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TOP MOUNT VS DROP DECK – THE CRESCENT DROP FROM PANTHEON LONGBOARDS

If you’ve been paying much attention to Pantheon on the various social networks and/or message boards, you might have noticed that we are soon-to-be releasing a couple new decks. We have a date for our double drop deck, the Nexus, set for the 15th of March, and we have not released a date for our micro-drop doublekicker, the Logos, but rest assured, it will be following shortly behind.

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We are beyond stoked to release both of these boards, and we’ve been equally stoked to be able to test them over recent months after spending countless hours making tiny tweaks to get the design just right.

One thing you will notice about these decks that they have in common is that they both have drops. Our first release, the Embryo, is a full-on top mount, and these two decks round out what I feel makes up a solid basic “longboard quiver.” Basically that quiver involves:

  1. A Pure Downhill Deck – the Embryo. Designed to go fast, with wheelbase options to match your desired speed/control necessities. Lots of concave gives it lots of downhill control and locks in nicely for sideways action.
  2. A Fun Freeride Board With Kicktails – The Logos. Designed to handle speed, with 1/8-inch microdrops that are ergonomically designed to lock you in and direct your feet in happy downhill and sliding positions. The drops are big enough to feel and use, but small enough to completely ignore. It sports kicktails that make it fun on the streets and even in the driveway. Yep, sometimes we get restricted to the driveway…helloooooo winter (and goodbye, PLEASE).
  3. A Commuter Board – The Nexus. It is low and easy to get around on. The deep, aggressive 1-inch drops lock you into downhill and sliding positions, and the low platform makes this deck inherently stable, easy to push, and easy to slide. Easy to everything is basically how I describe riding this board.

For me…well, that’s about all I need outside of something to ride transition on. Not to say we’re going to stop altogether with design, but given our limited funds to get things up and going, this was the most basic and obvious starter quiver to develop. Three molds and three decks that cover a wide range of riding styles.

While these boards are significantly different from one another, one thing you will notice about the Nexus and the Logos is that they both are dropped, and beyond that, the shape of the drops are similar. So first let’s tackle the whole dropped platform concept.

Dropping the center of the platform effectively lowers the center of gravity. As the platform gets lower, this supposedly makes a board more stable, though I’m not really sold on this. I’m a firm believer that stability comes from the rider 9 times out of 10, and if you feel more comfortable on a dropped platform, you’ll probably be more stable on it; likewise, if you feel more comfortable on a top mount, you’ll be more stable on that…but scientifically speaking, I’m not going to argue against the inherent stability concept of a lower platform. Based on experience though, as far as stability goes, you should ride what you feel good on. Dropped platforms also make deck less resistant to sliding, easier to push, and increase the amount of surface area that makes up the drop that you have to “lock into” and push on when you’re managing the board and pushing it sideways.

While recent history has pushed the popularity contest more toward topmounts for aggressive riding, this does not mean that the dropped platform doesn’t have its place in a quiver, nor does it mean that you can’t ride aggressively on a dropped platform deck. Instead, what you will find is that you can ride more aggressively with less effort, which thereby makes the effort going into the riding generally less aggressive, but not the riding itself. So then what you have in the whole top mount vs drop deck debate is a question of attitude more than anything else. Are you chillin or are you illin?

For me, I like to do a bit of both, and everything in between. I enjoy the additional control and grip of a top mount, feeling like I can rail a turn, recover from a botched slide with more accuracy, and really feel the lean when you’re pushing the Gs sideways. But then I also enjoy the gentle release and hookup of the double drop, the ease of pushing all day (hell, maybe even pushing back up a hill!), the longer slides with less speed lost, and the big drops to hook into for when you’re sliding over the nastiest pavement. Having ridden both style boards and learned to love the nuances that each style brings to your ride, my quiver includes both boards, and there are many times which I cannot actually decide which one I would rather ride. So when I go to a hill, I usually try to bring both! And when I’m just going on a cruise, I usually take the lowrider.

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So moving beyond why someone would want a dropped platform, let’s move forward with the shape of our drops. Both the Logos and the Nexus have what we are calling a Crescent-drop, for lack of a better marketing term. We’re calling it that because, duh, it describes the shape of the drop. The important thing is not what you call it. What’s important is that the drop is, at least in our opinion, the most functional drop shape out there.

We’d be super stoked to say we innovated this drop, but as many of us know, skateboard design generally works in derivative steps, and this drop is definitely a derivative off of one of the most innovated wood-bending feats we’ve ever seen. As far as we know, the crescent drop shape was first created by Martin Siegrist in the Airflow Fuse/Bracket mold. The shape was very angular, almost as if they were folding paper. I personally am not a huge fan of angular concaves, but I’ll leave that to personal preference; however, the shape itself, I thought, was incredible. So what I wanted to do with that shape of a drop is to figure out how to make it with curves, and how to adapt the drop shape to accommodate those curves. So, first I figured out how to do it with a tub concave, and then I figured out how to do it with a more radial shape on our Pantheon decks, and voila! The Logos and the Nexus are a product of that. It’s not 3D concave…it’s not bacon. It’s just the drop shape that I think makes the most sense functionally, feels the most comfortable, and which provides the most strength and stiffness through the length of the board.

Ergonomically, our crescent drop creates a nice bowed shape that creates a pocket for your toe to slide into, so that it is held on three sides, and the drop angles back almost like a shelf to hold the side of the foot. This not only feels great, but it comes in handy when you’re doing toeside drifts and slides. Ergonomically, it functions much in the same way that a bubble-drop functions, but at the end of the drop, instead of having a W-shaped platform to deal with, the shape works its way back into concave. Functionally, this is not only exceptionally strong, but it also provides more wheel clearance. While you may not notice this in the Nexus due to the cutouts, this is very apparent in the Logos, because we are able to get plenty of wheel clearance without adding 3-D wheel flares, and when you stand on the deck, the concave combined with the drops feel very non-intrusive and surfy.

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