What do you do when you move to California? Buy a longboard, of course. At the University near my apartment I constantly see students riding them. I once even saw a man in his 40’s in a full suit with business shoes riding one to a meeting.
Of course, that wasn’t the only reason. I also saw this viral video of a woman dancing on her longboard on Seoul’s Han river. Pretty cool. (By the way, if you’re visiting Seoul check out our guide.)
So, I did it. I got an Icarus Flex 2, the latest longboard from Loaded, a well respected longboard company that makes them right here in California. At $320, it was not cheap, but I decided that the investment was worth it. Well, was it? Let’s find out!
Note: While I had experience riding RipStiks and scooters, I had very little longboard experience before trying out this board, so keep that in mind while reading this review.
The board came in a large box, all put together. That was easy. I got on, and I was pleasantly surprised with how flexible it was. It wasn’t like standing on a slab of wood with wheels–the board flexed a ton and made turning easy. However, after the initial stage of getting my balance, this turned out to be a liability. It was hard to keep my balance while going at even a slow speed. The board was so flexible that even pushing off with one foot made me lose balance because the entire board flexed from the pressure. But, there was a solution–tightening the trucks.
Take the right wrench to this hex screw and you’re golden. As you can see, I moved it way in, creating a substantially firmer, although still relatively flexible, ride.
Speaking of flexible, the board itself is extremely flexy. You can jump on it (be careful!) and it will push you back up like a spring. It’s made out of bamboo and fiberglass, and I never knew a wood mixture could be this flexible and strong at the same time.
Learning to Ride
With that done, I took it out for a ride. Balancing on the board with two feet wasn’t too much of a problem for me, but balancing during the pushoffs where only one foot is on the board was tricky.
Another thing that was hard at first was the lack of breaks. While bicycles, scooters, or electric longboards all have breaks, this is not true for standard longboards or skateboards. That meant I had to get comfortable stepping off the longboard while it was moving. For even an intermediate rider this is a piece of cake, but for the beginner it took a little bit of practice.
Luckily, I was able to practice on some smooth concrete which allowed me to get better relatively quickly. Somewhere like this with a smooth, hard surface free of sticks or trash is the ideal place to ride a longboard. You’ll notice lines in the sidewalk above. The Flex 2 handled these like a champ, although larger holes or obstacles can lead to disaster.
A nasty fall
Repeat after me. Cluttered pavement is your worst enemy. Now, cluttered is a bit of a strange word to be using here, but it is the most apt description of what I consider to be the most dangerous type of riding you can do on one of these things.
The problem with the picture above is that there are so many small items it is impossible to keep track of which ones are dangerous enough to make you wipeout. Pavement that has sticks, or leaves, or lots of individual items on it is no-go territory for one of these things. While the large wheels will roll over a large percentage of small items, there are some things that they will not roll over. If you run into one of those items, your board will suddenly stop, and you’ll be flung off onto the hard cement. This is not fun. At all.
I learned this the hard way when I ran into a woodchip on a shady, cluttered sidewalk. I was thrown off the board and onto the cement. I didn’t break anything, but my knee hurt for several weeks and I was on a regular diet of ice and ibuprofen for up to a week. Although it sucked, it didn’t turn me off longboarding, it just made me more judicious of where I ride. (I haven’t talked about riding in the street because I never do–the odds of getting killed by a car are just too high.)
But, don’t let that dark interlude preclude you from getting a longboard. They are fun and valuable for transportation, if you are careful where you ride them.
I haven’t even tried to do tricks. Honestly, this board is made for cruising, not stunts. But that hasn’t stopped some people. While you could probably try to do some longboard dancing like the woman in the video shared at the beginning of the post, this board is probably not quite long enough. Her board appears to be a bit longer, and she also probably has smaller feet than I do.
As you can see in the video below, the board is so flexible that it is possible to at least partly power yourself simply by flexing the board.
Stylistically, the Icarus Flex 2 is a great looking board in a safe sort of way. It doesn’t have the slasher/punk type imagery seen on many skateboards, which is both understandable and sort of a pity. I suppose when you spend $300 on a board you are asking for something tasteful but not particularly rebellious.
The tasteful bottom of the board. Pity that it won’t be seen 99% of the time.
Bright orange kegel wheels.As you can see, the edge of one of my wheels got chipped, probably from a rock or something. After a month or two of regular use the wheels are still smooth and have a great ride. They roll over most small objects easily but run into trouble when you run into anything too much larger than a bottle cap.
Looks familiar? The electric Boosted Board‘s deck is made by loaded, and they share the same 80mm Orangutang Orange wheels.
Loaded Icarus Flex 2 Review Wrap up
So what The Icarus Flex 2 is a great longboard. The only gripes I have with it are issues that would exist on any longboard. Yes, you can fall off. No, you shouldn’t ride on choppy surfaces. But all in all, it is a lot of fun, and a great way to get around the sidewalk. It is a board that is forgiving for beginners but nice for more advanced riders. All in all, the Loaded Icarus Flex 2 is a great longboard. If you’re looking to get into the sport and it is within your price range, I recommend it. Find out more at Loaded Board’s official website.
You can buy the Loaded Icarus Flex 2 on Amazon.