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Monday, June 4, 2012

149 Truck Comparison Test: Final Results, part 1

A lot of skaters are skating larger boards nowadays. Common board sizes have increased from 7.75" just 3 years ago to 8.25" in the present day. Bigger skaters who would have skated 8" in 2010 are skating 8.5" in 2012. Skaters who used to insist they couldn't flip any board bigger than a 7.75" are now skating 8.1" boards.
With bigger boards comes bigger trucks. A skater might want to upsize their deck and still do all the flatland flip and varial tricks they did before - there are trucks for that. Another skater might want to upsize their deck and get more into big street like gaps and drops - there are trucks for that, too. Yet another skater might want to upsize their deck and get more into transition and carving - there are trucks for that, too. You get the point. The truck size these skaters would want to get is the 149 truck size. The hanger of a 149 truck is around 149 mm (hence the size nomenclature), which makes for a total axle length of 8.3" - 8.6". Something for skaters to consider is that the 149 truck sizes from the same company who made your 139 or 129 trucks (147 or 145 for Thunder skaters) might not behave like you're accustomed to. 149 trucks are typically higher, heavier, wider, might have different shaped bushings, and sometimes even turn and pivot differently.

With that in mind, I decided to put as many 149 trucks to the test as I could. For the past 6 months, I've been
testing every truck I could get my hands on. I skated the trucks on many different decks ranging in size from 8.1" to 8.88". I tried many different combinations of bushings, washers, and even pivot cups to optimize or otherwise change the performance for the terrain. I skated flatland, cruising, street, mini ramp (4' - 6'), and bowls.

Preview - this is the original blog post wherein I introduced the testing.
Part 1 - this is the first update
Part 2 - this is the second update

In the end, I skated 14 different trucks, listed here in alphabetical order:

  • Ace 44
  • Destructo D1 5.5
  • Destructo D2 5.75
  • Gullwing Shadow DLX 8.5
  • Independent 149 Forged Hollow Stage X Mark II
  • Independent 149 Standard Stage X Mark II
  • Royal Four 5.5
  • Tensor Ten Magnesium 5.75 low
  • Theeve TiH 5.85
  • Thunder 149 Light
  • Thunder 149 Standard
  • Tracker Dart 149
  • Venture 5.8
  • Venture 5.8 Light

When I started the testing, I thought it would be simple and easy to rank and rate the trucks from 1-14, picking a clear winner. However, I realize that my skating style might not be the same as yours. With that in mind, I increased the test parameters and evaluated each truck on many different factors. Using these factors, you can find a 149 truck to suit your needs.

Parameters
Trucks were categorized according to the following subjective parameters.

  • Stable on Center - when skating, are the trucks easy to hold on center in a straight line, or do they feel like they oscillate a little bit from side to side? When you're pushing, is it easy to guide the board along a line with your non-push foot?
  • Surfy - Is carving easy, with smooth, quick movement through the center when changing carves? Carves are when you do long turns that usually follow a terrain contour such as the curves of a bowl or the lines of a downhill run. Carves are done with all 4 wheels on the ground.
  • Turny - Do the trucks turn tightly, with quick responses and a predictable turn? Turns are when you do quick changes in direction such as around an obstacle or when you land a trick and have to adjust your direction quickly. Turns are done with all 4 wheels on the ground. 
  • Wheelbite - When the wheels contact the deck on turns or carves, does the wheelbite stop forward motion? Or do the wheels just burn the board a little but you can still roll out? Or do the wheels never contact the deck or wheelbite? This assumes you have reasonable wheel sizes for the truck height: 52 and smaller for low trucks, 54 and smaller for mid height trucks, 56 and smaller for high trucks. This also assumes you don't have risers mounted.
  • Line Adjustment - When you need to adjust your line approaching an obstacle or after landing a trick, do the trucks respond quickly or slowly? 
  • Manual / Pivot / Tic Tac feel - When on two wheels, like a manual, pivot, or tic tac, are the trucks steady and stable? Or are the trucks tippy fore-aft or side-side and difficult to hold on two wheels. 
  • Grind - On metal coping, do the trucks grind smoothly with little effort? Or does it take a bit of ankle jerk to get the grind started? Or do the trucks stick easily and require more speed? Kingpin sticking doesn't count here, this is only the grind feel of the hanger itself.
  • Heft - Not to be confused with measured weight, "heft" is how heavy or light the trucks feel when you're riding them. Do the trucks feel like they have a bit of heft to them? Do the trucks feel not heavy, not light? Or do the trucks feel light and airy?
  • Ollie Effort - When pushing down on the tail to ollie, is there a high amount of resistance? Is the resistance about medium? Or is the effort required very low, meaning the tail goes down quick with little effort? This assumes the same deck shape. 
  • Ghost Tap - Is there ever a time when you go to ollie and the tail doesn't tap, causing your ollie to be too low? I call this effect "ghost tapping". This is a factor of axle placement, kingpin angle, and relative effort to push the tail down. This assumes a new, stiff deck. Many old, soggy decks are susceptible to ghost tapping because of too much flex and not enough spring.
  • Loose Behavior - When the trucks are set very loose, like Bones soft loose, are the trucks too wobbly to skate or are they steady? (Not many trucks are steady when riding Bones soft bushings at very loose settings.)
  • Medium Behavior - When the trucks are set at a medium tightness, like Bones medium, do the trucks turn or lean smoothly to the end point (smooth)? Or do the trucks get harder and harder to turn as they lean more and more (progressive)? Or are the trucks unsteady when at medium tightness, making it hard to hold a carve? This is a factor of kingpin angle relative to pivot angle.
  • Tight Behavior - When the trucks are tight, like Bones hard tight, is the turning stiff? Or is the truck still smooth and predictable when tight? Or does the truck kind of toggle back and forth around a very shallow set point?

Also, for each truck, I recommend the type of skating, the tightness I think is best for the truck, and the wheel sizes, considering all the subjective measures on the previous parameters.


Results
Here is a link to the spreadsheet that you can use to figure out which trucks to consider for your skating. Ultimately, you want to go with the trucks that make you feel comfortable on your board.

Below is a summary of my recommendations based on usage and how tight or loose you ride your trucks. These are just recommended uses based on optimization of the design factors of the trucks and how the trucks behave in comparison with one another.

  • All Around
    • If you ride Loose trucks:
      • Royal IV 5.5
      • Tracker Dart 149
      • Venture 5.8
    • If you ride Medium-Loose trucks:
      • Venture 5.8 Light (because of the lower height, you have to ride them a little tighter than standard Ventures)
    • Medium trucks
      • Destructo D2 5.75
      • Independent 149 Forged Hollow Stage X Mark II
    • Medium-Tight - none
    • Tight - none
  • Big Street (big drops, high speed, stair sets)
    • Loose - none
    • Medium-Loose - none
    • Medium
      • Theeve TiH 5.85
    • Medium-Tight
      • Destructo D1 5.5
      • Thunder 149 Standard
    • Tight - none
  • Technical Street (games of skate, flatland, ledges, manuals, banks)
    • Loose - Medium-Tight - none
    • Tight
      • Thunder 149 Light
    • Very Tight
      • Tensor Ten Magnesium 5.75 low
  • Transition (ramps and bowls over 4' high)
    • Loose
      • Ace 44
      • Independent 149 Stage X Mark II
    • Tight
      • Gullwing Shadow DLX 8.5
That's it for the results part of this testing. Detailed final observations about each of the trucks will follow shortly in another blog post.

5 comments:

  1. This is an unrelated comment regarding Creature decks. I'd be into picking one up but I'm not sure that they make anything with a really long wheelbase. It seems like even their longer decks, sport relatively short wheel bases (similar to AntiHero). My ideal size would be somewhere between 8.625" - 9" wide X 33" - 33.5" long. Wheelbase between 15.25 and 15.75. I'm not into really unique shapes and prefer a standard popsicle stick shape, or one with a slightly squared tail and round nose of fairly equal length. If you have any recommendations I'd love to know. It seems my needs are hard to meet. Right now I have 3 decks that are all OK but not quite there. 1. Earthwing drifter (9x34.5, wb=16.125") 2. Real Aces Roller (8.875X32.5, wb= 15.125). 3. Dog Town Jay Adams Zipper head (9x32.625, wb= 15.375"). The dogtown deck is close to what I want but the square tail decks seem to really taper toward the tail. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Creature or other. I skate bowls pretty much exclusively (but come from street) I'm 6'4" and wear a size 12.5 shoe.

    BTW. I've ordered Venture 5.8s base on your reviews and can't wait to try them. My last 4 sets of trucks have been Indy 159s and Indy 149s across the board. You should do a review of the 159s compared to 149s if you're up for it. I find the 159s to suffer from a lot of play/slop in the hanger compared to 149s and the trucks seem to not seat firmly in the pivot cup. They say the geometry has changed in the 159s and I think that any changes made were only to the hanger. The Baseplate seems to be identical to 149s (standard stage 10).

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  2. Hey! I noticed that the RSS of this domain is working in a right way, did you somehow complete all the options by yourself or you left the default settings of this widget?

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  3. This helps me decide to step up on 149. I'm 6'1 tall having a hard time balancing on transition. I was using 139 on 8 deck but really sucks on transition, my buddy is just 5'7 he skates the same size as me, we started at the same time but he progressed faster on transition.. now its time to step up to 149. thanks...

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  4. First of all, my english is bad. I am brazilian.
    I am having wheelbite with indy 149mm. My wheels is a 60mm. I need pads? or I need to tighten the screw? What you say? Thanks.

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  5. Hey man I know this is really old but I would like your opinion. I recently got a pair of ace 44's(with the redesigned hanger). I've been playing around with bushing combos and can't seem to figure them out. They turn sharp, which I love, but they are way too responsive and twitchy. With my indy's, although the turns weren't as sharp as aces, I had FULL control of everything especially when bombing hills. I have switched the stock pivot cups too, so I would like someone's advice. Could it ultimately just be the weight of the trucks that affects the stability most?

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