First off, this build is a remix of my A2ESK8 Mini Cruiser and inspired by @VladPomogaev prolific build on Instructables. Big shout out to @maxz @Michaelinvegas and @longhairedboy for renewing interest in old school skate decks. Essentially all I’ve done is port over my carbon fiber mini cruiser components onto my classic Speed Demons red and black checkerboard skateboard deck. But forget the science for a moment. Let’s talk about nostalgia…
31.5" x 7.8" Speed Demons 7-ply Hard Rock Canadian Maple
Carvon V2 Single Hub Motor
ABEC11 90mm Flywheels
Custom 12s1p LiFePO4 Battery
A2SK8 Apone V1 Enclosure
Ollin Board Co. VESC
Kaly 2.4ghz Nano Remote
What the hells a Speed Demons deck? Well Speed Demons is a company based in El Segundo, California that operates under the Dwindle Distribution label alongside other brands like Enjoi, Darkstar, Almost, and Tensor. They are pretty cheap, non premium boards that you can find just about anywhere back in the day. However, 10 years ago, it was all I could afford at the time as a scrappy kid in NYC running around shooting rap videos. This thing has been with me everywhere, during some of most poignant moments in my life. It’s been abused like no tomorrow but there is no way I would ever get rid of it. However, now that I’ve gotten into ESK8, there was only one thing I could do…
First step was lengthening the original 13.5" wheelbase by adding approximately 3" distance from end to end. Using painter’s tape, I was able to add some visual measurements to ensure proper alignment.
Next I drilled all the truck holes on both ends of the kicktails. The rear kicktail had slightly more edge clearance than the front which is fine as it helped me distinguish front and back. Once this was done, it created a wheelbase of approximately 19.5", more than enough room for my 11" enclosure.
I then added the 10" Carvon trucks and Abec11 90mm Flywheels along with 1/4" shock pad risers and 78a standard barrel and cone bushings to test the ride.
At 125-130lbs I’m a lightweight which means no wheelbite with this setup. Stepping on this deck is like coming home from a long vacation - it just feels comfortable as hell. With the trucks mounted at the kicktails it gives the board a drop down effect so you immediately feel that instant pocket of stability.
Next I ported over my electronics. I really, REALLY love how adaptable this setup is especially for these mini cruiser builds. This compact 12s1p LiFePO4 system paired with a @chaka VESC and @LEVer V2 hub motor has been incredibly reliable. LiFePO4 A123 cells are becoming my favorite cells because of the smooth discharge and minimal voltage sag. I love these cells so much I’ve started working on a 12s2p battery as my next project. Ask @Kaly he’ll tell you how dope these cells are.
As you can see there’s a really interesting dichotomy happening here - a blending of old school aesthetics with modern ESK8. I’m sure many of you have decks that you are emotionally attached to and my reaction to this build brought back so many good memories while also opening up a bunch of other possibilities for the future. This is the type of shit that you pass onto your kids! And while the LiFePO4 cells don’t dictate the slimmest enclosure, it provides the perfect amount of clearance for my needs, especially with those 90mm Abec11’s.
I took a quick ride around the block and it was simply amazing. It’s almost easier to ride especially for beginners or anyone who prefers a more stable, yet driftier setup along with that familiarity of riding a traditional skateboard deck. Essentially, by mounting the trucks on the kicktails, it distributes your weight over the trucks more evenly, resulting in an overall lower center of gravity. By using softer bushings, I’m able to create better response in the trucks. Since you aren’t standing directly on the trucks, your standing platform is confined between them which makes it more stable. Also since the board is closer to the pavement, pushing and cruising is way easier, especially commuting through a dense city.
My conclusion here is that EVERYONE should try this. These decks are way cheaper than longboards and chances are you already have an old school deck collecting dust in your closet or you can easily find vintage ones on eBay or at garage sales that have way more personality than something brand spanking new. Honestly, this takes DIY to a whole new level for me because I have a better story to tell. When someone asks me about the deck I can tell them about the time I let Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo skate around on it in a parking lot while waiting for the next setup on a music video. I think that’s a much more organic segue into ESK8 than saying “yeah I bought this online and it arrived in a box”.
So what’s your story? Let me see your old school decks. I’m looking at you @longhairedboy