Skateboard trucks are the metal T-shaped pieces that mount onto the underside of the skateboard and keep your skateboard wheels and bearings securely attached to the deck. They are a key component to the skateboard and can affect the way you ride. Trucks can be adjusted for turns or tricks. You can choose softer bushings for easy turning or hard bushings for stiff turning. How loose or tight you keep your trucks depends on your personal preferences. Skateboard trucks typically consist of a base plate, axle, hanger, kingpin and kingpin nut, bushings and washers.
In order to understand your trucks and how they behave, you might want to learn about its components. Skateboard truck technology has made quite some progress since skateboarding was invented. All the different parts play an important role to make your truck perform and behave as a solid trustworthy truck should. Let’s start with a quick overview of the components of a skateboard truck:
The base plate is the rectangular metal part of the skateboard's trucks that gets bolted onto the bottom of the skateboard deck. The base plate is usually held onto the deck using skateboard hardware (nuts and bolts, usually specific sizes and lengths). The kingpin and the pivot cup can be found in the base plate. Sometimes, the base plate will have a riser or shock pad sandwiched in between itself and the deck. The reason for shock pads is to keep the deck from developing stress cracks.
2.Axle & Axle nuts
The axle is a long pin that passes through a hanger and is attached to wheels. It is a continuous bar made of titanium or steel. Nowadays there is a hollow axle on the market to reduce the weight of trucks. The two ends of the axle shall be aligned with (or close to) the two sides of the skateboard. If a truck that is too wide is mounted on your board, it will touch your feet when you flip the board. If a truck is too narrow, you can't see the wheels as you glide. One of the principles for choosing the width of trucks is that after the trucks are installed, the sides of the board are raised so that they can be placed vertically on the ground. The wheels and bearings are mounted on the visible parts of the axle. Axle nuts are the nuts on the axle with which the wheels are mounted. If you’ve lost your axle nuts, you have to find replacement axle nuts.
The hanger is the triangular metal piece that is the largest part of the skateboard truck and supports the axle, which runs straight through it. Next to the base plate, the hanger is the main component of your trucks. The bottom part of the hanger is called the pivot and sits in the pivot cup of the base plate. On the other side, the hanger is connected to the base plate with the kingpin and bushings. The hanger is the area of the trucks on which you grind.
The kingpin is a screw that connects the hanger to the base plate. The kingpin is a large bolt in a bushing that holds the skater parts together. Typically, the kingpin nut is screwed into the upper end of the kingpin and is interchangeable. Recently, hollow kingpins (and axles) have been on the rise because they are lighter but do not affect strength or durability. Just remember that even solid kingpins can break, mostly because it controls the amount of overall pressure placed upon bushings. When deciding between a solid or hollow kingpin, assess whether you need a lighter option or one that will hold up longer under tighter pressure settings and with more impact-heavy tricks. The flexibility of the trucks can be controlled by adjusting the tightness of the kingpin.
The bush is a ring mounted around the kingpin to enable the board to turn and pivot smoothly. They are made of polyurethane and are placed on the kingpin between the base plate and hanger. Each truck has two bushings: a large one and a small one. They are available in varying degrees of hardness and can easily be replaced with the help of a skate tool. Bushings will break with use, and then the truck can't be tightened. Many manufacturers offer replacement bushings with different hardness options. The bottom bushing is more like a cylinder compared to the top one that is more like a cone.
Washers are metal discs that are placed above and below the bushings in order to bring the board back to the starting position after turning. They also ensure that the forces acting on the board are evenly distributed. They make sure that you don’t oversteer. They provide extra stiffness to your bushings and help to snap your bushings back into place (rebound). Some bushings are equipped with a reinforced hard plastic layer and don’t require washers.
Speed rings are tiny rings attached to your truck's axle. Your wheels are placed in between them and they protect your bearings from wear and tear and help your wheels spin faster. They prevent the bearings from rubbing against the other components. Even though it seems insignificant, you really should make sure to attach them. They’re cheap and will help to keep your bearings in good condition as they reduce the friction on your nuts and hanger while moving. Speed rings are small washers, the same size as the core of your bearings.
A pivot cup is a plastic cup-shaped piece that rests inside the base plate and supports the truck's hanger at the pivot point, allowing it to turn smoothly in either left or right directions. They usually consist of hard polyurethane. Even though it’s just a tiny cup of plastic they have a huge impact on performance. After much abuse, a pivot cup may begin to wear down in spots causing the truck hanger to pivot unevenly. If this happens, a replacement pivot cup is a good investment.
Gullwing Sidewinder Trucks/ Double Trucks
The Sidewinders feature a double kingpin setup which allows you to turn twice as sharp and fast as standard trucks and also giving back double the rebound you put into your carves and pumps. What this means is you can generate momentum through turning/pumping and will be able to carve the tightest lines known to any skateboarder. Enhance your speed using your own turning momentum. Riding on concrete will feel just as sleek as snowboarding or surfing. Please be aware that these trucks must be set up on an appropriately shaped deck with proper clearance in order to function properly and avoid wheel bite. If you are looking for some exaggerated and easy turning, the Gullwing Sidewinder trucks are definitely the trucks for you. It is fun and easy to maneuver through tight spaces. Double trucks are usually used in off-road skateboards. Therefore, if you are a complete beginner, these trucks may not be the best one for you.
How to select the right trucks?
In addition to deck selection, choosing the right trucks is also a significant decision a rider has to make. It’s not an easy choice to make among all the different sizes, brands and descriptions of trucks, especially for beginners. No worries! Here you can learn what factors you should consider when you’re looking for the right trucks.
The determining point when buying the truck is the width. To determine the width of a skateboard truck, you measure the width of the axle (outer width) and the width of the hanger (inner width). The width of the truck should roughly match the width of the board at the wheelbase. If the truck is far too wide for the board, it will cause a problem. Truck with sizes is a bit confusing because it depends on which brand. Different brands also use different designations for widths. They will use different units and they might even measure something that is different. Sometimes your truck width may not be the exact same width as your board, but you can have 0.125 inches of variation which is 1/8 of an inch. Most people prefer to have trucks that are a bit thinner than their boards because if the trucks are a lot wider than the board, they will carry the wheels and the wheels have a lot of weight. During the flip, the wheels will make you feel like your setup is really heavy.
When choosing your trucks you will come across three different heights, that being low, mid and high skateboard trucks. Truck height is measured from the base plate to the middle of the axle. This measurement equals the distance between the truck and your deck and tells you how high above the ground your board will be. The choice depends on your personal preferences, but the general rule is that the closer you are to the ground, the more stability you have. Someone says that with low-trucks you are closer to the ground, which makes it easier for you to flip the board. On the other hand, high trucks offer more space between the board and the ground and you might be able to generate more pop. Also, high trucks turn more cause they have a greater turning angle as well as more wheel bite clearance.
By the way, what one brand will call a low truck is not necessarily the same height as what another brand will call a low truck. There is no industry standard for the exact height of the various size labels that truck manufacturers use. Therefore, we have to make our own classification for low, mid and high trucks. The height of your trucks will also impact something very important during your skating, which is the distance that your tail has to travel to touch the ground. If you are a very tall person, then you can have very high trucks because your legs are big enough so that you can snap the tail on the floor while jumping.
3.Weight & Materials
The construction and material of the truck will affect how it rides, flips and grinds. Common materials used in trucks include steel, aluminium, titanium, magnesium, etc. Most standard trucks are made of a combination of aluminium hanger and base plate with steel axles. Trucks are the heaviest part of your set up, so many manufacturers are trying to reduce the weight of trucks. As a note, you can always find the precise weight of the trucks on the product description. To reduce the weight of trucks, hollow axle and hollow kingpin will be used in the construction of trucks. Producers can also change the material of the trucks to try to make it lighter. Among skaters, it’s commonly accepted that very heavy trucks will last longer if you grind on very crusty surfaces such as a very bad street ledge or pool coping. On the other hand, you could use trucks made of very light materials like magnesium, but there’s a higher chance that the hanger gets eroded faster when grinding. If you only skate parks then it’s not a big problem.
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