“I’m going to be using my skateboard primarily for commuting. Should I get the Pantheon Trip or Ember?”
This is probably the most commonly asked question we have received since we released the Trip about a month ago. This is a very understandable question, considering that we made two very similar skateboards that are both primarily designed around commuting and traveling distance on a skateboards.
Let’s first start by saying that either one of these skateboards are fantastic for commuting. The primary difference between the two is the setup that they are designed around.
The Ember is very specifically designed around Traditional Kingpin Trucks (TKP) aka street trucks. The Ember is ideally set up with 149mm Paris Street Trucks, Independent, Bear Street, Caliber Street, or any other 149mm street trucks that you may have laying around in your garage. One of the beautiful elements of this style of setup is that you may already have 149mm street trucks laying around on some old pool deck that you aren’t riding. This is a cheap way to repurpose gear that you’re not using into something highly practical for everyday distance pushing and commuting. The other advantage of the Ember is its size. Though it is only a quarter inch shorter than the Trip, the width is 3/4″ narrower. That is fairly substantial when it comes to weight, but even more substantial when it comes to feel. It just feels smaller and easier to carry around, almost like a true mini cruiser.
The Trip is designed around RKP trucks and true LDP (long distance pushing) riding. RKP stands for Reverse KingPin, which is a somewhat classic style longboard truck. RKP trucks are more linear in how they turn, which in some ways make them feel a little less stable, because they are more nimble. That is, until you’re going fast, in which case the RKP truck’s geometry is general considered more stable at speed. That doesn’t mean you can’t fit a TKP truck on the Trip, but because we increased the drop of the Trip to 1.3 inches and TKP trucks tend to be lower than RKP trucks, you may find that the TKP truck on a Trip results in a lot more bottoming out and flexing the board to the ground. Definitely not recommended for heavier riders, but in general, I just say that if you want to run TKP trucks, use the board that they were designed for — the Ember. The main difference here in regards to setup is that TKP trucks place the axle further away from the bolt holes, increasing the actual wheelbase. The “lengthening of the lever” ends up putting more stress on the neck area of the deck, which we cut fairly thin in order to allow you to use narrower trucks on your setup. This resulted in some breaking of the 7-ply Trip in its original form. This is something we took great efforts to negate in the new design by completely redesigning the molds to help manage flex better.
One of the key things to notice in the new Trip design is this difference in flex between the old Trip and the new redesigned Trip V2 for 2018. The new Trip has more flex. This is very intentional, as we decreased concave in the body of the board to increase comfort and position the flex of the deck away from the drops so that when you run over big cracks in the road, rail road ties, etc, the body flexes and puts less stress on the thinner, more vulnerable parts of the deck. We may be describing the neck as “vulnerable” here, but we need to put that in context. We are making the most radical wood bends ever created in a production level skateboard in these boards. The bends are inherently strong, retaining concave through the entire length of the drop and neck where other drop designs have flat spots that will inherently flex. This is what allows us to make a virtually indestructible construction out of just 8 plys of maple. We do this so that you can have a high performance ride at a fraction of the cost of other high performance commuter / LDP boards. This curve is really quite revolutionary and is why so many people are looking to Pantheon for their longboard pushers. This complex curve, we have dubbed as the “crescent drop,” and both the Trip and Ember have it. The Trip is just more radical and deeper.
In summary, here are some quick notes about the Ember vs the Trip, because I know we just threw a lot of information at you!
– shallower drop, built around TKP trucks
– slightly rockered platform puts the middle of the deck 1 inch below the truck mounts
– beef around the shoulders with a shorter neck strengthens the board for the stresses that TKP trucks put on drop decks
– narrower and slightly smaller platform really ideal for commuting and taking your board with you
– ready to rock straight out of the box with our stock complete. Will feel loose and nimble but also stable when moving
– wider platform with a deeper drop makes this deck have larger pockets and makes the board feel a little more like a snowboard type of ride
– designed around RKP trucks and really shines with Paris 150mm RKP, as they are thin and nimble, great for commuting
– slightly more stable at speed and slightly more nimble at slower speeds
– really feels like an “LDP” (long distance pushing) board made for pushing over longer distances with ease.
– we tested with stock bushings on Paris 150mm RKP and have been very happy with the results, but if you want larger wheels or more wheel options than listed on the website, expect to tweak the bushings on 150s. It’s worth it though!
– the snappier nature of RKP trucks makes them a little more comfortable and controlled when sliding. This is expanded by the depth of drops and leverage points that the drops on the Trip provide. The Ember has this, too; it’s just that the Trip’s are more extreme.
There is a lot of information in this post. Please feel free to ask questions, either through email or through this post. We clearly made some pretty highly specialized longboards here. This may feel a little overwhelming, and we are trying to provide information to make it less so, but the specialization of the product means you will have way better function when it comes to commuting, long distance skating, skating for exercise, and covering ground with ease on your skateboard. Ease of use will free your mind of the struggle of balance and staying safe, and it will steer you toward that yogic experience of skateboarding that we are all striving for. THAT is the essence of these boards. The Trip and Ember make for excellent boards for beginners and are equally effective as primary push decks for advanced skaters. They are simply easy to ride, and especially effective with their recommended setups.