2 Boards – a comparison and a truck rant

Gullwing Split-Axle trucks from the mid-late 1970s. Click for full size.

A few weeks ago Eric Sanders sent me a pair of the new Paris V3 trucks. I refrain from calling them “reverse kingpin” or “RKP” trucks, because the kingpin isn’t really reversed on this style of trucks in any way. It simply goes under the axle, rather than up more or less straight. This of course allows the truck to turn much more tightly. In the old days, the first trucks I remember having this geometry were Gullwing Split Axle trucks and Speed Springs. I’m not sure which came first, but we’re talking about 1975, so this idea isn’t new. The next ones I remember were the Variflex Connection trucks, in the late 1970s.

In the modern era, the Randal-II was the only truck with this geometry when I began riding long skateboards in the early 2000s. I know Randal had been making their trucks for a while even then.

Mid-1970s Speed Spring trucks, by Innovative Designs, Inc. Click for full size.

My point — this is not a new kind of geometry. So all these Johnny-come-lately truck makers haven’t really invented anything. It was all done before. Way before.

BUT, I have to say, being a tried-and-true Randal man for lo these many years, these Paris trucks are really quite nice. For one thing, the parts all fit together quite well. When Paris trucks first came out I thought “Pah! A Randal-II copy, and probably cheap Chinese-made crap.” I can’t really say I was right, since I never saw or tried them, but I’ve heard reports that the first two versions of this truck weren’t that good. Not horrible, but just nothing to make me want to change from Randal-IIs for. A few things I like about them. Like I said, the parts seem to fit together correctly. The stock bushings are actually good. No need to change them immediately, and the bushing seats are molded correctly for them. The ends of the hangers are well-faced, providing a proper surface for your speed washers and bearing to press up against.

Late 1970s Variflex Connection trucks. Click for full size.

So yeah – nice.

Correction: these are actually the Paris V2 trucks. But obviously I like them. They’re good!

If you want to great writeup and specs on the Paris V3 trucks, check out this description on Tony Gale’s Offset Skate Supply. Tony does the BEST and most detailed product descriptions on the internet.

One thing to mention. As Tony says in the above link, the Paris baseplate is oddly shaped, and the very front of the baseplate and the pivot actually sit out in front of any normal riser pad. So a normal riser, in other words, does not support the entire baseplate. At first this is a bit disconcerting, but when I look at my Randal-IIs, the pivot is ALSO not supported. It sticks out in front of the baseplate! It just doesn’t look weird because the baseplate itself is a standard rectangular shape, with the pivot itself protruding from the front. When I realized this I decided not to stress out over the weird look of the Paris baseplate hanging out there.

Baseplate/pivot comparision. Randal-II on left, Paris V3 on right.

Anyway, I had no board to put these newfangled trucks on, so I ordered a Zenit Judo deck from Muirskate.com . It’s a “dancing” deck. Now as you will know if you know me or you’ve read any of my rantings, I am sometimes critical of the “dancing” trend. In fact, it is one of the reasons I suggested to the Mighty Thornton that we start this site. Now, I’m always glad to see anyone enjoying themselves on a skateboard, but I just don’t personally like the dance “style” that has evolved over the last 15 years. It’s just not my thing. Hate on me at will, but that’s how I feel. On the other hand, there aren’t a lot of longboards available now in what I’d call a stretched classic skateboard shape, so I thought I’d give this a try. See? I’m not unreasonable.

Paris V3 180mm trucks with 50 degree baseplate. You can see the well-faced hanger ends. Click for full-size.

This board is 44″ long, has very very mellow concave, rocker, and nose/tail kicks, and is symmetrical. For a bit deck, it is light. It has fiberglass outer layers, and a carbon fiber “stinger” buried in the middle of the plies to stiffen it up. So I like that technology. These nose and tail are long enough to get the job done. I set it up with the Paris V3s and some old but unused Metro Motion 70mm 78s wheels. 1 thin riser under each trucks. I took it out.

It’s a snappy setup. My personal gravity well bestows upon me about 215 pounds of weight on planet Earth, and it is stiff enough under my mass. It flexes, but it’s not saggy or bouncy. I would have to say they got the flex “just right”. I can see how a “dancer” would really enjoy this board. I think it is versatile enough to have a variety of funs on it, the Paris trucks provide very responsive and sharp turning. I barely had to adjust the trucks. After about 15 minutes of skating I tightened them a bit. That’s saying something. I feel like the 70mm wheels are a bit big for my needs, so I’ve ordered some smaller wheels (63mm). I think they will help a lot. For one thing, it will lower the board a bit and make it easier to push, and it will make it lighter.

Here’re some shot of the new board beside a couple of others for comparison, with notes in the captions. Sadly the Bustin 42″ Boombox is no longer in production. It’s a very good board.

Zenit Judo, next to my 42″ Bustin Boombox, next to my Alva Metallic Rocker (34 x 10.75 w 17.5″ WB).
Zenit Judo next to Bustin Boombox. Judo has shorter wheelbase, but is longer overall due to longer nose and tail. it’s a lot narrower too — again — designed for “dancing”.
Bustin Boombox on the right. You can see the slightly lowered mid section (lowered about 1/2″ about 2″ being the trucks), rocker, and concave. That plus smaller wheels = easier to push. Each board is very unique and has its strengths.


3 thoughts on “2 Boards – a comparison and a truck rant

  1. I have sets of Gullwing Chargers that I love. Great turning trucks. And the Caliber trucks are fantastic. They’re more stable than the chargers but turn nicely.

  2. I have a set of Gullswing Chargers that Loaded sent me on a complete years go. Not a huge fan, but they were OK. Maybe I should give them a 2nd try.

  3. Oh so happy for this wonderland of longerboards. Bob those are Paris V2 I sent. I have the new V3s on a bustin Maestro and I can’t really tell a difference between them.

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