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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Tiger Skate Designs Tuesdays Wheel Review

This time around we’re taking a look at Tiger Skate Designs’ first ever wheel, the Tuesdays. The Tuesdays are a 70mm freeride wheel with a sideset core and a 37.5mm contact patch. The Tuesdays are available in one durometer, 81a. Overall, these wheels were super fun and made otherwise daunting slides feel like someone flipped the switch and turned easy mode on.

The Tiger Skate Designs Tuesdays are great for learning new slides and going bigger than you ever have before, as they feature a super predictable break-point and hookup, so you’re never left wondering exactly when you’re going to start or stop sliding. Featuring a similar shape to the Venom Tweaker, the rounded lip and sideset core do offer some traction, however the sugary thane allows you to break the wheel sideways with just a touch of effort.

Tiger Skate Designs TuesdaysThe Tuesdays were designed to slide and shine when you’re doing just that, whether it be mobbing down a fast freeride run or putting on your favorite slopestyle hill. We were able to champion some slides at dumb slow speeds that would have gotten us buck on any other wheel, allowing us to have more fun and add more variation into our runs than most other wheels allow for, simply because we knew we could pull it off when we tried new things. On the other hand, you’ve got riders like our boy Tom Leary, who mob hills faster than my jaw can hit the floor and do some pretty gnarly slides on these puppies.

Because these suckers slide so well, they also drop thane and leave lines like sidewalk chalk. As you’d expect with characteristics like that, we found them to wear pretty quickly, although nice and evenly. I haven’t had a set of wheels wear as evenly as the Tuesdays in a long while, due in part to the 36mm core that the Tigers rock, I’m sure.

The Tiger Skate Designs Tuesdays are a great freeride wheel and shine when they’re put to the use they were designed for: getting sideways. The predictable nature of the wheel means you’ll be able to increase the size and variety of your slides quickly and with confidence, with much less concern of getting buck when you least expect it. We’re stoked at Tiger’s first shot at a wheel and think you will be too. Pick them up over at their online store for $47.00, or see the image below to learn how you might be able to win a set of Tiger Skate Designs Tuesdays for yourself on our Facebook Page!

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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.

Review: Landyachtz KM FSU Hawgs

The new Landyachtz wheels that have everyone talking are none other than the new KM FSU Hawgs designed from the ground up by Landy team member and Greener Pastures star Kyle Martin. The FSU’s feature a large core, deep urethane, and center set design to maximize the wheel’s life span, make it easy to break out into a slide and still allow you to shave off as much speed as you need.

Pretty early on into the testing process Henry, Thomas, and I all realized there was a learning curve to these wheels and a necessary requisite: speed. The KM FSU’s are rather unforgiving unless you’re really going fast, being a bit too grippy and bucking all of us more than once until we realized that speed really was the key. Once you’re going fast, however, these things feel great. Slides are incredibly predictable and easy to initiate and the wheels shave just enough speed to get you back into your comfort zone and allow you to set up for your next slide before you’ve picked up too much speed.

The super wide contact patch in addition to the center-set core help with a secure feeling during slides, meaning you spend less time working about your wheels coming out from under you and more time focused on what’s coming up next. The center-set core makes slides super easy to initiate still, though, meaning you get the best of both worlds.

Despite being white and 80a the KM FSU’s don’t leave the chalkiest of thane lines, although once they’re broken in they do thane a little. On the plus side, they’re super durable and should last you a while. If you’re going to be doing some fast free riding then the KM FSU’s are right up your alley and might be exactly what you’e been missing in your wheel quiver, if you’re thinking about keeping the speeds on the lower end, though, you might want to look elsewhere.

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Review: Triple 8 Brainsaver Helmet

To continue with our “Spring Safety Series” this week we’re going to take a look at Triple 8’s classic half shell helmet, the Brainsaver. The Brainsaver helmet comes in two distinct flavors, EPS Hard Foam and Sweatsaver, which are designed to withstand different types of impact and have slightly different fits.

The EPS Hard Foam version of the Brainsaver is CPSC certified, the bicycle standard in safety, meaning your head will be safe even if you take a spill going very fast. While it’s safer when it comes to harder impacts, there are some drawbacks that you should consider, especially if you’re going to be mostly freeriding the helmet at speeds under 30/35. Because of the hard foam liner the helmet is designed as a single impact helmet, meaning if you take a spill and hit your head, chances are the helmet is toast. Why? Since the hard foam absorbs a lot of the impact it compresses and cracks, making it much less effective for subsequent impacts. Even if you can’t see the damage there’s a good chance that if you slammed your head, it’s time to replace the lid. The other drawback is the fact that unlike the Sweatsaver version of the Brainsaver, the thin pads that come in the EPS Hard Foam version get soaked easily and don’t wick the moisture nearly as well as the terrycloth found in the Sweatsaver.

For your every day freeride helmet the Sweatsaver version is awesome. It features a terrycloth liner that wicks sweat and keeps it from running down into your eyes very well, even after you’ve been skating in it for a while. It’s absorbant and comfortable and doesn’t hold any incredibly nasty odors, extremely helpful if you’re commuting and storing your helmet around other people. The Sweatsaver is also designed as a multi-impact helmet since there’s no hard foam to crack and deform, meaning you can take multiple spills and as long as the shell looks good, you should still be safe to ride. The Sweatsaver version also comes in almost any color you can imagine, meaning you can not only be safe but look great while you ride, too. I wear my Sweatsaver every time I ride and absolutely love it, it has a super comfortable fit and manages the moisture better than many of the other soft-foam helmets I’ve seen out there.

One thing to note, though, is that the sizing on the EPS Hard Foam version is definitely a bit smaller than the Sweatsaver. Maybe it’s just me, but I also had trouble fitting into the L/XL hard foam Brainsaver despite wearing a L/XL Sweatsaver lid as my primary helmet, so it’s something you’ll want to be aware of if your head tends to be a bit on the bigger size.

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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.