Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making Sport of It -- Bustin Boards Sportster Review

Why Hello There Friends,

I come to you today with a review on none other than the Bustin Boards' Sportster. The Sportster is a compact, drop through, symmetrical board with a nice little shape. Looks can sometimes be deceiving because despite appearing to be a pretty simple board there are a ton of features subtly packed into this deck.

Before we see if these claims are true let's get into the technical specifications of the board:

1/2in Radial
Other Features
Drop Through, Forked Nose, Middle Notches
If memory serves me correctly, when this board hit the scene it was presented as an all around board with the commuter in mind due to it's small frame and low pushing platform. Well I put that idea to the test and then some during my analysis of the Sportster.
FreestyleTo be perfectly honest there is not much to say about this board when it comes to freestyle. Which is a result of having no nose or tail. Am I saying that it is impossible to try and freestyle on this board? No, because you can Cross Step and Old School Kickflip and do stuff like that,  but you would be silly to get this board for freestyle. If you are looking to hit tricks then grab yourself a board with at least one kicktail.
The Sportster surprised me with its downhill abilities. When the deck was released I read up on it and the Bustin site actually had me a little worried to take it too fast. However, I have found that it can get some hot nasty speed without a worry.

I attribute this to two things that are a combination of several deck traits. The first of which would have to be the way that the concave, radial drop, rocker, and notches in the middle of the board combine to make a very comfortable standing platform. I know that is a lot of features, so I will break some of them down a little further.
The radial drop and concave form a very nice point for you to plant your feet because the the little bit of drop gives you a little something to tuck against with your back foot. While the concave keeps your front foot locked in place nice and tightly.

The second reason I believe that this board performs so well at speed is that it is so low to the ground. It is not necessarily a double drop platform, but it pretty close. The Sportster is not only a drop through deck but it rocks a full 1/2in of radial drop and rocker. This makes the deck much much lower to the ground than your average drop though.
I have taken this board to some of my fastest speeds without a problem, topping out in the low 40mph range, and not had a problem with it. So I think that the Sportster is more than enough to satisfy the downhill needs of the vast majority of the longboarding world BUT I do see why Bustin says it is not a race deck. The Sportster is not a flexy board, you cannot bottom it out or anything, but it does have a tiny bit of flex to it which can get a little treacherous when hauling ass. In addition, while drop through boards are a little more stable at speed they tend to slip out easier when turning, so taking a corner at 50mph on a Sportster might get a little sketchy.

I have been reviewing a ton of stuff lately and because the trend lately is rock topmount boards it had been a while since I had ridden a drop through, none the less taken one out for some freeride time. I had totally forgotten how awesome it is to slide on a drop through, and the Sportster just made my freeride a dream.
The combination of a drop though, radial drop, rockered platform with a small wheelbase gives you an incredible amount of control in slides. Being so low on the Sportster allows you to get way more leverage over your trucks (and therefore wheels) when initiating slides. After getting a feel for this board I was hitting way longer slides than normal while, at the same time, feeling way more in control.

The platform of the Sportster doesn't only lend itself to downhill, it does a fantastic job keeping your feet where they need to be during slides too. Coming in at 9/16in (or a little more than half an inch) the concave on the Sportster is not super extreme and on paper seems kind of ordinary. However, in conjunction with the 1/2in radial drop it completely cradles your feet.
Your feet are locked in on one axis with the concave and then on another axis with the contours of the radial drop. I call these contours "the bubble" because it feels like a bubble under your feet. I feel so locked in on this board that I don't have to rock my signature monkey toe (where you hang your foot over the edge of the deck) nearly as often. Heck if I practiced I wouldn't have to monkey toe at all, haha.

I was very interested to commute on the Sportster for several reasons, the first of which is that the board being marketed as a commuter, the second being that I personally commute on a longboard to work every single day.
Because I am always pushing around somewhere a good commuter definitely has a special place in my heart. The Sportster definitely got one thing right, probably the biggest thing you need in a long push, it is super low. That same drop though, radial drop, rocker combination makes the board super low and therefore much easier to push than even a normal drop through board. This low ride height translates to less effort on each push so that you, the rider, can push longer more comfortably.

However, I think that calling the Sportster a "commuter" is a little bit of a misnomer. When I think of commuting on a skateboard I normally think of everything that goes into a commute: starting, stopping, dodging, curbs, doors, ect... A big part of my commute generally means hopping up or down the occasional curb. This is a little tricky to do on the Sportster unless you are wicked good at Early Grabs, haha. Mostly because getting off a curb is easy with an early grab but getting back up is the hard part. Therefore I think that the Sportster should be considered more a "long distance pusher" than a commuter.

The Sportster does have one more sweet trait for those pushers out there, wheel clearance. You can actually run a large variety of wheel sizes on the Sportster without having to worry about wheel bite. Which means whether you want to run teeny 62mm wheels or big ol' 75mm wheels you are not going to kill yourself by unexpectedly getting wheel bite. Having the capability to cruise on big soft wheels while pushing around town is great for all the cracks and bumps you will inevitably roll over.  
The Bottom Line:
Would I recommend the Bustin Sportster to a friend?
I believe that any of my friends who are super in to pushing, freeride, and some downhill would love this board. The Sportster is low and aggressive.
You can take it fast, you can slide it, you can push it for freaking days. In addition you can run a large variety of wheel sizes on it which is always a nice bonus. If you have ridden a drop though board in a while then I highly recommend you break that trend and try out a Sportster, I guarantee you won't regret it.

Thanks for reading!!!
Any questions, comments, concerns, setup ideas, hatemail???
Send it my way!

Stay Awesome!

My Current Favortie Setup:
-Volante Morgan 70mm
-Paris V2 180mm
-Riptide Bushings
-Daddies Bearings
-As always a helmet and my Holesom Pucks