Aera K5 Longboard Trucks review by Ben Stainer

Aera K5 longboard trucks review by Ben Stainer

Longboard trucks have come a fair distance. From resembling great large hunks of metal, looking as if Thor had a drunken rage, to metallic pieces of artwork and enough precision to make a Swiss watchmaker cry.

Related: Aera Trucks RF-1 longboard trucks

Having said this, it’s essential to note that the longboard industry, especially for truck manufactures, has seen a decline in recent years. The reasons why could in themselves create another article altogether and when the conversation does spark, creates a debate more heated then the question of does pineapple belong on pizza.

With this in mind, the quality of longboard trucks has been rising significantly, with many new players entering the game and some old faces closing up shop. These new truck manufacturers such as Skoa and Rouge have been giving the old crew on the scene (Rey, Paris, Bear, Aera and Randall to name but a few) a better reason to come up with more ideas then the creative team at Disney on Adderall. Sadly, Rey are no longer around, but from their demise, a great deal of research and development has shone through.

Aera Longboard trucks baseplates

Aera K5 longboard trucks

Aera’s new K5 truck has been making the rounds on Longboard Porn 2.0 ever since a photo of Byron Essert’s front truck with Matt Kenzie directly behind him in a race heat touched down in 2016. The Clinching of the IDF No.1 by Carlos Paixão on the new trucks has also had many both excited, but also dreading how many limbs/years of savings would be needed to afford the K5, with a flurry of selling of old skate gear and prized possessions in order to leap onto the Skate one website faster than a cheetah in the Serengeti.

Which brings us neatly onto the beginning of the review! Having K5s shipped across the Atlantic to England terrified my frilly arse for two reasons. Firstly, will I be made bankrupt by the Taxman slipping the customs duty under the door like a silent assassin and secondly, will FedEx ‘Lose’ the parcel the second it leaves the warehouse?

The ordering process and setting them up

Ordering them, I had a general sense of bewilderment, but also elation.

I can feel my wallet getting smaller than the surface area of a dice adding the sums, but I feel stoked that I’m getting them.

It’s a feeling so bizarre that I ended up looking at the mirror after clicking the PayPal button and wondering why I had done it. Nonetheless, after just three days, the FedEx man did arrive with the trucks, with my inner child proceeding to run inside and rip the box open with delight.

Aera K5 Longboard trucks

Set-up was super easy, the kingpin sitting super far into the baseplate meant that at first I thought that I was sent the wrong length of axle, but after gentle persuasion with a skate allen key and the tool, the two kingpins rested super well, the new pivot cup design, after a bit of squeak, snuggled the hangers pivot pin like a sleeping bag.

Aera K5 Longboard trucks

The trucks do come with 88a hard core bushings, with a soft side and a hard side, in other words witchcraft dual duros. I decided to try them out, despite usually riding 95a/92a owing to weighting 95kg.

Longboard dance test

Dancing on the K5s is incredibly stable and one of the great surprises of the review, going along the pathways, I thought that I would be struggling at lot with a 164mm hanger, but it was not to be.

Aera K5 Longboard trucks - testing for dance and freestyle tricks

The extra-large pivot cup and the reaction to pop shuvits, Peter pans and cross steps was predictable and flowed through the truck more fluently then the notes out of a grand piano.

Aera K5 Longboard trucks

I would say that if you are going to use the K5s for partially this purpose or to carve a lot, 168/174 mm would be better suited, since the 164 mm hangers do not have the turning radius to perform the tight circles that a great deal of longboard dance demands. Nonetheless, a brilliant truck for this purpose, even if it’s not a discipline from which you first assume Aera trucks.

Freeride / Downhill test

Initially, I was worried about doing freeride on such narrow hangers, I thought that the trucks were going to jolt me more aggressively than a Taser. However, the trucks, even on their narrowest width, perform much the same as an Aera K3, but with the stability and precise slide expected from the K4.

Aera K5 Longboard trucks - DH and freeride testing

Even at slow speed, the trucks didn’t feel like they wanted to jerk back and throw me away and in tight cornering, the truck can be aimed like a laser, taking the racing line and holding you onto it like a limpet.

The 46 degree baseplate is as stable as a bridge foundation and provides a good mixture of downhill and freeride capability, although two lower baseplate options (42 and 30 degree) and a higher option (50 degree) are there for you to decide upon.

Conclusion / Customer Service

Overall, the Aera K5 has had a lot of expectations and demands. The years of debate and speculation have finally been answered and, in my own eyes, the K5 has lived up to those expectations.

A design more sexy then the contents of playboy magazine and an all-round truck that delivers in freeride, downhill and, most surprisingly, dance. Years of research, development and incessant questions have come through with a design that will keep Aera in the game for a very long time.

Worth the hundreds of dollars? That’s entirely your discretion, but fuck yeah in my personal opinion!

Also 5 Star service to Aera for making sure that I had everything on my trucks and for tolerating my incessant emails.

For more about Aera Trucks see their official website at https://aeratrucks.com/.

Tregaron Freeride 2016 / Photo Jack Patten

Tregaron Freeride 2016

Video: Tregaron Freeride 2016 – Brianne Collective / Newton’s Shred Longboard Shop

When the European scene imagines skating in the United Kingdom most ponder on a lack of hills, heavy rain and a scene lacking in downhill orientation. Tregaron Freeride 2016 too was expected to turn out in such a way; with no good footage from the year before , a forecast for heavy rain and only about 75 signed up things were not looking good. However in a odd turn of events a weekend of sun met the fresh faced riders with fast uplifts and no real time limit meaning skating ended when riders were tired.

Tregaron Freeride 2016 / Photo by J Patten Photography

Tregaron Freeride (based in West Wales and run by the Brianne Collective) is a small scale simple freeride which 3 aims; Bring the UK downhill scene together, provide a safe and competitive race and provide as much as 70 freeride runs in a weekend.

Cam Deegan and I started setting up the hill with the installation of the mini ramp (lovingly nicknamed the Jank Ramp by the riders) and spent the night sleeping in the comfort of the uplift van. Rain Pursued us continually and with Sion Hughes and Ry Swanton joining us the weather was bringing high spirits down. Once riders arrived that evening small groups caught up after a month or so from the last event. Old faces like Oli Slaughter and Josh Monk appeared and shared stories and wise words until the early hours of the morning.

We all awoke to a cold morning but were soon warmed by the mysterious orb of light from the sky. Uplifts started once riders were awoken and huge pack runs ensued. As a hill Tregaron features two hairpins and three straights where drafting tactics make racing fun. At around 4pm our own no hand down race (stand up and squat slides only) started with Alfie Lewis seen as a favourite. However gym goer Luke Batchelor used his new found gains for the better and was able to grasp a victory.

In the evening we were hosted by the lovely Y talbot hotel where riders consumed vast quantities of a very edible Lasange. Crumble (a traditional English dessert) followed and racing plans were read to their riders as hungry stomachs were filled. Racing the next day proved to be hugely competitive. Only about 2 top UK riders were missing on their travels to Romania and the open bracket was filled with probably the best 48 UK riders from the last few years.

Once riders had been seeded into their brackets heats were completely stacked with evenly matched competitors all chasing BDSL points and bragging rights. Fair and close racing was had but with points going off to the British Downhill Skateboarding League competition was high and passes (a few on the sketchy side) were made.

The British Downhill Skateboarding League is a collaborative project aimed at raising the standard of UK racing by collating points from all the separate outlaws and closed road events. Currently Pete Connolly (OG heavy hitting rider) sits at the top but points are close and there are still many fixtures to come.

Tregaron Freeride 2016 / Photo by J Patten Photography

In the final Pete Connolly and Van Stone (both footbreaking) were able to break ahead of Bodhi Keen and Ras Sarunas and hold the lead until the end. As the day came towards the end most looked exhausted and riders started to drift towards leaving.

Tregaron Freeride 2016 / Photo by J Patten Photography

We grabbed some opinions from the Open winner – Pete Connolly and the Women’s race Winner – Hermione Pearson:

Not many things make me as happy as a closed road with uplifts. Brianne Collective run a tight ship, meaning no disappointment regarding the number of runs. The event is well organised whilst still retaining a really nice chilled vibe. I’ve only ever visited Wales for downhill skateboarding events, but I love the landscape and it’s been cool to see their spots and try different hills. It’s a great place to learn and improve. The opportunity to push your own limits, without car fear, whilst riding close but comfortably with familiar faces is one of the best parts. Im hesitant to say it, but the challenge of navigating complete strangers and having to react quickly when you can’t predict their riding style is actually starting to grow on me too. I love seeing the overall standard of riding rising every time I go to an event and there’s a real satisfaction in making progress when going back to spots you’ve skated a long time ago.
Big thanks to everyone who works relentlessly to make these things happen! ~ Hermione Pearson

The British Downhill Skateboard League’s (BDSL) Tregaron National Race was the best race UKDH has seen! The whole event was contained on a private road and had great facilities including a mini-ramp! Uplifts were fast and running on a loop road, Brianne Collective are getting slick at their event organisation…. events like this help grow the DH scene in the UK and sharpen all the riders, there are so many fast guys of all ages in the UK now that it blows my mind! ~ Pete Connolly

All in all it was lovely too see everyone before we all head our separate ways for the summer. Although the UK scene is small the downhill scene is tight knit with riders nearly all good friends. Our hills may mostly be around a mile or under (except for a few quiet gems) but the enthusiasm most have in the scene makes up for it. The UK skate companies are nearly all on the ground supporting events not only by putting money behind them but by attending too. As wise brands known if you nurture the roots the tree will grow. We have so much to thank the brands which support Tregaron Freeride for.

We would like to thank:

BTR Leathers
Cult Wheels
Vandem Boardshop
Sabre Trucks
Lush Longboards
Area One Boards
Slide Perfect Wheels
Newton’s Shred Longboard Shop
Octane Sport
Arbor Skateboards
Sector 9 Europe
Boardlogic Skateboards
Seismic Skate

We would also like to thank the race director who was responsible for the smoothness the races ran under: Dan Shinnie of Boardlogic.

Photos: J Patten Photography

Skate the Peaks – Ben’s tribute to Peak District’s amazing downhill skateboarding scene

About a month ago, Ben Holmes (Arbor Skateboards UK and Sucrose Wheels UK) released a longboard film “Skate the Peaks” as a tribute to Peak District’s amazing downhill skateboarding scene featuring some of the best UK’s longboarding spots and UKDH community members.

He’s been stacking the footage since April and it took him additional five weeks to complete the edit. The film covers 12 spots and according to Ben, the best would probably be a secret spot called “GK” or as mentioned in the movie, “a secret downhill testing facility”.

You might also be interested to watch some other notable Ben’s works, like “Lyndsay McLaren || Easy to Love” or “Slacklining Trip || The Lake District”.

Video - Lyndsay McLaren || Easy to Love
Video – Lyndsay McLaren || Easy to Love
Video - Slacklining Trip || The Lake District
Video – Slacklining Trip || The Lake District

Behind the scenes for Skate the Peaks 2015

There’s a nice interview with Ben about the making of the video over at Thrill’s website, in case you’re interested to find out how that went down.

You can follow Ben around via his Facebook page “Ben Holmes Media“.

Idle Slide Gloves welcomes a new member to their family, Ben Stainer

We’re stoked to hear the great news from the KnK Slivo King, Ben Steiner. He’s currently enjoying wet UK sessions and local small events. About a week ago, his after-summer adventures and positive energy got him a sweet deal with the UK based brand Idle slide gloves.

Ben Stainer © Kai Menneken
Ben Stainer rocking Idle slide gloves © Kai Menneken

After the KnK, Ben visited two events hosted by a group called Brianne Collective, Tregaron freeride where he swooped up 5th place and Dig deep outlaw race, finishing 1st.

Ben is currently sporting retro looking slide gloves that combine different materials and a great deal of warmth in cold weather conditions, making them a great choice for the UK climate. Their good flexibility and awesome array of bright colors will make you want to keep your hands up while sliding. Here’s what Ben has to say about the good news:

Somehow, after the adventures of Norway and the Hairpins of KnK, I was asked to represent Idle slide gloves. It was surprising, considering that I didn’t believe myself to be anywhere near the level that sponsorships envisaged. The belief was that you had to have balls (or ovaries) the size of melons and enough skills to make a Russian gymnast seem obsolete. ~Ben Stainer

Idle slide gloves
Idle slide gloves Idle

After their first model ”The Galaxy”, the brand listened to the riders feedback and introduced their second model ”Retro Vibes” featuring better stitching and extended wristbands combined with an eye catching 80’s style. These gloves include padded fingertips and padded Velcro on the synthetic leather palm that reduces puck vibration, a needed feature when sliding on rough pavement.

The included UHMW pucks seem to be a bit too thin but you can easily replace them with your preferred piece of plastic. The Velcro patch offers a good fit, big enough to protect your hand and just small enough to allow your hand to carry out smaller tasks such as, in Ben’s words, opening a zip or doing shadow puppets.

The Idle Slide Gloves come in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. To people with medium sized hands, concerned about the gloves being too small or too big, Ben assures:

If you fear you’ll be too small, the gloves memorise you faster then a government supercomputer. ~ Ben Stainer

Idle Slide Gloves v3 - Sneak peek preview
A sneak peek preview of Idle v3 slide gloves

If you favour the smell of leather, than be on the lookout for their third model, the Idle v3 slide gloves, that promises ruggedness, bigger pucks and an even better array of flashy colors.

We’ll keep you posted.

https://www.idleslidegloves.co.uk/