Friday, 25 April 2008

Easter Board Project - DIY Longboard and MountainBoard

I spent the holidays working on a couple of new boards. The original longboard has had a years abuse and is starting to look pretty ragged especially after a few sessions trying kick flips. The new board was meant to be a progression from the first and a new toy to play with for the summer. The other board is a mountainboard designed specifically for kiting i.e. short, light and 'poppey' Here are some details of the construction process if you are interested.

The original board was 3 sheets of 4mm birch pressed with concave and camber. I wanted something smaller lighter and with much more spring and flex this time round. The blank was produced using the same press but only two sheets of the birch and cut out using the same template albeit with less tail. The press I use is made from 2 sets of MDF formers clamped together with a multitude of clamps, the plys are glued together using Cascamite spread evenly on all joining faces, this was left in the press overnight to go off. The blank comes out holding its shape however the 2 ply blank does flatten out a bit and has come out with slightly less camber and concave than the 3 ply did.

This time round the board was glassed to ensure it didnt snap and give it more spring and pop. I got help from an industrial fibreglass company which was a huge help as the process can get out of hand the first time attempting it. Using 2oz woven roving and polyester resin (Ideally Epoxy would be used as it bonds better to wood) 2 layers were applied to the top and 4 to the bottom. The board is layed down and resin applied with a roller. The first layer of glass is applied on top and another layer of resin is rolled on. Using another 'spiral' roller (dont know the technical name for it) the resin is worked into the glass the idea being to eliminate any air trapped under the glass. This process is repeated for each layer of glass. Graphics were hand drawn previously on the board in pencil but I also had some "Rickman Board" logos printed on to rice paper to put under the last 2 layers of glass. The rice paper becomes invisible leaving a very crisp professional looking graphic. We ended up rushing the process due to time constraints and used a heat gun to get the resin to go off quickly. This lead to air bubbles forming under the outer glass layers. which leaves the board weaker and with much greater risk of delamination. Once the resin had gone off sufficiently the excess glass was cut off using a circular grinder and the board was flipped over and the process was repeated on the other side. If I was to repeat this I would let the resin go off naturally and would tape the rails so that excess resin running on to the other face didnt have to be ground off as this has left a clear difference in surface finish. I would also try to cut off the excess glass with a sharp stanley knife once the resin had gelled to avoid any need of a grinder. The rails were sealed using polyurethane varnish however this could have been done equally well with the resin.

Longboard Mk1 - The original

The resulting board is lush, bouncing on the middle of it and the deck fairly easily hits the floor, it has great spring response making it pump really easily generating loads of speed. The extra flex also gives an extra dimension to turning making even tighter carves possible when needed.

The second board was a new kiteboard designed for use with Revo 'P centre' trucks. The process was the same as with the other board but using 3 sheets of the birch ply to give more strength and pop required for this board. The overall result is quite a stiff positive flex making it very easy to jump, without feeling floppy and giving a very direct input to the trucks. The Revo trucks ride incredibly I personally find them a huge improvement over channel trucks and they look amazing, they arent made in huge numbers which is nice as it feels like you are get something bespoke especially as Dave is able to have your own design engraved on to the face of them (seeing as the soul and energy of this board is coming from Wales I went for a pair of dragons which look mint), considering this they are relatively good value.

Watch this space to see the boards in action . . . . . .

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Chicksands NPS 4X Rd1

Rd1 was held at chicksands, on an absolutely flat out track with a massive triple half way down leading to some very hairy racing. New additions to the track gave a bit more overtaking potential however the race was generally won by the triple and recovering from a bad gate was a challenge as the track produces a bit of a drag race. Hitting the triple in race runs is mad, both lines into it seem to aim at the same point on the landing, I bricked it a couple of times as I was eyeing up riders wheels mid jump!

Racing wise I was struggling with head games all morning, half asleep in my first two motos lead to two 3rd place finishes. I then found my race head having two quality runs taking second in both. This didnt give me enough points so I had to enter a run off with 2 other guys to reach the quarters. I made a good gate and was leading into the triple only to get too excited blowing out the corner on the inside line killing my speed for the jump. Pulling up like a nutter and flying through the air barely still attached to the bike with legs flailing around and apparently releasing a very girly shriek!! Somehow I stayed rubber side down but wasnt carrying any speed and got overtaken getting knocked out of the competition. Still I was happy having finished on a properly contested race.

Next round is at Bridgnorth on the 17th of May more info and results at WWW.NPS4X.COM

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Andover South-West regional RD2

1) Quality shot of Mick going down. 2) Trying to duck in on the inside round the penultimate turn

The race season is back in action, 2 weeks ago was the second round of the south west bmx series up at andover, my local track. It was great to see so many people out for the event and enjoying some very full-on racing. For once we werent the only mtbikers on the start list as people were getting in some sneaky training in for Chicksands the next weekend. The racing was very tight and highly contested. Eight men on one track leads to some very tight action lots of bumps and one hell of a buzz!

Mick going down while I hold off Mingo for 2nd place

The main finals in cruiser was one of the closest races I have seen in a while. All 8 riders were still battling all the way to the last straight, great to see! Unfortunately didnt make the main finals which was dissapointing since I finnished in the top 4 in all my motos. I had one awesome moto where I slipped my pedal on the gate and managed to sneak past the pack down the first straight cutting in in front of Mick round the first berm, which incidently is untarmacked and so much fun, can properly get some drift on!! I was sat in second getting chased down, on the final corner Mick goes down getting ridden over by the rest of the pack, all in all it was some quality racing. Overall I came 2nd in the B-finals, leaving some room for improvement!

There are BMX races near on every weekend now throughout the summer. It is a great way of riding new places and meeting new people. The scene is very friendly and much more of a social experience than I find with downhill aswell as being very spectator friendly so you can really get into the race spirit when not on the bike. Mountainbikes are also welcome now so you have no excuse!! If you are interested in giving it a go,get down to your local track where there will probably be a club night which is the perfect way of learning about the sport and testing your skills on the track.

Photos Courtesy of fastlanephotography. For a full report of the weekend click here.

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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

CwmCarn Report - Descent-World

Just got sent this great write up on the BUSAs by Sue Mahoney, sums the weekend up perfectly, havent got a clue where this poser idea is coming from though!!!

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