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.

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.

 

Tutorial: How to Clean Your Longboard Bearings

For our second tutorial I decided to stick to our theme of maintenance, although this time the focus isn’t on carnage from a fall, but rather your longboard bearings. After riding hard through dirt, dust, sand, and water your bearings will eventually show signs that some maintenance is needed.

When you notice your wheels no longer freespinning for as long or as fast as they used to, it’s probably time to give them a good cleaning. If you’ve recently skated in the rain, you’ll also want to give your bearings a once over, especially if you didn’t skate the board for a day or two after. Once water gets inside the bearing it can oxidize the metal and form a thin layer of rust, creating lockups. If this happens mid-run your wheel (or wheels, depending) will lock up and could throw you off balance and toss you off your board. So, to keep your bearings in tip-top working order follow our instructions on how to clean and lubricate your bearings and you’ll be skating hard all season long. The video is below, followed by text instructions.

Step 1: Remove wheels and bearings from the board.

Using a skate tool or socket wrench remove your wheels from the skateboard. Be careful to hold onto any spacers or washers that are between the nut and the wheel, if there are any there put them aside as you’ll want them when you reassemble the board. Once the wheels are off the board, use one of the bare axles to pry each bearing out of the wheel. Be gentle, applying only as much force as needed to get the bearing out of the wheel. Many wheels have a spacer between the two bearings that sits on the axle, if this is present take it out and place it aside with the other hardware from earlier. Repeat this step for each wheel, you should end up with 8 bearings total.

Step 2: Remove Bearing Shields

For this step you’ll need a razor blade or other sharp object. Remove the colored rubber/metal shield on the side of the bearing that exposes the actual ball bearings themselves. An example of what it should look like can be seen in the video above. Once all the bearing shields are removed set them aside and give each bearing a good rub down with a paper towel.

Step 3: Put bearings in rubbing alcohol

In an empty Gatorade or Vitamin Water bottle (the wide mouth makes this much easier) pour enough rubbing alcohol to submerge all 8 bearings in. Next, put the bearings in the bottle and shake for a few minutes, check to make sure the bearings no longer appear dirty. If they do, continue shaking the bottle until they appear clean. Once they do, remove them from the rubbing alcohol and use a paper towel to dry them off. Let the bearings sit and air dry completely before moving onto Step 4.

Step 4: Lubricating the bearings

Once the bearings have completely and thoroughly dried it’s time to lubricate the bearings. Using any skateboard bearing lube, such as Bones Speed Creme or Rockin’ Ron’s Rocket Propellant, apply two to three drops to each bearing. I cannot stress enough that you don’t need much of this stuff. Two or three drops and you’re good to go. Spin each bearing around a little with your fingers to get the lubricant onto each of the balls. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to start reassembling everything.

Step 5: Reassembly

Once you’ve applied lube to each bearing you’re reading to reverse the process we took to get here and reassemble your wheels and trucks. The first thing you’ll want to do is replace each one of the bearing shields. Before putting them on those nice clean bearings, however, you’ll want to give them a good cleaning using a paper towel and then simply put them back onto the bearing and press down. Make sure to just press hard enough to get them to stay, if you push them down too far there’s a risk of them rubbing against the individual ball bearings and creating friction that will end up slowing you down.

Once the bearings are reassembled you’ll need to put them back in the wheels. I’ve heard people complain about hurting their thumbs or being insanely frustrated by this step, don’t worry though, I’ve got a tip that will save you a lot of headache and thumbache. To push the bearing back into the wheel, first put the bearing onto the axle, then place the wheel on and push down, seating the bearing into place. Next, take the wheel off and place the other bearing followed by the spacer onto the axle. Put the wheel on and push down again, seating the bearing once again. Be careful the second time, as pushing down too hard could push the bearing on the other side back out. Make sure the wheel is facing the right way and screw the nut back on. Make sure the wheel lug is as tight as it can be without restricting the movement of the wheel or else you’ll have chattery slides and lose some valuable momentum while pumping and pushing.

That’s it! You now have clean, good as new (or better depending on the lubricant) bearings. Feels nice, right? Some bearing lubricants require a brief break-in time before you notice a vast improvement in performance, don’t panic, just skate it for a little bit. If it still doesn’t feel right repeat the process as you might not have used enough bearing lubricant.

If you have questions leave them in the comments or on our Facebook Page.

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: