Loaded Icarus Review : An Advanced Carving Machine

Loaded Icarus review

If you’re considering the Loaded Icarus, you’re probably looking for a high-quality drop-through longboard with serious flex, primarily for commuting and carving, yet versatile enough to let you do some sliding, freestyle, and perhaps some dancing.

With so many options on the market for commuting, carving, pumping longboards, exactly what makes the Loaded Icarus special ? These are the biggest strengths I found the board has to offer for someone like me :

  • Its high-end, uncommon, technically advanced bamboo + fiberglass + cork construction
  • Its special kind of flex, super springy yet multidirectional
  • Its huge clearance allowing for very big carving wheels
  • Its astonishing pumping ability due to flex, camber and wheel size
  • Its unique and versatile rail contours and multi-part concave
  • Its very lightweight, storable size, and highly durable deck

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill drop-through, this longboard is highly engineered and is the result of Loaded’s long experience in building high-quality carving longboards.

Of course, quality comes at a price, and the Loaded Icarus is not a budget longboard.  You pay for the materials and engineering.  I believe you really get your money’s worth, though.

Check out the Loaded Icarus here on the Loaded Boards website.

Read on to understand the kind of riding experience the Icarus enables, and what makes the board so unique.

What is the Loaded Icarus built for?

Loaded Icarus Review

In short, the Icarus is a flexible drop-through shape designed specifically for pushing, carving and pumping.  Loaded meant it as the ultimate longboard for taking the snowboarding and surfing experience to the road.

Loaded’s carving legacy

Loaded was the first to introduce the flexible drop-through carving longboard shape in the market in 2007 with their Dervish model, followed in 2012 by the larger Tan Tien.  Over the next years, Loaded then moved on to building a series of very stiff freeride and downhill models, and even a snowboard.

The Icarus marks Loaded’s return to its flexy carving shapes.  The board is an evolution of the Dervish and Tan Tien, and Loaded’s most technically advanced performance board to date, made in the U.S with premium materials.

If you’re familiar with Loaded longboards, you’ll find the Icarus to be similar in shape to the Tan Tien and the Dervish, though shorter (at 38.4″) and with a wheelbase (28.25″) in between the two.  The Icarus also has larger salient wheel wells allowing for bigger wheels.

Icarus riding styles

As I mentioned earlier, the Icarus is primarily designed for commuting, carving, and pumping.

Commuting: the drop-through mount makes it easier to push on than a topmount, although the cambered profile of the Icarus does increase the ride height in its middle section, making the deck higher off the ground than other drop-throughs.

For experienced pushers with established balance, though, the deck’s bounciness can actually help with the pushing by adding energy to kicks.

Pumping and carving: the deck flex and the cambered profile (and associated ride height), provide great bounce and energy return when pumping (gaining speed without pushing) on flat land or when carving deep turns down a hill.

In addition to pushing, carving and pumping, the Icarus can give you a very nice experience for some freeriding, freestyling and dancing, assuming you have the right skills :

Freeriding? while most freeriders consider strong flex a liability and would rather choose a stiffer board, some riders are big fans of the nice rebound they get on the Icarus which can be turned into an advantage for cutting speed corners.

Freestyling? the Icarus’s minimal kicks don’t make it a true freestyle board, but many experienced riders find them big enough to pull some shuvits and kickflips, especially since the board is so lightweight and durable – no scuffing on the bottom after doing hard tricks.

Dancing?  the Icarus doesn’t have the length of a Tan Tien and is quite narrow, but the great flex invites you to throw in some cross-stepping along with your carves.

To recap, while the Loaded Icarus is primarily designed as a commuter and a carver, for intermediate to experienced riders it can also be a great board for all types of riding due of its flex, height, size, and weight.

A quick surf on my Icarus

Check out the Loaded Icarus here on the Loaded Boards website.

OK, now we’re ready to dig a bit deeper into the Icarus’ features, to better understand what makes it such a good choice for the styles mentioned.

The Loaded Icarus deck

Size and weight

The Icarus is 38.4″ long, making it a compact board in between a typical city cruiser (e.g. 32-34″) and a classic drop-through commuter (40″+).

At 8.6″ in width it’s narrower than most boards of similar length, which helps keep the weight down – some riders say the deck is a bit too narrow for their feet and would prefer a wider deck, although the advanced concave somewhat makes up for the smaller width (see later).

Because of the very lightweight composite materials, it’s partly made of, the deck weighs about 2.9lbs, bringing the complete setup with big wheels to 6.5lb to 7.4lb – a surprisingly lightweight package overall.

Construction

The Icarus construction is quite astonishing.  It embodies a new manufacturing process, dubbed “Icarus Composite Construction”, combining laminates from different high-quality materials.

More specifically, 5 plies of vertically laminated bamboo core are glued together using high-performance epoxy, and precision pressed into the convex and concave parts that make up the special-looking shape and sandwiched between thin triaxial fiberglass layers.

Carving out the Icarus’ arching flared wheel wells without cracking the bamboo core was a challenge, so Loaded inserted what they call “bamboo biscuits” into these areas to reinforce them.

Loaded Icarus wheel flares

The bottom part of the deck is finished with a cork laminate which allows dampening vibrations without losing much flex.

Loaded Icarus cork bottom

The deck’s nose and tail are also reinforced and stiffened by adding an additional fiberglass layer.

The overall result is a deck that feels very strong yet extremely flexible, returning as much energy as possible when riding.

The story on flex

So what’s the big deal with flex?  Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, as I briefly mentioning earlier, more flex is good for carving at slow-ish speeds, giving you bounce and energy return and allowing you to lean harder into the carves with a nice surfy feeling. Flex also helps dampen the ride (hence the cork bottom on the Icarus).

Some amount of flex can also help gain more energy when pushing, although for heavy pushing you’ll want your deck to be firm enough not to lose too much energy bouncing.  A bit of flex also helps initiate slides.

Stiffer flex, on the other hand, is typically better for high speed and heavy sliding, because of the increased stability and reduced energy loss.  Stiff decks are also typically stronger for withstanding hard tricks.  A very stiff deck is normally not as pleasant to cruise on – you may miss the springiness and softer, deeper turns.

The Loaded Icarus flex

The board’s unique flex comes from the strongly cambered shape in between the trucks (the deck flattens out when you step on it), coupled to the bamboo core and the fiberglass outer layers provide a lot of energy return when pumping.

Loaded Icarus camber

As I mentioned earlier, the camber on the Icarus comes at the expense of ride height, making it responsive and tight turning but a little harder to push than a flatter deck.

Flex options

Like other longboards in the Loaded lineup, the Icarus comes with 2 flex options – Flex1 (stiffer) and Flex2 (flexier).  Which option is best depends on your weight, riding style, and personal preference. I know, that’s not very helpful…  As a rule of thumb, Loaded says Flex1 is best for riders 170 to 250 lbs, while Flex2 is for riders 75-200 lbs.

I for one weigh about 180lbs so I’m right there in the intersection zone between the two.  I personally like the higher flex (Flex2)  because my riding focus is on carving and pumping rather than speed.  A friend of mine who’s about 175 lb and likes to freeride fast still chooses Flex2 because he likes the bouncy feel he gets in speed corners.

If you’re really not sure though, assuming you want to ride the Icarus mainly to go fast or push long distance, or you weigh 170 lbs or more, then go for Flex1.  On the other hand, if you’re really lightweight OR you mainly want to carve/pump, Flex2 may be a better choice.

Wheel wells

Loaded Icarus wheel wells

I mentioned one of the Icarus’ most notable features is its huge flared wheel wells, providing clearance for big wheels up to 80mm (or even 85mm), and making for high turning ability without risk of wheel rub.

Besides clearance, the aggressive arched contours around the wheels give you additional grip and constitute reference points for your feet when riding, helping you know where to stand and push.  In other words, the wheel wells greatly add to deck’s concave.

Since they are reinforced with extra bamboo material, the wheel flares also help make the mount points stiffer (vs the rest of the deck), increasing leverage over the trucks when riding.

Variable concave

Again, the hardened wheel well contours are part of the overall concave pattern of the Icarus.  To make up for the stiffness of the wheel wells, the deck center needed to offer more flex.

This is why the Icarus deck has steeper concave in the center, allowing you to press hard into the board without folding it, getting high energy return from pumps and carves.  Meanwhile, the concave lightens up around the edge near the flares.

Loaded Icarus variable concave

Overall, the Icarus varying concave pattern allows for a nice riding stance adapted to the different riding styles – carving, pumping, sliding – depending on how you place your feet.  The most comfortable position is probably when the feet are angled slightly, vs fully perpendicular to the deck.

Check out the Loaded Icarus here on the Loaded Boards website.

Loaded Icarus setup: trucks and wheels

So we’ve looked at the Icarus’ technically advanced, high-performance carving deck.  To take full advantage of the deck’s advanced features, however, you need to have the right trucks and wheels in your setup.

Trucks

Loaded itself suggests 3 different complete setups, all using Paris V2 trucks.  These trucks are loose, reverse kingpin 180mm 50º trucks with forgiving bushing seats which allow for deep, stable turns at both lower and higher speed.

Paris trucks V2

Upgrading to double-barreled bushings will give you even more rebound when carving and pumping.

Other trucks you can easily fit on the Icarus are Bear trucks or Gullwing Chargers (Amazon).  Loaded recommends fitting a 1/16″ shock pad between baseplate and deck, and adding washers underneath the deck.

Some trucks like Sabre, Holey, and Randall won’t work out-of-the-box with the Icarus’ drop-through construction.

Wheels

Loaded’s default stock complete (their “go-to setup”) includes 80mm Orangatang Kegels with soft Nipple bushings.  With these wheels, you shouldn’t experience any wheelbite.

The Kegels are wider wheels with excellent grip and roll speed, good for aggressive carving and pumping.  With their relatively soft 80A durometer, they also provide a very smooth ride for cruising, as they can roll over everything from pebbles to potholes.

If you’re a heavier rider, you may want to choose a harder set of Kegels, e.g. 83A, with the added benefit of a slightly higher roll speed.

If your riding mix includes some sliding, you may want to go for medium size wheels, e.g. the 70mm 83A Orangastang Stimulus.  Or, alternative quality freeride wheels such as the 75mm Durians which offer a nice mix of grip vs slide.

Or if you’re a more aggressive freestyler/freerider you may consider smaller wheels between 65 and 70mm in diameter.

It’s worth noting that for carving, the Kegels are a particularly good match for the Icarus, being so responsive and bouncy.  You may find that other wheels like the 4prez or the In Heats don’t feel as lively on the Icarus.

Check out the Loaded Icarus here on the Loaded Boards website.

The Icarus riding experience

We’ve seen that the Icarus is a great carving and pumping machine.  It carves really hard for its length and allows you to really dig into turns, almost making the back wheels slide a bit as you carve. The natural spring returns lots of energy from your pumps and turns, providing great momentum.

Check out this 6 second excerpt (0:42 – 0:48) :

Of course, you can loosen or tighten the trucks to adjust the amount of turn.

The board is also a very comfortable board to ride long distance thanks to its above-average shock absorption capability – particularly with the 75mm Durian or the 80mm Kegel wheels – including on rough asphalt.

For beginners though, merely pushing on this board may be a bit challenging because of the camber and flex: as you’re pushing off with your back foot, your front foot presses down on the deck making it flex, which can make it difficult to balance on that leg.

So, while the advanced flex is the Icarus’ greatest asset and what sets it apart from other boards, it can also be a disadvantage depending on your level and style.   It may take you a bit of patience and practice to tame the wild flex of the Icarus.  You need to find the precise foot positions within the concave curves that work for you for each kind of riding.

If you’re learning to cruise, carve and pump, however, the Icarus may be a great fit for you as its bounciness can really help you progress.  Expect to really start pumping comfortably on it after about 10 miles of practicing – including if you’re an older and/or heavier rider.

Finally, the flex of the Loaded Icarus also plays a big role in the freeriding experience it offers.  Some riders wouldn’t think about riding down big hills on it, while others love the bouncy feel they get when carving downhill and speed checking corners.

Check out the Loaded Icarus here on the Loaded Boards website.

Wrapping up

Whether or not you like the Icarus’ special riding feel, it’s an amazing board with some advanced ideas, the result of Loaded’s renowned craftsmanship.  At well over $300 it’s not cheap, yet everyone agrees you get your money’s worth.

While the Icarus’ goal in life is clearly geared at carving and pumping, including on long distances, its sturdy construction, relatively compact size, small kicks, and highly engineered flex and concave can be nice assets for exploring different sorts of freeride and even freestyle riding.

It takes time to get used to the Loaded Icarus feel, but once you do, chances are you’ll be hooked on the way it helps you discover new ways to ride your longboard.

***
Photo credits:
Featured photo: “Crouching Tiger” by @ChristianRosillo – Rider: @camilocespedes (permission: Loaded Boards)
Photo: “Classic ’93” by @ChristianRosillo – Rider: @camilocespedes (permission: Loaded Boards)



13 comments

  • Congrats on the review. Its the best out there in my opinion.
    I probably will get one of the flex 2 Icarus. But my doubt is if worth it…
    I will mostly use for pumping on flat places, intermediate distantes. Can you even not push with this board? Just pumping without pushing?
    I not sure if I go for Icarus or a Carver surfboard which you can actually not push at all.
    Can you tell me your opinion about this?
    Thank you and gz again!
    Cheers!

    • Hey Emerson, thanks for the good words! If you get a short Carver (e.g. 29″ to 32″) you’ll be able to pump very quickly and easily but it won’t work that well for longer distance pumping. On the other hand, the Icarus is great for pumping but only once you reach a certain speed, it’ll be hard to get it pumping from a standstill or uphill due to the long wheelbase.

      So what can you do? Personally, I chose a Loaded Poke with Carver trucks which works really well for both surf training and distance pumping. The Poke is 34″ long with a 20.75″ wheelbase which is significantly shorter than the Icarus’s 38.5″ and 28.25″ wheelbase. Shorter wheelbase means you can start pumping earlier, while longer wheelbase means you need some speed at first but you get more pumping speed afterwards. I personally love My Poke + Carver for surf training, I can pump from a standstill and up a small slope. On the other hand, I can pump on it for miles (no pushing9 with sufficient speed and without exhausting myself like on a small Carver. Check out this post on the Poke with the Carver CX setup.

      Of course this also depends on your weight and height. I’m 6″1 (1m87) 80kg so 34″ is the minimum length I want for my pumping board. Another option is to get a longer Carver like the Haedron 35″. Carvers have more of a surf vibe than Loaded, I like the cool looks but Loaded boards are just amazing, so lightweight and comfortable because of the concave etc.

      To summarize, get the Icarus if you want to really cover distance while carving hard and pumping at higher speeds. If you want to do bottom turns and cutbacks AND also be able to ride for a few miles without huge efforts, then get either a longer (34-35″) surfskate or something like the Loaded Poke which is specifically designed to also work with a CX setup.
      Hope this helps! Check out the comments in my surfskate post for similar discussions. Aloha!

  • Hi there,
    I loved your detailed review. I was hoping for a little guidance/advice. I keep looking at the Icarus, Vanguard (short version), and Tan Tien. Before I explain, I’d like to mention this is all for lower speeds. I’m not a high speed rider; however, I do live in quite a hilly area.

    I usually carve pretty hard to reduce/control speed, and i’m not too sure which one of these boards would be best at this task. It looks as though the Vanguard is floaty and soft and the Icarus is tight and snappy. I’m not sure which style would be better for reducing speed. This is pretty important because most hills in my area are way too steep and long to just bomb.

    Does the Vanguard also pump well, or is there a night and day difference?

    Lastly, I occasionally enjoy doing a few slides here and there. I don’t do high-speed sliding, but do enjoy pushing the back out a bit. Is the tan tien the best sliding board? I’ve read that the Vanguard slides very smoothly, but I’ve also heard its hard to break free because it’s top mounted.

    You can probably tell that I’m pretty torn between these boards. I would really appreciate some guidance/advice. Thanks!

    • Hi Kyle,

      I am not the writer of this article, but I do own a Loaded Icarus (flex 2) and have ridden a Tan Tien a few times, just so you know.

      personally, I think the vanguard is your worst option. It is high of the ground and has a lot of flex (depending on which flex you choose of course). I would recommend either the Loaded Icarus or Tan Tien.

      The Icarus has wheel well’s. these wheel wells are made form a stiffer bamboo. So if you wana loos some speed by going sideways you actually have more stability by placing your feet there. also, the wheel well’s creates a nice pocket for your feet to rest and give you more control in your slide.

      personally, I never slide my Icarus. where I live it’s all flat so no need to.

      a friend of mine actually has a Tan Tien Flex 3. even though he has flex 3, it’s stiffer than a Loaded Icarus with Flex 2.

      I think both will suit you fine. It really depends on what else you wana do on your longboard. If it’s pumping, go with the Icarus and if it’s doing some tricks and sliding, go for the Tan Tien.

      but remember, these are just my opinions and speculations.

      kind regards,

      Robin

    • Hi Kyle,

      Sorry for the late response, you may have already made your selection by now. I’ll still summarize here the feedback you must have gotten from Loaded as it might benefit other riders faced with the same question. Here goes:

      “The different Loaded models cover different points along the spectrum of ease of sliding vs. ease of pumping and carving. What makes the Icarus easier to slide is exactly what makes it slightly less optimal for ultra hard carving and pumping like what you might experience on the Vanguard.

      Since you seem to be focused more on the carving (without sliding) ability to control speed, I would lean more toward the Vanguard or even the Fattail to preserve the topmount-camber combo. As for sliding, my understanding is you want to be able to slide a bit but you’re not looking for a total freeride machine.

      Ultimately, any of these boards (including the Fattail and Vanguard) will be more than capable of scooting the back-end out for little speed checks. It comes down to technique, experience, and setup.

      I think that out of the three boards here, the Vanguard and Icarus will be better for pumping than the Tan Tien. And of those two, the Icarus will be better for sliding than the Vanguard. Tough decision, but I’m pretty confident you’ll be happy with any of the options you’re considering!”

    • I would think so but I haven’t tried it. The difference with the Poke is 1) the longer wheelbase and 2) the drop-through mount. Not sure how the Carver fares in drop-though config. As for the long wheelbase, pumping from a standstill will require more effort but once you have some momentum your pumps will reap more speed than with a short wheelbase. Not as responsive and turny but faster and typically better for distance pumping.

  • Hi!
    Im currently looking at buying my first board after learning to ride by borrowing my friends 42 inch Vanguard.
    I like the way the Vanguard feels so far, so im looking for a similar board for cruising and carving with some possibilty to pump (can’t do it yet but looks pretty fun). 42” is a bit long for my taste however as it’s really bulky to carry around and i don’t really use the length anyway. I also like the idea of having it being a little easier to push, so im looking for lower deck.
    Based on this, do you think that the Icarus is the choice for me? I’ve also been debating between the Poke and Tan Tien but dont know how these compare for my needs.
    Any advice is deeply appreciated. Cheers!

    • Hi Pete, if you want to do serious pumping than the Icarus is probably your best choice. Being a drop-through it’s also lower riding and easier to push. I agree 42″ can be cumbersome unless you really need the length, 38″ is much more manageable and still comfortable for long rides. The Icarus is somewhat better than the Tan Tien for pumping – check out the March 10 comment above for some comparative suggestions from Loaded. You’ll find the Icarus page on the Loaded site here. Ride on!

  • Hi, I am too looking for my first longboats. I can’t choose between the vanguard and the dervish sama. Reading about them the vanguard seems great but a bit too focused on pumping, whereas the dervish seems more versatile. I also read some comments from experienced riders that many go back to top mounts as they give more unique, flowing ride. I don’t intend to do tricks and so on (not looking for a skateboard) but since I won’t be buying many boards for many occasions I need something to do it all, carving, some downhill, some sliding. Also where I live the road surface is pretty poor so I need something that will absorb the shock. I am also looking for the Arbor timeless pintail Vs Arbor axis, with similar confusion.

    • Hello Maciej, it basically depends on your level. The Vanguard is great for super hard pumping and carving due to its topmount design and camber profile. It’s also good for downhill and sliding provided you have the skills, for a beginner, the Sama’s low-riding drop-through design may feel more secure for going fast and sliding. Like you said, top mounts have a nice and flowing ride but they’re also more responsive and less stable at speed and when going sideways. In short, if your main things is carving, and if you’re confident you can master sliding on a topmount, go for the Vanguard. If you’re still learning and want mostly speed, the Sama may be a better choice.

      If you choose the Vanguard, check out the Carving and Pumping setup which includes 75mm In Heat wheels than are quite smooth on rough pavement. Same thing For the Sama (you can see the setup here). You can also choose a softer flex relative to your weight for added shock absorption – more flex can also help with carving, but can make a topmount less stable at speed.

      Hope this is helpful!
      Ride on,
      Jesse

  • Thanks for the artical.I have searched a lot on internet for Icarus,but gained nothing.There are few LDP players in China.And the players won’t share so so deep about Icarus.Most of them just says “buy the setup of xxx in my shop”,dont’ tell me why it’s right setup.
    Thanks again.

    • Hello, thanks for your comment and your additional suggestion:

      “I suggest to add some articles about the principles such as the different of Paris Trucks 50° VS 43°,180mm vs 165mm,how to chose your PU (different styles\weight. Too many choices for beginners, that’s unfriendly for beginners.”

      Ride on!

About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

Affiliate disclaimer

Ridingboards.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.