Truck controversy. By now this is probably old news, but there's trouble brewing around the new torsion trucks that have recently hit the market. Last month eXkate Skateboards surfaced with allegations that D'Adv Skateboards had stolen their design with their Kapu Trucks. eXkate had developed a new truck design for their motorized electric skateboard. eXkate alledges that they had given a set of prototype trucks to a representative of D'Adv after meeting at a trade show only to find that D'Adv had started to market virtually an exact copy of their prototype under the name Kapu Trucks shortly thereafter. eXkate's Jason Potts and Louie Finkle, inventor of the torsion truck, expect the patent for their truck to issue before the end of the year. In addition, Finkle is pursueing a cival suit against the representative of D'Adv.
Regardless of who prevails (and I suspect that it will be eXkate), the torsion truck represents a quantum leap in skateboard turning technology. eXkate claims that their truck can turn a 48" board in a 6 foot diameter circle. Judging by the way they turn my 54" board, I can honestly say that this is not an idle boast. Plus, Rich and his crew down under at Souled Out have gone, for lack of a better term, completely ape shit over these trucks. Rich says that not only have they added new dimensions to his skateboarding, but his longboard surfing has improved drastically as well.
eXkate has made several improvements over their original prototype, including a lower profile, beefy base plates with threads to mount the trucks to the board without nuts, and improvements to the axels, bushings, and wheel stops (torsion trucks have stops to prevent the trucks from turning too far and allowing the wheels to rub on the board). Probably the most valuable improvements are the ones to the bushings and the wheel stops. Finkle says that the bushings on the prototypes were suceptible to cracking and that the aluminum wheel stops would bend in time and ultimately negate their function. There seems to be evidence of these problems in Kapu Trucks. I saw an older set where the bushings had worn to the point where they would not recenter after a turn, and I spoke to a skate shop owner, who said that wheel stops in some of the Kapu-equiped boards he had sold popped right out of the trucks.
New products. G&S has just just released two models of Fibreflex longboards, a 38" and a 44". Both are the classic construction--ply core inside a fiberglass sandwich with a real good camber. Both models come with two sets of truck holes on the front and back, so you can adjust the flex by moving the trucks forward and back. The 44" seemed a bit too flexy at my weight (180-190 lbs, haven't checked lately), even with the trucks mounted on the inner less flexy settings. The store I saw them in didn't have a demo of the 38" set up. A spokesman for G&S and he said they were thinking of making the 44" more rigid in future batches and that the 38" should be a bit stiffer. The shapes are reminiscent of the old G&S slalom decks with the tapered tail cutouts.
One of the most interesting new products currently available comes from MJB Designs--templates to help you shape your own longboards. The templates come complete with with the full-scale design that can then be transfered to the wood you provide. At $20 U.S. and $25 Canada, they seem a bit pricey to me, but they are runing a special in the month of May ($15 U.S. and $20 Canada).
Other new products of note are Cliffslider Gloves and Randal 2 Trucks. Cliffslider Gloves, due out in September, are being marketed by Cliff "Coleman Slide" Coleman as off-the-shelf downhill sliding gloves. So if you don't want to have to go the kitchen cutting board and Shoe Goo route (and can wait until September), give them a shot. Also look for next generation of Randal Trucks. No word yet on when they'll be out, but as of last month, Randal was putting the two sets of prototypes through their paces.
Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1998 Chris Sturhann