A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SKATE TRUCKS
New to the skate scene and confused about trucks? You're in the right spot. We're breaking down the basics on those metal things that connect your skate deck to your wheels.
Baseplate: The rectangular part of the truck that is bolted to your deck through the mounting holes.
Hanger: The part of the truck that rotates to allow your skateboard to turn and is the point that makes contact with rails.
Axel & Axel Nut: The axel is the part of the hanger you put your wheels on and the axel nut keeps the wheel securely on the trucks.
Axel Width is the measurement of the entire width of the hanger to end of the axel. This corresponds with the width of your deck.
Kingpin: The Kingpin is the bolt that attaches the hanger to the baseplate. This is the part you adjust to loosen or tighten your trucks depending on personal preference.
Bushings: The rubbery part of your truck that fits around the kingpin. This allows your skateboard to turn and pivot smoothly. We'll explain more about this when we cover truck adjusments below.
The first thing you’ll need to know is the width of your deck. You want your trucks to lie flush with the edges of your deck and not overhang or be hidden completely by your deck. Too narrow of trucks will give you an unstable skateboard and too wide can cause interference with your foot when pushing. It can be pretty confusing when you’re trying to find trucks for your deck because your deck is measured in inches and your trucks have various measurement units depending on the brand. You can use the size charts below to make sure your deck and trucks are compatible.
The next thing you may want to be mindful of is truck height. If you're sticking to simple tricks, you probably won't notice a subtle difference in truck height. That being said, more advanced street and park skaters that focus on technical tricks may prefer a lower truck because it’s more responsive, stable and offers better grind clearance. Low trucks will require smaller wheels. A higher truck allows for a better turning radius and is compatible with larger wheels. This is more appealing for cruisers and transitional skaters who focus on riding bowls and ramps with fluidity.
TRUCK SIZE CHARTS
ADJUSTING YOUR TRUCKS
Your truck tightness will depend on what style of skating you do and your personal preference. A tighter truck will offer a tighter turning radius and can feel more stable for landing tricks. A looser truck will be easier to turn and can improve the flow of your transition skating. Turn your kingpin clockwise to tighten your trucks and counter clockwise to loosen your trucks. You’ll quickly find the sweet spot that you’re most comfortable with. If you find your trucks are not quite tight or loose enough you can look into customizing your set up with different bushings.
Bushings are the rubber rings that fit around your kingpin, they allow your trucks to turn and pivot smoothly. Like wheels, your bushings come in different durometers which refers to how hard they are. Softer bushings will offer easier turns but less stability while harder bushings will offer more stability but turns will be more challenging. There are a few different shapes of bushings that suit different skating styles. Cone shaped bushings are best for tight turns and cruising but offer less stability and barrel shaped bushings don't turn as easily but give better stability. Barrel shaped bushings can also help reduce speed wobbling so are most commonly seen on longboard trucks. Most classic skateboard trucks have a combination of cone and barrel bushings which offer the best of both worlds between turning radius and stability. Your bushings take some time to work in, so you might want to hold off before replacing them right away.