Making My Heart Go Boom — Bustin Boombox Review

Making My Heart Go Boom — Bustin Boombox Review


Hello Friends,
I dropped a little sneak peak of the Bustin Boombox on the blog a little while back and I am officially ready to give you my thoughts on this board. The Boombox is a symmetrical topmount freeride and freestyle board meant to dope in every situation. It is the second longest board in the Bustin line-up but remains super nimble and incredible agile. Let me get into the nitty gritty details of Bustin Boombox real quick.

Specs:

Bustin Boombox

Length

42.5 in

Wheelbase

29.5 in

Width

10 in

Concave

9/16 in

Drop

1/2 in Radial

Special Features

Double Kicks, Radial Drop, Wheel Wells

The construction on the Boombox is something else. This board was built to be an all-around thrasher that can handle any situation you can throw at it. The concave on the board locks your feet in enough to hold out long slides without being so extreme that doing freestyle tricks get awkward. The radial drop on the board gives your feet a nice little bubble to rest and hit slides with. This bubble results in a more fluid transition between heel and toeside slides because you don’t have to rearrange your feet for every slide or do crazy monkey toe things.

This board is very similar to the Bustin EQ and I have mentioned in a previous product review that I LOVE the EQ. One of the main differences between this board and the EQ are the giant kicktails on either side. A more subtle difference between the two is that the Boombox has one less ply of maple in it than the EQ. This gives the board a tiny amount of flex and makes it nice and light which is great for freestyling.

Enough about the construction, let us talk about how the Boombox handles in the concrete jungle.

Commute
If you already know that you need to skate to work or to class every day and want to look steezy doing it, then grab yourself a Boombox. It has everything and anything you could possible need to take your commute from painful to pleasurable. I ride this bad boy to work (it’s about a 2 mile trek from my house) and enjoy every second of it. The radial drop makes the board a tad lower which is great for pushing and the flex give you just a tiny bit more rebound out your carves, making the Boombox nice and pumpable. The addition of kicks means hoping off curbs is a piece of cake, and hey if you’re good enough you can even pop up the curbs too.

Downhill
While the Boombox is certainly not best board for a strictly downhill rider it certainly isn’t terrible at it! I mentioned the little bit of flex on the board and it I wouldn’t call it speed stiff by any means, but I have taken it pretty fast on some of the bigger hills around here with no problem. The concave is enough to keep my feet locked in place when they need to be and the radial drop feels really, really nice when haulin down a hill.  My only problem when I start going really fast on this board is that I am always so tempted to take it sideways instead. If you’re looking for a Bustin that you can tear down a hill on check out the Ratmobile,  their new directional topmount speed board.

Freeride
Which brings us to how rad this board is for some serious freeride action. The Boombox is currently my favorite freeride deck because it has everything I could possible need. The concave doesn’t just keep my feet in place when going down a hill but keeps them nice comfy when throwing out slides. The bubble created by the radial drop on this board is great because, although I definitely do it out of habit anyways, you don’t have monkey-foot like a madman when kicking out a slide on this deck. You can sit your foot on that bubble and have enough leverage on the board to hit your heel and toeside slides without a problem. In addition the nose and tail kicks make it awesome for hitting blunt slides, which really just max out your cool points.

Freestyle
The last style of riding I wanted to talk about with the Boombox may be where the board excels the most and that is in freestyle. The kicks on this board are everything I could have hoped for and then some. They make manuals, no complys, shoves, and tigerclaws easy as pie. The effective platform is long enough while the rocker and concave are mild enough to hit some nice cross-step-y board dancing action. Which basically means you can link trick into trick into trick like it is your job. Having 8 plies of wood has made this board very light without sacrificing strength. I flip trick this board hard and have taken off some serious height without so much as even a sign of cracking.

 Bottom Line, would I recommend this board to a friend?
I would actually recommend this board to a wide variety of skaters. It is a great board for learning on and then progressing your skills on to a very high level. There really isn’t much you cannot do on a Boombox. The concave locks you in for slides and going fast the kicktails make the board versatile as hell. The only person I would reconsider recommending this board to would be a downhill racer, but for anyone and everyone else this is a great board.

I happen to have a whole bunch of boards in my quiver and I find myself consistently reaching for my Boombox. On days I don’t know where I will end up I know that my Boombox will more than capable of handling anything I can throw at it. If you want a board that can do it all, and make you look steezey as hell while doing it, then grab yourself a Boombox, it is literally impossible that you would regret it.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, musings, or fortunes… Hit me up!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

 My Current Favorite Setup:
-BUSTIN BOOMBOX
-Surf-Rodz 177mm Indeesz
-Orangatang Nipples Orange
-Daddies Bearings
-Orangatang Stimulus 70mm 83a

the Reckless Vandal — Rayne Vandal Review

the Reckless Vandal — Rayne Vandal Review

Hey Party People,
I recently got my hands on a Rayne Vandal a board so ready for steeze that it may make you feel like going way bigger and harder than normal… one might even say it makes you feel like a reckless vandal. (see what I did there?) The Vandal really is an awesome board for both freeride and downhill and it has all sorts of nooks and crannies to keep your feet nice and comfy no matter what type of situation you might find you and  your board in.

However, per usual, before we get into how the Vandal handles on the ol’ black top let’s get into the technical specifications of the board.

Specs:

Rayne Vandal

Length

35.5in

Wheelsbase

25.75, 26.5, or 27.25in

Width

10in

Special Features

Tub Concave, 3D Wheel Wells, 3D Gas Pedals, Mounting Options

The Vandal is a direction topmount board with everything you need to go fast and go sideways and even some surprising attributes to make it pretty fun in other applications.

Commuting
This board is a pretty dope board to cruise through town on. It is small enough to be nimble on sidewalks but has more than enough room to steeze things out with. Something I really like about Rayne construction is the use of bamboo and pre-tensioned fiberglass. This combination makes their boards both strong as an ox and light as a feather. Being so light is really what makes this board so nice to commute on because it takes like no energy to get moving.

The Vandal also has some nice adjustable wheelbase options, so if you know that you are going to be riding through some close quarters pretty frequently you can dial the wheelbase in nice and tight. This allows you the ability to whip 180 and check slides with little no effort.

Freestyle
Most people would be kind of surprised to know that the Vandal, although definitely not intended to be a freestyle board, has some nice traits for tricks. You can reel the wheelbase down real low to give your Vandal a little tail. Now the tail is not kicked but it is super functional. you can boneless, tigerclaw, shove, and manual with this little tail all day long. In addition something one of my buddies did that was kind of cool is put a footstop on his vandal. This footstop was meant for intense freeride/downhill time but it doubled as an “ollie block.” He would pop an ollie and then slide his foot up against that footstop to get a little more leverage on the board and add height to his jump. There’s a little pro-tip if you’re ever trying to take you Vandal up curbs, haha.

Downhill
The Vandal is fast. There are no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about it. This board was built for speed and lots and lots and lots of it. Having never actually ridden a Rayne before this Vandal when I heard that it was made of bamboo and fiberglass I immediately thought of more flexy cruiser type boards and couldn’t picture it being stiff. However, the second I stepped on the board all my thoughts of flex dissolved. The Vandal is nice and stiff and has super comfy foot pockets. The board was molded with such thought and foresight that I felt very comfortable going at about my max speed on this board the day I got it.

Freeride
Where does a Vandal truly shine? Well, to be perfectly honest it was quite a close call between downhill and freeride, but in the end I think the Vandal’s true forte is going sideways (and feel free to disagree with me). The platform on this board is something else, the wheels wells form awesome 3D gas pedals that you can really dig your feet into for slides. They feel great for spinning around and transitioning between heel and toeside slides and also make you feel really confident when leaning into bigger slides. The shape of the wheel wells is so intuitive and natural that you don’t find yourself needing to monkey foot (when you wrap your toes or heel on the rail of a board to get more leverage) hardly at all. I still do it out of habit when I am going slow (check out some of my pictures), but at high speeds my feet stay on my platform at all times even when switching my slide direction.

Let’s Get to that Bottom Line:
Who would I recommend the Rayne Vandal to? I think that this board is great for all those folks out there who are looking to go fast and go sideways. While the Vandal is pretty good for commuting and even has some nice feature for some light freestyle, it is really all about speed. Speed while downhilling and speed while pulling off impossibly large powerslides. The Vandal is currently my topmount of choice because I know when I step on the board I am going to be locked in for any speed I might hit and ready to hit a slide at a moment’s notice.

If you are looking for a directional topmount board that can do a little bit of everything but really excels at downhill and freeride then I would humbly recommend the Vandal. It has everything you need to go super fast and slideways. Plus, to top all of that off the construction on the board is great and I know that my Vandal will last me a long long time.
Photo Cred: Flerine!

Any Questions, Comments, Concerns, Loveletters, or Memes???
Hit me up!
Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Current Favorite Setup:
-RAYNE VANDAL
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKP Trucks
-Orangatang Baluts 80a
-Venom SHR Bushings
-Daddies Board Shop Bearings

Flash Back, Flash Forward, Flash Sideways? — Abec 11 Flashback Review

Flash Back, Flash Forward, Flash Sideways? — Abec 11 Flashback Review

Hello Public,

I have been taking the past few weeks to work on some wheel reviews and it has been awesome. The first wheel I want to review is a classic among freeriders… the Abec 11 Flashback. Now Flashies (as they have been lovingly nicknamed) have generated a sort of cult of followers over the years and I was curious how they would feel as I actually reviewed them. However, per usual, before we get into how they handle on the pavement let’s talk about the technical specifications.

Flashbacks are 70mm wheels with a 43mm contact path. Abec 11 says that Flashies have square lips and they do have a definite angle to them, but I would say they are ever so slightly less than square. They come in a wide range of durometers from 75a all the way to 84a, so really soft or a little harder, pick your pleasure. Finally they have a sideset bearing hub so they aren’t meant to be flipped backwards (although I did put that to the test too).

Like all the wheels I test I put Flashbacks through the motions in most major disciplines of riding…

Commuting
Flashbacks actually make a pretty nice wheel to ride around town. If you’re looking for a chill glide around town with wheels that absorb vibrations and bumps grab a set of the softer Flashies and you will be golden. If you are more of an agressive commuter you bump the durometer up a notch or so to make kicking out slides a little easier.

Downhill
Flashbacks are not intended to be a downhill wheel but they do have a few admirable qualities for going fast. The first is that if you are on shorter runs being a 70mm wheels allows them to accelerate faster than a larger, say 75mm, wheel would which means you get up to your top speed faster. The other nice thing for downhilling is that you can drift super predictably on Flashies, however the downside of that nice drift is that they don’t have very much grip. If you are running a softer durometer with the mold release still on you should be fine taking most turns but trying to take something sharp while going fast may result in you sliding out.

Freestyle
As far as freestyling goes Flashies have got you covered. They aren’t too heavy but they are big enough to give you some nice roll from one push. This is great for trying to linking up tricks or board dancing. Another interesting freestyle trait of Flashbacks is that have a nice range of hardnesses, so you can go with the really soft or a little harder based on your preference.  I feel like with these wheels you can really take your freestyle from the parks to the streets and be equally at home.

Freeride
This is it for Flashies. I learned why they have such a huge fanbase when I started to freeride them really hard. The set I reviewed were 78a in durometer so they were pretty soft and also pretty dope. Flashbacks has a super smooth slide. They are the definition of what you might call a buttery slide. Since my wheels were a little softer they took a little more effort to kick out into a slide than a harder wheel might but once you break the wheels free they just glide. In addition they drop super thane if you hold your slide out for long enough. Some people don’t like seeing thane and some do, but regardless its always kind of cool seeing some lines left on the run you just took as you’re walking back up the hill. My Flashies have also worn very well don’t have any flatspots or ovaling which is always something to look for in a good freeride wheel.

Alright well, even though I have been loving Flashies to death (literally almost to the death of the wheels) every wheel has its trade offs. Dropping those cool thane lines on the ground means you are leaving your wheel on the ground when you slide so Flashbacks are not the most durable wheel on the market. However, coming in at a cool $36.00 a set they are also one of the cheapest wheels out there, so replacing them doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

If you are looking for a wheel that is ready to hit the hills and go super sideways then I wouldn’t look any further than Flashbacks. Any dedicated freerider knows that he/she is going to need to replace they wheels they burn through in a few sessions and Flashies are probably the best bargain out there. I have loved my Flashback and will continue to love them to the core. If you ever get a chance pick up a set and try them out for yourself!

Any questions, comments, concerns, cooking recipes, parables????
Send them my way!

Special Thanks to Tyler and Alex for appearing in these photos!

Stay Awesome,
Wayne

Current Favorite Setup:
-Loaded Dervish Sama
-Paris 180mm Trucks
-Orangatang Nipples (Purple)
-Bones Redz
-ABEC 11 FLASHBACKS 78a

Who Wants a Free Ride? — Abec 11 Freeride Review

Who Wants a Free Ride? — Abec 11 Freeride Review

Hey There Party People,

I mentioned a while back that I had received both Abec 11 Flashbacks and Freerides from none other than the generous folk over at Abec themselves! I have been thrashing the heck out my Freerides lately and am finally ready to write up a review on them. I consider writing a review on Abec Freerides no small task because they have been around for ages and have a fantastic reputation among people new to skating and slide fanatics alike.

Abec 11 Freerides come in several sizes and a variety of hardnesses. They are offered in 66mm, 72mm, and 77mm and with durometers coming in at 78a, 81a, or 84a. Most Abec 11 Freerides are offest wheels, however, the 72mm size are also offered with a centerset bearing seat. All of the sizes, durometers, and bearing seat options make Freeride one of the most diverse wheels on the market and they can suit a variety of riders needs. The set of Abec 11 Freerides that I have been taking to the streets are center set, 84a in durometer, and have a 39mm contact path.

What does all this mean for your ride?
Abec 11 Freeride are obviously the best at what their name suggests, freeride, so let’s start there.

Freeride
These wheels are just incredible for freeride! The Abec 11 classic thane formula is freaking butter under your feet. I am riding the 84a Freerides which are the hardest formula they offer in this line of wheels but it felt softer than other brands of wheels in a similar durometer. Which means while an 84a wheel in another brand may ice out under your feet pretty quickly the urethane formula of Abec 11 Freerides has no such problem. Transitions in to slides are smooth as silk and my friend refer to them as “ninja slides” because they chatter or screech like other wheels. All you hear is a smoooooooth sliding sound. The smooth sound and feel is consistent for holding long slides or hitting quick 180 slides, however, holding out those long standies is where these wheels really freaking shine. The only slight down side I would mention is that they can flatspot is you aren’t sliding correctly, but that’s true of all wheels.

Monkey footing so hard my feet are warping?

Downhill
This genre of skating isn’t the necessarily the forte of Abec 11 Freerides but if you know what you’re doing and you know what these wheels are meant for you then you will be good to go. Like I mentioned they have a really smooth slide which means that they can drift like a champ. However, you do not want to take them on a turn you are trying to grip through without expecting to slide. If you are going fast and turning then odds are you going to drift a bit on these wheels.

Freestyle
Abec 11 Freerides are purty darn good for some freestyle in addition to freeride. They are pretty thin for a longboard wheel which makes them nice and light and therefore dope for that freestyle time. Because if you are in the mood for flippy tricks on your longboard then you don’t want some 75mm giants weighing down your board. If you are looking to do lots of freestyle on Abec Freerides then I would highly recommend trying out the 66mm wheels, which would be even more agile and nimble than the 72mm ones I am rocking.

Commuting
Freerides are a great wheels to ride around campus, to work, or the grocery store. How do I know that? I have taken them everywhere and back again. I really like these wheels for commuting because they are the definition of a nimble wheels. Unless your hauling ass down a hill they have more than enough grip to let you pump your board with out sliding the wheels out. On the flip side they are also super easy to break out into slides if you need to slow down quickly with a few little checks. They also accelerate nice and quickly so you can get up to speed fast rather than having to push a bajillion times to get moving which nice if you have to stop and go often.

Bottom line:
Would I recommend Abec 11 Freerides to my friends?
I am certain that anyone who likes to slide would love these wheels more than they even expected to. Abec 11 wheels have always had a great reputation and these wheels are no exception. I am super happy to say that they live up to the hype around them and then some. If you like to freeride then look no further than a set of these wheels. If you ever find yourself in the market for some new slide wheels then I am going to send you running in the direction of Abec 11 Freerides, no matter what durometer, size, or bearing seat you choose I am certain you will be happy with them!

 

Any Questions, Comments, Recipes, Letters, Rare Coins???
Send them my way!
Thanks and Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Current Favorite Setup:
-Rayne Vandal
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKPs
-Orangatang Nipples
-Bones Reds
-ABEC 11 FREERIDES 72mm Centerset 84a

 

All Hot and Bothered — Fireball Incendo and Beast Wheels Review

All Hot and Bothered — Fireball Incendo and Beast Wheels Review

Hey My Friends,
I have been checking out some new wheels lately have been rocking these sick new sets of Fireball wheels the Incendos and Beasts. These wheels are pretty interesting wheels in that preform well in a variety of skating styles and look good to boot. They have a really nice urethane formula that begs to be slid on and are a fun all around skate wheel. Let’s get into the specifications of these wheels.

   All Fireball wheels come in 3 signature color/durometer combination with the softest being the white 81a, followed by the red 84a, and finally the black 87a. They also all come slide prepped with a nice stone ground surface so you can slide these bad boys on day one. They have an interesting lip shape, but I’ll talk more about that in a second. There are two varieties of Fireball wheels the Incendos and Beasts. Incendos are offset and 70mm with a 44mm contact path and Beasts are offset 76mm wheels with a 49mm contact path.

I mentioned that these wheels can perform well in many of the different situations a rider might encounter on the road which makes sense because Incendos were designed to be an all around wheel. Unfortunately I have heard some guys who like to hold those long standies out for days complain about Fireballs. Well when I was talking with some of the crew over at Fireball they informed that these wheels weren’t meant to freeride specific. However, they told me that may have something along those lines in the works so all you guys who only like to hold out standies can look forward to those, because although these wheels aren’t the best shape for freeride the thane formula is soooooo smooth. But I digress, let me tell how these wheels perform in the many different styles of riding you might want to put them through.

Commuting
I really enjoy commuting on both Incendos and Beasts for different reasons. If you like to whip some check slides and do flip tricks on your commute you are going to love the Incendos they are lighter and accelerate nice and quickly. If you like the whole push, push coast dealio then you are going to dig the Beasts. They take a little bit of work to get up to speed since they are larger but they hold speed great. It’s really nice for longer commutes and skater who aren’t into flippy tricks or doing quick slides.

Freestyle
If you are into freestyle longboarding then you are probably going to prefer the Incendos. They are light, nimble, and break out into quick little slides like it is their job. I really like these wheels for longboard flip tricks and flatland powerslides when I am freestyling. They leave thane so easy, it’s kinda cool, you can see your thane lines after quick 180s. The best freestyle application for the Beasts that I have found are that they are dope for dancing. That nice long coast I was talking about means that you can cross-step the day away without having to put your feet back down for pushing. Oh yeah!

Downhill
Now this is a discipline that these wheels were made for! Incendos are great for hitting hills that aren’t super long and that you are going to need to get up to your top speed quickly due to their smaller 70mm diameter. Beasts are, well… they are beastly at downhill. They have great top speed and hold that speed very well. That 76mm diameter, as I mentioned, makes them great for sustaining speed and the wide contact path allows them to corner pretty well too. Both Incendos and Beasts come with a stone ground finish so I would not recommend trying to grip through a hard corner going super fast, because you’re going to slide. Now, I am not a downhill racer, but I have taken both sets of wheels through some tight turns going fast and they drift beautifully! This is where I think that these wheels really excel over the competition, they are so freaking smooth and predictable!

Freeride
I touched on this earlier in my review, but what is interesting about Beasts and Incendos are that they are not meant to be a freeride specific wheel. Despite this, what is great about these wheels is that they are both awesome to freeride anyways. I really enjoyed the urethane formula of the wheels because it is smooth as hell. These wheels are not the very best wheels I have ridden to hold out loooong standing slides, but they are definitely aren’t the worst and I would still say that you should give them a try. What is really interesting is that they are super sick for 180 slides. I will 180 down a hill all day long on these wheels and enjoy every second of it.

So would I recommend Fireball brand wheels to a friend?
Absolutely I would!

I would recommend the Incendos to anyone looking for a nice all around wheel that can really hold its own in all types of riding. I ride my Incendos on my every day do-anything board and they are a perfect fit. I can meet my friends on the hills, to freestyle, or just to cruise around and be confident in my wheels meeting my requirements.

I would recommend the Beasts to someone looking for a wheel that hold speed nicely and drift well. If you live in an area where you need to hit some speed and then take a drifty corner, check out some Beasts. Additionally if you are a strict commuter looking for a nice set of wheels to cruise on grab a set of Beasts for that smooth ride!

Per Usual, if you have any questions whatsoever, comments, recommendations, hatemail, loveletters…
Hit me up!

Stay Awesome,
Wayne

My Favorite Setups:
-Original Drop Beast
-Paris 195mm
-Purple Nipples
-Bones Reds Bearings
-FIREBALL INCENDOS

-Bustin Ibach
-Surf-Rodz 200mm RKPs
-Venom SHR 86a
-Surf-Rodz Pro-Series 10mm Bearings
-FIREBALL BEASTS

 

Photo Credit: Tyler Pollard

A New Beast Rises — Original Drop Beast Review

A New Beast Rises — Original Drop Beast Review

Long ago in the days of ancient Greece there was once a monster known as the Original Beast. This dark evil beast had the head of a lion and two tails. It looked something like this….

Well the legendary Hero Waynanidas saw this monsterous beast and knew what he must do! He confronted the Beast and thoroughly shredded it to pieces (http://longboard-life.blogspot.com/2012/02/beastiality-original-beast-freeride.html)! The victorious hero thought that he had nothing left to do but celebrate with months of festivities. Which is exactly what he did!

However, during his celebrations Waynanidas didn’t notice that a new was Beast spawning. This new Beast dropped from the very sky above and became known by the local people as the “drop beast.” When Waynanidas heard this news he knew that once again he must shred this beast!

The new Original Drop Beast is a cut above the rest. I liked the older version of the Beast but this one is something else entirely. The lowered platform with the new concave is everything I could have hoped for. However, before we do anything else, let’s talk about the specifications of the new Original Dropped Beast.

Specs:

Original Drop Beast

Length

41in

Wheelsbase

30-31in (depending on Trucks)

Width

10in

Drop

0.95in

Special Features

Double Drop, Symmetrical, Waist, Double Kicks

The Dropped Beast is a board centered around freeride, which for those of you who aren’t sure what freeride means, it is a type of riding that involves lots of powerslides and creativity while heading down a hill. The Drop Beast comes in two lengths 41 and 44 inches (which means there is not a 38in option in this version of the Beast, like there was in the older version). The deck is stiff, has a waist, drop-through mounting, a dropped platform, and two kicktails. All of which make the Drop Beast a very versatile board that can handle its own in many different styles of riding. This makes it a very good choice for an all-around board that can handle some serious challenges when it’s time to get down and dirty on the hills.

Commuting:
The very first day I rode my Drop Beast was for push race in Charlotte, NC and I’m talking the very first time I even rode it. One of the things I really like about this Beast is that it is SO low to the ground. It makes pushing it around town totally easy. The race I took it to was a 5 mile push race on a pretty flat course and riding the Drop Beast after always riding taller boards made the race too easy! I felt like I could push all day long and not feel a thing.

Freestyle:
The Drop Beast wasn’t necessarily designed to be a freestyle board specifically, however, the addition of two massive kicktails on the board make it a freestyle machine anyways. Although kicktails are becoming more and more of a trend in all types of boards, they have only recently started being added to freeride boards. Kicks have been coming out in all sorts of shapes and varieties lately and Original got it right with their kicktails. They have a ton of pop to them! I love hitting things like shove-its and tiger claws on the Drop Beast, I have even hit some ollies on this board because the tails have so much pop.

Downhill:
The Drop Beast is such a low riding son of a gun that is great for downhilling! You feel like you’re standing on solid ground and not on a skateboard flying downhill when you’re going fast on this board. The drop platform altered the concave of this board when compared to the previous models of the beast. Instead of the platform feeling like you’re standing in a tube, due to the concave, the drop platform flattened it out a bit. Now you have two foot spots and edges where the platform meets the drop. The result is a very stable feeling board no matter the speed you are hitting.

Freeride:
Freeride is where the Drop Beast is truly at home! Like I mentioned above it is a board designed for freeride, so this is naturally where it naturally excels. The drop platform is exceptional at holding your feet in place for long slides. Which was honestly a little counter-intuitive to me because I thought having more concave in the deck would lock me in better, however, being able to push your feet up against the point where the drop meets neck of the deck is fantastic. Instead of having to install a footstop on your board like lots of people do on their freeride setups… the board has two built right in.

 In addition to having two great footstops and an awesome platform to slide from the tails bring your freeride game up a notch as well. You can work on awesome slides from the tails, hit wheelie slides, and do all sorts of things that only a tail can offer you. The Drop Beast is just such a great freeride board and has actually moved to the top of my freeride favorites, which was a pleasant surprise.

Well it can’t all be good. Let’s talk about the downsides of the Drop Beast. The biggest downside that I found with the board was actually how low it rides. If you get it setup right it is fantastic, however finding that right setup was a little hard for me. I initially put some Surf_Rodz RKP trucks and 70mm wheels on it and the board ended up touching the ground when I turned… womp.  However, once I switched to some trucks that rode a little bit higher off the ground than Surf_Rodz 70mm wheels worked fine. I do however get nervous trying to early grab on this board because I have scraped my fingers on the pavement a few time due to that lowness, haha.

 Would I recommend the Original Drop Beast to a friend?

I absolutely would. I liked this board a whole lot more than the older model of the Beast and have found that it has become one of my go to boards for many situations. I even hit my first real bigspin on the Drop Beast, so that was exciting. This new strain of Beast can really do it all, commute, freestyle, push, downhill, and freeride. Freeriding the Drop Beast was a dream come true. My slides feel more controlled and are significantly longer. If you are looking for a board that can do a little bit of everything but that has a flare for freeride then look no further than the Original Drop Beast.

Any Questions, Comments, Concerns, Death Threats, Chain Mail???
Send it my way!
Wayne

 My Favorite Setup:
-Original Drop Beast 41
-Paris 195mm Trucks
-Orangatang Baluts 72.5mm 83a Purple
-Orangatang Nipples Medium Purple
-Bones Redz

Kalypso 4President — Orangatang 4President Review

Kalypso 4President — Orangatang 4President Review

Hey Everyone,

Check out the video review!
Kalypso 4President

Kalypso, my dog, and I decided we wanted to give you our opinions on Orangatang 4President wheels! The 4President line of Orangatang wheels have been around for a pretty long time and have a reputation for being a fast and reliable wheel for many different disciplines of riding. In my personal opinion they are as close to a do anything wheel as one can get. But before we get into how these wheels handle on the road, let’s talk about the specifications of the 4President.

My Co-Star Kalypso

Like all Orangatang wheels 4Presidents are offered in their 3 signature durometers/color combinations, 80a orange, 83 purple, and 86a yellow and these wheels are poured with Orangatang’s HappyThane urethane formula, which a lot of people either love or hate, but I personally love. 4presidents are a hard lipped wheel with an offset bearing seat and measure in at 70mm with a 53mm contact path.

So what does that mean for your riding? Being a 70mm hard lipped wheel gives 4presidents a very quick acceleration and the ability to carve hard and take corners at speed. However, the reason I said that the 4prez is as close to a do anything wheel as you can get is because if you break these wheels in they will slide allllllllll day for you. I really enjoy freestyle, downhill, freeride, and commuting on these wheels.

Disciplines of Riding:

Orangatang 4Presidents perform well in MANY different types of riding from slalom to sliding and everything in between. Let’s talk about how they handle in different riding scenarios.

Commuting:
4presidents make a great commuting wheel for several reasons. The first is that they accelerate quickly and hold speed for a while, which means that they glide for a long time after each push. The second is that they have fantastic grip, even when broken in, for pumping. If you pop these bad boys on a flexy board you can really just pump the day away and hardly ever put a foot on the ground. I have actually pumped UP hill on 4Presidents when I throw them on a flexy board like a Dervish. Kalypso loves to commute on these wheels because she doesn’t have to pull as hard because they roll so easily and for so long!

Freestyle:
I actually really like to freestyle on these wheels! 4Presidents may be a little bit wide and heavy for some people’s freestyle tastes, however, I thoroughly enjoy them. I like that they have a little grip but still slide like crazy if I really throw myself into the slide, even at low speeds. Plus there is always that benefit of being a wheel that doesn’t require that much pushing once it gets started rolling. Not having to push all the time is great for tricks like cross stepping and all that board dancing whatnot.

Downhill:
When it comes to downhilling 4presidents are a fantastic wheel! They get up to speed very quickly and hold speed for a long time. I have seen some serious race set-ups with 4presidents on them as opposed to the larger InHeats due the the faster acceleration of 4presidents. If you don’t break in your 4presidents they can really take a corner too, they grip really hard when going fast. However once you break them in it’s a whole new ball game!

Freeride:
Freeride on 4presidents is insane. They take a little work to break in, you gotta get that shiny release mold off and round out the edges a bit, but once you do it’s game over. I love to slide on my 4presidents. They are as much fun going sideways as they are going downhill. They have a very smooth and consistent slide with no surprises thrown in the mix. I feel very comfortable whenever I slide on these wheels. In addition they wear pretty slowly which is nice. I have a set Orange Stimulus wheels that have worn at much faster rate than the 4Presidents have. I also haven’t ever had trouble with flatspots or ovalling, which is super sick.

All in all, I would say that Kalypso and I LOVE Orangatang 4Presidents! They accelerate quickly and hold speed for a long time. You can pump and freestyle them all day. They can corner like a boss when they aren’t broken in… then when they are broken in they love to slide! Like I said earlier, I think that Orangatang has gotten about as close as you can get to a “do anything” wheel as is possible with 4presidents.
Just ask Kalypso!

 

Thanks for reading/watching!
Any questions, comments, concerns, bills, junkmail, loveletters???
Send them my way!
Wayne

Diminutive Dynamo — Bustin Boards Mini Maestro Review

Diminutive Dynamo — Bustin Boards Mini Maestro Review
My Mini Maestro

Hey Everyone!

A while back I picked up Bustin Boards’ Mini Maestro, a sick little campus destroyer that is more fun than watching Santa Claus fight the Easter Bunny. The Mini Maestro is a short 32 inches long with an even smaller wheelbase because of its two kicktails.

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Matt Fagan, Agent of Orange — Bombsquad Agent Orange Review

Matt Fagan, Agent of Orange — Bombsquad Agent Orange Review

 This review is by Mr. Matt Fagan, an awesome dude with some equally awesome insights about the Bombsquad Agent Orange

 

Hola!
My name is Matt and I like to play skateboards. What probably makes my typical game of skateboards different from yours is that I live in Boone. That means if I want to skate, I’m probably going to be skating a fast hill. Unlike some places where you seek out the fastest hills, in Boone you’re surrounded by fast hills and have to find ones you’re comfortable skating. This could be finding ones with nice pavement, little traffic, ones that don’t end blind intersections, ones that friendly people live on, ones that don’t have cliffs to the outside or rock walls to the inside of corners, etc. The hills are not particularly fast, but going fast in a straight line requires different gear and skills than going fast around tight corners, or going fast through sweepers before predrifting a hairpin. This means a setup must be stable but able to turn fairly tight at speed and grippy but still able to be slid to shave off speed. This brings us to the Bombsquad Agent Orange, and how it works for my type of riding, and what is does not do as well at. Bombsquad is a smaller manufacturer based in Texas. They make noseguards, footstops, and stiff boards out of maple, and used to make aluminum boards.Hola.

 

Specs

Length

37.25in

Width

9.75in

Wheelbase

28.5in, 27.5in, 26.5in

Concave

5/8in

   The basic shape of the board is nothing particularly unusual. It is the classic directional topmount speedboard that has been around for a long time. It’s on the shorter side based upon the wheelbase options, but the standing platform is about 28in, so it does not feel cramped for me at all. The board is fairly wide, but not more so than other similar boards. Compare it, for example, to the Comet Voodoo Doll, which is 10.25in at the widest point. The widest point of the Agent Orange is where you need it. Full width is not far behind the front bolts. A lot of similar boards (the previously mentioned Voodoo Doll as well as many of the Sector 9 Downhill Division boards) are at their widest much closer to the middle. This is probably a vestige of their pintail roots, as width there is not particularly usable. That the Agent Orange has tapered a bit by then is useful for several reasons. First, it is simply less wood to carry back up the hill or push around. Second, it makes footbraking at speed significantly easier. It allows you to keep your leg closer in, similar to a waist on many popular freeride boards. Taper also helps with stability a little bit by reducing leverage under the back foot. It just lets you weight up your back foot in a turn for grip without wobbling through them.

The Agent Orange has multiple wheelbase options to adjust based on personal preference. I have found that I like the shortest (26.5in) option the best, but some of my taller friends who have messed around with the board prefer one of the three longer options. I’m short and have a fairly short stance, but some others find the slightly longer wheelbase make sliding easier. The shorter wheelbase and wide nose mean you can get right up on top of the front truck. This makes you more stable and, combined with the width and concave, give you massive amounts of leverage.

   Speaking of the concave, I find it to very comfortable. It’s not super mellow like the Comet Voodoo series, but it isn’t super aggressive. It’s definitely there, but it does not make the board uncomfortable for pushing. I have really small feet, so concaves probably feel different to me than other people, but this is one of the few I’ve stood on that instantly felt right. The only others that have for me are Incline cave and Bustin EQ cave. I’ve heard that the board is pressed in the same concave mold as the Earthwing Supermodel, which has a concave that gets progressively steeper towards the edges. I’m not sure if it is actually pressed in that mold, but it does feel like it could be. The concave doesn’t feel quite as extreme though because the board is narrower, particularly in the back. The middle of the deck feels flat enough for comfortable pushing, with no W. While there may be no W or concave-killing gas pedals, the rails are pretty sharp (only rounded enough for you to not cut yourself), so dig your heel in or monkey-toe that slide.

   The board doesn’t have any noticeable flex for me. It’s only 8 ply, which keeps it fairly light, unlike the 1,140,593 ply Evo or 10 ply Greaseshark. The shorter wheelbase and concave seem to keep it stiff. I have ridden a lot of 9 ply boards that have more flex. A lot of people get sketched out about riding a shorter wheelbase faster because short wheelbases are less stable, but I certainly feel more stable on a smaller, stiff board than a longer one with a little flex. Topmounts are supposedly less stable too, but the Agent Orange makes up for that with grip, huge foot platforms, and the leverage to turn hard or kick out a slide.

   So the Agent Orange excels at going around corners rather quickly, but is it any good at going slow? Some speedboards, such as the Evo, feel good going fast and absolutely dead at lower speeds. A lot of this depends on truck and bushing setups, but the Agent Orange can actually be fun at lower speeds. Being a topmount, it isn’t the easiest board to push, but with the right truck and bushing setup it can be super carvy. Like I said before, the concave isn’t so aggressive that pushing is uncomfortable on your feet; it’s just more work because you have to bend your knee more. On the other hand, getting used to footbraking on a topmount makes you able to footbrake from any speed on a drop-through or drop-platform deck. It also isn’t exactly a freestyle board, but the nose and tail are pretty functional, especially on the shorter wheelbase. Tricks involving the nose and tail are obviously a lot easier on something lighter with kicks such as a Tan Tien, but they’re not too difficult on the AO. The nose and tail are about as functional as those on an Apex 37, which is much more of a freestyle board. Being a good downhill board, it is also a good freeride board when setup for slidey freeride action.

   I have noticed a few weaknesses of the board. First, the sharp rails get torn up pretty easily. I’ve had the board come out and flip over during faster slides (due to lack of skill/practice and nasty pavement) and the rails got pretty scraped up fast. This is particularly a problem at the back wheelwells right before the cutouts, as the board is only a couple plys thick and that’s the highest area on the back of the board. I can’t comment as to how the board stands up to being curbed, as most of the roads I skate don’t have curbs (sometimes they have cliffs to fall off though). The sweet graphic also comes off pretty easily.

   I also experienced my board warping after a couple months. I hadn’t ridden it in the wet and I had only owned it over the colder months so no hot trunks to warp it. I took a couple pictures and emailed Bombsquad explaining the situation. Within 30 minutes, I got an apologetic response asking for my address to send a new one. No requests to send the board in for examination, just an apology and offer for a new one. This is why I would buy another board from them. If there’s a problem, they’ll fix it as quickly as possible.

   As far as set-ups go, I’ve tried Paris, Randals, and Gunmetals on the board. I’ve messed around with all the wheelbase options and some different baseplate angles. I enjoyed the board the whole time, but my two favorite setups were split angle Paris and 46* Gunmetals. I ran the Paris with a 50* front and the rear at 42-43*. With the fat nose that lets you get your front foot right up by the front truck, it works well having the front do more of the turning while the back grips and stays stable. I really like the Gunmetals because I find 46* to be a great middle ground for stability and lean at high speeds and carvy fun at low speeds. I can cruise and carve around at pushing speeds and do 40mph+ runs without messing with anything. Both of these truck setups gave me more confidence than others that I could go faster than I’d ever been before while still being able to turn quickly when I needed to.

   Talking trucks brings up another question, “What about the dreaded topmount wheelbite?” Well, the wheelwells are super deep, as in they go into the third ply from the top, almost through it at the deepest point. The only problem is that they are not particularly long. They match up perfectly with Randals and worked well with Paris (I could run ~75mm wheels with double cones sloppy loose with only a shockpad). I have had wheelbite issues with my Gunmetals though. Gunmetal v2s will lean forever though (I get about the same turning circle with the Gunmetals as a Paris or 50* Randal on the same bushing setup due to leaning so far, despite getting less turn from the lower angle). The 46s are ¼ inch lower than Paris trucks, which is good because I needed ¼ inch riser to get clearance without running tighter trucks or harder bushings than I like. Gunmetals shorten the wheelbase just enough that the deepest point of the wells is not where the wheel hits. This is really just an issue because I like soft barrels and the inner wheelbase with super leany trucks that don’t quite work with it. A fatcone or venom freeride shaped bushing would probably fix the problem too. I have no doubt that Bears or Charger IIs would have no wheelbite issues on the board. Supposedly 50 Calibers work fine as well, but I would imagine the 44s would have problems on the shortest wheelbase, but be fine on the longest option.

   All in all, I really like this board and will probably continue to ride it for a long time. As much as I enjoy other boards, this is what I feel most comfortable on going fast. The only wobbles I’ve gotten on my current set-up were due to flatspots on the front wheels causing vibrations at 35-40 in a turn. While I love the ease of pushing and sliding drop-throughs, I won’t take anything else as fast as I do my Agent Orange. The shape is just so simple and functional. The only addition I’ve made so far has been a little Vicious 3D concave pocket/reference point for my back foot in a tuck to give myself something to push against, making tucking easier. My current favorite setup is below, although I’m thinking about going back to split angles with a slightly larger split soon. Maybe I’ll try more like 50/40 or 46/35 and mess with the wheelbase options again. The variety of setups this board works well with is only made even more tunable by the multiple mounting holes.

Favorite set-up:
Bombsquad Agent Orange
Gunmetal Mac10s with venom barrels (87a bottom, 86a SHR top)
Abec11 Grippins
MHS bearings and spacers

Thanks for the great Review Matt! You rock our socks!


Bangin Bootlegs! — Seismic Bootleg Review

Bangin Bootlegs! — Seismic Bootleg Review

Hello There Adoring Public!

I have been rocking out on a new set of wheels lately thanks to the lovely team over at Seismic Skate Systems. Seismic has been making wheels for a very long time now and in the past year decided to try their hand at a set of slide specific wheels. They came out with two models of  slide wheels; 70mm Bootlegs and 75mm Landslides. I have been enjoying the smaller of the two models, the Bootleg in 84a, and they have been satisfying my freeride desires quite well.

That’s a nice face I’m making… you’re welcome planet earth

Before I get into how these wheels handle on the road I would like to talk about the specifications of Seismic Bootlegs. They are 70mm freeride wheels with a 50mm contact path, which is relatively wide for a freeride specific wheel. Bootlegs also feature rounded lips and a stoneground riding surface so that they can slide cleanly right out the box. They also come in two durometers a soft 80a which are red and a hard 84a which are sky blue. One of my favorite features of the wheels is that they have a centerset bearing seat, which means that you can flip and rotate these wheels to your hearts content. Now enough with the wait… let’s get into how they handle on the road!

 

Commuting

I have really enjoyed commuting on these wheels for several reasons. The first is that 70mm is a great size for pushing around town. 70mm is big enough to roll over most bumps, cracks, and twigs yet not so large that they take a long to get up to speed. In addition the 50mm contact path allows you to carve hard for people and traffic slalom without fishtailing out of control.

Freestyle

Bootlegs were an interesting wheel to freestyle on. They are a little wider than the normal wheel I might try to hit some freestyle tricks on, being wider gives them a little more girth than most 70mm wheels. It took some getting used to but I ended up liking them because even at low speeds I could hit some nice little 180 slides without hardly any effort, which I know is not crucial to everyone, but I happen to really like that ability in a slide wheel.

Downhill

Being a 70mm wheel automatically means that Bootlegs are not going to have the highest top speed among wheels, in fact I would wager that their bigger cousins, the Landslides would have a higher top speed. What Bootlegs can do, very well, is accelerate and hold speed. Having on a 70mm diameter allows these wheels to get up to speed very quickly and having a wide contact path gives them that extra weight to add to their momentum. Basically these wheels like get to fast quickly and stay fast. However, you don’t really want to try and corner while going to fast on these since they are designed to slide, they will do just that.

Freeride

This is where the Bootlegs really shine, freeride. These wheels were born to slide. I would describe their slide pattern as a sugary slide, which basically means they aren’t as hard as an icy wheel would feel under, but not as soft as what I would call a buttery wheel. Sliding the Bootlegs and all their sugary glory is really fun and easy once you get a feel for them. Spinning 180 degrees is no sweat with these bad boys, especially when moving at any significant pace. Holding out longer slides on Bootlegs is great and just as easy. You can actually feel the wheels under you feet, and the first few times I took them sideways all I could think was that “these wheels are about to ice out under me” however they never have. They skirt that point right before icing out very nicely which makes your slides just go for day.

In addition my Bootlegs have stood the test of time pretty well. I have taken them sideways a whole bunch over the past few weeks and they have shown very little signs of wearing. What is more important is that there is no sign of flat spotting, oval-ing, ect…

 

Would I recommend Seismic Bootlegs to my friends??

Why yes, yes I would! I would emphasize that they are not a strict downhill wheel, but that they are great for freeride. You can take every which way on the pavement with ease. The only freeriders I might caution are those who ONLY like buttery slides, because like I said, my Bootlegs were more sugary than buttery. However, if you take the time to get to know and love your Bootlegs they will love right back and help you bring your freeride game up a notch or two.

 

Thanks for reading

As usual anything you want to say to me or ask me… just hit me up!

Wayne

 

My Current Setup:
-Seismic Bootlegs 70mm 84a Blue
-Bustin Boards Ibach
-Surf_Rodz RKP’s or Paris 180mm Trucks
-Orangatang Nipples Soft Orange
-Bones Redz

also here are some more photos: