing I really like about the concave on the Chubby Unicorn is that I don’t need to move my back foot at all. At 9.75″ wide I’m able to keep my toes on the front rail and heels hanging off the back, making both the W accessible for toeside slides and rails accessible for heeslide slides without you having to shuffle your feet at all. The thing I can’t stress enough, however, is that despite the W being so aggressive, it doesn’t diminish the feeling of the rails like we’ve seen on other boards. This means you really do feel locked in no matter what you’re doing on it. I’m a big fan of rocker when it’s done well. The Chubby Unicorn’s rocker is subtle enough that you’ll forget it’s there, but functional enough to add to that stable, locked in feeling. One thing that I was pumped to learn was that the recessed wheel wells are angled so that the rocker doesn’t affect the angle of your trucks, meaning your 50* trucks stay 50*. Another big thing we liked was that the concave runs through the kicktails. This allows you to know where you are on the kicks without looking and keep your feet where you want them.

Jake gets steezy on the Chubby Unicorn in this still from our video review

Downhill on the Chubby Unicorn feels great. I expected it to feel a little too long to go fast on, but quickly adjusted my tuck and soon found myself more comfortable on the Chubby Unicorn than any other board in my downhill quiver. As I mentioned above, the pockets created by the wheel wells and W encourage good posture when tucking. As Henry mentioned in the video, the pocket created in the front allows you to angle your foot slightly forward, and the fat W concave gives your back foot a pocket to fit securely into, between the rail and W. The board is still agile and easily controlled despite it’s length, thanks to the 28.25″ wheelbase. While there is some dampening to remove some of the road vibrations, I wouldn’t say the board really has any “flex,” like you’ve come to expect from Loaded Boards. The thing really is quite stiff, even when standing in the middle, which helps make it feel even more stable at speed. Jake was able to rip down straightaways and still throw technical enough slides to get around a set of hairpins at one of the gnarlier downhill spots here in Connecticut, putting it through it’s downhill paces where it performed with flying colors.

The construction quality on the Chubby Unicorn is unparalleled to any board we’ve seen yet. Despite the complex design and new construction techniques, the board feels more sturdy than any “classic” board I’ve ever used. So far it’s holding up much better than I expected, as well. To be honest, I figured that with ollies, high-speed curbbing accidents, and collateral damage from failed putt tricks there would quickly be problems with the UHMWPE and urethane rails: I was wrong. The urethane that Loaded developed along with Orangatang is HARD. I mean really hard. I’ve been able to scuff it and scratch it a little, but it’s not chipping, peeling, or delaminating at all. I’m super stoked. It’s still too early to really tell how the UHMWPE bottom will hold up and when it will show signs of wear, but so far it’s just as we’d expect and have seen minimal wear and tear from ollies. Another thing to be noted is that the urethane runs about 1/2 inch from the edge of the board on the sides and about a full inch or more on the tails to ensure that you won’t run into delam issues and ensure that your pop stays fresh for a long time, even if you start to wear through the first parts of the UHMWPE.

UHMWPU bottom with a fresh Skate the East sticker on it.

One thing I’m super keen on is the fact that between the UHMWPE bottom and urethane rails this board is sealed to be waterproof. That means you won’t have to worry about it getting waterlogged if happen to be skating through the wet. I’m very impressed with how well Loaded did in putting this board together. It feels sturdy and really shows the attention to detail that Loaded paid to the small things, it really did beat my expectations. I think it’d be super cool if you could send the board back to be re-coated with the UHMWPE or urethane if something did eventually happen to them, to extend the life of the board. You can get your skis and snowboard resurfaced and re-railed, why not your longboard too? I think it’ll be interesting to see if Loaded ever offers anything of the sort since these boards are definitely meant to last a long, long time.

So, is there anything we didn’t like about the Chubby Unicorn? To be honest, not much. While I’ve gotten used to the length of the board, I wouldn’t mind seeing a shorter version with an even shorter wheelbase to allow you to ride over the trucks, instead of behind them — something I’ve heard from a few other people, as well. I also don’t think this board shines as a commuter. While the kicktails make it a bit more practical, the length of the board makes it a bit cumbersome to carry around in and out of stores, buildings, crowds, etc. I also had trouble finding the perfect foot position when pushing because of how big and aggressive the W concave was. That being said, the board was meant to go down hills and get sideways, so it’s understandable, although a bit out of character for Loaded.

Overall, though, Loaded really took their time in thinking the board out and creating one of the best constructed, highest quality pieces of longboarding gear we’ve seen yet. The Chubby Unicorn will surely be a game changer and will force a lot of the competition to think further outside the box and push board design even further. I also think we’ll see some of the innovative features found on the Chubby Unicorn find their way into new shapes and sizes both from Loaded and the competition as time goes on. Things like urethane rails and UHMWPE will become standard features for many boards in the near future due to their functionality and value added.

Check out the video review below and make sure you watch it all the way through to see Henry Lancaster-Goguen and Jake Wade put the Chubby Unicorn through a much needed workout.

Stats:
Name: Chubby Unicorn
Length: 42.25”
Width: 9.75”
Wheelbase: 28.25”
Kick length: 7” (tip to inner bolt)
Weight: 4.9 lbs

Head over to their website to read the full story of the development and naming of the board, and all the specs and features. Make sure you’re our fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe on YouTube to stay current with everything that doesn’t make it to the blog, too!

A Chubby Unicorn in the Wild: First Look

With Loaded’s announcement that finally unveiled their long awaited downhill/freeride board, the Chubby Unicorn, Henry and I knew we’d have to find a way to get you guys a first look at the board before anyone else, and before our full video review comes out, so that you can have a little sense of what to expect. Plus we took some pretty juicy photos and needed an excuse to post them.

When you first pick up the Chubby Unicorn or stand next to it, one of the first things you think is: this thing looks long. Coming in at 42.25″ long, this thing isn’t short by any means (especially since I’ve been riding Bustin’s 36″ EQ for months). In fact, I had to reposition a few other boards in my trunk to get it to fit in without sticking out too much, a first for sure. What’s so deceiving about the length, however, is the fact that the wheelbase is actually only 28.25″ long — meaning that extra board is found in the fatty and super comfortable kick tails.

 

The kicks are fat, fun, and super functional. Big enough for most of the pad of your foot to stand on, the concave also runs through the kicks making for the meanest pocket I’ve ever felt on a longboard kicktail. It feels like your foot actually belongs on the kicks and makes you want to use them more and more.

The W concave is super fat and does match the arch of your foot very well, keeping it aggressive where you want it and mellow enough to stand on for a while. The closest thing to the Chubby Unicorn W I’ve felt is on the Lifelong Seeker, however the rails on the Chubby Unicorn really set it apart and make the W stand out. Despite the aggressive and fat W concave, there is still ample room for the rail to rise back up, making for a super locked-in feel and pocket when you turn your feet at an angle when tucking. The W is also super useful for toesides, comparable only with Rayne’s Pleasure Dome in terms of functionality. Despite being a notorious monkey-toer, I was able to keep my back foot still and still throw checks and 180s.

All and all Henry and I were super stoked on the board and came off the hill saying that Loaded did not waste one second while prototyping this board (in one form or another since 2004). Keep in mind this is all based off of our first, initial session with the board. As we ride it more we’ll learn more about it and figure out exactly what we do, and dont like and be sure to update you in the full review. We’ll try to keep it relatively quite about the Chubby Unicorn until we do our full review, when we’ll take it through Freeride, Downhill, and Freestyle to see how it shines in each category and of course put together one of the dankest edits you’ve seen yet.

Check out the full gallery below and some of the earliest shots of the Chubby Unicorn after it’s full release into the wild!

Loaded Announces Long Awaited Downhill/Freeride Deck and Double Kick Surprise

Loaded Boards has finally announced their long awaited, downhill/freeride offering, dubbed the Chubby Unicorn, along with another surprise, a short wheelbase dual kick board dubbed the Kanthaka. Both boards will be available in select shops (and online) worldwide on December 4th and let me tell you — it’s been worth the wait from what I can tell and from what I’ve heard. The Chubby Unicorn will hit the market for $360, and the Kanthaka for $188 (decks only).

We won’t get into too much detail, that’s what our review and videos will be for in the coming weeks, but we figured we had to post some pictures and specs for y’all, right?

Chubby Unicorn:

The Chubby Unicorn (a hilarious name), formerly the “DH Proto,” brings a while slew of new features that have never been seen on a board before, which helps explain why it’s been nearly half a decade in the making. The two biggest standouts are the fact that it rocks a UHMW sheet on the bottom of the board, similar to what you’ll find in slide pucks, to help protect against abrasion and dampen road vibrations and also features urethane-coated rails, again to help reduce abrasion, keep pop longer and help lock out even more water. The board is also unbelievably comfortable, with a fat W, pocketed tails and so much more. Like I said — we’ll save the good details for the review that’s coming soon.

Length: 42.25”
Width: 9.75”
Wheelbase: 28.25”
Kick length: 7” (tip to inner bolt)
Weight: 4.9 lbs

Head over to their website to read the full story of the development and naming of the board, and all the specs and features.

Kanthaka:

Unlike the Chubby Unicorn, which everyone knew was coming one day, I had never even remotely had the Kanthaka on my radar. Whether Loaded did a great job of keeping a secret, or whether I was oblivious is still unclear but one thing is — this board is impressive in my first look. The wheel wells create a very interesting pocket near each kick, which positions your feet right over the bolts and should lock you in really well for slides. It’s got some unique features you won’t find on your typical popsicle-stick street deck and shows that Loaded thought outside of the box when designing it. It’s got a super comfortable platform to push from and should end up being a super sweet city slasher/tech board.

 

Length: 36”
Width Available In: 8.625” and 8.875”
Wheelbase: 17.5”
Kick length: 7.5” (tip to outer bolt)
Weight: 3.70 lbs / 1.68 kg (8.625”),
3.75 lbs / 1.72 kg (8.875”)

Head over to their website to read the full story of the development of the board, and all the specs and features.

 

Update: I figured I’d add some more pictures into the mix for everyone.

Review: Loaded Dervish Sama

It’s been a while since we dropped a review but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had products in the lab undergoing some serious testing. We’ve got a bunch more coming out over the next couple of weeks that’ll include some decks, grip, safety gear, and a couple of other odds and ends — a perfect way to figure out what you want to spend some of that end of summer money on.

This time around we’re looking at Loaded’s newest addition to its family, the Dervish Sama. Taking the place of (can you guess?) the Dervish in the Loaded Boards lineup, the Dervish Sama keeps many of the familiar characteristics of its predecesor but adds a few much appreciated tweaks where you’d want them most.

While they’re both drop through designs, the new Dervish Sama is a bit wider, but still allows for you to go between heelside and toeside checks and slides without having to do much foot movement. The new Dervish Sama is also slightly longer than its predecesor, thanks mainly to the addition of kicktails.A bit smaller than the ones you’ll find on the Tan Tien the kicks are still extremely functional and are riders to easily incorporate flatground/freestyle tricks into their lines. Despite a fair amount of camber, which also adds to the flexy and springlike feel, Loaded has managed to maintain enough concave to create some pretty solid feeling pockets that do a nice job of locking your feet in for slides but won’t cause cramps for long pushes. When pushing that convex and flex come to help absorb bumps in the road and facilitates fluid and almost effortless pumping action.

Loaded also updated the graphic on the Dervish Sama which holds some similarities to the new graphic released on this season’s Tan Tien. The laser cut grip designs which first came about on the Tan Tien before making their way to the FatTail, have also found a home on the Dervish Sama, making for a pretty dope looking board both on top and bottom.

The biggest drawback as well as selling point, depending on how you’ll be riding it, to the Dervish Sama is the amount of flex it has. Even at the Flex 1, which is what we tested, there is a lot of bounce and an almost spring-like feel when coming out of slides. It’s more than manageable and just took a little getting used to since both Henry and I ride stiff top mounts as our full-time whips. Going fast is where I liked the flex less and less, Henry also admitted to not feeling comfortable tucking on it. If you’re going to be doing a lot of flatground and pushing, however, the flex is going to be your best friend. The drop through design is also going to help a ton as it’ll put the board closer to the ground, making it more stable and making pushing that much more of a breeze.

Overall I was surprised at how easy the Dervish Sama was to freeride. I knew it would be great as a commuting board and the kicks make it very functional for freestyle riding as well, but I really didn’t expect it to perform as well as it did on the hill. We both adjusted to the flex and were having a blast on it in not time. If you’re looking for a commuter board that can also take a thrashing when you want it to the Dervish Sama is worth a second or third look for sure.

Don’t forget to Subscribe to us on YouTube, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter so you can stay current when we post new content and ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the extra content that doesn’t make its way here!

UPDATE: OHHH SNAP! The SKATE THE EAST TANK TOPS are officially in the webstore! Head over and cop one before they’re gone for good — $15, can’t be beat. 

Review: Orangatang 80a Balut Freeride Wheel

This is a particularly exciting review for me, not only because of how friggin’ excited I’ve been to talk about the 80a Baluts I’ve been freeriding since the end of January, but because it’s also our first stab at a video review! When it comes to discussion about wheels right now the conversations seem to be talking about one of two things: the bad batch of ‘thane and the aftermath that Abec-11 has been dealing with for months, and the new freeride wheel from Orangatang: the Balut. Original Skateboards rider Billy Wilson and I got together yesterday to talk a little bit about what we think of the 80a Balut so far, check it out below and read on after the video for some additional info.

Setups:
Mike: Original Apex 40 w/ 10mm Surf-Rodz INDeeSZ (also the test setup for below)
Billy: Original Apex 40 w/ Caliber 50 Cals

So, even after you’ve watched the video you have some questions? Didn’t have time to watch the video? I’ll do a short written review, too — just to cover all our bases.

These wheels are different. Don’t throw these on your board and expect them to ride like the Stims, Durians, 4Prez, or InHeats — they just won’t. On this project Orangatang set out to reinvent the wheel as they knew it (bad pun, I know) and scrapped almost everything we’ve seen released from them thus far. Instead of building a new variation of one of their already successful wheels, the Balut is drastically different. Let’s start in the middle, shall we?

The biggest change you’ll notice right away is the big exposed blue core that Orangatang is using for the Balut. The bigger core means that you’ll have a more consistent wear pattern right down to the last bit of ‘thane. It will also help keep your slides feeling super consistent. (If you remember my reviews on the 80a Stims and 86a Durians you’ll remember me talking about how much the slide changed once I started really getting them small, something that I have yet to experience with the Baluts.) Orangatang didn’t just stop there, however. They also decided to change the placement of the core within the wheel. Unlike any of their other wheels, which are all offset (not side-set like I said in the video, that was my goof), the Baluts feature a center-set core. This means you can flip the wheels when you notice you’re getting some coning and don’t have to worry about them riding any different, it also drastically changes the way they ride. And for the record, these are not the same cores used in 4prez/Inheats.

Instead of the “grip/slip” control that the Stims and Durians brag about with due to their fat, rounded lips, the center-set Baluts offer a very different ride. The first thing you notice when you get on the Baluts is just how easy they are to break out into a slide. You really don’t have to put a whole lot of “umph” into them to get them to break out. That being said, I have yet to really experience a situation where I’ve been ultra worried about them icing out from under me. While I haven’t been skating any technical downhill with them (…that’d just be silly) that would require me to take sharp turns at speed, hard carves and corners feel like you have just enough grip to keep you from going over the edge. A big part of that might be the new ‘thane they’re using and the fact that these are the softest Orangatang is offering, the 80a.

The new ‘thane, dubbed “Euphorathane,” is probably where I got most concerned when I first heard about these wheels. Why? Because I’m quite in love with 80a Happy Thane after I got intimate with it for the review I did a little while back. Fear not, though, because the new ‘thane really rocks. It’s tough to really tell just how different the Euphorathane is compared to the Happy Thane wheels because we haven’t seen a Euphorathane Stimulus yet and the Baluts are SO different overall that it’s like comparing apples and oranges at this point. How does it skate? Super smooth, as I said before the wheels break out exactly when you want and offer what I think is one of the most buttery slides I’ve ever experienced. Unlike what we’ve been hearing about the 83a Baluts (I have yet to ride them myself), the 80a duro is soft enough to actually shed some speed and leave some ‘thane on the pavement, but not to the point where you loose too much momentum. I’ve noticed the new ‘thane to be a little more durable too. Coning has been more than manageable and I haven’t had any significant problems with flatspots (so far…), although I know Billy has had a little trouble with them. I’ve actually had less issues with preventing/getting rid of flatspots and coning with the 80a Euphorathane than I did riding the 83a Stimulus wheels.

I’ve really enjoyed these things so far and have had a much easier time learning some new tricks because of how easy they are to break out and how consistent and predictable they are. The 80a ‘thane is soft enough to kill some speed when you want it, grip enough when you need it, and still leave some ‘thane lines while actually being pretty friggin durable. Orangatang addressed a lot of the qualms people had with the Stims and, in my opinion, hit the nail on the head with the changes.

As always don’t forget to Like our Facebook Page where we post pictures and videos (like our recent raw run) that don’t make it to the site! If you’re interested in the “I Rep the East” or “Skate The East.net” vinyl stickers you saw in the video review pop over to store.skatetheeast.net and cop a few so we can keep bringing you ill content!

Happy Balut Day!

Many of you have been drooling over pictures and asking questions about Orangatang’s newest wheel line, the Balut, since they first announced them and again when we posted our first few pictures of them. Well folks, drool no more because as of today you’ll be able to finally get your hands on a set of these magical new wheels from Californ-i-a. Many good things are being said about these wheels, and not just from me, either. Norman Plante, Ben DeSnyder, Mike Girard, Paul Kent, Jonathan Douglass, and many, many more have all said unreal things about these new wheel, once you ride a set for a few sessions you’ll quickly understand why.

So, since Norm and Ben decided to release a little East Coast warm winter video celebrating the release of these puppies we felt we had to pass it along. Enjoy.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win one of our unreleased stickers!