Today’s product review is on the Cuei Killers. Despite being less “technologically advanced” than other race wheels, these wheels have been on many podiums. Is it pure luck or do they accomplish something other wheels struggle to do?
- Diameter – 74mm
- Width/Contact patch – 65.5mm
- Core placement – Offset
- Duro options
- Power thane – 75a, 77a, 82a
- Flow thane – 80a
- Price – $68 (Muirskate price)
In this review, I primarily skated the 77a green Cuei Wheels.
Cuei Killers 77a wheel review
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Cuei Killers. These wheels aren’t as grippy, or as fast as other race wheels, but they hold their own well enough. I believe they’re at the top of podiums for three key reasons – accelerating fast, being nimble enough to allow a rider to easily take great lines, and providing a lot of feedback when you’re at that edge of traction so you can adjust and take a better line with minimal scrubbing. Under a talented rider, these three things can keep you ahead of the pack, or allow you to make a race-winning move at the right moment.
When it comes to grip, these wheels don’t have the most grip or braking power, but they’re very aggressive in nature. They don’t slow you down as much as other wheels, but they’re good enough at it that you can’t really complain. But that is one of their biggest weaknesses.
That aggression when they start slipping is key as I said. This and how nimble these wheels are, allow you to take consistently great race lines. But ofcourse, that aggressiveness is a double-edged sword. If you can’t manage it, these wheels are going to feel impossible for you.
It’s no surprise to me that these wheels end up on as many podiums as they do.
Why the Cuei wheels are **special**
For those of you who don’t know, the Cuei wheels are the brainchild of Thiago Lessa. A Brazilian downhill skateboarder who has been the most successful racer of recent years.
To boot, the Cuei team also has a ton of talented riders on their pro-team, all of whom dominate podiums at longboard races throughout the world. Seriously – there’s probably a Cuei team rider on a podium at literally any significant race around the world.
But what’s special about that them is that there isn’t anything special. Other wheels are uber wide, have dual-duros, huge cores, or are made with proprietary urethane … but Cueis are just really basic.
So that’s why this review is important and why this wheel is so interesting. Despite being as basic as possible, why do these wheels keep appearing on podiums? What is it about them that makes them win races?
Are the Cueis fast?
Where these wheels excel over other race wheels, is in acceleration. Whilst you struggle to get off the line with your Cheetahs or Mags, the Cueis are long gone.
On my local roads, it felt as though I got to 30mph quicker on Cueis than on my other wheels.
I think this is attributed to that small 74mm height, (relatively) narrow 65.5mm width, and dense urethane.
How about the top speed?
I’d say the top speed is quite close to the top speed of other wheels. However, the other wheels easily blow past the Cueis in this aspect. It is not that noticeable though …
I could “feel” these wheels struggle to go faster, whereas the other wheels just kept accelerating.
Though I have no race experience, I think these would suffer on tracks where top speed is key to success.
However, this was less noticeable when I was drafting someone. The Cueis kept up really well and were on par with the other wheels. They also felt like they accelerated a bit quicker (than the other wheels) in the draft.
But let’s be honest
But tbh, these differences in speed and acceleration really mellow out when you’re actually riding. I think other things have a bigger effect on your success as a rider. Eg. Strategy, your tuck, your lines, your weight, which part of the road you ride on, etc.
However, if top speed is your goal, the harder Cuei duros or the other race wheels will likely be better options.
They’re also just nice to push around
When I have to skate from spot to spot and push over 5km, heavy race wheels like Mags and Cheetahs aren’t very nice. Yes, they have a lot of momentum and coast for long, but bruh, pushing them up hills and getting them moving isn’t a joke. It’s work, for real.
Cueis pick up speed with ease so it’s really fun to cruise on them. And because they’re also relatively lightweight, they’re more nimble and have this fun playful feel. More on this below.
They’re a very nimble wheel
This wheel is relatively lightweight compared to other race wheels. That and the narrower contact patch (and I think the thick, stiff lips in relation to the core as well), allows these wheels to react quickly to your input and change direction pretty fast. They aren’t as sluggish and don’t have as much inertia as those bigger race wheels.
IIRC correctly, I’d have to say they’re nimbler than Seismic Alphas – though I haven’t ridden those on my current setup.
Being nimble is good for taking good lines
I think the wheel being nimble is one of its race winning attributes. Because it’s easy to change direction on this wheel, it’s easy to take good lines and scrub less through a corner.
With bigger wheels, I felt as though I had to be tidier with my entry line – if I was too aggressive, the wheel wouldn’t turn in quick enough and would suddenly understeer and scrub a bit.
Because Cueis were nimble, they responded better to my input and I could take better lines. Consistently.
This nimbleness also allows you to get them to them slide quicker … note I say quickly not easily. You can get them to that sweet spot “edge of traction” quicker but sliding them is a different story altogether.
I do think this might chalk down to riding style more than the wheel being outright better. But yes, this is a feature I really enjoyed and felt was superior to other wheels.
Not the best momentum
These wheels don’t have the best momentum. They don’t hold on to their speed very well.
You can really feel it on flats or generally on areas where a wheel’s momentum is what keeps you rolling.
How do these wheels slide?
These wheels are made of urethane that does not want to slide. When you approach that edge of traction, they start to give a lot of feedback – to the point it can be a bit scary. That feedback kinda feels like the wheels want to throw you off and not slide smoothly. However, when you do get used to that feeling, that edge of traction and aggressive feedback become things that inspire confidence.
The feedback shows you where the limit is. This allows you to skate aggressively, pulling back and adjusting when you get that feedback. You can use it as a metric to help adjust your line and get through the corner with minimal scrubbing.
I think this is another one of the properties that make them a race-winning wheel. They “help” you find good lines.
Double-edged sword – the grip to slip transition isn’t smooth
But yeah, that aggressive feedback is a double-edged sword. You’ll have to spend a significant amount of time on these wheels before feeling fully comfortable. If you’re planning to race on them, I recommend two sets of the same duro, one to burn and get used to, and the other to race with.
The only reason I feel comfortable on these wheels is because they feel similar to Abec 11 HD Reflex Bigzigs which I spent a lot of time on some years ago. The Abec 11s were similarly aggressive. IIRC, they were even harder to skate.
But yes, you don’t get the smoothest transition into traction. And you just have to skate them hard and have faith they won’t buck you off when it’s time to slide.
To be clear, the slide itselt isn’t too bad, it’s that transition into the slide that is scary.
Do they have a lot of slow-down power?
Scrubbed, they are grippier feeling than other scrubbed race wheels. But with skin, they aren’t as grippy.
They still have a lot of slow-down power, just not as much as other race wheels I’ve tried. I reckon the 75a would be more grippy and on par with these other wheels.
But the slow-down power is good enough.
I will say, on some pavement type they had a lot of slow-down power. So much. It felt more than what the other wheels had to offer.
How does the slide feel?
The slide feels very different. It doesn’t feel chalky, thaney, icey etc. … It feels almost rubbery … But you only get that if the wheel isn’t chattering …
Do they chatter or slide smooth?
These wheels have a tendency to chatter if you don’t sit on top of them enough in the slide. You really gotta have your weight on top of them otherwise they will just bounce around.
Do you need the Cuei Spacer?
Speaking of chatter, these wheels have a custom-made spacer. It’s designed to reduce chatter when sliding. Chatter can reduce performance – you’ll feel it when breaking into and during the slide. It’s annoying and I’ve felt reduces my control, confidence and I have trouble getting those steezy low angled slides..
I skated these wheels with Zealous bearings and they worked well for me – no chatter. I tried using them with some spacers I got from Muirskate and got chatter.
Whilst they worked ok with me with the Zealous, they might not for you – other people have had varied experiences with Zealous. If you use non-built in bearings, it might be wise to get those precision Cuei spacers.
I haven’t skated them long enough to test their durability. That said, the lips on these wheels are holding up pretty well. I skate some pretty rough pavement from time to time – that pavement killed the lips on my 74a Mags. These held up pretty well.
Are these wheels freeride able
I know y’all have seen Nick Broms doing that insane 100 ft + standies on these wheels and are wondering if you can do the same.
I was able to standy these, but it really depended on my setup. With symm width rogues, I could stand up slide these bad boys pretty easily – though they would scrubb out a lot more in hands down corners.
I couldn’t stand up them very easily on Smokies though.
They’re not freeride wheels tbh. Don’t standy them. Nick (and Andy) are just on another level
What I didn’t like about the Cueis
A high rebound wheel … rebounds …
Sometimes I could feel the wheel bouncing across cracks and roughness in the road. This sucked especially in corners.
A wheel like the 74a Magnums absorbs most of the road vibrations and sticks to the ground. Making them feel easier to skate on roads with poor conditions, and especially around the corners. They kept on the road where the Cueis reacted to the road conditions instead of sticking – the Cueis would bounce around a bit.
I think the white 75a Cueis would be better suited to these rougher roads.
Not confidence-inspiring for open road stuff
They sometimes felt too aggressive for open road shenanigans. If you had the confidence, you could ride them just as well as any other wheel, but they just aren’t confidence-inspiring and don’t feel as forgiving for open road stuff like other wheels are.
They don’t slide smooth with all bearings
I got lucky that my set of Zealous fit well in these wheels. But in a world where not all bearings, wheel cores, and bearing spacers are 100% precise, I may not be so lucky with my next set of Cueis or Zealous.
But this isn’t really a Cuei only issue tbh – I’ve noticed a hit and miss between and bearings and all the wheels I’ve used. Sometimes they fit well, other times they don’t. It’s just an industry wide issue, not a Cuei issue.
What’s in the future for Cuei Wheels?
Cuei Dual Duro beasts
I think the one thing Cueis truly lack is that top-end speed. However, Cuei has plans for a dual duro wheel in the near future. Those are guaranteed to be fast – and perhaps even smoother sliding? Who knows, but those are likely gonna dominate podiums in future.
Setups I tried these wheels on …
I skated them on:
- Deck – Small Blind
- Trucks – Smokies?Rogues (50/20)
- Deck – El Peligro
- Trucks – Smokies/Rogues etc.
- Deck – Rocket Micro
- Trucks – Smokies/Rogues/Aera P2s
Did you like this review?
I hope you guys enjoyed this review. I’ve really enjoyed making it, it’s been interesting and fun getting to know this wheel. If you have an experience that is dissimilar to mine, feel free to leave a comment!
Big thanks to all my patrons for the support – David, Squirrels Adventures, Mike, Jed, Mowgii, Jan, Josh, Jay, Jay, Bryan, @owencampbell777, @dkwan, Alex, Kasajja, Leah, Helge, DeLacoste, Peder, Josh, Mike, Anthony, @issishreds, and Justin. I couldn’t write articles like this without you guys’ support