Bustin Strike – my personal experience
It doesn’t feel like very long ago but it’s now been six months since we met the Bustin crew at the Trocadero which kicked off what was to become Bustin France/Urbandrift. Not long afterwards, the first shipment of demo boards arrived.
In order to get the word out several simple meet-ups were organised. During a carpark session I was lucky enough to try out some of Bustin’s boards including the Spliff, Cigar and Strike. Being an instinctive type of person, I got a good feel for each board after testing each one for a couple of minutes because I knew what kind of ride I wanted.
What was I looking for?
– a board which would be low to the ground (you guys should know by now how much I love my LBL Pusher) and therefore easy to push.
– it should be more manoeuvrable than the Pusher, which would also mean smaller and easier to carry.
– most of all I wanted a board which could handle the various terrain encountered in busy cities seeing as I would use it in Paris.
– it should be suited to tricks such as stand-up slides and speed-checks, things I want to be able to practice and master before the end of the summer.
Platform width: 22cm/ 8.6″ (max) 14cm/5.5″ (min)
Construction: 8 ply Canadian maple
I initially bought this Strike with the aim to set it up as low as possible. When I put this idea to Brian at Bustin he told me that he would drill some extra holes as for some trucks the ‘normal’ holes (new school) don’t always work well. The result is my board has both the new-school and old-school drill holes to avoid the potential issue of the bolts rubbing against the trucks. In addition to this he sent over some think riser pads (5mm) that I could use to lower the deck even more.
I decided to set the board up with some Paris trucks as I’d tried them on a friend’s board but not really ridden for any considerable time and fancied a change. In addition to this, I put on some ABEC 11 Strikers in 78a (75mm) to enable a more varied riding style to give me the option to perhaps ‘bust a few slides’ if I wanted to.
Setup tweaks – bushings and risers:
Perhaps it was the fact that I was going from a very low deck to a slightly higher deck of a different construction but I wasn’t blown away by how the deck felt, especially having heard people speak of the Strike so highly. From this I came to the conclusion that this initial disappointment was down to the set up I was using.
The first thing I tried was to change the stock Paris bushings and play around with some different ones. Here are the different ones I tried:
– Sabre 88a Purple (barrels)
– Venom SHR 88a Sea foam (cone and barrel)
– Venom Standard Purple 87a (cone and barrel)
– Sabre orange cone 86a and purple 88a barrel combo (my favourite)
– Venom SHR 88a sea foam cone and purple 88a barrel combo (2nd favourite)
I also changed from the 5mm risers to using normal thin (~2mm) shockpads because I didn’t want the turnier set up to risk getting wheel bite. However, this is me being a scaredy cat as the Strike can easily cope with bigger wheels – on silverfish it was reviewed with 83mm wheels.
The result was much better, the quality bushings really helped both when initiating and coming out of turns as well as making them deeper.
Setup tweaks – trucks and angles
The ride had improved considerably but I was sure that I could still get more out of the deck. By it’s shape, it’s built to turn since the Strike is wedged both at the front (13 Degrees) and at the rear (7 Degrees). Having exhausted all my possibilities with the Paris trucks, I decided to swap them for my Randal and the difference was considerable. I’m currently using 50° baseplates but after reading up on the subject it is recommended to use 42°. I’m going to order these baseplates at some point to see what difference they make. Still Randals are the trucks I would recommend with this board and they make for a very lively and enjoyable ride.
Another thing, I’m going to try is to flip the hangers on the Randals and see if it makes any difference.
Bustin also recommend Bear Grizzly 184mm for the Stike. Although I’ve not had the chance to try these myself, I’ve heard really good feedback.
Deck shape and flex
One thing which sets the Strike apart from the rest is it’s unique shape. I’m pretty sure that it is safe to say that this can be said of all the Bustin boards. As can be seen in the picture below, the Stike is a little narrower at the back than at the front. At first this change in width felt a little strange, but now I’ve spent some time getting to grips with this board I’ve found an advantage to this shape: control.
I think I’ve got average sized feet (USA 10/ EU 43) and my rear foot when placed on the board is a little bigger than the deck. This means that when cornering, I have an edge to either ‘grip’ with my toes or push down on with my heel. This creates a very safe feeling of being completely in control as well as helping to initiate more powerful turns and slides.
The camber, which is set towards the front of the deck is there to help propel you along when pushing. It flexes after the push giving you a little extra ‘omph’ and rebound to help with that next push. It’s a pretty clever idea but not really surprising given that Bustin is championing PushCulture and the ‘screw the train, just Push’ mantra!
Although I’ve yet to spend much time practising manuals or dropping off curbs, the nose and tail both are both very inviting. Another small modification which I can recommend is to add a small piece of grip tape to the nose – I’m not sure why no-one thought of doing it at the same time as the tail because it seems obvious to me…
The flex is very discrete and works perfectly with the purpose of the board in mind. It’s definitely in the stiffer category but is also forgiving and rougher surfaced road vibrations are absorbed nicely making for a comfortable ride. The stiffness is also key to the general feeling of stability and dependability I feel when riding the Strike and probably comes from the all-wood construction.
As I’m pushing myself somewhat the board has taken a fair few knocks and I can say that it is tough! All the marks are purely cosmetic and the general construction seems to be of a high standard. Proof to me that good quality wood is used in making the deck.
Bustin are well known for the customisation possibilities offered by their website and I can confess to becoming pretty engrossed in the process of working out the various colour and graphic combinations which were available. I ended up with a pretty simple, yet effective design in black and white which contrast nicely with the maple used to make the deck:
The signature which can be found on the bottom right of the board add as welcome human touch which completes the custom feel of the build.
Having now worked through the setup niggles, this is a board I’m finding myself coming back to time and again. It’s a very fun deck and it has helped build my confidence to improve the more technical aspects of my riding such as slides and stand-ups. It’s not a deck I would choose for a long distance journey or when wearing a heavy backpack, but that is clearly not what it is designed to do.
This board performs best when it is in the environment it was born in – the city. Weaving through pedestrians, accelerating away from traffic lights and ripping it up on quieter stretches of town are where this board shines. All in all the perfect urban machine…