Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Toy....continued

Extremely Large Network Engineer TBG commented on my previous post regarding my new toy by asking where he could get one. Since the full story requires photos, I decided to respond via a blog post.

Yeah, I think this board would hold up to even TBG, who runs (I'm guessing) about 6 foot 8 (203 cm) and pretty close to 300 pounds (136 kilos).

Developing this vehicle was somewhat of a process. It started life as an MBS Comp 95x, which can be had at a good skate shop or via mail-order for about $500. But the first time I rode it hard, the (aluminum) brake rotors transmitted so much heat to the (nylon) wheels through their (stainless steel) mounting bolts / spacers that the wheels melted almost completely through in about 10 minutes of riding. The meltdown was so bad, I had to grind the melted wheels with a Dremel Tool to free the rotors from the congealed nylon goo (see photo).

Nylon wheels, before (left) and after melting / rotor extraction via Dremel Tool.

I then bought a set of MBS "RockStar" aluminum wheels, which unfortunately take a different-sized tire than the stock nylon wheels, so I had to buy new tubes, new tires, and for good measure I also bought a 2nd brake kit. I figr'd the best way to get around brake heat problems was to spread the friction amongst 4 rotors instead of two.

It works great. I can put it on a 25-degree incline, lock the brakes, and stand on it without the board budging an inch. That most certainly was NOT the case with the stock board. I've ridden it down the entry road to Polipoli State Park about 5 times so far without any heat problems. Polipoli is a very poorly engineered road with extremely tight switchbacks, and I've had enough brake power to make all the switchbacks without tumbling into the woods.

Today I rode down the Haleakala volcano from the Park Ranger Station at 6500' to Pony Express, which is about 2000 vertical in about 4 miles through about 16 or 18 switchbacks.

Haleakala Highway above Pony Express. Not for the faint of heart.

I stopped every 4 switchbacks or so to check the brake temperatures, and they were fine. Hot, but not too hot to touch. I was riding the brakes hard, because this thing is a handful on a road like this. It rides high and tippy. I've had to un-learn a lot of things that are habit from skiing and surfing in order to keep my skin attached. On a surfboard, if you want to cut back heel-side, you can bury the fin, kick your front leg back, and pivot the board on its tail. Try that with this beast at 25 mph and you've earned a trip to the E.R. The MBS requires subtlety and a very low center of gravity.

It's got really nice adjustable truck suspension springs, so I've been carrying a hex key set in my backpack to fiddle with the settings., Haven't found the sweet spot yet.

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