Things have changed here. Initially I had my heart set on taking the Double Drop Deuce. An amazing piece of craftsmanship, built locally to me by Skate-Craft Longboards. I wanted to support my local scene and I’m a sucker at routing for the underdog. If there was any shred of exposure available from this trip, I wanted it to go to a deserving cause but regardless of that, the board itself is perfect for my needs…. but budget dictates as always.
I picked up a shabby looking second hand Landyachtz longboard during a rather shady midnight, lay-by deal with a bunch of kids that I can only assume needed money for more spray cans or weed or something. The guy couldn’t even be bothered to remove the trucks and wheels and, with all that, I had my practice board.
Regardless of the fact that I quickly found myself in A&E, the board is a joy to ride and rapidly became a faithful friend. Given the 2 weeks off my feet, I gave the board a make over, a new wardrobe…
… and the next thing I know, not only am I staring at one awesome looking board but it seems I’ve created one damn fine long distance longboard! Given this, I simply couldn’t justify the extra spend on a new board for the journey when I have one that, after a few modifications…. is almost perfect for the job.
I’ll talk technical:
The board is a 2011 Landyachtz Evo – designed for downhill racing and pretty famous for it too. It’s revolutionary design offers a wedged angle to the trucks stabalising the rear and leaving the steering to the front. Solid at high-speed but that’s not what’s important to me. For me, it’s the drop down foot platform because the lower to the concrete I am, the less effort is involved in pushing. There’s a lot of talk about the board being to heavy for anything but going stupidly fast. It’s probably not my first choice but, for £40 (yeah, I know), I’m prepared to make the sacrifice. It was looking pretty shabby when I picked her up but it’s been refurbished, stained and scribed with a custom graphic, sealed and topped with some fresh MOB griptape courtesy of Mike at Octane Sports. The truck mountings have been recessed -3mm for extra drop. I know it’s only 3mm but…. x that by a few hundred thousand and it makes up for a lot of saved energy.
The wheels – No messing around here! Abec 11 90mm Flywheels. Huge, soft, tried, tested and loved globally. the vented core makes up for the extra thane and the size will mean I can skate almost every surface that the journey delivers. The last thing I want to do is waste 2000km of beautiful scenery because I’m focusing on the road, looking for those evil little stones that are begging me to face plant the tarmac. The freedom to skate is the reason I’m going, why would I compromise? The only draw back is the extra size lifting the board +7.5mm higher.
The trucks are from the trusty ole Independent Truck Co. Quite lightweight at 215mm which offers a wider wheelbase for extra stability and the traditional kingpin design means they ride much lower (-8mm) than your average. These unit have been modded by Skate-Craft with an extended kingpin (extra carve), hourglass deck-side bushings, hard rear top (stability) and a soft front top (even more carve) and bespoke Delrin pivot cups. All secured to the board with Sabre hardware.
The bearings were a real consideration. I didn’t want the extra weight of having to carry a spare set with me so I set about researching the best units for the job – built to last, low maintenance and, of course, butter smooth! There’s a lot of talk about the real benefits between the standard bearings and ceramics (10x$$) but I rarely see anyone really stating they can see the value in spending £140 on a set of “Swiss Ceramics”, no one without a sponsorship deal that is. From what I can tell, the main difference is longevity so, in which case, look for the ones that are built to last.
I started reading about Mercury Bearings over at the Silverfish Longboarding Forum. With my lack of experience (within the last two decades anyway) I needed a reliable and unbiased source of information from those that have already tried and thoroughly tested them all. After a few great reviews, I decided to look into the brand. Mercury Longboard Wheel Bearings are the result of an accidental combination of decades of skating and professional engineering. The guys over at East Coast Core Skates were a few steps ahead of me in my train of thought it seems, taking it several leaps further, through the design phase and sourcing a manufacturer that can deliver their specific requirements.
All in all, I’m really confident I’ve got the right tool for the job. And I’d better be right because I’m not taking any spares!