Seismic Skate releases new 80.5 mm tall ALPHA Wheels in two widths – the 60 mm wide DH Race for fast downhill skateboarding and the 55 mm wide LDP Trim created for long distance pushing.
Both wheel models feature DEFCON™ high-rebound urethane formula in either 76A or 78A durometer and Seismic’s Fusion™ core. Let’s take a look at the specs…
The 2019 Seismic Alpha Longboard Wheels
The ALPHA Longboard Wheels are technically two different wheel models that share the same components but a different shape adapted to the discipline of longboarding they are best used for.
The ALPHA DH wheels are 80.5 mm high with a 60 mm running surface, a 6.5 % offset bearing seat, square outside edges and a straight-cut inside edge. Each wheel weighs 9.125 oz. or 258.689 grams.
The ALPHA LDP Trimwheels with an 80.5 mm height and a 53 mm contact patch feature the same 6.5 % offset bearing seat, beveled edges and a weight of 8.75 oz. of 248.058 grams each.
What joins these two models is Seismic’s pride and joy, their core, and urethane formula. The Fusion™ core is a 46 mm tall x 44 mm wide supportive hub with 8 hollowed-out support beams and a robust bearing lug made from durable 85D fiber-reinforced thermoplastic and surrounded by their DEFCON™ urethane in one of the two durometers mentioned above.
In an interview at the ISPO Longboard Embassy Seismic claimed their new DEFCON™ is faster than their BlackOps™ formula and proudly mentioned Pete Connolly’s Guinness World Record where he reached 146.73 km/h (91.17mph) rolling down on Seismic wheels at the L’Ultime Descente in Canada.
Bearings are an essential part of a longboard complete; they allow the wheels to spin on a fixed truck axle. Having a good quality longboard bearing will definitely make a difference in your experience, but don’t go too crazy with spending your money.
Most of the cheaper bearings will do the job just fine and last for a long time if you keep them away from water or dirt while using them in combination with bearing spacers and washers.
What is the difference between a skateboard and longboard bearings?
There is no difference between the skateboard and longboard bearings. Regardless of the size of your wheels or type of skating you do, street skate or longboard, the bearings are the same size. The only thing you need to pay attention to is the dimension of the bearing spacers.
Bearing spacer has two measurements, one is the axle diameter and the other is overall width. The first measurement, the axle diameter, is generally 8 mm for most skate trucks, regardless if they are meant for skateboarding or longboarding.
But to make sure you’ll have a good fit, you should pay attention to the second measurement, the overall spacer width. A common overall width for skateboard bearing spacers is 8 mm, while for larger longboard wheels you’ll need a 10 mm spacer.
The same applies to built-in bearings, which are described in more detail later in this post. If you’re buying them for smaller wheels chose 8 mm x 8 mm and for larger longboard wheels the measurement should be 8 mm x 10 mm, presuming you’re skating on commonly used trucks.
Bearing spacers + Speed washers
A bearing spacer is a metal cylinder that fits into a wheel between the bearings. Often, longboard beginners don’t know about the bearing spacers and it doesn’t help that some cheaper longboard completes are being sold without them. The same goes for the speed washers (a.k.a. speed rings or bearing washers) which fit between the bearings and the axle nuts and between the bearings and the truck’s hangers.
Bearing spacers help increase the lifespan and performance of the bearings. Their purpose is to reduce the weight distributed between the bearings and make sure that they are perfectly aligned with each other when being put under pressure (especially when you’re performing slides).
Having them installed will result in your slides being smoother and more consistent. Without the bearing spacers, you will not be able to fully tighten the axle nuts without preventing the wheels to rotate.
What’s the problem, Doc?
Knowing that you need spacers and washers when using regular bearings, let’s have a look at some disadvantages that come with their use:
They are small and can get lost easily
Bearing spacers and speed washers are quite small parts which often require additional attention and handling with care when you’re mounting or changing wheels. If dropped on the floor, they can easily get lost and sometimes it’s even impossible to recover them.
They make changing / mounting wheels longer and more complicated
Installing those additional parts prolongs the time of changing/mounting the wheels. Also, as the spacer is “floating” between the bearings, you’ll need to change the position of the board/axle in order to be able to mount the wheel on the axle.
Inconsistent spacer length
Not all spacers are built with precision in mind. Some cheap spacers are not the same length, which can cause additional complications.
The solution – Longboard bearings with built-in spacers
Longboard bearings with built-in spacers have their inner ring (race) elongated on both sides, acting as the bearing spacer and speed washers. No extra bearing spacers and speed washers are required. This makes changing / mounting wheels much faster and less stressful. All you need to do is insert the bearings and you are ready to mount your wheels without any extra effort.
What about the price?
Bearings with built-in spacers are also known to be of a better quality and with better quality usually comes a higher price tag. Compared to standard longboard bearings, they are a bit more expensive, but usually worth those extra coins.
However, not all brands stand for this. Due to its popularity, more and more brands are introducing bearings with built-in spacers and choosing “the good ones” can be quite tricky. Unless you’ve tried a set for yourself or got a recommendation from someone you trust, you might end up spending more money without any guarantee that they will be as good as promised.
Prices start at around 17,00 € and can get as high as 100,00 € or more for a set of 8 bearings. Those more expensive usually feature “ceramic balls” which are considered to be more durable and stronger. In my opinion, you’ll be more than satisfied if you spend around 20,00 €, which is just around 5,00 € more than you would spend on a standard set of 8 bearings.
Recommended: Zealous bearings
There are many buying options, but Zealous stands out with a high level of quality and affordable pricing. They are the only built-in spacer bearings which I can recommend at the moment while being 100% sure that they will not disappoint you. Some individuals might disagree but most people who have tried Zealous bearings will nod their head when I say “Zealous bearings are definitely one of the best built-in spacer bearings on the market right now”.
For a while, I was looking at them online, wondering if they are worth the money – because they were so cheap! We have a saying where I come from “We are not wealthy enough to buy cheap stuff”, meaning that cheap stuff doesn’t last for a long time and therefore it’s better to buy something more expensive. Higher the price, better the quality, right? Wrong. With Zealous longboard bearings, this is not the case. You pay for them much less than for other comparable built-in spacer bearings, but they last for ages.
Zealous bearings feature the built-in spacer and speed ring. They are produced from high-quality materials and feature a super tight rubber sealing which prevents water and dirt from entering the bearing. This rubber sealing can be easily removed so that you can clean your bearings from time to time. To be honest, I haven’t cleaned mine for a full year and they still roll like crazy – fast and silent. They are lubricated with a nanoceramic lube which has excellent repellant to water and makes the bearings run at a considerably lower heat.
Are Bones REDS better than Zealous?
Bones REDS bearings for longboard and skateboard are the most popular bearings around the world, leading by being the most popular brand in United States. Most riders choose REDS because of their unbeatable reputation in street skateboarding scene too.
REDS come pre-lubed with Speed Cream lubricant developed specifically for bearings making them spin forever right out of the box. They are built using high standards and high quality materials and feature the non-contact removable rubber shield. This enables you easy cleaning while providing with the minimum friction.
Bones REDS and Zealous are both on top of the game and whichever you choose, you can rest assured that your wheels will be spinning very good for a long period of time, especially if you take good care of them; it’s recommended to clean your bearings at least once a year or every time after skating in the wet.
What are your favorite longboard bearings?
What are your favorite bearings for longboard and why? Share your experience through the comments below and help others with their choice. Much appreciated. Thank you!
I came across a video of a guy who owns 5000 vintage skateboards. The guy’s name is Todd Huber and he is a skateboard collector and founder of Skatelab, which is a museum, a shop and an indoor skatepark.
Here’s the video:
What was the most interesting to me was not the number of skateboards he had, but how much the history of skateboarding was present in the collection.
Because this sparked my interest, I did some reading. That is why I compiled a short history lesson for you guys. At the end, you’ll find some pointers of what I learned in the process of writing this article.
The 50s marked the invention of skateboarding. As a spontaneous movement of multiple people, kids started making their own skateboards from planks of wood, nailed with roller-skates. Back then, if you wanted one you had to make one and kids started messing around in their parent’s garages.
In 1957, Alf Jensen’s “Bun Board” was the first commercial skateboard to be produced. The number of boards sold was manageable, and the metal rollers mounted on this board never broke through. The board served as a model for the first skateboard that was produced in 1959 by the Californian company Roller Derby Skate in large numbers. ~ Alex Lenz in his upcoming book The Lost History of Longboarding
By the 60s, clay wheels got introduced and replaced the metal wheels used before. The trend of skateboarding was high, but it soon kinda died. You can imagine why – skating on clay composite wheels was probably horrendous.
Back then, skateboarding wasn’t considered a sport, nor a hobby, it was just something a few kids did and the majority of adults were not paying attention to it. Multiple companies at that time separated from skateboarding because too many kids got hurt and it wasn’t good for their image.
In 1964 Jim Fitzpatrick, the first member of Makaha Skateboard team, which at the time produced the clay-wheeled skateboards, went on a two-month tour, traveling all over Europe to promote skateboarding and his brand.
He was also the first person to skateboard underneath the Eiffel Tower. In an interview I found, he said he skated there for about an hour while people gathered around him in a circle clapping. Later he carried his board to the top of the tower. In the ”Cult of the longboard” article in Trasher July 1995 magazine issue the author mentions Fitzpatrick as someone who personally introduced skateboarding to Europe.
During the sixties, kids were skating barefoot as grip tape wasn’t yet invented. Some of the wooden boards had grooves for extra traction, but you guys can guess how little that helped. The Randy 720 was the first shoe designed for skateboarding back in 1965. But the evolution of skate shoes has its own history.
Around that time Patti McGee was featured on the cover of Life magazine, the first skate magazine popped up called SKATEBOARDER magazine (which only put our four issues, but got renamed and relaunched in 1975), people started skating pools, vert and the first skateboard organization was formed.
In contrast, many shops stopped selling skateboards as they were considered too dangerous by public officials and cities started banning skateboarding on the streets.
In ’69 Larry Stevenson, the founder of Makaha Skateboards mentioned above, patented the kicktail enabling the evolution of skate tricks we know today. He, however, didn’t get much out of it as only a few companies decided to pay the royalties. Because of this, his patent later got ruled as invalid.
By the early 70s, Frank Nasworthy introduced a small batch of the first urethane wheels named Cadillac Wheels. The Dogtown and Z Boys era began and Alan Gelfand performed and named the first ollie.
Thought the seventies trucks also got their prime time when Ron Bennett built one of the first trucks specifically designed for skateboarding. Freestyle and slalom was a popular thing and the invention of the Stoker trucks created something for downhill. With the invention of the reverse kingpin trucks in 1977, longboards were as stable than ever.
Based on the info I got from various sources, the sport split into two branches: skateboarding and longboarding somewhere around this time period.
The story returns back to Jim Fitzpatrick. He worked for Powell Peralta in the 80s and 90s on the Bones Brigade and with the invention of the VHS the first skate movies got recorded. He also worked as a writer and production assistant for what came to be known as “The Savannah Slamma,” produced by Thrasher Magazine.
In the early 90s longboarding took off as mass production of the boards started in the US. Around that time sub-disciplines like freestyle, slalom, long distance and downhill gained momentum.
With the invention of the World Wide Web in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee the promotion of skateboarding soon wasn’t limited to the only word of mounth and printed magazines.
The bottom line
And what can we take out of this brief history lesson? Well, quite a few things actually…
Be an active member of the community.
The influence of skateboarding teams and individuals was huge. Skaters back then did skate demos, talked with people and portrayed the sport the best way they knew how. Like some brands and individuals do today, organizing skate sessions, beginner classes, longboard events, and other meet-ups, still has massive value.
Attending local and international events is also has importance. Normally this is the only way to skate in a controlled environment and push your limits without the risk of ongoing traffic. It’s also a great chance to meet other skaters and make new friends.
Promote responsible and safe skating
By putting out media, one can be responsible and educational by raising awareness about safety gear and skating within your limits. Posting videos of one nearly escaping a collision with a car might get a lot of views, but the bigger picture is more destructive than positive.
Connect with the media outlets you like
Why not can connect with and support the magazines, websites, and blogs you like? They are there to distribute and present your content, support the sport and present it in an objective manner to a wider public. If you want to promote longboarding to the masses, don’t just settle with your limited circle on socials.
Help and support beginners
Every skater also has a chance to educate others. So many times beginners bought a cheap longboard, road it once and then stopped because it wasn’t what they expected – just like the situation with the clay wheels.
Be open-minded and connect with others. If you have a newcomer on your local skate spot, teach him/her a thing or two so they get a push in the right direction. With the basics, they can start practicing on their own just like you did and actually learn a lot faster.
Together we can provide a positive environment without hate or judgment and show newcomers and the general public that longboarding is not as dangerous and as lawless as it looks at a first glance.
One thing is for sure, longboard wheels are that one part of our gear which we use up faster than everything else. The more you skate, the more you need and if you’re looking to support your local business there are quite a few options available on the European longboard wheel market.
We’ve compiled a list of European wheel and longboard companies that have their own branded wheel models for you to get to know better and maybe discover some new ones.
There may be other European wheel brands that we did not mention, so if you know any, let us know in the comments below, so we can add them to the list. You can also share your experience with these brands to help others.
Please note that this list is in random order and the point of this article is to introduce you to European longboard wheels rather than evaluate them. It’s up to you to try them out and decide which are the best for you.
Ninetysixty is a longboard wheels brand by the German shop Longboardshop.de which also has a rich history in manufacturing snowboard and longboard decks under the brand name Pogo. All of their decks are made in their 400-year-old farm in Baden Württemberg.
The Nintysixty longboard wheel range includes 4 models. They come for quite cheap so don’t expect them to have a “pro level” performance. Nintysixty are great entry level wheels especially if your focus is to learn how to slide, but they will also serve well to more experienced riders focused on faster freeride or tech sliding.
Ninetysixty Freeride Wheels 70mm
The Ninetysixty freeride wheels will cater to your budget and your freeride needs with a 70 mm height, 56 mm width, a 78a durometer, rounded lips, and a 48 mm contact patch. The core is semi centered so you can’t flip them, but they will make up for it with a stone ground finish meaning you don’t need to break them in which makes them also very beginner friendly.
Nintysixty Freeride wheels features:
Size: 70 mm
Width: 56 mm
Contact patch: 48 mm
Core: Semi centered
Available in black or green, the Nintysixty Freeride wheels are priced at 34.95 EUR and available at Longboardshop.de.
Ninetysixty Slide Wheels 70mm
Sporting a vibrant yellow color, the 70 mm slide wheels by Ninetysixty are another entry level wheel good for improving your freeride skills at medium speeds. The wheel is 70 mm high, 45 mm wide with a contact patch of 40 mm and a 78a durometer. Their centered core is designed to avoid coning, enabling you to flip them around every once in a while.
Nintysixty Slide wheels features:
Size: 70 mm
Width: 45 mm
Contact patch: 40 mm
Sharing the same durometer and price like the wheels mentioned above, these carry a price tag of 34.95 EUR.
Ninetysixty Slide Wheels 65mm
The smallest and the cheapest in the Ninetysixty collection are the 65 mm white Slide wheels. With an 80a durometer, 40 mm width and a 34 mm contact patch, these will easily go sideways. They have been described as slippery and appropriate for those who are trying to learn stand up slides at lower speeds.
Nintysixty Slide wheels features:
Size: 65 mm
Width: 40 mm
Contact patch: 34 mm
As an all-around wheel meant for cruising, sliding and also street skate, these only cost 29.95 EUR.
Slide Perfect Wheels is a UK based longboard wheel company that started with Bodhi Keen and a group of friends in 2015, with the aim to provide smooth sliding and affordable wheels for the UK market. Years of playing with different formula’s resulted in a line up focused on going sideways. The wheels are designed and tested in the UK.
Slide Perfect Supremacys
The SP Supremacys freeride wheels are available in three durometer options (86a, 83a, and 78a) which you can choose from for just the right amount of slip or grip. All share a large centerset core, a total height of 70 mm, 47 mm width, rounded lips, and a stone ground finish. It is noted that these have a very slippy first few slides, but once you break them in, they should provide a nice and consistent experience for your sideways action.
Slide Perfect Supremacys features:
Size: 70 mm
Width: 47 mm
Contact patch: 44 mm
Durometer: 78a, 83a and 86a
The price of a set of Supremacys is £35.50 or around 40 EUR on their website.
This Austrian brand is mainly known for their longboard decks, but they’ve recently expanded their repertoire to clothing and van makeovers. But besides that, they currently offer one wheel model known as the Freds Slidewheels.
easygoinc. Freds Slidewheels
These green 65 mm wheels have an offset core, a width of 37 mm and a 78a durometer. With a nice freeride shape and a stone ground finish, the Freds are another good entry level wheel at a cheap price.
easygoinc Freds Slidewheels features:
Size: 65 mm
Width: 37 mm
The price you ask? Well if you check out their website you will find the Freds Slidewheels for as low as 29.90 EUR.
Waltzen is a German company that developed their own urethane formula which is now 100% made in Europe. In the past, we did a post about the Walzen Insul wheels with Roman Tschofen , but for this article, I chose to have a closer look at their Walzen Kiosk wheels.
Walzen Kiosk longboard wheels
The Walzen Kiosk wheels are available in three different colors. The green and orange models sport a 60 mm diameter, a width of 41 mm, rounded edges and a contact patch of 32 mm. The core is offset and is placed inside their personally developed urethane with a 78a durometer.
Their blue Kiosk longboard wheels share the same dimensions as their green and orange counterparts, with the only difference being an 82a durometer. All Walzen Kiosk wheels are priced at 44.90 EUR on Concretewave.de.
Olson&Hekmati is a European longboard brand based in Mainz, Germany. Besides their flagship board models and slide gloves, they offer quite a few longboard wheels that will cater to your needs. In the past, we did a review of their Pro Grip wheels with Steffano Barbizzi but in this article, we’ll have a look at their cruiser and freeride longboard wheels.
Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Grip 63 mm longboard wheels
The Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Grip wheels are available in three different colors. Each has a total height of 63 mm and width of 45 mm. Their 79a durometer, offset core, edged lips and a glossy finish offers a good amount of grip when charging your favorite roads.
Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Grip 63 mm longboard wheels features:
Size: 63 mm
Width: 45 mm
Contact patch: 43 mm
The price is just 10 cents below 50, with a price tag of 49.90 EUR on their official website.
Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Slide 60 mm longboard wheels
If you’re more into sliding then the Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Slide wheels would be a better choice since they have a freeride shape, a rounded design, and a 79a durometer. Their 60 mm height and 40 mm width and a stone ground finish make these wheels good for learning standup slides and also tech sliding.
Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Slide 60 mm longboard wheels features:
Size: 60 mm
Width: 40 mm
The Olson&Hekmati Cruiser Slide wheels are available in three different colors and priced at 44.90 EUR.
Update: Delta Boards indefinitely discontinued the production of their longboard wheels in February 2018.
Delta Boards is a German skater owned brand which amongst other things offers six longboard wheel models split into two collections, the Bluesky series, and the Inthane series. In this article, we’ll check out the Delta Boards Reifenz longboard wheels from their Bluesky series.
Delta Boards Reifenz longboard wheels
The Reifenz longboard wheels are available in two sizes, 70 mm and 65 mm, both well below 50 EUR. We’ll have a closer look at both, starting with the 70 mm model.
The Reifenz 70 mm longboard wheels are made from their Bluesky urethane with an 83a durometer and a centered core. With a 45mm width, a good rolling speed and a stoneground finish these wheels were created for leaving a great amount of thane. As a result, you can’t expect them to last as long as other more expensive wheels, but with a low price of 27.50 EUR these are still a good wheel to try out.
Dela Boards Reifenz 70 mm longboard wheels features:
Size: 70 mm
Width: 45 mm
The Reifenz 65 mm longboard wheels share the same formula and durometer as the 70 mm model but have an offset core and a width of 45 mm. This smaller model is priced at only 22.50 EUR making them the cheapest longboard wheel in this article.
Dela Boards Reifenz 65 mm longboard wheels features:
Well, Lobo Wheels are currently still hard at work updating their website with their current lineup, but by the end of February / early March, you’ll get a chance to know more about their new 2018 DH Kraken and Meduza freeride longboard wheels in two durometers (77a and 81a).
Although the pictures above are from their last year’s models, you can expect the 2018 Lobo wheels to have a new core design and different color models. The expected price for their Meduza freeride wheels is 57 EUR while the Kraken downhill wheels will be price at around 65 EUR.
Long Island is Spanish longboard brand with a wide array of longboard decks, skate accessories and currently nine listed longboard wheel models that cover most disciplines. Because there are so many wheels to chose from, I’ve chosen the 65 mm Giants for this article, but you are free to check out their other wheel models on their website.
Long Island Giants 65 mm wheels
The 65mm Giants are one of the listed Long Island’s freeride wheels. They are 65 mm high, 45 mm wide, with a contact patch of 43 mm. Rounded edges, a sideset core and a stone ground finish complete this 83a wheel.
Long Island Giants 65 mm longboard wheels features:
Size: 65 mm
Width: 45 mm
Contact patch: 43 mm
Based on their characteristics, these would be a good wheel for freeriding and even beginners who want to step up their stand up game. The Giants are available on the Long Island website and numerous stores at around 35 EUR.
Native to the UK, Mindless Longboards offer a wide array of longboard completes, trucks, wheels and even accessories that cover all riding styles and levels. Currently, their products are split into two lineups, the Mindless Classic range, and the Mindless Voodoo Magic Premium range.
For this article, I chose to take a closer look at their premium collection which includes three longboard wheel models, the Haraka, Kabila and Maji wheels described below.
Mindless Voodoo Maji 70 mm longboard wheels
The Mindless Voodoo Maji sets are made from their very own Mojo formula urethane packed into a 70 mm high and 51mm wide longboard wheel with rounded edges and a contact patch of 42 mm. These feature a stone ground finish, a pre-ground running edge combined with outer to inner rounded lips and a slightly offset core. The Voodoo Maji wheels are available in three different color/ durometers and are priced at 34.90 EUR on their official website.
Cult Wheels is a longboard wheel brand from the United Kingdom. It is a sister brand of Sabre trucks and Lush Longboards, managed by the Vandem longboard shop. If you search our page you will find our review of their Cult Emperors which we did when they came out and even Tikialex’s experience putting the Cult Raptures on his street luge.
Despite having a bunch of good wheel models, for this article, I chose to focus on only one of them, the Cult Chronicles.
If you’re looking for a good 65 mm wheel to put on your freeride setup, then you might consider trying the Cult Chronicle. All in all their width is 50.5 mm with a contact patch of 36.5 mm and a center set core.
Made from the Cult Neurothane formula in a 78a durometer and a stone ground finish, these wheels wear evenly and offer a great amount of fun putting them sideways. The Chronicles carry a price tag of 48 EUR but despite their size, they offer long-lasting fun.
DTC Wheels originate from France and are the best known for their precision aluminum core longboard wheel models. While the price for these is higher than the average in this article, DTC enables skaters to send in their cored aluminum wheels to be reshaped with a fresh batch of urethane for less than the price of the original wheel.
However, I decided to check out their more affordable M series with a ‘standard’ plastic core which I found to be less known.
DTC M series 70mm longboard wheels
The DTC M series longboard wheels are designed with a freeride shape, a total height of 70 mm, an offset core, rounded edges and a contact patch of 36.8 mm.
DTC M series 70 mm longboard wheels features:
Height: 70 mm
Width: 47 mm
Contact patch: 36.8 mm
The DTC M series 70mm longboard wheels offer the trusted DTC knowledge at a more affordable price of 49.99 EUR onSkate Deluxe.
Thing Wheels started their journey in France back in 2009 but put out their very first prototype a year later with the support of local partners. Since then they have been hard at work testing their numerous prototypes and by the end of 2015, they first introduced the final product on a local French freeride. Well, we first saw Thing wheels in 2016 when we visited Go Goats freeride. At the time we also posted an article about Thing wheels which you can check out here for more info.
THING ’01’ LF longboard wheels
The THING ’01’ LF longboard wheels are 70 mm high, 52 mm wide and sport a contact patch of 38 mm. The all-around shape is completed by rounded edges, thick solid lips and a big centered core to keep them rolling. This model is available in three different colors/durometers.
Thing’s own urethane formula called LEVEL FORMULA (LF) makes up the 01 LF wheels inthree colors and hardness levels: violet (Hardness 2), yellow (Hardness 3) and green (Hardness 4) on a hardness scale from 1 (softest) to 6 (hardest). All of them are designed, developed and made in France.
Thing ’01’ LF 70 mm longboard wheels features:
Height: 70 mm
Width: 52 mm
Contact patch: 38 mm
Durometer: violet (Hardness 2), yellow (Hardness 3) and green (Hardness 4)
Because Thing wheels are produced in small quantities a, the price of a set is 69.50 EUR, but you should also know that these are currently available only in France via their official website.
The Spanish Buddha Wheels are a sister brand by Hydroponic that cater to freeride, downhill and cruising needs. The wheels are made from their Technical Urethane formula also known as BuddhaThane. As an introductory model for this article, I chose the Fukyo wheel model.
Fukyo longboard wheels
Buddha Fukyo freeride wheels are described as versatile and aggressive by the manufacturer. The wheel dimensions are a 70 mm height, 45 mm width with bevelled lips (between a Square and Rounded) and a center set core. Its 85a durometer and BudhaThane should provide long slides without loosing grip.
Buddha Fukyo longboard wheels features:
Height: 70 mm
Width: 45 mm
Contact patch: 38 mm
The Buddha Fukyo longboard wheels go for 44.60 EUR on the hyclothing.es online store.
Bastl Boards is a family business that calls Leipzig, Germany its home. Bastl was founded in 2008 with a simple mantra ‘’have fun skating’’. Since then the brand developed into an international team of riders while continuously collaborating with local artists.
Well besides longboard decks, their own coffee and clothing, they also have their own branded longboard wheels made in the US.
Bastl Popow longboard wheels
If you have a look at their website, you will find six different coloured wheels in a 82a and 80a durometer made from their ‘Big Smile’ formula. The Popow wheels can be mixed and matched to keep you setup colourful and fun. Despite the different colours, they all share a 65 mm height, a centerset core, rounded lips and a grounded surface.
The Bastl Popow wheels are designed for dancing and cruising, but it’s stated that you can also take them for a ride at your local freeride spot.
Bastl Popow longboard wheels features:
Height: 65 mm
Contact patch: 35 mm
Durometer: 80a, 82a
The price is 15 EUR per wheel so you can choose your own colour combination.
Now it’s your turn…
Have you skated any of the wheels mentioned in this article? Share your experience with us and help others to know more about these European longboard wheels.
If we forgot any other brands or if there’s brands that we’re not aware of, please let us know about it via our email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to the list. Thank you.
Their crew of international team riders are on a mission to steeze all year long and hype downhill skateboarding. Moreover, one can also not ignore action filled clips of riders ripping AHMYO wheels that make you forget you’re stuck behind the computer.
This brings me to their latest wheel announcement which stands out print-wise and got me confused for a sec. Here is the video so you know why:
The video above got me to visit visit their website. I found a quote about the Vibez wheels featured on the video:
The ancient Vedic Masters spoke of NADA BRAHMA, “the world is sound, the world is vibration”.
Modern physics confirm that matter is made up of subatomic particles vibrating at a certain speed. Even our thoughts are emitted into the universe in the form of vibration with its higher or lower frequency, attracting equal vibrations.
The different frequencies in which each object or being vibrates allows our brain to differentiate them. Yet the principle of vibration tells us that nothing is immobile, and in that constant movement, everything is connected.
A great quote, I must say, and their products and work really embodie that. Their latest model, the Vibez longboard wheels, are made with a new formula, that is sure to leave some thane lines once you push them sideways.
Furthermore, Vibez feature a sideset 64 mm, 84a freeride design with a smooth grounded surface, rounded outer edges and minimal bevelled inner lips.
Here is a video of their team rider Tristan Degen, putting the wheels to the test at his local skate spot:
This fall at Go Goats freeride I got introduced to new European longboard wheels called THING Wheels. There was a bunch of French riders skating these and their slides looked really smooth. That sparked my interest and I talked to some of them to learn more about this new wheels made in France.
According to what they were saying and from what I’ve seen, you can expect the THING wheels to have a smooth consistent slide with easy initiation and controllable hookup. In general, they should be great longboard wheels for freeride.
A couple of days before they hit Go Goats freeride, a group of French riders enjoyed some fine hills in the area. Here’s a clip of Hugo Besset chasing Thib La Roulette down a tight and fast mountain road and showing off new longboard wheels from France – THING Wheels ‘O1’ LF.
Lobo Wheels from Poland is one of the rare brands who offer longboard wheels developed and manufactured in Europe. In addition to their firstborn, the Meduza freeride wheels,they recently added another product to their collection, the Lobo Kraken downhill wheels.
Lobo Kraken Downhill Wheels
Lobo Kraken are downhill longboard wheels with a diameter of 75 mm and maximum width and contact patch of 65 mm. The wheels feature a wide centerset core with micro fibres for better vibration absorption which will fit a 10 mm spacer.
The Kraken wheels are currently available only in 74a durometer and red colour.
Our DFAF formula is designed for speed and grip but combined with our centerset wide core, that will give you predictable and smooth pre-drifts. It wears very slowly so you’ll need less sets for racing. ~ Lobo Wheels
Lobo works tightly with their whole team on wheel development, but the Kraken wheels were masterminded mostly with Giuseppe Maltese from Italy who joined the team in fall 2015.
These wheels are awesome! The roll speed is good, with the help of the big core they start going fast very quickly. The slide is the best part of them. It is very predictable so when you want to grip the corners, you can do it very safely because of the extreme grip they have and when you want to slide, they start to drift in a very comfortable way, very smooth. And last but not least, they have an incredible durability. ~ Giuseppe Maltese
Where to buy Lobo Kraken wheels
All Lobo wheels are available for purchase via Lobo’s website. The Kraken downhill wheels are fairly priced at around 64 Euros, considering how much meat they have and the durability we’re promised.
Lobo Meduza Freeride Wheels Now available in new durometer options
Last year, in 2015 Lobo presented their first wheel Meduza freeride wheels, which were available in only one durometer. They promised to deliver more options in 2016 and so they did. Lobo Meduza wheels are now available in 77a and 81a durometer, both being 71mm in diameter and 50mm wide with 36mm contact patch.
Earlier this year, Cult introduced the Emperor freeride longboard wheels powered by their latest and Jorge Pernes’s new favourite, Dopathane formula. Adam Hill from Cult was very kind to send me a set to try them out and in return I promised to write a review. So, if you’re stoked on getting a set for yourself and want to know how they roll, read through to find out how they worked for me.
Cult Emperor – The first look
Let’s have a look at the basic features of the Emperor wheel first and then I’ll tell you more about how are they “straight out the box”, how’s the slide like and more…
The Cult Emperor wheels are 71mm in diameter and have a 50.5mm wide contact patch, while the overall width of the wheel is 53.5mm. At least for now, the Emperors are available in 78a durometer (hardness) and in white colour only. The Emperors have an offset bearing hub, but I still managed to skate them flipped without noticing any significant difference.
The wheels have a bevelled edge to ensure reliable release, while the wider contact patch and the softer urethane provide more braking power. This combination makes it great especially for faster freeride runs or slidy pavement and it helped me gain confidence to throw some standies at higher speeds then usual.
Big bada** core
Besides the new “mid grip” Dopathane formula, the Cult Emperor wheels introduced a brand new core design. The new big vented core supports the lips of the wheels in such a way, that it reduces the lip’s deformation while it’s under pressure. Also, because the core is so big and wide, the weight is distributed more evenly which leads to more consistent wearing of the wheel.
With that being said, it’s fair to mention that because of their big core, the ride on the Emperors feels a bit “harder” on a rougher surface. As expected, on a smoother pavement, they feel great, have nice roll speed and smooth consistent slide.
Getting the bearings out was a bit challenging as they fit very tightly and the core is very hard (I used Zealous bearings). A proper snug fit, I guess 🙂
How are the Emperors “straight out of the box”
The Emperors don’t come with a stone ground finish, so straight out of the box they have solid amount of grip too, but once I manage to break the traction, the slide felt very icy. However, after a couple of solid runs, the skin was finally off and the true nature of the wheel started showing.
Here’s few impressions from the first few drops, shot by my girlfriend Nadia Hozić.
Thank you, Nadia :-*
How do they slide
I switched to Cult Emperor from the much more slidy wheels, Remember Hoots 80a, so I had to get used to it first. Emperor is a much wider and softer wheel then I was used to, but that also led to me getting more confidence when sliding at higher speeds.
So, once the skin was completely off, they had a really nice consistent slide as well as a predictable release and hook up. Although they are 78a, the Emperors were not as grippy as I was expecting them to be.
Slide initiation with the Emperors is as easy as with Cult Cerebrum, but they will slow you down more. Pretty much all of the people I talked with about the Emperors agreed that this is a great mix.
Wearing and durability
Since the Emperors have softer urethane in combination with the offset bearing hub, I was expecting them to cone, but that was not the case thanks to that huge core. Although they are offset, the Emperor felt very much as a centerset wheels.
Here’s a photo I took on the first day after a couple of hours of skating.
I skated on Emperors for the next 6 sessions until I managed to flat spot one of the wheels after pulling off some longer squat stand up slides, but that was my fault really as I was putting the board too much sideways (at 90 degree). Being a bit overweight at that time didn’t help either.
I managed to wear them down for 1 cm, down to ~61mm when the orange colour (the core) started showing through the urethane (in the middle of the wheel).
However, there’s still plenty of slides left in them and I will finish them off as soon as I get the chance.
In Emperors defence, I think it’s fair to admit that sooner or later, I flat spot every wheel, regardless the brand or a wheel type and durometer. I guess, I suck a bit haha!
Here’s a video from some of the sessions with my buddy Benjamin Sabol (Kebbek Skateboards).
As I mentioned earlier, while still fresh and with the skin, the Emperor wheels have a decent amount of grip, but they wouldn’t be my choice of wheel for fast grip and rip runs. For such runs, I usually switch to wheels like Cult Traction Beam or similar.
After all, the Emperor is meant to be a freeride wheel and it does slide quite a lot once you put the board sideways. Taking that in consideration, they do serve the purpose very well.
Don’t let that stop you from sending them down the hill as fast as you can manage it… After all, we all have our personal preferences and skating style. What might work the best for me, might not work as well for you.
How much do they cost
The Cult Emperor longboard wheels come in at around 64 Euros which puts them in the upper mid price range. If you’re already an experienced rider, you will find much value in them for that money, that’s for sure.
As for beginners, I would say go for it if you don’t find the price to big for your budget, otherwise, check out some cheaper options. Otherwise, the Emperor wheels are a great choice for beginners as they provide with a really nice mix of a grip and slide characteristics and they will be great for “not super fast” downhill runs as well.
I guess it’s time to end this post at some point, so here’s my final thoughts on the Emperor wheels.
Overall, I find the Emperor to be a great freeride wheel with a smooth and predictable slide once the skin is off. When fresh and with the skin the slide wasn’t that nice and it would be awesome to have them available with stone ground finish.
The wearing of the wheel really is consistent as promised and you shouldn’t have any problems skating them till the core pops out. Although they are offset, due to the big core, the Emperors feel much like centerset wheels and you can flip them in case if you need to make them even again (for example, if you’re a beginner and sliding only heelside or toeside and wearing only one side of the wheels).
That’s all folks! I highly recommend you give the Cult Emperor freeride wheels a try and leave a comment bellow to let us know how they worked for you. Happy shredding!
Official video featuring Jorge Pernes
I guess, who’s better out there to show off the Emperors in action the Jorge Pernes. Right?
For more info and inquiries visit Cult Wheels website.
Wheels are one of the most important things when it comes to the performance of your street luge and whether you street luge or buttboard, you always look for as much grip and speed as possible from them. Do the Cult Rapture wheels qualify? Read through to find out.
When Cult Wheels released the Raptures, a brainchild from the top racers of the British Wheel Collective, they gave the lugers a new kind of “weapon”. The combination of the big open offset core with the huge contact patch of 66mm and 74mm diameter give this wheel the best disposition to be any luger’s favourite wheel of choice.
The Doctor was curious how the Raptures would work for luging, so he gave me 2 sets of the 79a wheels to play around. Man, I was excited!
Agnosine, the first freeride and race of the year in Italy took place on the first weekend of April on a rough and steep road with 3 hairpins – a perfect place for to test them out.
I started with a few runs on the RAD’s Advantage I used the season before to get the feeling I knew from the last year at this road and have a look at the other lugers.
After changing wheels a laid-back run was on plan to get a feel for the wheels, but after the first hairpin all that safety thoughts where gone by gripping through the corner hard on the inside. I had a blast the whole Saturday afternoon. Sunday – race day and the game was on!
With my bad starting I had to race from the back, but I had no problems overtaking most of the pack in the first corner on the outside. Yes, that’s right – on the outside! So, I got second in the first heat, won the second heat and got crashed out in the first corner by another rider in the last heat.
I used the same set of wheels at Agnosine, 2 days at Alpenrauschen freeride and the whole week at Voss Ekstremsportveko for all my filming service runs. Even when the edges of the wheels were worn down, they still had tons of grip.
At the IGSA World Championship I raced with the Raptures in 73a duro on butt board for the first 2 rounds, but then I noticed that as the road temperature was rising, they would get a bit slower and wasn’t able to advance to the finals. Going back to the purples (79a) improved speed and brought me the win of the small final with a huge lead.
The 79a Rapture my weapon of choice for racing and for onboard filming where I really have to blindly trust the wheels as I have to focus on filming and have only one hand free for the steering action. Tons of grip even with broken edges and fast rolling speed. For acceleration you will find faster wheels, but you can go faster through corners.
There’s only one thing you should be aware of before getting a set of Cult Rapture: If you’re still riding Randal Comp Hangers, you might get some problems in corners with hanger/core bites (as seen on the photo above).
Watch the Video to get some more impression.
Stay tuned for the next review on the Hawgs bigger Biggies!
Everyone at Walzen Wheels are very excited to announce the release of their new longboard wheels for 2016. I’m stoked as well and want to introduce you to all the wheels currently available in the lineup.
Let’s start with the smallest and most glidy wheel, The Walzen Kiosk.
Walzen Kiosk 60 mm
The Walzen Kiosk longboard wheels are 60 mm tall with a contact patch of 32 mm and a overall width of 41 mm. The wheels come in two different durometers and three colour options: 78a (orange/green) and 82a (blue).
The small size and light weight makes the Walzen Kiosk wheels great for tech sliding and freestyle. They deliver a super smooth and predictable slide and you can put them on every board without the risk of wheelbite.
Walzen Insul 70 mm
From now on the Walzen Insul 70 mm tall freeride wheels are available in a new durometer option. Besides 78a (green) and 80a (clear-white), we created a 82a (blue) wheel suitable for lighter riders or for people who prefer a more slidey and harder wheel.
The well-known Walzen Insul wheel is now available in a downscaled version with a diameter of 64 mm. They are available in 78a (green), 80a (clear-white) and 82a (blue).
This wheel offers smooth slides, a nice hookup and it fits under every board due to it’s smaller size.
Walzen C.T.D. 70 mm
For all you cruise lovers out there, Walzen Wheels brings you the brand new Walzen C.T.D. (Cruise Till Death) longboard cruising wheels.
They are 70 mm tall and have an offset bearing seat for extra strong grip during hard cruise turns. The Walzen C.T.D. wheels are available in 78a (green/orange) and 80a (clear-white).
Walzen C.T.D. 74 mm
This creation is a bit taller and wider version of the C.T.D. 70 mm wheels and promises more grip and a faster roll speed. The Walzen C.T.D. 74 mm wheels allow you to cruise hard and get the extra speed you always wanted on your favourite downhill spot. I like it how you can rail the corners with ease due the wheel’s wider contact patch of 56 mm.
The astonishing thing about this wheel is the decent and predicable slide in spite of their amazing grip characteristics. Also available in 78a (green/orange) and 80a (clear-white).
More coming soon
Stay tuned in because Walzen plans to release another new downhill racing specific wheels with a big supporting core which is already in the making right now. Coming soon.
Last year I saw the Polish guys throwing down some sick slides on the new LOBO wheels, but never got the chance to try them out myself. The word on the street is that they last for ages and slide smoothly. All the good things I heard about the wheels caught my attention and I decided to get in touch with Pawel Grzadzielski from the Lobo team to find out more.
In the beginning of last year Lobo released their first wheels – the LOBO Meduza freeride wheels. Currently they are handmade in short series in Lobo’s own workshop and laboratory in north Poland.
They are currently available only in 71mm size and 80a duro, but during this year the Lobo crew plans to release the Meduza in other duro options and expand their collection with a downhill wheel model as well. We’ll keep an eye on that one for sure.
A STWS crew member Michal “Ty Mon” Tyburski – the OG tester and a LOBO team rider – was stoked to share with us more about the wheels and what his set endured during the last year. Read through to find out where the LOBO crew tested the wheels and how do they perform.
Fire away, Michal!
LOBO Meduza longboard wheels review by Michal “Ty Mon” Tyburski
2015 came to an end and believe me when I say that it was a busy one, with an even busier ahead of us. Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do. We started testing the LOBO Meduza wheels back in 2014, so when they dropped on the market in 2015 we were stoked, but we didn’t stop with giving them hell.
We literally wanted to destroy them on as many surfaces and conditions as possible.
We took them to every event and on as many roads in Poland as we could. Wasn’t enough. In July we went to Slovenia’s finest, KNK Bear’s Guts, where I did 23 whole runs on one set and didn’t even make it to half of the wheel.
Just to make sure they had enough, we took them for a 7-day trip to Gnarlicante and after a very fruitful season, I can finally write a review from my own point of view.
The LOBO Meduza – born to slide
The LOBO Meduza freeride wheels were born to slide. The 80a durometer is almost ridiculously durable and once you break them in, the endless sliding fun begins from the top, straight to the core, while still offering a smooth and predictable slide when going faster. The wheels have a centerset precise bearing seat and a wide core for good stability.
Even though the Meduzas are designed for freeride and sliding fun, their urethane is very fast. The formula is not supposed to thane so they almost never do, except for some occasional grey lines, depending on the surface.
Testing them on different roads, various weather conditions and on many different surfaces, I can honestly say that overall they work great for medium – fast freeride (up to 70kph). When it’s really hot outside they tend to get very slippery and the gripping ability is lower. While it’s still fun for open road fast bombing, I would suggest a lower duro (2k16 lineup, get stoked!).
The wheel itself is 71mm tall and 50mm wide, with a contact patch of 36mm. Due to the rounded lips and their nearly indestructible ‘thane formula, they last a looong time, so high five to those of you who manage to core them (pics or didn’t happen). Be sure to check out the 80As and enjoy those handmade awesome freeride wheels.
More duros coming in 2016
The lineup for 2016 will offer more durometers of the Meduza model and premiere downhill models for racers and fast freeride maniacs.
Words by Michal “Ty Mon” Tyburski
Watch the video!
Lobo Meduza Freeride Wheels Now available in new durometer options
Update, September 2016 – Last year, in 2015 Lobo presented their first wheel Meduza freeride wheels, which were available in only one durometer. They promised to deliver more options in 2016 and so they did. Lobo Meduza wheels are now available in 77a and 81a durometer, both being 71mm in diameter and 50mm wide with 36mm contact patch.
Where to buy LOBO wheels
For now you can only get them via their official website for 56,95 Euros. At the time of writing this article, the Lobo wheels are out of stock, but will be back in February or March when the new collection is expected as well. We’ll let you know when it’s out.
Stefano Barbizzi is usually skating with his Gipsy bros Simone Barbizzi, Filippo Salerni and Alessio Damato, but this time he goes on a solo run down one of his local runs in the outskirts of Milan, Italy. He got hooked up with a couple of sets of the Olson&Hekmati Pro Grip wheels and took them out for few test runs.
Tight turns, smooth pre-drifts and beautiful scenery. This run has it all.
Olson&Hekmati Pro Grip 83a overview
Olson&Hekmati Pro Grip wheels come in at 76mm tall, have a contact patch of 63mm, feature a large core and sharp lips. These come in two duros – 79a and 83a. The 83a wheels have a great durability and ability to offer a consistent amount of grip while having a fast roll speed and providing with smooth slides.
Here’s a couple of photos that Stefano snapped with his phone:
“After 5 runs the lips are still sharp, and the skin is still intact.” ~ Stefano Barbizzi
How is the durability?
The sharp inner lips and large core provide for a fast roll speed and a huge amount of durability; allowing the wheel’s lips and skin to be fresh for longer.
The wheel’s sharp lips, along with the 63mm wide contact patch allows for a high level of traction, as well as a super snappy hook-up, allowing you to get through a corner with maximum speed.
Uses for the O&H Pro Grip wheels
The Olson&Hekmati wheels are best used in fast downhill skateboarding, due to the large amount of grip they have, great durability, fast roll speed and the smooth slides they provide.
The Pro Grips are also highly recommended for LDP, Pumping and Downhill Racing. They shine in LDP due to the large diameter and core, meaning the wheel will roll faster and maintain that speed for longer. They will be excellent for pumping, as you can run a split durometer setup, with the White 79a in back and the Orange 83a in front. They will roll fast and grip hard, allowing for tight, agile pumping.
I would recommended the Pro Grip wheels to any experienced riders looking to step up their downhill and racing game, or someone whom is looking to get into downhill racing more often and wants a wheel with predictable grip and smooth slides.
The 83a durometer Pro Grips are going to be better for winding roads, or runs where you need to be drifting through corners, but don’t want to shed too much speed. I would suggest the 79a durometer for faster runs, gripping corners and being able to lose speed in drifts before corners.
Where to buy Olson&Hekmati Pro Grip wheels
Overall, the Pro Grips are a predictable sliding, hard gripping, fast race wheel, highly recommended for fast downhill riding. Priced at around 69.90 €, you can get them in these online stores:
Malaya Street Bombers longboard wheels – Recently our buddy from Italy, Marcus Aldinucci got the Malaya Street Bombers longboard wheels for testing. These are fairly new on the market, first sets were offered for purchase in October this year. I was very interested to hear about how the Malaya Street Bombers perform so I hooked up with Marcus for a quick review.
The Malaya Street Bombers are 73mm big downhill oriented longboard wheels with a duro of 80a and an offset bearing hub. They have a 59mm contact patch, big lips and sharp edges for maximum grip. For now, these wheels come in poured with a white urethane formula named Malaya Race Formula (MRF).
On the first two runs, Marcus says they had a great grip while the slides were smooth and consistent right out of the box. After breaking them in they lost a bit of that initial grip but were still able to stick fairly well. At this point they became a great wheel for faster freeride as well.
The Malaya Street Bombers have a great roll speed and don’t wear down very much, Marcus says. It seams like they might be his favourite choice of wheel for the next year’s racing season.
After many runs on them, Marcus also tried skating them reversed and says the initial strong grip was back for another run. Naturally, due to the offset bearing hub, the overall truck width got smaller providing more grip and he was able to skate faster lines this way.
The Malaya Street Bombers are priced at around 50,00 $ and are currently not available for purchase in European stores. If you want to order a set of these get in touch with the Malaya Street Bombers crew on Facebook.
Walzen Wheels was founded by Heiko Schöller (Concretewave Skateshop, Bolzen Trucks & Hardware), Richie Loeffler (Trap Skateboards) and Frank Beste (Bolzen Trucks, GOG Trucks) in Germany.
They developed their own urethane formula which is 100% made in Europe and at the end of the summer 2015 they released the Insul freeride wheels to present the first Walzen lineup.
The Walzen Insul are 70mm freeride wheels with a wider contact patch of 40mm. They have a really good speed roll and acceleration while a buttery smooth slide is their biggest advantage.
The Insuls feature a round lip design and centerset bearing hub. You will be able to flip them and ride them the same all the way to the core. Currently the Insuls don’t come with a stone ground finish and it takes few slides to break them in.
They come in two different duros and colours: 78a green and 80a clear. I’m most excited about the clear formula because it has no colouring in it. This results with the slide characteristics being affected only by the pure urethane.
You will love Walzen Insuls for stand-up sliding and fast freeride. As soon as they are broken in they offer a very predictable and smooth slide but still have enough grip to rip through some corners. They wear very evenly and don’t flatspot easily, you can count on them for a really long time.