Friday, March 23, 2018

Start Skateboarding Bowls | New Deck Setup | Old and New Skaters

Coming out of skateboard retirement? 

Are you finally getting started on skating something other than that longboard that you can't quite ever have fun on in your flat neighborhood with no hills?

I've been asked by many new and semi-retired skaters what board should they buy and set up. Check out my recommendations below. We’ll break these out by parts. 


You can go for a new school symmetrical shape (posicle stick) which is great if you’re skating switch stance a whole lot, but I would lean towards a more directional shape like my Anti-Hero Jeff Grosso 9.25". This shape bridges the gap between old school and new school with a distinctive nose and tail, so you don’t have to stop and stare at it to figure it out. 

I’d recommend a deck 9 inches or wider. To give you some context, new school super technical flip trick generation of kids are skating 7.5 to 8.25” decks. For us old school cats who want to skate fast and flow with something wider with a longer wheelbase, a 9-inch deck would be just right. 

Here’s SoCal Skateshop’s selection of 9” decks: 

To help narrow it down, here are some shapes I like: 

To save some money look at the house brand SoCal decks: 

Punk rock, hardcore company Anti-Hero from San Francisco is one of my favorites: 

There’s a company called Tired which is made for us tired old people who used to skate! 

At the end of the day, it’s all about what strikes a chord in you. Go with what you love just like when you were a kid. 


The idea is to match the width of your deck to the width of your truck axles. For example, I use Independent 169mm (9.125”) trucks on my 9.25” Jeff Grosso board. 

The best turning trucks are Indys and Ace! Look at Indy 169’s or Ace 55 trucks. Not a deal breaker, but for a few bucks more you can lighter with hollow kingpins and axles on Indy Hollow Forged trucks: 

Ace 55 trucks have a slightly narrower axle (8 ⅞”) compared to Indy 169s, and they also turn so friggin good! 


For smooth surfaces like the nice bowls and metal ramps popping up everywhere, go with a real hard wheel. Hardness is measured by the durometer scale. The higher the number the harder the wheel. For example, a 100a wheel is harder than a 90a wheel. Bones Skatepark Formula (SPF) wheels are my favorite. Go with a larger diameter from 58-60mm for a faster roll. 

Smaller wheels are great for more technical street skating therefore the more popular sizes being 50-55mm. 

For outdoor cruising to the shops, pub, etc. you can try a softer wheel to help get you comfortable pushing around on less than perfect foot paths and blacktop streets. Try anything from 78a to 85a in hardness, and stick with 60-62mm size. 


Bones Swiss bearings are the best...period. Though you probably don’t need anything that pricey ($55) at the moment. 

I would recommend Bones Reds which are made in China instead of Switzerland and they’re only $18. 

I just started skating a new set of the Bronson G2 bearings for the first time and they’re really good. Only $16. 

The Independent Abec 7 bearings are also pretty fast. They last a decent while too. Only $18. 


You might need a set of hard riser pads under your trucks to prevent wheel bite. I love the loose trucks and being super low to the ground, but I caved and put in a set of ⅛” risers. You might want to experiment with ⅛” to ¼” depending on how heavy you are and how loose your trucks are. Pick and choose whatever color and brand you like. Don’t get the wedge (angled) risers unless you are racing slalom. 

Build Complete Board

After picking your deck, click “Build Complete Board” to save money on your whole setup. Have a play with the interface and have fun choosing what rocks your world! 

A friend of mine mentioned SoCal Skateshop ships to Australia at a decent postal rate. Prices are in US dollars, but still much cheaper than anything here in Australia. 

Hope this all helps!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Campione TT 25mm Tubular Tires | Maxxis | Bicycle Tire Review

Maxxis Campione TT tubular tires are super fast and supple. Big box packaging includes orange valve extender and pink or orange valve cap. I thought I ordered the normal Campione, but I received the Campione TT which does not include a puncture protection layer. I'm now glad I did because they feel very supple and fast.

Maxxis Campione TT 25mm tubular road bike tires

After riding Vittoria Corsa Evo CX tubulars in a narrow 700 x 21 size I wanted to try a wider 700 x 25 tire. While I enjoyed the supple Vittoria with a latex inner, I decided to try a wider tire with a butyl rubber inner. I figure the wider size tubular will still give me a smooth and supple ride, and the butyl rubber inner will be a bit more convenient and durable in the long run.

Claimed weight for the Maxxis Campione TT 700 x 25 tubular tire is 265 grams. My scale measured 273 grams without the valve. Pretty close given the allowable differences in scale accuracy. For reference, the Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 700 x 21 tubular tire weighed 236 grams.

Maxxis Campione TT 25mm Road Bike Tubular Tires

I dry-mounted the Maxxis tubulars on a clean Zipp 404 Firecrest rim and let sit at 145 psi for three days. This was necessary in order to ensure easier mounting later after all glue stages. I have found this imperative when mounting tubular tires with butyl rubber inners from Maxxis, Continental and Mavic. Vittoria tubular tires with latex inners only require 24 hours of dry-mounting to stretch them out. Mounting them is much easier and requires far less elbow grease.

Maxxis Campione TT 25mm tubular tire tread pattern.

After the final layers of glue were applied the tubs dried for 24 hours. Then I went out for a test ride. The wider 25mm tire with butyl rubber negated the advantages latex inners found in the narrower tubs. Pedaling straight down flat roads the tires picked up speed quickly and hummed along nicely. Cornering in tight crit courses and descending was phenomenal. The wider size allowed for lower tire pressure set at 92 psi rear and 89 psi front which translates into nice and smooth rolling all day. I weigh 140 pounds (64 kilograms). The wider size also makes it easier for me to keep my line straight when riding in strong gusty winds.

Maxxis Campione TT 25mm tubular road bike race tires

I've only had two flats using the Vittoria Corsa Evo CX tubulars over the course of 15 months of hard riding rain or shine. Vittoria Pit Stop did the trick both times quickly and easily. The new Maxxis Campione TT 25mm tubulars have been rolling nice and easy with no issues and minimal signs of wear since February. It might be too early to call, but I'd say these are more durable than the Corsa CX tires. I've never been one to baby bikes or parts as I like to race and commute on the same gear. With that said I feel confident commuting, doing longer rides, and racing with my new Maxxis tires.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Malaysian Track Cycling Team | Melbourne Velodrome Racing

Malaysian Track Cycling Team competed in the Madison of Melbourne in November 2015. They performed very well in both women's and men's races throughout the day.

Malaysian track cycling team racing in Madison of Melbourne

Monday, May 9, 2016

Madison of Melbourne | Track Bike Racing | DISC Velodrome

Darebin International Sports Centre (DISC) hosted The Madison of Melbourne at the Joe Claviola Velodrome this past November 2015. It was a great event filled with a talented field of track cyclists from Australia and Malaysia. 

Madison of Melbourne track cycling race in Australia

Female cyclist racing Madison of Melbourne track event

Scratch race at Madison of Melbourne velodrome

Track cycling sling at Madison of Melbourne

Brunswick Cycling Club racing Madison of Melbourne

Track cycling sling on Cervelo bikes at Madison of Melbourne

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Skylock | Keyless Bluetooth Bicycle Lock

Skylock may be the first bicycle security lock ready for the Internet of Things marketplace. Keyless entry and bike sharing capabilities are made possible via your smartphone's bluetooth. I'm curious to see the adoption of this device across all cyclists and more importantly the bicycle messenger courier companies. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Steve Frattini | Pink Rhino Racing | Red Hook Crit

Steve Frattini of Pink Rhino Racing, a New York City based track cycling team, gets off the velodrome and takes to the streets in the fixed gear criterium Red Hook Crit (RHC) in Brooklyn, New York. Horns up, hammer down. Photo by Eloy Anzola

Pink Rhino Racing Steve Frattini races Red Hook Crit.