Metro Motions 78a Review

Metro is a skater owned company managed by none other than Buddy Carr. They offer four freeride wheels: the Motion, Links, Spyders and Micro Motions. I got the chance to get a hold of the set of 78a yellow Metro Motions to skate, and I can definitely say that they’re a killer wheel! I was able to skate them on a technical downhill run; smooth pavement; and some chundery, rough pavement, which they held up extremely well with no chunking or ovaling.

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I tested these 78a motions on a fast technical downhill run, which consisted of smooth and rough sections.

Metro Motion 78a

Photo: Mike Blackman

The slide was more than predictable and consistent; They were not randomly icy or randomly grippy at any point at all. A really good thing about them was that they killed the right amount of speed — not too much, not too little.

On the opposite spectrum, the hookup was incredible! It wasn’t that hookup that grips up really quick and gives you a little wobble, or just doesn’t hook back up; It was a really controlled push-back that kept you right where you needed to be.

The release point on them was not hard, in fact, it was actually quite easy and forgiving. Not one time did I have a scary moment of near-highsiding. Now when you think of a slidey freeride wheel, grip probably does not come to mind, but don’t fret! I managed to grip some hard turns as well as a corner with “cat scratches”(little divots/strips left on the road from construction trucks) while going pretty fast.

The durability of these wheels were actually quite surprising! They do not wear too quick at all, yet they do leave some noticeable, yellow thane. I’ve been continuing to skate them hard at multiple sessions since first mounting them on my board and they still haven’t even touched the inner lip yet.

To conclude this little review of the 78a Metro Motions, I would definitely urge you to give these wheels a try if you haven’t already. Whether you’re just learning how to slide, or an experienced skateboarder, these 78a Metro Motions will definitely do the trick and stoke you out. From smooth pavement to rough pavement, the consistency of the slide, hookup, and release point were an A+.

– Mike Blackman

Thanks to Alex Liu for helping edit the above post. 

 

Nelson Longboards Stingray KT 36 Review

Stingray KT 36 Review

We’re stoked to finally bring you the Nelson Longboards Stingray KT 36 review! Nelson took their popular Stingray KT39 and shot it with a shrink ray to form the Stingray KT36, a perfect “do-it all” board. With aggressive 3D concave in the front, mild W-concave in back, a wheelbase range from 21”-23”, and a flared nose and 6” kicktail this deck is quite the little shred machine. After riding it for around 2 hours, I immediately fell in love with this decks concave.

The mild W-concave in the back of the deck forms an incredible pocket that eliminates the need for monkey toe. Although I am not usually a fan of 3D wheel wells, I actually enjoyed the natural foot stop these raised wheel wells created and they also came in handy when popping ollies. The large 6” kicktail on this deck makes ollies and freestyle tricks a breeze and the flared nose is also pretty functional once you get used to it.

The 8-ply construction makes this deck a freaking tank (like honestly you can throw this thing around and you don’t need to worry). Just like its larger counterpart, the KT36 is a freeride machine, especially for smaller riders. If you want a deck that you can take from the hills to the park, go checkout Nelson’s Stingray KT36. Check out the video review below to hear more thoughts and see it in action.

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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.

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.

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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!

Review: Orangatang Durian 86a Yellows

Rider Stats: 5’11, 190lbs

Board: TR Custom Blitz w/ Surf-Rodz 45 degree RKP trucks @ 196mm, Loaded Tan Tien w/Surf-Rodz INDeeSZ @ 200mm; Organgatang Durian 86a (Yellows)

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while but have held off for various reasons, mostly because I kept telling myself I wanted to ride them a little bit longer and learn a little bit more about them before writing a post. After riding these since late June I finally feel like I can give some honest insight into these wheels and give them a good, thorough look at.

The Yellow Organgatang Durian wheels are 76mm w/a 45mm contact patch, they’re offset which means that you have a fat outer lip, but still have a nice sized inner lip as well. As advertised they are stone ground and lack the out of the mold feel associated with some of the grippier wheels, meaning they’ll slide much easier out of the box. The lips are also rounded, instead of square, allowing you to initiate slides easier and with more predictability with little to no break-in time and with less effort. The Yellow Durians are an 86a duro, the hardest Orangatang offers and are advertised as “nice and slidey.”

First and foremost I have to say these wheels are great if you want a set that will last. I’ve had these on my free ride boards since getting them in late June with pretty heavy use and am far from seeing any serious signs of coning or wear. I’ve also had to throw them on my commute board a few times and rode them extensively, despite being such a hard duro they still produced a smooth ride, in fact I rode these wheels for the 8.9 mile Broadway Bomb in New York this past October and didn’t have problems with road vibrations at all. They are responsive and grippy enough to make fast, sharp turns, but will also slide predictably and easily for speed checks and slides.

Because they’re advertised as a free ride wheel their ability to slide and behavior while doing so is paramount. While videos and reviews from the West Coast show and talk about a buttery smooth slide I’ve been largely disappointed up until recently at the amount of chatter they’ve produced, most of which is found while first initiating the slide. Once sliding they are predictable and for the most part smooth, although stickier pavement can cause some chatter and make for an unpleasant ride. Although they have a tendency to chatter while initing slides and on stickier pavement — especially in their younger days — for the most part it’s mild, and can be managed pretty easily by slightly changing your weight management during slides. The beating our East Coast pavement takes from nasty weather and winters just doesn’t seem to play as nicely with Oranatang’s hard hard thane as it does out West it seems. The fat lips make them easy to hook back up with the road when you’ve finished your slide and give you enough grip to make sharper turns and carves at higher speed. I have yet to have any issues with them sliding out from under me unexpectedly thanks not only to the large lips but also the large contact patch. While it provides a lot of grip I can’t help but wonder if the 45mm contact patch also contributes to the chatter but haven’t tested the 86a Stimuluses or Fat Frees to get a direct comparison yet.

The two best parts about the Yellow 86a Durians, in my opinion, have been the versatility and the durability. For a rider as heavy as me to skate, slide, and ride these wheels almost daily for the better part of 5 months with minimal signs of wear is unbelievable and can be attributed to the hard duro that the Yellows use. Despite being hard, as a commuting wheel they still are very comfortable and with their nice lips on both the inside and outside of the wheel they turn and respond nicely with the large contact patch giving you extra confidence in them gripping the road. If you’re looking for an all around wheel that you’ll have for a while, the 86a Durians are a great choice — just don’t expect them to automatically make you slide Kyle Chin or Adam Colton, and don’t be surprised if you run into a little chatter along the way.

 

Review: TR Custom Longboards “Panty Dropper”

The following review is written by guest contributor Bill Steinbacher of Nagatauck, CT. Check out our post on TR Custom Longboards here. Here’s a little bit about the rider/writer:

“I’m 29 years old and I have been skating since I was 13, however there were on and off periods over the years. Life happens, you get busy and wrapped up in bills….and money for skate equipment is nowhere to be found. I spent too much time looking at broken boards wishing I was skating. However skating has become a much more permanent fixture in my life over the past few years though, I picked up my first longboard about a year ago and have been hooked from the moment I laid down my first successful smooth slide. My favorite aspects of longboarding are simply going fast and getting sideways! Although I also do quite a bit of long distance pushing which I also love, but there is just no way to describe the feeling you get ripping down a nice smooth hill, and busting out few slides in the process. I recently attended the Central Park Race 2011 in NYC, this was my first skate event that I have attended/competed in and it was an amazing experience. I am looking forward to competing and being involved in as many events as possible, longboarding has become a true passion and I’m going to keep shredding until my legs no longer work! I recently picked up my first set of Surf-Rodz IndeeSZ, and I absolutely love these trucks. I could go on forever picking apart all the fantastic details of the truck itself, but for sake of time….just get some!”

Board stats:

  • TR Custom Longboard “Panty Dropper”
  • 39” long/ 31.5” wheelbase/ 10” at the widest 9” in the middle
  • 9 Ply/ No flex; stiff
  • Symmetrical
  • Aggressive concave
  • 1.25” drop
  • Slight kicks on nose and tail

Review:
If you are looking for a board that can do it all, TR Custom’s Panty Dropper will end that search. I have been riding this deck for a couple of months now and it really is a perfect all around board! I have used it mainly for free ride/sliding, however have done some light downhill with it as well. For free riding I set it up with Surf-Rodz INDeeSZ 177mm, Abec 11 Freerides, and Venom bushings 90a board side and 88a SHR roadside. Even with a hard bushing set up like this the INDeeSZ still turn super easy and make this set up perfect for free riding and light downhill. The combination of the aggressive concave and the 1.25” drop makes your feet feel glued to the board for slides. The board is a perfect size to whip around for all kinds of slides while still being able to keep the board under your feet and maintain control of your slides.

The symmetrical design also makes this board great for free riding. No matter which direction you come out of a slide you are set up for the rest of the hill or next slide, in other words you are never riding this board backwards. The slight upturned kicks on the nose and tail are another nice addition for free ride capabilities, however they also add to the stability of the board. The slight upturn helps deflect the force of curb shots which results in much less damage from a direct impact. Mine has taken quite a few heavy duty impacts and the nose has sustained very minimal damage, much less damage than any other board I have ridden previously. The Panty dropper also serves very well as a downhill deck; the 9 ply design makes the board super stiff and stable. The 1.25” drop also aids in the boards downhill capabilities, the drop brings you lower to the ground helping keep your center of gravity nice and solid. I really cannot say enough good things about this board, I have been more comfortable and progressed more using the TR Custom Panty Dropper than I have any other board to date.

The only somewhat negative feedback I have received from taller riders is that it felt too small for them, so if you are vertically blessed and looking into the Panty Dropper you may want to discuss a longer model option with TR Customs. I’m about 5’6” and the Panty Dropper fits me like a dream.

 

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: