Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Classic Thane for a Classy Shredder -- Abec 11 66mm Freerides Review -- by Ryan Conway

Hey guys, Ryan Conway here for an in-depth review on the Abec 11 freerides. This is a favorite wheel of many riders and rightfully so. This classic thane wheels sets the standard for sliding downhill. Abec 11 provides a variety of urethane for all riding styles. They are one of the few companies to have such a diverse arsenal of wheels. The wheels range from the 50mm Sublime Snotshots all the way up to the utterly massive 107mm Electric Flywheels. For those who did not already know, Sublime, Retro, and Pink are all part of the Abec 11 Wheel family.

First, I would like to thank Wayne Capps for giving me an opportunity to ride these delicious wheels: Thanks Wayne!
I am stoked to have had the opportunity to get on these wheels once again. I have ridden several sets of freerides and I am sure I will have them in my possession again sometime soon. This last set was a 66mm, radius edged (round-lipped) and offset sliding wheel. The 66mm wheel has a 39.0mm contact patch that allows for easy breakouts into slides. It has a durometer of 78a, which is on the softer side of the spectrum. These wheels are not stone ground. In other words, these wheels will not slide smoothly right out of the plastic. It takes a few glove down slides to tear away the mold release. You will notice that the wheel losses its shiny surface once they are successfully broken in.

Freeriding the Freerides:
This wheel is designed for sliding. The round lip, small contact patch, and offset core makes this wheel a favorite for many freeriders. Abec 11 utilizes their well-known classic thane for this wheel. Unlike their reflex formula urethane, the classic thane has a quicker wear. This means smoother drifting, and less grip around turns. For those who are wondering, yes freerides leave thane lines, and A LOT of them. I found the slides to be very predictable and controllable, with an easy break out. The break out is the biggest noticeable difference between Abec 11 Freerides and other freeride wheels. On the Abec11’s the break out into the slide is very smooth and gives little resistance. This is nice when doing quick slides, but can be a burden if you are trying to grip a corner.
Break-in: As I said before these wheels require some breaking in, but this should only take a few choppy slides before they are sliding like butter.

Post Break-in: This is the ideal stage of freerides. When they still have their shape and size, this is the point where the wheel is the most predictable and consistent.

Mid-range: After some thane is lost and the wheels are about half of their original size, they lose some predictability. Although not much is lost, it is a noticeable difference. After this point thane disappears rapidly and “ice-outs” are more common.

Riding the Core: For those of us who like to wear down the wheels to the plastic core, abec 11 freerides provide a solid “longest standup” wheel. With little to no thane left on the wheel and the plastic core gleaming through, this wheel becomes icy, very icy. Thane lines are now very thick and only a few more slides before these wheels are toast. Your board will go from ride to slide with practically no effort at all. Slides will be longer and will cut off less speed.
Abec 11 freerides are a versatile wheel for all skill levels. I would only recommend it to those who want to freeride/ freestyle and cruise. One of the cool parts about buying from Abec11 is the variety of sizes and durometers each wheel comes in. The Freerides come in 66mm, 72mm, and 77mm. The duros are 78a, 81a, and 84a. My favorite out of these was the 72mm 81a. I found that the larger size and harder thane increases the life span of the wheels without compromising riding and sliding quality. If you are having trouble with flat spots, the Freerides may prove helpful. With a slower wear-pattern than many popular sliding wheels, such as Sector Nine ButterBalls, Freerides are more forgiving. Flat spots will not occur as often depending on your weight and how persistently you hold the board at 90degrees.

This classic thane wheel provides all the tools necessary to slide, ride, thrash, and shred. If you haven’t picked up a set of freerides or its sibling wheel, the flashbacks, go get you a set. These wheels kick ass!
My Current Favorite Setup:
-Omen Sugar
-Caliber 44*