Harfang Wheels – Supreme

There are few wheel companies in the longboard scene that’s known for having their wheel technology to a science. Harfang wheels has been active for a long time in the longboarding industry, taking other companies’ wheels and using their state-of-the-art 4-axis CNC machine to cut rain grooves into them, and they’re popular and preferred by many racers for good reason because their performance is much beyond anything that’s manufacturable on a normal linear-axis lathe.

What you may not have known is that Harfang also manufactures their own wheels. First it was the Absolute back in 2016- a 73mm race wheel that comes in all varieties of rain grooving, and now it’s the Supreme, a freeride wheel born out of Harfang’s experience making and selling the Absolute.

The Supreme is 65mm in height and 46mm in width- this means it’s quick to accelerate, and is moderate-high in grip. For reference, Venom Harlots are 48mm in width. The wider contact patch means that the wheel performance will be snappier- a harder kickout, a consistent, speed-killing slide, and then a quick, aggressive hookup. The Supreme comes with Harfang’s proprietary Fiberglass Matrix race core, meaning the wheel is well supported for even wear patterns and slide characteristics. The core is centerset as well, meaning they’re flippable so that you can correct coning on the wheels halfway through the life of the wheel, for example.

Harfang Supremes come in a 78a and 81a durometer. As with any Harfang wheel, the Supreme comes in the Roman Candle variety as well! That is, wheels with flints inserted into the urethane, which makes the wheel spark when they are slid. They don’t change the way the wheel feels though, it’s just really flashy, if you’re into that aesthetic!

Jump on these quickly, because Harfang wheels have a tendency to sell out fast!

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 →

Muirskate – Podiums and Markers Insights and Impressions

A few months ago, LongboardEnvy HQ received two sets of wheels from Muirskate- the Markers and the Podiums, which are Muirskate’s most recent additions to their lineup of proprietary skate products, alongside their many washers, mini-cruisers, beer koozies and other plentiful accessories. We rode them extensively for an extended period of time- parkades, downhill, drifty downhill, and they were then shared with other members of our local community to get a taste of what they could do.

But first- the whole experience. Muirskate has been one of the leading shops in North America for every skater’s various skateboarding needs; they stock street skates, longboards, slalom accessories and various other soft and hard goods that are designed to enrich a skateboarder’s enjoyment of the sport. Scott, the owner, has been very cooperative and generous in our dealings with him. Even though the shop has grown exponentially in the last couple of years, the fact that Scott personally responds to all emails convinces us that the vibe at Muirskate is closer to that of a mom and pops’ ice cream shop than to that of a large corporation. No wonder they’ve created such great products. Look at how friendly they look!

The first product in the spotlight is the Muirskate Marker.

This is the larger freeride offering of the  three shop wheels, suited for long sessions on setups that feature a generous amount of wheel clearance. They’re made of the same urethane as the mini-markers, as far as we can tell. They feel similar to Zombie Hawgs- they slide well, the hookup is mildly pronounced and the slide is moderately deep in the pavement. There’s nothing extreme about this wheel- everything has been engineered in moderation. When sliding at low, 15-20 mph speeds, they feel almost as if they’re dragging into the pavement, but at higher speeds above that, they’re absolutely prime for long stand-ups and squat drifts. The core seems to be a standard Labeda core, but it is satisfactory in supporting the wheel and we haven’t noticed any heavy coning through the life of the wheel. The centerset core ensures that you can flip the wheels to combat any deformation of the wheels during heavy sliding.

I’ve also noticed that the Muirskate Marker is a great contender as a commuting wheel. The narrow wheel profile fits under most boards without sticking out of the side, and the fast roll speed ensures that the commute to work or school isn’t overly tiring. Personally, I use an oversized double kick to get to school, and the round lips have given me the ability to do some mediocre freestyle when I had the inkling to do so. They’re a great wheel to throw on a setup if you don’t know what you’ll be doing that day.

Second, the Muirskate Podiums, which are the downhill, grip wheel offering from Muirskate. These surprised me the most- they reminded me of Phat Deanz! (an older wheel that isn’t made anymore, but used to have a cult following.) They were pleasantly grippy and sticky to garage floors and smooth floors, extremely grabby in paved corners, especially. The large contact patch ensures a very solid, enunciated line between grip and slip. This ensures tight, snappy pre-drifts when the skin is fresh, and pronounced but long, speed-killing drifts when the skin is worn off. These are the epitome of finely tuned race wheels, and I can only imagine that they’re even better for San Diego-local roads. As the name suggests, both prototypes and production models have been on the podium at major races!

The Podiums are fast. They feel hefty under the feet at the initial push, but the weightiness definitely contributes to how fast they pick up speed and maintain it. I’ve noticed myself being shot out of parking garage corners than any of my fellow skateboarders on their grip wheels and rolling farther and faster on flats during long pushes.

All in all, Muirskate has emerged with two of the best shop wheels I’ve skated so far. They’re fast, durable and versatile. Get a set now!

 

Powell Peralta – Snakes

There’s always been a movement in the longboarding wheel industry to find a perfect balance between durability and thaney, sugary wear. Too much durability, and the company risks making a wheel which doesn’t grip the pavement enough to create an attractive slide. Too much wear, and the wheels don’t last long enough and become extremely expensive for the rider.

There’s people who prefer all points of the spectrum- racers enjoy wheels that are extremely durable. This way, they don’t have to replace wheels very often even if they must drift and periodically wash out. Some people, mostly freeriders, prefer wheels that leave thick, cocaine-esque lines behind them. These wheels wear quickly, but for freeriding hobbyists, the cost is worth it. For everyone else though, a freeride wheel that’s both durable and consistently slidey is an attractive prospect. And that’s what Powell Peralta has created this year with the Snakes.

Coming in 66mm and 69mm varieties, the Powell Peralta Snakes are a continuation of the These Wheels project, an initiative to create the most balanced freeride wheel on the market. The Snakes are a little different though, with a different, more durable formula this time, and a different shape and contact patch to alter the slide a little bit.

The shape is a little more square than previous iterations, to ensure a consistent contact patch through the life of the wheel. The core is the same proprietary PP core as previous These wheels, which gives it a firm grip on bearings to make sure they don’t chatter. The 38mm contact patch gives the rider a nice kick-out and a smooth hookup. The Snakes come stone-ground out of the box, for your convenience; an upgrade from These wheels. The wheels are deceptively soft- the 75a durometer feels like jelly under the finger, but as they slide, they feel nothing like jelly. They rather feel more like an 83a wheel.

 

Venom Wheels – Hard In the Paint

Some of the most hyped up, anticipated wheels of 2017 have finally been released! After 4 years of rigorous development including failed wheels and the accidental birth of the Mach 1 Cannibal which holds the world speed record on a longboard, the Hard In the Paint urethane has been released to the public.

If you’ve ever wondered how the Venom guys do it in their videos, laying down some of the thickest, chalkiest, whitest cocaine-esque lines in the pavement, this is how. Venom took chalky freeride to a whole new level- at their factory, they researched the softest, least durable slide wheel formula they could come up with, and formed it into their two best-selling wheel shapes, the Harlot and the Cannibal. Where both wheels in their original formulas last weeks and take ages to core because of their unlimited durabilities, this new urethane formula is one you can core in one day.

They come in two varieties- the 71mm Harlot, and the 72mm Cannibal. Both shapes retain their original values and dimensions, but here they are again in case you’re curious:

The 71mm Harlot has a contact patch of 32mm, which grows to 48mm as you wear them inwards, and are very offset for an incredibly drifty ride. They’re fitted with the legendarily fast Cobra Core, Venom’s proprietary wheel core.

The 72mm Cannibal is a bit different- it’s a downhill grip wheel shape that’s made with an abnormally slippery urethane, and that makes for one of the greatest hybrid wheels to ever be created- it’s fast, but it’s also incredibly slippery for holding out those long drifts. Best of all, you get to see the line that you took. They’re 60mm wide for more grip than the Harlot, but will get narrower as you ride them more. They’re also only slightly offset, so you’ll get that centerset grip that so many people love.

Rider testimonies have been aggressively positive- they say that if you kickturn at the top of the hill, you will leave thane lines. They say that if you throw a Hard in the Paint Harlot at a friend, it will leave thane lines on their face. We’ve heard that Blacks’ Beach in California was covered in thane lines the day after the release of these wheels because everyone was coring wheels. There was so much thane in fact, that multiple people got stage 1 lung cancer. (Well, it wasn’t that bad, but it was comparable.)

Fact of the matter is, these are the thaniest wheels to be released in wheels, and you absolutely should not wait to get a set. But be aware- they won’t last long, so save them for when you really need to show off.

 

Entitlement Urethane – Rain Grooooovy!

Small wheel companies are starting to take America by storm- it seems that those who don’t particularly enjoy the mass-produced, generally-engineered urethanes of larger companies are starting to turn to smaller, locally-run companies with a more niche urethane feel. Entitlement Urethane is one of those smaller companies, who boasts a chalky freeride wheel that’s easy to learn on, but durable and resistive enough to use at higher-level riding.

 

 

Recognizing that many communities are constantly swamped by rain and that the desire to skate doesn’t diminish with how much water is on the ground, Entitlement has released a limited run of wheels which come pre-grooved to decrease hydroplaning while on wet, soaked roads! They offer grooves on all their sharp-lipped wheels, but not on their Marinas because it makes no logical sense to put grooves on a freeride wheel.

 

Ahmyo Proto Available Now

Ahmyo – Proto Wheels Review

A few months ago, I received a set of Ahmyo Protos to test ride and review. Because of the snow and blizzard-ey weather that we have up in Canada, I wasn’t able to ride them, but I had a weekend to test them out and I have some very interesting thoughts on them!

The Ahmyo Protos were released without much information about them at all- the most we knew was that it was some dark blue urethane around a generic white core. We didn’t know if it was an old urethane formula or what else it was. So it was incredibly interesting to figure out what formula it was.

Ahmyo Proto Groupies

After riding them substantially and looking at the lines they left and sharing them with other members of my community, I came to the conclusion that the Protos were in fact stone-ground, rounded off versions of Merkabas, Ahmyo’s grip and rip wheel offering. This is a commendable decision by Ahmyo as some of the best freeride wheels on the market are round-lipped versions of their most popular downhill wheels, some examples being the Orangatang Skiffs and Cult Centrifuges, which are both made of ridiculously grippy urethane formulas.

In terms of speed; the Protos are quick to get up to speed- however they do reach their cap pretty quick around 40-50 km/h and then start to slow down in terms of acceleration pretty quickly. Which isn’t that large of a problem seeing that they are stone-ground and you honestly don’t want to be taking a freeride wheel around any sweepy corners at speeds faster than that.

C/o Skateslate.com

The slide of the Protos is unique. There’s a smooth, gradual line between grip and slip, so they’re definitely wheels that you can lean back and just ease into the slide with. This is a bit unprecedented as most wheels made of a proprietary downhill wheel formula have a hard-defined line between grip and slip, but these don’t seem to have that and that results in a good, relaxed sliding experienced. In terms of grip, they’re not incredibly grippy, but they do take a good bit of speed to get going, and the inner meat of the wheel is definitely slidier than the cured outside.

All in all, the Ahmyo Protos were a glorious experience and if these ever make it to the production floor, they’ll be a worthwhile investment.

Ahmyo Protos

Ahmyo Vibez

Vibez – Ahmyo

Ahmyo just dropped some of the most anticipated wheels of 2016. They’ve been hinting at the availability of a new freeride wheel all year and today they’re available! The new wheels are known as the Vibez and with their release Ahmyo also introduces a new urethane formula, an evolution of Trust!

The Vibez measure 64mm tall. This is an ideal size for a freeride wheel and it’s following a trend of decreasing size for freeride offerings. The smaller height allows faster acceleration and keeps your weight lower to the ground for better stability. The contact patch measure 35mm wide and comes pre-ground from Ahmyo. The width is a good balance of stability and slip, easy to initiate a slide without any divy feeling. The pre-ground contact patch means they’re shred-ready right out of the package. No mold-release or shiny finish needs to be worn off before they hit their sweet-spot. We can thank Ahmyo for this extra manufacturing step and it really makes the experience more pleasurable for the rider!

The rounded lip provides the most predictable transition from grip to slip and will reduce the chances of catching an unexpected edge. The small cores will help to hold speed longer, reduce feedback from the pavement and increase grip. Likewise, the offset  facilitates more predictable slides and transition from straight to sideways. Finally, the 84a durometer is one of the most well-rounded choices for riders of all weights. The Vibez are sure to keep you moving.

If you’re as stoked as we are for the new Vibez, hit the link and pick up a set. They’ll excel at everything from hitting your local grocery to slashing sidewalks or heading sideways down hill. Show Ahmyo some love and check out their new offering!