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 →

Zenit – 2017 Release

2016 has been the year of fledgling companies going huge in the downhill longboarding scene. Unlike the majority of companies, these few companies made most of their revenue selling quality downhill/freeride longboards, with a few cruiser completes being sold on the side. First it was Moonshine MFG, and now it’s Zenit Longboards.

If you were on the website last year, you would have seen a completely different lineup compared to this year’s. Last year’s lineup was a small, minimalist series of 5 boards- but this year, Zenit turned it around and emerged with a huge release of decks which cover all there is to do with longboards, style-wise and discipline-wise.

But that isn’t to say that Zenit is like any other board company with a diverse lineup- they’re a little different. Upon stumbling onto their website, the first thing you’ll notice is that they have a peculiar surfskate lineup! These are extremely space-efficient, stylish cruiser/slasher hybrids with meaningful concave which unlike many other cruisers, can be utilized to do some more stylish, skill-based riding such as urban slashing and pool skating.

There are three of them- the Hibiscus, the Alaia, and the Choka. They all have more or less the same shape, with the main difference being in the length and width- most of the length differences come from the size and quantity of kicks. The Hibiscus has no nose kick, and Alaia has a small nose half-kick, and the Choka has two full kicktails. The widths increase from 9 inches with the Hibiscus to 10 inches with the Choka, with the Alaia being right in the middle with a 9.5. These small increments make finding a board that’s a good match for your shoe sizes an absolute jiffy. LNV recommends a 9.5 inch width for people with a size 9 men’s shoe size (US standard), so you can scale up or down depending on how big your feet are.

Some of the most hyped boards of Zenit’s 2017 lineup are the downhill/freeride boards. These were released to the team riders and local scenes in small numbers, gathering more and more positive feedback every time.

The Marble 40 is pressed in the CONFO mold, which is a microdrop-flare combination with a delicious amount of medium radial. This makes an awesome foot pocket right where the microdrops meet the flares, where you can really wedge your toes or heels in for toesides and heelsides. Aside from the concave, the 40 has double kicktails and a small amount of flex to help with a skater’s freestyle ability- it’s still stiff enough to do downhill and freeride on. Take the Loaded Tesseract for example with its slight dampening flex. The Marble 40 just does the same with its construction rather than a layer of cork on the bottom.

The Marble 38 is the same, except with just one kicktail, and complete rigidity opposed to the small amount of dampening flex that the 40. Same concave, same shape. The great thing about the 38 is also that each board is painted and “marbled” by hand at the factory. The artists at Zenit layer paint over a base and strafe it down the board to create a legitimate marble look and finish that’s durable and total eye candy to look at.

The Rocket V2 is, as it stands, the most recent iteration of the 2015-2015 Rocket V1 and Missile boards. It features a directional, gnarly concave with some of the greatest gaspedal-inspired concave you may ever see on a downhill longboard. Although the middle features almost no radial, the concave is high and persistently supportive wherever it matters. The small amount of rocker helps to support the feet on an otherwise laterally straight concave profile.

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Kebbek – 25th Anniversary Series

Graphics have traditionally been either flat colors or a heat/pressure transfer from a graphic sheet. And although this keeps creativity open and the possibility of different colors, shapes and designs virtually infinite, it definitely gets old knowing that there’s no real special technique going into the graphics on your boards.

Other companies have tried woodburning, embossing, and staining boards to show off their natural wood grain- but nobody’s ever tried opalescence as a visual concept on their boards (at least, as far as we at LNV are concerned). That is, until now, with the Kebbek 25th Anniversary boards! And it looks absolutely bumping. Each board is painstakingly painted with layers of metallic and opalescent paints to create a visually stunning opalescent effect on each of their boards.

Kebbek has also brought back some throwbacks to their original line, including the Ben Dub Classic, Ian Comishin Classic, and Kalator Classic, each with their special board finishes.

Kebbek’s wallet-friendly economic construction and easy-going staff will make you feel at home again, for the 25th year, with their new 25th Anniversary Series boards.

Check them out at the link!

Subsonic Longboards – Blackout Series

When it comes to manufacturing longboards, not many companies have taken on the endeavor of making custom longboards with custom concaves and custom shapes for the customer- most companies engineer a diverse lineup of boards and sell them throughout the year. This means that in many cases, the rider’s style comes to match the board- not the other way around. Now you might think that it should be that the board is made to the style of the rider, and the guys and gals at Subsonic Longboards feel that way! Since 1999, Subsonic has been creating boards of all kinds for all different people.

This year, they emerged with a new, sexy line of boards that are pre-made, but nonetheless incredible. The Blackout Series features a high-contrast graphic made of a white overlay on a black background. The graphics are then accented by colored side-rails of various bright colors, which really gives the boards a futuristic look.

The catch on these boards is that they’re extremely cheap- that’s because they’re actually cosmetic blems that Subsonic has repainted and refurbished to sell as their Blackout lineup- and if I may comment, that sounds like they’re reducing waste and making sure each longboard goes to a loving place!

This year, they have many variants of two boards- the Shadow 37 and the Talon 37. All boards come with the signature black and white graphic, but are stained on their sidewalls and wheel wells.

The Shadow 37 is 37 inches long with a hefty kicktail on the rear end. The board features slight rocker on the front end to give it a +4 degree wedge, and has Subsonic’s proprietary tri-plane radial, which is a smart mixture of large tub and radial concaves. There’s a small, half-inch microdrop at the front and the board is overall, 9.5 inches wide.

The Talon 37 is a board of the same length, with a unique wedging scheme going on for pumping, dh, and long distance pushing. The +12/-12 degree wedging scheme is extremely powerful when it comes to dh and pumping, and it doesn’t have a bulky drop like some other wedged drop decks. There’s also a slight taper, which is comfortable to stand on. It’s great for drfting, as your back foot doesn’t have to move as much between rails.

 

Rayne Deep V Nose

Rayne – New Year Updates!

Rayne’s been busy for the new year! These past few weeks have been hectic at the factory, and the work has only just slowed down enough for our Rayne Representative to get back to us with a report and wrap-up of everything that’s happened at the headquarters this holiday season.

First off! For Black Friday in 2016, Rayne gave to us 4 boards in Quad-Beam Deelite Technology, the latest and greatest in Rayne’s special constructions! The new construction is hand-made in the Rayne factory, with 4 foam cores meticulously placed into tight chambers CNC’d in-house. Then, it is saturated with bonding agent, and laid over with a sleek carbon topsheet which reduces torsional flex and increases the longevity of the deck. The 4 boards offered in this construction come with a sleek rainbow graphic, newly designed by Rayne artists! As always, these graphics are sublimated under durable topsheets.

The 4 decks currently offered in this Quad-Beam Deelite Technology are the Demonseed, the Darkside V2, the Exorcist, and the Genesis. They are made to order, so you know they’re of top-notch quality.

For Boxing Day, Rayne revealed two very exciting prototype boards- the Rayne Ego and the Rayne Deep V, two incredibly shapes that Rayne’s never tried before- pre-wedged downhill decks.

The Ego is a +7/-7 wedged drop-through board which pays homage to the original days of downhill, when everybody rocked downhill boards with gnarly wedges to them- they’re making a comeback, and Rayne’s new board is a top contender.

The Deep V is a front-wedged deck that gives the rider a nice +12 degree wedge, creating both a large pocket for tucking and a turny front truck to really dive into corners like you mean it. The shape of the board also creates a front-leaning board, which helps relieve muscle aches and pain during long tucks, which many riders will find to be a plus.

Check all of this out at Rayne.com! Some boards may be sold out.

Loaded Boards 2016 Tan Tien Complete

Tan Tien – Loaded Boards

New from Loaded is the 2016 Tan Tien! A refresh of one of the most iconic decks from Loaded is welcomed as we near the close of 2016.

Blending lines between the disciplines of cruise-carve and advanced trick riding, the Tan Tien holds it’s own for riders who enjoy more than just a commute. The deck measures 39″ long x 8.75″ wide with a 27″ wheelbase. The weight of the deck ranges from 3.1 – 3.5 pounds depending on your choice of flex. Flex options range from 1-3 and accommodate riders 170-270+, 130-210+ and 80-170+ pounds respectively. The new, engineered wood bottom veneer and an updated grip design add to the aesthetic of an already eye-pleasing deck. Drop through truck mounts, kick tails, concave and camber round out the features of the Tan Tien.

Loaded drops the updated Tan Tien on December 7th. Hit the link to pick one up and enjoy the ride!

 

Fresh Joypulp

IKO, W.I.L.D, Zeno’s Bane Updates – Joypulp

Joypulp returns with updates to their 2016 lineup, incorporating both aesthetic and functional improvements in all the right places. These refinements illustrate new manufacturing processes, community feedback and all around passion for building great decks. Less than six months after their release, all three Joypulp decks in an already great lineup see some action: IKO, W.I.L.D. and Zeno’s Bane.

Updates to the Zeno’s Bane include a new profile that features a waist, and colored plys that accentuate the tapered construction. Designed for downhill and freeride, the taper keeps the deck rigid and light despite the smaller amount of material. An 11-ply center tapers to 7-plys at the edges, meaning no wheelbite and a full ply across the entirety of the belly. It measures 35″ L by 9.75″ W with a 29″ foot platform and a 27″ wheelbase. Features include a micro-drop with W concave, razor sharp top edges, a slightly sunken back foot contour. Graphics courtesy of Edmonton/New York based designer Steph Hsu and applied via screen printing.

The IKO now features tapered construction! The light, yet rigid construction lends itself very well here because the IKO can be used as a hybrid of both downhill and push disciplines. 10 center plys taper to 6-plys at the edge in this application. It measures 37″ L by 10″ W and features a 29″ wheelbase. Features include forked drop-thru or top mounts, razor sharp top edges, and a micro-drop into W concave. The especially cool Jellyfish graphic courtesy of Edmonton Artist Chaisi Glover and applied via screen printing.

Updates to the W.I.L.D. include a redesigned shape with a wider tail and nose and an extra ply. The extra ply adds some rigidity while the tail makes it a comfortable cruiser, both improvements making the W.I.L.D. better suited to handle a mix of disciplines. Construction features the same 10-ply center that tapers to 6-plys at the edges. It measures 33.875″ L by 9.25″ W with a 22.25″ wheelbase. Features include a large, round-lipped kicktail, W concave and razor sharp top edges. Graphics are courtesy of New York based artist Wellington Sun and applied via screen printing.

Hit the link to head to Joypulp and pick up a new deck!

Timber Boards Tortuga

Tortuga – Timber Boards

Timber Boards is a Netherlands based manufacturer of longboards, by skaters, for skaters. They started in 2011 with the desire to make a board with more character than the then-available mass-produced units. Each year they have continued to push the envelope of while pursuing the idea of creating the perfect freestyle longboard.

Their recently released Tortuga upholds these ideas as a unique, hand-painted and versatile deck focused on freestyle and dancing.  It measures 45.25″ long and just shy of 9″ wide with wheelbase options from 27.7″ – 30.07″. The Tortuga is widest at the waist, slimming down near the truck mounts and then again getting wider at the tails. This gives the rider lots of options on the foot platform while also lending to the perfectly balanced flex. It’s available in three different flex options so you can choose your mix of dampening and response.

You’ll always be aware of your foot position on the standing platform thanks to the shape and concave of the Tortuga. Although mild, the concave varies depending on location on the board with nearly 1/4″ at the bolt holes, slightly more in the waist and 3/8″ at the tails. The variation keeps the tails rigid and the rider locked in. 1/4″ rocker keeps it stable while wheel wells prevent wheelbite. Construction features three pressed layers of Bamboo throughout with an additional layer in the tails. The extra layer increases durability, adds pop and slows the process of razor tail.

Timber stays true to it’s roots with hand painted details in the turtle graphic on the belly. The Turtle here is extra relevant, since Tortuga is the Spanish word for Tortoise. The details remind us that each Tortuga is unique and that Timber is staying true to the ideas it was founded on! Hit the link to check out what Timber offers and pick up a new Tortuga to rip!

Holding Holz

39″ Cruiser – Holz Longboards

Miami based longboard manufacturer Holz Longboards produces unique, hand-made longboards with a touch of electricity. Each deck is individually numbered and features a distinct pattern created by running high-voltage electricity from end to end. Their versatile 39″ Bamboo Cruiser is no exception in and it’s built to keep you smiling while you kick.

The Bamboo cruiser measures 39″ long x 9.5″ wide with 1/2″ of concave and 5/8″ of camber. It’s constructed from sandwiching 3 layers of 1/16″ Bamboo and 2 layers of 1/8″ Baltic Birch around a fiberglass core before sealing it up with an epoxy resin finish.

Holz Shop

Holz Shop

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