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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Stella Dictator Review (A Fastcar named Desire)

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This board is the reason the clerk at the corner store calls me “Fastcar”. Why? Because it’s fast! …and because he’s a little strange like that. It’s also the reason I’ve decided it’s finally socially acceptable for me to yell “STELLAAAA” in public (an opportunity I’ve been waiting for since my 9th grade English class). Plus, the graphic looks like a music video to me. Kinda like Pink Floyds “Goodbye Blue Sky” or Flowbots “Handlebars”…either way making it one of the more politically charged longboards since Globes short lived Ronald Reagan pinner. Does any of that make it a good longboard? Who the fuck knows…you have to keep reading! How much of that was even true? The part about my nickname being “Fastcar”. That guy is legit a weirdo.

Downhill:
Stella knew what they were doing with the dictator. I’m not about to pretend that this is a brand new shape, but it’s a great variation on a classic. Tweaked enough to make it unique, but nothing so crazy that it’s unfamiliar. Everything you expect and a little more...for instance, you’re going to be able to mount this every way you’re hoping is possible. Drop through, top mount, (obviously) but most importantly, with no fancy drops or fat cores in your way a redrill is quick and easy (though would require homemade wheel wells). So to each his own…even on this one deck! Also, there’s a nice waist in the deck for comfortable foot breaking. It doesn’t compromise leverage because it’s only the middle and, taboo as it is, foot breaking could save your life…say if a cop casually tries to run you over one day.

Commute:
Yea, so…with the ambiguity of the abbreviation “LDP” I’ve decided to honor it’s original meaning. Since “long distance push”, while used by some is technically incorrect…from now on I’ll call that “commute” and LDP will be the more accurate “long distance pump”. Anyway…this board is great for it! It’s tub concave is aggressive for a push board, but the flat part in the middle is just wide enough to be comfortable. Throw on an already low truck like Newton or Carver CV drop up, or just use drop through risers and you’ll never get tired pushing.

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Freeride:
Here’s where things get fun. I love the standing platform on this board, and the first thing I think when I see a drop-through deck with cut-outs is would this look cool chopped? To which my mind replied with a resounding “yes!”. However, I didn’t go through with it…why? Because it makes such a great rain deck as-is. Commute setup with some old bearings, rain wheels, and a nose guard (why not? You’re GOING to fall in the rain.) Makes the rain your friend on a hot day. The very low ride hight is going to keep you stable…which is my first concern in the rain. Plus, there’s like a foot of gas pedal on all four corners of this deck, giving you more than enough leverage to slide in the rain. These, of coarse, help in normal freeride as well…and the tub, while comfortable in the middle, gets a bit more aggressive towards the rail. So you’ll feel plenty locked in.

Freestyle:
Freestyle on this board is not easy…but possible none the less. What seems more like “excess deck” than actual kicks can provide a surprising amount I leverage. Though the control is never going to be what you want it to be. Unless you do that redrill thing we discussed earlier…::wink wink:: but this is a review of the board Stella made, not “Stella ft. Steezy Mcgee longboarder extraordinaire” (your new name, reader. In case you were wondering…). As far as stock, I suggest learning some basic tiger claw variations, and (unless you’re that one guy who can kickflip an evo) old-school/ghostride kickflips. Watch your fingers because this board gets angry when you make it leave the ground…though it’s for that same reason you’ll have more confidence than ever landing tricks…this thing plants hard and stays where it is.

Well there it is Mcgee, Stella came to play. Or they didn’t play…I honestly don’t know how that phrase is supposed to go. Either way, the Dictator, given the opportunity, lives up to its name. Definitely a natural addition to any skate arsenal. Plus, to all those out there saying “well this is all old news, that kind of board has been around forever”, here’s the kicker: (on top of all the subtle differences mentioned earlier) the Dictator boasts a quality and durability similar to some of those other boards at a much better price. That alone makes it worth considering. So call your local shop (you should know them pretty well by now) and tell them to throw out those Reagan cruisers and make room for Stella! As always, Facebook is a great way to keep up with your favorite longboard companies.

DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that it was willing to provide me with product to review.

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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Newton Trucks Review

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Newton Trucks are an anomaly.Everyone is familiar with the companies that follow trends in longboarding…and have their own unique interpretation. We also know those that don’t seem to know at all what longboarders want. What’s kind of rare, however, is finding a company run by people passionate about skating that use their engineering expertise to create something innovative based on their own personal taste, regardless of what’s trendy. Refreshing? Sure…but versatile? I guess we’ll just have to see.

Long Distance Push:
It’s hard to tell if Newton had LDP in mind when designing these trucks, but it sure as hell works for it. All of their marketing is based around “reaching a new low”, so it’s kind of impossible to miss…these trucks are short. Their ride height is comparable to a drop mounted Randall. So when they are drop mounted its like having drop risers (lowers?). Making for a very comfortable, stable ride and easy pushing.

Freeride:
Here’s what everyone wants to know…from DH to dancers everyone loves freeride, even if it isn’t your main squeeze. Unfortunately…these trucks need cut-outs not to get wheelbite, and even then don’t provide much leverage. Fortunately, the solution to this is not only obvious but extremely useful: risers. Done. That’s it, but hear me out…this gets rid of wheelbite, gives you the leverage you need for slides…and allows the customizability of angled risers but without the added hight you’d usually get from wedging normal trucks. BAM! Freeride away…

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Downhill:
Let’s expand on this riser idea…How would you like to dewedge the back truck of your DH board without feeling like your a foot taller? Seems like a pointless trade-off to me, sacrifice turning to stabilize your back truck while making the whole thing higher off the ground? A lot of people use drop decks to compensate for this…which works but then you’re no longer really dropped are you? And not everyone likes drop decks. Newton trucks give you the option of a lower center of gravity with cut-outs or several wedging/dewedging options while maintaining a standard ride height. Which, for those of you that like drop decks, means they still feel dropped…even with risers.

Freestyle:
These trucks have a complicated relationship with freestyle. Let’s start simple…less truck means less weight. That’s a good thing, so with risers they act much like regular RKPs would, only lighter. Without risers? Well with RKPs that are the same height as TKPs kick tails start feeling better for tricks that need pop, like ollies. The only problem being that you have to use a deck with cut-outs. Which makes for a much thinner tail and less control over flip tricks. Though the loss is still minimal enough to make it a setup worth checking out.

So there it is, Newton trucks are made by engineering experts to ride lower than any other RKPs without losing any strength or disability. Luckily for us, these aren’t your typical metalworkers with extra beercans or complete squares trying to reinvent the wheel. (see what I did there?) No, these engineers are skaters too! So while this unassuming truck doesn’t seem very special until you look at it next to any other RKP, it’s a lot more useful and innovative than some more “flashy” products. Check out their Facebook for more details (and maybe a few sneak peaks of future Newton projects), and if your local shop doesn’t have a few sets for you to check out…Get on their ass! If you want to be supplied, you gotta start making demands. This is economics 101 people…

As always, don’t forget to like The Longboard Critic on Facebook to get updates on our weekly reviews! Not to mention, some pretty cool contests.

DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that it was willing to provide me with product to review.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Subsonic Metamorphosis Review

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I’ll be honest, I came into this review a sceptic. Quite frankly, despite calling themselves Subsonic Skateboards, they showed no sign of being able to make one well. That’s not to say they don’t have quality products…they’re just all definitively longboards. A different animal entirely. Historically soaking, when one company makes both a drop deck and a skateboard…usually one of them sucks. So when I saw their latest deck, the Metamorphosis, I approached it with the same hesitation I do most longboarder-made skateboards…I was very VERY wrong. Someone has been taking notes because these longboarders made one hell of a hybrid, and not just by slapping some kicks on a DH board either! Let me share with you the mind blow that is metamorphosis.

Freeride:
For a board with killer pop this thing is nice, stiff, and super stable. Slides feel smooth and consistent…on TKPs. At 19.5 on the longest WB reverse kingpins aren’t a horrible idea, but it’s definitely designed for skateboard trucks. Small wheels and wedged risers make this thing feel great for slower freeride. At the longest WB your feet are easily planted right above the bolts for long checks and quick 360s. The shorter WB gets really techy since it allows you to wedge your foot against the base of the tail and still have enough leverage to use it. I learned toeside blunt slides on this deck.

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Freestyle:
This board is a little small for a lot of longboard tricks…they work, though not as fluidly. On the other hand, if you’re big, tall, have large feet, or you’re simply more used to longboards…You may find that you’ve never felt more at home doing any number of skateboard tricks. Pressure flips, varials, impossibles, even old school tricks like caspers…they all seem to come more naturally when you’re feet actually fit on the board. Plus, the added stability and stiffness helps with boardslides.

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Tranny:
My first instinct was to bring this thing to a bowl…which was fun. Except, hitting a bowl to me means really nimble surf style riding, so the added length here got in the way a little. Luckily, this bowl was only part of a larger skatepark…which turned out to be where the real fun was to be had! With spring loaded pop and a long stable platform to land on, this thing rips on spines, kickers, and fun boxes. I was never great at tranny but if you just learn rock to fakie, street plants, 360 boneless transfers, and what I call an invert Coleman 180, you’ll have the most fun you’ve ever had at a park on this board.

Combined:
So I gave it a lot of thought, and even though I could have had tech-slide, bowl, or even downhill here…while the metamorphosis performs in these, it’s for the same reasons as above. So why bore you when I could tell you the absolute beauty of this deck is how seamlessly and flawlessly it combines disciplines? That nailing your first FS Half Cab right into a Toeside speed check makes you feel like King Steeze the Third, High General of Lord Skatans undead fucking army. That your friends slide-shuvit can slide-suckit once you learn how to blunt slide to nose hook impossible. There are hundreds of possibilities…I’m not even done making shit up yet, I’m still working on a few myself. The point is, Subsonic somehow made a stiff solid deck with tons of pop so that you can dream up and perfect these Frankentricks.

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Metamorphosis. What a great name. Perfect for a board that seems designed to encourage the evolution of the sport. It’s not perfect, and it can’t do everything…but what it does do is well worth it. So if you already have a DH/fast freeride deck and you’re looking to spice up your mellow hill game, grab yourself a Metamorphosis from Subsonic Skateboards and start committing crimes against nature.

As always, don’t forget to like The Longboard Critic on Facebook to get updates on our weekly reviews! Not to mention, some pretty cool contests.

DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that it was willing to provide me with product to review.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Uncategorized