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.”
We were lucky enough to get a set of the Harfang Supremes flowed to us by Yann, the wonderful owner of Harfang for review. And let us tell you, they are a hoot. Well, better than Hoots. (Bonus points if you got the reference.)
So, to begin with- Supremes have a pretty generic shape. Now, don’t let that be a testament to the quality of a wheel. Wheel manufacturers only have so many molds and it just turned out that Harfang chose one of them. Also, a generic shape is only generic because it’s averagely just a good shape that works for a lot of things. In the case of a freeride wheel, the Supreme shape is nice because aside from the bevel at the beginning of the wheel, the width and contact patch of the wheel will stay the same during the duration of the wheel’s life. I found this to be incredibly positive, as that makes a consistent wheel. I got really used to them and could expect the same slide every time.
Casting quality of the wheels was great- I didn’t notice any separation of the wheels from the core, which I have noticed with wheels before. If you didn’t know, this creates chatter when you slide, and it’s not the most pleasant thing- you can live with it, but I hate it with a burning passion. Thank goodness that didn’t happen to the Harfang Supremes. There was also none of the common wrongs with bad wheels- swirling, inconsistencies in wear, no shearing in the urethane, no cracking in the core. So, all-around a pretty reliable wheel.
Okay, with all those technical things aside- my experience with the wheel.
Harfang Supremes, compared to wheels that I’ve ridden in the past, are gripper than Orangatang Skiffs, Free Wheel Co Free Ballins, Tracers, and and Envys. They are slidier than In Heats, Ahmyo Mukti Protos, and Muirskate Markers. So they’re right in the “less-slidey” category of wheels. They’ll wash out, they’ll slide far, but they definitely won’t dump thane and launch you off the side of the road in the case of a bad slide. The slide is a little in the ground, kind of chalky, and will leave thane lines if the pavement is hot. They’re not very good on cold pavement though- they get really grippy and the hookup turns really mucky. They’re some of the most controllable wheels that I’ve skated, whatever input you put into these wheels, you can expect to feel a reaction. Good for novice skaters who are just learning to learn pendulums and drifts, I think. They won’t win a slide jam in the longest slide competition, but they’ll definitely be a wheel that you want to shred at the local putt and freeride hills.
The roll speed is pretty generous- I was able to keep up with the others at Saturday Night Skate with these on. It’s pretty easy to tell a slow freeride wheel from a fast one, and this one definitely isn’t slow. The urethane seems to be generously dense, so you get a decent amount of speed out of them.
The sparks! The sparks are gnarly. When you first get the wheel, you’ll find that the flints in the wheel are kind of jagged and sticking out weird. Worry not, one slide and those will be evened out. There are times in the life of the wheel when they get a little short and you don’t get heavy sparks like you did in the very beginning of the wheel, but as you wear down the wheel, you start to get sparks again. I don’t expect Harfang to know the speed at which their wheels wear and how that relates to the wear of the flints. That’s like, a lot of math and research. But the flints work reliably and they’re oh-so-showy when it comes to sliding at night.
All in all, these were an awesome wheel- they’re made to be slid and they’re made for you to enjoy. A conservative, careful company like Harfang has once again introduced a wheel that’s different to all the others. Sparking wheels, who would’ve thought! These are definitely a wheel that I’ll be skating in the future. Might have to buy another set as soon as I run out of freeride wheels!