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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Preparations: 149 truck test

With the arrival of the 54mm Kontrol wheels yesterday, I'm finally ready to begin comparison testing of 149 trucks. 149 trucks are used for boards in sizes from 8.1" - 8.75". The size is 149 because the hangers on all these trucks are all 149 mm in width. The axles aren't always 8.5", but that is the most common axle width in the 149 size group.
In this comparison test, I will compare the following trucks:
- Independent Standard 149 Stage X Mark II
- Independent Forged Hollow 149 Stage X Mark II
- Ace 44
- Venture 5.8
- Destructo 5.75
The test equipment: 2 Creature decks, 2 sets of Kontrol wheels, 2 sets of VXB bearings, and, from left to right, Indy 149 standard, Indy 149 Forged Hollow, Destructo 5.75, Ace 44, and Venture 5.8 trucks.

For testing, I'm using two of my Creature decks in the Vampire Stake shape. This is an 8.5" shape that is my favorite shape for all-around skating. I can do street, flatland, bowl, ramp, travel, whatever on this deck.
Creature Entrail Apocalypse 8.5" x 32.5" with Black Diamond grip tape.
Each deck gets gripped with a full sheet of Black Diamond, my favorite grip tape.
I will mount one set of trucks on each of the decks and jump from one to the other to do a proper comparison test. These pairwise comparisons will give a good sense of how the trucks perform against one another. For more extensive testing on each of the trucks after the pairwise comparison, I will skate each set of trucks exclusively for 1 week on a variety of terrains. I will work the street course and mini ramp at my local indoor park, the bowl at my local outdoor park, my grind rail, my grind box, and my flatland area of my driveway. For good measure, I will also mount and skate each of the truck sets on a Creature 8.26" popsicle deck.
Kontrol Wheels in size 54mm with VXB bearings installed
For wheels, I'm using two identical sets of Kontrol wheels in size 54mm. These are my favorite wheels. They're about 101a and have a great overall feel. For bearings, I'm using VXB bearings. If you don't know VXB, you're missing out. They're the best bearings on the market, and I've used all of the major bearings: Bones Swiss, Rockin' Rons, Bones Reds, Shake Junt 7, Indepedent 7s, the list goes on and on. None of them perform like VXB. I just simply never have any problems at all with VXB bearings.
I'll ride the stock bushings first, then fine tune the trucks with aftermarket bushings. The Thunder rebuild kit is thrown in the mix to see if Thunder bushings - which are good bushings - can help other truck brands.
All trucks will be ridden first with their stock bushings, then I will change out the bushings and pivot cups as necessary to fine tune the trucks to their maximum performance. I have aftermarket  bushings from many different manufacturers, including a set of 90a bushings from Kontrol wheels that I've been itching to try out.
Indy 149 vs. Ace 44. Aces really do look like older Independents.

Indy 149 vs. Ace 44. I rode one of the decks at the park a few days ago.
First up: Indy standard vs Ace 44. Comparison testing begins next week, so stay tuned for the pairwise comparison first, then, after that, I'll post my observations each week about riding each set of trucks in order.
Independent standard 149 Stage X Mark II

Ace 44
Stay tuned!


  1. Hey man, nice to see that your blog is still alive and you've upload an update :) always enjoy your reviews! Keep on going and thanks for your time and hopefully upcoming skateboard related stuff. Cheers -Chris

    1. Thanks, man. I've been trying to be more comprehensive in my reviews, so I took a little break to develop new testing methods.

  2. btw, what about Theeve trucks? Still riding them- or did you skip 'em (and sold) in fact of the bushing problem? Cause I'm thinking about to get them- cause a friend of mine bought these trucks some days ago and I made a "test ride" with them- and I fall in love with them... but if "every" Theeve Truck (TiAX) got this "bushing/ pivot problem" I wouldn't buy them for sure... but I need new trucks and don't want to spent some weeks/ month to see- if a friend of mine will get these problem or not ;)



    1. About Theeve, I don't know. I ride them every now and then. The Bones Bushings popping out were really disappointing. And yes, every Theeve truck, be they CSX, TiAX, or TiH, pop their bushings. I ride Indy red bushings in my Theeves right now. A little sneak preview of the upcoming comparison: the improvements Independent made with the Stage 10 Mark II improved the turning. The Stage 10 Mark II trucks now feel exactly like Theeve V2 trucks. I think one of the reasons the Indy riders want barrel bottom bushings now is because the Stage 10 Mark II feels like Theeve with the conical bottom bushing and feels like an Independent with the barrel bottom bushing. In the Stage 10 Mark II: conical bottom = surfy, barrel bottom = turn and set.
      Indy also upped the game by bringing back anodized trucks and generally offering more colors.
      Theeve is going to have to improve their design for the next iteration. Inside Antics, Theeve's parent company, they're calling the Lows and the bottom-washer-fix mid trucks the V3.

    2. Hey Bertrand,

      thanks for your time and help...
      than I think it's the best way to stay away from theeve (if you want to ride them with bones bushings) and maybe check out the upcoming v3 (after some reviews/ feedback are up).

      But the Stage 10 Mark II sounds very interesting... didn't thought that they are "such a big step forward"- I'm excited to looking forward to your upcoming review of them.

      Again, it's very nice that you put this great blog up and keep it going- you give me a lot if inspiration to try different stuff, for example trucks, and not only do the "main stream" stuff.
      So: big thanks from the bottom of my heart for it and keep on shredding, bro :)

  3. Which VXB's?

    I want to order a bulk set. But many price points. Do you have a product number to go by?

    They sell no shield, metal shield, removable shield regular, removable Teflon shield (the one's I am interested in) and a ceramic set with buikt in spacer.

    Thanks a bunch, The Bertrand!

    1. My favorite for all around skating is Kit 7602; they're strong and extremely fast. My favorite ceramic is kit 7809, they stay nice and cool on downhill runs and cruising.

      If I were ordering for a shop, I would get:
      - 75% kit 7602 for the general audience, like a Bones Red / Shake Junt level bearing
      - 15% kit 7809 for a "best" ceramic
      - 5% kit 657 for a budget ceramic
      - 5% kit 8786 for people wanting integrated spacers

      I wouldn't get anything but nylon cages inside. Bronze cages are slooowww and tend to crumple and get microfractures under shear forces.

      The size you want is 608, or 8x22x7, that's the size that fits standard skateboard wheels and axles.

      You can also order them through

  4. Hey "The Bertrand", I ordered a pair of Ace 33. But I think I hit a version of fabrication defect. The holes in the baseplate ain't centered (more left) and also both trucks and the wedge to the baseplate ain't "even" (pic: your review leads me to buy the Destructo D2 Lite (w. Bones hc bushings). I'm excited to try them. Alsi I'm excited about your upcoming test results of the different trucks.



    1. Dude, that totally sucks! The Aces you got are definitely defective. Where did you order them from? I ordered my Aces from Jason Strubing at Skateworks.
      Jason was very helpful and ensured the order went through correctly.
      Socalskateshop also carries Ace trucks, but I don't know much about their customer service.
      Check with Ace themselves about a warranty claim:
      Early Ace trucks manufactured in the ~2008 timeframe had some quality issues. In 2009 Ace retooled the manufacturing process and increased quality. Ace trucks don't exactly fly off the shelves. It is entirely possible that you have a set of the early trucks. In any case, don't even mount the trucks. Send them right back for refund or send them to Ace for warranty claim.

      I have a pair of Venture 5.2 low trucks that have off-center drilling on the baseplate about to the extent you have on your Aces. The off-center holes don't seem to affect my skating at all, but that is a technical flatland board with tight trucks. On a board that I expected more turning precision and high-speed stability from, I would also expect more exact build quality.

      The D2 lite trucks turn better than the D2 pro (reverse kingpin), due to a lot less kingpin flex. So you'll have a pretty good experience with those trucks.

  5. Hey, that's exactly what I did: "In any case, don't even mount the trucks. Send them right back for refund or send them to Ace for warranty claim." I bought them from (maybe) the biggest German skatestore - it's very easy to sent the stuff back and all without problems... so I'll get my money back. I also was woundering that both baseplats was deformed... they looked more as a trapezoid than a rectangle. Strange thing... I got in october a pair of ACE 44... just for one session to test them... these trucks hasn't the problem (I believe)... But I don't want to fool ACE about them (more the skateshop that didn't notice it and sent them out) - cause also Independent got from time to time fabrication defects of their Stage 10... nobody perfect ;)

    Here in Germany the prices are very strange... all skateshop gots the same prices but look (price = one truck, not pair):
    - Independent XXX Stage 10 = 36,50 USD
    - Independent Hollow Stage 10 = 45,63 USD
    - ACE XX = 45,63 USD
    - Venture "normal" = 32,59 USD
    - Venture V5 = 39,11 USD
    - Theeve CSX/ TiAX = 43,02 - 45,63 USD
    - Thunder "normal" = 36,50 USD
    - Thunder Hollow / Lights = 45,63 USD
    - D2 / D1 = 39,12 USD
    ... as you can see, here in Germany (Europe) it doesn't really matter which trucks you buy - all got similar prices. But also ACE one of the highest price on the market here.

    Very, very expensive are the Theeve TiH (1 truck only) cost = 130,40 USD - strange, he?

    back to the topic: I'm really excited about the D2's... and also your good review gives me hope to have fun with them :)

  6. today my Destructo D2 Lite 5.25 has been arrived. They are awesome - like you described in your review :) Can't ride them yet (weather ain't that good) but I think I'll have a lot of fun with them... also the blue color (ain't that "normal" blue) of the Saari model is awesome. Pics in my blog. Cheers & have a nice weekend, bro.