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Monday, June 4, 2012

149 Truck Comparison Test: Final Results, part 2, Final Observations

In Part 1 of the 149 Truck Comparison Test Results, I discussed the trucks in comparison to one another and shared with you some of my subjective recommendations on usages considering the design factors and resultant behaviors of each of the trucks.

BIG UPDATE 11/19/2012: I made the Tensors into awesome trucks just by changing out the bottom bushings! It completely changed my mind on the Tensors. Read on to see how they did. 

Here, in Part 2, I will share with you my observations about each of the trucks I tested. These are just my observations based on my skating style. I am a primarily street skater who does a lot of technical flatland, ledges, banks, and boardslide bars. I skate mini ramps a lot, too, preferring my ramps in the 4' - 6' height. I
skate loose to medium trucks and I like to grind ledges and fun boxes. Every now and then, I enjoy fast downhill runs, snake runs, and carving bowls.

In alphabetical order, here are my observations about each set of trucks I skated for this comparison test:

  • Ace 44 - The Aces were really nice trucks that suffered from outdated quality standards. These trucks turned really well, feeling telepathic on carves. The Aces made skating transition easier, but the painted versions I skated stuck a bit when grinding metal coping. The stock bushings were really excellent. They started off feeling very soft, got a little stiffer, and eventually settled in to a very predictable medium-soft feel. Outdated quality: the Aces had longish axles that were not centered in the hanger, and the mounting holes were off-nominal on the baseplate, making mounting a little difficult. I felt the Aces were too tall for street use. The Aces excelled on transition and in bowls. 
  • Destructo D1 5.5 - The Destructo D1 trucks were hefty, twitchy, slow trucks that didn't respond well to the kind of fine movements necessary for either technical street or transition skating. The kingpin on the D1s was so recessed that it is impossible to catch the kingpin on Smith grinds. The quality of the D1 trucks was about average. The axle length was about 8.2", which barely made the cutoff for this test. The D1s would do best on big street, where you don't have to turn much and you don't want to hang up on your back smiths down the 10-stair hubba.
  • Destructo D2 5.75 - The Destructo D2 trucks feel like low trucks but without the wheelbite. Turning is kind of slow, they are kind of good at carving, and feel best at a medium tightness. What the D2 trucks have going for them is their stability in so many situations. Stable when you're pushing, stable on manuals, stable on kick turns on the ramp. The quality of the D2s is high. The D2s grind extremely smoothly on most any surface you would normally grind. The D2s felt very light, more like an 8" truck. There's a predictability to the D2s that makes them good trucks for all-around skating with an emphasis towards technical flatland and mini ramps. 
  • Gullwing Shadow DLX 8.5 - Plain and simple, the Gullwing Shadows felt like heavy Independents without the high quality standards. The Shadows come with a flat bottom washer that causes the trucks to have a lot of wheelbite. Replace this washer with a normal cupped washer, and the trucks feel exactly like Independent 149 standards. In all ways. Stock, though, with that flat bottom washer, the trucks need to be tightened up quite a bit to prevent wheelbite from throwing you off when you're trying to carve the tight end of the bowl. The Shadows' quality was lacking: both of the axles were off-center enough in the hanger to necessitate removing a washer from one side and adding it to the other to get the nuts to snug down right. The bushings were wonderful but the flat bottom washer was dysfunctional. The trucks were nicely polished but they had casting marks all over the place, off-nominal mounting holes in the baseplates, and a lot of unnecessary aluminum on the mold design. The Shadows were too hefty and slow for technical street. The Shadows did best on transition and bowl skating.
  • Independent 149 Forged Hollow Stage X Mark II - The Indy Forged Hollow (FH) trucks are the strict disciplinarians of the truck world. The Indy FHs harshly punish you when you don't flick just right, or don't tap just right, or turn just a little off, or don't land squarely on the bolts. The forged baseplates and stiffer kingpin remove all slop from the trucks. These trucks will throw you off your board unless you are a perfectionist in feet placement and body position. As promised, the Indy FHs feel light and responsive. Adjusting lines, however, is only moderately quick, mainly because of the lower height and subsequent tendency to wheelbite. Surprisingly, though, I spent 3 weeks with the Indy FHs and grew to like them for their overall versatility. I got many new bruises and road rashes from these trucks, though. Be perfect in foot placement and body position (who knew that arm movements could have this much effect?), and the Indy FHs reward you with higher performance. But get a little sloppy, and the trucks will pitch you off quickly. Throw out the stock bushings and put in Independent Genuine Parts medium (orange) bushings. You can seriously skate anything you want with these trucks, just so long as you take the time and effort to become a perfect skater.
  • Independent 149 Standard Stage X Mark II - The Indy 149 standards are good trucks. Independent improved the Stage X trucks by widening the yoke cavity and putting barrel bushings on the bottom. The result is a 149 truck that does everything Indy standards are known for and now turns like its closest competitor, the Theeve 5.85. Because of this improved turning, you can just get these trucks if you're interested in trying Theeves but don't want to have to remove all those Indy cross stickers, t-shirts, hats, shoe collabs, grip tape, bumper stickers, license plate frames, shot glasses, bottle openers, belts, sunglasses, and tattoos. The Indy 149 standards do best on transitions and bowls. Run them loose.
  • Royal Four 5.5 - The Royal Four 5.5 trucks are extremely high-quality, well-designed trucks with an 8.5" axle. These Royals do it all and do it well. They are the smoothest grinding trucks I've ever skated, locking in perfectly and grinding as long as you want. They turn better than any standard-kingpin truck out there and even better than some of the longboard-kingpin trucks out there. They turn surfy when you want, holding your carve exactly where you want. They turn tightly when you want, with no wheelbite and tight, tight line adjustments that is even more telepathic than Theeves or Aces. They feel about right in weight - not too heavy, not too light. The quality is extremely high, with not one feature wrong or off-nominal. The stock bushings are lovely softies that break in over the course of the first few days. The Royal Fours are smooth and steady whether you want to ride them so loose they rattle or as tight as you like. The Royal Fours have a longitudinal stability that is extremely forgiving of misplaced feet on landings. Flip tricks are no problem, either, with just the right amount of responsiveness to the flick and predictability on the flip. The board pops up nicely on varial tricks even if you slide instead of pop the deck. The Royal Fours make me a better skater because they reward even the clumsiest of efforts with a roll-away or an easy bail. The stock bushings are very nice, but they could stand to be a little more responsive on returning to center. Other than that little detail, the Royal Four 5.5 trucks are great all-around trucks for those who like loose trucks and wheels 54mm or smaller.
  • Tensor Ten Magnesium 5.75 low - I have a love-hate relationship with Tensors. I love how light Tensors are, but I hate that they don't turn. The only Tensors I really like are the 5.0 and 5.25 mids, and even then only on my flatland board on which I'm not turning and not going very fast at all. With the new Tensor Tens, I have a new reason to both love and hate Tensors; well, not really hate Tensors, but reason enough to definitely hate the stock bushings. With the stock bushings, these Tens are so low that there is no reasonable way to skate these without having them as tight as an 80's freestyle truck. If you stack up 3/8" of risers, you'll probably be able to turn with these trucks without severe wheelbite, but you'll still only make little shallow turns that are more like slight carves than turns. No, no, no, the best way to turn with these Tensors with the stock bushings is to just tic-tac. Sorry, that's the only way. I truly doubt the wisdom of having a 149 low truck that is this low and has this much wheelbite. If you don't want to change out the bushings, Only get these trucks if you skate very tight trucks, skate only technical flatland and some technical street, you turn by tic-tac instead of carving, and you're obsessed with having your axle length properly fit your 8.5" board. Quality is high, the stock bushings are better but still crap (although there are no more "nested" bushings), yada yada yada. Seriously, don't get these trucks. Wait until Tensor comes out with the 5.75 mids. 

BIG BIG UPDATE 11-19-2012! I replaced the stock bottom bushings with tall barrel bottom bushings from Venom Bushings. Venom calls these bushings the "Downhill" model. One package of two will do you, you're only replacing the bottom bushings. With the Venom tall barrel bottom bushings, the Tensors are now perfectly behaved park trucks. Even with no risers, wheelbite is gone with wheels 52mm and smaller. The Tensors carve beautiful, tight, confident arcs on the walls of the bowl and in the pockets of the flow course. I find myself easily going faster, higher, and skating with much more confidence than with the stock bushings. With the stock bushings in the Tensors, I would never have even considered pumping in a bowl, much less carving and grinding. But with the tall barrel bottom trick, the Tensors turned into very respectable trucks. The Tensors also grind concrete so smoothly. I was doing 50-50s for as long as I wanted, it was so smooth. The tall barrel bottoms also pushed the hanger up enough to raise the ride height from 45mm to just under 48mm - the same as Thunder 149s - and also positioned the top of the kingpin below the hanger grinding surface. Also, because the bushings are so much taller and harder, there aren't 7 threads showing on the kingpin like I see so many Tensor riders having. The tight turning of the Tensors allowed for ultra-quick pumps in the pockets and on pump humps, too. I was flying around the park. And, even though I was skating my soggy only-1-month-old Powell Peralta deck (pictured above), I was still able to pop crisp ollies because the setup was so incredibly lightweight. All in all, just changing out the truly crappy stock bushings turned these trucks from zeroes to heroes. I can now recommend the Tensor Ten Magnesiums 5.75 Low to anybody who wants a great all-around truck. Just be sure to get those tall barrel bottoms! Here are a couple of places: NYC Longboards, Muir Skateshop, SoCal Skateshop, Warehouse Skateboards, and Social Skateboarding. All of those online skateshops I just listed are great skateshops.
  • Theeve TiH 5.85 - Take all the good attributes of the Theeve TiAX 5.85, make them not-noticeably-lighter (seriously, they don't feel any lighter than the TiAX 5.85), and make the grinding surface so slippery that you can't lock in on your grinds. Oh, and double the price. Then you'll have the TiH 5.85. They're good for big street, because they're very strong and they turn well (like all Theeves), but the inability to grind right or stall on coping right decreases their versatility for technical street, transition, and bowl skating. Plus, they're really, really expensive. Just get the TiAX, you'll be happier. Use the $70 of leftover money to get a new deck, some Khiro pivot bushings, and some Independent Genuine Parts bushings. 
  • Thunder 149 Light - The Thunder 149 lights are kind of "meh" trucks. For the price you pay, you get a lighter truck with forged baseplate and hollow kingpins, but you give up the stability of the standard Thunders. The 149 Lights were a clear example of how much difference the forged baseplate makes. While the baseplates are nicer-looking and stronger, the truck gets stiffer and behaves differently. (This was also remarkably noticeable in the Indy 149 Forged Hollow.) The Thunder 149 Lights were not very surfy trucks, because of bad wheelbite and the subsequent need to run the trucks pretty tight. I put 97a Thunder bushings in them to help them out. But they did turn pretty nicely at lower speeds. Ultimately, the Thunder 149 Lights are best if you like how Thunders feel but want something a little more biased toward technical flatland and technical street. If you skate Thunder 149 standards normally, you would mount the Thunder 149 Lights for games of skate. 
  • Thunder 149 Standard - The Thunder 149 standard trucks are stable, surfy, turny trucks if you like your trucks medium to medium-tight. Run too loose, the 149 standards get wobbly. Run at a medium setting, the 149s are perfect for most any skating you'd like to do, but they especially excel at big street, like drops, gaps, high speeds, and long grinds.
  • Tracker Dart 149 - The Dart 149s are strange trucks. With their elbow-pivot arm, the design is very different than other trucks out there. The Darts are the very definition of surfy trucks, but are also extremely stable even when you run them so loose they rattle. The quality is old-school: the axles are off-center, the casting is sloppy, the bushings look and feel like those bushings from early-80's roller skates, and the kingpin is a hex-head instead of button-head kingpin. But what is strange about the Darts is that they're pretty good trucks for all-around use. For some reason, they were very easy to kickflip. They had a very lightweight feel to them. They carved well yet were very stable on center. There was a little bit of wheelbite burn, but nothing that stops forward motion. You could run the trucks very loose or very tight and still get smooth feel and smooth turning from them. The Darts are surprisingly good, especially considering their antiquated look and geometry. 
  • Venture 5.8 - Ventures are always interesting trucks. Since DLXSF took over distribution, the bushings have improved tremendously, even though they get pretty stiff after the first week of use. The Venture 5.8s are surfy trucks that turn quickly and have no wheelbite. The grind requires a little effort, but they are still just shy of being sticky on the grind. Ollie effort, like all Venture standards, is high. The 5.8s surf like the Aces but still do very well in flatland and technical street skating. Ditch the stock bushings for some Independent soft bushings, and you'll keep the great turning and carving you experience when the trucks are new. Because of the geometry, you can skate big wheels, up 60mm in size, without any risers and still run pretty loose trucks. The Venture 5.8s are great all-around trucks for those who like their trucks loose and their wheels big.
  • Venture 5.8 Light - The Venture 5.8 Light trucks have a forged baseplate and hollow kingpin. Other than being lighter, a little lower, requiring less ollie effort, and having a need to be run medium-loose to avoid wheelbite, the 5.8 Lights feel pretty much like the standard Venture 5.8s. The 5.8 lights are all-around trucks for those who skate medium trucks and wheels in sizes up to 58mm.
So, which truck did I like best? It depends. I liked the Royal Four 5.5 trucks the best for the 149 size for running extremely loose trucks. For medium tightness, the Venture 5.8s are hard to beat for all-around skating - their really good kingpin clearance makes all your grinds smooth, too. For tight trucks, the Tensor Ten 5.75s are fantastic and extremely light. The Darts have a special place in my heart because they're such an underdog in the looks department yet perform like little lightweight champions on pretty much anything and they have a much wider adjustment range than the other trucks here. Your preferences may be different from mine, so I hope my measurements, my observations and my comparisons among these 149 trucks help you find your dream trucks.

41 comments:

  1. Hey,

    thanks for your time and real good review.
    I got a on some parts different impressions and on some the same impressions... I think that's cause all truck impressions are a mix between objectiv and subjectiv influences.

    I rode the ACE 44 3 times and don't feel very comfortable all the way. The stock bushings feels (only with ACE) better than bones hc bushings. Grinds didn't feel very good... I did only 50-50s .. 3 hours... and after some grinds, I have to clean the hanger with a piece of paper - otherwise the trucks stop while grinding. Also the grinds didn't feel fast and long. These trucks turn, for sure, but the turn didn't felt really confortable.

    I bought a pair of Thunder Hollow Lights Hi + Bones hardcore bushings and I'm very suprised. They turn the way I want... everytime stable but also you can do deep carving and turns. Every move I did felt very comfortable. Grinds felt very fast and stable. Only negativ aspect is maybe, that they grind down very fast.
    I use them for bowl / pool and ride them medium/ loose. There ain't that big kingpin clearance - so you grind down the kingpin-nut.. but I don't got any hang-ups. Also, maybe it's an mental thing, I could feel the less weight in front of the truck while doing kick-turns etc. Also if you "just" need 1/8" riser on Indys you'll need (for sure) 1/4" riser on Thunders (cause they are more Mid trucks).

    Well, again - thanks for your impressions and time :)

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    1. Chris: I, too, found the Aces didn't grind very well. They were the stickiest trucks in the comparison.
      I think you were skating the Thunder 147 Hollow Lights? I can't remember. The 147s feel very different than the 149s. It is strange. I like how the 147 Hi trucks feel, they're a great all around truck. I can't ride them loose, though, which I was really bummed about. I don't like risers, so, that was that.

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    2. I grinded the ACE only on metal coping. After some grinds - they stop. First I tought it's a problem with the coping (but all other trucks I tested there worked fine). So rub 3-4 times with a tissue over the grind marks on the hanger and they grind again, sinc eI have to clean them again. You can find some metal filings in the tissue, too.
      Also I can't get use to ride ACE with bones hardcore bushings... they are "too" stable or "too" loose but can't set them something in between like with the stock bushings. Also after the 1st session the pivot get "locker" and the truck rattle in it. Only thing I noticed, when I watch pics when ACE was released and people review them - it seems that the fixed the material and changed them to a "higher" quality - cause after my 2-3 sessions they don't look that grinded down (and I grind a lot ;)).

      Back in the days I tested the 149 Hi ("normal")... but I think that was the "old" version... the remastered version of the 147s (II) got a "smaller" hanger design. I use with my 147 Hi Hollow Lights the bones hc bushings 91a, left the bottom washer and locker the kingpin nut so the "inlay" of the kingpin nut build one line with the top of the kingpin (if you know what I mean). Maybe it's kind of "getting lean with the whole body" while going into turns? Cause than they felt really surfy. Also I noticed that they turn better with 1/4" riser than 1/8".. but with both riser settings total stable. All in all my fav. truck... only I noticed that they ain't that durable.

      Btw, here is my "charts" of the trucks I tested (only based on personal preferences for Bowl-/ Pool- and riding 'em "Medium" with bones hc bushings):

      1. Thunder 147 Hi Hollow Lights / Thunder 149 Hi (normal)
      2. Theeve TiAX 5.25 / 5.85 (since the bushings buldged)
      3. Independent 149 Forged Hollow / Independent 149 Hi Stage 10
      4. ACE 44 (only with stock bushings)
      5. Venture 5.25 Hi dlxsf (didn't get use to)


      ***I rode Tracker Dart 161 back in the days for crusing and bombing down some "smaller hills" with some 9 - 10" old school decks. Was my fav. "crusing" truck - but didn't test 'em for bowl-/ pools.

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  2. well i found it interesting. and for how much you've written about theeve. going for the royals.. the truck company who pro's don't even try to hide that they ride indy's! i just have some questions, or whatever they are called.. looking at your spec spread sheet. being a big ace fan.. you list the ace 44s have a 8.5" axle. unless they have changed them in the past 6 months. ace 44's have a 8.25 / 8.3" (just using a cheap tape measure) axle. so that sorta makes all your spec confusing.
    otherwise i do like really loose trucks. so i might try to find a set of royal four for cheap!
    love this over tech shop talk.

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    1. Royal's pros ride Indys? That's strange. Why do they have a truck sponsor, then? Jerry Hsu was riding Royals in Stay Gold.

      The Ace 44 trucks I had were 8.4" at the axles. I have corrected the error on the spreadsheet. Thanks for pointing it out. That said, Ace trucks have quality control standards consistent with those of about the year 1990. I have seen significant differences among Ace trucks, particularly with regards to axle lengths and placements. Since wheels are all going to be within the same width range, the important measure is the hanger width. And, with Aces, I've seen inconsistencies among trucks with hanger widths, too. I have seen Ace 44s with hanger widths in the range of 145 - 151 millimeters. Quality control, once again. Modern quality control standards prevent these kinds of aberrations with most truck brands out there. The 3 brands I see using the old school quality control standards are Tracker, Gullwing, and Ace.

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    2. just to follow up.. if you watch any of austyn gillettes footage.. those are indys.. no doubt. harder to tell with other riders.. i would imagine the crailtap guys stay on it.. but AG, and maybe half and half wes kremer.. you can see the indy style hanger. got me.. just what i can see in the videos they put out. i agree weird. but Prod was shamelessly skating thunders for years well on Silver.. then weirdly went to venture.. ?
      you can see an all Jake Johnson footage too... indy's.. no destucto's.. even his stuff in the last transworld video.
      i don't get it.. i just see it.

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    3. Yeah, after you mentioned it, I looked up a lot of the Royal riders' videos. Wes Kremer clearly skates Indys even after he got sponsored by Royal a year or so ago. And I remember when PRod was skating Thunders while on Silver. I remember I saw a video of a demo with PRod and in a closeup on his trucks you can see where he scratched out the Thunder graphics on the truck hanger.
      The most disappointing "don't ride what we sell" story is the Darkstar Team. The decks they sell are most assuredly not the decks they ride. PLG always mentions that he has a "special" deck in 8.4" size. And in PLG's latest video advertisement, he shows how he keeps an extra deck in his truck, and it is a 7.75" PLG deck - I sincerely doubt he skates that with his Thunder 149s on vert ramps. What makes this so sad is that the rest of Dwindle's wood - bLind, Enjoi, and Almost - are all solid performers. The Darkstar wood feels like soggy plywood. Also, Darkstars wheels are very good, too.

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    4. Do you know what the difference is between the Venture 5.8 Light High and Superlight High? Skatewarehouse has the former for $6 less a pair.

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  3. Really phenomenal stuff here. I don't think this kind of unbiased observation has ever been applied to skateboarding. Luckily I like an 8.5 for an all around board too. I'm happily riding Ventures thanks to the earlier posts in this comparison, but when I wear them out I'll probably hunt down some of those Royals. Something I never would have thought to try without these test results. Keep up the great work!

    -Slick
    Boston MA

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    1. I'm glad you find it useful! What's your favorite manufacturer for 8.5" boards?

      When your Ventures wear out, if you have trouble finding some Royal 5.5s, let me know and I'll help you find some.

      Yeah, Royals were a big surprise to me, too. I've skated the 5.25 (8" axle) Royal IVs and generally I do not like them. There's something about the 5.5 size (8.5" axle) that makes everything just right.

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    2. Don't really have a favorite deck manufacturer these days. Back in the 90s I skated a bunch of Black Label decks because Lucero's graphics were so rad. Recently snapped up an Eric Dressen re-ish because that was one of my favorite graphics back in the day. Liked it so much I have a second one for when I wear this one out.
      I still like the steep concave of most Label decks, but then again I rode Indys for a long time, and like the surfyness of the Ventures way better.
      When it's time for something new I'm thinking of trying something different, not sure what yet.

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  4. I really enjoy using the independent 139 standards. I was wondering what makes the independent 149 standard more suited for transition? Also, are the Indy aftermarket bushings better than the bones medium bushings?

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    1. Yes, the Independent 149 standard was better on transition than Indy 149 forged hollow. I think it was due to a few factors: less wheelbite with the standards, more baseplate flex and kingpin flex made for a more forgiving ride on the standards, shorter kingpin increased clearance for grinds/stalls, heavier weight gave the board an overall heftier and more stable feel. It is amazing how much those little details make a difference.

      The Indy aftermarket bushings are very good, and so are the Bones Hardcore bushings. I think the Bones bushings feel better for a lot of skaters because of the inherently high stability in a double action bushing. Indy aftermarket bushings are good for skaters who ride their trucks looser anyways. Bones makes a soft bushing, but it is very soft - 81a - and the Independent aftermarket bushings in soft/red feel midway between Bones soft and Bones medium. For hard bushings, Bones bushings are the best.

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  5. Great comparison Bertrand; well worth waiting for. It’s so hard to get a proper, independent comparison on this stuff; it seems that most skaters are influenced by peer pressure and what the pros ride and I would imagine the pros are always going to claim their sponsor is the best.

    On the strength of your initial test I got hold of some Tracker Darts and tried them alongside my usual Indy 149s. I mainly skate bowl and transition and I love them; they feel really turny but stable. I’m not a great skater but they made me feel a little bit better! Now I’d really like to try out the Royals.

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    1. lordwhimsey, did you keep the original bushings in your Trackers? If so, what did you think of them?

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    2. No, I took the original bushings out after about 5 minutes and put in a Bones hardcore combo; hard board side and medium road side. I usually ride Bones mediums with my Indys but the hard/medium combo on the Trackers feels more turny and bit less squirrely. I can also tighten the kingpin nuts down more on the Trackers so they don't get ground away like the ones on my Indys.

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    3. Ha ha! So did I. I put Bones mediums in my Darts after only one run. The stock bushings are rocks. I found that the Darts were the easiest 149 trucks to kickflip. They're a great all-around truck if you like your trucks medium tight.

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    4. If it were possible to get them in the UK, I’d be tempted to try out the Tracker Axis 149 Jay Adams trucks. They look like a lower, wider version of their Racetrack RT-X slalom truck which I’ve tried and are pretty nice.

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    5. Buy directly from Pure Distribution, they handle the distribution of trackers. Cheap as chips, and reasonable shipping rates!

      http://www.shopatron.com/products/productdetail/Tracker+Dart+129mm/139mm/149mm+New+School+4+Hole+Pattern/part_number=T-DART4-293949/2744.0.1.1.1004773.7249.72679.0.0?pp=20&

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    6. I tested Jafar's link, there are also Blueprint skateboards, Premium skateboards, and Orion trucks. Good info
      Lordwhimsey, you might also try Amazon.co.uk:
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_n_1?rh=n%3A318949011%2Cn%3A%21319530011%2Cn%3A324150011%2Cn%3A324151011%2Cn%3A458474031&bbn=324151011&ie=UTF8&qid=1339938373&rnid=324151011

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    7. Thanks for the info guys; I'm going to stick with the Darts for the moment as I like them so much!

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  6. lordwhimsey / The Bertrand: I owned trackers sixtrack back in the days but just for "cruising". Can you compare Tracker to Indys in fact of grinding? Does they grind similar? Or maybe better/ faster? If I compare for example Indys, ACE and Thunders I could recordnize big difference in fact of grinding (distance, speed and/ or hang-ups).

    Thanks :)

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    1. No questions about it, the Tracker Darts grind more smoothly than the Independents. The Darts have a predictable, smooth, fast grind. Because of the stable turning, one truck grinds like 5-0 or krooked are easier with the Darts.

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  7. i mean i love this shit.. all this talk of trucks.. i like ACEs for their insanity.. (i have / had? ) mine set to jiggle mode with bones medium. well there are things I've like about most trucks.. just less then others. ACEs (on jiggle) and theeve's (bones medium in the back. soft in the front. no washers top or bottom) are my current fav's. but because of your damn blog i've had to order a set of royals.. the 5.5. i normally skate an 8.25" board.. hence some of my love of ACEs.. (44 are close to 8.25) and theeve. who make any ACTUAL 8.25" axle.. I'm OCD about that. so i'll set up one of my 8.3"s with the royals.. but really you think stock bushings are best? i really.. really like bones bushings.. ??

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    1. True, Aces do well when they jiggle. The height helps it a lot. I still skate Theeve 5.5s on my 8" deck; I skate 7.9" - 8.1" for street stuff. I haven't found a better truck for the 7.9-8.1" deck size than the Theeve TiAX 5.5s. They just feel perfectly right. The axle on the Theeve 5.5s is 8.23", as you point out, so, yeah, perfect. I've been thinking about putting Bones soft in my front truck for my 8" deck. Since it works for you, I'll try it, too.
      The Royals are 8.5 axles. If you want them to line up perfectly, mount the wheels without speedwashers. You'll still have axle sticking out, but not the axle nut. Might help. The stock bushings on the Royals are very good, but I think the Bones bushings would do well in the Royals, too. I'll try some Bones mediums in my Royals and we'll share findings.
      The Royals grind almost as good as Theeve TiAXs - a big plus!

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  8. Today I bought some Tracker Dart 149 (with bones hc bushings) to ride them again - this time at bowl-/ pool- shredding :)

    //Chris27

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  9. short review: Tracker Dart 149:
    Today I took a 5h bowl-/ pool- & snakerun session.
    When I found the right "settings" for the darts - they run perfectly. I locker the kingpin-nut as much as I can (so with the first 50-50 I grinded the nut a little bit down). Also I used bones hardcore bushings 91a.
    I needed to run the the Darts loose, otherwise I would get speed whoobles or the turning and that carving as I prefer -but with the upper settings everything is perfect.

    In fact of durable (material) they are definitly high quality... they won't grind down that fast... seems like the quality is equal to Independent.
    But: The grind faster and more stable than Independents.

    Also they turn very precission and clear... perfect for my "style"... I could do deep and quick turns. Also every thing with total control.
    Drop-Ins, Kick-TUrns, etc. runs very clear and controlled.

    That's my subjectiv impressions...
    But guys that said "Tracker don't turn" never tried them (in my eyes) or less never with bones hardcore 91a bushings and loose ;)

    //Chris27

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    1. The Dart 149s should do really, really well in bowls. They turn differently, but they definitely turn. Enjoy!

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  10. I must have missed this when you put it up...

    So were the Thunders I sent you the same as the "Standard" 149 or were they a different beast entirely? Did you end up liking them or no? Thunder seems to be the gold standard for tech types around here although I'd say 147s outnumber 149s 5 to 1.

    My Venture 5.2s are doing fine. They are always going to require a bit more effort but so long as I need bigger wheels I guess that's the price you need to pay. Lighter wheels are helping with flip tricks, as is practice...

    Best.

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    1. Andy, hey! The Thunders you sent were the 149 Standard. I actually like the Thunder 149 Standards. They are good tech trucks, but the tendency to wheelbite would require risers if I skated them in bowls. You're right, Thunders are popular with the tech crowd, but many of the techies skate Thunder 147s, which are very, very good tech trucks.

      It is funny how a lighter setup helps with learning the flip tricks. It is strange how a few ounces makes such a difference. Then again, I think of angular momentum and sprung and unsprung weight, and the few ounces starts to have a larger difference.

      I'm glad the Ventures are working out. Ventures are great trucks.

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  11. I can't believe you didn't feel the difference of the TiH! It was very noticeable for me! Board reacts much faster in nearly all conditions... even just pushing down the sidewalk, the board bounces easily over cracks and such (you know, doing those little nosebonks over cracks). Especially snapping an ollie, the reaction of the board feels faster, also just kicking the tail to pop the board into your hand is real quick. Sometimes I even miss grabbing it, haha.

    As far as the metal coping, I agree it does feel different but it hasn't hindered my skating... locking into grinds has not been an issue... it just feels a bit different and requires a different finesse.

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  12. Hi,
    first off id like to thank you for writing this out, its nearly impossible to find any useful material on skateboard trucks. Reviews tend to be rushed and completely biased, unlike what you wrote.

    I was wondering if you had any experience with Fury EVO II trucks or Grind King trucks?
    Im particularly interested in the EVO IIs.

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  13. Hey there The Bertrand, love your blog and this test. I'm currently riding a set of ML trucks after reading Jonny's review and I love them. However I'm always looking to try new stuff and your comments on the venture 5.8s has got me really interested in trying a set - I skate smaller bowls and mini ramps in general and don't ever do any street stuff ( I can just about do a stationary ollie).
    Have you thought about adding a small review of the MLs to this test as an afterthought? I would love to hear your thoughts on the Mini Logo trucks put through the same tests as the other trucks.
    Or if you could just give your thoughts on the ML trucks right here in the comments that would be great too.
    I know that ML don't do a "149" specifically as the 8.38 is a 146 - I actually ride the 8.75" trucks on an ML 181 8.5" board ( I find this pushes the wheels right to the very edges of the board and makes the most of the K15 concave in avoiding the dreaded wheelbite). Speaking of wheelbite - you mentioned that it is non existent on the Ventures, I'd love to hear your thoughts regarding the wheelbite from ML trucks.

    Thanks again for a great blog and for all the work you put in to testing (although it does sound like fun too)

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  14. Hey bro, already skated indy 169 stage 11? How they compare to aces?
    I'm asking this because I'm using yoni 41 and hightailer but I'm more into long slides along with Ollies and some grinds (now I'm learning some street skating). As you recommended I tried bears but I found them too restrict. I have 169 but for some speeds they are kind narrow and I wish they were wider and the aces come to mind. Problem is that I'm from Brazil and I can't find any aces in Brazil and is a long shot. Shipping cost is high and I have to make the right decision. For what I could gather they are very good and turn better than independents, but u don't know if they turn better then stage 10 or 11.

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    1. The Indy Stage 11 are similar to the Ace 66. The Ace trucks are wider at 9.5" versus the Indy 169 at 9.125". Stage 11 Independent trucks turn more like the Ace trucks than the Stage 10 Independent trucks do.

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  15. Thanks for this review! I actually have 5.5 Royals but last time I skated them it was probably 0 degrees outside so the bushings ddidnt really perform as they normally would. Now I've just been riding 149 Thunder lights which for a long time felt too light, couldnt get the right feel at first. Guess you get used to everything. Probably gonna switch from 8.38 to 8.5 when I need a new deck and get either 159 Indys or 151 normal polished Thunders, any experience on those?

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    1. The 159 Independents have 8.75" axles, which is a good size for 8.5" decks and give a little more grinding area. The Thunder 151s also have 8.75" axles. If you like how the 149 Thunders turn and feel, then you'll be okay with the 151 Thunders because they turn and feel the same.

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    2. Had to get back to you. Still going with the 8.38, the thing is I tried the royals again with time and when compared to 149 lights (both with bones hc mediums) the royals felt like heaven in every way. I've never had so much fun riding a stupidly loose truck, and when setting them to medium-tight the feeling of control was insane. I still can't say anything bad about the thunders, but they just dont excel the same way. The biggest difference to me is that royals tend to have a superbly precise feel on the center and can be turned basically with thought, while the thunders have a very stable, yet dead center compared to royals.

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    3. Yep, that's a great way to describe the feel of Royals versus Thunder! Royals feel great when they're loose. The Bones Hardcore bushings do well in them, too, no surprises. How do your ollie-based tricks feel? Are you pretty confident with the trucks on those tricks? I like doing shuvits and stuff with looser trucks because the skateboard feels more forgiving.

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    4. Popping feels light, it was harder to pop as "accurately" at first but once you get used to it, those tricks feel effortless! Sketchy shuvits land easier with looser trucks for sure.

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  16. Very helpful source of information, thank you. Question for you, which Roadside Bushing did you use to accompany the Venom Downhill Barrel Bushing on the Tensor 5.75 Low? Also, do you know/think that Bones Hards as top and bottom Bushings would work with these trucks?

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