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Loaded Tarab II Review: Lofti’s Dream Dancer Reloaded

Loaded Tarab II Review: Lofti’s Dream Dancer Reloaded

Longboard dancing is a fantastic discipline that combines carving, board walking, and elements of freestyle.  The Loaded Tarab is one of the best dancer boards out there, a high-performance board specifically designed for dancing. It’s also a great longboard for distance commuting.

The Tarab II, with its roomy platform, rockered shape with subtle concave, reinforced kicks, and highly durable composite construction, is probably the most sophisticated dancing longboards out there.

V2 is a delightful evolution of the first version with nicely improved features and layup.

See the Tarab reviews and setups on Loaded’s website

Loaded Tarab II in a nutshell

At 47″ in length and 4.9 lb in weight, the Tarab II is shorter and lighter than the 48.5 Bhangra. The latest Tarab version is designed to meet the needs of an increasingly technical and “freestylish” longboard dancing crowd. 

Longboard dancing is growing in complexity and skills, blurring the lines with longboard freestyle, mixing flip and kick tricks alongside classic footwork, cross-step, and spin moves.

Another big trend the Tarab II is catering to is the eco-friendly, fitness-driven alternative urban transportation movement. 

Besides its vocation as a dedicated dancer, the Tarab II is also a very capable and comfortable long distance commuter.

Loaded Tarab II review

Loaded Tarab II specs

Size47″ x 9.5″
Weight (deck only)4.9 lb
Wheelbase30.5″ – 31.25″ (adjustable)
ConcaveMild with uplifted rails
Kickslarge, flattish
Flexstiff to subtle
Trucks (default)Paris 180mm V3 50º
Wheels (default)Orangatang Fat Free 65mm 86a

You can see the official specs on Loaded’s site.

Key Tarab II highlights

  • Huge 47″ x 9.5″ foot platform offers tons or room for moving, cross-stepping and spinning while carving continuously
  • 30.5 to 31.25″ adjustable wheelbase – allows further tweaking the board’s pop and flex
  • Large double kicks with mellow angle not to interfere with footwork. The kicks are reinforced to add more pop and protect the board from hard landings during tricks 
  • Super durable bamboo and basalt construction, reinforced rails for hard upside down landings
  • Slight concave for comfy carving. Rocker also brings the deck closer to the ground for stability and easy pushing
  • Bamboo top layer offering smooth surface for pirouetting
  • Deep wheel wells for solid clearance when cruising and carving.
  • Rail grabs on deck bottom for hand-held flip tricks
  • Choice of flex – stiff for freestyle or subtle flex for responsive carving and dancing
  • Cork bottom layer for vibration damping

My personal experience on the Tarab II

The first impression on the Tarab II is one of an buttery smooth ride and a huge platform which gives confidence even to a newer dancer for doing cross steps and even some pirouetting.

When carried around, the board feels incredibly lightweight. Running it against a wall didn’t even make a dent.

The default setup includes 65mm Orangatang Fat Free wheels with a 86a duro, rounded lip, offset core, and 37mm contact patch. These small (for this board size), hard, and slidey wheels result in a technical setup well-suited for advanced tech tricks and slides.

Personally though, I prefer the feeling of a set of 70mm Stimulus or even 4Prez on this board for ultimate carving grip and smoothness when boardwalking or distance commuting.

The kicks on the Tarab II are huge and almost flat on the inner half. This effectively expands the foot platform and makes me feel safe placing my feet on the kicks when walking – an invitation to manuals, but the Tarab won’t go flipping unless I want it to.

Meanwhile, the outermost half of the kicks is steeper, making it a breeze to kick this huge deck up into the air. The basalt in the kicks gives the board an astonishing amount of pop for its size.

Another thing worth noting is the ample grip-free bamboo center area which lets me move my feet without catching. Although not ideal for mongo pushers like me as there’s no grip tape where my rear foot sits.

The Flex 2 version of the Tarab that I ride gives me a very lively feel when carving and even pumping, enhanced by the uplifted rail (which provide great leverage) and the carvy RKP Paris trucks.

IMO though, even Flex 2 on the Tarab doesn’t feel as bouncy as the the Mata Hari’s “one flex fits all” – Fiberglass definitely has a springier feel than Basalt.

The deck rides low to the ground, which feels stable and boosts your confidence for trying dance moves while carving. Great for pushing too. I didn’t notice any bottoming out on larger bumps.

I really love the longboard surf type feel I get on this board. Though I’m not an advanced dancer, I feel comfortable trying walking moves and Hang 5s as well as simple shuvit tricks.

Cruising distance on this board simply feels awesome. I’m amazed at how tight turning the Tarab is despite its massive 47″.

If you’re an advanced dancer and/or freestyler, you’ll likely make the most of the Tarab’s performance capabilities – tons of power under the hood.

Tarab II construction

Loaded loves bamboo (and we love Loaded!) for its strength and flex properties. Many of the existing longboards in Loaded’s lineup use a hybrid bamboo + composite mix such as fiberglass for high strength, special flex, and pop.

Though the Tarab II deck also has a hybrid sandwich construction, it uses basalt composite layers in place of the usual fiberglass component around the bamboo core.  The basalt material has different characteristics compared to fiberglass:

  • It’s more lightweight and resistant at equal weight, resulting in a thinner and lighter deck – around 1lb lighter than the Bhangra.
  • It has a different flex response than fiberglass, less bouncy and more shock-absorbing – a better fit given the Tarab’s significant length
  • It’s eco-friendly, being based on volcanic minerals vs chemicals (toxicity)

Tarab II deck shape

The Tarab deck is fully symmetrical with huge kicks reflecting its dancing and freestyle focus.  The kicks are large enough to flip this huge board around when dancing, particularly with the longer wheelbase setting. 

The tail and nose kicks are mildly angled to maximize foot platform for footwork and dancing moves.

A subtle rocker combines with a mild elliptical concave that gets steeper as you get closer to the edges. The rocker lowers the deck closer to the ground in the middle, resulting in effortless pushing on distances.

The concave helps keep your feet comfy and secure and adds carving leverage under your feet. 

The deep and wide CNC wheel wells, and the large wheel cutouts result in ample wheel clearance for continuous carving and for kick tricks.

On the bottom side of the deck are grab rail channels that run parallel to the rails to facilitate grabbing the board with the hand during a freestyle trick.

Tarab II Flex

You can hardly talk about a Loaded board without mentioning flex. Among Loaded’s strengths is the specific, well-engineered amount of flex implemented through a unique mix of material and layup.

The Tarab has a nice and even flex, though with a “damp” kind of feel.  The Tarab II comes in 2 flex options. Flex 1 is the stiffer one, preferred for aggressive freestyle-focused riding style involving pops and flip tricks with heavy landings. 

A stiffer flex helps you stay on your board when landing a jump, instead of getting pushed off by the rebound.

Flex 1 is implemented with a thicker bamboo top veneer for a stiffer and damper feel in pops and landings.  Even if you don’t do a lot of freestyle tricks, Flex 1 is typically a good choice for heavier riders (e.g. > 180lb).  

Flex 2 is a bit more lightweight and livelier vs Flex 1.  It’s recommended for traditional longboard dancers who primarily walk and spin around on the board with little freestyle trickery. Also suitable for lighter riders. 

The added amount of flex gives the board a more responsive feel when carving, and bouncier when walking around the board, something many dancers appreciate. 

Ultimately,  which flex you choose depends on your personal preferences, body build, and riding style.

Tarab II durability

I’ve already mentioned the Tarab’s solid mixed construction resulting from the bamboo + basalt sandwich layup.  The Tarab is specially designed for durability. 

Loaded added an extra layer of basalt reinforcement in the nose and tail to enhance the wear resistance, pop, and overall feel of the Tarab compared to the previous construction.

The board holds up really well in the face of rough manuals, kick flips, shove-its, varials, etc.

Tarab II grip and vibration damping

The old Tarab had a cork top layer which offered grip even if the grip tape was removed. However, advanced dancers often prefer a smoother surface for footwork.

The Tarab II’s beautiful top bamboo veneer gives you that smooth dancing surface, completed with minimal grip work. The grip design is cut with great care, reinforced over the kicks and reduced in the center to minimize interference with footwork.

Instead the cork layer was moved to the bottom of the deck, and it’s drop dead gorgeous. It makes this board really one of a kind, a piece of art.

Besides the incredible aesthetics, the cork layer is there to provide extra vibration damping when riding on rough surface, similar to the Icarus or Tesseract. This adds to the natural damping properties of the basalt composite layers.

Tarab II setup

Loaded’s recommended setup for the Tarab II includes Paris 180mm V3 (50º) RKP trucks, and 65mm Orangatang Fat Free wheels with 86A durometer.

It’s a versatile type of config suitable for dancing & carving, as well as freestyle and tricks. The Paris longboard trucks make for flowy, responsive, and controlled turns.

The Fat Frees offer good grip for carving, while their light weight and harder duro makes them suitable for freestyle tricks and technical slides. The 65mm diameter is also great for some fast distance pushing.

Alternatively, you can order a custom setup here.

Loaded Tarab II vs Mata Hari

Torn between the Tarab II and the Mata Hari? Here’s a recap of the main differences between these two fantastic dancers:

Size47″ x 9.5″44.5″ x 9.5″
Wheelbase30.5″ – 31.25″ (adjustable)27.25″ / 28.25″ / 29.25″ (adjustable)
Weight4.9 lb4.6 lb
ConstructionBamboo core, basalt, cork layerBamboo core, fiberglass, epoxy
Flex optionsFlex 1, Flex 2One flex fits all
GraphicsArab styleArt Deco style
Recommended setupParis 180mm + Fat Free 65mm 86a Paris 180mm + Fat Free 65mm 80a
Price (complete from)$440$339

The Tarab II has a slightly longer deck, flatter kicks, and damper flex. The Mata Hari can be even more technical and freestylish thanks to its shorter deck, bouncier flex, and more aggressive kicks. These things make the Mata Hari an even more tech freestyle-oriented dancer.

Check out my complete review of the Mata Hari.

Loaded Tarab II vs Bhangra

Here’s a recap of the main differences between the Tarab II and the Bhangra:

Size47″ x 9.5″48.5″ x 9.5″
Wheelbase30.5″ – 31.25″ (adjustable)32.75″
Weight4.9 lb5.1″ – 5.5″
ConstructionBamboo core, basalt, cork layerBamboo core, basalt, cork layer
Flex optionsFlex 1, Flex 2 Flex <1 (stiffer), Flex 2
GraphicsArab styleMexican style
Recommended setupParis 180mm + Fat Free 65mm 86a Paris 180mm + Stimulus 70mm 80a
Price (complete from)$440$398

Compared to the Tarab II (and the Mata Hari), the Bhangra is the longest, most directional-carving and footwork-oriented board. It’s mostly geared toward the less technical freestyle end of riding, more aligned with the classic Adam Colton era of dancing.

See my full review of the Loaded Bhangra

Loaded Tarab II vs Tarab I

In case you own the Tarab I and are wondering whether to upgrade to v2, here’s a recap of the main differences between the old Tarab and the Tarab II

Lighter weightWeighed 5.5 lb (max) deck onlyWeighs 4.9 lb deck only
Kicks reinforcementsUrethane bumpers in the kicks Basalt reinforcements in the kicks instead
Cork layer movedCork top layerCork bottom layer
Bottom side graphicsArab style calligraphy on bambooColored curves & leaves on cork
Recommended setupStimulus 70mm 80a duroFat Free 65mm 86a duro

Functionally speaking though, the two are relatively similar. Whether it’s worth upgrading obviously depends on the condition of your old Tarab, your budget, and how mesmerized you are by the gorgeous cork bottom with its new graphics!

Final words

If you’re into dancing or classic longboard freestyle, then the Loaded Tarab II is probably on your radar. It’s price tag is well-deserved if you ask me. 

An astonishing mixture of high-quality material, engineering, craftsmanship, and riding expertise, the Tarab II is a highly optimized dancer, some might say a piece of art.

In terms of riding experience, the Tarab II distinguishes itself through its lighter deck, damper kind of flex, and impressive durability. 

The damping cork, the basalt layers, the huge foot space, and the low riding deck also make it an incredibly comfortable board to cruise and commute on. 

Check out the Tarab here on Loaded’s site

Credits: some of the photos in this article are courtesy of Loaded Boards