I bought this board at a chain sporting goods store. Yeah, I know that this is about like buying a skateboard from Toys'R'Us, but with the complete board reduced for clearance from $79.99 to $29.99, it was too good a deal to pass up. At that price, I figured that even if I threw away the trucks and wheels, I'd be doing okay. Unfortunately, that is about what I ended up doing.
The bearings were pathetic. If they were German bearings, it must have been East Germany before the reunification. At first I though that maybe they weren't adjusted properly. After all, even good bearings won't spin well if the axle nuts are overtightened. Sadly, that was not the case. They wouldn't spin well if they were falling off the axle. In addition, the wheels were too small for a longboard at approximately 60 mm.
Finally, the 7-1/2-inch Veriflex Trucks were substandard as well. I noticed after I'd bought the board that the aluminum on the hanger around the axle on one of the trucks had a defect. After riding for only about twenty minutes, the axle was slightly bent. At best this is a sign of poor quality control; at worst, shoddy workmanship. I eventually ended up putting the trucks and wheels (with decent bearings) on my three year old's skateboard. So in all fairness, I consider this a review of the deck, even though it was purchased as a complete board.
The deck is an elongated egg shape. The advantage of this is that it retains much of its width through the length of the board. Still, even at nine inches wide, it could use to be wider to give it more turning leverage. It has a kicktail but no wheel wells or cutouts. The latter didn't prove to be a problem. With 5/8-inch of risers, Independent 166s, and 70-mm wheels, I never had the wheels rub. Then again, I keep the trucks so tight that most people who step on my board can't believe I can ride like that.
It works well for tricks like 360s and walk the dog. The deck also gives a good stable surface for walking tricks. Plus, being nonflexible, it gives a predictable response on about any flatland trick.
Although it will turn reasonably well, you really need to work to get it to do so. It is stable at speed, but this is a rather poor tradeoff for its unresponsive turning. I wouldn't consider this a good carving board, not unless you have a lot of room to work.
In bank and bowl riding where turning is less of a factor, it performs well. The kicktail is just about perfect for kickturns. At the skatepark, you won't get a lot of comments about it being a cool board, but it works just fine.
On the down side, there are signs of poor materials and construction on the deck as well. First off the grip tape that came with the deck is the worst I've ever seen. Within 20 minutes of riding it the first time, the grip tape had worn off in spots. In all the years I've ridden, I've never had grip tape not last the life of the deck. I expect to replace the grip tape here after only a few months.
When trying to get this board, I had to go to three different stores to find one. The first store didn't have any. The second had one, but there were dozens of small cracks in the bottom of the deck--not delamination mind you, just cracks. I finally found one that was perfect (except for a small tear in the grip tape), but after a month of riding it, it has cracks in the bottom like the other one. Poor grade of lumber? I don't know. So far, this is just a cosmetic problem, but not what I'd expect from a high-quality deck.
As a complete board, I can only cautiously recommend it, provided you could find it cheap enough. If you were really on a tight budget, you could get this and build it into a decent longboard. Figure the cost of decent bearings into the cost, because without them it's virtually unridable. Also know that you'd want to upgrade the wheels and trucks, probably in that order, as well. Be sure to inspect the trucks carefully for defects.
If you really are on a budget, there may be other options, like second-hand trucks and wheels (if you can find them) coupled with a top of the line deck or you could try the cut-down-an-old-waterski approach.
As for the deck alone, I can recommend it, provided you find it cheap enough. Since I only paid $30, I'm really happy with it, in spite of the cracks on the bottom and the crappy grip tape. If it was the same price as other decks, I'd have more trouble. If I had to choose between the Variflex and another deck that was wider or had double kicktails or even a more interesting shape, I'd be hard pressed to choose it.
For more info on the Veriflex Skateboards, check out the Veriflex Skateboards web site.
Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1997 Chris Sturhann