DB Robot Special & Atlas Trucks review

DB’s Robot Special is Spencer Smith’s pro-model deck designed to provide the most effective ergonomics for your feet and legs throwing in uniform leverage over your toeside and heelside rails. Equipped with half an inch of rocker isolated within the standing platform; pocket-forming flares on your toeside rail, mild W-concave, and flush-mounting to ensure true baseplate geometry, and composed of 9-plies of maple, the Robot Special is meant to keep you as in-tune with your board as possible while doing technical, high-speed downhill or freeride.

Testing the Robot Special and Atlas trucks simultaneously has been phenomenal. The Robot Special comes in with two wheelbase options, 27.375” and 28.875”, and flush-mounting to maintain true truck geometry. This allows the trucks to be mounted closer to the foot platform and toeside wheel-flares to provide ample leverage. In limiting the wheelbase options to only those that work most effectively in conjunction with the deck’s other features, the Robot Special immediately impressed me as a deck designed prioritizing function of the whole over individual features.

The deck also comes with large wheel wells, allowing plenty of room for 75mm wheels with loose trucks.

The wheelflares are complimented by another set of flares within the rockered standing platform. These flares, along with the mild W-concave, truly lock you into the deck. The space between the flares fits your toes and the ball of your foot very comfortably and gives plenty of confidence while railing corners, drifting, or going for fast stand-up slides.

The rocker starts behind your truck-platform, giving foot-geography and the added confidence provided by a drop deck. The isolated rocker feels good on your knees while freeriding and, while tucking, helps orient your weight onto the ball of your front foot, leaning you forward into your tuck.
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The deck comes in at 9.63” wide, and with my size 12 foot, this was wide enough to feel confident and comfortable while narrow enough to angle my feet more forward in a tuck without losing leverage. The toeside flares supplement the heightened forward-facing leverage and their absence on the heelside rail minimizes over-leverage for heels.

Atlas trucks present something new to the cast truck market and I have been wholly satisfied with the departure from the norm. Utilizing a huge ball pivot, the Atlas have more consistent contact and weight dispersion in the pivot cup—providing a more consistent, fluid turn and minimizing slop. Less slop and better weight distribution also minimize wear and tear on the pivot cup, meaning less frequent cup replacement.

The pivot cups themselves have grooves leading to a threaded hole in the bottom, designed to sweep away dirt and other particles that could damage the ball pivot or pivot cup, while allowing for easy, painless removal of the pivot cup without having to tear it apart with pliers.

The Atlas’ 10mm axle runs through the hanger and is machined down to 8mm to accommodate standard bearings. While adding a little weight, the thicker axle provides some definite increases in durability; I’ve been trying my hardest to bend them with my 200lbs (early grabs, shuvits, etc.) and haven’t been able to do it.

That machined axle makes for a built-in speedring and also gives a more exact fit for your bearings, leaving less play, which may not be immediately noticeable, but is a nice detail that is sure to fend off more than a few “it’s my gear’s fault” statements.

The Atlas keeps making steps away from the standard cast truck with its geometry, as well. With a 48* baseplate, and 3* of hanger rake, Atlas provides the added dive and response of a raked hanger while limiting over-steering and improving versatility with the slightly lower baseplate angle. I have always loved rake, but dislike the lowered leverage of a truck with an effective geometry greatly exceeding 50*.

Sitting at 51* unflipped, the Atlas hits a happy spot between the leverage of an unraked 50* truck (caliber, buck) and the dive and response of a raked hanger. (Paris, Randal, Bear).

Taking advantage of the rake, I’m running mine with my back truck flipped, adding a quarter inch riser to equal out the ride height. This setup has been feeling great tracking through corners, breaking into and hooking up from drifts, and pumping around campus.

Overall, the Atlas trucks have seemed to me a remedy to the stagnating design development of cast trucks, and I plan to be riding mine for a long time to come.

Don’t forget that Atlas come in 8 different coulor ways to be mixed and matched at your leisure.

Andrew Pletan

 Cheers to Kyle & The Gnome for their help.