A little more about my BoomBox

Here’s a little video I made when I was out skating today, talking about his setup and changes I’ve made. I need to get the squeak out of the trucks. The pivot cups are squeaky.

Talking about my Bustin Boombox from Bob Loftin on Vimeo

And here’s dorky thing I put on Instagram. You know, I love freestyle and ditch skating and doing tricks, but I also love just rolling smoothly on a really nice board.

Ride along with Pandemic Bob from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

A Deck Rant

Unlike my Frontside360 counterpart, Bob, I’m more unreasonable when it comes to a traditional skateboard shaped longboard deck. Sure, I have drop down/drop through boards (two of them), and I enjoy them for what they are. They are great push machines not meant to flip or ollie. In truth, I find “street” tricks done on a board like that to generally be clunky. If you see me on one of my double drops, you’ll see me putting a few miles on my legs. Period.

So, when I want to trick skate I’m looking for something different. I’m looking for kicks on both the tail and nose. I’m looking for a semi-symmetrical to symmetrical shape. I’m looking for a stretched out skateboard. But I’m not looking for a dancer per se. At very nearly 200 pounds I’m not looking for high flex. I’m not looking for fiberglass. I’m looking for a long skateboard that I can slappy grind should I want. I’m looking for a board I can ollie should I want. I’m looking for a board that isn’t so long that I can’t throw down some walk the dogs.

I found this board several years ago.

The board in the picture is a loco 37 hybrid longboard skateboard deck made by Landyachtz. Why aren’t there more of these types of boards?! This is a Brad Edwards style board. This is a Jesse Parker style board. This is a do anything deck. You can do some freestyle tricks, street skate, cruise, carve, skog, and do some “dancing” moves all on a board like this.

I woke up a couple hours early this morning, and I was searching for the next board like this I could ride. While this thing has given me some good years I know it won’t last too much longer. But none of the “major players” in longboarding really offer a deck like this. Arbor has one, but I can’t find just the deck (I don’t want a complete). Globe has one but the same issue applies (and I’m not sure about Globe’s quality). Landyachtz doesn’t seem to offer one anymore. Gravity has completely screwed up their choices and their website kept sending me to something really dodgy. So, no good choice there and now I need to scan my computer.

The only place I seem to be able to find a deck like this is through funbox distribution, so I guess my next hybrid longboard will be a blank. That seems a shame to me.

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.