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. 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. They 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.
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. Enter 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.