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Friday, August 10, 2012

Theeve Trucks Review, Part 8: the Bones Bushing Dilemma

This is the final Theeve review until a new truck design comes out from our Aussie friends at Antics. In this review, I discuss the Bones bushing dilemma, why it doesn't matter solely for Theeve anymore, and how Theeve has disrupted the skateboard truck industry for the better.

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I have reviewed many versions of Theeve trucks, from the first version on the market to the version 2 that has the corrected bushing seats. All along, Theeve has had a problem with the bottom bushings on their trucks bulging and popping out of their seats. Many skaters have noticed this problem, and many have tried folk remedies to fix it. I, too, have tried every remedy suggested to me. The only remedy that really worked was ditching the Bones bushings altogether and using bushings from other trucks. The bushings I felt worked the best were the aftermarket Independent bushings and Thunder bushings.

But, what happens if I try no remedy at all? What happens if, as some of those skaters in denial have
suggested, I just leave the bushings alone and "enjoy the ride"? Well, I did exactly that with a set of 5.5 Theeve TiAX V2 trucks. I skated the 5.5 trucks for two months without touching the bushings at all. The bottom bushing on the back truck popped out of its seat before the end of the first week. The bottom bushing on the front truck bulged, but never popped out of its seat. At a certain point in time, around week six, the back bushing began to separate from its core. I kept skating the trucks anyway. The performance of the trucks was definitely down. The trucks would turn, but they wouldn't return to center the way they usually do with Bones bushings. They felt like single action bushings that had split. When the two month period was over, I removed the bushings from the trucks and was able to easily pull the core out of the bottom bushing from the rear truck.

Bones bushing after two months of skating. Core has separated. It's clean because I cleaned it for the photos.


Bones bushing after two months of skating. Core has separated. It's clean because I cleaned it for the photos.

What is the lesson in all of this? Nothing, really. Theeve fixed the problem with the bushing bulge with the new Theeve Low truck. The Theeve Low trucks have more prominent bushing seats and a bottom washer to correct the geometry. The low trucks that I have been skating have not popped their bushings, and are not tearing the bushings up. I suppose we shouldn't be too mad, though, because skaters for many years have been disappointed with the stock bushings in their trucks.

Theeve has brought a lot of innovations to the truck world, and all of the major manufacturers have improved their own trucks to keep up with the pace set by Theeve. Riders of Independent trucks are benefiting from a re-design on the 159 and 169 trucks that brings back a classic geometry and combines it with modern materials, construction knowledge, and lessons learned from modern geometry. Riders of Thunder trucks are benefiting from not only a major weight loss in the 149, but also from a tweaking of the 149's geometry that greatly improves the stability, turning, and wheel clearance of the 149 without sacrificing its perfect height. Venture trucks, too, have felt the pressure and have lightened up their whole line with forged baseplates, hollow kingpins, and hollow axles, just like their ERMICO brothers Independent and Thunder. And, all in all, truck manufacturers across the industry have improved their build quality, weight, color options, stability, turning, and even packaging of the trucks.

This industrywide improvement did not happen when Titan came along, nor when Royal came along, nor when Destructo came along, nor even when Venture came along. The last time a new skateboard truck manufacturer disrupted the market this much was when Independent Trucks came on the scene to challenge Tracker and Bennett in the 1970s. So, what Theeve needs now, and what will no doubt benefit all the other manufacturers, is for Bones Bushings to step up their already high quality. I will say right now that Theeve trucks, Independent 149 trucks and Thunder 149 trucks would all benefit from bottom Bones bushings that are taller by about the thickness of a bottom washer.The smaller sizes in Independent and Thunder trucks require no changes in the Bones bushings currently on the market. Skateboards have gotten wider. 149 is quickly becoming the top selling truck size. Independent trucks has already reintroduced barrel bottom bushings to improve the bushing performance in sizes 149 and up. So many skaters love Bones bushings. Isn't it about time for Bones to branch out a little bit?

27 comments:

  1. You are 100% right about correct bushing height. If Bones bushings are to be used without a bottom washer they need to be taller by the same height, otherwise the front of the bushing gets pinched and the trucks are not stable on center, even when tightened down.
    That's how I "fixed" my gullwing grinders. A flat washer underneath the stock cupped washer brought the kingpin dead center in the hanger cutout and eliminated the on center twitchiness and exposed threads on the kingpin.
    Hope this helps someone.

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    1. Gullwing Grinders are my favorite carving truck for cruiser skateboards. I had to do flat washers on the bottom, too. I also used bottom bushings in place of the top bushings, too, on my Grinders.

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  2. Just because bones bushings don't hold up with a faulty truck design doesn't mean they need to change anything. Theeve just needed to fix the lip of the hanger's yoke to hang down a bit or the angle of the bushing seat and keep the bushings where they are supposed to be distributing the weight of the hanger more evenly on the bottom bushing. The angle of the yoke and the the bottom bushing seat should be parallel. Even putting Theeve hangers on ACE baseplates seems to alleviate my bulging problems.

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    1. Good points, good points. I think Bones should try to make bushings for the 8.75"+ truck crowd. The regular Bones bushings are just plain ineffective on the new Indy 169s. On the Indy 159s, they feel great, but I use all bottom bushings to give enough resistance to the turn-in. Bones bushings, fitted as instructed, feel awesome on most trucks from 129 to 149. My Thunder 149s feel awesome with Bones bushings.

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    2. funny that you're taling about Theeve again - cause I also bought a pair of Theeve TiAX V2 (5.85) for 60% off (local skate store) ;)

      I follow your advice to use the Khiro small hard pivot...

      Today I took the 1st ride with 'em:
      at first.. it really felt uncomfortable to ride with these pivot... I locker the kingpin nut.. so the kingpin top is really lower than the top of the kingpin nut -but I still don't grind on the kingpin nut. I took 30 min - hard turns in bowl/ pool to get the pivot cups comfortable...

      Ah btw, what I notice was.. that I had really hard to stick the pivots in their place and hat to push (a little bit) the hanger into the pivot cup (so the kingpin ins centered in the hanger-hole.

      After the first rides the Theeve felt damn comfortable... they ain't that turny like Thunder with bones hc bushings BUT they are really stable and you can do every trick very clean... I think (maybe it was just luck) with 'em I got the best run today - cause I focus on grind tricks (metal-coping) and Theeve are really really comfortable and fast about grinds.

      After an 5h session - I take a look at the bushings (don't use a bottom washer - just top)... and they seems to be (1st look) fine... I could recordnize that they starts to deform yet... It seems that if you loose your kingpin nut a lot more - than they bushings won't be stressed to much...

      But this is just my first Impression... I found my perfect setting @ kingpin nut and don't want to loose the nut again to see what's up with the bushings...

      Ah yeah.. also I noticed that I didn't get any wheelburns.. no marks on my brand new creature deck... back in the days I got notice able burn marks with the Theeve TiaX V2 on my deck with 58mm wheels and 1/4" riser pad... now (with khiro pivot) I use the same riser pad size but use 60mm wheels and no burns...

      We'll see if the bushings gets deform... if I'll notice it.. I would take your advice again and get some indy or thunder bushings (just need to check out, which I like more). Maybe the hard pivot and very loose kingpin nut is the key (?)...

      Cheers,

      Chris27

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  3. Hey so unfortunately in my part of the world (nz) its pretty damn hard to get hold of khiro pivot cups without paying some sort of outrageous shipping fee. I buy most of my gear from http://www.skatewarehouse.com, who stock independent, shorty's and thunder pivot cups.
    I'm considering buying theeve csx 5.85's and preempting the bushing problem by also purchasing indy/thunder bushings and ideally some sort of pivot cup.
    As the apparent expert on this subject could you tell me:
    a) If, with new bushings, different pivot cups are necessary. I assume they are as they seem like different problems.
    b) If any of these pivot cups the skate warehouse stock will be successfully compatible with the trucks.
    c) If the trucks are going to munch through my replaced bushings at a faster rate than, say, indy's.

    Also, as a more general question do the standard indy stage 10's have any of these same or different problems? I've heard a bit of resentment over axle slippage, but you cant believe everything you hear i guess.

    Cheers,
    Joe

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    Replies
    1. The pivot cup mostly corrects the clicking and helps but doesn't completely solve the geometry problem. The Thunder or Independent bushings would be better, but they aren't completely rounded off on the inside like the Khiro bushings.
      Theeve trucks do not wear out single action bushings that are correctly mounted with top and bottom washers any faster than any other trucks. Theeve trucks rip apart cored bushings (i.e. double action bushings) at a higher rate than normal trucks.

      The Independent standard Stage 10 trucks do not have these problems. There was an issue with the Stage 10 Mark I where the top bushing was contacting the hanger prematurely on turns. This issue was resolved with the Stage 10 Mark II.

      I haven't seen axle slip in prevalent volume in any properly made EMRICO product (Independent, Thunder, Venture) since the 1980s. If a skater experienced a slipped axle in Indy, Thunder, or Venture trucks, the trucks would be replaced under warranty with no hassle at all. At EMRICO, the axles are knurled (just like a button kingpin) and cast into the hangers. Someone would have to be extremely determined to make a properly assembled EMRICO truck slip its axle.

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  4. Bertrand:
    Two questions about using the Thunder bushings.
    -Do you use bottom and top washer for the thunder bushings - or just the top washer?
    -Which Thunder bushings do you use exactly - the white ones?

    Thanks & Cheers,

    Chris27

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    Replies
    1. I use the top and bottom washers with either 95a or 97a aftermarket Thunder bushings.

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  5. Thanks for quick answer, bertrand :)
    But you run your Indys red bushings without the bottom washer - right?

    //Chris27

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    1. I run Indy red bushings without bottom washer in the 5.5 and smaller Theeve trucks. In the 5.85, I use the bottom washer.
      Oddly, for the Thunder 149, I use no bottom washer with Bones bushings. They turn spectacularly!

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  6. oh okay... is the kingpin in Theeve 5.85 longer - so you can use the bottom washer easier? Or is there another reason to use the bottom washer only with the 5.85?

    Btw, like I told - I'm on Theeve 5.85 again... I think the Khiro pivot cup small/ hard change a lot... but the bushing hole in the bones hc gets a little bit wider, also it seems that the hardcore in the bushings startet to seperate a bit from the rest... but only on the back truck (after total 10h hard session).

    Maybe I'm acting to fast with switching to replacement bushings - but I don't want to wait till the bones gets destroyed ;)

    But I'm doing really fine with the Theeve's... I'm spending the most time with grinding in bowl/ pool and for that.. the Theeve's are just amazing- the grind like nothing else.. so smooth and also the space between kingpin top and hanger is so comfortable - no grinds on axle nut.

    Cheers

    //Chris27

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    Replies
    1. The kingpin in the TiH seems longer because the hanger is thinner. But in the TiAX, the kingpin is the same length for all mid Theeve trucks. I think I used the bottom washer in the 5.85 because the longer hanger has more leverage on the bushings - they felt like they needed some extra support.
      Theeve trucks do grind very well.

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  7. I've been skating some of the tiax.. i think v2.. i have not had the bones issue. but i have a weird set up. here is my front truck.. for example.

    http://instagram.com/p/OPaaCzHFGB/

    bones medium on the bottom, and bones soft on the top. the nut is slightly above the kingpin. i can turn the bottom bushing with my fingers. NO washers. basicly the same in the back truck. but with a bones medium instead of soft on the top. slightly tighter.. been a couple months. no problems with the bushing.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A medium Bones on bottom and a soft Bones on top - that must be such a smooth setup! A lot of people have had success with using a bottom bushing that is harder than the top bushing. Also, you're running your trucks really loose, so that prevents the bushings from getting "stuck" over the lip. Thanks for adding your solution to the knowledgebase!

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  8. Been following your Theeve Reviews, thanks for the update. I'm on my second set of Theeves, rode the V1 TIAX for three years (with the bushing bulge), ground them to the axle and now I'm riding the TiH. Love Theeve trucks. Here is a review I did on the Thrasher forums:

    http://www.thrashermagazine.com/forum/index/topic12257.0/

    I've put in 2 months of riding the new TiH and havent had any bushing fatigue so far which is great. Stock pivot cup and bones hard bushings. These TiH have the same features you described on the low - a more pronounced seat as well as a washer.

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    1. Great review! Thanks for the plug, too.
      The Bones hard bushings feel pretty good in the TiH.
      Have you been able to grind the hangers down at all?

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    2. Right on, the titanium hangers have a tiny, tiny bit of wear. I tried taking some pics but you can't really tell. Judging that it took me 3.5 years to grind down to the axle on the TIAX, I'm thinking the TiH will take significantly longer to reach as much wear (or grind the wheel off since there is no traditional axle haha). Also, I didn't buy these trucks because I thought they would last forever, I bought them because of how light they are.

      Regarding grinding on steel, you and another poster mentioned steel doesn't grind as good - I haven't put in enough milage to come to a final conclusion but so far I don't think its anymore of an issue than other trucks. Riding the TiH for three solid months, I've skated quite a few CA skateparks with metal coping (Benica, Richmond, Martinez, Hayward, Cordelia, Oakland plaza) and I think the titanium grinds metal coping better than traditional alloys.... However, if the metal is serrated, bent or jagged, the grind will come to a quick halt! But I don't think its the trucks fault..

      For example the Richmond street plaza has a bunch of ledges with metal coping and grinds were slow and sticky. At first I was quick to blame the trucks but then two friends on two different occasions were also complaining of the metal ledges being sticky and needing wax (one riding thunders and one riding Indy). Looking close at the ledge, it was all jagged, most likely from groms learning how to plop 5050's. Another example is the famous Davis St metal ledge in San Leandro. Its a perfect 20ft long ledge with angle iron and me and my buddy with Indys were having no issues grinding.

      I'll update my review again probably next year with a final conclusion.



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  9. Well, I added to the khiro pivot cup some Independent red bushings... but I don't know... it ain't the same than with bones hc bushings. I had to ride them really loose... on drop-in in, from 50-50, makes grind, I scratch on the kingpin nut. The thing with the Independent reds seems to work for and there ain't bushings probs but I rode a long time bones hc bushings and it's very uncomfortable when the trucks ain't getting back to center (with indy red bushings). All in all - I skip the idea of riding Theeve's ;]

    //Chris27

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    1. I liked the Indy red bushings on flatland, carving, surfing, and banks. I liked the Thunder 97a bushings better for transition skating. The Bones bushings do return to center so well.
      I followed your advice and tuned a set of Thunder 149 Strike II trucks. I have Bones hard bushings in back and Bones medium in the front. No bottom washers, shallow cup top washers (Independent washers). They turn really great! I love the Venture-like stability with the Destructo-like turning and relatively low height. I am skating an 8.75" mellow deck, and with the Thunder 149s, it is like having a low flatland setup. Compared to the "Strike I" 149s, the Strike II trucks turn much, much better, with very little wheelbite. Ollies feel better, too, the trucks are much more stable. I have ultimate control of the Thunder 149 Strike II trucks, even more so than with Ventures. I got the Hollow Light versions.


      I skated Venture lows for so long that I got really accustomed to having the kingpin nut touch when I grind. Before Venture lows, the trucks I skated where the kingpins touched were Gullwing Street Shadows and Tracker Six Tracks. I like the kingpin there as a point of reference. When I find a set of trucks that like me as much as I like them, after a few months, the kingpin nut gets ground down really far. To change the bushings at that point is a tricky thing. To a certain point, you can just unscrew it and screw it back again. But after halfway, it gets a lot worse.

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    2. after testing a lot of trucks and rode different setups... I can finally say, that Creature became my fav. decks - I luv the concave and shape. Also they are very durable in all way (also the deck print).

      In fact of trucks... I learned that Independent trucks ain't that bad with bones bushings 91a. With the "normal" 149ers I noticed that there is a point, while playing with the kingpin nut, where on one turn the trucks are whobbling and feel unstable on turn and drop-in and one turn more, the truck ain't feel that anymore (that's my fav. preferences.. I would say the kingpin top and kingpin nut top builds one line). Unbeatable are the new/ old Independent geometry on the 159ers and *new* 169ers.
      My 2nd fav. trucks are Thunders with bones bushings.

      I'll stick with my current Indys and the one and only alternativ, for me, are Thunders :)

      Cheers,

      //Chris27

      P.S. I'm excited about your upcoming reviews.

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  10. Member

    Focus: All Rounder
    Join Date: May 2009
    Location: Leaving Austin!
    Posts: 1,296
    Props: 14


    Been riding my Theeves for two months now and notices something really odd with the pivot cups area on the baseplate and was curious if anyone else had seen this.

    The pivot cups fit snugly on the hanger pivot but when in the baseplate, the hanger pivot/pivot cup both move around the pivot cup cavity which isn't normal. It is as if the pivot cup recess in the baseplate has gotten larger over time. It gives them a very twitchy sort of feel, very different than when they were new.

    I notice that Khiro sells 'large' pivot cups, perhaps they would fill in the slack?

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    1. Sorry to say that the large wouldn't even fit at all. The Khiro large pivot cup is designed for much larger pivots. I remember in the 1980's that Tracker had small pivots while Gullwing had large, and the cups were not at all interchangeable.

      What you are feeling is the result of the abnormal wear caused by a round pivot point on the hanger and a squared-off pivot cup in the baseplate. The Khiro small pivot cup is the right fit for Theeve trucks.

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  11. I should have been more specific =D I'm currently running Small/soft Khiros in the theeve baseplates, and it doesn't matter what cup I put in, doh doh, khiro, stock ace or stock theeve, they are all loose. The hanger pivot doesn't even pivot anymore, the whole hanger/cup just slosh around in the cup cavity :(

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Something that I've seen only rarely is Theeves that wear out their truck mounting holes and their pivot points at faster rates than other trucks. The truck mounting holes wore out most likely because of loose hardware - pictures I've seen of Theeves with "ovaled" truck mounting holes all had rusty, bent, loose hardware. Only two times have I seen Theeves with prematurely worn pivot points. Both skaters skated their trucks extremely loose and also pretty much never cleaned their trucks. There was a great deal of dust and dirt on the trucks, and that stuff no doubt got into the pivot bushing and acted as an abrasive. I've seen the same phenomenon with Aces and Indys that are run rattle loose. I run certain trucks rattle loose - Gullwing Street Shadows (AKA 850) and Gullwing Grinders - but I keep my equipment clean, even the pivot bushings.

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  12. Hi, have your Theeve TiAX lo trucks popped the bushings? or has this really been solved with the new hanger design. I heard from Theeve that all V2 trucks have the new hanger design but I still see people on the internet saying that they have popped the bushings even with the V2 trucks. Do you have any clarification on this?

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    1. My Theeve lo trucks never popped their bushings. I haven't seen any reports of other Theeve lo trucks popping their bushings.

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