Christopher Z., Czech Republic: Hey Shreditors! What’s your preferred freeride wheel? Could you shed some light on the differences between durometers?
Justin: Hey Christopher, this is a tricky, age-old question because it’s rooted in preference! First, I’ll go over what gives freeride wheels certain slide characteristics, then I’ll give some of my recommendations.
There are many different features of a wheel that affect sliding ability, such as: contact patch, formula, lip shape, durometer, etc. While each of these are important and warrant their own in-depth response, I’m going to focus on durometer for the sake of relevance.
Nowadays, all of the kiddos want the slidiest wheel they can get their hands on. That way, they can do the hottest new 540 combo or slide bigspin line. When looking for a slidey wheel, a great indicator is a high durometer “rating”. You can find this specification in the description of any longboard wheel. Durometer ranges anywhere from 72a to 88a. The higher the number, the “harder” the wheel. Hard wheels are generally easier to initiate slides and give little resistance once the slide is in motion. Of course, the inverse is true for grippy wheels, which have low durometer ratings.
As for me, I like my wheels’ durometer in a happy medium. Not too slidey so that I don’t ice out, but not too grippy so that I can still do some twirly scoots. The 65mm 84a Blood Orange Morgans and 65mm 83a Orangatang Fat Frees are both great options in that department! If you’re looking for a wheel that will grip more than slip, the 70mm 80a Blood Orange Morgans are an excellent choice. As for an extra slidey wheel, the 65mm 86a Orangatang Fat Frees would be the way to go.
I hope this little rundown helped clear things up a bit for ya. The best way to figure out how a wheel skates, is to skate it yourself! See you on the hills.
Deandre R., South Carolina: Sup, Shreditors. What’s the main difference between regular flips & old-school flips? Which one is harder?
Donny: Hey Deandre, nice one. Old-school flips and regular flips differ in how your foot rotates your preferred piece of plywood and wheels. The basic construction of a ‘regular’ flip consists of popping the tail with one foot for flip clearance height and flicking with the other foot to rotate the board. The angle & direction of the pop & flick coincides with the direction your board rotates.
“Old-school” flips originated before the pop & flick technique really took off. The old-school flip requires one foot often placed flat across the bolts or near the bolts of the board. The other foot partially “grips” the deck by digging one’s heels around the top of the deck and sliding the front half of their foot around the rails and/or the underside of the deck so it can guide the board into the flip and/or rotation.
A regular kickflip is probably much harder than on old school flip to master. However, if you add rotations to these moves and assume a rider knows both types of kickflips, it would be hard to say how the more advanced flips & old-school flips rank. Old-school flips have the advantage of being possible on most any lightweight board, regardless of kick tail length. The pop of regular flips give a rider more clearance and height for flipping over obstacles. Don’t limit yourself, have fun & learn both!
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