Posts Tagged ‘nerd content’

Purchased from your local hardware store!

What will you need?
-5/16-18×2″ bolt
-5/16-18 wingnut
-Two old skate bearings
-Skate Tool

But why?
Sure, you could just mash the wheels into the bearings using your trucks…but that has the drawback of putting all of the force onto the inner bearing races, which can cause brinneling, and lead to increased friction, premature wear and tear, and ultimately, slower speeds and less longevity. A commercial, shop-quality bearing press works on the principle of pressing the outer race into the wheel core, which means that there isn’t any inadvertent wear-and-tear on the innards of the bearing, and that the bearings will be properly seated, as perpendicular as possible to the axle. Oh yeah, that’s another thing too: Mashing the wheels onto the bearings, especially when using high-quality wheels like Spitfire or Bones can mean that the bearings don’t sit perpendicular to the wheel core. Using a press will alleviate that concern, at least a little. I like buying quality and taking care of my goods, so I devised this bearing press of my own accord.

Take your old bearing and slide it onto the 2″ bolt…This will act as a support for the new, good bearing that you’re going to install:

As pictured above, when the old bearing is on the bolt, get your good bearings (the blue ones) ready to go. We’ll be including a spacer here for good practice. Slide the good bearing onto the bolt, so that the blue part is touching the old bearing, then slide the bearing spacer onto the bolt as well. This provides an interface for the wheel to slide onto as well. Don’t worry about tightening the wheel too much at this point.

Once you get the wheel snugged onto the first good bearing, slide the second one onto the wheel, as pictured above. If you spend some time getting these lined up properly, that’ll provide a good, solid, secure interface between the wheel core and the bearings. What this translates to is faster speeds and less wear and tear on your bearings.

Get your second old bearing set up in place on the bolt, then get the wingnut snugged into place Shouldn’t be too hard, the length of the bolt should allow a thread or two to stick out and grab onto the wingnut.

From there, bust out your skate tool. My trusty Alpha Micro helped out taking these pictures. Use the leverage from the skate tool on the bolt’s head as well as the wingnut to press those good (again, blue) bearings in place. When they’re properly seated, remove the wingnut and enjoy your handiwork.


I’ve been able to dive headlong into the Venom Skate Podcast, as I made a review of back in November.  It’s addicting!  Episode 1, which I reviewed above, was so engrossing that I had it on in my car…then, I kept on driving around for a long time…then I got home and put on GTA V just to drive around the countryside in the game just to keep listening to the first ‘sode with Roger Hickey.  Episode 2 was a two-parter with Pete Connally, which I didn’t review, but now I’m on Episode 4 (third guest) with Rick Kludy.

I love Zak Maytum’s rapport with his guests, especially in this episode.  You can tell, just from the chemistry, that there’s a lot of mutual respect between Kludy and Maytum.  Kludy’s an OG, who began racing in the late 90’s, and was an “old man” in his 30’s even then.  Gives me hope that I’ll still be able to keep a board under my feet for a good long while.

A few things I learned from this episode:  Nicotine made downhill/longboard wheels – I’d always known them as a freestyle and street brand.  They were made on the East Coast, which I think puts them at Mearthane (as I’m really reaching back to an old list I’d compiled for Silverfish, noting which wheels were manufactured at which facilities).  Kludy confirmed what Hickey suspected in the first episode, that early competitions were almost rigged to put the racers that the sanctioning body wanted, into the races that they wanted them in, regardless of ranking or performance.

I’ve been inspired to take to the messageboards and try to find whatever footage I could from Kludy’s early races.  I rediscovered a segment of Wheelbase Mag, called Camcorder Classics, that covers a TON of old videos like that.  And, I think I have a small gallery of pics of Kludy himself saved on my harddrive, just from collecting pics across the years; especially from doing research into my early-2000’s board collection.

Another podcast that has only just fired up is the Frontside 360 Podcast.  They’ve got a corresponding blog, and a presence on one of the forums I’m still active on.  While the Venom Skate Podcast is nearly entirely geared at showcasing the history of downhill skateboarding/speedboarding/racing, Frontside 360 takes a more mellow approach at things.  But, not too mellow…no dreadlocks, macrame necklaces, and tie-dyed ponchos here.  They totally capture the soul of rolling and turning on a board, and acknowledging the pure feeling of rolling and turning, while still appreciating the difficulties of technical, aerial maneuvers.

Frontside 360 has most definitely inspired me to tweak a couple of my boards to be skated in a ditch – as soon as this quarantine lifts, I’ve got two ditches on my list to go try and skate again.

Again, compiling some tidbits and information from various sources around the internet.  Edits and clarifications are highlighted in bold:


Kryptonics were an OG downhill longboarding wheel that came in a few different shapes.  There had almost always been others, but Kryptos have been a constant in longboarding since the 1970’s. They were among the first rollerskate core wheels that performance-oriented longboarders (that’s you) turned to for things like downhill and slalom racing. Hence, the 8mm core spacing, which varies from the standard skateboard wheel spacing of 10mm.

The Kryptonics vented Racecore wheels spawned (or shared the same mold with) many newer, contemporary wheels throughout the years: Landy Hawgz, Landy Aqua Hawgz (same as 85mm Hawgs, only with rain grooves lathed into the wheel surface), Gravity Fu Manchus, Freebord Slashers, Soda Factory Hesher Snowballs, Satori Movement Goo Balls, and undoubtedly several others.

The smaller Kryptonics Classics were modernized and given a modern skateboard (10mm) core with Gravity Drifters and Cult Converters. Though, racking my brain, I can’t honestly confirm if the Drifters and various Cult wheels were actually taken from the Krypto Classic shape, or simply “inspired by.”

Kryptonics C62’s were one early slalom choice (early as in “early revival”…’98 to ’02). Abec11 Stingers were one of their first performance wheels, to be replaced later on by Grippins. Stingers were, as I understand it, built around yet another 8mm Kryptonics core.  Even in 2019, you can still buy rollerskate wheels that are nearly identical to the Abec11 Stinger, even though the Abec11 wheel has been out of production for a long-ass time:

The lips are obviously different, but those are often adjusted in the factory post-production


Hyper Wheels made rollerskate wheels that were adapted to longboard use as well, also with the 8mm core. The Hyper Super Mundo was the wheel that Gary Hardwick set his Guinness World Speed Record on (of a paltry 62mph or thereabouts…many DH’ers left his record intact and didn’t pursue Guinness approval for almost a decade after his death to honor his memory). The Super Mundo was based off of a wheel called Pakololo, from Germany, which had some kind of connection with Cliff Coleman. The Super Mundo had square, sharp lips…and Gravity marketed the same wheel with rounded corners as the Super G. Gravity left sharp lips on the wheel and had it poured in either 95a or 97a and sold it as the Super Slider. These cores resembled the Kryptonics Racecores, but the Hyper cores were a little more squared off and exaggerated. Now, Gravity redid the Super G’s and Super Sliders in 2006 or 2007 and closed off the exposed cores.

Hyper and Kryptonics are still making rollerskate wheels, so even in the deepest darkest (which I don’t think we’ll hit anytime soon) (though according to some, we have), we’ll have some sort of performance wheels available.

Various tidbits collected from around the internet and curated right here.  Direct quotes from are italicized, my notes are in bold, and the plain print are attributions to the sources of the quotes:

Per Chris Chaput on NCDSA:
It appears that TA has a tendency to pick wheel duros that work better on the round wall than the flatlands. As a matter of fact, he really likes the VertZ (96a). He put them onto some boards that he brought onto the set of Lords Of Dogtown and Fox Studios. So if you see the green wheels in the TA/Stacy interview that appears on the new special edition Dogtown & Z-Boys DVD, or you saw the Best Damn Sports Show with TA and Stacy, you know where they came from.

There were a bunch of 3dm wheels made to look like Road Riders and/or Powerflexes. You can see them in some pool scenes, HB and LB. What I still don’t get, is why the book, the trailer, and even the movie featured this shot of Adam Alfaro on a concave double-kicked deck with little white radiused wheels. Adam rips, but this was the biggest lapse in “authenticity” that I could see. maybe they just wanted to see if we were paying attention…

96a Vertz and the translucent red 3dm (Seismic) wheels were made as movie props for Lords Of Dogtown


From Jack Smith:
I coordinated the production of the original run of “prop wheels”, which were supposed to be poured in a low to mid 80’s durometer. However, at the last minute TA told the props department that wheels should be in the mid 90’s. Thus creating the slipping and sliding that Chris writes about.

3DM Cambrias were also poured in translucent colors for use in the film. My friend Adrian Pina and I spent many hours in my garage lathing the name off the wheels. Actually, I watched, while Adrian did the work.

Dan at 3DM just poured a bunch more of these in translucent red.

Mark, I’ve seen the film numerous times, the “wow” wheels you speak of, clearly have loose ball races.
A number of different wheels were used in the movie. It’s difficult to say for sure from the pictures and movie clips, but I believe that the wheels in the Zephyr shop that are being held up do have loose ball races in them. Other “reissue” types of wheels were used, some of which had loose balls and some of which had precision bearings. Whenever precision bearings were used on a board in a closeup, we’d have the shields removed from the bearings and the cages orientated to resemble loose ball bearings.

The prop wheels were pretty hard and slippery, making it really difficult to perform some of the tricks on the ramps at Del Mar and Huntington Beach. I had choreographed routines for the freestyle competitions, and I wanted us to be able to carve and spin without sliding out. I made the first Retro wheels by cutting down some 60mm NO SkoolZ in 81a and dying them yellow, which had them turning out a brownish amber color. I showed Alva how we were able to stick the turns on the slippery freestyle area, and he asked to try my board. After a couple of laps he came back and asked me if I had any more for Victor and Adam, the actor and double who play Tony. “I just happen to have a couple extra sets in my bag”. The next day, I was distributing wheels for the Stacy’s, the Jay’s, and the props department. They’d use the hard wheels for some of the slides, and my wheels for everything else. They even spray painted mine to look like clay wheels for the early scenes including the one behind the bus.

Trust me on this point, NO ONE MISSES LOOSE BALL BEARINGS. Or stripping out baseplates, or solid oak cracking down the bolt holes… II coordinated the production of the original run of “prop wheels”, which were supposed to be poured in a low to mid 80’s durometer. However, at the last minute TA told the props department that wheels should be in the mid 90’s. Thus creating the slipping and sliding that Chris writes about.

3DM Cambrias were also poured in translucent colors for use in the film. My friend Adrian Pina and I spent many hours in my garage lathing the name off the wheels. Actually, I watched, while Adrian did the work.

Dan at 3DM just poured a bunch more of these in translucent red.

Mark, I’ve seen the film numerous times, the “wow” wheels you speak of, clearly have loose ball races.


More from Chaput:
A number of different wheels were used in the movie. It’s difficult to say for sure from the pictures and movie clips, but I believe that the wheels in the Zephyr shop that are being held up do have loose ball races in them. Other “reissue” types of wheels were used, some of which had loose balls and some of which had precision bearings. Whenever precision bearings were used on a board in a closeup, we’d have the shields removed from the bearings and the cages orientated to resemble loose ball bearings.

Somewhere on NCDSA, there’s a post about how NoSkoolz were a modern reproduction of the Bel-Air Lip Bombs, which were Chaput’s pro model wheel from the 1970’s.  Above, we learn that those were used in 81a urethane for Lords Of Dogtown.  I was unable to find the direct quote, but I found some pictures:

Darn close, eh?

On the wheel that became Retro Bertz:
They are going to be ready in one week, barring any disasters at the factory. The molds are done. The artwork is done. We’ll commit to the color and pour enough for everyone.

These work really well with older and/or narrower trucks like a MidTrack, Indy 101 or Invader. That setup is really fun on a single kick deck with little to no concave. They make for really “zippy” little cruisers. You can do old-school tricks and slalom on them too. I’ll report back when I have them in my hot little hands.

Also part of that conversation was a little blurb about how Tony Alva himself commissioned the old amber 95a Cadillac wheels that were reissued up until about 2009.  And, for those who haven’t seen LoDT a thousand times like I have, the wheels that Mitch Hedberg presents to the shop in the “urethane…it comes from oil…and it grips,” are Abec11 Bertz.  The Cadillacs are seen in a few of the scenes where Alva is getting pictures taken for a magazine.

And the post that started it all:
From the webmaster..

The Lords of Dogtown movie will be released to widespread distribution on 03-Jun-2005, and I believe it will have a significant impact on old school skateboarding, possibly (and finally) upsetting the undue dominance that street and vert skating have enjoyed of late.

This forum will serve as a space to discuss the movie and its impact.
Lords Of Dogtown debuted in 2005, in the swirling flotsam of a bunch of stoked old guys getting together and forming all these skate sites and forums that we all grew to love (Mile High Skates was opened as a source for old guys to buy pool boards and LoDT reissue gear), which of course set into motion the events that led to LONGBOARDING as we knew it in 2014.

Buying your first board can is a huge step. There are lots of decisions to make. This guide is meant to help the uninitiated understand what they should consider. There are many awesome products out there, and the aim is to give you the foundation for making a good decision. After all you want to start your collection of right.


What is a longboard?


There’s a lot of debate (really) and this is probably the broadest definition you’ll find…. You might think Longboards are…well…longer, but there are plenty of `longboards’ that are shorter than your average shortboard. A longboard is a combination of things. Probably the most telling components are the wheels. Longboard wheels are softer and bigger (60mm all the way to 145mm-see rolls rolls cruiser). The size makes them go faster, smoother, and roll over little obstacles easier. Softer wheels grip the road better and give a cushier ride (harder wheels are faster on very smooth surfaces like skateparks, but softer wheels tend to ride faster on rougher surfaces like roads, see wheels). Next, a longboard tends to have trucks that are wider and turn better than shortboards. And last most longboards are longer.


So let’s consider what board length you want.


Your desired length should not determine too much which board you choose. There are more important decisions to make first that will narrow down the length choice. So let’s split up board length into two factors, wheel base, and stance.


Wheel Base- Board length is closely tied to wheel base, which is the measurement from the back wheels to the front wheels, so wheel base depends on how long the board is and then where the trucks are mounted on the board. The length of your wheel base directly effects how tight you board will turn. The longer the wheel base the less tight (or larger turning radius) you’ll be able to turn (your trucks are also a large factor in how tight your board turns). Besides making u-turns and being able to maneuver through obstacles, having a board that turns tight is important for downhill carving. When you are riding downhill (assuming you aren’t sliding yet) the major way to keep yourself from going faster than you are comfortable is to carve out your speed by making S turns (like when you are snowboarding down a steep run). The tighter your board turns, the steeper the hill you can ride and still limit your speed. The only drawback of having a tighter turning radius is that your board becomes less stable once you do take it up to a high speed (More on this under `Trucks’)


Stance- Beyond wheel base, you want to consider stance width and deck room. The longer the board the wider the stance you can sport. Your stance width is largely affected by your height. But once you get up to 42 inches or so, the board is pretty much wide enough for anyone’s stance. Past 42 inches, and now you are talking about how much room there is to move around up there. Boards above 42 inches increasingly give you some room to play around, kind of like a surfboard.


Boards above 50 inches (see the 57″ Ed Economy Bank Rider and Street Rider by Gravity) are pretty much used for either serious downhill speedboarding (remember: a long wheel base means more stability at high speed) or for people who want a really mellow board walk cruiser so they have a lot of room to move around, and a lot of stability so you can totally relax while “hanging ten” and checking out the scene.


A board that’s really short (34 inches or less) means you are increasingly sacrificing some stance comfort for really tight turns (a smaller board is also easier to carry around and store). This is slalom board range. A really tight turning board can be very fun for tearing about as it’ll be super responsive, and can let you carve REAL tight downhill. (Check out the Loaded Fish, Gravity GS, and Landyachtz lil’gaffer!).


…Alright so now you should have an idea of what range you wanna be in for length, or at least what to consider…Length is a characteristic of the overall deck shape. Here are a number of other factors to consider:


Deck Characteristics…


Concave/Flat/Convex – The vast majority of boards are either concave or flat. Concave means that when you are looking at your board head-on from the front at street level, the right and left edges of the deck curl up slightly so that it looks like a very subtle `U’ shape. People that like concave will tell you that they get better grip on a concave board because it helps you “lock” your feet in while carving because the walls of the `U’ help keep your feet from slipping off the deck. Also, concave helps gives you more carving leverage for quicker turns, because more of your weight is transferred to the outer edges of the board as you lean into a turn. Another benefit is that you can feel where the edges of your board are without having to look down. The only real draw back of concave is that it’s a little harder to move your feet around on top of the board, so you might want flat for a big long board that you want to cruise and play on.. There are only a few convex (opposite of concave, rising up in the middles, down at the edges) decks I know of, one is the Carveboard Bubbler, the other is a turner slalom board.


Flat/Cambered/Rockered – Just as in surfboard terminology I use camber for a board that rises up in the middle so if you are looking at it from the side, with your eye at street level, it makes a slight arch. Rocker is the opposite, with a slight upside-down arch lengthwise (some people say ‘concave’ for rocker and ‘convex’ for cambered, but for clarity, I prefer to use those word only for describing the shape width wise). A board with rocker has a lower center of gravity (like a Barfoot) which is important for stability in a deep carve or transitions in and out of turns. A rockered board tends to feels like it’s cradling you as you go in and out of turns as it sort of `swings’ from side to side (see hammocks). Cambered boards tend to be the type that have more flex, and Flex is characteristic that deserves it own heading. So the only thing I will say here about camber is that it doesn’t sag down as far as a flat board of equal flexibility because the deck starts from a higher point, and cambered boards tend to have more springback.


Flexibility – Flex is measured by the amount a board will ‘give’ when you put weight on it. There are boards that range from totally stiff and don’t flex at all (a Tierney rides or Flowlab/Flowboard DCS is totally stiff), to boards that if you jump on, you can get the deck to touch the ground (Take a big bounce on one of the flexier Loaded Vanguard). Flex gives you a softer ride as it can absorb some of the impact when you go down a driveway lip or off a curb. It’s also nice if you are jumping on and off your board a lot. A stiffer board is generally preferred for higher speeds as it tends to be more stable (at high speeds, you want to absorb any bumps in you knees, you don’t want the board bouncing you up and down after going over a bump at 40mph+). Some people consider a stiff board more precisely controllable, because your feet and body movements are directly transferred to the trucks without being muted, exaggerated or distorted by the flex of the deck. However, an intelligently shaped deck that fits well with the trucks you are riding on can really increase the amount of precision and control in your ride (again, see the Loaded Vangaurds, Hammerhead DCS and Fish).


Springback or Quality of Flex – No no, you ain’t the flex masta’ yet my brotha’. Fo’ Sho’ you gots ta consida’ the QUALITY of the flex…or Springback. Some boards have pretty dead flex. This means the deck doesn’t rebound and push you back up as you un-weight the board a bit.


What do I mean `UNWEIGHT’? Damn glad you asked. Well if you are standing straight up on a scale and you quickly bring your legs up, you will weigh less as you begin to `fall’ or move downwards. This is unweighting the board. Then when you start to slow your `fall’ and then begin to stand up straight again, you will weigh more as you are pushing into the scale to slow down and then accelerate your body up. This is how you weight your board (seriously, go practice for a sec on a scale, especially if you have the old non-digital kind with a needle, practice moving up and own on the scale to make yourself weigh less and then more, so that you are controlling the needle and making it swing back and forth. This stuff is really important later when you learn to PUMP).


A board with a high quality flex and a lot of spring back will store energy when you weight it and it flexes down, and then spring you back up when you unweight it a bit (by, for example, picking your legs up a little) . If you are doing some big hard pedaling (kicking off the ground with your food to gain speed), a deck with quality spring back will lower you closer to the ground as you weight the board going into a pedal, and then when you transfer weight to the foot pushing off the ground, thereby un-weighting the deck, it’ll spring you back up. Most importantlythough, and most fun, a board with quality spring back or a high-rebound will spring you out of a turn and into the next one. When you are riding, you weigh more when you are in the middle. of a turn and the G force pushes you into the deck, and then as you come out of a turn, you can unweight the board and let the board spring you up. You can then use that upward momentum to fall back into the next turn, and tranferring energy back into your deck. Now we’re talking about good times! Overall, even before you get this unweighting and weighting stuff down, and are bouncing in and out of turns, many people just find a flexy deck with good springback to be a lot `livelier’ of a ride. (the first time I hopped on a Loaded Vanguard I literally felt like I was riding a live beastcompared to alot of other decks which felt either dead or asleep). Good springback is also important for Pumping, which is when you propel yourself forward without kicking, simply by throwing your weigh from side to side. Learning to pump is certainly a bit challenging, but you’ll eventually want to do it (for a good how-to-Pump, click here) while it is possible to pump a totally stiff board, I personally find it more enjoyable on a board with good quality flex (however too much flex can sap your energy and slow you down) .


Materials- so what makes a board have “good quality flex”? Great question. Largely, the deck materials are responsible for the quality of flex. Your most basic board is made of simple plywood. When a piece of plywood is concave, it tends to have more rebound or springback… But to get some really good flex takes composite materials like fiberglass (Sector 9 Cosmic Rider series, FibreFlex, Flex Dex, Comet skateboards, Loaded, and Landyachtz are all example of composite boards that use some fiberglass) Boards with fiber glass are more expensive to make though, so you are looking at paying a bit more. A further improvement in flex seems to come with the use of vertically laminated wood cores (normal ply wood is horizontally laminated, as the layers, `plys, ‘ are laid one on top of the other, while vertically laminated means the plys are placed side by side in thin strips next to each other, so you can see the different `layers’ when you are looking at the top or bottom like stripes going down the length) in conjunction with fiberglass, which is basis for the technology that Loaded Boards and Comet Skateboards use.


So you’ve got, length, wheelbase, and deck charactertistics (i.e. camber, concave, rocker, flex…) all figured out. Now its time to talk about deck shape.


Deck Shape…


O.K., if you understand this next stuff, you will understand the basic issue of skateboard design and consequently be able to look at a skateboard and really tell what’s going on there. Skateboards started with roller skate trucks, which barely turned, they veered slightly to one side as you leaned, and were very very narrow. Then they started making trucks a bit wider so that you could make the boards wider than a water-ski without the thing tipping over. But the trucks still couldn’t get you around a corner, and in order to make a fast turn, you had to kick the back of the board up. This describes your average eighties board and your 90’s new school shortboard. But if you really want to simulate surfing (and snowboarding) and don’t care so much about tricks, but rather for the feel of the ride, then you got to make trucks that really turn, so you can carve hard and lean into it. Now the problem is, if your trucks turn a lot, and you are riding larger wheels, that means the wheels are gonna hit the deck as you turn hard, which is called `wheel-bite, ‘ and immediately causes the board to stop in its tracks while you get a face full of street. Longboard design is largely centered on how to deal with this problem: how do you make a board that turns well but doesn’t get wheel bite? And each board has its own strategy. Most of the boards being sold today (Sector Nine, Gravity Boards (most), Dregs, Vision Skateboards, Fluid Longboards) use a two or three pronged strategy.




  1. They use trucks like Tracker B-2’s or the Sector Nine `Pivot Trucks’, which don’t turn very tight, and 2. they mount the trucks on the board with a riser so that the deck is raised up a bit which affords the deck more clearance over the wheels, and 3. sometimes, the deck is shaped so that at the point where the wheel might hit the board in a turn, the deck is narrower or there is a piece cutout. Notice how a Gravity HyperCarve has little half-moons cut out above the wheels (called wheel cutouts) in the front, and the deck gets narrow above the back wheels. Or picture the classic longboard shape, a Pintail. The front trucks are mounted way up on the nose where the board is still thin and way back on the tail where it gets thin again. The drawback of using a combination of these approaches is that you end up with not-so-turny trucks, and when you use a riser, you are making the board less stable than it could be as you raise the center of gravity. Another strategy is to make the deck shape so narrow above the front and back truck that you can use really carvy trucks with no riser, and you still don’t get wheel bite. I’m talking of course about a Loaded Vanguard, and that explains why the board is totally cut away at the back and front ends, so it can use the Randal R-2’s which turn a lot sharper than your Pivot truck or Tracker B-2. Another option is to use REALLY wide trucks like Independent 215s which stick out past the deck. (what you want to know about truck width is that the wider the truck, the more stable the ride but the slower the trucks will react in a turn). And yet another strategy is to make trucks that turn sharp and quick, but have a built in turn stopper to stop the truck before the wheels hit the deck, like the Exkate and Baku torsion trucks (Bakus only come on Barfoot and Hobie completes).


So let’s review the 5 strategies for preventing wheel bite, so the next time you look at a board you can tell which ones it uses:


  • trucks that don’t turn very sharp
  • riser pads that raise the deck up higher for more clearance
  • deck shaping that gets narrower or is cutaway above the wheels
  • wide trucks that extend past the edge of the deck.
  • trucks that are set to not turn past a certain point like torsion trucks.


Other deck shape features… The wider the board is where you put your feet, the more turning leverage you will get. Also a few decks like the Loaded Vanguard have rounded-stand pads for multi-directional leverage that help you control the board by pushing on it from different directions. And of course you know what a kicktail is, and what it’s for, and some board like the Gravity Concave Maple Series have a `nose tail’ too. Then some decks like the Barfoot NoseRiders are built with a wide spot to stand on in front for some Longboard surf-style stuff.


Finally, you want to think about wheels. Most completes come with wheels attached, and most skate shops, don’t stock enough components and decks to let you custom build a board. But if you order online, you can choose wheels from a big selection. So take a look at the Wheels section for a comprehensive explanation of longboard wheels, that way if you are buying a complete, you’ll know what your wheels are good for, and if you are having a custom board built, you’ll get a better idea of which wheels to pick.


If you have any questions or want some help in figuring out which deck is right for you, feel free to email


**I didn’t write this I just copied it – Respect To The Writer**

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.

There’s an odd resurgence in the skateboard world.  After forums have maked and breaked our beloved sport of skateboarding, Facebook took it over.  Skaters sought not good, solid information, but rather, to have their own opinions validated.  They sought Instagram glory over discussing wheels, bearings, and bushings ad nauseum.  And yet, there were holdouts.  There were those among us who shunned the instantaneous and superficial satisfaction, in hopes that true passion, heart, and knowledge would shine through.

There’s a common thread between skateboarding and forums.  There’s a raw energy that drives likeminded people to connect in specialized forums…that same raw energy is at the heart of skateboarding.  Skaters are creative, freaky weirdos. Skaters, by their very nature, are inquisitive and inventive.  That same creative, freaky, inquisitive, inventiveness drove the .com bubble in the late 90’s, spawned social media, continues to invigorate the gig economy and today’s DIY ethos.  So, it’s no surprise that skate forums, once having been left for dead on the side of the road, are still kickin’.  Here’s a brief rundown on a few of my favorites:

First up, we have the site Gnarwheels.  Gnarwheels formed from one of the malware attacks on Silverfish, after a couple skate geezers wanted to stay in touch.  There are a few SFL holdouts on there; maybe a dozen or so regular posters.  There’s a lot of cool, informative, tech talk here…a LOT of intelligent skate nerds hang out there.

Skaterscafe is a more traditional street skating forum, dating from 2004.  There are 6 or 8 OG members still posting.  Being more of a street skate site, the posters are a little more aggro, and a little less concerned with minutiae, but they’re some of the coolest, most down-to-earth guys I’ve encountered online.

AlwaysWill seems based out of the old freestyle skateboarding forums, and is centered mostly around flatland, freestyle, ditches and banks.  There’s a healthy bit of nerdliness here, but my experience is warm and mellow.

Skullandbones is a skate collector’s site, focused more primarily on skateboard art, culture, collecting, and old-school (pre-1990’s) skateboarding.  I’ve been an active, posting member for nearly a decade here, and I still can’t quite figure the place out.  There are a lot of big, dynamic personalities, which certainly lends itself to some fun drama and colorful e-suicides.



Below, we have an example of centerset and sideset from Abec11’s wheel lineup:  Left to right, we have the Noskool shape, the Grippin shape (basically a Noskool shape with square lips…move the core to the very edge of the wheel for a Flashback shape, as seen in the red sideset wheel above), a Striker or Freeride shape, and a Flywheel core.  Though, looking at the diagrams from SteveC, it looks a LOT like he borrowed from the Abec11 diagrams as well.


Below, we have some heavily worn wheels from Mig at Fullbag Skates, so you can see how wheels wear directly under the bearing seat.



If I can briefly pause right here, the following panel is one that I have trouble with.  For 30 years or more, the distance between the innermost bolt holes was known within the skateboard industry as the “wheelbase.”  The technical engineering term “wheelbase” refers to the distance between the center of the wheels.  Problem is, (see the diagram immediately below) different skateboard trucks have their axles located differently in relation to the innermost holes.  Caliber trucks are notorious for “shortening” the wheelbase compared to Paris, Randal, Grizzly, etc.(despite being a similarly-designed RKP truck) which is a perfect example of the idea I’m trying to illustrate…same goes for Bennett, Indy, Tracker, or Element in the TKP world.  I don’t like the word “truckbase,” or the idea that it represents…it’s a word that caters to the lowest common denominator, and dumbs down skateboarding by making up a new (rather meaningless) word that sounds more complicated than it is.WHEELBASE_DIAGRAM


Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into shapes, with this handy little diagram from Silverfish:


There’s a lot of crossover between board shapes and purposes…for instance, the Landyachtz Evo is one of the original drop-deck speedboards; though going simply on the silhouette and this diagram, it would likely be lumped in with a “freeride” board.  Don’t overthink things too hard, this is just a general guide.


Thanks to SteveC and MalakaiKingston for assembling these graphics!