They’re orange! They’re big! They’re fast, and they’re real squishy! They’re… Kegels? Actually, not quite. They’re Caguamas, the bigger, fatter, squishier version of the Orangatang Kegel that we’ve all come to love.
In my experience (it’s probably just me), a third of my time downhill longboarding has been spent looking for gear that makes me happy. Whether that be trucks, a deck or a set of wheels, so much of my time is spent building my setup to be exactly what I want it to be.
Well, by the time 2017 rolled around, I had been happy about my setup for a long time. I had my choice of a favorite drop deck (a Rayne Reaper, at the time), and well-dialed Paris Savants. This setup made me happy in all ways but one- I didn’t have a favorite wheel. And it was crippling! I was always trying out new wheels, getting used to them, and as a result I’ve wasted so much time that I could have been using to further my skills. Refer to figure 1 to see a representation of my frustration.
A few weeks ago, we covered the release of a certain wheel called the Harfang Supreme- a new freeride wheel by Harfang which comes in regular and Roman Candle variations (the ones with flints in them for sparking action at night). In case you missed that post, here’s the jist of it:
“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.”
Ah, Orangatang, Orangatang, Orangatang. It’s a household name in the longboarding scene- they were some of the first to make quality downhill wheels, some of the first to come up with a diversified wheel series to cover several riding styles such as downhill, freeride and cruising, and one of the companies that helped to spread the message of downhill skateboarding across world.
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.