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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Latitude Legacy 38 (A Review By Guy Panno)

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Where do I even start with this board review? Latitude Longboards set out to make a unique but simple board design, and Im happy to report that they have done exactly that. Though simple isn’t exactly the same as basic…this board is anything but your plain old deck. Lets get a low down of the board, and see what surprises it has in store. The board is 38” long and 9.5” wide with a wheelbase ranging from 24”-29”. That’s all pretty typical your standard downhill/free ride board. However, it also features the signature t-concave from latitude and with a thick vert-lam construction of oak, ash, and walnut woods Latitude utilizes a CNC chassis design to reduce weight and add strength.

First impressions:
Aesthetically, this board is obviously a masterpiece. The CNC chassis looks like they combined awesomeness of some sci-fi spaceship with the elegance of vaulted ceilings. I know that doesn’t make sense, but I don’t care. The first time holding the board you’ll probably realize right away that the board weighs a lot for your typical topmount (similar to an evo, but much smaller). With it set up it becomes more comparable to a boulder than a another board. Now your thinking things like “Fuck that noise”,  “That sounds awful.” And “I wonder whats on youtube”. (Didn’t think I could read your mind, did you? Well I can…and it’s disgusting in there.)

Riding Impressions:
Don’t write this beast off just yet though. It may be a bitch to carry back uphill…but honestly, I was quite surprised myself at how light the board felt while riding. Sliding the board is effortless and fun, and you have an unexpected amount of control when going sideways. The board does feature two kick tails that, believe it or not, are damn functional when you have it at the small wheel base. Though they are going to be fighting against the overall weight of the board when trying to nail your big rotations or flip tricks. Landings will be solid as a rock and you will definitely get your kick turns and manuels on lock if you ever had to take this tank into town. Though, I would recommend this board for mostly DH and freeride over LDP or even freestyle. Though it makes for quite the conversation piece on short commutes.

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Criticisms:
The board does come with some visually pleasing features that some would consider counter productive. Just a few Design flaws that could hinder performance in some way. The main one is that the boards rails come with rounded edges which aren’t gripped stock (though Latitude is still working on the final grip design, and seems open to customization). Which, at higher speeds we noticed it wasn’t the best at locking you in. Though, after being gripped they make for very effective and comfortable gas pedals. Also, the wheel wells are really deep but with equally deep flush mounts and a thick bar from the chassis between them, the board is designed around axles above 180mm. Luckily, that was also easily fixed with a little sanding. Though, while I’m ever the advocate of form over function…even I have to admit some edits can be unsightly on this board. It really shouldn’t matter, but I’d still suggest trying a wider hangar or even just a riser before attempting to mutilate this deck.

Conclusion:
This is definitely a deck for the collectors, but not the kind that’s just for looking pretty on your wall. The board is unique and honestly I haven’t rode anything like it before, so it was a thrill doing this review. My preferred set up for the board was 44 cals with no riser and any 65 mm wheel with a narrow contact patch. If you live where there are mountains and hills everywhere? Then get your hands on a latitude board to add to your quiver it’ll add a little spice to your collection. Don’t forget to check out their Facebook here.

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 January 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Moonshine MFG Firewater Review

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Moonshine is an interesting company. Born in a wakeboard factory that’s now called the Distillery, designing longboards was a labor of love for many of the crossover athletes who are employed there. Building wakeboards all day and working late nights developing skateboards was the only way anything was going to go into production. They were literally moonlighting (which makes you wonder if someone confused Moonlight with Moonshine or of its a clever association). Not that it was a rag tag team of rebels against their evil boss or anything. My retail job doesn’t even like me socializing with other employees once I’m off the clock…these guys were allowed to use expensive machinery for what was, as the time, a pet project. That’s quite the risk, but it obviously paid off because Moonshine MFG is now it’s own brand, and such a badass one that the entire factory was renamed to fit it’s “alcoholic old-western” style theme. Speaking of which, let’s break out the Firewater and get this hoedown started!

Street:
Holy crap guys, I’d get this board just to use as a skateboard. The very first thing I noticed was how light it was. Plus, the carbon stinger thing must work because this boards pop is no joke. It’s not just a popsicle shaped longboard either, my skateboard riders said they felt most comfortable on this board out of everything I’ve had them try so far. Ollies leave small white marks where the tail hits the ground at first. I thought it was the urethane rail coming off…which at first seemed awesome because: c’mon, even your ollies thane!? Though I quickly realized that it was actually the carbon layer getting rubbed off, which isn’t nearly as cool…but at least it wasn’t razor tailing in the first sesh. As we started to get into grind-testing territory we realized that the carbon came off pretty easy during boardslides as well. This gave them a uniquely smooth, chalky feel that longboarders will recognize as being a really nice slide characteristic. I loved it immediately, and once used to it, everyone else did too. Though I’d warn anyone hoping to maintain the watertight aspects of the deck that you’ll quickly loose that feature after too many boardslides. Also, I may be the only person who still cares, but primo slides seem smoother and don’t fuck up your deck as much thanks to the thick urethane rail.

Freeride:
I found out what board I’d be reviewing long before I got to start testing…so I did quite a bit of research in anticipation. In all honesty, the concave seemed like somewhat of a disappointment on paper. Though I shouldn’t have jumped the gun, because it’s actually quite perfect. I’m not saying it’s a crazy foot hugging cave or anything…but it cradles you pretty nicely while maintaining a general skateboard feel. Techy freeriding is ridiculously fun on this board. At 18-19″ WB I would suggest TKPs, which require a riser on this deck since the wells aren’t huge (and even small freeride wheels are generally 60mm and up). The coolest thing I discovered though was that, not only are the wheel wells relatively long, but a redrill doesn’t compromise any of the boards cool features. See those black bars around the mounting holes? Yea…those aren’t just decoration, that’s urethane. Redrill anywhere in the black and the board stays waterproof and you don’t lose any road dampening. Wheelbases up to 21″ are possible this way. It’ll shorten your kicks some, but with RKPs they’ll still be super functional and freeriding will be that much easier and more stable.

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Cruising:
Oh crap…did I really just make “cruising” a category? I officially suck. In all seriousness though, I love this board for commuting…but it doesn’t really fit any of the criteria for a good LDP setup. So I guess I’m going to have to call it cruising. If you’re not exactly going cross country or anything but want a fun way to get to work or school, this board is it. It’s not dropped or anything so pushing a lot will still be like doing squats, but hey…you’re a skater, I’m sure you’re used to that. Plus, it’s crazy light so you aren’t going to get tired pushing places, or carrying it when you get there. It’s also a decent sized deck, and feels stable over various terrain. Plus, the shape is extremely functional so hopping up and down curbs (or over various other obstacles) is damn easy. The best part though? The fact that, hills or not, you can still have fun thrashing this deck. I look forward to riding my Firewater to work nearly every day simply because I know I’m going to have one hell of a lunch break.

Tech Slide:
Even at the shortest option 18″ is on the longer side of the tech slide wheelbase spectrum (though these things are typically preference). However, unlike freeride, with harder wheels riding stability doesn’t always equate to slide control. With less grip from the wheels, there isn’t much of anything pushing back against the inertia of the board…so smaller, lighter decks serve to even out that balance somewhat and give you more control over your movements when going sideways. A slightly larger board that happens to be as light as the smaller ones also maintain this balance well and make for a great option for those who like longer wheelbase techsliders. If you’re a dedicated hard wheel slider who’s used to smaller boards, you might not feel so comfortable…but for those who also freeride the leverage of a larger stance seems to help with rotations and will generally feel more stable. Another thing I’d like to bring up again is the wear patterns of the actual deck. While the carbon comes off pretty easy during tail-down blunt sides, the urethane rail actually holds up extremely well. Plus, it’s pretty thick so even as the tails razor away (which, even with the solid rails, will definitely happen with president blunts), you won’t be reaching the water-vulnerable wood very quickly.

BAM! done! Btw, I’m tired of writing conclusion paragraphs so I’ll just catch you kids next week…
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Seriously…it’s over, go home.
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Ok fine, here’s the Moonshine Facebook page. Now stop reading this and go skate.
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Hello? Dammit! Well, You’re nothing if not persistent.
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I’m just going to put up the disclaimer so you have to leave.
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DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that it was willing to provide me with product to review.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Gullwing Reverse Truck Review

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I’m just going to come out and say it, because Gullwing is to polite a company to say it themselves: Gullwing doesn’t give a fuck what you think. Not you personally…but the market in general. Chargers weren’t exactly loved until v2, Stalkers still get hate (from people who think every truck should be a DH truck), and don’t even get me started on sidewinders… Here’s the thing though: Gullwing doesn’t give a fuck what you think! Did I mention that? Quite frankly, the Downhill/Freeride truck market is ridiculously saturated with very similar trucks…so what would be the point of making another one anyway? Instead, they did their own thing with Reverse and made the trucks they would want to ride. Which worked out, because what they ended up creating (possibly inadvertently), is the first true hybrid RKP truck. Why inadvertently? Because I don’t think they really care about titles like “hybrid”. Terms like that only exist because we chose to split skateboarding and longboarding into two different sports in the first place. Gullwing never really fell for that social segregation, and now they’ve decided to prove it. Let’s see how, with a little Reverse action

Freeride:
At 47° Reverse are a great middle ground for medium freeride. I find holding out slides is easier on higher degree trucks than getting techy is on lower degrees (though that’s not taking into account the benefit of speed, which is easier to accomplish on lower degrees). So speaking specifically about somewhat mellow hills, a 47° truck with a bit of rake really opens up your options. They feel really fluid on longer wheelbases and even a bit surfy on shorter ones. I’ll have to be honest, most of my testing was on a shorter wheelbase DK, simply because it complimented the kind of skating the trucks ended up gravitating towards. Even still, with tall bushings the massive lean and progressive turn leave room for all styles. Weight your heels or toes gradually and lean a bit and you’ll break out into long controlled slide. Turn sharply or give one side a good shove and these trucks will gladly respond with quick snappy rotations for those techy freeride situations. Plus, the added ride hight makes larger wheels an easy option even on wheelwell-less decks.

Pool:
So there’s a surfy RKP with huge lean and grindable hangars? You have to take it to the bowl! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. They feel super stable, and grant you quite a bit more control of your movements than your typical TKP (but with a relatively similar feel considering the drastically different geometry). I’m actively avoiding using the term “dive” because that implies they feel floppy and lacking in precision…What it is is a very progressive yet very controlled turn. The beefy hangars can take a beating and glide smoothly even over some janky-ass coping. The one drawback I found was the that the nicely tucked away kingpin made quite the surprise appearance when you tried to 5-0 (or worse, nose grind). At that angle it stuck out past the hangar and dragged on the coping, feeling off and occasionally catching. Luckily, this was only a problem when parallel to the coping…and we quickly realized that a slight tweak in either direction (think Smith or crooked grids) rectified the problem quite nicely.

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Downhill:
Reverse is a weird truck if you look at it from a downhill position. With a bushing seat designed to feel open but also limit slop, a beautiful clean pivot, and spacers built into both the hangar and the axle nuts…it’s pretty obvious that Josh Rolf had a hand in these genius trucks. It’s also pretty clear that they’re meant to be (and are) some of the most precise cast trucks you can get your hands on. However, they’re also a pretty high degree, they have a bit of rake, and an above average ride hight. None of that makes them an automatic fail for downhill…in fact, most of that is preference anyway and with the right bushing setup they actually handle speed pretty well. If you’re into the stock geometry for DH then I recommend trying elims to combat the progressive turn a bit. It still won’t be linear, but it will feel more controlled all the way through the turn. If you aren’t into the stock geometry for downhill then flipping the hangar is an option. I wasn’t even going to try it until I saw a few people do our online…but the truth is, as long as you manufacture your own center (with high rebound bushings, cupped washed, ect…) It actually isn’t a bad option. Though I wouldn’t exactly recommend the trucks on this principal alone.

Freestyle/Street:
This is probably what makes these trucks the most fun. It’s really what makes them stand out…the same RKP truck that you can take a hill and freeride with has a thick grindable hangar. Of coarse, this was mentioned in the “pool” section…but besides boardercross events, when’s the last time you saw a bowl on a hill? On the other hand, almost every hill has curbs. Now, I’m a strong advocate of longboarders learning to ollie…but maybe you don’t want to. That’s cool…slappies are still hella fun. Even just riding up on an angled curb can be exciting down a hill. With a similar feel to sliding, even just your basic 50-50 will add some flare to your hill thrashing. The only downside here is that the thick ground plate does add some weight…so flip tricks could be affected. It’s not drastic or anything (think cal gen1 weight) but it’s still worth noting.

That’s a wrap kids. As the very first hybrid trucks on the market, Gullwing really hit the nail on the head with this one. As always, versatility comes with a bit of compromise…but if there ever was a truck worthy the title “quiver killer” Reverse would be it. I don’t know if they’re stepping up their game recently, or if the current trends just happen to line up perfectly with what their wheelhouse has always been…but either way, you’re going to want to keep an eye on them!

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

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized