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.