Clear red urethane, reminiscent of old Road Riders, with Freeride logo printed on the sides and a slight bevel on the inner edges.
These are great all-around wheels. They provide excellent traction on smooth surfaces and quiet the vibrations on even the roughest concrete. After a good couple of months of riding they show signs of normal wear, but the beveled edge on the inside of the wheels remain crisp.
They work well in the skatepark, but it is the uneven surface of the drainage ditch or the schoolyard bank where they really shine. Uneven transitions and gaping cracks in the concrete are no problem.
For downhill carving, their superior traction always gives a predictable response. Push them hard enough and they'll slide, but I never had them slide out when I didn't want them to.
One test I always use for any wheels is the Mission Beach/Pacific Beach boardwalk. It's mostly just smooth sidewalks, but there are some fairly bad cracks, and there's almost always patches of water from people watering their plants. On top of all of this, there's sand from the beach. In summer, it's not bad because the bicycle, roller blade, and skateboard traffic pushes it to the side, but in the winter, it's worse--not exactly ideal conditions.
Well, I took them out after one of the El Nino storms. There was quite a bit more sand than usual, even by winter's standards. The Ride Wheels did great. They only got squirrely once or twice and it was nothing I couldn't easily control.
This brings me to my only problem with the wheels. At 65 mm, they are on the small side for a longboard. while it wasn't very noticeable in most cases, there were times when I missed the extra speed that larger (70 mm or bigger) wheels can give you.
Now, this may be my own prejudice. I've been into large wheels ever since I replaced my first set of Cadillac Wheels with Stokers, which at the time were the largest wheels available. When Kryptonic 70 mms came out, I rode them for years. These were the first wheels I'd ridden in years that were smaller.
Don't get me wrong, Rides are still good all-around wheels. They are great for cruising. On long rides, where you don't know what you might run into, they'll take anything you throw at them. On rough concrete, I'll put them up against any wheels I've ever ridden, and they do just fine. But in more controlled situations, such as a skatepark, you might want to go with a larger, faster wheel.
In conclusion, Freeride Rides are very good wheels. I have no problem recommending them. They are well designed and constructed, offering great traction, especially on rough surfaces. My only advice to the guys at Freeride is that if they are planning to expand their line of wheels, think larger. At 65 mm, Rides are sweet, but put the same design and urethane formula on a bigger, say 76 mm, wheel and they'd be awesome.
For more info on the Freeride Ride Wheels and other fine products from Freeride, check out Freeride Skateboards.
Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1998 Chris Sturhann