Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Qual-line Skateboard Upgrade Review

This is a bit departure from the usual maker stuff i post but there aren't a lot of reviews on this on the internets, so here are my two cents. If you don't know what Quad-line is it's basically replacing the the skateboard wheels with roller-blade wheels which are larger and softer, which equates to a smoother ride. I thought i'd give it a shot! Read on for the review!


Why?
I was looking for a way to get to work faster/smoother/safer when i came across this idea of putting roller-blades on my skateboard. The other option was a long board, which also gives you a smooth, stable ride. But it's bigger and would stick out more if i carried it into the hospital i work at.

Looking at the comments for this online, most nay-sayers are nay-sayers solely because of it's not traditionally a skateboard, and they say you loose skateboarder cred if you get one. Most of these purists have never even ridden one, so you can't really get honest opinions from them.
partially assembled kit hardware, T-shaped skatboard tool and Bones bearing lubricant.

Cost
After some internet investigation, I got the Quadline Upgrade Kit from Skates On Haight. + a skateboard tool + Bones Speed Cream totals + shipping total was $95. The larger wheels require extra truck spacers (and long screws) for more clearance between the board and wheels, and widest trucks to help with the higher center of gravity. This kit has all the right parts selected for you and it's cheaper than buying separately (i checked). The kit fit together fine and took me less than an hour to put together. The only thing i recommend is getting a skateboard tool, but if you have a set of hex wrenches then you probably don't need it. Also, instead of getting the Bones bearing lube you can get good lubricant cheaper from hardware stores, like Tri-Flow (has Teflon).
old skateboard wheels
quad-line rollerblade wheels!  see how much bigger they are?

So how does it perform?
Definitely the smoothest ride ever, although probably not quite as smooth as a long board. I stepped on the board, and it just started rollin! Apparently my street is on a slight incline that i've never noticed before because my previous wheels always required me to push. On this board i just started rolling with no push and it coasted merrily along! Having all new, lubed bearings probably have something to do with it, but it was pretty sweet nevertheless. I thought the higher center of gravity would be a problem (like SUVs). But I got used to the extra height pretty quickly and it wasn't an issue. The extra large wheels are pretty sweet going over rubble, cracks, and sand which previously i would stop my wheels solid. And the sucker is fast. New bearings and large wheels meant i picked up speed quickly and momentum carried me along most of the way to work!

The only real problem i have is the increased slip-sideways. On smoother surfaces and new wheels, it's easy to turn too quickly and the back wheels just slip like mad. Makes sense due to the decreased surface contact with the ground from rollar blade wheels. However, after a single day there was enough wear on the wheels that i didn't have as much of a problem with slip anymore.
Also, if you have sidewalk gaps that run diagonally or close to in-line with wheels instead of straight across, the narrow wheels tend to slip a bit because it trys to fit into the groove.
you can see the extra spacers between the trucks and board, they also add some shock-absorption.
My overall impression? I really like it! I've been using it for a week now and I get to work with the less effort and a bit faster than normal! It's safer because it doesn't get caught on rough terrain and i have to make less stops to transition between say the street and sidewalk. And it's mentally less taxing to ride since i'm not constantly scanning for cracks and preparing for sudden stops. Recommended upgrade? Yes! There are instructables for adding rollerblade wheels without the kit, but i think the kit is cost-effective and safer since it has all the right parts from the get-go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool idea!!