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Ride like a Nickel, but save buku bucks!

Author: Dustin Posted: 2015-12-06

Man, if I only knew that tiny plastic skateboards would have made a come-back, I woulda saved some of my old sticks when I started skating in the 80s. Its really rad to see so many more people skating these days, even if they're never going to hit a skatepark in their life, TONS of people are ripping up the city, suburb and campus sidewalks. Especially here in CA's central coast, my new stomping ground, people are riding all manner of cruiser boards from the super huge long boards to micro plastic sticks.... enter the Penny. Although I prefer hitting up your local skateshop instead of a mall or sporting goods store, it can't be ignored how the Penny boards (here I mean specifically Penny brand boards) seem to be EVERYWHERE nowadays, in anything from mall clothing stores to skateshops to online. But being someone who a) wants something a little off the beaten path, and b) wants to save a buck whenver I can, I immediately started looking for alternatives to the Penny. Lets face it, its way easier to go with the big name. They're easier to find and (maybe) have earned the big name by being a quality product. I won't argue with the quality of a Penny board... but dare I say that other companies can do the same quality for less green. I searched around and ended up deciding to go with an Eightbit board. Like Penny, Eightbit makes a 22" board and a 27" (equal size to the Penny Nickel). I love how easy a 22" board sticks into a backpack, into the car, carried onto public transport, and so on... buuuuut ultimately I'm just used to traditional skateboards so the 22" was just smaller than I prefer to ride on a regular basis. For this reason I went with the 27" board and man am I glad I did!

The product
First off, this board will only set you back $39.99. Yes, you read right, $39.99. That is nearly $100 less than I've seen Penny Nickel's go for! Even when you can score a Nickel for a deal, you'll probably still pay $90 or more... For that price, you could score TWO Eightbit 27" completes and STILL have some $$ left over (and I'll even give you an idea of how to spend that extra scratch in a minute).

The board even comes with some tools. For those who already have one or more skateboards, you'll most likely already have your trusty skate tool, but it is pretty cool that Eightbit includes these tools so anyone (including a first-time board owner) can have what they need right out of the box. One hitch, however, is that they do not include a wrench for the kingpin nut. The included tools fit the hardware (the allen wrench and a T-wrench to tighten/loosen the small bolts affixing the trucks to the board), and the truck hanger bolts (to remove the wheels when you want to... and you may want to).

The size You may prefer the micro 22" board, and I can't argue with how great it is to have a ultra-portable board you can ride and take just about anywhere! But, for me the extra 5" was well appreciated when I was hauling over less-than-great sidewalks and streets. I like not having my stance so cramped and also the way the board rode a little more like a pseudo-longboard. That's not to say the 22" isn't a good cruiser, but I just personally prefer the extra 5" and still find it is pretty easy to chuck in the car, carry into stores, and so on.
Here is is next to my regular board (which, before the Eightbit, did double duty as my cruiser and regular board by just swapping between fat and regular wheels).

The ride
Ok, so these boards will never be the total sidewalk surfers that those mammoth longboards are... but who wants to carry around a 4+ foot board? Not this guy! With that said, this board really cruises nicely. I took it over some fairly chunky sidewalks, bricks patches and cracked streets and it only got caught up a couple times. And when it did get caught, it could have been avoided if I was leaning back more instead of having most of my weight up front.
And that's where wheels andbearings come into the mix.

The board comes with some nice wheels that look and perform well. And it comes with ABEC 7 bearings, but the bearings left a bit to be desired. As you may already know, ABEC shouldn't be the real standard for skateboard wheels because it is based more on non-skateboarding specifications instead of skateboard-specific performance. But I won't get into the ABEC vs. SKATE rating systems here (but google that if you're interested). So, the bearings are legit ABEC 7s, but after a couple days I removed them and swapped in some old dirty ABEC 5s that spun like a top! I couldn't believe how the Eightbit ABEC 7s barely even moved when I spun them in-hand (out of the wheel). I swapped in some NHS (parent company of Santa Cruz) ABEC 5s that were beaten down and dirty from some old wheels I had kicking around. I did a simple comparison by spinning the Eightbit wheel with the new Eightbit ABEC7s vs. the same wheels with the old ABEC5s swapped in. The ABEC 5s won... by a LOT! The Eightbit setup spun for 5 seconds when I gave it a good spin by hand. Take that compared to the NHS ABEC 5s which spun for 45 seconds!! The bottom line So, while I do recommend this board overall, I also suggest you swap out the bearings ASAP. Best case, you have some other bearings kicking around, like I did, and you'll be good to go by just swapping those in. Worst case, run down to your local skateshop and drop less than $20 for a new set of bearings (no need to get spacers, since Eightbit supplies them already). Even after that, you've only spent a grand total of $60 for a board that'll go head-to-head with a Nickel (which were going for $120 the last time I saw them at regular price in a store)! If you've got an Eightbit, a Penny or another equivalent, share your thoughts in the comments!

Eightbit 27
Eightbit 27" Plastic Board

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