70mm Zigzag Vs. 70mm Orangatang

Posted: 2019-03-31 in Gear Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

As mentioned in a few previous posts, I was fortunate enough to be able to compare 70mm 80a wheels from both Orangatang and Abec11, on identical setups, on a controlled course.  Couple of key notes from my head-to-head comparisons:
-Abec11 Reflex urethane has a LOT of residual energy in the wheel.  With Urethane, as noted in one of the “Hi Kids” articles, you’ve got compression and rebound.  Compression, in a wheel, is how soft the leading edge is.  This’ll help you ride smoother.  Rebound is how quickly the trailing edge pops back into shape, and helps you hold speed better.  During carving and sliding, compression will let the sharp lips lift up and let you slide easier; rebound will keep those lips firm and maintain their structure, giving you tons of grip.  Abec11 Reflex urethane is VERY rebound-forward, to a point where it almost feels out of control compared directly to Orangatang.
-Orangatang urethane is the opposite side of the coin:  Very compression forward and drifty.  The shape is grip oriented, but the urethane is drifty.  The leading edge of the wheel deforms more than Abec11 urethane, and softens and mellows the ride…It’s a lot more forgiving on urban sidewalks, but gets a little weird when you try to push it onto drifts and slides.

And now, onto the main event:  My actual words that were posted on Silverfish circa 2008 (shortly after Orangatang wheels hit the market):

zig vs. otang…70mm, 80a for both…that’s lime zigs and otang 4-prez for you unsofistimicated folk


first impression…just kicking around, the otangs feel less “squirrely.”  to me, on zigs you have to consciously maintain your foot position on the board, or else it might go a bit wonky if you have a less-than-perfect kick in there.  with the otangs, i didn’t feel that…i felt like i could comfortably throw most caution to the wind and kick like a fool. also, the otangs seemed to roll farther on the shitty stretch of road on my commute…bear in mind, the road still felt just as shitty and rocky, if not moreso, but the board rolled farther with every kick.


my conclusion:

the otangs feel big and smooth like a luxury yacht; the zigs feel fast and nimble, like a ski boat.  if you’re stuck between lime zigs and 4-prez just on a STRICTLY cruising board, it’s not really worth the extra money for the otangs.


further reviews and conclusions to come

The comments on “squirrely” were about the rebound-forward feel of Abec11.  And, mentioned in my Orangatang Equipment Review, these posts were written through the lens of me being bitter and jaded at the Silverfish Hype Machine, and not making Orangatangs be the best wheel I’d ever ridden.  As I’ve grown and matured, I realize the shortsightedness of that perspective, and have tried to change my way of thinking.  And, I’m diggin’ way back here, but if I’m remembering right, the first review was kicking around town for an hour or so with each wheel.

welp…just got back from a little ol’ DH seshy-sesh.  like everyone’s been saying, the o-tangs are easier to drift out…but, it seemed to me like the zigs held their speed a bit better.  the o-tangs felt like they accelerated quicker, but skived off more speed in the turns (a product of the drift, perhaps).


one weird thing i noticed was that it seemed harder to keep control in turns with the otangs.  it’s kinda hard to describe; like the otangs didn’t want to turn. idk what was up, but i found myself consistently nailing lines through the turns on zigs, but on otangs, i was all over the turns (one time even touching a wheel into the grass on the inside of the turn then swinging way wide).  i guess it makes sense, as the zigs are slalom wheels, and therefore meant to be as “turny” as possible, and the otangs were designed just to be a fun wheel.


i thought the o-tangs felt a little more enjoyable altogether, but apart from a few small differences like i mentioned above, both wheels did feel quite similar.




-hold speed better

-hold lines in corners better

-don’t slide as well



-accelerate quicker

-weird turning (???)

-easier to drift, and control the drift

Part deux!  There was a quarter mile downhill S-curve I’d go to when I wanted to test gear in a controlled environment.  It topped out at maybe 25mph, and had progressively tighter turns; as you got farther down the hill and faster, the turns got tighter…just fast enough to have most every piece of equipment come to life and give just enough insight into how it would react in a downhill setting.  The best description I’ve come up with for the O’tangs being hard to control (especially on those tighter turns) is understeer:  The front wheels (presumably due to the drifty nature of the wheel) had a hard time staying planted, and wanted to go straight.

It’s funny, what you’re saying about the ‘tangs feeling less twitchy [I]sounds[/I] a bit ridiculous to me, but that’s exactly what I first noticed when I switched to purple 4prez from lime BZ’s on my Dervish. While the BigZigs seemed to turn really deep and quick, the 4prez really narrowed up my carves and seem to turn much more gradually.

And that’s a cool bit of insight from Kyle Chin, former brand manager of Loaded Longboards, and was sponsored by Orangatang wheels.  He agreed on the first few points that Zigs felt rocky and a little weirder to push on.  Carving down a hill, like he noted, is where O’tangs shine, as when you’re carving, you’re balanced and centered on the board…My hitch with a more downhill/racing oriented position is that your entire weight is above the front truck.  With all your weight on those front 2 wheels, they’re gonna drift out and pull you straight.

And, a final thought:  My reviews and forum posts are negative towards Orangatangs.  But, results speak for themselves.  I put the 70mm 80a Orangatang 4Presidents onto my commuting board and rode them every day…to and from work, to and from classes, all the way through college.  They got a LOT of love from me.  I sold my 70mm 80a Abec11 Zigzags to a friend and never replaced ’em.

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