This guide is designed to help those who are new to skateboarding learn about all the different aspects of the tools of our trade. Use this as a tool to help you pick out a good pair of skateboard trucks. With this wealth of information at your disposal, Braille Skateboarding is confident that you will be able to make an informed decision before buying any piece of skateboarding equipment.
This guide will also prove useful for anyone who may have skated in the past and is now looking to re-familiarize themselves with the fine details of skateboarding equipment. Whether you’re a total beginner, or just looking to brush up on your skateboarding knowledge, we couldn’t be happier that you’ve decided to pursue this passion!
The following guide will review the information you’ll need to purchase what are arguably the most important pieces of equipment on your skateboard; the trucks. The information in this guide will focus on the different types and styles of skateboard trucks used for street, park, and transition/vert skateboarding.
If you’re looking for details on longboard trucks, or monster trucks, this is not the right place for you. Regardless of what kind of trucks you’re looking for, we recommend you read on anyway because, with this guide, we are confident that anyone will be able to pick out the perfect pair of trucks, FIRST TRY!
What do TRUCKS have to do with SKATEBOARDING?!
Though this may sound strange to someone who doesn’t know anything about skateboarding, trucks are an integral part of your skateboard setup. In skateboarding, trucks are the 2 metal components of the skateboard that are attached to the bottom of your skateboard deck. There’s one truck near the nose, the other near the tail. Affixed to the trucks are the wheels and bearings of the skateboard.
Skateboard trucks are generally comprised of two main parts. These are the baseplate and the hanger. The baseplate is attached to the skateboard deck using hardware that is screwed through the mounting holes on the board. Attached to the baseplate is the hanger. An axle runs through the hanger, which is where your wheels and bearings are placed.
The kingpin holds the baseplate and hanger together. Fitted around the kingpin underneath the nut, and underneath the hanger are bushings. Bushings provide the trucks with some cushion when turning and come in a variety of different sizes, shapes, and stiffnesses.
The kingpin nut can be loosened to help with turning or tightened for increased stability. The hanger is also attached to the baseplate by a rod-like portion of the hanger called the pivot. The pivot sits in a section of the baseplate which is supported by a pivot cup. The pivot prevents the hanger from rotating around the kingpin, and the pivot cup supports the pivot and helps with centering the hanger.
Now that you have a better idea of what skateboard trucks are, let’s briefly recap the features of trucks before moving on.
- Baseplate: The foundation of the truck, fitted with four mounting holes to be attached to the skateboard deck.
- Hanger: A T-shaped component that is attached to the baseplate and houses the axle.
- Axle: A pin that runs through the hanger which holds the skateboard wheels/bearings.
- Kingpin: A bolt that runs through the hanger and into the baseplate, held on with a nut.
- Pivot: A rod-like portion of the hanger that attaches to a fitted seat in the baseplate to prevent the hanger from rotating around the kingpin.
- Pivot Cup: A plastic cup-like component that fills the space in the baseplate where the Pivot is placed, holding the pivot in place and keeping the hanger centered.
- Bushings: Urethane rings that are fitted around the kingpin to provide cushion and support when turning.
Trucks are generally made of aluminum and feature a steel axle, though you’ll find some companies that offer trucks made from different materials such as brushed steel or even titanium.
Some companies, such as Independent and Thunder, also manufacture hollow skateboard trucks. Steel is removed from the center of the axle and kingpin to achieve a lightweight truck that still retains much, if not all of its original strength.
It’s important to keep in mind that truck sizes are determined by the length of the axle. Braille Skateboarding recommends choosing a truck size that matches the width of your skateboard deck. If the exact size is not available, give or take a quarter inch and you’ll be fine.
Choosing a truck that is similar in width to your board will offer you the most stability for street, park, transition, and vert skateboarding. For example, if your board is anywhere from 7.5″ to 8″ wide, trucks with an axle length of 7.75″ will work great! If you ride wider boards from 8″-8.5″ wide, you’ll want trucks with an axle length of at least 8″.
The average skateboarding trucks come in three different styles. These truck styles are known as highs, mids/standards, and lows. These, of course, refer to the height of the trucks. The main reason that skateboard trucks come in these three different styles is to accommodate the different sizes of skateboard wheels that are available on the market.
A larger wheel would require a “taller” truck in order to avoid wheel-bite, where the underside of the skateboard deck makes contact with the wheel, usually while turning, resulting in an unexpected and sudden stop…Ouch. Think about it! A low truck, combined with a large wheel? That’s just asking for trouble.
Smaller wheels (46-49mm) work great with low trucks, and larger wheels (53-56mm) perform well with high trucks. If your wheels are in the range of 50-53mm, some standard/mid trucks will surely do the trick!
Once again, it comes down to personal preference. Just because you have high trucks doesn’t mean you must use large wheels. In fact, many skateboarders have small wheels attached to high trucks. When you’ve had the opportunity to try a few different set-ups, you’ll begin to find what size trucks work best for your style of skateboarding.
There are so many fantastic companies out there that are manufacturing high-quality skateboard trucks. All of these companies, whether it be Independent, Thunder, Venture or whichever one it may be, will size their trucks differently.
The different models of trucks provided by these companies will be named and measured differently from one another, meaning an Independent “high” truck may not be the same height as a Thunder “high” truck. Axle length is categorized differently between companies as well.
For example, the Independent “129” truck and the Thunder “145” truck both have an axle length of 7.6″. As another similar example, The Independent “139” truck and the Thunder “147” truck both have an axle length of 8.0″. Gets kind of confusing right?
We recommend familiarizing yourself with the different terms used by these Skateboard Truck manufacturers, which can all be found online on their respective company websites. The other recommendations we can make when choosing the right skateboard truck can be broken down into the three styles of trucks.
- High Trucks: Recommended when skating transition/vert with larger wheels. If you prefer loose trucks, you may find High Trucks to be the less likely to give you wheel-bite. Great for turning.
- Mid/ Standard Trucks: Recommended when skating parks, mixing street with transition. Works well with almost all styles of skateboarding. Provides good turning and decent response/pop.
- Low Trucks: Recommended when skating mainly on flat ground and technical obstacles (manual pads, ledges). Great for quick response/pop.
At the end of the day, like most parts of skateboarding, it all comes down to personal preference. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Try new trucks, in new styles, from different companies. Your preferences may change over time! Enjoy the process, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!
We want to see what kind of trucks you are riding! Post a picture of your board setup and tag @brailleskate, #brailleskate, and #brailleskateboarding on Instagram. We look forward to seeing these posts, Braille Army!
On our online shop, we have everything you need to learn how to skate. We offer decks, apparel, trucks, complete boards, safety gear and so much more. Check it out now!
Did we miss anything? Did this guide help you decide on a pair of trucks? Let us know in the comments below!