It is my impression after all these years following this community, that all this company cares about is milking bling enthusiasts who would pay for any new shinny product by them and taking advantage of the ignorance of beginners1. From my point of view, the main activity they engage in is following the forums and making new products according to what seems to be the thing that already has a market waiting for a product; and promoting that with any means possible, while cultivating, with the help of community gatekeepers, a cult-like devotion to their brand (screenshot right). Opportunism is the game. The truth is, their products are: five times a Randal and one time a Bennett, but shinier and with the occasional spherical, because the forums said so2.
In this post, I will demonstrate Dont Trip’s lack of knowledge of basic skateboard principles. Also, I show an instance where Dont Trip’s boss is pushing product without the slightest sales pitch other than the good name his brand enjoys in the community. I start with the latter.
Exhibit 1: salesman
Many newbies just want a quick answer: “just tell me what to buy to get going.” There’s literally only two answers that return from the community: a. if you don’t got money, buy the Bennett/Randal combo and b. if you got money buy the full Poppy/G|Bomb/platform combo. In the latter case, they would usually buy the 45° Poppy and adjustable brackets (the 55°/fork bracket is cheaper, but they’re told the adjustable one gives them options).
So, check out this poor guy. He bought the thing and he hasn’t realized that he’s meant to wedge the Poppy up to 60-65°. And when he does that, he’s also supposed to swap his bushings for something lighter. He’s just stuck using it at 45° and of course that’s not enough for him. He also got a Carver CX, but that’s too turny for him (of course it is; that’s like the exact opposite).
So, he got convinced by the community (and Dan: “Dan from Don’t Trip said “maybe” the Bhangers [are trucks that give something in-between the CX and the Poppy’s]”) to buy yet another truck. What did he learn? Much less than he spent…
Exhibit 2: let’s talk about the Bhangers
The Bennett’s pivot cup surface is not perpendicular to the pivot axis (it’s anyone’s guess why). Now, you might want to ask Dont Trip, who copies this truck so faithfully that the copy includes this quirk but it also has less tolerance in the pivot cup (because “precision”), why they used to do that. But, they did figure it out after all, kind of, lately. When they started they were making it with a regular pivot (and a spherical in the hanger, which would only make matters worse, probably breaking after a while2). You can still see the urethane pivot cup in the main photo of the current product page, they haven’t changed that (see also screenshot, or past versions of the product page on the waybackmachine: for instance here and here ). In any case, I can only commend them for this change.
Exhibit 3: pivot axis, rake, Bennett
In the early days of the Bhanger’s release, I was intrigued by the description on the product page: what does “Bases 11 or 25Deg” mean? Who cares about the “base”? I was also curious about the Bennett’s rake (knowing the Bhanger was an exact copy). So I asked. Read the conversation in the picture to the right…
…he stopped the conversation there… Was he embarrassed that he didn’t know what rake his own damn truck has? Point is, he doesn’t understand what rake is (“rake isn’t measured on TKP trucks,” he says…)! Let alone understanding why “base angle” is totally irrelevant and just has “forum paraliterature” all over it.
And the best one: when you disagree with him about something, he gets so aggressive you can’t tell if he would actually like to break your legs or something. Check this conversation out, from the LDP facebook page, in which a member’s insolence towards the Bennett3 (hallowed be thy name) outraged him. No arguments, of course; simply because “everyone says so.”
No class, Dan. You got no class.
1. I stress that the article is, by nature, an opinion piece. My sources are the material linked in the text and my own impressions after six years of observing the company. Since sincere interviews are unlikely to come by, I have to do what other writers usually do: piece together a hopefully coherent opinion that the reader can evaluate for herself.
2. This provides a good hint about the creative process of the company. Non-professional members of forums cannot produce their own trucks. They have to use what’s available: existing trucks and spherical bearings. But if you had the means to design and produce your own trucks, like Dont Trip does, why wouldn’t you just use a regular friction-less ball bearing? A skateboard truck is meant to rotate around only one axis after all. You wouldn’t have to deal with broken kingpins (also here) either. Spherical bearings had always been a sketchy, amateur solution.
3. I found this gem in a forum, where a forum member notices chronic damaging of Bennetts’ pivot cups and pins. Installing a spherical in the hanger obviously accentuates the problem I am describing here.