This time on Rad Rat Video, we’re talking about where skateboard trucks came from. Let’s get started. Welcome back to Rad Rat Video, the channel where you can learn something new about skateboarding three times a week. We talk about learning tricks on the Shred school, we talk about trick histories, we talk about skateboarding video games, all kinds of skateboarding culture and topics. Today we’re talking about trucks, where they came from, who invented them and why are they called ‘trucks’? Now I’ll do that last part first. Actually kind of interesting. The wheel assembly on a train, on a rail car, was called a ‘truck.’ At least in the US. And in other countries it’s called a ‘bogie,’ I guess, but in the US they called those ‘trucks.’ So when you adapt that onto a skate, or a skateboard, then it makes a lot of sense why they call it that. But who invented it? Well I’ve got that right here. It was invented in 1960… 1863 by James Plimpton. Yeah. So the truck, of course, was originally invented for rollerskates, and the first side-by-side wheel roller skate was in 1863. Inline had been around for about a hundred years at that point, but that’s where the truck came from in general. But obviously using roller skate trucks was not great for skateboards. First thing, they were only about two inches wide, so you know, it made sense. It had to fit the width of your foot, but putting it on a skateboard, that was nowhere near wide enough. So to make up for that, you had to have really wide wheels that would kind of cover some of that width, but there was also crazy products at the time like this truck axle width extender product. You’d screw this on instead of a nut on the end of your truck, and then you would put the wheels on those, and that would help add a little bit of extra width to your board. And these were actually 90 bucks on eBay. I don’t know what they cost back in the day. A couple other issues with the skate trucks were that there was no standardized mounting system. You know, a roller skate would come as one unit all together. You don’t need to be able to take the trucks off of this brand, and put them over on this brand. So having that standardized system was a big deal. Also, the strength just wasn’t there. They had a really basic T shape. In fact, my Indy 109s are still kind of similar, that you can see. You know, if I was doing a high-impact, jumping down gaps and everything with this, this would probably break no problem. So those are some of the problems that we were having with rollerblade trucks back in the day ,and we definitely needed our own. As we got out of the 60s and into the 70s, skateboarding got to be more and more popular. The first urethane wheel came out, which was a huge deal, and the first trucks started to come out at that time as well. But who was the first to make it? We’ve got three different options. The first one is Bennett. Bennett trucks definitely claim to be the first, although on their website, they also claim that their 70s releases are still cutting-edge. But they’ve been claiming that they’ve been the first since the start. You see it in old ads and everything like that. One problem with their design was that they’re still a roller skate sized. So they didn’t solve all the problems that skateboarders were having, but they were designed for skateboarders, and they solved the mounting issues and things like that. So they do have a good claim at being one of the first skateboard trucks. One of the other options is Bahne. And they don’t claim to be first themselves, but they are historic brand. Tony Hawk’s first board was a Bahne, and they do deserve be mentioned in the same breath as some of these other companies, but they never make the claim. The last one that does, though, is Tracker. Tracker trucks were named that because of the way that a train car: one truck would follow the other. It would ‘track’ the other truck. That’s where the name came from. And they say that they’re the first skateboard truck made by skateboarders. “Back in 1975, the tracker full track was the first truck in history made specifically for skateboarding by skateboarders.” Which is a much weaker claim. The more that you have to add on different qualifiers to it, it makes it a lot weaker. The first one in this city, in this whatever. You get more and more specific, it starts to get more of a weaker claim. So who was really first? It’s tough to say. So everyone wants to be first. They’re all gonna use the earliest date they possibly can. Bennett actually says that they started in 1974, tracker says in 1974, but both of them seem to have come to market around the same time in 1975. So who is actually first? Sources that say Bennett was, as if everybody knows. It’s not cited, it’s not proven. People just say Bennett was first. But I found a few quotes that say that it was at the same time. So there’s this one from Transworld, where they talked about how they all came out at the same time. This other one is from the Transworld business site, where they mentioned them coming out at the same time as well. There’s also this interview with Larry Balma, one of the founders of Tracker, says that it was at the same time as well. But one thing to keep in mind, you might want to take that with a little grain of salt, because Larry Balma also founded Transworld. So those first two articles may be a little suspect, and a quote from him directly is just his story. So if I had to guess, I would say Bennett was actually a little bit first, but I think a more interesting question is: ‘Who made the first usable truck? Who actually solved all the problems that made the first modern skateboard truck?’ And that’s when Tracker starts to pull ahead. “We introduced the four and a quarter inch wide Tracker Full Track truck constructed out of heat treated aircraft alloy materials, which was strong, lightweight, and the first truck built for skateboarders by skateboarders. The skateboard market was growing and they needed stronger equipment. They needed Trackers. Bahne and Bennett skateboard trucks came out at the same time, but they were still narrow, about two and three eighths inch wide. The Bennett broke and the Bahne was not as sexy. By the time they made wider trucks, Tracker had production, the team, the name, and the quality. We remained the number one selling truck brand for the next 15 years.” They didn’t get to be industry leaders overnight though. They had a lot of problems selling shops on their idea of having a wider truck. A lot of shops would tell them that you can’t have a truck be that wide, because the wheels would stick out, and then your feet would hit him when you try to turn. They tried to convince them that boards would get wider and wider to suit, but it didn’t really work. So they had some interesting marketing ideas. “And so I got everybody from their areas to rip the Yellow Pages out of all the phone books they had. And the idea was that we would call up the shops: “Do you have tracker trucks?” The people at the shops would say, “What are tracker trucks?” We’d all say, “Oh tracker trucks? You don’t have tracker trucks?” They’d say, “No, we have Excalibur, we have sure-grip, we have…” We’d say, “Oh, you don’t have tracker trucks? OK” Later. Click. This helped give them some momentum and get them started, and their triangular trussed design became more and more popular over the years, as this famous ad of theirs likes to illustrate. But Bennett was still really important too. Way back in 1978, they actually pioneered magnesium and aluminum trucks, and that fact blew me away. A fan of the show named Handywithshovels sent that little factoid to me, and that was the reason why I started to look into this topic at all. Because you think about Tensor. They have their Maglite trucks, and they brag about their magnesium technology, and all this stuff. And you might think that that’s actually new, but it’s a really really old idea. And Grind King would say that they were the first truck that really tried to be light, but Bennett was doing it way back then. And Tracker was also experimenting. They were doing all kinds of different stuff. They experimented with a polymer truck, and they never released that. But I did find this ad from an old Skateboarder magazine, of a different brand doing something like that. A one-piece truck that would just bend a little bit instead of having to turn in the normal way. So it’s very interesting. They definitely had a huge effect on skateboarding. But Bennett, Tracker and even Bahne are all still around these days. None of them are huge mainstream companies anymore, but they do still exist. So that’s what I was able to dig up on skateboard trucks. If you know anything I don’t, let me know about that below, and hit my logo on screen right here to subscribe so you can keep learning more things about skateboarding three times a week. Until next time, here a couple more videos to check out in the meantime. And thank you for watching.

Civil War Era Trucks? Where Did Skateboard Trucks Come From?

48 thoughts on “Civil War Era Trucks? Where Did Skateboard Trucks Come From?

  • October 16, 2017 at 9:02 pm
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    Great video your channel is way to underrated

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:10 pm
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    totally agree with @Micke Matz

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:11 pm
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    Hey great video, honestly never though about trucks, I know a bit about the history of every other part though :p Also, I'm a new skater and only a kid ( 13 ) so I don't what skating was like in the past so, #askradrat if you had to split skate boarding into eras (" 60s 70s etc) and describe them briefly, how would you go about it? Long comment, and big question so sorry . big fan of the show

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm
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    I love the early marketing strategy that you've quoted from "Tracker Trucks." Genius idea to get the shops attention (wouldn't work today though)

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm
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    I cant wait for your channel to blow up and get huge, you deserve a lot more recognition. I've learned so much since I've started watching your channel and I'm always hyped to see you in my sub feed.

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:31 pm
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    you make incredible content. I haven't even been on a skateboard in 10 years

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm
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    im gay

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:44 pm
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    Excellent video as alwayz RadRat ! Much Love an shredding brother !

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:47 pm
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    When I first started skateboarding I had a set of tracker B-52's. I skated them for years, and loved them. There not the nicest looking trucks but the performance and quality was excellent. Great Topic 😉

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  • October 16, 2017 at 9:48 pm
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    In the 50's kids would take their roller skate trucks and wheels off and attach them to 2×4's.

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  • October 16, 2017 at 10:17 pm
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    Why is fakie called fakie?

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  • October 16, 2017 at 10:30 pm
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    Please make a video about avenue suspension trucks

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  • October 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm
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    The amount of research you do for your post is impressive. I find myself enjoying your channel more and more. As a bay area skater with 25 years in the game (started at 10) I'm a pretty jaded old fellow. I mostly skate bowls now and never got into freestyle, plus although I respect him for his inventfulness hate the mutt's jerky style. So we are definitely two skaters cut from a different cloth. But I find myself recommending your channel to my other anti-hero skating, beer drinking friends. Basically I just wanted to say good job and cheers, skater to skater. And you should be making some coin off all your hard work.

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  • October 17, 2017 at 12:45 am
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    Nice Mode board

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  • October 17, 2017 at 1:24 am
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    I'm glad you didn't stop making videos. If I'm not mistaken, you said you were calling it quits for awhile.. Keep on making these videos as long as you can and enjoy doing so.

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  • October 17, 2017 at 1:48 am
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    I have 1975 Super Surfer skate board maybe they had the first trucks (yellow like a banana) (theres an old commercial on youtube on them too)

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  • October 17, 2017 at 2:22 am
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    a little bit first lol

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  • October 17, 2017 at 2:24 am
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    bane not bon

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  • October 17, 2017 at 4:21 am
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    This channel is underrated

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  • October 17, 2017 at 5:18 am
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    You Kids should watch Grosso's Love Letters, And or check out Thrasher Mags digital Mag (PDF) Library & read up

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  • October 17, 2017 at 5:28 am
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    What's your view on companies that are aimed at the purity of skateboarding, like skull skates?

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  • October 17, 2017 at 5:28 am
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    Bahne is Pronounced like the Batman villain "Bane" just FYI…..You have wrong info on your Videos & you pronounce Tricks wrong @ratradvideo Sorry to be negative. Hit me up if you ever have any Questions on SK8 history

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  • October 17, 2017 at 6:15 am
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    You mean roller skate truck not roller blade 👍

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  • October 17, 2017 at 7:06 am
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    Bennet and Tracker where not built for the same purpose. If you ever step on a Bennet you know why. They just turn like crazy. You can not take a Bennet to carve in a pool. They are more slalom trucks.

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  • October 17, 2017 at 7:13 am
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    yet another fantastic historical perspective. well done!

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  • October 17, 2017 at 9:00 am
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    There were a couple of other lightweight trucks in the late '80s – Gullwing did a magnesium with some kind of composite base and G&S did a truck made of chromoly with hollow axles. The G&S were really good – well I thought so anyway – not everyone agreed.

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  • October 17, 2017 at 9:36 am
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    Hello, does your Internet have Rad Rat Video? Oh, you don't have Rad Rat Video? Oh okay, yeah I'm not interested in those other channels you listed, you sure you don't have Rad Rat Video? Okay, well thanks, bye. click

    Reply
  • October 17, 2017 at 11:44 am
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    please do a retro rippers: willy santos..

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  • October 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm
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    Man do not stop putting out content any day now this channel will blow up. Iv learned more in the last week or two from you about skating than I did when I actually skated. I completed american wasteland in one day after watching you talk about it and I'm pretty sure any day now I'm gonna actually get a new board for the first time in maybe ten years. This is what I was missing as a kid – inspiration to wanna go skate. I had DVDs and stuff as a kid and that inspired me a bit but could never figure out how to do certain tricks. Your trick videos finally showed me how to.Thanks

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  • October 17, 2017 at 2:17 pm
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    Who invented the inward heelflip or how did rodney mullen invent the saran wrap?

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  • October 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm
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    Wow, amazing finds on the mag alloy Bennett trucks, and the polymer shock absorbing trucks… Not much innovation is going on in this area, just rehashes of old ideas.

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  • October 18, 2017 at 3:49 am
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    The best skate history chanel, I love this, tnks a lot, this chanel need more people, now

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  • October 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm
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    The word "truck" goes back to the rather archaic word "truckle", which can refer to a small wheel, a castor wheel or the pivoting disc at the top of a ship's mast. (from Anglo-Norman "trocle", from Latin "trochlea", meaning sheave of a pulley). In this case, the castor wheel definition seems closest-linked as it refers to a device in which wheels are both held on an axle and allowed to pivot.

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  • October 18, 2017 at 5:51 pm
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    Hey Question. so wheel bearing advertisements. there are so many but none of them give you an insight on whether theyre actually good. like for instance shoe ads. youll see someone depending on the shoe cruising or flicking around or flying down a stair set showing how durable they are. but in bearing ads theyre either skating a skatepark or a really smooth street spot that doesnt really show the bearings durability. the only one to my knowledge that does is shake junt bearings where lizard king puts his bearings through hell then shows you after that theyll still spin which was very convincing. i guess my question is why? is that bad marketing? are we buying ''placebo'' bearings where they dont spin as the advertisement says? love your videos btw! 😀

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  • January 3, 2018 at 7:26 am
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    Discovered your channel about a month ago, and have been doing my best to catch up on all your videos! I really enjoy all of your different series, and appreciate all the work and research you do to answer our questions and tell us about different things I've always wondered about! Thanks so much for the great content! Keep up the awesome work Rad Rat!!

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  • May 8, 2018 at 11:55 pm
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    I had tracker 6 tracks with the ultra light base plate which was made of plastic [the base plate]. they were pretty light and i never had any issues with them at all. this is back in 1987.

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  • September 15, 2018 at 3:18 am
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    As far as lightweight trucks go, tracker 6 tracks had ultralights in the late 80s that had a plastic base plate. The problem was that the Kingpin was enclosed in the plastic so if you broke your Kingpin you'd have to buy a new truck. As far as magnesium goes, G&S made magnesium trucks in the late 80s or early 90s

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  • January 18, 2019 at 2:25 am
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    are most skateboard trucks forged, or cast? They always look cast to me.

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  • March 24, 2019 at 2:02 am
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    the bahne. Skateboard trucks you have at start of your video.. axle. assembly was spot welders.. I used to have a bahne skateboard. Maybe last me about 6 months before it broke.. I think the fat one broke first.. wasn't a very good design but I love that skateboard so much.. I still dream about today

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  • March 24, 2019 at 2:04 am
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    Is Australia and England they are called bogies.. so are you a UFOs.. they are also called bogies in some countries

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  • March 24, 2019 at 2:08 am
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    What about Chicago trucks

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  • June 25, 2019 at 6:49 pm
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    Radical Revolutionaries m/

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  • June 25, 2019 at 10:07 pm
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    Bennett Trucks were on the market slightly before Trackers. Bennett's were lighter and turned better, but they had two major flaws. First was they had plastic baseplates, which were prone to cracking. Most of us would switch baseplates from other trucks, ACS truck bases being the most common. Secondly, Bennett's still used the two-nut adjustment method that was pioneered on roller skates decades earlier. It worked, but it made fine-tuning your trucks difficult. Tracker was the first true 100% skateboard truck, as if used the one-nut adjustment that all trucks use to this day. Tracker also was the first truck to use the classic four hole bolt pattern, which stayed in use until the nose grinds of the 1990's forced manufacturers to use the "new school" bolt pattern used on modern trucks today (although some longboard and old school trucks use both hole patterns).
    And lastly, "Bahne" is not pronounced "bon", it rhymes with "Spain". And Bahne is no longer in business, and they're 70's trucks were HORRIBLE there was no pivot bushing, so the truck turned by grinding metal on metal, another design from old roller skate trucks.
    If you'd like to learn more about old school skating and gear, check out Skaters Over 50 on Facebook, there thousands of us old school skaters with lots of knowledge and info.

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  • August 5, 2019 at 12:31 pm
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    variflex trucks

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  • August 16, 2019 at 10:05 pm
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    New subscriber, ancient skateboarder. Check your pronunciation of the brand name "Bahne". Love the content dude! 🤙🤘🤙

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  • August 26, 2019 at 5:09 pm
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    Try some old G&S trucks , weird plastic tips, paper light aluminum or something, they kinda hiss instead of barking when you grind but they were fun

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  • September 18, 2019 at 6:40 am
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    Would love to see a video series where you build retro boards from different eras. 70's 80's 90's, etc. The skateboard has had a few generational iterations before the standardized form we see today.

    I just feel like that would be a unique series to do. And let's be honest- Has ANYONE ever seen somebody griptape a board from the 70's? Cmon. I;d love to see that.

    Reply

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