The Bay Area of Northern California breeds some of the most influential icons in the world that become the driving force behind a cultural explosion. Mac Dre for the Hyphy Movement, Harvey Milk for LGBTQ rights, and Apple for the Silicon Valley are just a few examples to wrap your head around. But when it comes to skateboarding, Deluxe Distribution has been the tried and true core supplier amongst skateboarding’s globalizing demand. We took a trip to visit their warehouse to discover the most harmonious balance between skate rat passion and large-scale execution. They’ve been around since 1984, and home to some of the best skate brands out: Real Skateboards, Anti-Hero, Krooked, Spitfire Wheels, Thunder Trucks and Venture. Not to mention, amidst their hard work in getting those brand’s entire product to core shops, they always have their ears to the streets and sponsor the gnarliest new bloods on the come up.
In this particular review, we’re here to talk about Deluxe Distribution’s oldest brand, Thunder Trucks. The company has a heavy roster of seasoned veterans like Mark Appleyard, Jamie Thomas, Erik Ellington, Chris Cole, Marc Johnson, but they aren’t slow to pick up ripping young guys like Zion Wright, Jamie Foy, Ish Cepeda, and Tyson Peterson.
But no matter how stacked the team roster is, hardware is key. When it comes to skateboard trucks, you can’t re-invent the wheel, so to say, but there are a few basic truck standards that can be altered for an overall improvement. For starters, the turn response of a truck affects the balance of weight distribution when it comes to skating, popping tricks, and carving. New trucks, for instance, feel strange because the bushings aren’t broken in; they need to be tightened or loosened to get the turning you want. For those used to skating tighter trucks, new trucks off the bat are often extremely loose, which means your legs need to compensate for the uneven weight distribution.
If you really nerd out over hardware, you’ll feel that the height of a truck is also influential in the overall “feel” of popping tricks. But when you bring science into, your skateboard deck acts a lever and the higher the axle is, the further the tail needs to be pressed down to pop an Ollie or a trick. When the truck height is lower, the distance between the tail and ground is reduced; it’s easier to pop faster, which helps for “quick snap” ollies.
Lastly, the weight of a truck is influential to the overall feel of your skateboard since trucks account for the majority of your skateboard’s weight. When it comes to reducing weight, many companies try new metals other than the tried and true aluminum and steel. In fact, titanium and magnesium blends have been popping up in the market for quite some time now. But besides just changing the material of the truck, companies are rethinking new ways to redesign certain characteristics of trucks. So far, hollowing out the king pin and axle has been the most well received feature.
Thunder trucks have a high-end truck in their product portfolio, called the Thunder Titanium Lights 148. It is a truck that is a bit higher than most and is a good fit for board widths 8.125 to 8.3, with 8.25 being the jackpot winner of sizing. Firstly, the material used in the name of the truck undoubtedly defines the strength of the truck. Titanium is a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, very low density and high tensile strength. The truck’s axel is made out of titanium, which makes it a bit harder to wear down through grinds, compared to trucks made out of steel alloys. Secondly, the Thunder Titanium Light 148 trucks are much lighter than other trucks in the market due to their hollow kingpins, the aluminum OG Thunder baseplates, and titanium axles. These all work together to keep the weight down without sacrificing tensile strength or durability. Lastly, Thunder has been stressing for years that their trucks have a specific geometric design that offers exclusive Quick Turn Response. When it came down to the weartest, the fluidity of turning and carving was definitely noticeable. As a result, the time to break in these trucks was also reduced to a minimum since the Quick Turn response was on point right from the start. Overall, the trucks were shredded for about 5 months, and the quality of the titanium axle helped increase the lifespan of the truck.