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Lean Skateboard initiates sure turns with tilting, multi-link wheels

Lean Skateboard initiates sure...
The Lean skateboard
The Lean skateboard
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The Lean Board trucks include an adjustable spring rate
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The Lean Board trucks include an adjustable spring rate
Evolution of the Lean Board
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Evolution of the Lean Board
The Lean skateboard's large 120-mm wheels provide more stable riding over cracks
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The Lean skateboard's large 120-mm wheels provide more stable riding over cracks
The Lean Board is available for pre-order on Kickstarter
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The Lean Board is available for pre-order on Kickstarter
Comparison of regular skate wheels versus the Lean wheels
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Comparison of regular skate wheels versus the Lean wheels
The four-bar multi-link system gets the wheels leaning into your turn
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The four-bar multi-link system gets the wheels leaning into your turn
The Lean hardware is designed to enhance turning and stability
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The Lean hardware is designed to enhance turning and stability
Testing the Lean Board
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Testing the Lean Board
The Lean skateboard
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The Lean skateboard
The test Lean Board has rubber wheels, but the production version will offer different wheel types
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The test Lean Board has rubber wheels, but the production version will offer different wheel types
The Lean Board Kickstarter campaign has more than a month left
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The Lean Board Kickstarter campaign has more than a month left
Testing the Lean Board
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Testing the Lean Board
A different type of truck for a different type of ride
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A different type of truck for a different type of ride
The Lean Board is not made for skating tricks
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The Lean Board is not made for skating tricks
Testing the Lean Board
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Testing the Lean Board

At first, the term "Lean skateboard" seems like it could refer to any board. After all, pretty much every skateboard relies on a leaning action for turning. Usually that turning is controlled by the rubber bushings in the trucks, but the Lean replaces the standard truck with a multi-link truck that allows the wheels to tilt into the turn, which the Lean's creator claims adds power and stability.

"I love having big wheels on a skateboard because they allow you to go faster without compromising the smoothness of the ride," explains Lean designer and Pramash LLC founder Enzo Prathamesh Shinde. "However, the problem with having big wheels on a regular skateboard is that it raises its center of gravity, producing a higher risk of tipping over while making sharp turns. This makes big wheels particularly not suitable for downhill."

To get past this inherent design problem, he developed an alternative truck. The sprung four-bar linkage trucks allow the wheels themselves to tilt when the rider leans into a turn, which is meant to create quicker, smoother turning and prevent the wobble and rollover risk introduced by the larger wheels. By making the board easier to turn, it is purportedly more responsive to the rider, providing a tighter, more fluid connection with the ground below, similar to surfing or snowboarding.

The four-bar multi-link system gets the wheels leaning into your turn
The four-bar multi-link system gets the wheels leaning into your turn

Of course, the average skateboard wheel isn't designed to tilt, so Pramash has developed a spherical design for the Lean's 120-mm wheels. The company says that each wheel has the ability to turn in three dimensions thanks to each wheel having its own individual axis that moves in a conical shape. This design lets the wheels lean and rotate smoothly at the same time.

The Lean Skateboard's design also has a low center of gravity, which enhances its handling and control. The bigger wheels, meanwhile, offer faster speeds and roll more easily over cracks. The spring in the trucks can be softened for quicker turning or hardened for a stable, high-speed ride.

Testing the Lean Board
Testing the Lean Board

After working through several prototypes, Pramash has landed on the final design and is moving toward production. It's turned to Kickstarter in an effort to cover the initial tooling and manufacturing costs. A pledge of US$215 gets a set of truck and wheel hardware, which you can mount to your own deck. The company says that the trucks are designed to fit standard boards, but some board shapes may cause mounting issues. A complete board starts at the $275 pledge level. Estimated delivery is October 2014.

The Lean Board is far from the first spin on skateboard wheel design we've seen, a fact we were reminded of by the mention of snowboard/surfboard-style feel. Many other designers have attempted to give the skateboard a more fluid feel with elements such as SurfSkate rotating trucks and Aris carving wheels.

You can watch Lean testers push the board to a claimed 35 mph (56 km/h) in the video below.

Source: Pramash

PRAMASH Longboard. Prototype test at 35MPH

7 comments
Zeftech
BMW thought this was a good idea in 2001...Street Carver http://www.gizmag.com/go/1191/picture/18728/
CreativeApex
@Zeftech - Yes, another in the long line of attempting to mimic surfing on asphalt; the underlying motivation for the very first skateboards. I'm surprised that we're still seeing solid wheels, as speeds increase there probably needs to be some amount of cushion to soak up the irregularities. I did chuckle at the 1:03 mark where you still have to jump off the board to stop. How do you do this while you're going 35mph? That being said, it must be awesome. I remember trying to imitate Thrashin's downhill scene... many road rash injuries followed.
Enzo Prathamesh Shinde
@Zeftech @CreativeApex Big wheels can go over any possible cracks on street and tiny stones. I have fallen several time due this issue of having small wheels on regular board. In that matter big wheels work and safer and decrease chances of injuries as compare to regular skateboard. "I did chuckle at the 1:03 mark where you still have to jump off the board to stop. How do you do this while you're going 35mph?" The downhill longboard riders do power slides to stop them self. And on Lean skateboard/longboard wheels are very grippy than regular so they are great attentive when you need to slow down or stop.
Enzo Prathamesh Shinde
@Zeftech just because big company like BMW failed that doesn't mean others are same. There is a big difference between both technologies. Lean Board's wheels move on a conical surface, wheels move individually. Lean skateboard's trucks design makes ONLY the WHEEL lean and turn but on the BMW the whole truck system moves (two arms). Also BMW trucks didn't have any damping system to push you back up but our design has that. BMW skateboard didn't have low center of gravity (lower ground clearance).
CreativeApex
@Enzo Good luck on your kickstarter! I was too critical on the slowing down and forgot that sneakers dragging on pavement has worked for decades and is what I would do since I never could powerslide. If there wasn't some amount of danger it wouldn't be fun.
Casey N Steve
These trucks look very interesting. But being a board builder I can see a couple of issues that need to be considered. The 1st is as the trucks turn they lift up over the height of the board. I see to combat this you have mounted the trucks at the very far end of the board. This increases the effective wheelbase and can make a fairly stiff board become flexy. Not something you want in DH board. The second is you are using boards that have cut outs for regular trucks. Meaning your foot platform could be extended quite a bit as there is no need for these cutouts with these trucks. Anyway good luck I would love to try these out someday!
BG59
I know this is an older article, but if I were 25 years younger they would have had me with the "mag" wheels and steering/suspension.