Marlon Loves Wheels Hates Backfire

Summary

Installed Marlon wheels on my Backfire G2T motors. They wobble and vibrate violently above 20 kmh / 12 mph. The faster you ride the worse the vibration. They are unsafe to ride.

I really wanted to love Marlon’s wheels. But they did not love me back. Luca Nieddu the Marlon manufacturer decided there was nothing wrong with the wheels he sent me so it was my user error for buying them for an “old” Backfire.

I paid $196 CDN (110 GBP), after negotiations I was partially refunded $133 CDN (75 GBP). After a Paypal dispute I was refunded the remaining $63 (35 GBP).

Full Review for Marlon Loves Wheels

First introduced in mid 2020, these polyurethane sleeves slip over your stock hub motor wheels to increase diameter and provide greater cushioning.

Lucca Nieddu custom makes them in small batches to order once a month, in the UK. Due to limited cottage industry manufacturing volume he offers only about 20 sets for order on one day at the end of each month. I placed my order on Oct 27, 2021 and received them Nov 29, 2021 in Canada. I ordered neon blue but the sleeves I received looked more like a transparent dull blue:

Kaneda Street Biters
MarlonLovesWheels
Color: NEON BLUE
Device: Backfire 96mm


I paid on Etsy $196 CDN or about $110 GBP. This is about the same price I would pay locally for a set of 120D Cloudwheels with bearings.

Cloudwheel Donuts were introduced in spring of 2021. So why didn’t I just buy 105D Cloudwheel Donuts like everyone else? The reason is I own a Backfire G2T powertrain from early 2019. Unlike the older G2S and newer Hobbywing hub motors, the G2T is a unicorn. There are no Donuts made for it. The G2T is the only Backfire that I own that does not have some sort of wheel wobble / vibration, it runs perfectly smoothly.

I rode the G2T less when I got TB110 72As and later Cloudwheel 120Ds on my Onewow DD powered Ranger. After I retired the silky smooth but dangerously bouncy TB110 72As, I moved them from my DD Ranger to the fronts of my G2T. It improved the G2T ride comfort greatly over the stock 96mm wheels. So I decided to try to improve the entire ride of my G2T by getting Marlon Sleeves on the rear hub motors. At least the wheel diameters would be similar front to back.

Installing the Marlons

The Marlon wheel sleeves came with instructions and QR codes linked to videos on how to install the sleeves over your existing wheels. I could not get them on following the methods I watched on the videos. Obviously I haven’t been eating my Wheaties lately. I also did not want to bend the motor shafts by using excessive force.

For Plan B, I applied three drops of dish soap to the stock wheels. I used a damp sponge to spread the soap over the outer rim and wheel surface. I slipped the wheel sleeves sideways, at right angles, onto the hub motor wheels. Just the opposite of all the videos I watched. Once they were on I just rotated them back to vertical. Time it took to do that was about 3 seconds flat. No tools or other shenanigans required.

As I spun the wheels by hand I noticed obvious wobble on both wheels. The wheels fit snugly with no play and could not be rotated from the stock urethane beneath it. When I powered the motors on the vibration was so violent that the board started walking while upside down on the ground. This video shows the wheel sleeves are wobbly, but the motor spins true:

After some back and forth with Luca Nieddu on Etsy, he assured me they would ride fine.

Riding Marlons

I took it for a ride and sure enough vibration increased with increasing speed. Over 30 kmh (19 mph) they were pretty much vibration machines and totally unrideable. It feels like riding with a massage gun under your feet…

After more back and forth negotiations with Luca Nieddu on Etsy, he agreed to a partial refund of 67%. He felt the wheels were fine when he shipped them and that I took too long to try them out. With year-end work, snow storms, salt on roads and Christmas, I should have picked a different time to buy and try these wheels, my fault. Following a Paypal dispute the balance was refunded to a few days later.

My “old” Backfire G2T motor wheels had about 1,000 km on them. I can put that distance on an eskate in about 2 months in the summer. So “old” is a relative term for me.

Luca felt my G2T wheels were worn enough to cause the Marlon wheel sleeves to fit poorly and cause the vibration. He assured me that the wheel sleeves he sent me were good. I rechecked his website and found no such warnings about old or worn wheels. If I had known that in advance or about his 15 day warranty period I would not have bought the Marlons; again, my fault.

There were no negative Marlon reviews I could find online, so these wheel sleeves must be working for his other customers. They just didn’t work for me. A shame, as I really wanted to love these wheels…

10 Likes

Easy fixes are never easy, solid review though

9 Likes

I saw these on Facebook and thought “wow this is dumb”

I guess I was right

4 Likes

I was intrigued by these when I first heard about them. That died today. :joy:

Great write-up, though!

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I mean, they were probably designed around a new wheel. I’d assume as much, because from a design standpoint, that’s just logical. That said, I don’t think it’s a good design to begin with. Have you considered adding some kind of adhesive, or just putting some new wheels in them?

:smirk::smirk::smirk:

5 Likes

I haven’t considered modifying them in any way. It’s weird to buy wheel sleeves for new wheels. The total price would be the same as a new set of hub motors and new wheels.

It was just my poor judgment to think these things could work to my satisfaction.

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Thanks Bill, that’s high praise coming from you!

I promise to do a positive product review next time…

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Looks like I dodged a bullet not getting these. Thank you for sharing!

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Anytime. I did it for science. There’s no point in more of us having buyers remorse…

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It seems they might be ok for the very casual cruiser. Someone who maybe rides pretty chilled under 30km/h.

I’d not like to use this sleeve on a powerful setup ever.

Appreciate the detailed review

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Just to contrast this experience - I bought two sets of these and chose the “any 90mmx52mm” option, thinking that tight is better than loose. I put one set on a board with moderate to severely worn down hubs, and honestly they still work great. Slight vibration but absolutely rideable at top speed 24mph. You just have to get used to the MUCH softer ride feel. One of the these hubs is so worn down on one part that the Marlon tends to settle at an disturbing angle, which looks weird but actually still rides fine.

On my board with newer wheels the fit and ride is pretty much perfect. I wouldn’t shy away from these based on one negative review, considering how crazy good the opposing experience has been. After riding my builds with Marlons, two of my friends that had been on the fence about building eskates immediately put money down to build boards with the requirement that we nab sets of these wheel upgrades for them.

lol

This forum isn’t a place to find clients for a product like this

2 Likes

What’s your point? If I had had a shitty experience with his product I would have said so. I took a risk buying them and it worked for two types of motors so far - Ownboard’s replaceable sleeve style, as well as the basic b*tch non-replaceable original 90mm hubs that all the companies started with. I’ll update with how the next 4 sets go if anyone cares - this time they are going on slightly different motors so fingers crossed: ebay item 254950382955

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He’s just pointing out that there are very few if any people here using hubs.

I would humbly suggest you try a set of quality larger thane on a belt-driven drivetrain. I think you’ll be amazed by the difference.

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Fair point about this forum. I have tried belt drive boards… I just wasn’t that impressed. I’m not trying to convince anyone to agree, I just like the smoothness of ESC, ability to push, small size & quality of of remote, simplicity of design, and of course affordability that the hub driven builds I’ve settled on deliver.

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Y’all are racist against hubs and its NOT ok.

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Hubs aren’t a race

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i am. what of it? hubs… generally kinda suck. all the downsides of DD, plus some.
as for this thread, i still think that its ridiculous to think that a product would be designed for worn out wheels, not new ones, and to expect as much and be disappointed is 100% your fault, not marlons. everyone using these properly seems satisfied.

1 Like