You can't have a skateboard without trucks. So what is the best skateboard truck? Or how do you choose between a few brands?
The answer to these and many other questions is simple and clear: research. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. To get the best truck compatible with your board and riding style, you need to understand the ins and outs of your board. So, we made this complete guide to help you choose the best skateboard truck.
Skateboard Trucks for First Timers
It's never too late to start skating, and the type of truck you choose will affect the type of skating you plan to do. This impacts the type of deck you will buy and the truck and wheel combination suitable for your riding style.
Before we get into the details of choosing the right truck for your deck, here are some simple tips to help you pick the best one.
- Make sure you know your board's width. You don't want your trucks protruding from the board, so keep them as flush to the deck as possible, as this can affect how well the board rides.
- Double-check the size. Use a size chart to ensure you get the right one for your board. Most businesses have these, and they are easily accessible online.
- Check the brand and read reviews about the model you plan to buy. You'll find brands like Venture, Thunder, and Freedare, as well as generic brands.
When picking the best truck for your skateboard, think about how you like to skate. Are you a cruiser, a vert skater, or just an ordinary street skater? What kind of terrain do you skate on?
Finally, test a skateboard to see if it feels comfortable and natural before a competition or a long ride. It's an excellent way to know if you need to make any adjustments or modifications before riding on the streets.
What is a skateboard truck?
Skateboard trucks are t-shaped metal assemblies that serve as the axle on your board. They are attached to the underside of the board and contain wheels and bearings. They are an essential part of every skateboard and make a big difference in how you ride.
Like any other skateboard part, the trucks are adjustable and fine-tuned to give you a better experience. You can adjust them according to your level and requirements.
Skateboard Trucks: A little bit of history
It's hard to pin down the history of skateboarding, but according to Slick Willie, skateboarding was invented by surfers in California sometime in the 1950s while the waves were low. The first skateboard was just a board with a roller skate wheel attached to the bottom so it could roll. The problem with this setup was that it had a limited turning radius, lacked stability and control, and had low speed.
In 1973, Ronald Bennet of Bennet Trucks reinvented the skateboard truck. With this new type of truck, the kingpin can tighten or loosen the tension on the bushings. But the best benefit is that they made skateboards run smoother, more stable, and faster.
After that, skateboarding became an in-demand, inexpensive sport, leisure, and travel equipment. So, in 1972, Fausto Vitello, Jay Shuirman, Kevin Thatcher, and Rick Blackhart marketed a skateboard that turned well when used on the street.
Skateboarding has an exciting history. It started as a recreational sport for surfers but soon spread to other athletes who wanted to try something new and fun. Skateboarding has come a long way since the beginning. Today, many types of skateboards are suitable for beginners and professional skaters.
Parts of a Skateboard Truck
A skateboard truck has few parts and is easy to identify and remember.
- Baseplate: Attaches to the deck and contains the kingpin and the pivot cup.
- Hanger: The T-shaped part that houses the axle and the pivot.
- Axle: It goes through the hanger and extends on both ends to support the wheels and bearings.
- Pivot: This hanger section extends into the baseplate's pivot cup and serves as the turning axis.
- Pivot Cup: Supports and cushions the pivot in the baseplate and is replaceable if worn out.
- Kingpin: This is installed on the baseplate and stretches through the bushings and hanger to hold everything in place.
- Bushings: Swappable urethane cushions that mount on both sides of the hanger's kingpin to provide stability.
- Kingpin Nut: Holds the trucks together and compresses the bushings for easy adjustment.
- Mounting Holes: Each skateboard has eight industry standard mounting holes - four by the kicktail and four at the front- where the trucks are mounted.
Learning the various parts of a skateboard's truck will help you understand how the skateboard functions and how the different design options work. Most importantly, it will teach you how to care for your board and make repairs or replacements whenever needed.
What Are the Different Skateboard Truck Types?
There are only two types of trucks for skateboards, and both are found on most skateboards, regardless of the brand.
Standard Kingpin: This is the most versatile type of skate truck because it is easy to maintain and can be adjusted to fit the rider's preference. This truck is excellent for skateparks, bowls, and the streets.
Reverse Kingpin: This truck is ideal for longboards. They are taller and broader than standard trucks. They're highly customizable and suitable for carving, cruising, and fast downhill skating.
Choosing the right truck size
When choosing the correct width for your skateboard deck, you can install a truck with the same width or use mismatched ones. A difference of 1/4 inch is highly recommended. Anything else might affect the performance and stability of your board.
Here's a more in-depth look at the best truck size for different skateboard widths:
Choosing the right truck height
The standard height for skateboard trucks is high, but you can get low or high-clearance trucks, depending on your preference.
High trucks are quick and responsive, can fit bigger wheels, and are less likely to get wheel bite, which can be dangerous. As such, high trucks are best for beginner and intermediate skaters.
Technical skaters prefer low trucks. They are quick and responsive, with a stable center of gravity, and are ideal for tricks, spins, slalom, freestyle riding, and aggressive skating.
As the name suggests, these hollow kingpins and axles result in a reduction in their weight. They are typically found in your trucks and significantly contribute to how stable and easy to control your skateboard is. They are typically found in your trucks and significantly contribute to how durable and easy to control your skateboard is.
Each truck has two bushings, one facing the road and the other facing the board. The skate bushings have the same material as the wheels. Additionally, because they are both made of polyurethane, the toughness of the bushings can be determined by their durometer values, with higher values indicating a stiffer bushing.
Deciding on the hardness of a bushing will depend on your weight and the skating you do. If you choose a rigid bushing, your skate will be less responsive and slower on turns. Soft bushings, however, are more agile, responsive, and fast at turns.
The best truck for your skateboard depends mainly on your skating requirements and preferences. You can find the best balance between speed, control, stability, maneuverability, and agility with the right truck.
Contrary to popular belief, trucks don't come in "one size fits all" designs. As you get better at skateboarding, you should try different sizes, styles, and weights.
Remember that your skateboard trucks are essential, so don't be afraid to start with a cheap model and upgrade to a more expensive one once you're ready. Since you'll be riding these trucks for a while, it might be worth the investment.