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Virage LDP Trucks - The first LDP truck to market

Precision turns and stickiness. The perfect powering rear truck. And on top of that, total confidence at speed with the front + back combo.

The Virage slalom trucks were already well into the testing phases by the time Michael Stride from the UK got in touch -- but I was jumping like a monkey when he said he needed them "stress" tested and slightly redesigned for LDP.

After several hundred miles on the first protos, it was already clear where to go next. Stridey widened the hangars a touch, built the baseplates a little higher to negate the need for risers, and worked on the kingpin "scoop" to make them easier to slide off and readjust.

I haven't taken the rear truck off my board ever since!!

Links:

http://pavedwave.myfastforum.org/ftopic526-0-asc-0.php

http://pavedwave.myfastforum.org/ftopic245-0-asc-10.php

http://pavedwave.myfastforum.org/about701.htm

http://www.octanesport.co.uk/shop/virage-slalom-pair-1.html

 

BENNETT TRUKS - THE TRUK OF LDP

Bennetts have been the LDP truck of choice since even well before the re-issues came out in spring 2006.

Earlier that year I was "beta" testing Bennett's pre-release Truks on the Mermaid and knew instantly this was a huge step up. After the first week of the 13-mile commute tests, rode the original red rubbers, switched up all kinds of other bushings and angled riser combos.

The Bennetts destiny was secured ever since they first came out for sidewalk pumpers of the 70's!

Never quite got the stock rubber Bennett bushings to do what I wanted for distance pumping, although they work awesome for smooth carves and shredding up a hill. When I set up an optimized snappier pumping deck, I tend to swap out to Khiros, Stims, Venoms, or Abecs.

The TURN is what Bennetts are all about. They surf literally like no other.

Above pic: one of Spencer Smith's bitchin' truck mods, similar to the Sk8kings Skennett, currently on my Roe SlingBlade.

Below pic: my not-so-bitchin' but highly functional building-block risers! Using one of Spencer's aluminum machined spacers to make the Khiros fit just right.

www.bennetttruks.com

 

 

Tracker RTS rear + RTX front -- (slalom)

Tracker RTS rear + Bennett front -- (LDP)

 

 

Radikals (slalom)

 

SplitFire (slalom)

Chop the axle in half, then position so it runs straight through the kingpins axis. That's Gary Fluitt's concept of the Split-Fires (and for any off-set) and it makes for much stickier turns.

At about $100 a truck these used to be a cost-effective high performance alternative to Radikals. They're no longer in business, so the only way to pick these up now are in the Buy-Sell-Trade sections of forums.

 

RTR (Rail to Rail)

First impressions: Wicked!! Snappier than the Carver C7, surfier than the CX.

Spring tension *pulls* the hangar back to center unlike Seismics that use the spring's push.

Have mostly tried with smallish (62mm) wheels, nothing really big and fast yet. I still need to sprint race someone on this to see where it tops out. Still seems to me the Carver CX demands a little more energy input but returns more speed in return.

This truck is a smooth surfer, and its not quite as loose as the C7 (my C7 is tightened up as much as possible) so it can be cranked up to a faster top-end speed. The concept is similar to C7 but with RTR it seems the spring pulls the hangar back to center where the main pivot point is a set of rotating discs. The center bushing is directly over the discs, but doesn't seem to play much of a role in how the truck surfs from side to side. If anything it may just soften the transitions.

Carving hard on the RTR, the hangar doesn't dip as dramatically as on the C7, so a little less riser and bigger wheels can be used with less risk of wheelbite.

I've moved a set of these to a Longboard Larry custom deck and testing 'em out over the winter.

Assuming you're a mostly downhill carve junkie, you'll probably never bust parts that much, but given the torque from Long Distance Pumping, you run into fatigue more often -- on ALL trucks.

The RTR guys are THE BEST in customer service. They shipped up replacement springs immediately and I'm working on modifying one of the parts to hold up to Long Distance Pumping.

1/8/06

I've been running RTRs on the following setups:

1. Longboard Larry 43", 75mm Avilas 82a Front, 72a Back, RTR front and back (the back truck is standard) Amazingly EFFORTLESS pumping and just cruising the trail. Might lack the top end speed that the Carver CX offers, but the pump is super easy, this is a perfect match.

2. MorningWood 41", 70mm Flashbacks 82a Front, 78a Back, Indy in the back. This is the most versatile setup in the quiver. Carves up parking lots and any flatland, with the kicktail you can get nuts on it. Turning is super responsive, and tight. We can easily whip through 6' center Cyber Slalom course.

www.rtrboarding.com

 

Carvers

Several years ago I took the Carver C7's on a couple long flat trail rides just to compare against traditional setups. The C7's are super smooth on flats, seem effortless, turn a small parking lot into an amazing surf workout. They're real easy to generate and maintain pump on the low end. Cutbacks, hard carves, the C7's are great for surf cross-training.

As for higher speed pumping, it's tricky with C7's to maintain a faster cruising speed and keep up with a standard bushing+hangar setup, although you can mitigate that somewhat by setting up with big wheels like Avilas (and huge risers to match.) C7's are fun to play around on when the weather is wet and your options are limited to indoor. Recommend these on a stiffer deck, there's a lot of play in the trucks so if you combine Carvers with a flexy deck the ride gets real squishy.

They're relatively stable going straight downhill but I'd get skittish committing to turns once the speed's picked up...just like any loose truck they get squirrelly at speed. If there's some dudes who can downhill on these, I'd be interested in their strategy!

The Carvers pictured are both the C7 and the CX front truck model.

The CX is a 'tighter' truck than the C7, but the carving feel is very similar. Carver learned a lot in just a couple years on simplifying their design yet achieving a very similar, but more responsive kind of ride.

I'm no truck technician, but I've put some serious miles on the Carver CX. The first thing I've noticed is getting past the 300-mile mark without a kingpin breaking... Typically I can bust Grade8's on a traditional setup after about 80 miles, and it ain't fun.

The kingpin points straight up from the baseplate, at a 90 degree angle from the deck, and the axle/hangar "swings" or swivels behind the kingpin. On almost all traditional trucks, the kingpin juts up at an angle from the baseplate and the axle/hangar body pivots on it like a see-saw.

And instead of the C7's 4 pivot points (one short kingpin on top, one long kingpin inside the baseplate, a spring/tension mechanism, and a set of rotating discs), with the CX there is now only ONE pivot point like a standard truck. A top + bottom bushing setup provides the push back to center.

In a programmer's analogy...Carver figured out in the last couple years how to achieve an arguably better carving experience with just 10 lines of code (CX) rather than 100 lines of code (C7). It's a huge efficiency improvement that makes a lot of sense. The magic is all up in the front truck. The reason they're sold in pairs is just to keep the height and hangar width of the back the same, as far as I can tell.

One thing with both of these trucks is you'll need a LOT of riser. Flat riser, on both. Angling either of these (wedging) really doesn't add to the performance, in fact it seems like it detracts from it. The CX hangar already has a natural angle to it, and the swivel needs to go from side to side without resistance that wedging actually adds.

The best way to figure it out is just get a couple sets and ride! The back truck can be the same so if you're into flatland surfing, I'd recommend getting both the C7 AND the CX - DaddiesBoardshop.com and solidskate.com are a couple great distributors!

I've busted the C7 internal spring which is probably easy to replace, and I might try using something a little stiffer, as I still don't get as much return to center from the C7 as I'd like.

 

Gullwing Cruiser 60s / Randal 150s

In the first years of exploring the world of LDP, I put the most pumping mileage on these (and broke countless kingpins due to a preference for keepin' everything loose.) The tightness and hardness of the bushing is key to the pump equation. The cool thing about Randals and Gullwings is how quickly you can change the ride just by changing up the bushings.

Khiro's and the stock Gullwing bushings work best. The Randal stock yellows are ok too but they do shred fast -- and that seems to be about when they feel best.

Exkate Torsions

Sporty and a nice spring back to center, especially the red bushing/ball. Smooth carving truck with a radically tight turning radius. Totally different feel, although Revenge trucks have a similar, updated design where the torsion bushing is encased and the range of motion is limited (in part to avoid wheelbite.)

www.exkate.com

Originals

Rode these years ago before the 8's and 10's were even out, and have recently re-discovered the pumping potential on these. I normally ride 6's for flatland pumps.

The wider hangars are incredibly well-suited for downhill carving, and they do take a little getting used to as the carves are more 'locked in' than the Randal/Gullwing carves most people are used to. Better for slow to medium-speed hills, a total carvers dream on those long winding gradual miles-long runs.

Absolutely worth adding to your quiver. Besides the fact Scott Imbrie is a super cool dude and has gone way above and beyond on my orders so far!

www.originalskateboards.com

Seismics

Used to have these on all my slalom decks, now starting to tinker with carving setups using these.

For a REAR LDP truck, the Seismics are awesome.

The Seismic action is more technical and not as "rounded". I've moved over to hangar + bushing setups since in slalom, and experimented with Seismics lighter springs for carving, and new wedging/dewedging experiments for flatlanding. There's an excellent turning radius to be discovered.

Dan Gesmer was way ahead in the development and analysis of the physics of pumping, and his trucks' geometry are the proof!

www.geoskate.com

Revenges

First impression on the Revenges is they're amazing for cranking downhill carves! The trucks have a very positive stopping point at max carve, minimal need for riser.

The Revenges' turning action pivots inward toward the deck - like an Original truck - whereas Carvers and RTR's swivel on a plane more horizontal with the deck, allowing an easier lateral pump. These may not be the trucks for long distance pumps. I've mounted them back+front for a dedicated carving / downhill setup on a Lib Tech and they were pretty sweet. Then only weeks after getting them, I had a Gullwing rear + Revenge front setup that got jacked, so now I just have the remaining Revenge as a front truck on my RollsRolls.

GUS Truck

Japanese-made, pivot truck. Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's Radikal."

Tracker Rear off-set

What I will say about this truck for now, is that it sticks the turns!!

 

Tracker 85mm Midtrack

Brad Jackman is responsible for getting me hooked on this thing. Excellent TS truck!

 

SETTING UP

There are many ways to config a deck for distance pumping, and depending largely on preference and pump style, some work better than others. What I'm imparting are my opinions on what works best, and a good number of pumpers here in the Northwest, where we've got endless miles of paved trails to ride.

First, the TRUCKS.

As the saying goes, what's old is new...and there is some "new" magic in the reissue Bennett Truks -- I'm putting more time on these than anything else now.

My typical (front) Bennett Bushing Setups for LDP

Bennetts feel a lot like an Indy, with a fast turn on initiation, and they turn like crazy all the way through. In slalom there seems to be a couple "schools", those who really like the power of a Tracker turn, and those who have been sold on the feel of an Indy since day one. A splitfire in back combination gives rear truck stickiness at the fastest speeds (flatland doesn't usually get much faster than 20mph) and the Bennett in front has a nice, easy surf feel that translates well to the trails. One thing I have to re-learn is how to footbrake at speed on these. The first time I broke at around 25mph, I didn't realize how much twitchier the front was than my splitfire!!

One thing I like about asphaltplayground.com's SplitFire in front, is that the axle is nearer the baseplate than a Randal or Carver truck, decreasing the overall height from deck-to-ground, which makes for easier pushing, for those unavoidable times when you must resort to that primitive skill. ;-)

Over the past year I've come to appreciate most the Bennett front / SplitFire rear, a perfect combination for a pumping machine.

Here are a few shots of my rear trucks. I always run them dewedged, and have lately moved all the SplitFires to DH baseplates. Since the SplitFires are currently on production hiatus, other options that I've set up are Tracker RTS and Indys on back -- which are about a sixth of the cost, and at least in the world of LDP, make a negligible difference.

The Carver CX has obviously been a favorite in the past. We were riding these hard way before Carver's marketing department finally woke up and started actively promoting them. With wheels of 75mm, they require 1-1/2" or more of risers (just flat ones, no angles), so pushing can be challenging especially up hills, but it surfs like crazy, so most the time you shouldn't be touching ground anyway.

For a relatively inexpensive, back-to-basics setup I would use a reverse kingpin truck, such as a Randal 150 or a Gullwing Cruiser 60. R180's or Holeys are okay, but those broad hangars will require a wider, more energy-invested pump, and what I prefer is a hangar that lets you tack the nose back and forth more effortlessly, at a shorter 'wavelength' and higher frequency. Paris trucks look far more elegant than the Randals, with a polished finish and arguably more consistent machining, though functionally there is very little difference.

Tracker RTX/RTS combos are great for slalom pumping. I find their turn to be of a progressive nature, and not as conducive to long distances because they require a bit more effort. Trackers seem to turn gradually, but as you continue to turn, they turn very deep and positive, which is probably why they work so well on the stiff, broad-nosed AXE slalom deck. However, the energy investment for short, wiggly acceleration costs a little more, and over the long hauls, I tend to use this method to either maintain momentum or sprint up long inclines.

On any truck, I basically stick with Khiro barrel bushings, usually a barrel on both the top and bottom.

Then, there's RISERS.

How the truck is mounted on the deck will greatly increase or decrease its turny, surfy quality. For LDP, you want a tacking, back and forth action in the front, and a relatively stable rear truck. For the SplitFires, Bennets, Randals, or Gullwing Cruisers, a strong wedge in front and slight de-wedge in back feels just right.

On the CX, I typically just ran 1-3/4" of flat risers with 75mm wheels and stock bushings.

Exact riser and hardware measurements vary widely, because my wheel choices generally range from 70mm to 77mm, bushings range from super soft to medium duros, decks can have some concave which raises the edges slightly -- so these choices have a huge influence on whether you run into wheelbite or not.

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Current favorite riser/wedge combinations in the front (with Bennetts) are:

Config1: 15 degree angle wedge plus ONE of the Khiro angled 'shock pads' for 75-77mm wheels (Vents, BigZigs, Gumballs)

Config2: 10 degree angle wedge plus ONE of the Khiro angled 'shock pads' for wheels in 70mm range (Zags, HotSpots, Manx)


Config3: TWO soft angled wedges (70mm wheels) - add a flat 1/8" riser (Avilas, Gumballs) or 1/4" riser (SpeedVents)

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This may look like a lot of riser, but in fact, these wedges are fat only on one end and very thin on the other, so my LDPs tend to be as far off the ground as other, more standard setups.

Khiro Wedge Kit diagram and typical risers used.
Most setups are about 1/4" off the deck on the thin end...
For 75-77mm wheels, about 1-1/2" off the deck on the thick end...
Slalom set up with 10 degree wedge and two flat 1/8" risers.

What I typically run on any reverse kingpin truck or Bennets, are Khiro angled 'shock pads' in front, which are actually a large wedged rubber riser that is 3/16" on one end and 9/16" on the fat end, plus if I'm using wheels that are 75mm or larger, will add at least 1/8" flat riser and sometimes another very thin angled riser.

Usually before fully tightening everything up, you can just put the baseplate over the bolts, grab the wheels and wrench the hangar side to side, to get an idea whether you've got enough riser to keep the dreaded wheelbite from getting you.

To just take care of all your angled riser needs once and for all (until you need more, anyway) just pick up one of the Khiro wedged riser kits!

As far as hardware goes these days, I rarely buy anything shorter than 1-1/2" up to 3", just get a collection of bolts in all lengths and you'll never be stuck with a truck-less deck!

 

WHEEL preferences -- I'm usually running one of these on distance setups:

- 75a 77mm Speed Vents - fastest top end speed, good on poor-to-excellent trail conditions

- 72a 75mm Red or PurpleSkunk Avilas - because of its amazing soft duro that maintains its momentum on nice surfaces, and gets over the nastiest asphalt smoothly, this is still the wheel of choice for tackling ALL terrain LDP!

- Pink Gumballs - amazing rebound, and cushy for nasty trail conditions

- Lime/Lemon BigZigs - amazing rebound, best on good-to-excellent trail conditions