Ronin Cast Katana

Ronin – Cast Katana Review

The Cast Katana are the newest cast trucks from Ronin. Released in 2017, they bring to the table a few design upgrades while keeping the elements that made them famous and loved. According to Ronin, the cast version of the precision Katana trucks have the same precise manufacturing at a modest price and are now factory assembled to guarantee the best quality.

Features

The cast Katana’s feature the same geometry as their precision counterparts. This is one of their strongest assets as it makes incremental upgrades extremely easy. Start with a set of cast and upgrade to precision as the funds allow, no problem – all the components are interchangeable. The baseplate angle measures 42.5º and Ronin says that a 32.5º option is coming out sometime soon. A 6-hole bolt pattern means you can mount them in both old and new school decks and that sweet support pin is still there to help eliminate slop and road vibration.

The width of the hanger has been reduced to 160mm for increased versatility – downhill or freeride are now both within the realm of capability for these trucks. Axles are the usual 8mm and the hangers feature an updated 2.5mm rake.

You may recall that older Cast Ronin’s featured 8mm of rake and this was one of their most polarizing features – riders either really enjoyed them or didn’t. The new geometry should be attractive to a much larger

Each truck includes a machined-aluminum, cupped washer for the top bushing and choice of the following stock bushing durometers:

88a – Lemonade92a – Fruit Punch95a – Iced Tea

Pivot tubes are 96a Black Licorice premium urethane. Available baseplate and hanger colors are raw, gray, red and black, which can be mixed and matched to the skater’s preference.

Skate experience

Coming from traditional cast trucks like the Caliber II and Paris V2, the upgrade to the Ronin Cast Katana was significant. The support pin really does it’s job at reducing slop and the 160mm hangers are a nice balance between too narrow for freeride and too wide for downhill.

My previous setup included 150mm reverse-kingpin Paris V2s with aftermarket pivot cups and Riot plugs. Despite the upgrades on the other setup, I could still feel the performance improvement of the cast Katanas while using them on the same deck.

The tall barrel bushings make a big difference in reducing road vibration while also improving stability and sensitivity. The trucks maintain that divey feel but return to center is smooth and forgiving.

There were a handful of situations where I pushed back from a pendulum slide too aggressively, almost high-siding from some two-wheeled action. With the cast Katana’s, I managed to stay on top of the board – not sure if that would have ended so well with my old setup. I can say with certainty that the Cast Katanas feel more stable and solid when compared to Paris at speeds up to 37mph (60kmh).

What I Liked

The Ronin Cast Katanas are a significant upgrade from regular cast trucks without the cost of going full precision. The interchangeability with their precision counterparts provides an upgrade path to full-precision without having to empty your wallet all at once. 160mm hangers are a nice compromise between narrower downhill oriented hangers and wider freeride oriented hangers. When mounted, the wheels on these 160mm hangers stay tucked under the deck as well where most 180mm hangers would have the wheels hanging out just slightly.

Tall barrel bushings significantly help to reduce road vibration. When paired with the open bushing seat, the setup feels more divey without compromising stability. The support pin is very effective at eliminating slop and the extra support pin bushing helps to slightly reduce road vibrations.

What I Didn’t Like

While not as costly as a full-precision setup, these are more expensive than a typical cast truck. Still this is counteracted slightly by the interchangeability mentioned previously. The finishing details could be improved. Compared to other cast variants like the Caliber and Paris, the kingpin hole in the hanger could be a little more refined. The baseplate corners could also be slightly improved.

None of these details will affect performance, but paying that price for cast trucks and knowing the good reputation of Ronin, I expected more attention to detail.

Notes:

  • Ronin Cast Katanas have more thread on the axle. ( See photo below)
  • The axle is not fixed in the hanger. To avoid an uneven axle, alternate tightening the nut on each side of the axle. Check the Ronin FAQ video for more information.

Bottom-Line: While slightly more expensive than tradition cast trucks, the Ronin Cast Katanas are a significant upgrade. If you want more performance on a budget and an easy upgrade path, grab a set of the Ronin Cast Katanas.


Setup
DeckZenit Rocket V1
WheelsOrangatang Kegels / Remember Hoots
TrucksRonin Cast Katana
Wheelbase26″
Bushings FrontVenom HPF tall barrels 87a boardside, 85a roadside
Bushings RearVenom HPF tall barrels 90a boardside, 87a roadside
Grip-tapeVicious
BearingsZealous