Freebord: Skate Like A Snowboarder

  • The Mission

    We started out wanting to snowboard all year, wherever and whenever we wanted. And so, we designed a board that gave riders the control of a snowboard on pavement. As Freebord has evolved, so has our goal: bring as much control as possible to riding on pavement. Our riders can carve, slide, slow down and stop whenever they want. They can go as fast or as slow as they want. They can bomb the steepest of streets or ride mellow cruisers; hit big open roads or the narrowest of sidewalks. On a Freebord, riders have the control they need to ride what they want and how they want.

     

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    The Design

    The deck of a Freebord resembles a large skateboard. Beneath the deck are four fixed wheels mounted on long trucks that extend beyond the board. These “edge” wheels simulate the edges of a snowboard and are used for carving. In addition to these four edge wheels, the Freebord has two additional “center” wheels on the board’s center line that rotate 360 degrees. These act like the base of a snowboard, allowing riders to initiate slides in any direction, check their speed or stop just like they would on snow. Bindings mounted to the top of the deck provide riders with added board control.

    Advanced Control – Freebord Truckshangar

    Like a traditional skate truck, Freebord’s G3 trucks are made up of a hangar and baseplate. The hangar on the Freebord is longer than what you’ll find on a traditional skate truck, but serves the same purpose.

    Freebord’s unique ride is made possible by a 360º rotating center wheel that is mounted to the baseplate on the underside of the board. The center wheels ride lower to the ground than the edge wheels, creating “rocker”, or space between one set of edge wheels and the ground. A Freebord “rocks” over the center wheels between one set of edge wheels and the other. This combination of the edge wheels and swiveling center wheels allow riders to both carve and slide.

    When a rider weights one side of the board (heelside or toeside), the opposite set of edge wheels are off of the ground and the board can then begin to slide in that direction. The weighted wheels will drag along the pavement, slowing the rider’s speed. As a result, riders can use slides to slow down, stop, navigate tight terrain, spin or drift between carves.

    bindings

    S2 Bindings

    Freebord’s S2 bindings are mounted to the top side of the deck. Like snowboard bindings, S2’s provide increased board control by allowing riders to transition from toe to heel edge wheels more quickly and confidently. They also provide increased leverage on the edge wheels when riders want to stop or slow down.

    They are rotationally and vertically adjustable to allow for stance customization, but unlike snowboard bindings, Freebord’s bindings do NOT lock a rider’s feet to the deck. Riders can step in and out of them whenever they need to.

    Ride safe:

    • Always wear protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads.
    • Check the pavement–cracks, manhole covers, water, oil, etc. will affect your slide.
    • Keep your weight on your uphill edge.
    • Check your board for loose parts before riding.
    • Know your abilities and ride under control.

    The right location will help you learn faster. Look for:

    • Super smooth pavement with no cracks, ridges or bumps.
    • Wide street–just like a bunny hill.
    • Moderate incline–enough for momentum but not enough to lose control.
    • No traffic.

    Learn to carve:

    • Check that your center wheels are set off the ground and as close to the deck as possible.
    • Adjust your kingpin (the big screw that holds the trucks together) so that your trucks are fairly loose. Set your back trucks slightly tighter than your front trucks.
    • Center your feet on the board in a comfortable stance, with your toes and heels equidistant to the edges.  Your stance should be either centered on the board or slightly toward the board’s nose.
    • Ride down the hill making wide sweeping turns.  Lean into your turns and feel the board hold its edges.
    • Adjust your trucks so you can comfortably turn in both directions. Lighter riders will want looser trucks than heavier riders.
    • Continue practicing until you feel comfortable carving on your board.

    Learn to slide:

    • Using the small allen keys, adjust your center wheels to their highest settings (i.e. as close to the ground as possible).  If the board feels too unstable, you can use the second highest setting.  As a general guideline, if you tip your board to one side you should just be able to insert a finger underneath the lifted outer wheel (about ½” – 5/8″ off the ground).  You must have this clearance to slide properly.
    • Assume your stance on the board and feel the rocker from one side to the other. This rocker effect will allow you to transfer your weight from your “edges” to your “base.”
    • Try carving your turns as you did earlier.  Don’t go straight.  As you lean into a turn, roll a small amount of weight off of your trailing edge and onto your center wheels.  The lean of your turn will push the board outwards allowing it to slide.  This takes some practice so be patient.
    • Stay committed to one edge at a time; don’t wobble between them. Keep your weight on one edge as you turn then immediately switch to the other edge to initiate a new turn.
    • Always keep your weight on your uphill edge.  If you weight your downhill edge you will “catch an edge” and stop abruptly.
    • Keep your weight forward on the board and use your rear foot to swing the back end out to start a slide.
    • Never ride with your weight directly over the center wheels.  As with snowboarding, it’s unstable and you can catch an edge.  With practice you’ll learn how to ride straight.

    Control your speed.  As with snowboarding, there are three basic techniques:

    • Carve wide sweeping turns.
    • Throw a slide.  Anytime you slide you are braking to some degree.  The more weight you apply to your uphill edge the more you will slow down.
    • Throw a powerslide.  This is a slide like in #2 but with the added leverage of leaning back and putting more weight on the trailing wheels. Be careful when powersliding and do not overuse this technique as it is the quickest way to flatspot your wheels. Instead, brake at an angle to the hill to keep your edge wheels spinning while you slide.

    Additional Tips:

    • The more rocker the easier it is to slide. Many beginners prefer to learn this way, even if the board feels more unsteady. If the rocker is too much for you starting out, experiment by raising your center wheel one notch (towards the deck). This will give you less rocker but make it easier to catch an edge. When you improve, you will most likely want as much rocker as possible.
    • Experiment with your stance and truck tension.  Small adjustments mean a lot and every rider is different.  Set your front truck looser than your back truck to help initiate slides. Set them to equal tension if you plan to ride switch at all. Always set your two center wheels to the same height.
    • If you’re spinning unintentional 180′s, move your stance and weight forward on the board and square up your shoulders to the fall line.

    Wheel Wear:

    • As your outer wheels wear down, adjust the center wheels closer to the deck to maintain a consistent amount of rocker.
    • Most riders wear out the rear heelside wheel first.  Rotate your wheels in an X pattern to get the most life out of all four.
    • Prevent flat spots on your wheels by avoiding slides that are exactly perpendicular to the fall line.  Instead, slide diagonally to keep your wheels spinning.
    • Harder wheels (82A, 86A) slide easier, last longer and prevent flat spots.  Softer wheels (78A, 74A) hold a better edge.

    Getting the right size:

    If you need to figure out what size you need visit this page;

    http://www.freebordstore.com/board-selector.html

     

    MOUNTING YOUR BINDINGSmountingbindings1

    Tools you will need:
    - Phillips Screwdriver
    - 10mm socket or crescent wrench

    Step 1:
    Locate the S2 hardware pack in the bag containing your S2 bindings.
    There you will find: mounting screws (4); mounting nuts (4); height adjustment screws (4).

    Step 2:
    Insert metal S2 base through plastic topper and adjust to desired height using the 4x S2 height adjustment screws.

    Step 3:
    Locate pre-drilled binding mount holes on the deck.

    Step 4:
    Mount bindings to deck using the diagram to the right. Make sure to tighten all nuts firmly so that the screw heads are flush with the bottom of the deck. Adjust angle to desired position before tightening nuts.

    1

    MOUNTING YOUR TRUCKS

    Tools you will need:
    - Phillips Screwdriver
    - 10mm socket or crescent wrench

    Step 1:
    Find the eight pre-drilled mounting holes on underside of the deck.
    Poke holes through grip tape.

    Step 2:
    Insert the eight mounting bolts through the TOP side of the deck. Mount trucks to the bottom of the deck with the center wheels facing inwards.

    Step 3:
    Tighten eight nuts firmly (bolt heads should be flush with top of deck).

    boards11

    HOW TO TUNE YOUR FREEBORD3

    Always give your Freebord a safety check before you ride. Check for wear and tear on the wheels, deck, trucks and bindings. Check all nuts and bolts to make sure they are tight (including wheel and kingpin nuts). Every rider is different and how you tune your board will have a big impact on how fast you learn and how well you ride. Experiment with the following adjustments to figure out how to adjust your board to best fit your riding style.

    4Hangar

    One of the first thing you’ll want to do when you get your freebord is adjust the tension of the hangar. This can be done by loosening or tightening the king pin nut. Small adjustments mean a lot and every rider is different. If you’re a smaller rider make them looser so that it’s easier to carve/slide, heavier riders do the opposite. Loose trucks carve more and slide less. Tighter trucks slide more and carve less. Set your front truck looser than your back truck to help initiate slides. Set them to equal tension if you plan to ride switch at all. Check for cracks and also check if they have bowed out to form a “u” rather than a line. Make sure you have speed washers on both sides of every edge wheel, and the edge wheel nuts are tightened.

    Center Wheel Height5

    Your Freebord comes from the factory with the center wheel furthest from the board. The center wheels should be adjusted so that there’s a minimum finger widths clearance between the downhill edge wheels and the ground. The more extended (away from the deck) the center wheel, the less likely the rider is to catch a downhill edge. But they will have to deal with more rocker in this position and therefore have harder transitions between toe and heel side turns.As your outer wheels wear down, adjust the center wheels closer to the deck to maintain a consistent amount of rocker. Rocker is the distance between your edge wheels and the pavement.The more rocker the easier it is to slide. Always set your two center wheels to the same height. If the rocker is too much for you starting out, experiment by raising your center wheel one notch (towards the deck). This will give you less rocker but make it easier to catch an edge. When you improve, you will most likely want as much rocker as possible.

    Bindings

    Make sure all screws and mounting hardware are tight. Do not tighten them too hard into the deck, as it could create stress fractures in the outer
    plys of your deck. You can adjust your bindings vertically and rotationally to allow a more custom stance.Bindings can be mounted according to
    rider’s preference. If the pre drilled holes are not in the ideal spot, riders can drill new holes in the deck to get the stance they want. The decks
    are very rigid and can handle multiple drilled holes.

    Baseplate6

    Is your castor lubed? If not, a quick glob of Vaseline will do the trick. Do not use a water-based lubricant as it will wear out faster than a petroleum based product. While your base is off, check to see the cam axle is centered and your center wheel points straight. Also check to see your cam is still egg-shaped and in one piece.Is your pivot cup good? Check to see that first off you have one and secondly that it is not cracked or torn. A missing or damaged pivot cup will greatly affect your board’s turning ability.Do you have springs? If not, put them back in or e-mail us about replacements. Do not take them out!

    WHEEL ROTATING

    Edge Wheels

    Over time you will definitely have to replace your wheels. Wheels can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months depending on how often you ride, the type and steepness of the pavement you ride, how much you slide, and your weight. Most riders favor one side on their slides. To help you wheels last longer, rotate them every so often.
    Identify your heel and toe edge wheels. To rotate your wheels properly you will need to cross the wheels in the shape of an X. This means that your rear heel edge wheel will now be your front toe edge. Your front heel edge wheel will become your rear toe side wheel, etc.

    Center Wheels

    The center wheels normally do not need to be rotated. If you do notice your rear center getting smaller than the front,
    switch them around to counter the wear.

    Changing Your Bearings

    If your bearings are not spinning like they used to there are a few options. If you have removable shields like the Bones
    Reds then getting some bones speed cream will be the best option of re-lubing your bearings. You can use other products
    such as tri-flow or wd-40 but you will have to apply it much more often. If you have sealed bearings then you can soak
    them in a container of motor oil for 24 hours and the oil will work its way inside the bearing. The oil process can be used
    with any bearing type, sealed or not.

    Edge Wheel Bearings7

    Unscrew the wheel nut and remove. Take your speed washer off the top and place it with your nut. Pull the edge wheel up just enough so that only the bottom bearing is still on the axle. Torque the wheel in a rocking motion as if you were giving a motorcycle some gas. The bearing should pop out of the wheel and will stay on the axle. Flip the wheel over and repeat.

    Center Wheel Bearings

    First, remove your centers and one edge wheel. Place the center wheel on the axle of your hanger. The spacer in the center wheel will not go over the axle, so push down and it should pop the bearing out on the side touching your hand. Make sure when you press down your hand is clear of the top bearing.

    To Put Bearings Back In8

    Place both bearings onto the axle. Take the edge wheel, graphic side down, and push it down onto the axle to get the top bearing seated in to the core of the wheel. Flip it over and push the remaining bearing in the back. At this point you should have your wheel on the axle the correct way with both bearings in and a speed washer between the hanger and inside bearing. Now just put the outer speed washer on and tighten down your nuts. This process is faster than a bearing puller and you never have to touch the bearings so changing them on the road doesn’t have to be such a dirty process.


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