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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Theeve Trucks Review: Part 3

I reviewed a set of 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks shortly after they were first available and posted a 4-month follow up review earlier today. In short, I like Theeve trucks so much I am a faithful convert to Theeve trucks after years of relying on Indys when I really needed the job done. The Theeves turn and respond like loose trucks but have all the stability of tight trucks, a remarkable feat of engineering. The build quality on the first version of the 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks was superior to most trucks but not quite up to par: I had a manufacturing defect in one truck that caused a bent axle. Over the years, I've had flaws in my Independent trucks and sent them back under warranty for replacements. Theeve did the same: I contacted Hayley at Theeve, told her about the bent axle, she said there were some manufacturing hiccups with the first batch of 5.85 trucks, and promptly sent me a new set of 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks with the new design.
Here's a comparison of the two designs:
5.85 Theeve TiAX, new design on the left in black, old design on the right in raw
I was never fond of the spindly design of the first version of the 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks. It seemed a little outdated. So I was happy to see that Theeve gave the redesigned truck a modern, unique appearance that sets it apart from other skateboard trucks out there. The new design is beefy, well-balanced, hardcore, and still one of the lightest 149 trucks out there. The new design weighs the same as the old design, or is close enough not to make any difference. The trucks are extremely light, and for an 8.5" axle truck, they are lighter than most 8" trucks and many of the 7.75" trucks.


The build quality on the trucks is better than the first batch, too. I handle and skate lots of different types of skateboard trucks, and until this redesigned Theeve came along, none have ever matched the near-perfection of Independent trucks. Many trucks out there have casting marks on the hangers, casting overflow on the axles, spaces and bumps where the casting wasn't completely even, uneven axle placement in the hanger (extremely common in Gullwings and also seen on one Venture V5), uneven density of aluminum across the truck, damaged threads on kingpins and axles, coarse threading -the wrong type - on a kingpin (true! It was a Tensor magnesium), and other problems. Independent trucks seem to suffer none of the problems plaguing the casting of most skateboard trucks. The only flaws I've ever seen in Independent trucks are misaligned mounting holes, a misaligned pivot cup hole, and a mounting hole on the baseplate that was fouled with excess paint. The redesigned 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks are the first trucks I've seen with build quality that surpasses even Independent. Everything is just perfect. The paint is evenly applied, the axles are mounted perfectly in the hangers, the threading on the axles and kingpins has already been cleaned up, the holes are perfectly drilled. Everything is just right. After inspection, I mounted them up and hit the skatepark.
5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks mounted on my park board (Creature Stu Graham 8.8 x 32.5)
I learned from my first set of the Theeve trucks that I like to loosen the front truck 1 turn and put Bones Hardcore hard bushings in the back truck and tighten until the kingpin nut sits flush with the top of the kingpin bolt. The 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks come with Bones medium bushings, and in the black Theeves they look okay:
5.85 Theeve TiAX in black with stock Bones Hardcore medium bushings
However, Bones makes the Hardcore bushings in black now in addition to white, and the black Theeves look awesome with the black bushings mounted:
5.85 Theeve TiAX in black with new black Bones Hardcore hard bushings. Looks good, huh? Theeve, are you taking note of how awesome the black Theeves look with the black Bones Hardcore bushings?
The black Theeves would also look good with the black Bones medium bushings, as they would have little yellow caps on the bushings that would be a nice highlight of color on the otherwise blacked-out truck. The black Theeves also have black bolts, nuts, and washers, and the ends of the axles are blackened, too:
5.85 Theeve TiAX with black Bones Hardcore hard bushings. All black looks awesome.

Even the speed washers are black. It looks awesome. All black is the perfect color combination for my Creature decks.

The performance of the newly redesigned 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks was exactly like the first batch. The trucks are miracles of engineering. They turn and respond like loose trucks but have the stable on-center feel of tight trucks. I don't even know how that's possible, but Theeve has done it. They feel smooth, predictable, stable, and responsive. Most of all, they are smoother and more reliably responsive than Independent trucks. Theeves make my Indys feel twitchy, and that is a major feat, as my Indys used to make every other truck feel twitchy, even many longboard, reverse-kingpin trucks. The Theeves perform better than the Independents, and I never thought the day would come when a truck would do that, but Theeves have. The Bones bushings take all of 10 minutes of carving around the park to break in. I didn't even adjust the kingpin bolts after initial set up. I used the exact same number of turns as my first Theeves, and the trucks responded exactly the same. That's the type of consistency that I've found is typical of the Theeve trucks. Not a lot of tuning is involved, just set up and go.

The first grind on my first Theeves, which were raw (unpainted, that is), was on metal coping, and everything went smoothly and predictably. My first grind on my new Theeves, which are painted black, was on the same metal coping. The grind was slippery because of the painted truck. So I went over to a cement sidewalk, waxed up the edges, and slappy grinded the paint off the grinding surface of the trucks. I went back into the skatepark, 50-50ed the coping, and the trucks locked in predictably and reliably. Problem solved.
5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks in black. Gotta grind the paint off on some concrete to get good grinds on metal coping. It's a cinch.
I skated the Theeves hard for 2 hours this morning. I was amazed once again with how much Theeve trucks improve my skating. What the Theeves offer me is consistency from trick to trick. I first noticed it on 180 ollies. With the Theeves, my 180 ollies swung right around perfectly and the landing was always nearly exactly 180 degrees. This happened every time I did them, even when my legs got tired. This morning, when I was testing the new 5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks, I spent some time ollieing a traffic cone turned on its side. Every ollie had consistent pop and consistent landing. I even landed one ollie extremely sketchy, kind of bow-legged with my back foot hanging way off the board and my heel right over the bolts, my front foot with the toes right on the bolts and heel hanging way off, and I totally rolled right out of it without touching a foot down or even slowing down. With Theeves, I pop every ollie with consistency because the trucks have that tight-truck feel on center, and I roll out of every landing because the trucks have that loose-truck feel when turning. For good measure I even did some flatland stuff with my fat park board and handily popped a casper flip, rail flip, shuvits, and even some old-school 360 spins. With no other 149 truck can I reliably freestyle an 8.8"-wide skateboard. I will keep a look out for when Theeve finally makes a low truck in the 5.0 or 5.25 size so I can replace the Ventures on my flatland board.
5.85 Theeve TiAX trucks after first session. New hanger design with the same awesome performance. Best trucks ever!

Theeve trucks are just the best, hands down. Before Theeve trucks converted me, I never thought I'd give up a pair of Indys that wasn't ground down the axle. But now I'll say it: does anybody want to buy some barely used Independent 149s?

21 comments:

  1. ill buy the indys!!!!

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  2. why would anyone buy the indys after wat you said about the theeves?

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  3. Anon 9-17, if you want the Indys, send me your addy

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  4. Anon 10-18, that's the joke, right?

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  5. Ok the final review,
    Good news, after 100+ hours of skating the bulging has not returned. So the only problem with the trucks has dissappeared.
    Here is what I did:
    Bought trucks, left at factory tightness, bulging bushings started after 40 hours of skating.
    Drew a line down the kingpin, nut , bushings and loosened truck completely, it took 5 and a half rotations to get the nut off, I then turned the bushings around 180 degrees so the bulge was facing the tail/nose, I then retightened the trucks back to original factory setting and started skating again. I repeated this process(after 40 hours skating) 3 times and the problem seems to be gone-no bulging. Drawing a line makes it easy to count the rotations and see where the bulge on the bushings are once you have taken the nut off. Still very little wear from grinding and overall very happy with the trucks. I will upgrade from tiax to tih when these wear out.

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  6. nice review!
    if only all skate equipment reviews were this good.

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  7. Awesome detailed review on the Theeves. I want to start skating again after not stepping on a board for 10+ years. Need to find a job first though. Can't afford to get hurt when I'm unemployed and uninsured.

    When I finally get around to picking out parts for a board, I'll probably go for these trucks.

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  8. I've been riding the first batch TIAX 5.25 since January 2010 and after a full year I completely agree with you. These trucks are great. Super light, grind good and turn better than Independent - and I was a former diehard independent rider like yourself for the past 10 years (and Ventures prior to that). I still like independents but hands down I prefer the smooth turning Theeves.

    The only minor issue I've had is with the bushings, I rotate them also, kinda like Russ. That said, the bushings are a non issue - in my experience all bushings eventually deform and are easily rotated/replaced.

    Also, I can't believe the TITANIUM AXLES BENT!?! I bet the birdman was pissed about the manufacturing defect!! Glad they replaced them for you. Mine are fine and I hardly ever get axle slip.

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  9. My Axles also bent, I have 5.25 Tiax trucks.
    Can you sent me an email who to contact at theeve.
    my email is Theeves@hotmail.nl

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  10. thanks for the detailed and lengthy review! i really appreciate the time you put into testing and commenting on these trucks at different points in their lives. hard to find a home review not written by a 12 year old grom who has no knowledge or real experience of good vs bad trucks. ive been shredding on indys for about 2 years now and as i start to skate faster in bigger transitions the stability you discussed might be just what i need to remedy my "twitchy" indys (yes they are twitchy, i can't seem find a middle ground of loose enough to carve but tight enough to avoid wobbles). my next pair of trucks will definitely be a pair of theeves. thanks again!

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  11. Anon 5-18,
    I like the Theeves a lot in big transitions. They take a while to get used to the nuances, but you'll appreciate the stability right away. I definitely recommend turning your bushings as they break in. I don't get wobbles on Theeves at all, neither on big hills nor big transition. Just smooth.

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  12. does anyone know if it happens with the csx?

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  13. If what happens with the CSX? Bushing bulge? That's a good question.

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  14. hey, are they high or lows?

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  15. They are mids. They're very slightly lower than standard Independents of the same size, like 2mm (that's less than 1/4 of the axle thickness). They are not as low as Destructo mids. They're not as high as Ace highs of the same size.

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  16. Man, that's more like a scientific report than a review. Almost irritatingly so at times, but you can take that as a compliment. It's actually frustrating sometimes how few relevant skateboard gear reviews are out there. Why don't the mags do those in-depth reviews? It's more or less limited to copying the companys press release. Anyhow: I got my tiax 5.5's today, and I am stunned! One fantastic feature I haven't seen mentioned by anyone so far about these trucks, is that they seem to be engineered so it's impossible to get wheelbite. I run 55mm wheels, and the nuts loosened so approx 1/3 of the nut is above the kingpin. Still seems like I got at least 3/8" to go before wheelbite would occur, if not more. That is NOT the case with my indy stage 10 149's. I run both with bones medium bushings. Of course, the slightly wider hanger would give a little more wheelbite, but nonetheless. These trucks stand out in that department as well. It seems I could use 65mm wheels on these trucks, with no risers, run em loose, and still not get wheelbite. Anyone else noticed this? Actually, I'm gonna try to slap on some 65mm's tomorrow, just to test how sick these trucks really are. And no, no risers, for the sake of the experiment.

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  17. Awesome! On the 5.5's, you probably won't get a lot of wheelbite. What width board do you ride? I rode some 5.5's for a while on an 8.25" board and didn't have any problems.
    You can see in my post-session picture above that I did get wheelbite with the 5.85's; there are two sets of wheelbites, the smaller set from the Theeves, the larger bites from the Independents. I run my front truck very, very loose: with Bones Medium bushings, the nut is on the kingpin just enough to grip the loctite.

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  18. I also want to say that wheelbite only really throws me off my board when I land unevenly on the board. I used to wax the front wheelwells to prevent the wheelbite from messing with me, but I found most wheels bite right through the wax. At some point I got in the habit of using squares of Slip Tape in my wheel wells - this works perfectly and I never get thrown from my board anymore no matter what wheels I'm running or how loose my trucks are. With the Slip Tape in the wheelwells I've also loosened up the back truck and changed out the bushings to Bones Mediums as well. Surfy turny fun all around, and I'm rolling out of every landing a lot better. Sometimes when I land a trick I know my wheels bit the board, but with the Slip Tape I just keep rolling. Nice.

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  19. 1st of all, I mounted one 65 mm wheel, and realized it would give wheelbite, and since I don't want the 'theeve-deck' to be that high off the ground, I didn't proceed to add risers, and thus dropped that experiment. I bought 'em for an 8" deck, on which they fit perfectly; wheels align perfectly with the deck. But I realized that deck is slightly too short for me (I have long legs), so I put 'em on my 8.5x32.5 deck. They're ever so slightly too narrow for that deck, at least aesthetically, but not by much. added an extra washer to widen the truck slightly. That's a fine ride now. But I want to get a 8.2x32.5 with a 14-14.5 wheelbase. That would be perfect I think. Then I could slap my indy 149's back on the 8.5, with risers and the 65mm wheels. Btw, what is Slip Tape? And where can I get it?

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  20. Slip tape is a thick plastic coating you put on the underside of your deck. I'm doing a full review on it right now, to be published soon. Read more about it here: http://www.sliptape.net/

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