You’ve seen the pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Now you want to know more. Well so did I. I was super intrigued by the new Predog trucks but I also had questions about them. So, I got in touch with my homie Jim Spiers, owner of Predog Snowskates, for the low down.
If you don’t know about Jim and you haven’t seen a Predog Snowskate, or pair of trucks, or leash, (where the heck have you been for the past few years?) here’s the backstory: Jim is one of the most science/engineering minded people we’ve got in snowskating. We are lucky to have someone with brains of his caliber and the passion that he has for snowskating. His innovations and products not only make snowskating more safe and more practical, but they help to push the level of riding and enjoyment of it. I have a ton of respect for him on a personal and professional level and you should too.
So, here’s what he had to say about his new trucks:
ProjectSnowskate: Hey Jim, what’s up? Do you have a name for these trucks yet?
Jim Spiers: Nope, at least nothing really clever or cool at this point… Any suggestions? Will probably go with a dog theme.
PS : No idea for a name here. Lemme think on it. But, how long have you been working on the idea?
JS: I’ve been playing with polyurethane in trucks for about 6 years off and on.. came up with some crazy stuff back in the day when I was designing the single truck concept that mounted to the center of those snowlerblade ski’s. That was a complete money pit, like most things snowskate. But I learned a lot. You have to love the passion of it all. This particular design has been in fruition for about 2 1/2 years. It took about 6 months for brainstorming, sketching, and finally drawing up for machining to get the prototype built. After that I had Matt Quam and Pablo Juan ride the crap out of them for the past 2 seasons. I wanted to have some serious rippers hitting them hard and with consistency to make sure they held up to a true skater’s beating.
PS: What inspired you to try it?
JS: Stubbornness mostly, the truck is the most complicated piece of a snowskate, so that is where I have spent most my design and R&D time. I am a bit obsessed and I like experimenting. If it doesn’t work the way I want it to, I rethink it and try something different. My ultimate goal is to design a truck that doesn’t wear at all or at least has a replaceable part that is inexpensive. I was looking through some old parts in my shop and came across a polyurethane rod I used in the early designs 6 years ago, and it hit me.
PS: What’s the advantage? Is there any disadvantage?
JS: There really is no disadvantage, unless you use a soft durometer. The trick is using a durometer that is hard enough to not compromise edge to edge control. The advantage is that it eliminates wear. The pivot point in the truck is where all the force and impact is focused for every carve, ollie, jump, or change in the terrain. Everyone wants something light and the reality is that aluminum stretches and plastic nylon bushings blow out instantly, which in the end creates loose rattling trucks. Urethane is a remarkable material and has many characteristics that make it perfect for the pivot point in a snowskate truck. After two years of riding time with Matt and PJ, the prototypes are still running solid and show minimal, if any wear. I will continue to have PJ ride the prototypes to help identify at what point they break down. PJ rides fast and hard and goes huge, so he is the perfect tester.
JS: All I can tell you Kendra, is that these trucks ride super clean and are solid underfoot. Most importantly the prototypes lasted for at least two seasons under some of the hardest riding skaters out there. Conservatively speaking they have at least 160 days on them. I won’t claim that they are going to add more power to your ollie, or make you carve like a machine. This is snowskating, and all we can do is keep innovating and trying to improve our gear on shoestring budgets and loads of passion. So, yeah.. this is really all about durability and noise reduction. I will let the riders speak to the other advantages.
PS: Yo Matt Quam! What do you think of these new trucks?
PS: Rad Quam, thanks. Jim, what is the durometer of the bushings that will come stock with the trucks? If someone is so inclined where can they get harder or softer bushings that will fit them?
JS: The trucks come stock with amber 95A durometer, which is ~ 6500psi. If someone is interested in softer or harder, I will likely be making some for my team riders, so they can reach out and let me know. These are custom bushings and are milled to precision to fit these trucks specifically.
PS: Any conditions they are best suited for?
JS: Not really. They are suited for all conditions, no one is better than the other.
PS: What about price range? And when they’ll be available
JS: Price range will be similar to the Roulettes. My goal is keep trucks under $100. If everything goes as planned, they’ll be available in December.
PS: Any other hot tech you’re working on and excited for for this season…or beyond?
JS: I have been making some powdersurfers and those are turning out great and are a blast to ride. All my snowskate skis have cameltech this year, which adds more flexibility and keeps things light. I guess the coolest thing I have been working on is another truck idea with my buddy Colin Hughes at Ibis bicycles. It is by far the most “tech” truck snowskating will see. Last season, I made a prototype that works in practice, but failed in the field under real riding conditions. It just needs a little tweaking to dial it in. I shelved it for a season to let it fester in the back of my mind. Just needs some subconscious resolution. That was definitely the most expensive prototype I have done, though. It has multiple parts that need machining, high end plastic bearings and custom axle bolts. If I can find the time and money I will make another prototype this year and send them off to Ande Burman for testing. I am pretty sure it will be a game changer, even more so than the polyurethane ones.
Thanks Jim for the time and the tech and Quam for the rad riding and feedback. Watch the Predog’s Facebook for these trucks to become available! Then go buy some!