Friday, June 21, 2013

Sweet Sweet Sweetness -- Omen Sugar Review

Hello There Fan of Skatedom,
It's no secret that topmounts are the trend in freeride and downhill these days. Ask any bro out there, if you want to hit super big standies then you better be riding a topmount, haha. Which has translated into a flood of topmounts hitting the market. In this sea of new decks it is hard for a board to really stand out from the crowd. Omen, however, has found some sort of secret sauce and has been banging out popular boards lately, probably the most popular of which is the Omen Sugar.

The Omen Sugar is a directional topmount board designed to excel in both freeride and downhill skateboarding; it was basically built to go fast. In addition it sports a mean kicktail in the back for slapping ollies and any other kicktaily things you might want to do. On top of that the Sugar comes equipped with a plethora of features such as a mirco-drop, flushing mounting, rocker, some serious wheel well flares, and multiple mounting options.

It's exact specs are:
Omen Sugar
Wheel Base
5/8in Radial
Special Features
Kicktail, wheel wells, flush mount, wheel flares, mounting options, micro-drop

Well not that we have gotten the nitty gritty details covered let's talk about how this board actually handles when your wheels hit the pavement.

When I am talking about commuting I mean serious pushing, not just a couple blocks here and there. Which has lead me to generally dislike commuting on topmounts because they ride so high that it tires you out quickly.
The Omen Sugar on the other hand combines two features to lower it to the ground and make it a bit more enjoyable to push a long way. I am of course talking about the rocker and micro-drop. Which lower the standing platform in a very subtle way that gets more noticeable the longer you push. Basically if you are going to commute on a topmount the Sugar is going to be slightly less tiring to push all day.

Every board of all time ever is better with a kicktail. Ok, that may be an exaggeration of my personal opinion, but I LOVE having at least one kicktail on a board. Plus, when it comes to freestyle longboarding having a kicktail is pretty essential. If there is one thing the Sugar has it is definitely a kicktail.
The Sugar may have been expressly designed for other styles of riding, but it isn't too shabby for those of us who like to hit a few tricks every now and then. I have seen people hit some astounding tricks on this board, but I have to admit my tricks aren't nearly as cool. However, for what I'm working with, this board is a lot of fun.
The kicktail is not only super massive, but it is very functional. I feel like there are a lot of unidirectional freeride boards with kicks that people assume they are going to be able to ollie super high until they realize that the tails aren't quite functional enough. The Sugar is a rare exception in this category. You can legitimately throw down some nice ollies on this board. You can of course do all sorts of shoves and manuals with this wonderful kicktail too.

Like going fast? You will probably like this board. I say probably because I have come to learn that the concave on this board is not for everyone. However, I am one of those people who really like it, so I felt very comfortable going fast on the Sugar.
The Sugar has a couple very like-able attributes that are quite noticeable when you're hauling down the slopes like a pack wild buffalo. The first of which is that the Sugar is a relatively low topmount. That micro-drop and rocker, mentioned in the commuting section, lowers your center of gravity making the ride more stable. Additionally, the concave on the board definitely locks your feet in while the wheel flares give you a nice reference point for tucking without having to ever look down at your foot placement.
If you remember back to the specs of the board you will remember that the Sugar comes stocked with a couple mounting options. This means that you can adjust the wheelbase to your liking. I personally am not a master of the short wheelbase (although I know people who are) so I like to push the trucks to widest mounting option when downhilling. Because that widest wheelbase does add a little more stability than the other options can offer.

Admit it, this is the only thing in the review you care about, haha. How does the Omen Sugar perform when it comes down to getting low and getting sideways???
In my experience people have a love/hate relationship with Sugar concave. If you aren't a big fan of wheel flares then you may want to look somewhere else. However, if you like the feeling you get from big ol' flares then you will really really like the Sugar.

Most of the time wheel flares offer an additional feeling of being "locked in" but the beefy flares on the Sugar really kick that up a notch. You can pretty much just put your feet on the flares, turn sideways, and slide for miles. The aggressive combination of the many features packed into the Sugar really do make it a slide machine. The rocker, little bit of drop, concave, and flares crescendo into one fantastic directional freeride board.
To top all of that off, if you are into any sort of blunt of slide then you will find a new friend in the Sugar's tail. It is large, in charge, and suited to sliding. I think that this board would have been pretty nice without a tail, however, the rad tail on this deck really brings it to a different tier of skate. It really just gives you options and allows you to get more creative than a board without a kick would be allow for.
Mounting Options
Finding the right mounting option is really all going to come down to preference, however, based on my experience I have found that I like these settings for different riding styles.
-Commute = Shortest wheelbase for maximum agility
-Freestyle = Tail on shortest option. This gives you more tail to pop tricks with.
-Downhill = Widest option for stability
-Freeride = Tail on shortest option. Front in middle option.

It Can't All Be Good...
Nothing is perfect and the Omen Sugar is no exception to that rule. I found two issues that kept coming up when riding the Sugar. The first of which is that the mold of the platform just isn't suited to everyone. Some people love it and some people absolutely hate it. Which leads to recommend that people try riding, or at least standing on, the board before purchasing one (unless you already know that you're stoked on the feeling of wheel flares).
The other issue I kept running into was with wheelbite. I admit that I run my bushings a little looser than most people, but I had a hard time preventing wheelbite on my Sugar. This caused me to run a 1/2 inch riser on my deck which solved the problem but eliminated some of the lowness benefits mentioned earlier. However, on the flip side, I have seen a ton of people riding their sugar without any riser at all, so I don't think this is an issue for everyone.

The Bottom Line
Would I recommend the Omen Sugar to a friend?

I think that Omen hit a home run with this deck and that most of the hype around the board is well founded. It is truly a fantastic deck for downhill and freeride. With the addition of that fat kicktail the Sugar makes for a very solid all around board. I would recommend the Sugar to anyone who wants one board to do pretty much everything with but who also has special concentration in freeride.
Thanks for Reading!
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, trick-tips, loveletters, hatemail...
Send them my way!!!

Stay Awesome,

My Current Favorite Setup:
-Paris V2 180mm or Surf-Rordz RKP 50*
-Cult Isms
-Daddies Bearings
-Riptide Bushings - WFB Formula
-Blood Orange Grip
-Holesom Pucks and a Helmet

Huge thanks to Ryan for these photos he sent over too!