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All About Skateboard Trucks » Selecting the right trucks, hardware and risers for your skateboard

The two trucks attached to your board offer mounting points for your wheels and the ability to turn your board by leaning to one side or the other. This seems simple enough, but there are a few things to be aware of.

First off, all truck serve the same purpose, but there are differences. All manufacturers make trucks of varying widths, but each manufacturer makes trucks of distinct weights. Some manufacturers make heavier trucks than others. Weight probably won't be a factor for beginners, but as you become more experienced you may find a preference towards a lighter or heavier truck.

Next, we should examine truck widths. The rule is the width of a truck should match the width of your board. Wide board = wide trucks. Bring your deck to your local shop and place different truck models over the pre-drilled holes and make sure the threaded ends don't overhang the width of your deck.

Skateboard Truck Parts

Baseplate
The baseplate is the flat rectangular piece that mounts against your deck via four bolts and nuts.

Kingpin
The kingpin is the large central bolt that is tightened and loosened to determine how easily the board turns.

Bushings
The bushings are the rubbery rings that surround the kingpin. As you tighten and loosen the kingpin, force is applied against the bushings which determine how the board turns.

Hanger
The hanger is the metal bar attached below the kingpin nut (or bolt depending on the manufacturer) that holds the axle in place. The axle passes through the hanger, exposing the threaded ends on each side.

Axle
The axle is the metal rod containing threaded ends on which nuts are attached. These are the mounting points for your wheels.

Risers

Riser pads have gone out of style somewhat these days. They were huge in the 80's and early 90's, but I still use them. They serve two purposes - one is to create more height between the deck and the riding surface. The other is to cushion your ride.

On a smooth surface like a wooden ramp or concrete park, the cushioning factor of risers is not necessary. On rougher pavement, typically found in street skating conditions, risers can remove some of the vibration of the surface.

Certain tricks, like ollies, can be affected by your ride height. As you become more proficient, you can experiment with risers to see how they assist or detract from certain surfaces. As you come to know your skills and how to assess them, you may find yourself with multiple skateboards, each set up for specific conditions or circumstances.

Skateboard Hardware

Hardware consists of the eight nuts and bolts that attach the trucks to your deck. Not a lot of thought has to go into this aspect of your board, but there are a few things worth mentioning.

The bolts are designed to rest flat on the top surface of your board so you don't get your shoes hung up on them. Normal bolts may have a lip that sticks up, so skate hardware is a must. Besides they're cheap.

Tightening the bolts will involve either a philips-head screwdriver or a torx driver. A good skate tool will have both options. Choosing a length for your bolts will depend on how much you are attaching to them. Generally, a 1" bolt will do just fine in attaching a truck to a deck. If you choose to use riser pads then you must also compensate for their height as well.

Some manufacturers like Pig and Shorty's sell hardware with two bolts colored differently. These can be placed in the front position of the front truck to help you identify the front and back of your board if it is completely covered in grip tape. Pig Skewers are colored red and Shorty's makes two silver bolts to go along with the other six black ones.

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