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Orangatang's new Moronga wheel is here for your downhill sliding fancy. Orangatang has dubbed this wheel a "high speed freeride gem". It gives ample rolling momentum with i's size and surgical slide control with the 'Euphorethane' mixture. Loaded's fantastical product introduction alludes to the filling of your appetite for steeze that this meaty wheel will surely bring to your next freeride banquet. We here at the Longboard Consortium were ready for our full plate of Moronga wheel testing, so we took them out for sessions along the California coast. The weather was good, the crew was merciless, the skating was fun. When everyone got back, we put together our thoughts...
The Moronga is a born and bred freeride wheel if we have ever seen one. At 35mm wide, it boasts the narrowest contact patch in the Orangatang line-up. This is definitely a wheel that's been engineered with soft wheel sliding at the top of the list. Standing 72.5mm tall, we expect the Moronga to fit comfortably under any board, from top-mount to drop-decks, and to provide ample sustained rolling momentum for frequent stand up slides. Urethane resistance comes in three flavors; Yellow (86a), Purple (83a), and Orange (80a). The center- set hub is fully encased in the 'Euphorethane' formula, providing riders with confidence in the security of the bond. Loaded has said that this will increase the wheel's weight and provide more longevity to the life of the wheel, and that's something we can all appreciate when buying a wheel at the top of the price spectrum.
The Moronga may seem to some to have "downhill capabilities". However, those capabilities rest solely on the rider rather than the design of the wheel. The radiused lip promises to easily engage slides and the gradual angle of declination to the hub will ensure a consistent contact patch for the life of the wheel. As expected these days, the contact surface of the wheels are stone ground, a practice startedby Loaded back in 2010 when the Stimulus wheel-set hit the market. Stone grinding the slick urethane urethane "peel" provides a ready-toride and-slide wheel, straight out of the plastic wrap. Looking closely, our riders noted the 'Euphorethane' mixture is a bubbly one. Much like the previous models this 'thane's been used for, the Morongas have small bubbles throughout the durometer range. We suspect that this could be caused by the urethane mixture off-gassing while in the mold and we like the image of fizzy, popping goo with a radioactive glow going into the molds. However, this is purely speculation and we don't expect the tiny bubbles to impede riding. We plan to slide right on through them.
The Moronga is a visually appealing wheel, given its odd height and contact patch. It doesn't look too narrow, like some thinner wheels do. The initial ride is smooth and calming, gathering and sustaining speed well. The slides are a bit noisy, as the wheels tend to chatter quite a lot. We found that, for the most part, each step up the durometer scale provided roughly 20% more slide distance for the same amount of effort. Our impressions were that stepping up the durometer didn't perceptibly reduce grip on our asphalt, and we attribute this to the narrow aspect of the wheels. Of course, your results on this point willl depend on your own style and condition of the pavement you choose to ride.
When we turned these downhill, our speed fiends found the narrow wheels to be confidence inhibiting when at speed. Our freestyle junkies loved the narrow Morongas, aside from the wheels having an unusually loud voice. Both parties agreed that the wheel's size provided plenty of rolling momentum to blow your hair back. The 'Euphorethane' lasted an impressive amount of riding, but it only provided "adequate" sliding response. We also noticed the shape of the wheel held up extremely well, with less hour-glassing than wider wheels, thanks to the narrow cross section with limited lip flex.
This wheel is a bit of a mulligan for Loaded, spurred by the unfortunate, crowd-sourced R&D debacle of the Baluts. Longboarders familiar with Loaded's wry sense of humor noted that Loaded slyly referenced the discontinued Balut's shortcoming (a dislodging core) in the release of these new wheel --and how the Moronga resolves that issue. In a Press Release hosted on their website, Loaded states “Encapsulating the entire core in urethane does add a bit of weight. The tradeoff, however, is a more firmly supported lip and increased vibration damping for a plusher ride and smoother, quieter drift.” Hey, just like the Cuban pork blood sausage these Morongas are named after, cooking up spicy wheels can be a messy process, right? There's no need for further comparison to the old sausage, these are the new ones, the new Loaded Freeride tasty.
Wrapping all this up, we have to admit we were skeptical at first about these wheels living up to their hype, but they ended up filling most of our expectations. The Moronga may not be the best "all around" longboard wheel, but they aren't offered as that. They've got a personality and will be an acquired taste for some, not for others. If you're in the market for some soft-wheel sliders, the Moronga is certainly worth your time to consider. As with most of the wheels in the Otang line-up, these are wheels that come with a price tag and you're the only one that can tell if that price is worth the ride. We will leave you with this positive note: the Morongas slide well and keep speed even better. We think these are definitely worth a ride, so go and find some to shred and decide for yourself.