The chipper group over at Orangatang recently dropped another wheel sensation; the Moronga. A bunch of people in the community are saying that Morongas are basically Balut 2.0 and they may be saying that with some good reasons. The Moronga and the Balut have the same diameter, the some contact patch, and use the same urethane formula. However, I think that saying Morongas are a just a tweaked version of the Balut is kind of a simplification and that it glosses over the fact these wheels are, in fact, better than Baluts in a variety of ways.
I was lucky enough to be granted not one but three sets of Morongas. Which has allowed me to shred one wheel in each durometer and therefore give you the most complete review and overview possible.
Letâ€™s get into the technical specifications of the wheel. Morongas come in the three signature color-durometer combinations offered by Orangatang: Orange 80a, Purple 83a, and Yellow 86a. The lower number, of course, being the softest and the higher number coming in as the hardest. Unlike the majority of Orangatang wheels Morongas are poured with a Euphorethane formula and not the standard Happythane. The core of the wheel is very large, wrapped in thane, and topped off with a rounded but relatively thick lip. In addition, the bearing seat is centerset which means the wheels can be ridden in any direction. Morongas have a 72.5mm diameter and a 35mm contact patch with a width of 44mm.
Well now that we have got the techy stuff out of the way, letâ€™s talk about how these bad boys handle in the field.
Morongas are a great wheel for cruising through town and impressing all the soccer moms with your commuting steeze. Coming in at 72.5mm they are a bit taller than your average wheel, which adds to your top speed, but they have a more narrow contact patch. This narrow contact patch translates to a wheel without a lot of weight behind it which means that you can get Moronags up to speed very quickly. I really like the fact that I can slide to a stop for a traffic light and push back up to my regular speed with minimal effort on these wheels. Unfortunately the Euphorethane formula in conjunction with that large core does have a little bit of a downside, that combination makes your wheels feel really hard under your feet. So if you commute over terrible pavement or lots of bumps the vibrations will start to rattle you after a few miles.
I have found that the Purple, or 83a, Morongas are my favorite hardness to push for a long time. Mostly because harder wheels are faster than softer wheels and soft wheels can eat up vibration. Purple Morongas are right in the middle and allow you to achieve a nice balance between speed and vibration dampening. This balance is great for pushing between classes or for my 2 mile push to work every day.
In my opinion, when it comes to freestyle longboarding the lighter the wheel the better. Which is why Morongas kind of rock for freestyle. That narrow contact patch we talked about earlier makes them a hair lighter than other 72mm wheels. It is really noticeable when trying to hit serious flip tricks like bigspins and kickflips. The first time I slapped my Morongas on my Chubby Unicorn,after rocking 4Presidents, I kept over-rotating all my tricks because I wasnâ€™t used to how light my setup had become haha.
Another nice aspect Morongas can offer all you freestylers out there is how easily you can pop them into a 180 powerslide. When I freestyle and link tricks I like being able to throw my board in and out of a switch stance through slides (much steezier than pivots) and Morongas let me do that without a problem.
Yellow, or 86a, Morongas are undoubtedly my favorite durometer to freestyle on. Being nice and hard is just so nice for flatland. Mostly because, as I mentioned, I like to kick out into 180 slides like it is my job. The Yellows are definitely the easiest durometer to bust out a slide on the flats with and I dig it.
I can tell you this much, while the Morongas are certainly not a downhill shape they can definitely get you from the top to the bottom. The 72.5mm diameter means that these wheels are going accelerate quickly and sustain a slightly higher top speed than your average 70mm longboard wheel. However, these wheels donâ€™t have much bulk to them, which means they are not very massive, so they are not going to get as much momentum going as a wider wheel would.
I donâ€™t think that Morongas are going to be anyoneâ€™s go to race wheel anytime soon (unless youâ€™re racing some crazy technical course). That being said, I was very surprised at how much grip you can get out of Morongas when you want to, mostly with the softer durometer. I was surprised because the wheels are so slidey in general but if you really spend some time on them you can easily learn their grip-slide patterns. If nothing else Morongas are predictable, which is fantastic when going fast and you need to know exactly what your wheels are going to do.
If you are looking to downhill on these wheels then I highly recommend the Orange, or 80a Moronagas. They have the most grip out of the three and drift beautifully. I tried going fast on my Yellow Morongas a couple times, it was scary, haha, they cannot offer the predictability and smooth drift at speed that the Orange ones can.
I think that we all know what Morongas were really meant for… slides on slides on slides. Morongas eat freeride for breakfast and poop out silly long standies. You might think that was a joke but I am deadly serious.
Having such a narrow contact patch give you less resistance against the ground when looking to hit slides. Thatâ€™s just plain and simple science. In addition to that narrow contact patch Morongas are rocking a pretty sweet lip shape. The lip is rounded and thicker towards the outside of the wheel relative to the inside near the bearing seat. This allows the contact patch to remain consistent down to the core of the wheel (note: I have not been able to core these wheels yet because they are so durable. I know the aforementioned information based on the design of the Moronga itself). The core is very large, it is the same spoked core as the Balut, and works in conjunction with the lip shape to offer exceedingly minimal wheel deformation while sliding. Which all boils down to a very very consistent wheel and slide.
In addition to being inherently slidey due to their contact patch and lip shape Morongas are also poured in Orangatang Euphorethane formula. Euphorethane is definitely one my favorite thanes out there because it is so freaking durable. The trade off in durability is that Morongas do not dump thane like some less durable wheels on the market, but that is not a problem for me. I donâ€™t need to measure my thane lines to have fun.
How do they slide?
Morongas slide fantastically all the time. However they feel different based on how you are sliding them. If you are using your Morongas without going very fast they are going to be a little noisy. Now, I think this kind of scares people off because they think noisy means chattery, but let me be clear in that they are not chattery. They may let out a majestic call, much like a hawk, when being slide at slower speeds but the slide is still smooth and consistent.
However, if you are going fast enough to hold a slide out for more than 5 feet or so they quiet Â right back down. They jump from the noisy zone to what I call the sugar zone. What is interesting about Morongas is that when they truly break free after a few feet of sliding, into the sugar zone, you can hardly feel the transition. I have noticed with many other wheels that the transition between trying to grip and breaking free can be kind of jerky and weird. Morongas have no such problem and are very predictable under your feet.
When it comes down to freeride I think that any color Moronga would serve you well, it all depends on how you ride. If you are just learning how to hold out long slides go with the harder Yellow ones. For those of you who have been enjoying freeride for a while now but donâ€™t hit slides over 25mph I would consider the Purples. People who love to hit a billion foot slides after going 45mph should definitely get the Orange. I personally rock the Purples and love them! However, always remember that I cannot give you a definite recommendation on durometer because in the end it all comes down to preference.
It cant all be good…
Nothing is perfect; and Morongas, although awesome, are no exception to this rule. I would say the only real downside I have come across with this wheel is on the commute. The large core and dense Euphorethane formula makes for a rough ride over bumpy pavement. Morongas can shake your teeth out of your head after a mile of rough pavement, haha.
The Bottom Line
Would I recommend Morongas to a friend?
I think that Morongas are fantastic wheel and that they suit the needs of a very diverse group of riders. If you are into freestyle grab yourself a set of the Yellows. If you like to freeride then either the Purple or the Orange will suit you at whatever speed tickles your fancy. If you havent taken the time to try Orangatang products then there has never been a better time than now. Morongas are killing it!
Thanks for Reading!
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My Current Favorite Setups:
-Surf-Rodz RKP176mm 50*
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 83a
-Loaded Chubby Unicorn
-Surf-Rodz RKP176mm 45*
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 80a
-Loaded Chubby Unicorn
-Surf-Rodz RKP176mm 50*
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 83a
-Paris V2 180mm
-ORANGATANG MORONGA 86a
-Orangatang Nipples (soft)