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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Blood Orange Liam Morgan Pro Review

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I never understand when a wheels get so hyped for like a month and then suddenly it’s trendy to hate on them. It’s sad that the cliche joke: “those _____ are so last week” can be applied to longboard wheels and actually make sense! In fact, it makes so much sense that you lose the joke part since a week is no longer a humorous exaggeration…the hype train really is that quick to move on. Which doesn’t make sense to me because, If they suck, then where is the hype from in the first place? For Liam Morgan Pro wheels I’ve could easily assume that it was the magic of celebrity endorsement that tricked these groms into loving a wheel they had never tried…but having tried them myself I realized instead that the hate they get now is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of these wheels…let’s compare and contrast slide styles and how they’re affected by these wheels.

Kick that shit:
This is how most of us learned to slide…and depending on your own particular style and terrain, still a viable option for the experienced skater. Basically, you lean back just enough to keep from high siding but not enough to initiate the slide…instead, traction is lost when the back foot is deweighted and used to shove the board around. This sucks on LMF wheels…try this and they will act like grippy wheels, being hard to slide and even inconsistent. These wheels are not made to putt around on…and that’s from a guy who sometimes skates a golf coarse. Which, coincidently, is where I was underwhelmed by them…it’s right behind my house so I go there to practice when I can’t get anywhere else. Not worth it. These wheels need speed! That being said…the kick out method is the only way these wheels are going to kill much speed, even when sliding. So it may be good to know…a wheel that slides forever is great, until you find yourself in a dangerous situation and need to stop abruptly. Luckily, LMFs can be coerced into performing both ways, depending on your technique.

Leaning like Liam:
This is the opposite end of the spectrum…while a normal skaters technique is going to be somewhere in between the two, it’s also possible just lean far enough that your weight is pushing the board more sideways than it is weighing it down. The closer your form is to this, the better these wheels perform…I call them my steeze lean training wheels. Why? Because frankly…while anything goes in skating, the faster you go and more you lean for slides, the more even your wear patterns will be and the more control you’ll have over slides. So these wheels force you to learn good technique. Honestly, I’ve never ridden anything like them…they grip well and the release is really late, so you have to get nearly horizontal. Except…when most grippy, late releasing wheels are trying to hook up early and give you really choppy slides the LMF glides smooth and hooks up gradually, and only when you want it. Now, joking around that they’re “training” wheels by no means should imply that they’re for amateurs…the late release and long slides does add up to a pretty small margin of error. When first getting to know these wheels you’ll notice that it’s easy to over lean…even an experienced skater might ice out a few times finding that perfect ratio of grip to slip. Though, once you find the sweet spot you’ll be glad you did…these wheels slide for days but remain controlled and consistent the whole time. Plus, they make you lean so hard that, dare I say it? You may look as cool as the greaser himself.

Monkey Toe:
Known affectionately online as: monkey see, monkey DON’T EVER FUCKING DO THAT! Basically, it’s when instead of leaning or shoving the board you hook your toes on the edge and manually force it to slide. It’s on the shame scale somewhere between pushing mongo and not wearing a helmet. Which makes it a weird thing to include in a review…but I have a few reasons. First: I sprained my ankle. Bad enough that I thought it might be broken…it wasn’t, but it did blow up like a balloon and make it hard to lean very far forward. So…I monkey toed.  Which, on LMFs made for a surprisingly technical feel. That’s reason two…this smooth sliding fast freeride wheel is great for quick rotations and slide shuvits if you deweight enough or even ::GASP:: monkey toe. Reason three is that my reviews are for everyone, so if you happen to monkey toe…now you know, LMFs grip well but whip around quick and feel pretty technical if you deweight drastically (which, at the end of the day, is all monkey toe is…so little weight in your back foot that you need to manufacture grip by hooking your toes).

That’s about it people…ignore the hype train, these wheels are in fact great for what they’ve designed for. If that’s not what you want out of a wheel, then don’t get upset because your friend convinced you they were the freeride wheel to end all freeride wheels. They aren’t…but if you regularly practice mid to fast freeride and want to work on that gangster lean, then they are in fact the perfect wheel for you. I personally think it’s refreshing that Blood Orange developed a wheel for such a specific purpose…because it absolutely excels at it. I can’t wait to see what they set their sights on next, and if you’re curious too, like them on Facebook for more updates!

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 June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Atom 2 vs Drift Biscuits

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Ok, so I’m pulling a fast one on both Advanced Slide Labs and Drift Biscuits…but I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that my reviews are for the skaters! Both companies knew what they were getting into sending me product…and quite frankly, I imagine both are reading this thinking “who cares? Our company will win anyway!”. You have to be pretty confident to let me do a review, and both these companies have good reason to be. In fact, I got this idea when I realized how contrasting yet evenly matched these pucks are…so let’s get to the festivities and see who comes out on top!

Tech Slide:
WINNER – Atom 2
Let’s start with an obvious one, Advanced Slide Lab knows tech slide. These pucks don’t disappoint! They last forever and slide smooth on all kinds of roads…perfect for anything where you’ll be on your hands a lot. While Drift Biscuits do last a really long time, there just isn’t really anything that matches the durability of Atoms. If you’re the type of skater that regularly puts more of their weight on your pucks than your board…You’re blowing it if you’re not rocking ASL.

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Freeride:
WINNER – Drift Biscuits
Another easy win, this time for the Biscuit Squad. What makes these beat out an amazing company like ASL? Weight my friend. That’s right, Atoms might last forever…but they’re some of the heaviest pucks I’ve ever felt. Drift Biscuits on he other hand, are the lightest. They feel almost like nothing’s there, so they don’t weigh down your arms when balancing standies, but protect your hands if you ice out. Plus, their durability is nothing to sneeze at either…they last longer than most pucks on the market, and all of those weigh more than Drift Biscuits. So it’s not like they can’t stand up to frequent glove downs either. Basically, if you standy as much or more than you do glove downs, Drift Biscuits has you covered!

Downhill:
WINNER – Atom 2
These last two were much closer calls than the first half…but the heavy, high density material of Atoms gives it the advantage here. Not only do they slide really smooth and barely shed any speed, but they’re really hard to gill. Which, since I just made that term up, may need clarifying…You know how sharp rocks and really janky roads can slice really deep into your pucks making what looks like gills? Well these gills can get hooked on things and make for a very inconsistent slide…sometimes even tripping you up and putting you a little off balance. Atoms are extremely resistant to this. Maybe that doesn’t seem like enough to phase a seasoned skater…but in a race a “little off balance” can be all it takes to cost you the lead.

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Freestyle:
WINNER – Drift Biscuits
Another close call…especially since slide pucks aren’t really involved in freestyle. However, Drift Biscuits aren’t just light and durable, but it has a very ergonomic shape. So they stay out of the way! Maybe that doesn’t seem like much, but the only thing better than a puck that holds up on he ground and is still barely noticeable on your hands is when you don’t need to take it off to do a quick finger flip. Drift Biscuits seems to be the one puck company willing to admit that gloves are often secondary in modern longboard disciplines, and has made the best product possible to accommodate that.

To sum up, both Advanced Slide Labs and Drift Biscuits offer amazing options. Quite frankly, I never knew slide pucks could be so different…but these really show the diversity of even such a seemingly simple product. If you you expect as much out of your pucks as you do the rest of your gear then these are the best pucks you can get…it all depends on what you want out of them. Personally? I rock both, and I love the performance I get in their respective disciplines. So if I’ve peaked your interest and you want more on these great companies check out both Advanced Slide Labs and Drift Biscuits on Facebook!

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 June 6, 2014 in Uncategorized