I had some idle time, and after ordering some new ones (Bones Hard Core) to try and spares, I thought: “what are the 10 things to know about bushings?”
So, to help, my 10 things to know…
They are important – a bushing is a simple polyurethane item, but with a really complex job to do (including keeping you safe) balancing complex multi-directional forces. It is worth understanding how they work and getting the right ones for you.
Guides, not rules – there is no definitive rule here – use what works for you. Mix what you want. There are some good guidelines on what to use for your riding style, board, trucks, and weight, but they are just guidelines. They are relatively inexpensive, but impact so much – buy a few, buy some spares. Try different ones. Buy a bagful.
Different shapes – they come in different shapes (cones, barrels, stepped…) and construction (hard center, soft center…), which all work slightly differently depending on how you want to ride. It is OK to mix shapes on the top and bottom side to tune how the board performs.
Different durometer – they come in different softness/hardness (rated in durometer or “duro”) which you match to your weight and riding style. It is OK to mix the duro on the top and bottom. There are plenty of guidelines for matching your weight and style to the duro.
Different sizes – they come in different sizes (people often miss this): short, tall, fatter etc. Again it is OK to mix them and mixing is common; plus two that are tall can often not fit on the same kingpin.
Match the truck – Some (it is rare) trucks are different to all others and need to work with specifically designed bushings – just make sure you don’t get mixed up.
Cup AND bushing – don’t think just “bushing”, think “cup/washer+bushing”. The cup/washer, that the bushing sits on, also impacts how the board performs. Match the size and shape of the cup/washer to the bushing size and shape.
Never cut to fit – never ever cut a bushing to make it fit. Cutting it will introduce micro cuts and tears which can sheer under pressure and leave you in a whole world of pain. If it does not fit, change it or the cup/washer.
Replace? – if damaged, in any way – swap them out and throw away. Any damage can introduce a fault line which can then sheer under pressure. As said, they are inexpensive – just change.
Good ones? – Yes, good ones are worth paying for – they are not “all just some plastic”. The formulas are different and how they perform can be very different – surprisingly so. Bad ones also run the increased risk of sheering. Even the best, however, are relatively inexpensive, so it is worth paying for the good ones from trusted brands like Venom, Riptide, BloodO, Oust, Orangatang, Shorty etc. if not sure, trust your local skate shop.
Note, virtually all boards/trucks come with stock cheap bushings, set up for whatever they consider is the ‘average customer’ weight and riding style. I would recommend always changing to what works for you – your weight and riding style. The Paris ones that came with their trucks I like, but some of the cheap ones used on e-boards are poor and I would replace straight away.
Regarding e-boards, there is not much difference between a conventional longboard and an e-board in terms of bushings. The trucks are generally the same. Most people just set-up their e-boards as a downhill longboard, for greater stability at speed, using stiff (high duro) barrel+barrel – but you can do what you want and run them differently if you want greater carving etc.
And finally, note that there is a small optimum range for the tightness or looseness of the kingpin nut. Too tight and you will deform the bushing and it will perform worse or, worse, sheer. Don’t over tighten to change the performance (or help reduce speed wobble), change the bushing.
A great thread on Electric Skateboard Builders on setting up bushings: link
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’s new stylish electric ‘stealth’ 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.
Sadly it looks like Yuneec has stopped making e-boards (although I have found no official statement). They are still making their other products, drones etc., it seems that they have just stopped selling their e-boards. I say “sad” as we have had one of the first-gen boards and it is still going strong, it has been bomb-proof, and now used very happily by my 8-year-old.
Its single belt-motor is now a little slow compared to most current modern 20mph+ boards, but now perfect for my youngest getting used to real e-boards (and not toys). It has excellent real 90cm wheels, a progressive remote control, and a nice flexing deck; plus, as said, ours has had great reliability and with minimal battery age sag after 2 years!
You can still buy them from some independent retailers, some of them now significantly discounting them, however, I imagine getting support and things fixed will not be so easy going forward unless you can pick up cheap salvage units to strip for the parts.
I can understand why they stopped, it is still a niche market that is overcrowded with options and now a flood of budget hub-motor boards, some of them really good. Tough competition and not really the market demand to scale up manufacturing and make a good profit – the same reason most of the crowd-funded struggle and sadly will disappear.
Virtually all of the budget boards are now hub-motors; not my favorite technology for our crappy old victorian pavements, but they are significantly cheaper to make than belt-drives – just basically fewer parts and assembly. Hence, it was good to see Riptide and Jed Boards launch recently belt and gear-drive options, I hope they do well and make it to some form of sustainable scale.
Sad to see the E-Go be no more. Been great; thanks, Yuneec for the excellent work and all the fun.
I have just found a new European maker, Ride Unlimited, based out of Barcelona. Interestingly they produce both complete e-boards and units to convert existing decks. Three models, of conversion units, are available (pre-order for spring 2018 right now): a “Solo” single hub-motor and battery unit, single hub-motor but double battery “Cruiser” unit, and a double battery and hub-motor “R” unit.
The Solo and Cruiser units, with the single motor, looks on paper low-power rated with a max of 840W. The faster R unit, with the double motor, has a more respectable max 1680W, but still not matching the top performing units on the market. In the end, however, only real-world riding will tell how they perform and what is fast enough or not.
What is interesting, besides general design including replaceable hub-motor polyurethane, is that they are specifying IP65 dust and water-resistance (rated as: “dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle“), like the similar focused Mellow and Onan units.
Vlogger FabTrav (Fabian Doerig) trying a unit out at the ISPO 2018 Exhibition: YouTube Link
The very well regarded, and competitively priced, Meepo v1.5 hub-motor e-board is now priced with shipping and import tax (duty and VAT) to the EU, as well as the US. This is great news as not only is it a good spec board for less than £500 (I have tested the v1 and v1.5 looks even better), but their customer support is very well regarded and, importantly, you can purchase individual components or it all as a kit. This makes fixing issues, although from China, much easier than other similar £500 options.
Cost (at time of writing) is £302.52 for the std battery and £446.92 for the more powerful Sanyo model. Cost is the same for either the short 30″ or my preference, the longer 38″.
I found another small European maker, the French company Alkamist Longboard, with some nice looking downhill boards and some very stylish wheels. I will have a look more at the wheels and am very tempted. Never been one for white wheels, but these are the first that got my attention.
Ridge, the Liverpool (UK) based company have brought out a small, almost a penny board 27″ deck, in-hub motor e-board called the EL1, that weighs only 3.5kg. The main thing, however, besides the obvious European support is that it is only £350. My first thought was “toy”, but reading the Esk8 review on their site, it needs to be taken seriously as a small high portable fun deck.
Spotted the interesting Waterborne Skateboards ‘Surf’ (truck) adaptor.
What I like about this idea is that, unlike some of the other surf and carve trucks, it has some form of progressive resistance from the bushing. It looks crude with the single bushing, and with some potential risky stress and fracture points, but worth a try and I will order one (hey no freebies on this blog, LOL – just my hard earned money being spent).
The excellent folks at Electric Skateboarding HQ (down under in Australia), have done a really interesting update on the list of crowdfunding (Kickstarter & Indiegogo) business trying to get e-boards to market.
Their review covers 27 companies with 34 products that have tried, or are trying, to get into full production and some level of longevity. Throw in at least 15 other other companies currently selling direct, plus a few others I am not aware of, and you probably have over 50 companies currently selling or offering to sell e-boards. A situation which I can not see is sustainable, now or even in the near future – right now, it is very much ‘buyer beware‘.
I would also add that of the 34 products listed, nearly all of them are offering very similar products – there is a distinct lack of innovation in this list, just lots of companies (probably individuals), trying to get to market with the same ideas and Chinese made parts. Many parts that you can already get direct from existing Chinese manufacturers or in existing products.
I apologize if I sound overly cynical, but I hear of lots of people every day getting ripped-off, still waiting for their e-boards or getting a poor quality product and no support. I am not saying do not buy early (this is not investing, this is just pre-ordering) from the crowdfunding sites, just understand the considerable risks and weight it up against what you can buy already, some of it with a proven track record and some semblance of after-sales support (for me the most important aspect of any e-board).