Orangatang makes the wheel that I consider to be the (or at least my) go to Freestyle/Freeride wheel. I am of course talking about the Orangatang Stimulus wheel. Let's just say that they don't call it the Stimulus for nothing, because it certainly stimulates me.
As I mentioned above Stims are 70mm wheels with a 42mm contact path. What does this mean? It means that Stims have grip when you need them but are ready to break free into a slide at the drop of a dime. Being 70mm allows them the size to pick up some significant speed and roll over small cracks and bumps but keeps them light enough for some nasty freestyle time too.
Orangatang Stimulus wheels are awesome for commuting. They are the nice medium point in size at 70mm where pushing them doesn't take a ton of effort, like it does with larger wheels, but they can still hold speed for a while after you push. I think a common misconception among new and veteran longboarders alike is that bearing are what dictate how fast and far you go when pushing, but its really wheels that play that role, and stims are a great size for moving through town or campus. In addition they are light enough to hit tiger claws or ollies up and down curbs while retaining that ability to roll over bumps and cracks.
Stims are not downhill wheels, what I mean by that is, they aren't going to win you any downhill races in the near future. But this doesn't mean they are a slow wheel, it obviously depends on the set-up you are riding, but they have broken 45mph on some of the hills around here, which is nothing to sneeze at. They yellows are the fastest of the bunch and the oranges slightly slower, simply due to the hardness of the Urethane. Stims are pre-broken in and made to slide so they aren't the best at cornering going really fast, however, they can definitely bust some nasty drifts.
Which brings me up to their best quality, slides! If there is one thing that Stims know how to do, it is how to slide. My favorite freestyle wheel of all time is the yellow stim, it is light, can slide like no ones business, and the urethane is hard enough that it takes a while to wear them down. Yellows are dirty for freetyle, quick 180 slides, and fun glove slides. Yellows are not the best at holding long standing slides because they tend to "ice out" as you hold the side, meaning they get slippery under your feet and feel hard to control. The softer the durometer you choose the more buttery your slides get. So the Orange Stims take the most effort (which still isn't much effort) to break into a slide but are the nicest for holding the longer slides. Purple being the middle ground. However, I feel like it is impossible to choose a "bad" option as a slide wheel with Stims, any durometer you choose is going to serve you quite well.
How I would Describe the Slide?
Orange: Hardest to initiate slide, most buttery slide, urethane wears the fastest
Purple: Clean slide initiation, middle ground for freeride, wears neither fast nor slow
Yellow: Slides initiate super easy, ice out on long slides, wear the slowest
Would I recommend Orangatang Stimulus wheels? Resoundingly astonishingly... YES! I would recommend these wheels to anyone and everyone looking to longboard. They are super nice for beginners because they really help in learning how to slide and come pre-broken in. The one circumstance I would not recommend these wheels is to the dedicated downhill longboarder who needs to break a billion miles per hour and then hit a ninety degree turn. I love these wheels so much, I currently ride them on 3 of my set-ups and have never had a complaint about them.
Remember, any questions, comments, concerns, loveletters, fruit bouquets???Send them my way!
Check out one of my favorite Orangatang videos EVER, they ride all sorts of Otangs, but there are some stims drifting around in there: