Lordy! It’s hard to believe that this issue brings us to the end of Volume Ten! All year we’ve been contacting the same terrific ten shops to ask them a question relevant to each issue and to the industry as a whole. They’ve knocked themselves out to provide us with honest, insightful answers about what’s really happening in skateboarding business. And let’s be honest–we’ve grown a bit fond of them. So to our ten shops of Volume Ten, thanks a million for all your help.

When rain and snow are pounding at your windows, summer seems like a cruel fantasy concocted by Hollywood filmmakers–but now it’s official, summer has arrived. Traditionally the most active season in our business, summer marks not only an increase in sales, but the start of team tours, video filming, and sports and music festivals that revolve around skateboarding. So enjoy yourselves. Soon we’ll be picking the next ten shops to contact for Volume Eleven, so call in with your suggestions (preferably shops we’ve never used before). And if you have a question you’d like to ask our shops, please send it to: SKATEboarding Business Ten Shops, 353 Airport Road, Oceanside, California 92054; or FAX: (760) 722-0653.

This issue’s question: Approximately how many decks do you sell for every set of trucks?

Seth Curtis at Slam City Skates in London, England

“Well, if we look at today–I’ve sold five boards today, and one of them was sold with a set of trucks. Every fifth board or so is sold with trucks or as a setup. I’m pretty happy with the variety of trucks right now–we sell Indy number one, Venture number two, Thunder number three. It seems as if there’re two brackets: the first three, and then there’s a second bracket with Destructo, Tracker, Orion, Gullwing, and say, Fury. Those are somewhat cheaper here. There are the old classics–the top three–and then the newer trucks. Kids buy Destructos and Furys more. The skaters who’ve been skating quite a while go with Indys, Ventures, or Thunders.

“Kids seem to like the colored Destructos–just the baseplate is colored. Indys are by far our best seller and they’re what we recommend. Especially with the new Indy Duralight–slightly lower than the old Indys, but they’re light.

“Wheel sales and bearing sales are kind of a setup thing. It’s not often that kids come in for just wheels. They actually tend to come in for just bearings more often–wheels are not something they perceive as having to change that frequently. Bearing sales–kids just go more for marketing ploys of Pig and World Industries, although the ABEC Pig bearings are really good. The older established skaters gladly ride the Powell Swiss bearings if they can get them for cheap or free–they’re really expensive. Once you’ve ridden them, though, the others feel really slow. Black Panthers are pretty good, standard bearings.”

Beedle at Fast Forward in Hurst, Texas

“I’m gonna say I sell like six to one, boards to trucks. Trucks definitely last longer, and once they get that little sweet spot from grinding, you want to hang onto them. It’s always a bummer to have to break in new trucks. The new Fury that came out is totally taking off–built into the baseplate is a little cupholder so you only have to use one tool. We sell the heck out of them. I sell both plain and colored trucks–plain polished a bit more than the colored trucks. A lot of first-time riders like colored trucks–they want their new setup to match.

“I think most of the time people try to get as much wear out of bearings as possible–unless they’re starting to get bad. It’s partly expense and partly convenience–you can just wipe the muck out and put them in your new set wheels. Keep in mind that bearings range in price from nine dollars to 36 dollars. We do real well with the Bones Swiss and Black Panthers in our higher-price bearings. In the lower prices we sell a lot of Pig bearings–and that’s all about marketing.

Craig Baily at Earth Core in New Brunswick, New Jersey

“I sell seven decks for every set of trucks–maybe as many as ten. We’ve had Independent for about six years, so we primarily sell those, Ventures, a bit of Destructo, and we’ve been selling the hell out of Furys. Generally, if they’re a couple bucks cheaper, kids go without color.

“I’d say we sell about five to seven sets of wheels for every set of bearings. They ride ’em until they’re shot. We don’t have the Gold Card shoppers here.”

Barry Page at XXX in Nashville, Tennessee

“It’s a seasonal thing–we sell more decks than anything. We sell decks daily, but I may not sell trucks every day. But for two years in a row I sold out of trucks around Christmas–last year I finally ordered enough. During an average week, I sell about four decks for every one set of trucks–we of course try to sell trucks in pairs. There’s a big variety of trucks now–probably too many with high and low, polished and colored. An inexperienced clerk could get confused with the variety of trucks and sell a low and a high as a set! We bar-code our product, which acts as a safety feature against those kinds of mix-ups. Mostly kids ask for the colored trucks. I was talking to one of the pros at our contest last weekend, and we agreed that’s probably what sells the Titans.

“I try to sell bearings when I sell wheels, but it ends up more like one out of three–one set of bearings for every three sets of wheels. It’s easier to sell the bearings to parents than kids–they’re just too expensive. We sell the crap out of those China Bones, and we don’t sell that much Powell Bones Swiss. We sell the most of NMB bearings, though–twelve bucks. If someone asks me, I’ll recommend NMB.”

Jeff Kelly at Kelly’s Board Shop in South Bend, Indiana

“I’d have to say three or four decks sold per set of trucks. In the middle of summer, it goes even a little higher. There’s a pretty good variety out of trucks right now–but there’s only been so much advancement. I think some of the innovations Fury’s done with their trucks, the metal they use, have been good for the industry. Some of the newer trucks are trying some new approaches to how the truck turns, some involve completely different designs–and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Riders are comfortable where they’re at, so drastically having to change the way they ride isn’t something they want to do.

“We do well with Krux–the composition, the polished finish. Indys have always been a staple. They grind, as the cliché goes. Destructos go pretty well, a lot of guys like how they turn–a decent truck at a decent price. There’s not really a big call for colored trucks, but if the price difference isn’t much, some people splurge. Most of the trucks that leave the shop are silver, though.

“I actually sell a lot of bearings. I have kids who come in for another set of bearings before they get a new set of wheels. My best-selling bearings are the Bones and the Black Panthers. We do well with the Pig bearings, and Lucky also. I have kids who are buying completes with an extra set of bearings. That’s mostly the younger kids.”

Syd Clark at Red Dragon Skate Supply (RDS) in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada

“We sell more decks than trucks–it’s probably like half the decks we sell are with trucks. We sell a lot of completes here. We mainly carry Indy, Destructo, Venture, Orion, and Thunder. People seem to pick from what we have–we do carry some colored trucks, but no one specifically asks for color.

“With bearings to wheels sales, it’s about the same ratio again–half. Two sets of wheels sold for every set of bearings. Speed Demon bearings probably sell the best, and we just got in the Reflex.”

Duffy at World Market in Tampa, Florida

“On a ratio, probably for every eight to ten decks, we sell a set of trucks. There’re a lot of trucks out right now. For trial and error, I use the customer. If the customer asks for it, I’ll bring it in. If not, I don’t. I think it’s the job of the manufacturer to make the sale. I have my own preferences, and I have twenty guys on my team who have theirs–that’s a lot of variety. Honestly, colored trucks don’t do well here–little kids ask for ’em. Basically raw, silver trucks are what we sell.

“I sell a hell of a lot of wheels and bearings. Swiss bearings are holding up pretty good. Kids are curious about the ceramic bearings, but they’re too expensive. When I sell Swiss bearings, I’m confident that the customer will be satisfied. The other types, I might get somebody back in complaining. My highest-selling bearings in the shop are the Luckys.”

Joe Cruz at Church of Skatan in Santa Barbara, California

“We probably sell at a three-to-one ratio–decks to sets of trucks–maybe more. I’m kinda against all the new truck companies, in a way. Furys are decent, and the kids seem to like them, but some of the new ones we won’t carry–they’re just crappy. Venture, Indy, and then probably Thunder are our best sellers. We don’t get too many people asking for colored trucks here, but they are in tune with the high- and low-profile trucks, and we’ll make suggestions to that end as well. The kids seem to know about the low and high trucks.

“I think we sell wheels to bearings, two to one–for every two sets of wheels we sell a set of bearings. The Black Panthers sell really well, and they’re pretty damn good. They’re a comparable product to the Powell Swiss bearings for less money, they may be even better. The Black Panthers aren’t open on one side like the Powells–and they’re easy to take off and on.”

David Kelso at Board Bin in Ketchum, Idaho

“We probably sell at least four decks to one pair of trucks. There’re a few kids who ask for Titans or Grind Kings ’cause they want the colored baseplates, but a lot of them go by what we recommend or what their friends are riding. I tend to push Indys; I’ve been riding them for twenty years, as long as they’ve been around, and I’ve only gone through five pairs–and one of those I had to replace because they got stolen, not because they wore out! The most popular trucks are still Independent. After Indys it’s a toss-up. Kids like the Titan Ti-Lites because they’re light, same with the Venture Superlights. But they know Indys last forever, even if they weigh a little bit more.

“I tend to sell bearings for every set of wheels I sell.”

Brian Harper at AZP in Flagstaff, Arizona

“I probably sell six or seven decks for every pair of trucks. I’m definitely happy with the variety of trucks out right now. I’d say we’re a ‘plain-truck’ store. A lot of people are asking for the polished trucks like Krux, and a few kids are asking for the colored trucks. Indys, Thunders, Ventures, and Destructo are probably our biggies, but we’ve brought in Fury, and they’re doing really well.

“Colored truck hardware has picked up–sometimes it’s just so skaters can tell the front of the board from back. But a lot of thdy, Destructo, Venture, Orion, and Thunder. People seem to pick from what we have–we do carry some colored trucks, but no one specifically asks for color.

“With bearings to wheels sales, it’s about the same ratio again–half. Two sets of wheels sold for every set of bearings. Speed Demon bearings probably sell the best, and we just got in the Reflex.”

Duffy at World Market in Tampa, Florida

“On a ratio, probably for every eight to ten decks, we sell a set of trucks. There’re a lot of trucks out right now. For trial and error, I use the customer. If the customer asks for it, I’ll bring it in. If not, I don’t. I think it’s the job of the manufacturer to make the sale. I have my own preferences, and I have twenty guys on my team who have theirs–that’s a lot of variety. Honestly, colored trucks don’t do well here–little kids ask for ’em. Basically raw, silver trucks are what we sell.

“I sell a hell of a lot of wheels and bearings. Swiss bearings are holding up pretty good. Kids are curious about the ceramic bearings, but they’re too expensive. When I sell Swiss bearings, I’m confident that the customer will be satisfied. The other types, I might get somebody back in complaining. My highest-selling bearings in the shop are the Luckys.”

Joe Cruz at Church of Skatan in Santa Barbara, California

“We probably sell at a three-to-one ratio–decks to sets of trucks–maybe more. I’m kinda against all the new truck companies, in a way. Furys are decent, and the kids seem to like them, but some of the new ones we won’t carry–they’re just crappy. Venture, Indy, and then probably Thunder are our best sellers. We don’t get too many people asking for colored trucks here, but they are in tune with the high- and low-profile trucks, and we’ll make suggestions to that end as well. The kids seem to know about the low and high trucks.

“I think we sell wheels to bearings, two to one–for every two sets of wheels we sell a set of bearings. The Black Panthers sell really well, and they’re pretty damn good. They’re a comparable product to the Powell Swiss bearings for less money, they may be even better. The Black Panthers aren’t open on one side like the Powells–and they’re easy to take off and on.”

David Kelso at Board Bin in Ketchum, Idaho

“We probably sell at least four decks to one pair of trucks. There’re a few kids who ask for Titans or Grind Kings ’cause they want the colored baseplates, but a lot of them go by what we recommend or what their friends are riding. I tend to push Indys; I’ve been riding them for twenty years, as long as they’ve been around, and I’ve only gone through five pairs–and one of those I had to replace because they got stolen, not because they wore out! The most popular trucks are still Independent. After Indys it’s a toss-up. Kids like the Titan Ti-Lites because they’re light, same with the Venture Superlights. But they know Indys last forever, even if they weigh a little bit more.

“I tend to sell bearings for every set of wheels I sell.”

Brian Harper at AZP in Flagstaff, Arizona

“I probably sell six or seven decks for every pair of trucks. I’m definitely happy with the variety of trucks out right now. I’d say we’re a ‘plain-truck’ store. A lot of people are asking for the polished trucks like Krux, and a few kids are asking for the colored trucks. Indys, Thunders, Ventures, and Destructo are probably our biggies, but we’ve brought in Fury, and they’re doing really well.

“Colored truck hardware has picked up–sometimes it’s just so skaters can tell the front of the board from back. But a lot of the young guys are excited by anything new on the market–these kids will eat anything ‘tech’ right up!

“With bearings, we usually sell–we try to, at least–a set of bearings with every wheel, but it actually happens about two out of three times.”

f the young guys are excited by anything new on the market–these kids will eat anything ‘tech’ right up!

“With bearings, we usually sell–we try to, at least–a set of bearings with every wheel, but it actually happens about two out of three times.”