Loaded – Pushin Cushion

So you’ve been out skating for a few hours now- pushing around town. Your feet are tired, you dread the next push. Hell, it hurts to sit down! Your feet are throbbing with every beat of your heart and you take your shoe off and massage the bottom of your foot but it doesn’t help! You’re completely pooped! The world turns greyscale and you hear a voice in the distance:

“Are your feet tired from skating all day? Do you wish there was a way to… cushion your feet on your board?”

You nod your head yes. So much yes!

“Well, you might want some of this Loaded Cushion Cushion! It’s what your feet crave! Comfort is a guarantee!”

Uh… we don’t know who that was, but it might’ve been Ethan Cochard.

We can’t be sure, but we CAN be sure about the Loaded Pushin’ Cushion, Loaded’s most recent possibly game-changing creation! Made of special dense, yellow foam, the Pushin’ Cushion is the answer to your tired feet’s screams of existential pain and loathing.

The Pushin Cushion is a pretty technologically advanced product- it’s made of XRD’s PORON foam (http://www.xrd.tech/howitworks/index.aspx), which is the same stuff that G-Form’s pads are made of. It’s made of urethane- similar stuff to the material in your wheels, but of a special cellular structure. Technically speaking, urethane molecules will absorb energy from an impact. When this specific cellular structure absorbs enough impact, it’ll momentarily “freeze”. Since this threshold is quite low, it’s usable in safety applications. Basically, it just hardens on impact and absorbs up to 90% of impacts. Pretty great stuff!

I received a portion of Pushin Cushion a while back, and the first thing I did was to put it on my long-distance pusher (as the name implies, this is what it was designed for). I felt locked in! It’s a small, small difference mind you- the foam doesn’t compress a whole lot, but that extra millimeter or two of being surrounded by foam keeps you in place for sure. I tried it on a stiffer deck, and I found that it had an even greater effect on vibrations from the road. Basically, get the vibration-cancellation effects of a flexy deck on a stiff one! Installation is a learned procedure for sure- the first time I did it came out quite messy, but I did it another time and it came out quite clean. Loaded’s instructions are:

  1. Remove any old griptape and adhesive residue.
  2. Apply the Poron like a sheet of griptape. No need to stretch as it will behave better under minimal tension.
  3. Press down and massage the Poron everywhere, especially along the rails/edges of the board, to ensure good adhesion. Avoid wrapping it over the rails as it will make trimming messier.
  4. Use a fresh razor blade to trim the Poron along the outline of the deck as you would a sheet of griptape. Some tips:
    1. Stabilize the deck and carefully cut by bringing the razor toward you.
    2. Keep the razor sliding against the deck.
    3. Maintain a shallow angle of attack.
    4. Make each cut as long and smooth as possible.
    5. Continuously move the blade vertically (think slicing) while cutting.
    6. Replace the razor whenever it gets gunked up and sticky (you may need at least 2-3 blades for a single deck).
    7. Finish the edges by buffing lightly with fine-grit sandpaper or griptape (if you’re feeling fancy).
  5. Apply the new griptape over the Poron.
  6. Punch your mounting hardware through the Poron just like you would with griptape. Hold the surrounding area down as needed to minimize adhesive separation.
  7. Tighten your bolts down snug enough to eliminate any play; the Poron will get squashed, but that’s okay.

You can also stack Poron like you used to do with Vicious back in the day- this doesn’t waste griptape and it adheres to itself better, in my experience. I haven’t done it myself, but when I was stacking some to put on the inside of my guitar case, it stuck to itself splendidly. Also, it can be used for DIY projects such as my guitar case or baby-proofing your house! How thoughtful of Loaded.

Get yourself a pack and show us what you did with your Pushin Cushion!

PS. Loaded got us real good with that packaging.

Paris Truck Co. – A Rundown.

When it comes to widespread truck companies, one of the oldest and largest is the Paris Truck Company, based (now) in Culver City, California! Named after one of the most romantic cities on earth, Paris has weaved their way into the hearts of many skateboarders, both in street, pool, on the boardwalk, and in downhill. They’re a generous, wholesome company, with policies to make sure the customer and skateboarder comes first, innovation an absolute priority, and progression of the community always in the back of their minds and hearts.

However, written information about many trucks on the market is lacking, and as an investigative writer, I am compelled to put down some information that people will be able to use in the future!

Paris Cast V2s:

To begin, it’s worthy to mention that you have most likely come across a set of Paris trucks in the past. Paris is widespread in the market, to the point of having knockoffs sold on chinese markets and on mall completes. So you’ve most likely either stood on or seen a set of these in the wild. V2s are some of the most loved cruising trucks in the market right now, for their flowy, turny attitudes, relatively standard prices and ease of use. What makes V2s so flowy, surfy and enjoyable? It’s all in the geometry.

To put it simply, Paris V2s have a relatively open bushing seat that allows you to compress bushings further and lean further than many trucks on the market. That doesn’t make Paris trucks inherently better or anything, it just makes them good for certain applications- such as cruising and carving around. The axles are offset from the pivot axis (in a feature called rake), so your turn increases exponentially as you lean. There’s a bunch of science and technical information behind how this works, but that’s what it does, and it makes the truck very lively when you need them to be.

One of Paris’s early advertisements in Concrete Wave Mag.

Paris V2s as they come stock have 89a Divine bushings in them- some come with cones and barrels, some come with dual barrels in them. They’re decent bushings with decent urethane, and anyone from 140-170 pounds will fare quite well on them. Anyone outside that weight range may have difficulty enjoying stock Paris trucks, but aftermarket bushings exist for very good prices and in different hardnesses, so adapting is not difficult in the slightest.

Now, there’s all this information about why Paris V2s are great for cruising and carving around, but I’m sure you’ve heard about downhill skaters taking them to high speeds and pushing out slides. This is where some of my experience pops in- I downhilled and raced on Paris V2s when I was a beginner in the scene. And let me tell you, they are very, very capable of fast, gnarly skateboarding. Before the Paris Savants were released, many Paris fanatics did the same on V2s- like other cast trucks, you can dial V2s to be more stable for downhill through different bushing setups. Some companies, such as Riptide, have emerged with Paris-series bushings which fit the bushing seat more precisely, eliminating slop. Paris is awesome for downhill and freeride because of the rake (what we talked about earlier)- the center is generous, and once you lean outwards, the turn increases exponentially, so it makes for a very surfy, stable setup once set up correctly.

Paris Savants:

Paris Savants are Paris’s most recent solution to their lack of a precision truck in their lineup. Historically they had been working on some Paris precisions, but plans fell through and the release of a precision truck from Paris was delayed by almost half a decade- but that’s fine, because the final product that did end up getting released was something spectacular. They were able to capture the flowy, carvy essence of Paris V2s but also increase the center point and create a more downhill/freeride-oriented truck.

Paris Savants are forged. This means that rather than having molten aluminum poured into a mold, a block of either heated or cold aluminum is hammered in a high-pressure environment into the desired shape of the truck. This creates an incredibly strong, well-grained aluminum structure in a relatively lighter package. They’re also different from CNC precisions, which are cut from a billet of aluminum in a 3 or 4-axis CNC machine. Do note that they’re a fair bit heavier than the Paris V2, so they might not be the most versatile for a freestyle or cruising purpose.

Cruising fast on Savants.

Setting up Savants to be good downhill/freeride trucks is relatively simple, if you are coming off of Paris V2s. You are able to use the exact same bushing setup as in your V2s- but don’t expect to get the same feeling. Savants have tighter tolerances, a different pivot shape and a slightly thicker pivot cup- this will change the feeling of your trucks quite a bit. For one, you have a larger center point- you’ll find that the trucks won’t quite go from rail to rail as quickly as V2s. Rather, they’ll have an area in the middle of your lean where you feel remarkably stable and locked in. Also, due to the added cylindrical nature of the pivot, the truck feels as if it has more rebound. So all in all, the Savant is a downhill-ified version of the V2 and I’ve been very pleased with their performance.

In conclusion, Paris Trucks are great- and you should get a set! Even though they are just one truck in a sea of many, they are dear and close to my heart and I hope they will be close to yours as well in the coming skate season. Happy skating!

Matt Kienzle takes a corner.

 

Writer’s Picks: Rayne Reaper V3 Shipwreck

As a skateboarder, I’ve spent most of my time on Rayne decks. I enjoy the steeper concaves, light construction and the longevity of stiffness that comes with Rayne’s signature vertically laminated bamboo construction. I’m aware that the last writer’s pick was a Rayne Exorcist, but that’s only because well, I hopped onto a Rayne Reaper after the Exorcist and feel that I’ve progressed tremendously because of it. Other boards will come, I assure you. But today I wanted to speak a bit about the Rayne Reaper and why I feel that it’s one of the best double drops on the market today. 

(There’s no Reaper video, but the Nemesis is very comparable.)

A little bit on the history of the Reaper- the first double drop that Rayne made was the Demonseed. It was introduced as a push board for long distances- but it soon gained popularity as a downhill deck and so the Nemesis and Reaper were introduced as size alternatives for people with different sized feet and leg lengths. The Nemesis was massively popular for a few years for its large drop and drifty attitudes- but the Reaper was swept under the rug a little when it came to the double drop scene because it was small for a lot of people. 

It’s the perfect size for me though- I have a really small stance (I mean, I used to ride a 34 inch downhill topmount) and I hate having extra board outside of my stance. So large double drops like a Nemesis are a no-go for me- I feel sluggish and sloppy having an extra 4 inches of board all the time past my back foot. The 36 inch nature of the Reaper gave me a compact, defined standing platform for my feet and I could comfortably stand drop-to-drop without feeling too spread out. It was really confidence-boosting as I have trouble finding a comfortable place on a lot of boards. I had the issue on my Loaded Tesseract, Omen Airship, and Vandal. But having a HUGE drop that both my feet could contact comfortably was a source of unremarkable confidence that led to me sending it a significant bit harder in the following weeks. Also, having tiny feet (size 8 mens) meant that most decks are too wide for me, but the 9.5 inch width of the Reaper was perfect for me to keep my back foot in a position where I could go rail-to-rail for comfortable sliding and cornering.

Continue reading →

Cloud Ride – Storm Chasers

It’s been awhile since I reviewed a wheel! A couple weeks ago, I received a set of Cloud Ride Storm Chasers in the mail- they’re the new downhill wheel from Cloud Ride wheels, a popular urethane company affiliated with Atlas and DB Longboards. Historically, Cloud Ride has never had a grip wheel offering. The Freerides were grippier than most, but their shape and urethane was still engineered to give a nice, in-the-pavement slide. However, with the Storm Chasers, Cloud Ride finally has a fully fleshed-out wheel lineup, all the way from cruiser wheels to downhill-heavy grip wheels.

I had heard some rumors that the Cloud Ride Storm Chasers were the same stock core and generic urethane as some other downhill wheels on the market. But I was a little skeptical of these rumors, since Cloud Ride had been advertising their custom core for months now- and it’s true, they’re definitely custom. It’s called the Thunder Core, and it’s actually produced at a facility separate from the one where the urethane is poured; definitely a higher-end process, since many wheel companies just choose from the selection that the urethane company offers them. However, that’s not to say that the Thunder Core is anything ordinary- the recessed design is unique when compared to other proprietary cores such as the Cobra Core or the RAD Crown Core; those are large, but the Thunder Core is small, with support ribs closer to the bearing hub.

This allows for an incredibly gushy, soft-feeling wheel. The small core allows urethane to deform further than other wheels, and the difference is absolutely noticeable. In my time riding the Cloud Ride Storm Chasers, I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to grip drift corners and have difficulty putting down small bike paths where I would normally pull off drifts and checks on my other wheels. Naturally, I’ve been riding a lot faster than I normally would.

The slide is definitely in the pavement- the skin takes around 4-5 fast drifts to take off completely (I do wish it lasted a little longer), and the slide is a little choppy with the skin on, but afterwards, it’s wonderful for anything race-esque. They kill so much speed compared to large-contact-patch wheels such as Cult Raptures and Biggie Hawgs because they’re grippy (not to say that they’re bad wheels, they’re great too) and really dig into the ground. I’ve never felt safer going down a hill with cars coming up the other side. I know I’d be able to stop with only a moment’s notice.

Some auxiliary information- Storm Chasers are seriously, seriously heavy and carry a metric crap-ton of momentum. They make some very good commuting wheels if you can get some shorter hangars and make them stick out anything but an inch out the side of your board. Just a personal opinion, Cloud Ride should make a version that’s offset just for commuting purposes. They’re so cushy!

All in all, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Cloud Ride Storm Chasers; if you’re looking for a grippy, responsive, speed-killing, fast wheel, these might very well be for you.

Ahmyo – Akasha FR

Ahmyo is one of those smaller companies that have a fanbase that’s much larger than you would expect- people run Ahmyo wheels at Maryhill, kill dozens of sets at Giant’s Head Freeride, and many use them to get around town because of their efficient, purpose-driven shapes. So it’s no surprise that the next wheel that they release will be heavily hyped as well, just like the Vibez and Protos before these ones.

One of the most ridden Ahmyo wheels is the Akasha- a large, inset grip wheel versatile for both downhill and long distance push alike. The drift is supreme, the roll speed is fast, and the contact patch is large. If only they made a version that was stone-ground and freeridable…. Continue reading →