Choosing the right skateboard truck can be tricky. It’s typically not as simple as it appears at first glance, because there are a lot of factors to consider before committing to any type of truck. They are an essential piece of skateboarding equipment, which also includes things like wheels, boards, and even clothing, which is why you should definitely give a good thought on which truck you should go for.
Skateboard trucks are tiny pieces of metal that hold the wheels and bearings securely attached to the deck. Because of that, they are incredibly important when it comes to your skateboard’s overall performance, as they are the basis for customising it. There have a few features that you should be aware of. These are the axle, which is a pin that runs through the hander and attaches to the wheels; the kingpin, which holds the truck’s parts together; and the bushings, which allow the board to turn smoothly. That means the skate truck keeps the skateboard in one piece and functioning. Investing in quality trucks will only improve your experience riding the skateboard.
The main way to measure the size of a skateboard truck is by axle width or hanger width. It’d be ideal if the truck is equally sized as the board, but it’s acceptable if the size is off by a few millimetres. Otherwise, you run the risk of decreasing your board’s performance, such as making it unstable if the truck is too narrow. The most tricky part is finding brands that all use the same measurements, as some measure the truck’s width between axle nuts, while others measure only the width of the hanger. The good news is that most types of boards can easily fit differently-sized trucks. However, that means you’re entering customisation territory, as wider trucks will offer more stability, while narrower ones will offer quicker turning, and it will be up to you to figure out exactly what you want.
Something that’s interesting about trucks is that the standards have changed and adapted throughout the years, which is understandable. However, that means if you examine an older deck from a decade or two ago, today’s baseplates might be too short for the mounting holes on the deck. That’s due to a change in standards throughout the years, because today’s skate trucks have a typical size of 42mm by 55mm, whereas they used to be 42mm by 65mm. The difference is that previously, the decks had easier access for nuts and bolts, but the baseplate would get hung when performing nose and tail slides. To avoid something that could potentially harm riders, manufacturers shortened the baseplate. This resulted in today’s standards, which are a marked improvement from the standards from before.
Bushings are small cylinders whose basic purpose is to allow the skate truck to turn. They translate the pressure you put in with your feet into the trucks, which in turn allows you to perform cool manoeuvres. Trucks come with installed bushings from the get-go, but there may come a time when you’ll have to replace them. Bushings come in a variety of hardness, which is the main factor that influences the stability and response of the trucks. Bushings with more hardness will feel more stable and secure, but they will be stiff. Softer bushings will respond to your foot pressure and turn quicker and easier. Most stock bushings tend to be on the softer side, so if the trucks don’t feel as secure, then you might want to get harder ones.
Even though they don’t come as part of the kit, the trucks need several bolts in order for them to be fixed to the deck. The main thing you should know is that using any type of bolt is generally a bad idea because the ones you can get that are specific for skateboards are a bit different than regular ones. The good news is that skateboard bolt sizes don’t vary that much and are typically up to one inch or 2.54mm. Socket bolts have gained popularity in recent years, so odds are that you’ll be using that type of bolt.
In general, skateboard trucks are made out of aluminium. However, they can also be made out of steel, brass, or another alloy. With a few exceptions that are nylon, and almost all trucks are made either in the United States or China. There is one significant exception to the material used in manufacturing trucks because some manufacturers tend to offer more expensive versions of their trucks that are made out of titanium. There are also some more expensive trucks that might not use a different material but are hollow, in order to reduce the overall weight.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re out to buy skate trucks, but the main takeaway should be to not always go for the cheapest option. That’s because trucks are very important for the overall build, stability, and performance of the skateboard. Trucks are often omitted from the conversation when skateboards are mentioned, which should absolutely not be the case because they are incredibly vital.