What’s Up With Ace Trucks? - primary image

What’s Up With Ace Trucks?

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We do our best to explain

Ace Trucks recently unveiled their hotly-anticipated AF-1 model, to great hype and acclaim within certain skateboarding bubbles. But what's really up with the AF-1? Why is it so new and groundbreaking? And what's up with Ace in general? Why are people suddenly ditching their tried-and-true Indys for this peripheral brand which, until very recently, was scarcely stocked in Aussie shops and seldom a talking point amongst skateboarders in this country or any other?

There's no doubt about it; the truck landscape is shifting dramatically right now, and the Big Two are no longer such obvious choices when it's time for a new setup. With that in mind, we delved into Ace trucks, took the new AF-1 model for a test drive, and dug a little deeper into what exactly the brand is about – and why people are suddenly clamoring for a piece of it.  

The Background

While their trucks are undergoing a Covid-era surge in popularity, Ace is not a new brand by any stretch. Joey Tershay – the skateboarder, former Indy employee, and brother of Nicky Diamonds – founded the brand back in 2006. Joey and his business partner, Steve Ruge, used the Independent Stage 3 truck as their template, prioritizing simplicity and maneuverability over all else. For this reason, Ace was immediately popular with those who preferred earlier Indy models, especially pool skaters. You'll notice the Indy-style round hanger does not taper, instead staying straight from wheel-to-wheel, much like the earliest Indys (and their current 215 iteration). This gives Ace their striking look – but there's more to it than that, right?

The Drawcard

We touched on it earlier, but the big drawcard for Ace is, and always has been, their maneuverability. That means turning, and that means bushings and pivot cups are an essential element to the Ace truck. Compared to Independent, Ace's pivot sits tapered at more of an angle toward the hanger, which, according to Ace aficionados, allows for better weight distribution and a sharper response to turning movements. This design has made Ace popular amongst those who prefer loose trucks; Loose Trucks Save Lives is the Ace motto, after all. 

Ace bushings are also a big factor in how the brand sets itself apart. While stock Independent Stage XI bushings come in a standard 90A hardness, Ace opts for an offset mix of 86A (bottom) and 91A (top) bushings. The bushing sits low, along with the kingpin, and this collaboration between softer & harder bushings contributes to Ace's renowned ability for pinpoint-precision turning. It's no accident; Ace has settled on this mix after 15 years of work, and a common compliment when jumping on Ace trucks for the first time is just how nice the bushings feel, without the need for any adjustments or tweaks. You want your turns to feel natural and precise, and to a lot of people, Ace is leading the charge on this front.

The Details

So, how else are Ace trucks different? Sitting at 53mm in height, Ace are noticeably lower than standard Independent Stage XI trucks, which sit at 55mm. The new Indy Mid sits at 53.5mm, the same height as Venture Hi trucks, while Thunder usually fall between 50mm (147 down) and 52mm (148 up). Venture's original Lo truck, for comparison, comes in at 48mm. This puts Ace somewhere in the mid-range, and with the current cultural shift toward lower trucks, has made them a popular choice for skaters of all kinds. 

When it comes to construction, standard Ace trucks are constructed from pure 7071 series aluminium, with heat-treated 3056 series steel axles, keeping true to their Independent Stage 3 spiritual predecessor. The AF-1, on the other hand, employs 4140 series steel axles – the same type used on Independent Stage XI – along with high-quality AA 356.2 alloy and heat-treated T6 hangers & baseplates. Put simply, the AF-1 is a stronger truck. Keeping up?

The Sizing

Ah, truck sizing. This is always fun. Like every other company, Ace uses its own sizing terminology, furthering universal confusion for no particularly good reason. To make matters worse, they've also resized the AF-1 hanger while keeping the same numbers and size recommendations as the standard. Rather than confuse you with words, we've included this table to (hopefully) make things slightly easier to decipher. For a starting point, if you skate an 8.25" board, you'd probably grab some Ace 44s. 

Standard Sizing

ACE MODEL AXLE WIDTH SUGGESTED DECK SIZE
22 7.6" 7.0" - 7.75"
33 8.00" 7.75" - 8.125"
44 8.35" 8.125" - 8.5"
55 9.0" 8.5" - 9.12"
66 9.35" 9.12" - 9.62"

AF-1 Sizing

ACE MODEL AXLE WIDTH SUGGESTED DECK SIZE
22 7.75" 7.0" - 7.75"
33 8.00" 7.75" - 8.125"
44 8.25" 8.125" - 8.5"
55 8.5" 8.5" - 9.12"
66 9.0" 9.12" - 9.62"
77 9.5" 9.62" +

The Verdict: Af-1

So then, are the AF-1 trucks worth the extra cash? Ace are claiming it's the strongest cast truck ever made, thanks to that new proprietary casting process we inferred earlier. Long story short, the aluminium molecules are denser in this new casting method, which makes the AF-1 around 70% stronger than the classic Ace truck – a more than notable improvement. It's not just the hanger that's stronger, but the axle too: these things should hypothetically last longer, in terms of general use, than anything else on the market.

Another heavily hyped inclusion with the AF-1 truck is the re-threading axle nut. 

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