Today’s article is on the dual-duro Cheetah Hawgs longboard wheels. Dual-duro wheels seem to be the next big leap in technology for longboard wheels – offering the grip of a lower durometer wheel, but with a higher overall roll-speed.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 got in the way, and as a community, we did not get to see how these wheels performed on the race circuit. Fortunately, this review should provide you with insight into how these wheels perform. Check it out.
- Diameter – 77mm
- Width/Contact patch – 71mm
- Core placement – Offset
- Duro options – 76a, 76/85a, 76/90a
- Price – $90 (USD) ($65 for 76a option)
Disclaimer – I do ride for Hawgs. But that won’t affect my review at all. I’ll be unbiased and fair where I need to be. I did buy these wheels full price though – both the 76/85a and 76/90a. Weren’t available in the warehouse when I needed em.
Cheetah Hawgs wheel review
These wheels are unique (summary)
The easiest way to describe them is a hybrid between Venom Magnums and Seismic Alphas. They have similar acceleration to the Alphas but feel about the same as Magnums when you turn and engage them – they do have the inertia and sluggishness that you’d expect from a big, heavy wheel.
Where they behave completely differently is how they slide and how they feel going down hill. They have a crisp slide, with a ton of braking power, but never feel too difficult to control. Whether they have the skin or not, I’ve always felt confident and comfortable sliding these wheels. And when going down hill these wheels feel like something else altogether.
But they are quite expensive. And for $90 with an unusable inner core, you’re not getting the best deal in terms of “usable wheel”. When it comes to performance though, they are absolutely worth the price.
These wheels are fast
These are some of the fastest wheels I’ve skated. They’re quicker than Venom Magnums overall, but feel a bit slower than Alphas – but this depends on how hard you push into the hill, and the type of hill you take them to. There have been some cases where I felt they could edge out the Alphas – and I do think the 76/90a could be just as fast. But overall, Alphas retain the title as the fastest wheels I’ve tried.
Overall down the hill, when you account for everything: grip, responsiveness, straight-line speed, etc., the Cheetahs are the fastest I’ve tried. This section is just solely talking about straight-line speed. They do suffer on some courses though.
Accelerate well enough – but not good for slow stuff and slower hills
They feel super fast on the steep hills, but suffer quite a bit on mellower ones.
For example, if you’re skating in a parking lot (or a mellow hill), under 25mph, these wheels are gonna feel slow. They’re not going to accelerate as quickly as other wheels do and will feel sluggish. They’re not the best for slower hills.
However, if you have a good push, and you put a lot into the wheels in terms of speed, they tend to retain that speed the whole run – more so than any other wheels I’ve tried.
I think if you don’t push hard, these wheels are going to feel slow for you on most hills under 30mph. On most runs (apart from longer ones), I felt a weak push would significantly slowed down the run over all.
But yeah these things retain a ton of speed.
They have a ton of momentum
These wheels keep every little bit of speed that they gain. They don’t accelerate super well, but once they start moving they don’t want to stop. They’re like a steam train with a jet engine – they take a while to get up to speed, but they are blisteringly fast once they do.
But yeah, on roads where momentum is key, these wheels win every time. And this is thanks to how stiff and heavy they are. But that heaviness also means a lot of inertia.
They have a lot of inertia – hard to push off the line
These wheels are quite weighty and meaty – this results in quite a bit of rolling resistance. They’re not easy to get off the line (or rather getting them to pick up speed from a complete stop). You have to work very hard to get them moving on your first two to three pushes.
The weight and meatyness of these wheels is both an advantage and disadvantage.
They are quite heavy
As I said, these wheels have a lot of inertia, they are fucking heavy. They are a bit heavier than Venom Mags.
But apart from the push, you only feel the weight when changing direction. Your truck doesn’t want to articulate and change direction quickly – the wheels kinda want to keep going in the direction they’re going in. You do get used to this and don’t really notice it after a while, but they will feel sluggish when you use them for the first time.
But yeah, when going straight, they feel pretty much like a normal wheel and you do not notice the weight that much.
They have a lot of grip and braking power
These wheels have a lot of slow down power but always remain controllable when you slide them. Both with and without skin. To compare against another wheel, they feel grippier than Magnums and have more slow down power. Both with and without skin. But this might be an anecdotal experience.
I will say that the grippyness of these wheels might depend on your set up and the conditions. With the dialed 2020 Smokies (and even 2020 Rogues) I found them to be overall grippier than Mags. But when I tested them with my 140mm Savants and undialed 2020 Smokies (check out the clip below), they did not feel consistently grippy – I had to really feather the slide to get the right feel. They even felt icey on some roads. But when I finally got a 50 plate and replaced the inserts for the Smokies, I finally got access to the crispy slide and insane braking power. But oddly, Magnums were consistently grippy on all those setups. So yeah, your experience might vary.
The braking power is considerable, and they have a traction like slide that feels like you’re getting pulled back up the hill.
The slide is crispy and smooth
Despite the insane braking power, you have a crispy slide. By crispy, I mean it doesn’t feel like the wheel is deforming under your weight. The wheel remains stiff and slides in a way where it feels like it’s not deforming and smearing urethane across the pavement, but like it’s super stiff and you’re using the whole contact patch.
With the skin off, they don’t slow you down as much. They do still have surprising slow down power.
They don’t have an edge feel
They don’t have much of an edge feel, but they do pull you back out of the slide. For the 2021 Cheetahs, Hawgs has made some updates to increase the edge feel of the wheels.
Are they durable?
I’d say yes, but the cheetah hawgs wheels are not super durable. Or as durable as a wheel like the Seismic Alphas. These wheels wear down quicker.
But they are durable enough. I’ve ridden mine for a few months now and have only shaved a few mm. I’m still not concerned with getting closer to that high-duro core.
I have heard that they’ve lasted about 10+ runs on Tuna before getting to the core. Is that good? I’m not a tuna local so don’t know how good that is haha.
They don’t chunk as much as you’d expect
I skated them on a rough road when fresh and they did not chunk at all., Comparatively, Magnums chunked more on the same road. The lips on the Magnums were obliterated.
Ofcourse, like most soft, high-density wheels, the wheels are going to chunk and the lips will lose shape with time. They should last a long time if you skate them on mostly smooth roads though.
You don’t get the most out of the wheel, but …
The inner duro is about 65mm in diameter, so when you wear down the wheel to about that much, you basically have to commit to riding a hard 71mm wide wheel. Or if you’re savvy enough, you can reshape them into a techslide wheel – I don’t see that happening in most cases though.
But to be honest, if you’re like me and you stop using your DH when they get to 70mm, you have nothing to worry about.
How do they feel on rougher roads?
Even with the 85a option, the dual duros reflect a considerable amount of road vibration. For the most part, this isn’t that bad and you get used to it after riding them for a while. I was able to ride all my regular spots with no issue. You will feel quite a bit of roughness if you skate over chunder.
85a vs 90a inner duro, which to pick?
Initially, the biggest difference between the two is going to be roll speed and acceleration, with the 90as being quicker down the hill. The only other difference would be road vibration.
When it comes to road vibration, the initial difference between the two isn’t super noticeable.
However, as you get closer to the core on both wheels, the difference will become more apparent.
If you want to do solely open road stuff in a variety of environments and get the most out of the wheels, the 76/85a option is your best bet. If you want to race and want the best performance out of the wheels, the 76/90a option is your best pick. The 90a will also be a good option for open road stuff, if where you’re skating is super smooth.
What I didn’t like about the Cheetah Hawgs
They heavy wheels man. You do get used to the weight within a couple of sessions, but it remains a significant factor. After riding them for a few weeks, I don’t think about the weight at all. But it will 100% be an issue when you get them for the first time.
They reflect a lot of road vibration
As I did say, you do get used to it. However, you will have a more lively ride and you’ll be getting more feedback from the road. And as the wheel wears down, they reflect more and more road vibration. That 76a urethane helps absorb some of the vibration, and the less of it there is, the more road vibration you’ll get reflected into your feet.
They don’t fit all trucks
If your truck hanger is too thick, the inner duro will rub on it. For example, they don’t work on rogues when you try to use them with the 106mm option. They rub on the hanger. They do work fine with the 116mm option. The case is also the same with Rojas hangers on the narrower options. The inner duro core rubs against the hanger.
Are they worth the price?
Yes, they are worth buying at least once to experience how they feel. If you’re racing, then also yes, they are absolutely worth the price.
I’d say they’re not worth it if you want to buy them solely for open road use – they’re going to be overkill and you’ll get significantly diminishing returns when you wear them – more so than other wheels. Yes, they perform great for racing, but when it comes to open road stuff (where you aren’t pushing the limits) they don’t do anything a wheel about $50-60 can’t do for you.
For open road stuff, I’d be reaching for the Magnums. For racing and really pushing the limits of my abilities, I’d be reaching for the Cheetahs. They are a true race wheel.
You should buy the Cheetahs Hawgs Wheels if …
- You want maximum performance out of your wheel.
- You need a wheel that’s going to get you down the hill the fastest.
- If you want something that is going to give you the best performance to help you win a race.
- You want to experience a wheel that is at the forefront of wheel technology.
- You’d be happy to make a techslide wheel out of the inner core hehe.
You shouldn’t buy the Cheetahs if …
- You mainly freeride.
- If you think spending $90 on a wheel isn’t worth it.
- You want to squeeze every drop of urethane from a wheel.
Are dual duro wheels a fad?
Other notable dual-duros wheels are the Cuei dual-duro Killers – still in their prototyping phase. These wheels have already been used to win outlaws and a few races. A lot of people say they’re really fast.
I firmly believe that Dual-duro wheels are going to the future for longboard race wheels. It makes sense. They offer a higher roll-speed, but with similar grip characteristics to lower durometer wheels – both very desirable features for your wheels to have. If you want to win, it makes perfect sense to use them.
And with that in mind, I see a greater rift growing between longboard racing and casual downhill skateboarding. Of course, take that with a pinch of salt – I have little to no longboard racing experience. But I think we’ll see more race-focused products (with diminishing usefulness outside of racing) as time goes on.
But diminishing usefulness outside racing means a smaller market. If the race scene ever goes kaput, then these products will too. So for now, no they’re not a fad. But in future? Who knows.
The setup I rode the Cheetah Hawgs on
- Deck – Small Blind
- Trucks – 2020 Bear Smokies
- Baseplate angles – 50/20*
- Bushings – 74/78a, 95/97a Venom bushings
- Washers – Flat washers road side front, Cupped road side back. No boardside washers
- Bearings – Bear Spaceballs
- Griptape – Seismic 36 grit.
What do you think? Are the cheetah hawgs wheels right for you?
I honestly think every DH skater should buy a set to try out at least once. These wheels are an experience.
If you’ve skated them and have conflicting experience to mine, please comment below and let me know
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