Today Maribeth, Jamieson, and I had the pleasure of helping our new friend Iwen out with setting up his flexy pintail deck. He’s on “holiday” traveling around the States and Canada and stopped in our shop with a pretty beat setup. The bushings were worn and hard as rocks and he had to ride his board completely loose to get any turn out of it, and he had hard radiused wheels. They were working out fine for him in California on their perfectly smooth streets, but here in NYC, he was getting hung up on cracks and rocks everywhere he went. He was ready for a change.
Maribeth put him on some 76mm Atobe Bonneville wheels, some super squishies with a fat contact patch that would steamroll over anything in their path. It looked as though he was going to have plenty of clearance with the half inch risers that were already on his deck, but after putting the wheels on, he stepped on the deck and he was getting wheelbite. The wheels were way bigger than his old ones, but the thing that was really getting in the way of making this setup work was that he was running these GFHurley trucks that nobody here had ever seen. They were cast really nicely and turned very deeply and were a decent truck. He was on a traveler’s budget, so we didn’t want to suggest new trucks. My thoughts were that we could probably get the trucks to perform much better than any other stock truck if we just put some good bushings in there (This is one of the magic secrets off longboarding. Most trucks are nearly the same thing…same geometry, made out of the same stuff, just perform differently for one reason or another. Good bushings on an “average” truck will almost always result in better performance than bad bushings on a good truck).
The thing that caused us problems was that the trucks were extremely divey, and the board was wide in the front. The back had no problems whatsoever with bite, but the nature of how you ride this board toward the front meant that way more pressure and also way more risk of biting was going on in the front of the board. This is when the doctor had to go to work. The surgeon’s apprentice, Jamieson, put on a hard SHR eliminator and cone in the back. This worked well with the truck design and we had no problems there. With the front, I tried similar combos with no luck…even double eliminator hard bushings, which I didn’t want to do because I wanted the board to still be turny, didn’t work. The time had come to start messing with angles.
Intuitively, I knew one angle wouldn’t work. I wanted to run the back flat and angle the crap out of the front, so I could go back to what I really wanted to do with the board in the first place, which was to make the board really turny so he could traffic surf at low speeds. I stacked two angled risers in the front. Crazily enough, even with 88a bushings in the front and two 7 degree soft Angled risers in the front, totaling 14 degrees of total angle, it was STILL getting bite, and not as soft as I really would’ve liked to run the trucks in the first place.
At this point, I was pretty frustrated, but I had one more idea to try out, after countless tries with countless different bushings, cupped washers, flat washers–anything I could find around the shop–I decided to take a Gullwing Charger washer off of the display Gullwing we had on our truck wall. Chargers have the deepest cupped washer of any truck that I have seen up to this point, and I was hoping this would keep the truck from oversteering and limit it somehow. Somehow, after all that tinkering, this worked. The deep washer stopped the truck from oversteering RIGHT before it bit. This meant that I could run soft bushings so he could get max turn with not a lot of effort, but the washer would keep the truck from getting bite and max it out but still be safe. I changed the front bushings back to 83a and didn’t have to worry about a thing. It was beautiful. The board turned beautifully. It was like heaven.
I gave the board to Iwen, and off he went for a test ride. The grin he came back with made that hour of fiddling 100% worth it. He loved the squishy wheels and commented on how he felt like he could roll over anything in the road. The wheels were perfect. The turn was perfect. It was every bit as turny as it was before, but now he had a strong center and felt comfortable pushing, like the board wanted to go straight unless he was telling it to go somewhere else. I felt accomplished and congratulated my team. This is the sort of story that makes me feel like I belong in this business. This is Doctor Wiggler and my collegues, Maribeth and Jamieson, signing off. Thanks for reading!