Teamgee H6 arrives

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The eagerly awaited Teamgee H6 finally arrived after UPS messed around for a week (my experiences lately with UPS have been universally not good). Unpacked and straight out on the road ūüôā – why do people make dull unpacking videos on youtube, even worse with music overlay?

First impressions from the weekend are really good. It’s big selling point obviously is the board’s looks and it does not disappoint – it looks great and is a real stealth board, apart from the big red “Electrical Skateboard” stickers on the underside, which did make me laugh (they will no doubt be taken off quickly).

The power delivery with the remote and ESC is sharp, but nice and progressive. This is a board easy to get confident on quickly. The remote wheel is nice and smooth, although the overall weight of the remote is a little light and feels a bit cheap; but it does not impact the control and ride experience.

The L1 and L2 settings are via a simple hard-switch on the side of the remote, rather than a soft programme control, which is good. The speed-range between L1 and L2 seems nicely spread, so that L1 does not carry you at warp speed, but it is also not boring so you are forced to go full speed. In fact, the board spent most of its time over the weekend on L1 being tested and used by my neighbours’ young teenage kids Рand got the big thumbs up from them.

Next, oldest son has to take it on some speed tests. Will do a full write-up shortly. Nice one Teamgee {thumbs up}.

Helmet: Giro Switchblade

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A few notes on the Giro Switchblade downhill MTB helmet, which I now use most of the time when out on the e-boards. In summary, I really like it, have no issues with it and very happy to recommend it.

I looked at the Switchblade, the Bell Super 3r and DH, some of the Fox Racing ones and the Met Parachute; in the end, I chose the Switchblade primarily for the:
  • Graphics/colors scheme (my Red and White).
  • Detachable chin guard (the Parachute does not detach).
  • Half-shell having more coverage (over some of the others).
  • Reasonable cost.

They all fitted well, which surprised me, and they all had the MIPS safety system, so my choice was really about just color, style, and cost. The cost new, after a bit of hunting around, was £160; which I was pleased with. I could not find discounted deals on the Foxes or the Bell DH, but the 3r Super and Met Parachute were available with deals at roughly the same price.

The Switchblade with chin-guard weighs 985g, which is a bit heavier than the very-light Met Parachute at 700g (but it has no metal chin lock mechanism, as the guard is not removable), but not an issue for me – I am used to much heavier motorcycle helmets. The foam padding is excellent and really¬†comfortable. It has the RocLoc¬ģ Air DH¬†system, where you just twist the wheel at the back of the head, to tighten or loosen the fit.

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The detachable chin guard is nice, but given I bought this primarily for the extra protection over my normal skate helmet, I could have lived easily with it being none-removable, like with the Met Parachute. Removing and fitting the chin-guard is easy, needing two hands. The fitting is snug and secure.
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What, however, does differentiate some of the helmets with removable chin-guards is what kind of half-shell is left when the chin-guard is removed. This is very noticeable between the Bell Super 3r and the Switchblade, with the Giro having more jaw-side cover/protection when used without the chin-guard. Not that one is better than the other, it is really just a preference thing.

 

I went with the downhill MTB style of helmet, over a full-cover motorcycle style, like the popular TSG Pass, for the extra ventilation and, being honest, it felt less conspicuous – a kind of a dumb rationale in some ways, but that is vanity for you.

It comes with alternative foam inserts, a nice carry/storage bag, and a spare visor.

Some review videos:

Mechanical Longboard Brakes

I have been looking, purely out of interest, at various mechanical braking options for conventional longboards.
Most people will either just run-off the board if things are getting all scary, or footbrake if not going too fast. A few, with more experience and practice, can slide a board, but that still needs space and safe situation to do so. The concept here is of having another mechanical option.

In summary, there seems to be three different types of solutions:

1. Braking on the wheel – Mingo Skateboard¬†‚ÄėThe Frog’

Mingo brake
Mingo Skateboard’s ‘Frog’ device is attached to the exposed truck (drop-through deck) and foot pressure forces brake levers on to the wheels. The reviews I read were not that complimentary, including it scaring the wheels – a shame, and I might still try it, as it does not require any drilling into the board.

2. Braking on the road – Pogo, Handmade & Boolah Boards

German company Pogo, Korean Handmade and US Boolah Boards use the same simple mechanism of the foot forcing down a brake bad against the road. Some require a hole drilling for the foot pad and others use the space some trucks have with drop-through deck mounting. All require the arm with the brake pad attached to be attached (screwed or bolted) to the deck.

3. Braking on the truck – Brakeboards

Australian Brakeboard use a daily sophisticated truck based mechanism a little bit like a bike disk-brake. Mechanical more complex than the others, but can be used without screwing or drilling any holes into the deck. Shipping and tax are sadly incurred getting it to the UK, plus the only options seem to be either buying that Rat Board, with 150mm trucks, or their custom 180mm trucks at $500; add in tax and shipping and the latter is a very expensive solution.
(As ever, let me know if I have missed any other solutions).


To start with, I thought I would try with a braking on the road solution and ordered the Korean company Handmade’s Slide Brake (which seems to be just sold on Amazon). It is quite a simple solution, to work with one of our drop-throughs (probably the ZenitAB, but might use the Kaliber Affe) but it does require me to drill a hole for the arm screw/bolt… which will hurt!
I will do another update once installed and tested.

Teamgee on its way

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Being an old-time (or older-timer!) longboard fan, I am a sucker for a retro pintail¬†(owning two conventional pintails already); so I was immediately interested when I saw Teamgee‚Äôs new stylish electric ‚Äėstealth‚Äô pintail announced, with its hub-motors, hidden in-board battery and twin-stripe grip-tape.
Having talked to the company (thumbs up for their initial responsiveness) about importing one, a nice new one is now heading our way (at my cost) to join the stable. I will post comments and a review, once it is here and we have taken it out a few times.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a good video Ronnie Sarmiento did on the Teamgee board.

Boa Wheels

New US maker Boa (might just be new to me), has brought out two longboard wheels, which interestingly have the same core hole system as the Orangatang Kegel, meaning that they can be used as a direct replacement, with no change of pully or belt, with Boosted V2 boards.

The wheels, both 83a, are the Constrictor at 100mm and the Hatchling at 90mm.

UPDATE (7/4/18): Ordered some Constrictors and will write a review when they arrive.

Body protection for riding

http://skateszone.com/skateboard-protective-gear/
Skatezone protective gear article

I am a big supporter of always wearing helmets when out on the e-board, and most of the time on my conventional boards, always wearing mine (a standard skate helmet by Bullet). For once, I will leave out my usual diatribe on reckless fuckwit social-celebrities promoting helmet-less city traffic riding and just cover some options for protective gear.

I have considered a full-face skate helmet, with greater protection but lighter than a motorcycle helmet, and may get one depending on my riding.

 

 

 

UPDATE: I got a full-face Giro Switchblade MTB helmet, sadly one accident too late РI involuntarily came off and kissed a tree. That will teach me! Now I have the switchblade to save my pretty smile. I went with the MTB helmet as it was cooler than a full-face TSG and, for pure vanity, less conspicuous for me.

giro switchblade

The other things I consider essential are my gloves, where I use normal cycling gloves as they offer decent friction protection without limiting remote-control movement.

In addition, when going fast (and not nice and friendly with my youngest son) I use my armored motorbike jeans made by Force Riders, with armor in the knees and, importantly, hips. Previously I have had a bad pelvic injury, so protection of my hips is important for me. Interestingly, pelvic protection is not normally worn by skateboarders, but as I have learned it can be a fragile body part if you fall in a specific way.

I am not sure if Force Riders jeans still exist (I could not find any links to them Рmine were bought on Amazon), but there are other makes, including Alpinestars, Richa, Bull-it, UglyBros, Roadskin, and Draggin, who are well established and with a solid reputation. My Force Riders were relatively inexpensive, but I replaced the basic foam protection that came with them (same with many of them) with much better and more flexible sorbothane and shock foam CE rate armor. They work really well, especially when out just cruising around the local cafes (looking less kiddie-like than external knee pads), and I would highly recommend wearing them.

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Following the motorcycle theme, if I want to go full protection for conventional downhill, or fast on the e-board, I use my British Knox under-armour under whatever I am wearing at the time and is not going to shred easily. Again it is light, very comfortable and works really well allowing good movement on the board.

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E-boards’ trucks & bushings

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Red 93a Paris bushing

With rain outside (yet again), I changed the bushings on the Boosted Dual. The stock bushings are apparently¬†86a durometer, which in theory are too soft for me at 85kg (187lb). I say “in theory” because¬†they don’t feel like 86a, they feel much firmer; however, they are easy to change, so why not. I had some spare Paris made barrels, so put in 93a board-side and 90a roadside. I may step-up to 94a+93a, but will try the 93a+90a combination first.

UPDATE: After trying it (I am 85kg), I moved up to the 94a+93a combination and have settled on that.

I used Paris bushings for now (the 94a’s I have are DohDoh), as they are what I had spare, but any good make – Venom, Oust, Blood Orange, Riptide etc. – would¬†work. I see a lot of e-boarders talking about Orantang Nipples (I guess it is the Loaded marketing machine again), but they are too soft for me for downhill and speed, even their supposed “hard” ones are only 89a.

I like to run the e-boards like conventional downhill boards, based on the premise that both need to be stable at speed: two barrels and firm, rather than my usual barrel+cone cruising set-up on the conventional push boards. In simple terms, barrels have more surface area over cones and will hold their shape more.

 

 

With e-boards and their high-speeds, my preference would be to not run bushings at all and use spring trucks, like the Trampas or Seismic G5s. A polyurethane bushing has a complex job to do, given all the multi-dimensional forces it has to react against. Their dominance of the truck world comes from skateboarding, where they are cheap and make truck manufacturing easy; but skateboarding is not e-boarding, especially at speed. For now, however, I will live with the Boosted and Yuneec running conventional longboard trucks, but if there is ever an upgrade option, or I replace one of the boards with a Nottingham made Trampa or some exotic derivative, I will do it and go for springs.

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Finally, I see a lot of people jumping into e-boarding having not ridden push boards before, not a problem if people take it easy to learn e-boarding and build up the speed carefully. One thing, however, that does become apparent, with those who have not push boarded before, is that lack of awareness of how important bushings are and the need to use ones with a durometer that matches the rider and type of riding. Given how inexpensive and simple they are to change, there is a need to get greater awareness in the community and new riders using what is right for them; especially, given the job of a bushing is to keep you out of a hospital and enjoying the ride.

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Riptide bushings (note – there is no color standard, all manufacturers use different colors for their various durometer ratings).

Links:

 

Got the family stable together before wrapping-up for winter

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Finally got the family stable together: six Europans and a Canadian.

From left to right:

  • Hackbrett Balance
  • Hecs Decks Fish (Gullwing+Metro Express)
  • Kaliber Wild Africa Affe¬†(Paris V2 trucks+Orangatang Kegel wheels)
  • Curfboard
  • Zenit AB
  • Jungle Pintail (Paris Adam Colton trucks +Blood Orange Liam Morgan wheels)
  • Hecs Decks King Louis (Paris V2 trucks +Metro Motion wheels)

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The beautiful walnut Balance will get wrapped up for winter (summer, no grip board), along with the Afee (gets a break and donates the Kegels), King Louis and Jungle Pintail (another cafe posing only). The Hecs Fish stays out (as always, it is the easiest to transport), the beautiful cherry and carbon-fiber Zenit AB is getting re-gripped, and gets the Kegels for a change, and the Curfboard needs more practice and experimentation.

First Impressions of the Curfboard

 

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So finally got some time out on the new Curfboard this weekend with its unique carving front truck (the rear truck is a standard RKP design).

As mentioned¬†when it first arrived, the whole board is well made; the 33″ (84cm) deck with a 62cm¬†wheelbase is nice, with a good level of flex for me as an 85kg rider, the trucks feel quality and the 70mm wheels, which feel around 82a, are well finished with no obvious crack/splinter faults.

Link to Curfboard Ad Video

Curfboard video of the front trucks working

I had a couple of questions on Reddit Longboard forum, one “was it a gimmick?” and two, “does it feel divey?“. The first¬†is “no” and the second is “yes”. I don’t feel it is a gimmick at all, it is different from a conventional¬†longboard and, for me, very enjoyable to use in the right situation, and that is a key point I will come back to. “Divey” because there is no rebound¬†to work with, no force to exert against to make the movement more progressive; there are no bushings to push down against (except on the rear truck). I get why not, and the principal involved;¬†I may get used to it more, but I miss that opposing force to give a more progressive feel. It carves well, in the right situation, and pumps well, but I still miss some progressive movement in the trucks.

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The key here as mentioned¬†before is “in the right situation” – this front truck, for me, is in its element on a gentle to moderate hill, where you want to carve; with an advantage over some of my other caving boards, in that it does not need much road width – it can carve tight. On that gentle long, but narrow¬†road, this is a near perfect weapon.

I would, however, not fast downhill on this; speed wobbles for me came quick and its short quick carving does not slow the experience down nor dampen the wobbles. I will choose my hills very carefully when out on the Curfboard. I did not try any sliding nor am encouraged to do so, but this might be my inexperience and sliding capability.

Another aspect I would recommend being careful of¬†is just pushing off – if the front¬†foot weight, and your balance, is not perfectly balanced, the board will dive immediately. First time out and, every now and then, this caught me out – this is a truck that you very much need to build your confidence on carefully. Consequently, unlike some of my rock solid boards like the Zenit AB, this is a board I would not take to casually, half-sleep, cruise around town. I know the local roads and paths I will use this on and look forward to it, but only those. Sadly I don’t have a smooth pump track near me, as I suspect this would also be its natural home but will search one out just for the experience.

Finally, coming back to the lack of resistance progression, I can’t help feeling that there could be a future development of this truck to add an element of progressive¬†resistance, and if so, I will be at the front of the queue.

Nicely made Curfboard.

More Information:

 

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Curfboard Arrives

 

Amazingly quick, the new Curfboard arrived from Germany with its new-fangled unique (to Curfboard) front carving truck.

It is just the front truck that is different, the rear is a nonormalKP truck. The front ruck for carving just swings on the two pivots and does not use bushings, it is all down to the pressure applied on the angle.

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All the parts look well made, the deck, trucks, wheels etc. Sadly, I can only comment on how it looks and feels in my kitchen and hallway as it arrived in a storm and I have yet to actually get a chance to get out on it.

The deck has a high flex in it and covered with¬†clear grip-tape, which I will replace quickly – just my personal dislike for clear grip-cover (it is never actually ‘clear’ and gets ugly with dirt). The 70mm wheels are standard longboard wheels, which seem similar to my 82a Hawg Mini Monsters.