Wheel review

Thing Zero1 Freeride wheel review

Thing wheels are a small brand based out of France. If you’re an EU rider, you’ve certainly heard of them. If you’re from elsewhere, it’s less likely that you have.

With the short time I’ve had with the Zero1 wheels, I’ve been blown away but how great they feel. Check out the review below to learn more.

I’m stoked to bring this wheel review to you guys. I really like working with small brands and people who are change makers within their communities. If we support these individuals then surely their communities (and eventually the scene as a whole) will grow? I’m not sure about that logic, but let’s see what happens.

Specs:

  • Model: ZERO1 freeride wheel
  • Diameter: 70mm
  • Width: 52mm
  • Contact patch: 38mm
  • Lip profile: Rounded
  • Urethane: THING LEVEL FORMULA / yellow
  • Hardness: soft, medium, hard
  • Core placement: center set

About Thing wheels (brand review)

Thing wheels are a small longboard company based in France. They started out in 2009 and make a bunch of skateboarding stuff. Their line of wheels is their main product though. 

What is unique about Thing wheels is that their products are completely designed and manufactured in France, even the wheels! Everything from the design of the wheel, to creation of the mould, and even the more technical parts is all done in France – I think this is really cool.

Most brands work with the same wheel manufacturing companies – namely Labeda or Aend. It’s refreshing to see a brand do it differently (Powell Peralta are also another brand who manufacturers their wheels start to finish).

Apart from the freeride wheels I’ll be reviewing today, Thing also makes a bunch of other wheels – big grippy stuff for DH, some stuff for technical roads, rain skating etc. They’re definitely worth checking out and perhaps trying out if you’re an EU rider.

Things wheels Zero1 freeride wheel review

*Thing wheels sent me these wheels for free because they were stoked to be included in my “Best European longboard brands” article. This was really nice of them to do, and it’s just nice to feel appreciated by a brand.

That said, my review will remain unbiased and honest. I’ll tell you everything from what I really liked, to what I really didn’t like about the wheels.

First impressions

When I first picked up the wheel the urethane felt very dense and the wheel was quite heavy – I was actually kind of scared that the wheel would be too big to slide comfortably and would be too icy because of the dense urethane. 

I also noticed that the wheel had a small, medium-ish core. I was again apprehensive because I normally associate a small core with a wheel that has unsupported lips – which often leads to a slide/performance that isn’t as consistent as can be.

Finally the wheel is actually quite wide. It is a bit wider than most freeride wheels and I thought that this would mean it would have a grippier slide.

thing wheels zero 1

However, most of this was just speculation and when I actually rode the wheeI found that it wasn’t really affected by any of the things I thought might above. 

They have great roll speed

I was really surprised by how fast these wheels rolled.  I’m used to freeride wheels having a sort of sluggish feel and not really picking up speed very quickly.

The urethane that these wheels have is quite dense and hard – Thing wheels doesn’t specify what the exact durometer is and it’s hard to give an accurate guess.

**I later spoke with the owner of Thing wheels and asked him about the durometer of the wheels. He said the yellow ones (medium hardness) were 78a. They’re quite dense for a wheel that soft! 

things wheel buying page screenshot

But yeah these things roll fast and I had a lot of fun cruising around on them. I usually dislike using freeride wheels for cruising because most of them roll so slowly and carry no momentum. I was really happy that these were quick.

Finally, because they rolled fast, they also made freeride a bit more interesting as I was not fighting as much to pick up a bit of speed. I was actually fighting to control my speed – a refreshing feeling for sure. 

I had a lot of exit speed out of corners and I was able to push my limits on them with hands up riding.

The wheel is well supported

Because the urethane is quite dense, the lips of the wheel are actually supported very well. If you try and squeeze the wheel with your hand there is very little flex. 

It seems that the medium core and dense urethane combination works very well. 

**I once again asked the owner the size of the core. He said it was “35mm diameter and 40mm width”. This is a significantly large core, especially for a freeride wheel. For comparison, the core used on the Seismic Alphas is 46mm tall x 44mm wide and the core used on the Venom Cannibal is 39mm tall and 43mm wide.

So for a wheel that is only 70mm tall, 52mm wide, with a narrow 38mm contact patch, you can see why a core of that side would stiffen up this wheel so much and give it so much support.

I would love to try the Thing race wheels

I can confidently say that these are some of the fastest rolling freeride wheels I have ever used. And that something I really appreciate – given the slow hills we have here in Nairobi.

I would also love to see how this urethane performs in a race wheel shape – I think they would be a force to reckon with, with a ton of roll speed. However, I also think they’d need a bigger core to keep the same support and stiffness that the freeride wheels have. But of course, this is all speculation.

I will definitely pick up a set to try in future. I’m impressed with the urethane so far and want to see more out of it. Good work Thing! Great formula.

They have a very consistent kickout and hook-up

The wheels have a defined kick out and hook up. And though it is ‘defined’ it is not so harsh that breaking into the slide feels uncontrollable. Rather, it’s a defined feeling that tells you you’re going into the slide. It’s a really smooth, controlled sort of feedback.

And this feedback was very consistent at different speeds. The wheels didn’t feel too different when I was skating fast and skating over rougher pavement.

And though the wheels felt different when sliding over rougher pavement, the feeling of kicking out and the slide was similar enough that I still felt confident and comfortable on them and it didn’t take me anytime to get adjusted.

They’re quite durable and flatspot resistant

I can’t say that I have absolutely thrashed this wheel, but even with the few weeks that I’ve been skating it it’s held up super well and there’s basically little to no wear. 

And I have messed up sliding them quite a bit, sometimes blasting slides at 90* for more than a few feet. But no, no signs of flat spotting at all.

The slide was …

On top of the pavement and icey, but it still had a good feeling of consistent resistance. Like, it glided across the pavement, but still had a sort of in the pavement feel. But more icey than in the pavement for sure (maybe like 65% 35% if you need numbers to understand it).

This made them feel quite controllable and gave me some confidence. They felt especially nice for hands down slides personally.

Finally, I’ve only had the fortune of testing them somewhere with a hot climate and where temperatures have consistently been above 18*. So I can’t say for sure that they would feel the exact same in a colder place, with colder pavement.

They have a forgiving slide

The wheel has a very forgiving slide and it has a sweet spot beyond which it would ice out. But when it does ice out, it doesn’t throw you off or make you feel like you’re going to fall. It remains sort of controllable and in some cases you can recover.

What didn’t I like about the Thing Zero1 wheels?

They’re quite expensive

These wheels retail at about €70. Though I have said that the wheel is high quality, comes from a great brand, and has really good performance, it’s still difficult to justify that price. Or rather, to justify paying that much for a freeride wheel.

That said, the price isn’t really surprising given the wheel is made in France by small brand. I imagine that production costs must be a bit steeper and it’s harder to compete price-wise with brands from overseas who have greater volume to help reduce costs.

things wheels zero1 buying apge screenshot

Still, it’s hard for a skater to look at Powell Snakes or Boss Hawgs, or even Slide Perfect wheels going for a much cheaper €50 and decide to pick the Thing wheels over them.  

I can definitely see a lot of people (and myself) buying these wheels once or twice, and definitely see a lot of repeat buyers. But for most I can see this wheel being quite in-accessible because of the price alone.

But then again, when you consider how durable these things are you could argue that they might be worth the €70 price because you get so much life and performance out of them. 

I’ll say this, at minimum, pick up a set for yourselves, test them out, come back and let’s discuss. 

I didn’t like them much for open road stuff

Though I have said the slide felt controllable and I was more or less confident skating them, I didn’t really like these wheels for open road stuff – though this is really an issue of personal preference.

They were icey enough in the slide where I felt like I needed to be “on top of my game” (or always focused) to handle them appropriately down an open road. 

Now, this feeling isn’t limited to just these wheels. I feel similarly about the Seismic Alphas. They also feel just icey/slidey enough that I feel like I always have to be a bit more focused and present to slide and control them comfortably on an open road.

Who should get them?

  • If you’re looking to support a small brand and these are the wheels for you.
  • Longboard dancer looking for a wheel that accelerates quickly and feels really solid? this is a great wheel to go with.
  • If you’re tired of the monotony of products that mainstream brands put out and want to try something fresh, this is a good wheel to go with.
  • Looking for a solid freeride wheel they will roll fast, has a great slide, and has consistent performance, then this is a great wheel to go with.
  • A beginner looking to get to grips with slides. Though they have skin when fresh, that gets worn down quickly.

Who shouldn’t get them?

  • If you’re on a tight budget.

Where can you buy a set?

I’m not sure, you can check on their website or message them on Instagram. They respond quite quickly to messages so you will get sorted out quickly.

One of the funnest free ride wheels I’ve skated. Full stop.

These are one of the funnest freeride wheels that I’ve gotten to skate. They are nothing short of a top-tier wheel and everyone should try them out at least once (especially European riders). It’s great to see a brand like Thing, errr doing their thing hehe.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks to Patrons Jed, Mowgii, Kasajja, and SuperBadJuJu, Andrew, Jay, Samil and Jan for the support so far. You support enables me to keep making reviews like these.

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