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Combo Kits: Making the Old New Again

Nothing approximates the feeling of riding a familiar longboard on new trucks and wheels. A brand-new complete setup doesn’t even compare. A new deck is a strange dance partner at first, and learning its nuances takes time. Not so for trucks, wheels and bearings. Renewing these components restores the quiet, effortless operation your longboard had when it was new, and it instantly reminds you of how it felt the first time.

No matter how great a longboard feels on that first ride, it will degrade over time. The bearings will wear and lose the precision that made them so fast when they broke in, as the wheels slowly disintegrate from the heat and friction that rolling on pavement causes. Replacing your components one at a time is an option, but one that never delivers the satisfaction you felt when you first set foot on your board. No, the only way to bring an old longboard back to life is to replace everything at once: trucks, wheels and bearings.

What’s a Combo Kit?

Yocaher Combo Kits come with a brand-new pair of Yocaher trucks, four new Speed Cruiser wheels, ABEC-7 Ritalin bearings and ¼-inch riser pads. These are the same components that come standard on many Yocaher completes, and they are a simple way to breathe new life into your skating. There are a wide variety of color options for the wheels, and the trucks come in either black or polished aluminum. We’ll explain Combo Kit installation shortly, but let’s look at each component a little more closely first.

Trucks

Yocaher HD7 reverse-kingpin trucks offer a superb combination of stability and maneuverability. The 175mm aluminum hangers (9.675-inch axles) and solid aluminum baseplates work well with a variety of deck shapes, from pintails and old-school boards to drop-through and drop-down decks. Reverse-kingpin trucks are more stable than conventional trucks, and they provide a gentler, less-twitchy carve. The 90A-durometer bushings provide smooth turning with quick snapback, and the solid, grade-8 kingpin is the industry standard.

Wheels

Yocaher Speed Cruiser wheels use a soft-durometer urethane formula to produce a smooth, even roll on almost any surface. The Speed Cruisers that come standard with Combo Kits are 70mm tall with a 78A durometer and a 52mm contact patch. Their sharp lip profile deforms during turns to help them provide excellent traction, even at speed. Speed Cruiser wheels handle twigs, pebbles and other debris with ease, and are suitable for many different styles of riding. They are durable and functional, and they carve on rails.

 

Bearings

Yocaher Combo Kits include a set of eight stainless-steel Ritalin bearings. Many of the top online retailers sell Ritalin bearings because they work — plain and simple. Ritalins are standard-sized 608 precision bearings, and they come pre-lubricated for out-of-the-box speed and performance. They’re smooth at first and get faster over time, just like a precision bearing should.

Hardware and Risers

Each Yocaher Combo Kit comes with the hardware and risers required to mount the trucks to a deck. Kits come with 1 ½-inch, heavy-duty steel mounting bolts with Philips heads and 3/8-inch nylock nuts. The bolts easily accommodate the ¼-inch, black riser pads, which move the axles away from the board to avoid the dreaded wheel bite. Speed Cruisers are tall wheels, so using the risers is a good idea unless your deck has cutaways, such as on a typical drop-through deck.

Combo Kit Assembly

It’s understandable for anyone who has never assembled a complete longboard to be apprehensive at first, but anyone can do it. Putting together a longboard is a simple and straightforward process. Yocaher Combo Kits have all the necessary components and the hardware required to install them. There are no extra parts to breed confusion. Once you get started, you’ll see how easy it is.

Mounting the Trucks

Mounting the trucks to the deck first will allow you to use them to press the bearings into the wheels. It is much simpler to press the bearings if the trucks are stable, and mounting them on the deck does that. You will need a Philips screwdriver and a 3/8-inch wrench. There are tools for pressing in the bearings, but there’s no need to purchase one with this method.

Begin by placing one truck, with the kingpin facing the nose, on the front truck-bolt holes, which are predrilled in the deck. Take four of the 1 ½-inch mounting bolts — without nuts —and pass each through the deck and the corresponding hole in the truck’s baseplate. Thread a nut onto each bolt by hand until they stop, then use the screwdriver and wrench to tighten them. Hold them steady with the screwdriver while turning the wrench to avoid stripping the Philips-head slots.

Tighten the bolts evenly until each bolt head is flush with the grip tape. It’s okay to leave them a little above flush. You won’t feel it when you skate, and the extra room will allow you to tighten the trucks down further as they become loose over time. Repeat the installation process for the back truck.

Pressing the Bearings

Turn the board on its side and remove the ½-inch nylock nut and washers from one axle. Place one bearing on the axle, then place one wheel on top of it so that the bearing seat in the wheel is centered over the bearing. With your palm placed over the wheel, press down until the bearing is fully seated. You may need to press harder on one side than the other and then alternate sides to wiggle the bearing into its seat. If it’s stubborn, you should be more so.

When you are sure the bearing is flush and seated, remove the wheel and place a washer on the axle before pressing a bearing into the other side. Once the second bearing is seated, place the other washer on the axle, then thread the nut on by hand until you feel resistance. Use a ½-inch wrench or socket to tighten the axle nut until there is no play in the wheel. Test the wheel by spinning it with your hand. If it comes to a sudden stop, loosen the nut and try again until the wheel spins freely with little to no play. Repeat the steps for each of the four wheels.

Ready to Roll

When you’ve finished installing your Yocaher Combo Kit, your longboard will be ready for action. Take a moment to double check all the hardware for tightness and all the wheels for proper adjustment. Take a 9/16-inch wrench with you on your first ride to adjust the tightness of your new trucks to your preference. Tightening the kingpin nut makes the board more stable, while loosening it enables it to turn more sharply. Make periodic checks and adjustments, and your Yocaher Combo Kit will always be ready to help you get the most from your skating.

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