Product Thrash: Cadillac Sugar Mamas

Words by Nick Li – Stoked Team Rider

Note: I always will do my best to provide unbiased reviews and post my findings from my direct point of view as a skater.  A lot of my opinions will be personal and may or may not apply to you.  

Wheels Reviewed:
Cadillac Sugar Mamas, 65mm 81a

About the Cadillac Sugar Mamas:
Cadillac recently has released some new freeride wheels, and they really got it right when they created the 65mm Cadillac Sugar Mamas.  These wheels are poured in a 81a durometer urethane, and come stone-ground right out of the package.  They are a good choice for double kick decks and topmount boards, or really any setups that have wheel clearance issues.  They are also just a great wheel for all around skating in general!

Out of the Packaging:
Right out of the plastic wrap, these puppies slid great!  They literally felt like they had been ridden for a session already and I have no trouble or time spent figuring them out – it felt like I’d been on them already for some time.  They are quite slippery, but not in an icy or uncontrollable way, they just have a very easy traction-release point, and a super smooth slide.

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Smooth sliding urethane

 

Fully Broken In:
I don’t think the feel of the wheels changed too much as they wore down, which is a good thing.  They stayed consistent throughout most of the life they had, except for some minor issues I encountered, which I will discuss later on.  The Sugar mamas are the type of wheel that once you slap them on your setup, you’ll feel right at home and not have to worry about your wheels changing in terms of slide-feel as they wear down.

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Slide in switch with confidence

Roll Speed:
I would classify the Sugar Mamas with a lot of other wheels out there in terms of the roll speed.  They are very average – what I mean by that is you shouldn’t have any complaints with their roll speed, they felt very “normal” to me, but they obviously aren’t wheels you’d ride if you’re trying to shave some seconds off your time down a race hill.  That being said, I have no complaints about the Sugar mamas being slower than average or anything of that sort.

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Tandem action with my buddy

Durability:
Let me first say I got a set of factory defect Sugar Mamas, which came with “urethane swirls” in them.  I have heard this is a result of the urethane not curing properly, but regardless of the cause, the outcome was somewhat annoying.  If you have never experienced wheel urethane swirls before, it’s when there are visible swirl marks on your wheel that DO NOT wear away with sliding – sometimes similar marks can be left on your wheels from certain pavements and your technique.  You will know it’s a swirl in the urethane if the wheel wears unevenly, some parts of the wheel will be wearing faster than the other parts.  This caused two of my wheels to wear much slower than the others – which wore at a normal pace.  I would say that this probably messed up my experience with the Sugar Mamas a bit, but from my experience, I would say these wheels are a bit more durable than your average 81a wheel – and they feel a bit slippier too.

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Urethane swirls

-Note: I emailed Cadillac about the issue, and they sent me a replacement set of wheels, so if you get a set of Cadillac wheels (which I highly recommend!) and they are factory defects, fret not, and get in contact with Cadillac, because they stand by their product and your satisfaction!

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Normal wheel cored

Concluding Thoughts:
The Cadillac Sugar Mamas are a GREAT wheel to choose for anything slide related!  They were surprisingly durable, slid extremely predictably  and were loads of fun to ride on, even WITH the weird urethane problems that my set had.  They will be great to ride right out of the plastic, which is a nice bonus, and they will rarely hassle you with wheelbite woes.  They are also only 38 bones over at Stoked Skateboards!

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Product Thrash: Omen Sugar

Words by Matt Walker – Stoked Team Rider

Specs
Length: 38 sugary sweet inches
Width: 9.5 inches
Flex: Stiff
Wheelbase: Various options from 23.5 – 26.5 inches
Construction: 9 plies of delicious Maple
Concave: 5/8ths inch radial concave (bowl like)
Rocker: 1 inch
Micro-drop: ½ inch
Kick-tail: 5 inches…Pretty big
Shape: Slightly wider in the front, big kick-tail in the back, sharp nose in the front.

Overview
Overall this is the BEST board I have ridden so far. Omen is really stepping up their game and developing better and better boards. My overall rating rating is a 9.5/10. The Sugar in particular, has many features. The first feature you will recognize is the massive kick-tail. It not only makes the board look sexy, but it actually works (really well). It is easy to ollie, kickflip, pop-shuvit, manual, and do any other tricks you wish to do, especially when you ride the smallest wheelbase, because you get more pop and leverage.

This brings me to the second feature, which is the concave. The concave on this board is so extreme that you will always be locked in. The foot platform has a bowl shape and the intense concave combines with the accelerated rocker to really lock you in well. My feet always feel secure and in place when riding and sliding.

The third point I’d like to touch on is the rocker. There is actually enough rocker in this deck for you to feel it under your feet. I was surprised by the amount of rocker but happy to learn that it really helps you feel comfortable and locked in place, while giving you something to push against when whipping around a quick 180 or 360.

Another feature is the flush truck mounts, which I found helpful when mounting my trucks. Since the board has so much rocker, it would usually be difficult to mount your trucks, but the flush truck mounts provide a flat surface that makes mounting and riding easier and more stable.

There are also many different wheelbase options that allow you to do any kind of shredding you like. Another feature is the wheel wells/flares. The wheel wells help make this an all around board by allowing you to ride any size wheels up to about 72 mm.

The last feature I will talk about is the micro drop. There is about an eighth of an inch of drop to the deck that will keep you even more locked in, make you more comfortable, and provide a better place for your feet. When you go to bust out a slide, you know your feet will always be in the right place because the drop along with the concave and rocker helps you feel exactly where you want to place your feet. All of these features come together to make the sugar a great all around board for anything you want to do including freeride, freestyle, downhill, cruising, carving and even pushing!

Freeride 
This board will take a little getting used to. It is pretty different from most boards so you may need a sesh or two to break it in. You will easily be able to do big standies, quick techy combos, and anything in between like blunt slides with the sugar. The wheels well flares combined with the micro drop, concave, and rocker will give your feet a perfect platform along with locking you in and providing extra leverage. I would highly recommend using the shortest or one of the shorter wheelbases for freeriding. Not only will you get lots of leverage but also a very responsive feel. This is a great all around board, but in my opinion its strongest riding style is freeride and I would give it a 10/10 on this. It will not hold you back and there is no trick that cannot be done on it.

At first you may have a little trouble going very fast and throwing out big slides on a short wheelbase if you are used to a longer one but you will certainly get used to it in a short time and the shorter wheelbase will be to your advantage in the future. The sugar can be spun around very fast and with minimal effort. It is great for doing things like 360’s, endless 180’s, seamless and shuvit 180’s and bigspins. It also has a lot of control when you are doing things like heel and toe checks, or going big. You will be able to dial in on your slides and make them more precise. Don’t believe me? Just ask Sam Galus over at Omen.

Freestyle 
Although a little heavy, it is great for freestyle. You can take this board to a park, pool, or city to skate and as long as you are on the shorter wheelbase you won’t have any trouble. With the heavy weight, it will take a little getting used to but eventually you will be able to do almost any trick you can do on a regular skateboard. The weight doesn’t hold you back; it actually makes it a little more stable for the landings of some sketchy tricks. Popping high ollies and shuvits will not be a problem. It is fun to start to incorporate some freestyle into your freeriding with this board.

Downhill 
With the shortest wheelbase, it is almost too responsive for downhill. Not to worry, with the longest wheelbase this board can break speeds of 45-50 mph. Although the concave is comfortable and helpful, there is nothing special about the concave that is geared toward downhill. It is a great all around board and can definitely be pushed to high speeds and can be used for predrifts with some experience, but if you are ONLY buying this board for downhill I would consider some of omen’s other boards like the spawn or kush. The sugar is great for downhill and super fun, but in my opinion it is designed for more freeriding and there are better downhill options out there that will be better for higher speeds and drifting but probably not as versatile and unable to be used for freeriding and freestyle. The sugar is very stable as it is a thick and stiff board and well constructed with lots of maple (sugar).

Cruising/Carving/Pushing
With all the comfort built in to this board it makes it a great cruiser. The tail adds even more fun for cruising so you can do manuals and 180s. With some 65+ mm wheels you will easily be able to ride over any sketchy terrain like gravel and rocks because this is an extremely stable deck. For carving you will again have lots of leverage and your feet will be close to the trucks providing control and support and letting you feel exactly what is going on underneath your feet. The concave is so big that it may get in your way a little if your are just carving for days but I have never felt awkward on it. For pushing, the rocker and concave provide a perfect spot for you to place your feet when pushing long distances on flat ground or up a hill. It will feel very comfortable under your feet.

Durability
10/10. You have nothing to worry about. This board, along with most other omen boards, will literally last you FOREVER! The construction makes it a complete tank in durability and the shape keeps your grip tape from scratching off when you flip your board. The tail and nose will bear the brunt of the damage but still will not get much at all. I never got razor tail or any major damage after 6 months of riding this board. I curbed the sugar and it was going pretty fast. I looked at the nose and I could barely even find where it made contact with the curb. Almost no damage at all. It’s that strong. The spawn, which is constructed somewhat similarly I had for about nine months. I literally had nothing but scratches after heavy shredding. I also dropped this board off of a 30-40 foot cliff while skating a corner in Virginia. I watched it fall and roll and smash into several rocks and trees. When I picked it up, I literally could find no damage but minor scratches to the graphic and just a few small cuts and holes in my grip tape. Wow.

A friend of mine did have a problem with his omen board cracking (I’m not sure how but he literally has videos of himself early grabbing off of rooftops so it was probably that.) and omen sent him a new board for free with no hassle so you should have absolutely no trouble. Plus with those painted sidewall the scratches will not show up as distinctly and your deck will look tasty even after it has been well used. This is a picture of my Sugar after 6 months of hard shredding, and I’m not one of those guys who never gets a scratch on his board.

Setups
For a while I rode 10 inch 44 calibers, but I wanted to do more spinning, turning, and freestyle so I got 10 inch 50 calibers and I did like them better. I also liked buzzed v3 beefcakes with this board. They help when you are beginning to go faster, and doing a combination of freeride and downhill. For wheels, I would recommend a smaller and consistent wheel like the Volante Checker, 82a Landyachtz Street Hawg, Vault Fibreflex, or any other wheel that you like less than 70mm for freeride. For downhill you can run 71-72 mm if you want to without risers and with risers even bigger wheels are possible to ride. Some complete setups are:

  1. Sugar, 10 inch 44 calibers and Volante Checkers
  2. Sugar, 10 inch 50 calibers and Landyachtz Street Hawgs
  3. Sugar, 186 mm hangar Buzzed V3 precision trucks and Cult Classics or Venom Balls

With all of these I would recommend vicious, gator or blood orange grip, magic bearings and spacers, venom 88a barrel boardside and cone roadside for bushings, landyachtz gloves, holesome pucks, and a triple eight helmet. Maybe some gform pads too.

Modifications 
None are completely necessary. I made a small modification in the back of the foot platform. When I put on my grip tape I made a bubble by putting grip tape under that grip tape. I put this bubble in the shape of a rectangle where I like to place my foot for toesides, because I don’t like to hang my toe off the deck. It worked well and gave me a nice pocket to keep my foot in on bigger toesides and checks and did not get in my way too much on heelsides. I would only recommend doing this if you do not hang toe on toesides and again it is not completely necessary. Some people like to chop their boards but I don’t see a need with the sugar because it is the perfect length and stance for me and the nose is not long enough to be worth chopping (plus it looks cool how it is).

Should you buy one?
Yes. I don’t care who you are or what you do. Everyone should have an omen sugar. It is a great versatile all around board for everything and super fun especially for freeriding. It’s also a sick looking board. Get stoked.

Similar boards and Alternatives
If the sugar is too big for you, there is the Omen Minisugar. It is for either smaller riders wanting a sugar or for techsliding/riding harder wheels. If it is too small for you, the Omen Barfight and even the Omen Airship are a lot like the Omen Sugar. If you are looking for a downhill and some freeride board, the Omen Spawn is a great board with sick concave, just not quite as versatile as the sugar. Make sure you order your board at the cheapest price guaranteed! @ www.stokedskateboards.com

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Product Thrash: These Wheels 727 Formula

Words by Nick Li – Stoked Team Rider Note: I always will do my best to provide unbiased reviews and post my findings from my direct point of view as a skater.  A lot of my opinions will be personal and may or may not apply to you.  

Wheels Reviewed:
66mm Centerset 78a 727 Formula
66

70mm Offset 78a 727 Formula
70

About the These Wheels’ 727 Formula:
These wheels are manufactured by Skate One Corp, which has been known for years in the skateboarding industry for their park and pool skateboard wheels. The longboard oriented 727 formula is a super buttery, 78a urethane that feels great at any speed. It isn’t what most people would call an icy type of slide at all, it has a softer feel which helps you feel a lot more confident charging into big slides at high speeds. The urethane doesn’t feel quite like any other wheel I have ridden, and is an absolute dream to ride on. The wheels come poured around the “Ultra High Rebound” energy core which is essentially a super hard, polyurethane core which prevents wheel deformation even better than the standard Nylon or Derlin cores. The result is a wheel that slides extremely well and predictable, as well as a fast roll speed! The 727 formula These Wheels come in two sizes, a slightly offset core version at 70mm tall, and a centerset version at 66mm tall – perfect for double kicks and low clearance setups!

Out of the Packaging:
Brand new, the 727′s come with a mold release that needs to be worn off before they reach their true slide potential. This is a good time to take some grip and speed runs to enjoy their supreme roll speed. It feels like you just keep on accelerating! The mold release doesn’t take very long to wear through if you get at it with some slides, though longer than most wheels as the urethane just wears pretty slowly overall (I should note though if you have any experience with the 717 freeride formula at all, the 727 formula does wear faster, mostly due to the 727 being a 78a wheel, and the 717 being a 80a wheel).

Fully Broken In:
These wheels slide amazingly well, from low speeds under 10 mph, to speeds over 20mph, they are consistent and easy to break traction with. The slides are very reassuring and it honestly feels like I’m floating when I slide on 727s. These wheels will slide predictably, at any speed you have the cojones to take them to! They have the perfect amount of slide resistance where you feel support coming back at you from the road, and keepin’ you off your butt. The 727′s excel at every type of sliding – they were designed well for the task at hand. They’ll handle huge standups as well as feel great for fast spins, all the while being very flatspot/oval resistant.

Roll Speed:
Due to the UHR Polyurethane core that all These wheels use, all of the wheels are quite fast. This is especially nice as you can use the wheels for just about anything and they will keep you happy – just don’t try to grip insane corners on them, they’re still roundlip freeride wheels! The great roll speed has a huge positive impact for freeriding as well, you can spend less time rolling up to speed in order to bust out that next fat slide! All that being said, I am in no way suggesting that you race on the round lipped These wheels, they are very fast for a freeride wheel, but if you’re going to skate downhill fast, you should go with race wheels still.

Durability:
One of the biggest features of These wheels is their durability.  As I mentioned earlier, the 727 formula urethane is not quite as durable as the harder 717 formula, but it makes up for that in terms of predictability, butteryness, and it’s higher speed capabilities. Depending on the conditions, These wheels could last you anywhere from a few weeks, to a couple of months, for those who like to go sideways a lot. I have gone through a couple of sets of these, the shortest amount of time it took to core a set was about 5 hours or so, but that was in 100+ degree weather where we were doing shuttle runs all day – a set usually lasts me at least a few weeks, which is certainly at least twice as long as most wheels on the market. Of course it all depends on how much you actually go out and skate, but I can say for certain, that these wheels are quite durable, and will outlast nearly every other wheel out there. If you killed your set of These fast, imagine how much faster a set of other wheels would have gone!  Take my word for it, these suckers are worth the money!

Concluding Thoughts:
These wheels 727 formula has easily become one of my absolute favorite all-around do-it-all wheels. I especially like the centerset 66mm versions as they can fit on my boards easily, and without any fear of wheelbite. They are also very even wearing and the ability to flip the wheel around and have it wear down the other side is very nice. I love the feeling of the slide; it’s like floating across the ground at high speeds! The main reason people skip over these wheels, in my mind, is the price point. Although I do think it’s a fair and reasonable price, I do see how many find it to be intimidating and off-putting. Take my advice, and take the plunge, you just may never look back – they’re that awesome! And get ready, because These Wheels have now released a more wallet friendly formula! Pick up your next set of These wheels over at Stoked!

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