Longboard skateboards can travel downhill insanely fast, which makes the practice of downhill boarding look pretty scary to a lot of us. Add in the fact that the boards don’t have brakes, however, and it can seem downright suicidal. That’s why Australian boarder Benjamin Newman has developed the brake-equipped Brakeboard.
First of all, it is of course currently possible to stop a speeding longboard. Riders can press the sole of one shoe on the road, or go into what’s known as a power slide. According to Newman, however, both methods require a good deal of riding skill. With that in mind, the Brakeboard was designed with new or casual riders in mind, although Benjamin claims it could also open up new possibilities to experienced riders.
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Newman’s invention will (hopefully) be available in the form of a complete longboard, although the Brakeboard tech itself is based in the rear truck. Therefore, a set consisting of a rear truck, matched front truck, and brake pedal will also be available for purchase on its own, for use in retrofitting existing boards.
The braking mechanism within the truck consists of two independent cone clutches – one for each wheel. Each of those clutches, in turn, consists of an outer aluminum drum lined with friction material (a ring-shaped brake pad, in other words), and an inner cone made from stainless steel. When the rider steps back onto the rear-deck-mounted brake pedal, two levers push the cones into the drums, which are connected to the wheels. As the cones come into contact with the pads, friction results and the board slows down.
The amount of braking force can be modulated by how hard the pedal is pressed, although Newman claims that a urethane bushing keeps the brakes from engaging so abruptly that the rider is thrown off the deck. Additionally, the pads and cones are heat-shielded, to keep the wheels from melting.
Existing third-party skateboard wheels can be used when retrofitting, and the pads can be replaced as they wear out.
Benjamin is now raising production funds, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$259 will get you the truck set, while $399 is required for a complete board – assuming the financial goal is met.
The Brakeboard can be seen in action in the pitch video below.