Understanding Skateboard Trucks

Understanding Skateboard Trucks

Everybody knows what skateboard trucks are, but how do they work? Here is a little guide for better understanding skateboard trucks.

So, you have a skateboard and know what your trucks are and you understand what they do. But do you really understand how they work? The trucks on a skateboard are such a critically important of the way that your board rides and overall, the way that it works. Choosing the right skate trucks and understanding the difference in various features like size, height and bushing style can not only help your skateboard work better but ultimately help you be a better skater. In this article we will go over some key parts of a skate truck, explain how they work and ultimately help you make a better decision the next time you are in the market for a new set of trucks.

Skate Truck Size to Skate Deck Size Guide by Brand

Brand Size Actual Axle Length Recommended Deck Size
Mini Logo 7.13 7.13″ 7.0″ – 7.5″
7.63 7.63″ 7.5″ – 7.88″
8.0 8.0″ 7.88″ – 8.25″
8.38 8.38″ 8.25″ – 8.75″
8.75 8.75″ 8.5″ and over
Tensor 5 7.625″ 7.4″ – 7.75″
5.25 7.875″ 7.75″ – 8.0″
5.5 8.125″ 8.0″ – 8.25″
5.75 8.375″ 8.25″-8.5″
6.0 8.625″ 8.5″ and over
Independent 129 7.75″ 7.4″ – 7.75″
139 8″ 7.75″ – 8.25″
149 8.5″ 8.25″ – 8.75″
159 8.75″ 8.75″ – 9.25″
169 8.9″ 8.75″ – 9.75″
Thunder 143 7.125″ 7.6″ and under
145 7.75″ 7.4″ – 7.9″
147 8″ 7.9″ – 8.2″
149 8.5″ 8.2″ – 8.4″
151 8.75″ 8.4″ and over
Royal 5 7.75″ 7.4″ – 7.75″
5.25 8.25″ 7.75″ – 8.25″
5.5 8.5″ 8.25″ – 8.75″
Venture 5 7.75″ 7.4″ – 7.75″
5.25 8″ 7.9″ – 8.25″
5.8 8.5″ 8.25″ – 8.75″
Krux 4 8.25″ 7.75″ – 8.25″

Width

Understanding Skateboard Trucks HeightThere are two parts of the truck that can be measured – the length of the hanger and the length of the axle. The hanger is the inner part of the truck, this surface area is your grind area, that part of the truck that makes contact with whatever you are grinding on. The full length of the axle is the measurement from bolt to bolt. Generally speaking, you want your board to line up (or come very close to) the ends of the axle. Each truck company seems to use their own number system when referring to the size of the truck, which can make the process slightly confusing but once you familiarize yourself with a couple of the sizing charts, it will be easy to understand.

Height

Understanding Skateboard Trucks WidthYou will notice some trucks referred to as “high” or “low”, this refers to how much room is in between the baseplate and the hanger on the truck. This will change how high off the ground your board is and can also be a factor when choosing wheel size. Personal preference can also play a role in this choice but the basic guidelines are as follows –

  • Low Trucks – Lowering your center of gravity by being closer to the ground, low trucks are ideal for technical street skating, flip tricks and smaller wheels.
  • Mid (or regular) Trucks – Good for mid sized wheels (53mm-56mm) and all around street or skatepark skating.
  • High Trucks – Work best with larger wheels (56mm and up) by offering a little more clearance in between your trucks and the skate deck, with hopes of avoiding the dreaded curse of wheelbite. Wheelbite is what happens when your wheels touch your board, it’s like slamming on the breaks. You go flying one direction and your board goes the other. Higher trucks work great if you are setting up a ‘cruiser’ style board with slightly larger wheels, or for the skater looking to fit a larger, hard wheel for vert and bowl skating.

Material

The construction and material of the truck will effect how it rides, flips and grinds. Most standard trucks are made from a combination of aluminum hangar and baseplate with steel axles. However, some brands offer composites and other material types. You’ll also find solid vs. hollow versions of some materials. The hollow being much lighter than its solid counterpart. Here is an list of some common materials you’ll find in skateboard trucks:

  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Magnesium

Kingpin

Understanding Skateboard Trucks KingpinThe Kingpin is kind of the backbone of your skate trucks. The kingpin is the large bolt that runs thru the truck, holding the top hanger to the baseplate. Every once in a great while, these can break – but don’t worry you can buy a replacement and fix it easily. The kingpin also controls how much pressure is being put on the bushings. To tighten the trucks, you turn the kingpin bolt to the right, to loosen, turn to the left.

Bushings

Understanding Skateboard Trucks BushingsThe bushings are the rounded, cushiony pieces of urethane or silicone that sit in between the baseplate and the hanger of the trucks. All trucks come with bushings but you can also purchase bushings separately to customize the feel of your ride. Some basic info –

  • Soft Bushings (below 92a) – High turn ability but not great control at higher speeds. Good for cruising or lighter weight riders that have a harder time turning on traditional bushings.
  • Medium Bushings (92a-97a) – Best for all around skating conditions. Not too hard, not too soft, decently responsive yet forgiving when they need to be.
  • Hard Bushings (98a+) – The most responsive option. For technical street skating or generally hauling ass, a hard bushing will help your board keep control and will offer a snappy responsiveness for flip tricks and quick maneuvering.

Pivot Cup

Understanding Skateboard Trucks Pivot CupsThe Pivot Cup is a small but important part of the skateboard truck. When this part wears down, the trucks can become extremely unstable so make sure to keep an eye on this part. You can find the pivot cup at the base of the truck, it’s the rounded part that fits into the baseplate. You will see a small plastic piece that keeps the truck steady, this is the pivot cup. These are sold in sets in case you do need a fresh pair, most skate trucks have a universal size. If you are working with longboard trucks, the sizing may be different so contact us to find the best fit.

This about wraps up our skate truck breakdown. Hopefully this information will help you the next time you you set out to upgrade or do maintenance on your trucks. When you really understand how things work you can make them work better for you.

Now get out there and go skate!

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