Outdoors

Gila Board brings independent suspension to off-road skateboarding

Gila Board brings independent ...
The mean-lookin' Gila Board
The mean-lookin' Gila Board
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The mean-lookin' Gila Board
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The mean-lookin' Gila Board
The Gila Board sports a unique fully-adjustable independent suspension system
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The Gila Board sports a unique fully-adjustable independent suspension system
Instead of being mounted on traditional trucks, each of the Gila Board's wheels is connected to its own set of pivoting struts and a coil-over shock absorber
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Instead of being mounted on traditional trucks, each of the Gila Board's wheels is connected to its own set of pivoting struts and a coil-over shock absorber
The spring rate of each of the shocks can be adjusted to accommodate different body weights or riding styles
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The spring rate of each of the shocks can be adjusted to accommodate different body weights or riding styles
The board itself features a 5-ply maple plywood deck, mounted on a powder-coated 6061 aluminum chassis and covered with traction tape
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The board itself features a 5-ply maple plywood deck, mounted on a powder-coated 6061 aluminum chassis and covered with traction tape
A pledge of $995 will currently get you a Gila Board, when and if they're ready to roll
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A pledge of $995 will currently get you a Gila Board, when and if they're ready to roll
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We've seen a number of off-road skateboards hit the market over the past several years, although most of them have little or no suspension, and many do have electric motors – the latter is fine if you want it, but just adds weight, expense and complexity if you don't. Industrial designer Chris Terpstra's new Gila Board doesn't have a motor, but instead sports a unique fully-adjustable independent suspension system.

Instead of being mounted on traditional trucks, each of the Gila Board's wheels is connected to its own set of pivoting struts and a coil-over shock absorber. This means that every wheel can move up and down with the terrain, independent of the others.

The spring rate of each of the shocks can be adjusted to accommodate different body weights or riding styles. It's also possible to tweak all four wheels' toe in/toe out (this determines whether the board looks pigeon-toed or splay-footed when viewed from above) and their camber (how much they lean in toward the middle of the board when viewed end-on). Users can also adjust how much force is required to lean the deck to one side or the other, relative to the wheels.

A pledge of $995 will currently get you a Gila Board, when and if they're ready to roll
A pledge of $995 will currently get you a Gila Board, when and if they're ready to roll

According to Chris, adjustments of these parameters will affect factors such as straight-line stability (toe in/out), cornering grip/straight-line acceleration (camber), and overall stability (deck lean). The Gila also features four-wheel steering, giving it increased stability at high speed, and a tighter turning radius when going slower.

The board itself features a 5-ply maple plywood deck, mounted on a powder-coated 6061 aluminum chassis. Users can choose between three types of bindings, on- or off-road tires (in different colors), and composite or aluminum rims (also in different colors). A complete Gila Board, not including bindings, weighs a claimed 10.2 kg (22.5 lb).

Terpstra is now raising production funds, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$995 will get you one, when and if they're ready to roll. Planned retail pricing is expected to start at $1,250.

Sources: Gila Boards, Kickstarter

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2 comments
Martin Hone
Certainly easier to use equal length arms, but short upper, long lower control arms are the accepted norm in the auto world.
Looks like fun, but wouldn't want to get hit by one....
christopher
In the gran scheme of things, I think you'll have more fun with a powered version: http://www.gizmag.com/bajaboard-electric-mountainboard/31741/ for not-much-more-money (especially considering exchange rates today)
The idea of "4 wheel steering" at high speeds make me think *less* stable, not *more* ??
The gnarboard guys had mass problems with high speed control, and I think the bajaboard folks found a solution which was not easy - if this is home-made, I think control will be "not mature".
It's all a moot point - none of these projects ever reach funding (and even after a week and gizmag PR, he still has only 1 sale).