King Louis ready for fancy footwork

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Our dancer (well a board to do some fancy footwork on) named King Louis, a custom-made from the ever excellent Hecs Deck, is now up and running with the addition of the Blood Orange 70cm Liam Morgan 82a wheels – new wheels to us, so interesting to see how they perform.

Wheelbase: 59cm
Length: 100cm (39”)

Beautiful top and bottom veneer, a blue-tinted fish-scale patterned wood.

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King Louis Arrives

image1The new custom deck from Hecs Decks arrived (as ever, thank you Hector), with its very unusual and beautiful fish-scale wood pattern. I have called it King Louis.

Not sorted some trucks and wheels for it, but will probably go with some 70cm+ cruising wheels in dark blue, as the top and bottom wood has a slight blue tint to it, something like the Liam Morgan Blood Oranges may work well with it.

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As usual, the issue with really nice wood on the top of the deck is to grip it or not. Since trying clear grip-tape on the Hecs Fish, and hating it, I am left with spray-grip if I want to show off the wood pattern or some intricate cut-out grip-pattern; however, I don’t think a grip pattern aesthetically would work with the King Louis.

Re-gripped the Hec’s Fish

After ripping the (hated) clear grip-tape off the Hec’s Fish, I got up early with an idea and found our Christmas cookie-cutters, including a star-shaped one. I am actually pleased with how it all turned out, given it was an early morning JFDI – plenty of practical grip and it still shows off the wood and my tree design.

The cookie-cutter was not sharp enough to go through cleanly the grip-tape, but it was easy enough to make an indent and then cut the shapes out. The tricky bit is then measuring out lines and putting the shapes in a regular pattern.

 

Grip taped the Zenit

Finally got some real black grip-tape to use on the Zenit and, importantly, mirror the carbon-fibre underside. I say “real black” because most of the grip-tape I have found to date has actually been various shades of grey; which is annoying when it is universally sold as “black”.

 

Finally fond real black sold by the ever-excellent and helpful Skate Deluxe (Monster Grip Tape Heavy). It is heavy grip which a little too rough for my liking, but as ever is if form over function. Also being heavy grip it is more difficult to cut and trim, but the end result is not bad and confirms the single mirrored top and bottom design works well.

I will stay on the lookout for ‘real black’ lighter or medium grip-tape, but for now, it works.

Bearings – how much to spend?

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As a casual easy-going longboarder, and 6 boards in, I was thinking: “what have I learnt?” – the full subject/answer is for a much longer post in the future, but I just wanted to cover one aspect now: bearings.
Alongside bushings, to match my weight and style, the one thing I almost certainly will keep changing on any future boards I buy complete, is the bearings. As a casual longboarder, not pushing the envelope in dance, freestyle or downhill, can I tell the difference between bad and good bearings, cheap and more costly? The answer is very firmly “yes”.
So far we have used bearings from Atom, Venom, Bones, Oust, Bronson and some unknown unbranded makes and I may not be able to tell the difference between makes, but I can certainly tell the difference between cheap and more costly. Is it worth spending a little more on your bearings and the answer is “yes”.
So, how much is spending a little more? Well, the bearings that have all come with complete boards have been quite frankly rubbish  – “rubbish”, being that the board, under load (remember any ol’ bearing can spin forever without any load) does not travel as far and is just harder work. At the end of play, I feel more tired and just have not got as much done nor had as much fun. I guess it is simply an easy item for the makers of complete boards, in a very price competitive market, to use to help keep their costs down – there is no visible branding needed and in a shop people just flick the wheels (unloaded).
We have bought £8-15 branded bearings to replace the bad ones, but found them really to not be too much better – I doubt it is a make/brand issue, it is just a consequence of the manufacturing costs. The step change in improvement has come from using £30-40 bearings (for us: Bones Race Reds, Bronson G3 & Oust Moc7). This is where the effort, speed, the run etc. have all been significantly better and overall just made the boards more fun to use.
On the next board (oh’ yes more to come… :-> ) I am going to try out some more expensive again Swiss and Ceramic bearings, just to see if they make an even bigger difference – I suspect not, but it will be fun to see.
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BoardUp – folding longboard

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Got to play on a good friend’s new board, an interesting folding longboard from BoardUp.

I was initially quite sceptical about how good it would be, but was happily surprised – the folding mechanism was great and worked really well, but more importantly the board was fun and stable. There was a lot of flex in the board, but nothing that spoiled the ride or control. Not a board I would want to downhill race on, but this is for urban cruising and worked just fine.

I was puzzled as to why it comes with traditional kingpin trucks (TKP) and not reverse kingpins, plus the ABEC9 bearings felt cheap and were not as free running, under stress, as they should be IMO; but that is easy to fix.

Overall I was impressed and would happily own and use one. Well done BoardUp pulling the idea off.

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Hecs Decks Fish Arrives

My Hecs Decks Fish, well that’s my name for it until Hector comes up with a real name.

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Beautifully made with a bubinga topping and bottoming, with two walnut layers (yes, I am watching great British Bake Off right now). Lovely balance of stiff over flex.

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Walnut in the beautiful layering

I put on some spare 180 Paris V2s and my Hawg Mini Monsters. The 180s are a little too wide and will get some 165s for it long term. Will also Lucid spray-grip it.

Very pleased; thanks, Hector.