In response to this conundrum I have decided to bring the people what they want and need, a Buyers Guide for the 2014 Holiday Season that showcases top gear in the various disciplines that we have grown to embrace as members of the skateboarding family. This is meant to help you find the specific type of riding you are interested in and matching various products that are geared toward that style and should be ideally manipulated by you in order to achieve that goal of shred. I wanted to go in depth as possible so rather then offering the viewer just one big over view of products I would release individual publishing on several of the main equipment categories. Starting from the ground up is key so I figured I would begin my house of shred by laying a solid foundation about wheels. What is to follow is the contributions of my own personal skating plus what I have seen or heard to be a tried and tested product. Each influencing source is a credible shredder who knows how to maximize the out put of shred gear.
If you have a desire to slide and slide far then look no further these wheels are for you. Urethane chemistry has come a long way and there many types of thane have been manufactured to fit the needs of different types of slide riding. I have taken this into account and have included wheels that vary in how they slide, but know that they all slide very well.
Ever since these came on the scene people have been ranting about the quality and durability of their thane formula and boasting that this is some of, if not the most controllable wheel on the market. I like many of you had heard this type of talk and read about it on the internet but I am here to completely squash any doubt that may be left after being bombarded with all positive reviews. these wheels work. I recently slapped a pair of the 327 ATF 66mm 82a's (ATF=All Terrain Formula) on my Bonzing Da Kine and took to to my local hill and had a blast. At first they were very chattery but that was just the top layer of thane that needed to be removed by asphalt. After 5-6 good slides they begin to show their true colors and exhibit their true characteristics. They slip out perfectly and you have no doubt when they are catching again when the slide is complete offering plenty of rebound to catch your toe or heelside checks and bring them back into line. They do not dump much thane which can be viewed as a pro or con depending on the individual but I like my wheels (a.k.a. my $$) to last as long as possible so that is a big plus for me. these 327 ATF'S come in either a 66mm or a 69mm with duro's coming in either 80a or 82a and multiple colors to choose from as well. I have been very satisfied with these wheels and sincerely look forward to keep ripping these puppies until they are gone! Grab a set of you're own and experience the power of total control in a frictionless zone.
Volante knows urethane just like Alfred knows Batman. It is almost like they were placed on this earth to generate this petroleum based glory for all of us shredders to enjoy. To satisfy the taste buds of those who like getting sideways Volante has made the Checker which is a 68mm 82a center set wheel along with its kid brother the Mini-Checker who measures in at 64mm and an 82a duro. By trimming down the fat a whole new spectrum of sleds is open to experiencing this thane/board match made in heaven. The Checker series specializes in slides that amass to exactly what the rider intended them to be. If a drive way slash is desired, the Checker will deliver. If a steezy stand up to impress that girl you've liked forever is what needs to happen, its going to happen if you go with Volante.
A wheel is only good as long as it stays round. The second a flat spot is detected it seems that the very next slide its simply magnified to an inoperable stage. This is where Cadillac wheels steps in and graciously lives up to their name delivering a wheel that is going to only give you a problem after you've cored it. Because of its rigidity and resistance to flat spots this wheel is a great one to use as an intro to sliding if that is where you're skating is at but at the same time this wheel offers capabilities that would allow even an advanced rider to push their limit comfortably and confidently. Measuring in at 65mm this wheel will fit nicely under nearly any set-up with or with out risers and comes in 78a or 81a durometers to allow tweaking and trials to be conducted to hone in on the perfect feel for the individual.
Liam Morgan rips harder then 99.99% of us ever will. This is a fact widely known and rarely disputed by anyone at all which must mean that any gear donning his name must be of good quality. This cannot always be taken to the bank as a positive statement but in Liam's case its dead on. Blood Orange is relatively new to the thane game but they broke into the game like a raging bull ready to take its place on top of the wheel world. A new line up of Morgan's has been released offering a wider range of duros and colors that just scream "Thane Dumper". These wheels just feel good to the touch right after you take them out of the wrapper which is a precursor to how they perform on the pavement. Liam doesn't ride unless the run is fast so his wheels are clearly going to have to meet that demand and meet it they do. This wheel thrives at a higher speed which makes it a better choice for a rider with a little more experience in the game.
Divine can be defined as "superhuman" or "godlike" which I would have to say is fairly accurate when describing the experience of using this brand of urethane. The City Slashers are a series designed for the all around shredder looking to unleash their inner beast on any and all obstacles they find. This unique formula of thane has been produced to offer high rebound after slides while still providing technical trick capabilities to the rider as well. With a range of duro's consisting of 78a, 82a, and 86a any and all pavement types or riding scenarios can be accounted for and dealt with properly all within one series of wheels.
If going recklessly fast around hairpin corners that would only be make-able by throwing the right check slide before entering then this is the section for you. Whenever this technical of riding is desired you better be sure that the equipment you are trusting to take you there is up to the task in full. Whether you are gearing up for the next race being held in the next town or just trying taking runs for fun with the boys, the corresponding list of wheels is up to the challenge and won't get left behind when you drop in on the mountain.
The name William Royce is linked to the thought of speed and progression in the downhill scene and the good crew at Bustin built a wheel that lives up to the hype behind the man that they take their name. The Bustin Royce Premier formula is a wheel designed to corner fast and provide a platform of security during long tucks. Once you put these babies in motion its near impossible to stop them. With a large contact patch and a sharp lip that conforms to the pavement during riding allows the maximum grip and hold through even the fastest turns. Pre drifts are thrown out effortlessly and smoothly resulting in a quicker return to your normal stance.
A trusted name in the downhill game for sometime, Venom is one of the original urethane companies to really begin experimenting and pushing boundaries on what was possible on a downhill skateboard wheel. The experimenting came as a result of housing one of the most boss teams around with names that basically are pronounced speed and fast-as-hell. Having the best riders around means that the demand for quality goods will be at an all time high which has never seemed to be any sweat for the boys at Venom. The Cannibals are a series of wheels that optimize the pursuit of smooth lines translated into raw motion. Every dare devil going down the slope is a little different so to accamadate that the Cannibals come in multiple sizes and duros which when paired together with intelligence and purpose results in one rad round combination.
There are way to many other distractions along the way of a incline run to have even the slightest worry about the equipment underneath your feet potentially failing. Eliminating this doubt with the ideal wheel that craddled the bearings inside of it while only contacting the pavement with the top quality thane man kind was scientifically capable of producing was the goal of Seismic when they put out the speed vent. This wheel embodies a feature to help enhance the life and actual roll speed of your bearing. This break through in technology is known as the speed vents and they are located around the core of the wheel. The core is not a solid one but rather has slits cut in it that allow cool air to pass over your screaming hot bearings as you scream down the road. Bearings get very, very hot and sometimes blow out which can be a sticky situation to be in as a rider but installing these puppies on your ride helps bring that ease of mind you've been searching for.
Remember how I was telling you that Volante knew thane like Rachel Ray knows the kitchen? Well the good people over there have cooked up a wheel for downhill to satisfy the ever growing quench for gnar that their team has developed. The Serrata is a simple wheel by looks but what it lacks in show, it more then makes up with its work ethic. This is not a brand new wheel but honestly, if it ain't broke do not fix it and there ain't nothin broke on these guys. A smooth and predictable slide is not merely desired, but required on some runs which is no sweat for this set of wheels in particular. When called upon for duty they come to work like a solider going to battle, ready to give it all. This applies not only to the slide characteristics but also to the cornering and holding a line aspects respectively. Once again Volante has taken the most desired two traits for an application and thrown them together in one wheel. Well played Volante, well played.
Is poaching ledges or gapping stair sets what gets you going? Do you drive around in the car searching for features built within your local community that could be transformed into a magical play ground? If these scenerios descirbe your shred desires this is the place to find a set of wheels that will help you roll to those hidden gems just around the next building...
Anyone who has skated either be it starting last week or 30 plus years ago knows the name "Bones" often times in linking to either their wheels or bearings. For now we will tackle the wheels and the particular model that sticks out to me is the "V" series. This is a series consisting of 5 different shapes of wheels which vary from conical to full, or skinny to standard in common words. Each of these options starting with the V1 classified as the skinny, V2 thin, V3 Slim, V4 Standard and V5 being side-cut. By doing this, a wheel with tested and tried urethane is now available in practically which ever shape and contact patch fits your fancy.
Another well known brand in the skateboarding industry that has broken its way into the mainstream is Spit Fire wheels. This claim of fame that they have has not gone to their head affecting the desire to produce top notch skateboard wheels for real skateboarders out there. Spit Fire offers so many different series' of their wheels that its literally dizzying. I knew that many of you out there have already pre-determined that you want to by SF's so please let me give you my opinion on the best possible option for you. For those of you who may be unsure or on the fence you may want to follow the example of those already on the band wagon. This wheel is good plain and simple.
If your skating style is one that involves a lot of hard thrashing and short lasting equipment then you need a wheel this season whose life cycle will roll around until next season while not slacking off during the time in between. I would like to direct the attention of all the shredders looking for a wheel that literally will not stop then check out the Autobahn Evolutions. Poured with Autobahns tried and true urethane flat spotting or chipping is a thing of the past. Feel safe when you are hitting the streets knowing that you don't have to baby your wheels when choose to roll with Autobahn.
While not known as one of the big dogs in the wheel game, Acid has been slingin out some great thane for many, many years. The best thing about this company besides their wonderful and colorful wheels, is that they are a true skater owned and operated company. They have been in the game for a while constantly improving by applying input from skaters about how to enhance and achieve top quality thane for all to enjoy. They make wheels geared towards skating everything which also is a huge plus as a company. The Smiles are a set of wheels that have been fabricated to conquer the streets, and that they do.
Previously talked about on this site in a Company Spotlight, Satori Movement makes killer products while producing them sustainably and responsibly. I can absolutely dig this and what I dig the most is how they are able to keep from sacrificing any quality of performance while updating their methods. The Nabre is no exception to this rule coming in at 51mm and a 99a duro, this is a light weight wheel that is all set to let you unleash on your local spots like never before.
Lets face it, not every spot you roll up to is ideal in condition of the surface that is needed to be ridden in order to maximize the fun factor. When rough pavement or roll ups becomes an issue then OJ wheels has a model out there that is going to solve your problems instantly. Its called the Ditch Witch but do not think its limited by its title. This thing is a 92a so a little softer then most street guys are used to riding but due to its shape and the urethane formula, it rides like a 92a but performs like your more accustomed 99a or 101a's.
Are you trying to go ripping through a tight pocket which launches you into the deep end of the bowl at speeds fast enough to allow you to remain in motion while smashing the pool coping? Does the thought of pumping through transitional features in order to stick on the near vertical walls get your blood pumping? There is a set of wheels to follow that will allow you to achieve all of shredding and ripping dreams during the time you invest at your local park.
Bones SPF Chained
Back on that Bones band wagon with a wheel that has been produced using their SPF (Skate Park Formula) urethane. This particular thane works well in all skate parks all be it wooden, concrete, or even sheet metal. There needs to be a certain level of grip achieved while skating in a park that allows its operator to be completely in control but not stuck to the surface they are riding. The SPF Chained wheels are just that to the "t". I personally ride these when I am sessioning a park and have found very few if any complaints with them even as they are worn down.
Santa Cruz has been making pool wheels practically since pools were being ridden so looking at an old school pool or park shape, SC is an obvious choice. The Big Balls are a model that was inspired by the foundations of our art and draws lines directly from our fore-fathers. It has become a lost art riding a retro board doning retro inspired equipment, but if you are one of the die hards or someone looking to truly skate everything, look into getting some Big Balls under the tree.
Thank you so much for checking out the initial installment of the Beauty Out of Babylon 2014 Holiday Buyers Guide. This would not be possible without the immense help of Eastern Skateboard Supply by supplying the product in question. If any of these wheels caught your eye I highly encourage you to pick your self up a set because I know you will not be disappointed! With this in mind, I don't want you as the consumer to disappoint the many skateboarders just like you who have dedicated their lives to producing and/or selling the top quality goods that we are so fortunate to shred now-a-days. In order to avoid any Scooge's out there in the skateboard industry, I would encourage you to head down to your local shop and make your purchases of gnar there. That is, or probably is, a skater just like you who is trying to supply his fellow comrades with top notch gear in their own area code. If you arrive at this fine establishment and the set of wheels on here isn't in there, no sweat! You know that they are fully stocked at Eastern Skateboard Supply and can be shipped right to your home town shop on the very same day! So rather then go online and purchasing that way, support your local shred-conomy and have the shop owner place an order to have it sent right to their door (not to mention wouldn't even take any longer for delivery). This promotes good vibes in your local scene and puts the power in the hands of the skater! WE control our destiny so be an active member and get out there this holiday season and venture to the skate shop and say whats up. JAH Bless this Christmas season and I hope you were able to get a little closer to figuring out exactly what set-up you'll be assembling just around the corner!