What’s the deal with… Undercover Jeph Howard Pro?

Mmm, minty...


Guest blogger Tom Kennedy gets the keys to FruitBooter towers for this post in order to say a few words about his nice new set of roller wheels.

So after riding my red Undercover Blanks for about 2 years, and much heart-ache about coughing up the £25-£30 for some new wheels I decided to try out some Jeph Howard 2009 Undercovers.
 
When you get to 28 years of age and you’ve been on rollerthane since the days of the Hyper Fatboys you tend to lose interest in such standard constructions as a wheel for a skate, in fact I might even say that the topic is slightly mundane so on that note I wanted to put some zest into my next wheel selection and to me, that zest was mint coloured urethane.
 
Now apparently Undercover’s pro range of wheels are all poured in the USA rather than the less choice locations in which you may find their cheaper ranges are poured. Seems that everyone is jumping on the American Apparel band wagon these days, and as I myself am very much an avid buyer of italian made shoes I thought I should subscribe to the same ethos on my next skate wheel purchase.
 
Starting off with the most important and yet least important factor on inline urethane, lets check the graphics on these things. Jeph represents the Minnesota and Florida state regions and so the mapping of these two states have been printed on the side and finished off of course with the big guy’s name across in purple.
 
The choice to buy this wheel was nothing to do with the rider or brand as such, rather it was due to the colour and the more functionally attributed reason of size. They come in at 58mm diameter and initially I wanted to rock some 60mm’s due to riding xsjado frames. I wanted as much clearance as possible to help me roll over those English flags and cobbles without having to forfeit the lightness and grind width of a freestyle frame set up.
 
Okay so lets put them on, 5 mins of a job and im out on some fresh and fasties yeeeyyy!!
 
Fail!!
 
Turns out that the diameter of the middle of the plastic core of these wheels is smaller than 99% of wheels and my disc bearing spacers that ive used for donkeys years do not fit through the plastic core circumference. One question that immediately sprang to mind is, why did the Undercover blanks have a regular core and then the all singing all dancing pro series had to bless me with a core that is non spacer friendly? Most would say well hell just sling them on without the bearing spacers inside, not an option for me, i’m not one who likes to tighten up my wheel bolts and see my wheels nipped up and not free rolling. I had no other spacers that were adequate for both the size of the xsjado bolts and the small core diameter of these wheels. However, after 30 mins in the garage with some wire cutters I had managed to trim down the aluminum spacers to a size that fits through the core, and so after a few swift ones I had managed to forgive and forget this small set back, also karma kicked in when I was installing these wheels and realised that xsjado frames take 58mm maximum and so if I had gone for some 60mm wheels I would have been sending them back to the shop for some 58s, and that turned my frown upside down.
 
Right lets get to the final and most boring part, how do they perform?
 
Well they are rubber and they are round so they differ very little from any other versions of this invention out on the market at present. Nice on street, nice on park and nice on the mince pies. I myself rate a wheel months after I have put them on as one of the most vital aspects of any set of wheels you have paid hard earned bread for, is how durable the urethane is. My cheaper Undercover blanks lasted me well over a year with no de-core and no chunking hence these being the successors, they have a lot to live upto. (2 months deep, so far so good)

Pro

– Mint green!
– Nice graphics
– 58mm – good solid all-rounder

Con

– Randomly sized spacer hole

Conclusion

– Buy them if they match your t-shirt

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