Expensive Bearings

Posted: 2019-11-11 in Uncategorized
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Another post from the Silverfish archives (every time I do a deep search on my laptop, I find more and more of these).  This time, discussing my thoughts on expensive bearings.

My original post was as follows:

Your mileage may vary, so bear with me on this. Having tried out a few sets of expensive bearings in the past year, and comparing them to cheaper bearings , I definitely feel like expensive bearings can make a difference in roll speed. Furthermore, I feel like the adage of “buy cheaply, buy often” as it pertains to bearings is somewhat misguided. While bearings won’t make or break your setup (your Krown board won’t win an IGSA race just by slapping some uberbearings on it), there’s a LOT more to it than just buying as cheap of bearings as possible. Now, we’ve all known ‘that guy’ whose hacked-up S9 board and uberbearings rides like sh!t, but that goes back to keeping your bearings properly maintained. ‘That Guy’ doesn’t take care of his board , so any bearing that he swears is the best is going to be better than the beat-to-hell bearings he had before. But, I’m honestly wondering if anyone has legitimately bought, ridden, and taken complete care of any ‘uberbearings.’ I’m madly in love with my Tekton bearings because I feel like they hold speed better in the flat sections of some downhill runs I do, and I can say the same for Element Swiss and Ceramics, as well as Ninja Ceramix and Boss Speed Ceramics. Obviously, wheel size, shape, duro, formula, core, etc. have a greater impact on rollspeed than bearings do, but at least according to my experience, bearings do have a positive impact on things.

User Metaldestroyer seemed to agree:

In my experience a well-maintained set of nice bearings lasts a hell of a lot longer than cheap bearings . Reds die on me in weeks of skateboarding, swiss last up to a year. And my ceramic super reds are a whopping two years old and still just as fast as my brand spankin new magics, so there you go.

My buddy Hiersgarr also agreed:

This is a topic worth discussion as longboarding reaches new levels, with people pushing the lines and progressing all the time. I say let’s have a serious, real discussion about the finite detail of bearing quality and roll. This discussion would do nothing to challenge the established, accepted fact that it is absolutely pointless to get the speediest, priciest bearings for most disciplines of skating (it’s okay to have this discussion). I for one, could say that yes, a fine, small detail to racing at as fast speeds as possible is the quality of ones bearings . Basically, bearings are very susceptible to slowing through any number of means. Proper maintenance is the answer, but when that is controlled for, the properly maintained high quality bearing is worth testing under such circumstances. Without getting too ahead of myself I would believe Mischo Erban has an opinion related to the quality of his bearings . He is an engineer who holds the longboard downhill speed record*, hard to imagine he hasn’t thought about it by now.

*this discussion is from 2013, when Erban did hold the longboard downhill speed record, and right before the industry kicked it into gear and began putting actual effort into bearings.  Mischo used, I believe, Seismic Tektons…shortly after, Kyle Wester broke the record on Bronsons

Incrediboy729 offered a slightly different opinion:

I can definitely feel a difference in my Bones Swiss Six as compared to my Reds. Whether or not it’s worth the money is debatable, but there is definitely a difference. I believe this kinda summarizes it. there is NOTHING wrong with bread and butter bearings , (reds, magic, zealous, mhs) but if cost wasnt an issue, id be running custom-fit 6 ball tektons in every setup, because they are probably a tiny bit faster. Not enough for me to warrant purchase, but enough to be acknowledged. I think we collectively adopted the “never buy expensive bearings ” mantra because of the annoying Swiss-Ceramic noobs, and the fact that 90 percent of us cant afford/dont need anything fancy

The point I was trying to illustrate was that there’s a difference more than enough to just be “acknowledged,” but Incrediboy posits that only if cost weren’t an issue, he’d go for better bearings.  It’s still cheaper to buy one set of $30 bearings and maintain ’em than it is to buy one $10 set a month to throw away when they wear out or break prematurely.

And finally, TestMonkeyUnlimited offers another differing opinion:

Bearings have been adopted from standard applications; Abec ratings were, and still are, created for the industrial applications they are subjected to. The lateral side-load forces they are exposed to when skateboarding doesn’t correlate. The best bearing is any with double side-shields, that are maintained regularly; the equivalent of the “3,000 mile oil-change”, if you will. Running ceramics is akin to only using synthetic oil in your vehicle. But even more costly, comparatively. So just clean them often, because even at 10 bucks, you still wouldn’t chuck & replace them every couple of weeks… Lube really is the cheapest component, so clean & re-lube often. I can’t make that any more clear. And ditto on the placebo effect; unless your trying to shave hundredths off of race times. But for street? No.

He’s absolutely right ABEC rating doesn’t matter.  But, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t seek quality when buying bearings.  Stick with offerings from skateboard-specific retailers.  Find a budget and stick with it.  Know what you’re looking for in a bearing, and find one that fits within your budget.  That’s all part of being an informed consumer, and that was my job when I was working at the skateshop…and, of course, a huge reason I started this blog in the first place.  That’s what I’d add to TMU’s post:  There’s a point of diminishing returns when you look at price point in skateboard bearings, but you can’t automatically say that expensive bearings are “the exact same” as the cheaper ones.

I’ve danced around this rant a few times in the past.  As much as I hated hearing this from clueless shop owners “It’s all about what you want, bro.”  I’ve had riding buddies fall off of my boards because they turned too sharply; conversely, I’ve nearly fallen off of buddies’ boards because they didn’t turn sharply enough.  The footnote in my Abec11 vs. Otang review put it succinctly:  To paraphrase, if you don’t like a particular piece of gear, you’re not going to ride it.  Back it up a step, and if a particular piece of gear doesn’t work for you, you’re not going to like it.  This is one of the reasons I was always so critical of The Hype Train…just because something is new and shiny doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for your purposes.  And, when something is new and shiny, the marketing team is likely to be in full force, making you (the consumer) see just how new and shiny it is.  I’m not saying you can’t trust early reviews, but these need to be taken with a grain of salt.  I was mad hyped on the Neversummer board, and the Veloz trucks, but at the end of the day, the results spoke for themselves:  I (sadly) traded the Neversummer Deviant away (shoulda kept it), and left the Veloz trucks off of any board.  But, I gave ’em positive reviews because I was hyped up on ’em.

Techslide/Freeride

Posted: 2019-11-09 in Uncategorized

I’ve always been a techslide aficionado – it was something that I glommed onto early in my longboard career, as it was something that came naturally to me.  I grew to love the shriek of the hard wheels, having my hands (and other body parts) on the ground, and the way the boards fit so perfectly under my feet.  My absolute favorite longboard video part involves tech sliding.  The roots of tech slide go back for a long-time, but one constant has always been hard wheels.  In the early days, guys used Powell/Peralta G-Bones, 95a Powell/Peralta Bombers, and 94a Abec11 Noskoolz.  Abec11’s line expanded to include Vertz and Skwertz, then the InVertz (offset hub on a symmetrical shape, so you can flip the wheel to take advantage of different ride qualities).  Gravity Super Sliders popped up somewhere along the way, and then Gravity Snaps were released.  Sector9 had a hard slide wheel.  Then, the grandaddy of ’em all, the Earthwing Slide A…hard like you wouldn’t believe.  The Internet Rumor Mill said that the Slide A formula was adapted from an aggressive inline wheel formula, and that once Earthwing stopped making that particular wheel, Rainskates picked it up for their Avalanche wheel.  Avalanches are still on the market in 2019, as are Orangatang Onsens, and even Venom has hopped on the hard wheel bandwagon by offering one of their Curb Stomper wheels in 95a.

But, the commonality between all of these wheels is that they’re hard.  “Hard” being 90a or higher.  Something on the icy end of sliding, fast, and just a little out of control.

Which is why it struck me as odd when Paris Trucks put up an Instagram story recently about “tech sliding” on a board with soft wheels.  Yes, the rider was doing the hands-down, multi-rotational riding often seen in tech sliding, but he was riding soft wheels.  While I own and ride a similar type of setup, in my Rolling Tree Nimbus, because it’s sitting on soft wheels, I consider that board, set up like it is, to be a freeride board…”Freeriding,” in this context, being just bombing around town, popping off curbs, pedestrian slalom, maybe some slides, on a board specifically set up on soft wheels.

But, pedantry, and worrying over definitions like this, isn’t conducive to growth.  As I’ve touched on in a previous post, I held onto a lot of prejudice and undue hatred, mostly stemming from an interaction with (oddly enough) a Paris representative on the forums at Silverfish.  It’s clear that there are a few things that Paris and I won’t see eye to eye on, but it’s more important in these days and in this market to support the companies that are still supporting us.  It doesn’t help any one to badmouth a company online – this post is purely intended for me to sort a few thoughts out.  If you’re looking for a Paris longboard trucks review, I simply cannot speak more positively of them!  Their quality has always been top-notch.  Customer relations, with one exception, have consistently been excellent.  Their riders are all awesome.  They’re a great company all around.  I’m just sorry that my own personal beef has led me to miss such great products.

Again, compiling some tidbits and information from various sources around the internet.  Edits and clarifications are highlighted in bold:

 

Kryptonics were an OG downhill longboarding wheel that came in a few different shapes.  There had almost always been others, but Kryptos have been a constant in longboarding since the 1970’s. They were among the first rollerskate core wheels that performance-oriented longboarders (that’s you) turned to for things like downhill and slalom racing. Hence, the 8mm core spacing, which varies from the standard skateboard wheel spacing of 10mm.

The Kryptonics vented Racecore wheels spawned (or shared the same mold with) many newer, contemporary wheels throughout the years: Landy Hawgz, Landy Aqua Hawgz (same as 85mm Hawgs, only with rain grooves lathed into the wheel surface), Gravity Fu Manchus, Freebord Slashers, Soda Factory Hesher Snowballs, Satori Movement Goo Balls, and undoubtedly several others.

The smaller Kryptonics Classics were modernized and given a modern skateboard (10mm) core with Gravity Drifters and Cult Converters. Though, racking my brain, I can’t honestly confirm if the Drifters and various Cult wheels were actually taken from the Krypto Classic shape, or simply “inspired by.”

Kryptonics C62’s were one early slalom choice (early as in “early revival”…’98 to ’02). Abec11 Stingers were one of their first performance wheels, to be replaced later on by Grippins. Stingers were, as I understand it, built around yet another 8mm Kryptonics core.  Even in 2019, you can still buy rollerskate wheels that are nearly identical to the Abec11 Stinger, even though the Abec11 wheel has been out of production for a long-ass time:

The lips are obviously different, but those are often adjusted in the factory post-production

 

Hyper Wheels made rollerskate wheels that were adapted to longboard use as well, also with the 8mm core. The Hyper Super Mundo was the wheel that Gary Hardwick set his Guinness World Speed Record on (of a paltry 62mph or thereabouts…many DH’ers left his record intact and didn’t pursue Guinness approval for almost a decade after his death to honor his memory). The Super Mundo was based off of a wheel called Pakololo, from Germany, which had some kind of connection with Cliff Coleman. The Super Mundo had square, sharp lips…and Gravity marketed the same wheel with rounded corners as the Super G. Gravity left sharp lips on the wheel and had it poured in either 95a or 97a and sold it as the Super Slider. These cores resembled the Kryptonics Racecores, but the Hyper cores were a little more squared off and exaggerated. Now, Gravity redid the Super G’s and Super Sliders in 2006 or 2007 and closed off the exposed cores.

Hyper and Kryptonics are still making rollerskate wheels, so even in the deepest darkest (which I don’t think we’ll hit anytime soon) (though according to some, we have), we’ll have some sort of performance wheels available.

Various tidbits collected from around the internet and curated right here.  Direct quotes from NCDSA.com are italicized, my notes are in bold, and the plain print are attributions to the sources of the quotes:

Per Chris Chaput on NCDSA:
It appears that TA has a tendency to pick wheel duros that work better on the round wall than the flatlands. As a matter of fact, he really likes the VertZ (96a). He put them onto some boards that he brought onto the set of Lords Of Dogtown and Fox Studios. So if you see the green wheels in the TA/Stacy interview that appears on the new special edition Dogtown & Z-Boys DVD, or you saw the Best Damn Sports Show with TA and Stacy, you know where they came from.

There were a bunch of 3dm wheels made to look like Road Riders and/or Powerflexes. You can see them in some pool scenes, HB and LB. What I still don’t get, is why the book, the trailer, and even the movie featured this shot of Adam Alfaro on a concave double-kicked deck with little white radiused wheels. Adam rips, but this was the biggest lapse in “authenticity” that I could see. maybe they just wanted to see if we were paying attention…

96a Vertz and the translucent red 3dm (Seismic) wheels were made as movie props for Lords Of Dogtown

 

From Jack Smith:
I coordinated the production of the original run of “prop wheels”, which were supposed to be poured in a low to mid 80’s durometer. However, at the last minute TA told the props department that wheels should be in the mid 90’s. Thus creating the slipping and sliding that Chris writes about.

3DM Cambrias were also poured in translucent colors for use in the film. My friend Adrian Pina and I spent many hours in my garage lathing the name off the wheels. Actually, I watched, while Adrian did the work.

Dan at 3DM just poured a bunch more of these in translucent red.

Mark, I’ve seen the film numerous times, the “wow” wheels you speak of, clearly have loose ball races.
A number of different wheels were used in the movie. It’s difficult to say for sure from the pictures and movie clips, but I believe that the wheels in the Zephyr shop that are being held up do have loose ball races in them. Other “reissue” types of wheels were used, some of which had loose balls and some of which had precision bearings. Whenever precision bearings were used on a board in a closeup, we’d have the shields removed from the bearings and the cages orientated to resemble loose ball bearings.

The prop wheels were pretty hard and slippery, making it really difficult to perform some of the tricks on the ramps at Del Mar and Huntington Beach. I had choreographed routines for the freestyle competitions, and I wanted us to be able to carve and spin without sliding out. I made the first Retro wheels by cutting down some 60mm NO SkoolZ in 81a and dying them yellow, which had them turning out a brownish amber color. I showed Alva how we were able to stick the turns on the slippery freestyle area, and he asked to try my board. After a couple of laps he came back and asked me if I had any more for Victor and Adam, the actor and double who play Tony. “I just happen to have a couple extra sets in my bag”. The next day, I was distributing wheels for the Stacy’s, the Jay’s, and the props department. They’d use the hard wheels for some of the slides, and my wheels for everything else. They even spray painted mine to look like clay wheels for the early scenes including the one behind the bus.

Trust me on this point, NO ONE MISSES LOOSE BALL BEARINGS. Or stripping out baseplates, or solid oak cracking down the bolt holes… II coordinated the production of the original run of “prop wheels”, which were supposed to be poured in a low to mid 80’s durometer. However, at the last minute TA told the props department that wheels should be in the mid 90’s. Thus creating the slipping and sliding that Chris writes about.

3DM Cambrias were also poured in translucent colors for use in the film. My friend Adrian Pina and I spent many hours in my garage lathing the name off the wheels. Actually, I watched, while Adrian did the work.

Dan at 3DM just poured a bunch more of these in translucent red.

Mark, I’ve seen the film numerous times, the “wow” wheels you speak of, clearly have loose ball races.

 

More from Chaput:
A number of different wheels were used in the movie. It’s difficult to say for sure from the pictures and movie clips, but I believe that the wheels in the Zephyr shop that are being held up do have loose ball races in them. Other “reissue” types of wheels were used, some of which had loose balls and some of which had precision bearings. Whenever precision bearings were used on a board in a closeup, we’d have the shields removed from the bearings and the cages orientated to resemble loose ball bearings.

Somewhere on NCDSA, there’s a post about how NoSkoolz were a modern reproduction of the Bel-Air Lip Bombs, which were Chaput’s pro model wheel from the 1970’s.  Above, we learn that those were used in 81a urethane for Lords Of Dogtown.  I was unable to find the direct quote, but I found some pictures:

Darn close, eh?

On the wheel that became Retro Bertz:
They are going to be ready in one week, barring any disasters at the factory. The molds are done. The artwork is done. We’ll commit to the color and pour enough for everyone.

These work really well with older and/or narrower trucks like a MidTrack, Indy 101 or Invader. That setup is really fun on a single kick deck with little to no concave. They make for really “zippy” little cruisers. You can do old-school tricks and slalom on them too. I’ll report back when I have them in my hot little hands.


Also part of that conversation was a little blurb about how Tony Alva himself commissioned the old amber 95a Cadillac wheels that were reissued up until about 2009.  And, for those who haven’t seen LoDT a thousand times like I have, the wheels that Mitch Hedberg presents to the shop in the “urethane…it comes from oil…and it grips,” are Abec11 Bertz.  The Cadillacs are seen in a few of the scenes where Alva is getting pictures taken for a magazine.

And the post that started it all:
From the webmaster..

The Lords of Dogtown movie will be released to widespread distribution on 03-Jun-2005, and I believe it will have a significant impact on old school skateboarding, possibly (and finally) upsetting the undue dominance that street and vert skating have enjoyed of late.

This forum will serve as a space to discuss the movie and its impact.

www.sonypictures.com/movies/lordsofdogtown/
Lords Of Dogtown debuted in 2005, in the swirling flotsam of a bunch of stoked old guys getting together and forming all these skate sites and forums that we all grew to love (Mile High Skates was opened as a source for old guys to buy pool boards and LoDT reissue gear), which of course set into motion the events that led to LONGBOARDING as we knew it in 2014.

I’m not quite sure where to start with this review.  I purchased these off of the admin of Silverfishlongboarding when the site was going dark and they were looking to offload some demo boards.  I received these trucks on a Bareknuckle Ripper…sort of a cool, flexy freeride board with a vertically-laminated core, and some excellent W concave – the feel is incredibly similar to the OG Loaded Vanguard, which was made from oak.  The board came on Powell Experimental Bombers, the prototype wheels that became These Wheels.

The board, as received

The kingpin configuration is incredibly unique – whereas normally the pivot pin points outward on a skate truck (there are a few exceptions), these Zombies have the pivot on the inside.  What we’re looking at is essentially a truck with traditional geometry (something like an Indy or a Tracker), with the kingpin dewedged to a negative degree (so it turns backwards), then rotated 180 on the board.  That steel pivot houses a spherical bearing and acts like the pivot cup; the kingpin itself is shrouded by the bushings.  The benefit of setting up a truck like this is right in the name “Lowrider:”  It drastically reduces the ride height, and doesn’t interfere with turning geometry at all.

Of course, the drawback of reduced height like that is that there’s a lot less room underneath the hanger, kingpin, and queenpin for rocks and debris; something which I’m intimately familiar with, having gotten severely fucked up when I caught a rock underneath my kingpin in 2014.

Because everything is steel-on-steel, the ride is quite harsh when just rolling around; every little bump and imperfection is directed straight into the board.  But, with that comes an incredible solid feeling.  It’s truly something; it takes the board from feeling like “just” a skateboard into feeling like a specialized piece of equipment.  It’s the complex IPA to your Budweiser; it’s the top-shelf Scotch to your Jack Daniels.

The machine work is simply fantastic!  Every little detail is accounted for.  The axles are a true 8mm stock, which means that bearings fit just a touch tighter and more true.  But, because of the fact that the threads are machined onto the axle stock, there’s just not enough room to run 8mm race-core wheels like Kryptos or Hesher Snowballs.  Any normal wheel will fit, with 10mm spacing (I suppose even the early 00’s Power Paws, with a 12mm bearing spacing would work as well, which are often too wide for most trucks).

One oddity that I discovered:  Because of the high precision in the axle and truck interface, my Orangatang Onsens rode like a wet fart!  I have no idea what happened, but when I put the Zombies on my Rolling Tree and set it up for tech sliding, the board just dug in when I tried to slide and threw me on my butt a few times!  I did a little bit of reconfiguring, and landed on a setup with Cult Ism wheels that can honestly slide just as well as my Earthwing Hope.  So, while my Rolling Tree is no longer set up for actual “techsliding” anymore, it’s definitely as close to a modern “freeride” board as I have in my quiver.

Image  —  Posted: 2019-11-06 in Gear Reviews

Conversation with an OG

Posted: 2019-11-06 in Uncategorized

I’m mostly recording this for posterity, while consolidating a few different Instagram comment threads into one spot.  Thanks to Teh Intarnetz, I was able to connect with a guy who raced a few years in the later Gravity Games, and entered into an incredible conversation with him about the boards and setups they rode back then.  Yes, it’s 9 years later, and I’m still chasing tidbits of information where I can.

So, here’s what I learned on Instagram:

-Gary Hardwick (founder and big hoss man of TVS Skateboards) raced in the Gravity Games, and used flipped Randal RII hangers on Randal DH baseplates, for a 180mm wide, 35 degree truck setup.  He was frequently seen on Exkate Turbos, at 76mm.  They can be found NOS on eBay, but they’re not produced anymore.  There’s a modern wheel being made by Abec11 that’s shaped sorta kinda like the Turbos, but I haven’t been able to ascertain which ones…looking at the profile shots on some eBay auctions, it sorta kinda looks like the Exkates might be similar to the AEND freeride shape that was used by Abec11, Sector9, and so many others, though that’s pure speculation on my part.

-Gary’s boards were skinny, flat (lacking concave), and had a touch of camber.  I touched on the reasons for that in my Silverfish Gear Review of my TVS board.  So, as a result, most of the guys on the TVS team also had concaveless boards…this is certainly interesting for me as a DIY guy, as I’ve got templates of both Gary’s board and Mark Golter’s.  It’ll be a lot easier than I anticipated to replicate those boards, should I so choose.

-The Dregs board I purchased from their bankruptcy auction, while used by Dane Van Bommel, actually belonged to Biker Sherlock.  As seen in the Youtube clip, it sits on Randal DH trucks (most probably the same trucks that are still on it) and some early Abec11 Flywheels, in dark amber or root beer urethane..83mm, which had the artwork done by a guy in Texas.  Dane had made finals, and Biker hadn’t that year (2003, not ’02 as the video says), but Biker wanted Dane to have as big of an advantage as possible, so he gave Dane the board with bigger wheels.

-I mostly already knew this, but Biker Sherlock’s wife was the sister of Steve Lake from Sector9.  When we’d get packages from them at the skateshop, both Sector9 and Arbor boards would come from the same address, and Dregs boards would come from a location a short distance away.  The Sector9 downhill mold was used for the Dregs Race and Alpine; the Sector9 Race, Goddess Of Speed, Bombhills, and later on, the Copilot and the DHD series.

-Darryl Freeman (The Flyin’ Hawaiian) rode green Kryptonics wheels…Green was a weird duro that Kryptonics never actually had a lock on, but they were known to be harder than oranges or whites.  I’ve no idea where those fit in relation to the only Kryptos I’ve ridden in blue or red.  It wouldn’t be hard to look up on web.archive.org, but I don’t feel like doing that right now, and you’re not my mother so you can’t make me.

The Venom Skate Podcast

Posted: 2019-11-05 in Uncategorized

Man, what a find!  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge skate nerd.  I know the podcast only has one episode posted thus far, but I literally put my life on hold to listen to it.  Zak, of course, is one of the movers and shakers of the longboard industry, and the first episode is him interviewing one of the OG movers and shakers, Roger Hickey.  When I say “literally put my life on hold,” I meant that I had the podcast playing on my car’s stereo, and I drove around for a half hour to listen to more of it.  I grabbed lunch and ate it in my car, just to keep listening.  When I was done with lunch, I kept the podcast on when I went back into the house, and couldn’t stop listening even while attempting to play GTA Online…So, I muted the game’s radio, and simply drove around the countryside.

Covered in this episode were the roots of downhill skateboard racing, street luge, and downhill in the Olympics…I had no idea that they actually had downhill skateboarding as a trial event after the ’92 Barcelona games, for instance.

They talked of bad blood between Hickey and the downhill ‘establishment,’ for lack of a better word.  One of my earliest longboard memories was watching the Gravity Games and the X-Games on TV, and seeing these guys in wild racing suits flying down hills, and it was incredibly interesting to hear Roger’s side of things on the drama surrounding the Gravity Games, the X-Games, the EDI series, and Team Dregs.  Hickey posits that the reason that Team Dregs got all the money and the glory back then was because of Biker Sherlock’s “daddy’s money” (Roger’s words, not mine).  By spearheading the whole thing, Biker got to dictate who advanced in the races, and who was shown on TV (until Biker himself got DQ’d for taking out Lee Dansie in one of the races).  Another supposition that Roger made about Biker was that Biker set himself up as something of a heel; the bad guy who smoked pot, the renegade with wild hair and flames on his suit.

Roger and Zak went into a little bit of a tangent about skateboard wheels, and why urethane is the way that it is.  I’d heard a little bit of this before, but never actually got the details about things like why white or natural urethane wheels are better:  The chemicals in the dyes used (in urethane production) take longer to set up, which affects those molecular chains seen in the Bushing and Wheel posts.  As a result, white or natural wheels grip just a little harder and rebound just a little quicker, giving the rider just a teeny little bit more speed.  Roger even went so far as to say that a urethane wheel would be a better fit for road bikes than a pneumatic rubber tire.

Another hot take from Roger was that Abec11 urethane and Seismic Urethane are one in the same…though there are many keyboard warriors our there who insist that they’re entirely different.  But, that raises some interesting questions, at least to me.  There was a similar online rumor when Sector9 debuted their Race Formula wheels:  S9 “strongarmed” AEND Industries into giving up Abec11’s Reflex formula.  If there’s a grain of truth in that, as well as a grain of truth in Roger’s hot take, maybe Abec11 isn’t as groundbreaking as they claimed to be (which was yet another online rumor).

I’ll spare my own thoughts on a few of those points, as I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying hard to shed my old vendettas and negative ideas and look more positive on the brands that are still surviving and making this wonderful hobby of mine possible during this industry decline, so I’m doing my best to keep an open mind and support those who still support me.  Venom is one of the companies that’s still keeping it real, and they’re doing a great thing with this podcast!  I highly recommend it if you’re into skateboarding and skateboard history!  I’m definitely looking forward to the next episode.

I think I’ve mentioned this before:  I’m a little superstitious.  The vast majority of my emergency room visits pertaining to skateboarding have come early or late in the season…typically, early spring (February or March) or late fall (November to December).  So, I put a hiatus on skating between November 1 and March 31, or whenever snow shows up in the local forecast in the fall and leaves the forecast in the spring.  That way, I’m assured that I’ll end my season in decent weather.

For instance, I skated last on October 28 with no snow in the forecast, but by yesterday (the 29th) snow showed up in the long-term forecast, and this morning, we actually have snow on the ground.  Earlier in the spring, April 1 hit with snow in the long-term forecast, and we didn’t actually have a day without snow in the forecast (that snow never came) until the 15th or so.

This season was weird – family obligations took up a tremendous deal of our free time.  I took my wife skating on Go Skate Day, where she got down some great techslide maneuvers (techsliding is another rant I want to go on, but not today), which was incredibly cool to watch.

I did a bit of reconfiguring on my setups this year:
I took my Rolling Tree board, set it up on Zombie Lowrider trucks and Cult Ism wheels.  The Lowrider trucks are precisions, and felt harsh AF on hard wheels (Orangatang Onsens).  Oddly enough, the trucks absolutely come to life on soft freeride wheels.

I had set up a Creep Show 8.5″ popsicle stick on Paris 149 Street Trucks, and had it set up on the aforementioned Cult Isms.  But, big wheels (and the Isms aren’t even that big) on a tiny board make it feel like a monster truck.  So, when I did a simple wheel swap (taking the Onsens from the Rolling Tree and putting them onto the Creep Show, doing the opposite with the Isms), both boards felt right.

My Earthwing Hope still sits on the OG Indy 169’s and Slide A’s, and I find myself drawn more and more to dedicated slide boards…I didn’t ride my downhill boards once this season, just the sliders.

I got a new job offer (Yay me!) so I did what I did when I lost my last job, as a sort of symmetric homage:  I bought some new whiskey!

I’m currently enjoying some Tullamore Dew Caribbean Cask Finish.  There’s a warm sort of briney flavor, not unlike an island or highland Scotch, that’s also present in the more traditional rums of the Caribbean.  This, of course, dances tantalizingly around the biscuity, butter cookie flavor of the Irish whiskey (that Tullamore is).

The mouthfeel is quite unique…In the world of hot peppers, some fill your mouth with warmth, and others sting specific spots in your mouth.  This whiskey is like that second kid of pepper, where the flavor lingers on one spot of your tongue.

On the end, there’s a familiar floral note that fades back into that butter cookie flavor.  It’s kinda cool seeing the flavors meld together, especially in such a cool combination (rum finish on an Irish whiskey?  That’s cool!).