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ManInJapan

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi everyone, I will be so grateful for any input I can get on this...
 
I am looking to put together a special-purpose rig built to maximize stability while skating straight transitions on 5ft or 7ft wood mini ramp. No turns, no coping... just pumping transitions back and forth in a straight line.

My thinking on a stable, straight ride:
 
WB: 19+" (I feel less comfortable if it gets any shorter)
Concave: flatter the better 
Width: wider the better 11"-12"
Wheels: softer maybe high 80's to low 90's, wide CP, around 60mm diameter
Trucks: wide and tight, no risers if possible
 
Based on the above, I am thinking a 36" long pig II might be best. The generous wheelbase, mild concave, and 11" width seem like a very good combination. I have some Indy 215s already. I know there will be some overhang, but the 62mm 87a dragons might keep things under control. 
 
Other decks I have looked at are 1) Outlaw/357 or Gas Head II-- I have a longboard with mild W-concave and I like having that center bump to guide my foot placement when pushing but I am a little unsure if it will decrease stability while pumping. Wheel overhang would increase. 2) Big Foot II or variant for the extra width and flat deck, but I would need to expand the wheelbase as much as possible.
 
I have been digging through the forum and reading up on different setups, but I will sincerely appreciate any advice about decks, trucks, and wheels or flaws in my reasoning of what kind of set up would be best for my purposes. 
 
Thanks so much!
 
Greg
 

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ManInJapan

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Reply with quote  #2 
Some more background, if it helps:
 
I am 48, 6'2", 210lbs, 11.5 size shoes. My feet are flat and I have to wear hard plastic inserts and tightly laced, stiff leather basketball shoes. The end result is a little like ski-boots. This figures into my thinking that flatter decks are better.

I am very new to skateboarding. 
I started on a longboard then ventured onto a miniramp at the park. It took a little while but when I finally could get a good rhythm skating transitions, it was magical and I was hooked. I figured I would eventually work on turns and move over to a shallow bowl, but I took a spill and managed to crack my tibia. After 5 months on IR, I am back on the longboard but want to move onto the miniramp again. I recalibrated my goals on straight transition skating while keeping the risk to a minimum. I know the biggest factor is the rider and I will be doing what I can to build my strength and balance, but I will a bit more confident if I know that I have the right set-up under my feet.

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70sSkater

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Reply with quote  #3 
Like you, I have flat feet, have broken my ankle skating and was unsure what type of board I should be riding when I started back after 25 year off, so maybe I can speak to your situation a bit.  First, I can tell you what I did wrong.  When I started skating again, I chose to resume where I left off, with a 10x30 Flat Pig, but that proved to be a mistake, resulting in the broken ankle.  After the broken ankle, I got a board with concave and 18" wheelbase (Quad 10) and it made all the difference.

You have a lot here, so we'll take it piece by piece.  Let's start with the footwear.  For most skaters, having board feel in your feet is important. When I started back, I wore Vans leather Low Cabs with cup soles.  They were like basketball shoes.  They had decent support, but lousy board feel.  After struggling with those shoes for a while, at the suggestion of a friend, I switched to shoes with Vulcanized soles; Vox for the most part and also Vans Skate Hi.  Vulcanized soles offer great board feel, but not great cushioning when you have to bail.  There is always a trade off between board feel and cushioning.  The stock Vox insoles were not very good, so I replaced them with sport, gel-type insoles which were not too thick and that worked great.  In Vans, if you get the models with the Pro Insoles, you should be good to go.  The standard Vans soles don't offer much protection.  Bottom line, if you can skate without the hard plastic insoles, you should definitely go without them.  Something that stiff under your foot will practically take away any board feel you would hope to have.  If you need ankle support, you can use one of those lace up supports.  But, again, the less you have going on there, the better the board feel will be.

As to boards, all of the setups you mentioned seem pretty unwieldy.  Longboards, like the Long Pig, are better suited to carving around flow bowls than they are for riding mini ramps.  As you progress, you will eventually be kickturning and maybe even getting some grinds.  I think boards with wheelbases that long are more difficult to ride, not easier.  In my humble opinion, you would be better off on a board with an 18" wheelbase; something like a Quad 10, 11 or 12.  I skated my Quad 12 quite a lot when I started back after my broken ankle.  The Quad 12 is very stable, yet it is still fairly maneuverable for its size.  You can also use your Indy 215s and the Shogo/Dragon wheels you have with the Quad 12 and not have the wheel hang.  If you think the Quad concave is too much, maybe consider the Chief deck, which has very mellow concave and a little bit of rocker.  Still, as much as I like the Chief deck, I think you would be better served by one of the Quads. 

If you really have to have a longer board, then the Gas Head II or the 357 would be very good choices.  These boards have 19.5" wheelbases, but they handle well in bowls and even on mini ramps.  I have my Gas Head II set up with Indy 169s and full size Dubcons and it has served me very well.  I would not try to force the issue with the trucks and wheels you have now, though.  If you are going to use the 215s on a 10.5" board, then get some center set wheels.  I have a Hosoi Hammerhead longboard (about the same dimensions as the Gas Head II) set up with Indy 169s and slightly offset 60mm Skaterbuilt Poolside Favors.  The Hosoi setup I have is well loved by the friends who have tried the board.  I know it may seem weird to have "small" center set wheels on a big stick like the Gas Head II but, trust me, it will work great.  Maybe look at some of the softer Rainskates wheels?  If you want wheels that are 60mm or larger, you will probably need at least a little bit of riser.  A slightly lower center of gravity is not worth the slam you will take from getting wheel bite.  If you want to go smaller than 60mm, I just noticed that Powell is making a 58mm 90A wheel (with the Skull and Sword graphic) that might work for you.  If you want a side set wheel, check out Kryptonics. They make a 55mm if you want to go that small and they have lots of different duros. 

As I got better at bowl skating, I moved to smaller and smaller decks and looser and looser trucks.  Turning is everything.  In order to improve turning, I wedge the front truck on all of my boards with 17" wheelbase or longer.  Wedging the front truck only does not make your setup less stable, it just helps you turn better. But, if you wedge the back truck, you could have a squirrelly setup. 

  Image result for david s. pumpkins any questions

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ManInJapan

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Reply with quote  #4 

Very cool. Thank you for the thoughtful response. Everything you said about the shoes, the shorter wheelbase, the concave makes perfect sense. The advice about the boards sounds great too, but before I follow up on that, I do indeed have a key question…

<Q> If you totally take out any concerns about features helpful for turns, grinding or anything other than pumping straight up one side of the ramp and straight back up the other side without touching the coping, do you still think that the longer wheelbase (~20”) and a flatter deck are negatives?

For now, this single activity is truly all that I want this setup for. A few times a week, I want to go to the park, warm up on a flat area and then do a few solid sessions pumping on the miniramp over a couple of hours to get a good (and superfun) workout. I realize this may seem odd and that people typically move past this as a focus after a few sessions and start working on turns, axel stalls, and drop ins as well, but I have no real board experience in my life and am not in great shape. My hope is that I can do this one activity reasonably safely to build up strength and balance. If after 6 months or even a year, I feel like I am in good shape and have much better control of the board, then I will be delighted to move on to a setup that is more maneuverable so that I can start practicing turns or getting on the coping. For now, I am just looking for whatever would be best for me for this one activity.

My original logic was that a squat, longish, wide tank underfoot would be less affected by my shaky balance and better allow me to keep a straight line and build my skills, strength, and balance as safely as possible, but I have such little experience to draw on and would not be surprised if I were totally off base.

As for the shoes, I have not tried skating without the inserts and will give it a shot with some less rigid shoes. It will be a tough one though. My feet are freakishly flat, and my ankles, knees, and lower back suffer without the arches getting things lined up better. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as I think, but for the repetitive pumping I envision, it may be rough. I will do some carving on my long board without them and see how it goes.

Again, I really appreciate your response, but I just want to make sure it was totally clear what I was looking for before I move forward.

Cheers!

Greg


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TonyB

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Reply with quote  #5 
Greg 70's nailed the advice here he is totally on point. I don't think riding a longer wheelbase is going to help you progress and you are much better off learning to ride something 18” wb or less. The stability will come from having tight trucks and stiff bushes, as you are on the larger side I would definitely go for harder bushes in your Indy's. Having said that being able to turn is fundamentally important even if it's just adjusting your line as you go back and forth on a mini ramp and you should try and maintain some ability to adjust your line or you will just bail or fall off.

You should learn to kickturn on the flat it will be much more fun than going back and forth on a mini ramp which will get old really quickly. It will also help your balance which is a big part of skateboarding.

I will also suggest that a smaller diameter wheel is better for ramp riding as they accelerate faster and have less weight, it will help you maintain your speed and height on the ramp. The better grip you'll get from wider wheels isn't so important if you are going back and forth you are less likely to slide out as you aren't putting much side load on the wheel. Go for something with a centre set bearing 58mm or less (you won't need much or any riser) and the lower centre of gravity will help stability.

Concentrate on your balance, you'll feel much more comfortable on a board no matter what length if you get that right first. Bend your knees.

If there are any other older skaters in your area skate with them that helps a lot and is usually a great source or tips and encouragement.

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70sSkater

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManInJapan

<Q> If you totally take out any concerns about features helpful for turns, grinding or anything other than pumping straight up one side of the ramp and straight back up the other side without touching the coping, do you still think that the longer wheelbase (~20”) and a flatter deck are negatives?



The short answer is yes, I think starting on a longboard is a negative.  Here are a couple of reasons.  First, if you are just wanting to pump up and down ramps that are not more than 6' deep, I think there is a better chance on a longboard that you will overshoot the top of the ramp and hang up your leading truck on the coping.  Then you go splat.  I think a shorter wheelbase board, like 18" or less, will give you more control, because the trucks are closer to your natural stance on the board and not well in front of your front foot.  Remember, if you are on a small ramp with a longboard, the front wheels could be over the coping while the back wheels are still well down the transition.  Not only does this mean you are more likely to overshoot the coping, but it also means that if you are stopping your ascent well short of the coping, you will lose your speed and will not be able to sustain your wall to wall fakies.  A shorter wheelbase board will enable you to pump higher on the ramp, which will enable you to keep your momentum with a lot less effort.  (BTW, when you fakie, you will have to learn not only how to pump up the transition, but also how to check your momentum - stop pumping - in order to not overshoot the top of the ramp.  It should come fairly naturally.  Self preservation instincts take over). 

A second reason that a longboard is a negative is that it is less responsive.  I understand you want a stable platform, but you also need to be able to turn the board in order to keep your balance and keep the board under your feet/body, even when you are just fakieing.  If you can't turn the board to make balance corrections, you go splat.  It's like learning to ride an 8 wheeler (so I'm told).  Those boards take a special technique to turn and they ignore the customary rider input (lean), meaning the board tracks in it's own direction and the rider gets pitched.  Similar issue when trying to fakie with a board that is very slow to turn (long wheelbase and tight trucks).  A board with an 18" wheelbase is going to be stable, unless the trucks are extremely loose, but it will also put the wheels closer to your natural stance, so you will have more control and will be less apt to hang up at the top of the ramp. 

One last thing.  To me, riding fakie never felt natural.  It took a lot of practice.  Even now, I don't ride fakie unless I have to.  But, of course, riding fakie is a basic maneuver which can help you on ramps when you're starting out (although not essential if you just want to carve bowls).  Anyway, one thing that always helped me when fakieing was to turn my head in the direction I was about to go.  This helps to keep your body centered on the board, rather than the board getting out ahead of you.  So, as you pump up the transition and feel your momentum stopping, turn your head so you can see in the direction you are about to go.  Good luck.  Have fun. 


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70sSkater

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Reply with quote  #7 
TonyB posted while I was typing.  Also, excellent advice he is offering.  As Tony mentioned, you can learn a lot from watching other skaters.  I learned how to carve a bowl by watching other more advanced skaters.  I observed the lines they chose and where they were able to pump and get speed.  Soon, I was able to duplicate their lines and then find lines of my own, which is maybe the most gratifying thing for me about bowl skating. 
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ManInJapan

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Reply with quote  #8 
Fantastic, thank you so much to the both of you for walking me through that. It does make sense and I will definitely go in a different direction than I initially thought. The quad 12 sounds most interesting and I will work through the setup thread to see what others are doing with it and the 357 too. I will likely follow up with another question or two, but I will sort out as much as I can. 

Very, very helpful! Thanks again!!  [thumb]

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rowjimmytour

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Reply with quote  #9 
I would like to add get some good bushing for the Indys I use Bones Medium but I weight #170 so you might want to go hard and best $10 you spend plus I would like to add embrace the new concaves. I got out of skating transitions in '87 and recently came back a year and half ago last board a Madrid Jester on blocks and love the concaves.
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lox

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Reply with quote  #10 
Greg you are getting great advice here.

I would back up what Chris and Tony are saying and add emphasis that your present level will likely be short lived, you will very soon want to turn.
Really like that you're on relatively long wheelbases, it's a big plus for older guys like us, but you are on very long wheelbases, going longer will most likely be counterproductive.
My magic number is 16", almost don't care about any other dimension, it tracks better than a more 'standard' 14 or 15, but the biggest thing is where my front foot ends up.
Most older skaters on a 14 or 15 will have their front foot creeping out in front of the truck bolts and eventually end up having too much weight on the front, unweight the rear and lose the tail, hitting the ground backwards often smacking the back of the head.
At 16" I find that my normal stance keeps my front foot just behind the truck bolts, the lip curls over, the barrel forms and angels sing.
At 18"+ my center of gravity would be too far back, my front foot would be completely behind the truck and I would be fighting the extra length, working hard to get the board to turn from my seat in the back.

Further, here's my take on bushings and a super tight set-up:
I literally can't ride tight, I lean and the board goes straight, putting my center of gravity on a different plane than the board.
With a looser set up, you lean and the board goes with you, it keeps putting itself directly under your center of gravity, it can't go a different direction than you do.
I understand that you are trepidatious, but consider the science of a set up that is rock hard and not compliant, it will have a will entirely of it's own while a soft, compliant set up will go where you go.
As with almost any issue ever .... the answer will lie somewhere near the middle : )

Hope it helps, go skate [thumb] 


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ManInJapan

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Reply with quote  #11 
Man, you guys are awesome!

No doubt a little angel (or devil?) has been whispering in my ear that the best setup for my return to the ramps would be something that looked like a dune buggy complete with a roll bar, seat belt and cup holder. However, the necessity of being in control and able to guide the deck where I want it to go as opposed to just being a passenger on it is crystal clear to me now. I have been convinced about the concave and the shorter wheelbase or at least a less-long one--I do think 18" will be right for me. I will go with the hard bushings to fit my weight but experiment to find appropriately tightened the trucks. I am keeping my long board trucks tight while I strengthen my foot but it is irritatingly restrictive, so the last one should not be too difficult to follow. I definitely plan on getting a lot of practice on the flat just riding the board to get a good command of it before doing anything else. 

Perhaps, there is one thing that I am still not quite sure about-- me getting tired of just pumping transmissions. No doubt there is an exhilaration of doing something new that probably wears down and I can see how it could become routine, but once I got it going, I found the whole rhythmic, non-stop motion to be meditative almost to the point of being trancelike. I am not so sure I am going to get bored with that feeling. You guys certainly have a better perspective on it than I do, but I wonder if my brain works at a more simple level than most when it comes to something like this.

[crazy] [crazy] [crazy]

This is probably my soul brother:
  








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T

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Reply with quote  #12 
My 2c

I think it boils down to personal preference.

It's hard to know what will work for you until you put in some time and experiment.
I would get a few different setups or if that is not an option see if you can get some loaners or at least get a few test rides in on a variety of rides. People are usually cool when it comes to helping out an enthused newb.

I skated parks and ramps ages ago. My recent back ground was more longboard oriented but I got back into the park scene with decks similar to those 70's, Tony, and lox recommend.

I experimented with 20+ setups over a few years and eventually gravitated towards a longer wheelbase which felt way more solid.
I could make my other setups work in a pinch but the Gashead is definitely the winner for me.


55 6' 180# size 11



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ManInJapan

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks, T. 

Not sure what my wife will think about this, but having more skateboards makes perfectly good sense to me! 

I read through the Setups thread on the 38" longboards a little more closely and there is a lot of love there, along with some who feel like you do. I really like the W-concave on my longboard and can see the possibility that in the end it could be a matter of preference or even fit. Somewhere in that thread someone wrote about the GH being very helpful for them to get their 'skating legs' back after a long break. I definitely do not have anything to 'get back', but developing skating legs by gradually reducing WB may be the best course of action for me. I have another deck that has a 19" WB and 9 1/4" width that I have been kicking around on the past few of days. After being on my longboard it feels very sketchy, though each day it has been little easier. The steep concave and pronounced wheel wells are feeling little more like an impediment than a help at this stage, and I do wish it were a bit wider.

I went ahead and sent a payment for a GHII and think it will serve as a smart first step to transition from my longboard. I will stick to the flat with it for a few weeks or so at least. I will definitely get a Q12 too and then see what it is like to move onto that. Seems like a good pair of boards to have and experiment with. 

(And upon reflection, that first sentence in this post is not entirely true. I know exactly what my wife will think of two (or more!) skateboards coming into this home, but I am still gonna do it. [sneaky])

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lox

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Reply with quote  #14 
watch Brad Edwards videos [thumb]


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70sSkater

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Reply with quote  #15 
Brad Edwards was something of a freak of nature.  Awesome.

I knew a local skater here who could shred on anything.  His main board was a popsicle stick, but he had a pintail longboard he would break out at the park and do all kinds of kickflips and lip tricks with it.  Amazing. 

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