Kebbek Skateboards, founded in 1992, is one of the few remaining longboard companies that went against the trend of microdrops and short wheelbases to produce large, durable downhill and freeride ...
Sideways seems to be the name of the game now a days when it comes to downhill skating. We’re seeing more and more companies putting out generic shapes of wheel in their own color of urethane and slapping their logo on the side and cashing in on this slide train. Market saturation is a very real and present thing in the longboarding world, but what happens when there’s still a company daring to innovate out there? Well, we can tell you what happens. Orangatang just dropped their new line up of freeride wheels in new shapes and a new urethane that we haven’t seen yet on the markets.
We received three wheels from Orangatang, the Cage (73mm), Kilmer (69mm), and Keanu (66mm). All three are centerset wheels with well supported lips, a new core for Otang, and come in all 3 durometers that Otang has previously offered: 80a, 83a, and 86a. Except these new wheels come in a brand new urethane formula from Otang, known as Peachy urethane.
Out of the box we received 3 sets of wheels from Orangatang: the Cage in 80a, the Kilmer in 83a, and the Keanu in 86a. The wheels are the same colors as before, designating their durometer, but the new red core featured in the wheels is definitely a different look compared to previous offerings the company has produced. They look big and supportive The wheels are stone ground with thick lips. The contact patch looks pretty decent sized, but seeing as the lips of the wheels don’t look like they’ll deform much, we suspect a pretty decently sliding wheel.
We enjoy the slight increases in contact patch coordinating with the slight increases in diameter. With more urethane depth comes a little more wheel width and honestly they look like a fun wheel. The lips are radiused but not overly so. A slight rounded edge is how we’d describe them. Enough to prevent from chunking and definitely make for a wheel that’s looking to let go and get sideways.
The wheel’s contact patches get a hair wider with each increase in diameter. We love variation, even though the difference between these 3 wheels is definitely slight. With these new centerset wheels from Otang, there’s a wheel for every hill it appears.
We first slapped the 86a Keanu’s on our double kick Bustin Yoface 35” with Indy 169’s and took the deck to a local freeride spot. The hill is in the 25 mph range full tuck, so it’s certainly far from what most would consider a high speed spot, but we figured for a smaller, harder wheel we could have a good time. Skating appropriate gear for the milder hill always makes for more fun.
Skating to the spot was a good time on it’s own. We definitely turned around a few times to skate little banked driveways and the Keanu’s handled them well. The slide was crisp and easy to boot out. The short wheelbase of the deck matched well with the 66mm wheels. The first few slides were short and a hair icy, but we expected this was just because we hadn’t completely broken in the wheels yet. A stone ground wheel definitely can slide right out of the shrink wrap, but we’re firm believers all wheels need a few good pendys to really hit the sweet spot.
Once at the hill, we went right to it. The wheels got to their prime after about 5 minutes of skating. Standups were actually surprisingly controllable, despite the 86a urethane being a little harder than we usually skate. Far from uncontrollable, in fact. We skated the spot for a good long session with a couple pals, all those who tried our setup were impressed (like we needed any more convincing that we obviously are the world’s finest setup tweakers). Stand up slides were easier to kick out than we were used to, but with the decent sized contact patch of the wheels, we stayed on top of our deck more than we expected. Hands down slides were long and fast. It’s hard to not smile pulling one’s deck back underneath us after big, floaty Coleman slides.
We deemed the Kilmers and Cages more appropriate for a bigger hill and a bigger board. The following weekend after seshing the Keanus, we went out in search of some big country roads to really send the wheels through their paces. We put the bigger siblings of the Keanu on a 2013 Earthwing Supermodel Topmount and Pretty Noise Lab Joey trucks. The bigger hills definitely suited themselves to the bigger Orangatang wheels. Through out a several hour session at a pretty decent grade freeride hill, the Kilmers and Cages proved themselves formidable slide wheels. Both required a few good pendys to get a little more controllable, but once they did we were quite stoked. The urethane was impressively durable for the abuse we were putting the wheels through. The big, supportive cores created for even wear across the wheels.
The durability of this new urethane shouldn’t be understated. We’ve had qualms about keeping Orangatang wheels fresh for more than a few runs in the past, but they’ve done a little homework and clearly straightened their stuff out. They’re definitely on par in terms of wear as any of the other freeride wheels on the market.
We had really only one troubling tidbit with the new lineup of freeride wheels from Orangatang, and that’s the price. Keanus at 66m are $48, Kilmers at 69mm are $52, and Cages at 73mm are $56. That’s a pretty steep price for a wheel that is literally designed to get thrashed. Are they very, very enjoyable when getting thrashed? As the day is long, they are fun. The centerset bearing placement helps justify the price, though. Flippable wheels = extra even wear all the way down to the core!
The new Peachy urethane is sick stuff. It is what Orangatang says it is: very high performing. The wheel shapes are on point, and the centerset bearing placement means a little more bang for your buck. The bigger core means for better freeriding performance and better support throughout the wheel. We can’t make it much clearer, we loved the Centerset Freeride wheels from Orangatang. They’re well thought out, very enjoyable wheels. They did what we asked and came back for more. Is the price a little scary? Maybe so, but putting a price tag on performance like this definitely makes consider the new freeride lineup from Otang worth your spare change.