Friday, December 30, 2011
Tony Hawk #3.
The T-Bone might be one of the most maligned wheels ever. It was designed as a vert wheel, but it did make a few appearances on the streets. I had a Powell Peralta Mike Vallely elephant with some white T-Bones. This would have been at the time when I was really starting to get into skateboarding so naturally I picked out the same gear as the pros I liked. I was excited to have the elephant deck in yellow with the brand new Powell wheels until I actually started riding the thing. The Vallely had a weird shape and a shorter tail that did not agree with the 67 mm wheels attached to it. In retrospect, it seems obvious that since Mike V. skated mostly street with smaller wheels that his board would be designed to those specifications. But at fourteen or fifteen you aren't thinking about the board dimensions, the wheelbase or length of the tail and how this directly corresponds to the performance of a skateboard. You just want what looks cool and aren't making the connection as to why suddenly your feeble ollies are looking a little more feeble. I'm glad we don't have this problem today since all the boards are the same.
Anyway, I sold the Vallely to a friend who loved that deck, maybe a little more than you should. I think I replaced it with a Blockhead Mark Partain and some OJ Street Razors, which was a much more enjoyable setup. I kept the T-Bones and they made another appearance at the end of the year when I got a Steve Saiz debut pro model for Christmas. I had this thing about keeping everything Powell if I was riding one of their boards, which is why I busted out the T-Bones from storage. I had blue rails, white Thunder trucks with the little lizards on the baseplates and the Schmitt Stix Shox Blox risers to complete the board. The Saiz was a larger board with a bigger tail so everything worked out alright. Now that I think about it, this was a good setup as a whole and I recall getting better at skateboarding while riding it.
As skateboarding became more street oriented in the early 1990s, anything that was seen as dated instantly became a target for the pacesetters. This included the T-Bone, which was reissued in a slightly different second version. As was often the case with a World Industries company, any time a chance to make fun of Powell came along they went for it and Plan B did just that. Plan B made the point that four of their 42 mm wheels used the same amount of urethane as one T-Bone. I guess this was considered some degree of progress. For functional matters, both a 42 mm and a 67 mm wheel are at opposite bad ends of the useful scale, although a 67 mm would probably still be good for vert. It's not like skateboarding knows when to stop at pushing the envelope of useful product design.
Vert Is Dead will be back on January 3. Have a good weekend.
The T-Bone vs. Plan B picture is from a late 1991 or early 1992 World Industries catalog.
Transworld - October 1988 Volume 6 Number 5