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Friday, August 30, 2013

First Impressions: Theeve V3 TiAX 6.5 trucks

The newest Theeve truck, the V3, has hit stores this August. I have been skating a set of Theeve TiAX V3 6.5 trucks. My observations are below. I'll update my observations as I go.

I want to say up front that the new Theeve V3 stands alone with a unique and modern design. Theeves and Indys are often seen as similar, but shouldn't be seen this way. Indys and Theeves are significantly different enough that ready comparisons are not really to be had. Don't look at Theeve trucks as "better" or "alternate" versions of Independent trucks. Compare Theeves to Indys the way you would compare Ventures to Indys, and not in the way you would compare Aces to Indys. Ace trucks are based off an older version of Independent trucks, so comparisons can be readily made, and similarities will abound, and people looking for an alternate but mostly similar version of an Independent would do well to get some Aces. Theeve V3 trucks, and, indeed, the V1 and V2, are not based off of any version of Independent trucks, they are something entirely new and different. Theeves emulate no other truck. Theeve trucks stand alone as unique designs, just like, in chronological order, Bennett, Tracker, Independent, Venture, Thunder, Royal, and Tensor before them, and Mini-Logo chronologically after Theeve. This is especially true with the V3.

I've posted photos of the trucks over on the Google+ page.
I also have many more Theeve reviews from past versions of Theeve trucks.

Initial impressions, cruising up and down my driveway and the street:

(Keep in mind that my legs were tired and I'd been skating RKP (i.e. "longboard") trucks earlier that day.)

  • The color of the titanium alloy used for the hanger and baseplate is a lovely goldish silver. Definitely one of the most attractive raw trucks I've ever come across. 
  • The trucks shipped in sealed bags with dessicant. This is vitally important to keeping the bushings fresh. Let's hope skateshops display these in the sealed plastic bags. Or just have one display set that gets fresh bushings should it ever be sold. 
  • The trucks seemed a little unsteady when on the center, i.e. going in a straight line. Snugging the kingpin nut down to just slightly compressing the bushings solves this. The kingpin is long. A couple of threads will show if you tighten the kingpin nut to just slightly compress the bushings. 
  • The ollie effort seems high, but it may just be a factor of me having skated mostly reverse kingpin trucks for the last 2 weeks. 
  • Turning is quick and effortless. The washers seem to contact the hanger earlier than on the V2 and V1, making the turn seem not as deep. I felt that I really had to lean to get tight turns in my driveway. Taking off the top washer allowed for extremely deep turns with very little effort and a high level of control. I could also fit a "bottom" bushing in the top (roadside) position to get a little more turning, too. 

Impressions after a hardcore session at my local concrete skatepark:

Skating the trucks the next day, on fresh legs, I had somewhat different observations.  I skated the Theeves in their factory configuration, i.e. with a top and a bottom washer, with the stock Bones medium bushings. These are my observations after my first full, two-hour, heavy skating session at my local skatepark:

  • The trucks are eerily steady on center. Even run so loose they rattle, I found it easy to maintain balance and steadiness in a straight line at high speeds. I experienced no speed wobbles when hitting the flat coming down the waterfall on the vert wall. 
  • My preferred setting was tightening the kingpin nut until the bushings and washers no longer rattled or turned by hand - the bushings are every so slightly compressed, but just barely! With most trucks, I skate pretty tight trucks in the park - I'm a big guy with a high center of gravity, so it doesn't take much to get a truck to turn. I didn't have to skate these Theeves as tightly as I do other trucks. 
  • The turning on these trucks is fluid, smooth, like liquid, and unlike any other truck I've skated. With these trucks, I was effortlessly carving high up in the corners. The carving and pumping were so easy that I  found I had time to think and plan while up on the vert on fast carves. The effortless turning helps me skate better and faster in the pockets and on the round walls. Total confidence.
  • Unlike in my narrow driveway, the turns in the park were deep enough that I didn't notice any constraints on my carving from washers contacting the hanger or otherwise. 
  • Grinding is on par with Indy, Bear, etc. Smooth and clean, with a satisfyingly crunchy sound on concrete lips, a sound probably owing to the resonance of the titanium alloy. 
  • Unlike the little cruising session the night before, ollies were fine at the park. I really think that the night before I was still accustomed to ollieing like I was on RKP trucks. At the park, I had a ghost tap on an ollie to fakie on a bank, but I pulled out of it fine. Nollies were spot on, no issues.
  • The light weight of the Theeves (368g) versus my Bear Grizzly trucks (470g) and my 169 Indys (421g) was noticeable when catching air. The board sucked up under my feet a little faster and didn't fall away so readily. 
  • Kinda wished the axles were a little bit longer. At 230mm (9.06"), the were just slightly narrower than the Indy 169 at 232mm (9.125"). I was thinking they would be more like 235mm (9.25"). When I put my 62mm x 40mm Bones wheels on, the axle length didn't bother me anymore because those wheels fill up around the axle nut. The axle length did not at all affect the performance, just my sense of aesthetics, and even that only temporarily before I put my wheels on. I skate a popsicle stick 9.4" wide deck and a shaped 10" deck with 9.5" at the trucks up front and 9.0" at the trucks in the rear. The trucks fit great on both decks. 
  • There was no indication of bushing failure. Looking at the design, I don't expect to ever see premature bushing failure in the Theeve V3. That problem is fixed for good, and we can all put that to bed now. Thank goodness. 
  • In my opinion, the Theeve V3 turns and carves better than the Independent 169 Stage 11, which is really the only other 9" truck out there. Two main observations I've had about riding the Indys versus riding the Theeves: 1) to me, the Indys have an unsteadiness on center, the Theeves do not; 2) to me, the Indys don't turn as quickly as the Theeves. Whenever I landed an air with the Indys, or my Surf-Rodz, and even my RKP trucks, there was a little wobble upon landing as I sought to regain control of the trucks after unweighting and then reweighting my board. When I aired with the Theeves, the landing was solid and steady, even if my feet slapped the deck on the landing. The only other trucks that are this steady and controllable on airs are the Mini Logo trucks. I find that I can control the Theeves more easily than I can control other trucks.

21 comments:

  1. What is the widest deck (at truck holes) the 6.5s would be comfortable on? 9.5 at the most?

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  2. Yes, probably 9.5 at the most. Remember, Theeve is coming out with a 10"ish truck later this year for the 9.5-10.5 range.

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  3. Great review bro, as always. I look forward to seeing how you feel in the long run after a few weeks.
    You and I both have initial first impressions, and then good after thoughts weeks and maybe months down the line. That's why the blog is a great place for us to share these experiences, as the best reviews are the ones that actually get updated the more a piece of gear gets tested, which you always do. :)
    I like the part part where you say the $30 Mini Logo trucks are the only other trucks that are this steady and controllable on airs. Makes me feel good to hear that. That really says something too. You've rode them all, the best of them, and the most expensive and precision and tech-est of them all too, and yet still Mini Logo trucks w/ a super valued price point still rate higher than most of them.
    Props to Theeve for fixing the bushing situation. You may be right though as you mentioned in an earlier post, it may be too late for that as their reputation at this point is "the trucks that eat Bones bushings". And just like Tensor can't shake their bad rep for broken, unturnable trucks, Theeve might have these issues too. Hopefully not, I'd like to see Theeve stay up there for a long time, they keep all the other truck companies still diggin for ideas. I like that.

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    1. Judging by all the clamor and the rapid pace at which Theeve trucks still fly off the shelves at most skateshops, Theeve's reputation has survived the bushing issue. I think releasing the Lo when they did helped Theeve a lot.
      The Mini Logos are amazing trucks. They're the real deal, and they totally blow most trucks right out of the skatepark. All skaters should try the Mini Logo trucks. Mini Logo should sell their bushings as aftermarket bushings for other trucks. Skate One has a total champion on their hands. They just need to get skaters past the branding issue. ML trucks are what most skaters are seeking.

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    2. Very well put man, all very true.
      Mini Logo trucks are not much different than say Bones Reds in that way that they are just about all you need to get the best skate, but are hidden within an amazing value.
      The bushing on the ML trucks are great. They are prob the best non insert, barrel type bushings out there that I've tried. They are the same urethane in fact as the Bones hardcore Med. bushings, but just like I said, without the plastic insert and conical shape.
      The reason the Mini Logo trucks didn't get a new branded name the same as Skate One did w/ These wheels was to get them onto as many skaters boards as easily as possible without being another expensive truck on the market that only a handful of skaters can afford.
      But, exactly like you said, the branding of Mini Logo has deterred some because of that too.
      They dismiss them as "the cheaper truck" or the "the more affordable truck", like that's some bad thing, and then they think they need more, are are so jaded and stuck in their ways that they won't try new things. When in fact if they rode them for a day they'd see that clearly they aren't what they seem, they are so much more and then some. I don't look at them as "Mini Logo" trucks, I really look at them as Powell trucks, because they are all that. Without that Powell triple P logo on them though, they can be sold at alot lower of a cost to the consumer, and fit beautifully into the lineup as a Mini Logo/Militant product. No bullshit, no need for flashy graphics and logos and catches and pro models and pros names attached in ads, just pure 100% skateboarding, nothing else needed.
      Innovation and a great take on a pivotal part of what we call the search for the best turning standard truck, a new go to.
      Somewhere down the line we'll probably see a high end version of them as well.
      Probably with stock Bones hardcore bushings and a few other bells and whistles, but they really don't need any upgrade as far as I can tell.
      Until that day that maybe there is another version, and then thereafter, I have no problem saying my main go to trucks are these Mini Logo trucks. Same as alot of guys main go to's are Indy's, Thunder's or Ventures, mine are Mini Logos. But on the topic of Theeve, as that is what this post is all about (haha), I do think that what Theeve has done on the front of Titanium style trucks has added a new twist to the skateboard truck market and has helped pursue the other guys to mess around w/ alternative alloys, such as Titanium components, hangers etc. I have a hunching suspicion that the Mini Logo's are not all aluminum because of how great they blast across concrete coping so easily, but yet are so strong that even a big dude like yourself can't break them like you do other trucks. Until I know for sure though, I will wonder and just keep enjoying them for what they are, just great. :)

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    3. When I got my first skateboard in 1987, I got Independent trucks because they were the cheapest the shop offered. Most people were skating Tracker Sixtracks or Gullwings, just like all the vert pros who were so popular at the time.

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    4. Funny how things change huh. If I walked into a shop and they had Trackers nowadays, they would be the discounted trucks and the Indy's would be more. Of course rounds these parts there ain't anything like that anyways. Over here it's all NHS (Indy , Krux) & DLX (Thunder, Venture), and sometimes Ace. If you want anything else over here you gotta order online.

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    5. Hey Johnny, It's pretty cool that you are mentioned on the mini logo website? http://minilogoskateboards.com/products/

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    6. haha, I had no idea! Thank you for the heads up.
      Pretty cool stuff...I'm flattered, and happy to support them in any way I can.
      These trucks really are amazing and I just want to get them on as many peoples boards as possible so everyone can enjoy them and also get the best skate they can, and not spend all sorts of $$ to get there, there's no need for that anymore. 100% skateboarding - for the love of it, for the fun, nothing else! :)

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  4. Would the Theeve V3s make good cruiser trucks? Thanks enjoy your blog!

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    1. Most trucks make good cruiser trucks when you loosen them up. The Theeve V3 truck has a long kingpin, so it isn't difficult to loosen them up enough to go cruising. Go for it!

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  5. Sold.

    Funny that they're advertised, even on SoCalSkates, as 9.25" total width.

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  6. Since you guys seems to have tested theeve trucks for many years, do happen do know the weight difference between the TiKing V3 and TiAx V3?

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    1. Yep. The TiKING V3 will weigh 17 grams less than a comparably sized TiAX V3. For the 6.5 size, the TiAX weighs 368 grams and the TiKING weighs 351 grams.

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    2. great thanks for that info! Is 17 grams even a noticable difference when you weigh them in your hands? I am waiting for the TiKings to be available on theeves website again but I am starting to think that I should just the TiAx instead. I guess TiAx will be a bit more durable as well with the massive king pin, or maybe there is no issues at all with snapping titanium pins?

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    3. Well, 17 grams is noticeable when you hold the two different kingpins in your hand. When comparing the TiKING and TiAX, you might notice a difference. 17 grams weighs as much as 3 US quarters.
      The titanium kingpins are stronger than the steel kingpins. Additionally, a hollow kingpin is stronger than a solid kingpin of the same composition. The TiAX has a grade 8 steel kingpin. If you break kingpins a lot, then maybe the TiKING is for you.

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  7. Hi Bertrand, thanks for all the great reviews and content. I recently purchased the TiKing V3 based on your review and overall the trucks are great. One issue that I am having is with how slippery or slick (for lack of a better term) the grinds are on metal coping. Have you experienced this as well? I'm wondering if this will go away after they've been grinded down a bit or if it's just properties of the ti/alloy metal they use for the hanger. Thanks in advance!

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    1. Yes, the trucks should get a better grip on the coping after you've ground them down a bit. See this article for more information: http://skateboardingismylifetimesport.blogspot.com/2010/08/theeve-trucks-review-part-3.html
      Thanks for reading!

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  8. Dude, every single truck review you've done you've said "these are by far the best trucks I've ever skated", you're 159 Indy Stage 10.5 review, Mini Logo 8.38 and this Theeve one.

    Also, Tracker Dart 161 are 9", as are Gullwing SuperPro III's.

    Wasted 10 minutes of my life reading your reviews, Independent and Trackers for life, fuck all the rest!!!

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    1. Yep. I don't bother to go back and edit previous blog posts when I find trucks that I like better than ones I've skated before. Time marches on, and my life continues, so I find that my preferences change. As I progress, I try to get better and better trucks. Sometimes they're better than my last ones, sometimes they're not. The dates on the blog post - each post has a date - should help you put them all in order. In the future, I'll be sure to say "best trucks so far" so that you're not wasting your time.

      Tracker Dart 161 trucks measure 8.88" at the ends of the axle. I haven't measured the Gullwing SuperPro IIIs. But your point is well taken: there are other 9" trucks out there.

      I have two favorite trucks right now. For TKP: Bear Polar Bear 180. For RKP: Newton 180mm. They're the best trucks for how I'm skating right now. So far. At this moment: 9:34 PM Eastern, October 17, 2015. I won't be updating this comment if my tastes change, so if you're reading this in the future, please be aware that my life will have continued in the mean time, and I might have found trucks that I like better.

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