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  • TGM Skateboard​s Buyer's Guide

Select a topic below for more information.

Part Overview:

Deck: The wooden “board” that the skater stands on.

Grip Tape: Traction tape that goes on the topside of the deck to provide support. The topside features a gritty layer to help keep shoes in place, and the underside features an adhesive that attaches it to the deck.

Wheels: They are the wheels on the skateboard that come in multiple sizes and hardness for different styles of skating.

Trucks: The pivoting metal components that attaches under the deck that controls the turning and connects the wheels to the deck.

Bearings: The circular metal piece that goes inside of the wheel that is necessary for attaching the wheel to the trucks and keeping the wheels rotating smoothly.

Hardware: The nuts and bolts that hold the trucks to the deck.

Risers: (Optional) The pads that go between the deck and the trucks. Cushions the ride, absorbs impact, and creates a larger gap between the wheels and the deck.




Message for parents & new skaters:

When buying a skateboard for a new skater, it doesn’t matter what size you go with. A common misconception when it comes to buying a skateboard is the whole “if you’re this tall, buy this size” line. Size is a preference that the skater acquires as they get a feel of what works best for them. The same way it is a process to learn how to perform a trick, it takes time on the board to learn whether you would like to go wider and smaller.

When buying a skateboard for the first time, we would recommend buying a complete skateboard (already assembled & ready to ride) and get a feel for how it rides. After you do that, you can determine what you would like to improve on, and reference this guide to see how you can achieve the desired change.



Select a topic below for more information.


What is a skateboard deck?

The deck is the main thing people think of when they hear skateboard. It is the wooden “board” that the skater stands on. Decks have features that will make them ride a specific way. Understanding the features of a deck will help guide you along the variety of styles, to the deck that is perfect for you.

Note: This information varies slightly for longboards.

Deck Features:

Width:

This is the “size” of a skateboard deck. Decks have varying widths and lengths; however, width is the main focus. The average width is about 7.75” – 8.25”. The width of a modern deck usually features some type of concave, which helps lock your feet in place.

Narrow: 6.0" – 7.75"
Medium: 7.9" – 8.25"
Wide: 8.5" – 10.0"

Length:

Length is the distance from the nose (front tip of deck) to the tail (back tip of deck). The common lengths are 28” – 32”. This measurement doesn’t receive much attention because the more important measurement lengthwise is the wheelbase.

Wheelbase:

Wheelbase is the distance between a deck’s inner mounting holes. This distance will show you how far apart your trucks/wheels will be from each other. The average wheelbase is from 13” – 15”. Most decks will feature one set of mounting holes, however, some feature multiple mounting holes so the skater can decide what size works better for them. Smaller wheelbases are more responsive, and wider wheelbases are more stable at higher speeds.

Mounting Holes:

Mounting holes are the pre-drilled holes in the deck where you mount the trucks to the deck with hardware. Most of the time there are 8 holes (4 on the tail end, 4 on the nose end), however, there is occasionally more for different mounting options.

Plys:

Plys are the layers of wood pressed together to make a deck. To give decks more flex so they don’t snap easily, they are manufactured with layers of wood with glue in between each layer. The most common wood used in skateboard decks is Canadian Maple. The most common amount of ply is 7ply, and most decks don’t go past 9ply.

Nose and Tail:

The nose is the “front” of a deck and the tail is the “back”. It can be difficult to tell which end is which, but most decks have graphics on them which can help you tell them apart. Both ends feature a kick (upward curve on the end of a deck). The nose usually features a steeper kick and the tail features a more mellow kick. A steeper kick will give you more pop when doing aerial based tricks.

Rails:

Rails are the edges along the length of the deck. Rounded rails are the most common because they are great for flip tricks. Sharper rails are better for someone who wants to help keep their feet in place while sliding or carving.

Concave:

This is the curve that runs along the width of a deck. There a variety of concave shapes but they usually curve upward on the rails. The concave helps lock your feet in place. Concaves also help with turning. A steep concave will be more noticeable on the feet and a mellow concave will feel more flat.

Deck Styles:






There are different styles of decks made for different styles of skating.

Shortboard

Shortboard decks are the most common type of deck now days. This is what most younger skaters think of when they hear skateboard. Its shape resembles a wide popsicle stick and its size range is usually 7.6” – 9” (width) x 29” – 33” (length). The industry standard for this style is 7plys of Canadian Maple. They are usually symmetrical and feature an upward nose and an upward tail. This style of deck is designed for getting airborne and performing tricks. This style is the most versatile as far as skating both parks and streets, while still being able to perform all the tricks the pros perform. Most modern pro skaters have shortboards as their signature decks.




Old School

Like that name alludes, this is the older style of deck that was more common in the 80s and very early 90s. This is the style that older skaters used to ride. Many of the popular graphics from back in the day are reproduced to keep the history and culture going for the generations that missed out on that era. The shape is usually a wider deck, about 9” – 10” (width) x 28” – 32” (length). They are usually flat, occasionally featuring a kicktail or mild concave. They usually feature a 7ply construction. Great for skating pools and cruising around. This style is sometimes called Cruisers. Old school decks are usually cruisers but not all cruisers are old school.




Cruiser

Like the name alludes, this is the style of deck that people use for cruising around on. This style comes in many shapes in sizes, with a wide variety of constructions. They do make cruiser decks but they tend to come pre-built (already assembled with all the components). A lot of cruisers imitate the style of old school decks, but there is a wide variety that don’t. Some examples of that are the cruisers made up of plastic or those that imitate the shape of longboard shapes (only shorter).




Longboard

This is the largest style of deck. Thicker and usually stronger than skateboard decks, these are great for cruising around, transportation, and reaching higher speeds. Longboarding is often considered its own category because it varies so much from skateboarding. This is a great choice for someone who isn’t concerned with doing tricks, but would much rather cruise around town or trails. Longboards come in a variety of shapes and styles. For more details about longboards please refer to the Buyer’s Guide for Longboard Decks.





What is grip tape?

Grip tape is the traction tape that goes on the topside of the deck to provide support. If you want to stay on your board, you are going to need grip tape. The topside features a gritty sandpaper-like layer to help keep shoes in place, and the underside features an adhesive that attaches it to the deck. It comes with a removable backing, like a sticker. Like most stickers, this component has a one time use, so this can not be transferred from one deck to another. The most common size is 9" x 33" which fits most shortboards. As far as which grip tape is "best", there is not a way to measure the quality of grip tape. That decision is based off of preference. There is a variety of colors and graphics, so get one that matches your style!


Note: For longboards, make sure the size of the grip tape is wide & long enough.








What is a skateboard truck?

Skateboard trucks are the pivoting metal components that attach to the bottom of the deck and controls the turning. Trucks are what connect the wheels to the deck and give the wheels an axle to rotate on. A skateboard needs 2 trucks; all trucks sold by TGM Skateboards are sold in pairs (2 trucks).



How do trucks work?

Skateboard trucks feature a couple components that can cause them to work a certain way. Understanding how a truck works will help you decide on what trucks are best for you.

Components:



Axle: The long rod that runs through the hanger for the wheels to attach to. There is threading at the ends of the axle for nuts to attach to and keep the wheels in place. In some cases, companies will use a hollowed axle to lower the overall weight of the truck, but this does not make the truck any weaker.

Hanger: The triangular piece of metal that the axle runs through. It is the “upper” part of the truck and has an indentation for the bushings to rest in. This is usually the piece that companies will paint or apply graphics to give them a unique look.

Bushings: The urethane rings that controls the boards’ ability to turn and pivot. The softer the bushing the more turn/ less stability, the harder the bushing the less turn/ more stability. There are always 2 bushings (one on top of the hanger & one under the hanger) and 2 washers to keep them stable (one on top of the upper bushing and one under the lower bushing). The hole down the center of the bushing is for the kingpin to run through.

Kingpin: The large bolt that keeps the truck together. It goes through the bottom of the baseplate, runs through the bushings, and goes through the top of the hanger where it has a nut to keep the truck together. In some cases, companies will use a hollowed kingpin to lower the overall weight of the truck, but this does not make the truck any weaker.

Baseplate: The bottom of the trucks, which is for mounting the truck to the deck. The baseplate is usually where you will find the name of the brand. It features mounting holes for the hardware to go through (4 - 6 holes). The extra 2 hole in a baseplate with 6 holes are for old school skateboard decks.

Pivot Cup: The small urethane cup that fits in an indentation in the baseplate to help the trucks turn. They will eventually wear down and make the trucks more unstable so it is important to keep an eye on this part. For the most part, this part is a universal fit and is a cheap piece to replace.

Note that not all trucks feature 6 holes, so make sure that if there are only 4 holes, that the trucks will fit your deck before buying.

Metal:

  • Aluminum: Aluminum is the industry standard for skateboard trucks. This is the most common alloy on the market right now.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium trucks are known for being a lighter truck than most aluminum trucks.
  • Titanium: Titanium is the strongest/lightest metal used in the production of skateboard trucks. This is a premium quality truck so it will increase the price tag but this is a great choice for someone who is looking for a pair of trucks that will last long and won’t weigh their board down.

Hollow vs Solid:

Hollow skateboard trucks refer to having a hollow axle and/or hollow kingpin. This makes the truck lighter than its solid counterpart. It makes the trucks lighter without compromising the strength of the trucks. This is considered a luxury feature and will increase the price tag of a pair of trucks. This is only a concern of someone who is looking to make a super lightweight skateboard.

Bushings:

Bushings are the urethane rings that controls the boards’ ability to turn and pivot. This is the most common thing skaters change about a pair of trucks when they buy them. The softer the bushing the more turn/ less stability, the harder the bushing the less turn/ more stability. Anything with a durometer (hardness) less than 92a is considered soft. A medium durometer would be from 92a-97a. A hard durometer would be anything from 98a and up. Durometer is also determined by weight. Heavier riders are more likely to choose harder bushings.





As the name states, these are the wheels on the skateboard. Wheels are what causes the deck to glide across the surface you skate on. Most wheels are made of polyurethane with a hollow hub for bearings to fit in. They come in a range of sizes, colors, and durometer (hardness). Each style is made to serve a different preference.

Size & Hardness:

These 2 features are the main focus of a wheel. Size is the outer diameter of a wheel. The size range is from 48mm-60mm. Wheels that go past 60mm are most likely longboard wheels, for more info on those please refer to the longboard wheel buying guide. Durometer of a skateboard wheel affects the ride just as much as the size does. The range is measured in A units and B units. The a-scale range is roughly 75a – 101a. The b-scale range is usually in the 80s (i.e. 84a). Most shortboard wheels have the size & durometer printed on the wheel, but that's not always the case. As long as you can find the right numbers for both measurements, you can find the perfect wheel!


Size:

SMALL (48mm-51mm): Smaller & slower. More stable for performing tricks. More ideal for smaller decks and shorter skaters. Still works great in parks and on the streets.

AVERAGE (52mm-56mm): Most common sizes, great for performing tricks and becoming airborne. These wheel sizes work well with almost every deck, from thin to wide. Great for skating parks, streets, ramps, and bowls; however, these sizes are the most ideal size for street skating.

LARGE (57mm-60mm): Larger wheels reach higher speeds and are great for anyone looking a smooth ride through a skate park. These are not ideal for someone looking to get airborne. The wheels are great for skating pools and slopes in the skateparks.


Durometer:

SOFT (75a-87a): Soft wheels are usually wider/cylinder shaped wheels. They are usually cruiser & longboarding wheels. Wheels within this durometer range are designed for a smoother ride, better grip, longer distances, and going over rough surfaces as they absorb a lot of the vibrations produced.

MEDIUM (88a-95a): Not extremely soft, but not too hard. These wheels are harder and faster, but lose some of the grip found in softer wheels. These wheels don’t absorb as many vibrations as the softer wheels, but are still good for rough surfaces found when skating the streets.

MEDIUM/HARD (96a-99a): These wheels are the most common durometers found in skateboard wheels used for shortboards. Great speed and good grip, these wheels are a good choice for someone looking to do tricks, skate parks, but still want something good for the streets. These wheels are great for beginners who are unsure that type of wheel they are looking for. On longboard wheels and cruiser wheels, this is considered hard.

HARD (101a+): These wheels are the fastest choice, but they sacrifice the grip you get with softer wheels. These wheels are not ideal on rough surfaces, and riders should be conscience when riding on slick surfaces. These are not recommended for beginners, but are more of a specialty wheel that skaters change to when they what something harder than the typical skateboard wheel. After 100a, a-ratings start losing accuracy, so thats why the b-rating is used for wheels harder than 100a (most of the time).

HARD (81b-84b): The b-scale rating is 20 points less than the a-scale rating (81b=101a, 82b=102a, 83b=103a, 84b=104a). The specs are the same as the hard wheels using the a-scale.


What is a skateboard bearing?

Skateboard bearings are the circular metal pieces that goes inside of the wheel that is necessary for attaching the wheel to the trucks and keeping the wheels rotating smoothly. Although wheels have a wide range of sizes, skateboard bearings are universal and will fit any skateboard wheel carried by TGM Skateboards. With an outer diameter of 22mm, inner diameter of 8mm, and width of 7mm.

A set of skateboard bearings is eight bearings. That is because each skateboard has four wheels, and each wheel gets two bearings (one on each side).



What bearings are right for me?

There is no “best” bearing. There are different grades of bearings for people with different budgets and desired results. Here is a breakdown of the most common terminology used for bearings.

ABEC Rating System: The ABEC rating of a bearing is used to determine the precision and tolerance of the bearing. It includes grades: ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, and ABEC 9. The higher the ABEC rating, the higher the precision. High precision bearings are necessary for functioning at high speeds. ABEC 5 is the most popular for casual speed skating and performing tricks. For someone who is looking to use the board for cruising, commuting and hitting high speeds, ABEC 7 and ABEC 9 is what you are going to want.

Ceramic Bearings: The term ceramic refers to the balls that are located inside of the bearings. Ceramic bearing balls are lighter, faster, and do not rust compared to steel balls (standard bearing balls). These are a great choice for someone who is looking to get more distance for less push. The higher quality does add to the price tag, but they are faster and last longer. Ceramic Bearings occasionally follow the ABEC rating system, but sometimes exist outside of it.

Swiss Bearings: Like the name alludes, these bearings are made in Switzerland. These bearings have high precision and are engineered to function at high speeds. This is a great choice for someone looking for a fast and long lasting bearing. Great for performing at high speeds, downhill, and racing.

Skate Rated: This is the rating system for the Bones branded bearings. Bones found that bearings of the same ABEC rating can have 2 different qualities. This system was made to differentiate the quality of 2 bearings with the same ABEC rating. Thus creating the REDS and SUPER REDS.

How does a bearing work?

Pt. 1 - The Bearing

Understanding how a skateboard bearing works will help you understand why there are different ratings of bearings, and how you get your bearings to last longer.


Shield: A round flat shield that goes on the side of the bearing that prevents dirt from getting into the ball groove. It also helps keep the lubrication on the balls and in the groove. Usually nylon, but sometimes made of metal.

Outer Race: The round metal ring that the other parts fit into. It has a groove on the inside to help guide the balls on their rotation. This is the part that attaches the bearing to the wheel.

Inner Race: The smaller round metal ring that has a groove on the outside to guide the balls on their rotation. This is the part that attaches the bearing to the axle of the truck.

Balls: The internal balls that keep the bearings rotating. There can be 6-8 balls but the most common amount is 7. The balls are typically made of steel, but can also be Titanium or Ceramic. Ceramic bearing balls are the premium choice, but cost a bit more.

Retainer: The internal ring that retains the balls the appropriate distance from each other. This allows the balls to stay in place, while allowing the rest of the bearing to rotate.

How does a bearing work?

Pt. 2 - Spacers and Speed Washers

In order to keep a bearing rotating smoothly it will require a speed washer for each bearing (2 per wheel).





Speed washers: The small metal washers that keep the bearing from making direct contact with the axle nut and with the hanger. Speed washers are almost always included with a set of trucks on the axle. You need one in between the axle nut and the outer bearing, and the other in between the inner bearing and the hanger. This prevent the bearing from rubbing up against anything and keeps the bearing rotating properly.

Bearing Spacers (Optional): The metal cylinder that fits around the axle in between bearings to help reduce the weight distributed to each bearing. This helps increase the lifespan of as bearing and helps it function better. However, the wheels & bearings can function perfectly fine without these. Note that some wheels have thinner cores than others, and are too thin for spacers to fit inside.



Hardware refers to the nuts and bolts that hold the trucks to the deck. They come in multiple lengths, but hardware is universally the same size. That is so they work with all mounting holes. The different lengths are for thicker decks, or decks with riser pads.

Nuts & Bolts:

The bolt goes in the mounting holes on top of the deck, and go all through the trucks. This is where the nuts get treaded on the bolt. This locks the trucks in place. The most common lengths are:


7/8” - This is the size used on shortboards without a riser.

1” - This is the size used on shortboards with a ⅛” riser pad.

1 ¼” (1.25”) - This is the size used on decks with a ¼” riser pad. Usually longboards or cruisers.

1 ½” (1.5”) - This is the size used on thick decks with a ½” riser pad. Usually longboards or cruisers.



There are multiple colors to choose from. Find the color that matches your style!

Drop-Through Longboard Hardware:

Drop through longboards require a special kind of button head hardware with gaskets between the mounting nuts. The typical counter sunk hardware looks goofy on drop throughs because it doesn’t sit flushed with the baseplate. It will also loosen easier and end up ruining both your board and your trucks because it doesn't properly align with the trucks and the nuts rub right up against the deck.

Button head hardware aligns perfectly with the trucks and the washers provide separation between the deck and nuts. Starting with the right hardware is the most basic way to protect your set-up and prolong its life.





Like the name alludes, longboards are longer than skateboards. The styles of longboarding differ so much from traditional skateboarding, that longboarding and skateboarding are considered two different things. The overall design of a longboard is reminiscent of a skateboard, they both have the same components (deck, grip tape, wheels, trucks, bearings, and hardware), however, the components are made to different specs than a skateboard.

To simplify, why someone should choose a longboard over a skateboard really comes down to whether you plan on doing aerial-based tricks or if you want to cruise around. If you want to do aerial-based tricks, you want a skateboard. If you want to cruise around, you’ll most likely want to go with a longboard.

If a longboard sounds like the choice you’re going with, the next step will be figuring out what style of deck will work best for you. The first thing to do would be figuring out how you plan on skating.

Styles of Skating:

Cruising / Carving

Cruising is just casual skating. Using the board to skate around, enjoying the breeze and the view. For those who are just looking to cruise around, there is no need to look for premium components or decks. When cruising, most skaters enjoy carving. Carving is skating in a wide S-shaped motion, swaying side to side. This is a great method for controlling speed.

Freestyle / Dancing

The terms “freestyle” and “dancing” go hand-in-hand with each other. This is the creative style of longboard skating. Longboard dancing consists of side-stepping across the length of the board. Freestyle skating on a longboard is mostly flat ground tricks, involving flipping and controlling the board in air with your hands.

Downhill

Downhill skating is like the name states: skating down a hill. When skating down a slope, the board naturally picks up speed quickly. Being able to handle the high speeds require skill and precision. Most longboard races are downhill races. This is a more advanced style of skating for more skilled skaters. We don’t suggest downhill skating for those who are just starting out on a longboard.

Freeride

Freeride skating and downhill skating are very similar disciplines. Both involve going down hills fast, however, freeriding is the art of sliding the board. Most freeride skaters want their board to be light and agile. They are typically not concerned with reaching a max speed on their board, but rather making the trip down as technical and flashy as possible.

Pintail



The pintail is a classic surfboard-inspired longboard shape. They usually have a wider center and slope into a point at the nose and tail. This style is ideal for someone who is looking for a longboard for cruising and carving. Pintails have a more fluid, surf-like ride when carving.

Drop Through / Cut Out



Drop Through decks have a unique way of mounting trucks. Instead of attaching the baseplate to the bottom of the deck like most boards, the baseplate mounted on top of the deck and the kingpin is fed through the cut out. This style of deck has 2 cut-outs, each surrounded by a set of mounting holes, for the truck to drop through the deck. This feature is to lower the board, which makes for easier pushing. Another great feature of this style is it reduces wheel bite (the deck rubbing up against the wheels during a sharp turn). Drop Through is its own style of deck, but this method of mounting the trucks can be found in another style of deck, Drop Down.

Drop Down



Drop Down decks are usually wider at the center, but are more narrow at the mounting holes. The mounting holes are always at the ends of the deck on the nose and tail. The standing platform is lower than the mounting holes, bringing it closer to the ground than most decks. This adds stability. A Drop Down is better for someone who is looking for a longboard for cruising, commuting, and long distance pushes.

Double Drop



Double Drop decks are a combination both drop down and drop through decks. Thus "double drop". It features the lowered standing platform you get with drop downs, and the cut outs for mounting trucks. The main attraction of a double drop deck is that it is a great choice for pushing and perfect for cruising and commuting. You get more distance for less push with this style. Note that turning is not the best on a double drop, so fans of carving should go with a different style.

Kicktail



Kicktail decks are usually closer to a pintail shape, but the tail is rounder and feature an kicktail. The kicktail is a upward bend at the back end of the deck. This style is ideal for cruising and carving. Great choice for someone who wants that surf-like style of skating. The kicktail is for popping the deck up.

Double Kick



Double Kick decks feature two kicktails. This style of deck is more like a feature rather than a style of deck. You can find double kicks on cruisers and freestyle decks. The kicktails are not always symmetrical with each other, which allows for 2 different ways to ride the deck. In cases where both tails match, you can ride the board facing either direction.

Downhill



Downhill decks are designed with downhill skating in mind. Downhill skating involves higher speeds, quick precision thinking, and great control over your board. That is why downhill longboards can be a little more technical than other styles. They tend to be thicker, heavier and wider. They usually have a distinct nose and tail since downhill skating involves heading down a designated pathway. You can find drop through or drop down decks that are also downhill decks. Due to all the details put into downhill decks, we would only suggest getting a downhill deck if you plan on doing downhill skating. Note the heavier deck makes it harder to push on flatter surfaces, making this not ideal for casual cruising.

Dancer / Freestyle



The terms “freestyle” and “dancing” go hand in hand with each other. This is the creative style of longboard skating. Longboard dancing consists of side-stepping across the length of the board. Freestyle skating on a longboard is mostly flat ground tricks, involving flipping and controlling the board in air with your hands. These decks usually have a wider wheel base and narrow ends, which usually are double kicks. This style usually sway which is great for turning, but doesn't handle well under high speeds. This style is great for someone who wants to try some creative trucks and doesn't care about hitting high speeds.


Longboard wheels are what causes your board to glide across the surface you skate on. Most wheels are made of polyurethane with a hollow hub for bearings to fit in. They come in a range of sizes, colors, and durometer (hardness). Each style is made to serve a different preference.

Longboard wheels are made to different specs than shortboard wheels. They have a larger diameter and width. This is so the board can go farther, faster, and have more responsive turning. Like shortboard wheels, size and durometer are important, however contact patch, core, and surface are also important.

Features:

Size

The size range for longboard wheels is from 60mm-107mm. Wheels under 60mm are most likely shortboard wheels, for more info on those please refer to the "Wheels" menu near the top of the page.





Small (60mm - 69mm): Smaller wheels are slower by nature, but they offer more control when it comes to freestyle skating. This size is more ideal for someone who wants to do freestyle skating on flatter surfaces or mild slopes.

Average (70mm - 74mm): Average sized wheels are very popular because they have benefits from both small and large wheels. They are still good for freestyle skating, but are also good for mild/intermediate downhill skating. Great choice for cruising and carving. If you are new to longboarding, this is a good size to start with and change based off of what you are looking for.

Large (75+): Larger wheels are a great choice for someone looking for a downhill wheel, or a wheel that can handle a higher speed. Great choice for cruising and carving. Although the bigger the wheel the faster it can get, anything past 85mm is more of a novelty wheel.

Durometer

Durometer is the hardness of a wheel. Durometer affects the ride of a wheel just as much as size so be sure to check it before buying. Most longboard wheels have the durometer printed on the wheel, but this is not always the case.


Soft (76a - 80a): Softer wheels give you more grip. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a downhill wheel. Another benefit of a softer wheel is it reduces the vibrations caused by rougher surfaces. If you like sliding, and are looking for a smoother, buttery slide, these are the wheels for you. Note that softer wheels tend to have a shorter lifespan than harder wheels.

Average: (81a – 83a): This is a good choice for someone who wants a wheel that is good across the board. The benefits of a softer wheel, but for someone who would like a little less grip. If you are new to longboarding, this is a good durometer to start with and change based off of what you are looking for.

Hard (84a+): Harder wheels have less grip than softer wheels. This is a good choice for someone who is looking to do more of slower freestyle skating. Harder wheels tend to have the longest lifespan of wheels.

Contact Patch

Contact Patch is the widthwise measurement of that wheel that makes contact with whatever surface you are skating on. This is not always the “width”, because some wheels round up towards the edge of the wheel, so the contact patch ends up thinner than the width. That is why they are separate measurements.





Narrow (Less than 39mm): Narrow contact patches are great for sliding and slower freestyle skating. It allows the wheel to break free easier since there is less wheel to slide.

Average (40 - 45mm): The most common sizes, wheels with a contact patch in this range will be good across the board. It has more grip than a narrow wheel, but can still be used for sliding. Great for cruising, carving, and freestyle skating. If you are new to longboarding, this is a good size to start with and change based off of what you are looking for.

Wide (46+): Wider wheel patches have more grip than more narrow wheels. This allows for higher speeds, and more stability at those speeds. A great choice for someone who is looking for a downhill wheel, or a smooth ride when cruising or carving.

Features:

Size

Longboard trucks function very similar to shortboard trucks, but have some details that separate them from shortboard trucks. The first would be size. The most common sizes for longboard trucks are 9” & 10” (axle width). This accounts for the wider widths longboard decks tend to have. There are narrow longboards, which require smaller trucks. You want to find a pair of trucks that have an axle length as close to the width of the deck as possible.


Degree

One detail longboard trucks have that can affect the way they ride is the degree the hanger is at. This affects stability and turn radius. The lower the degree, the more stability you’ll have. However, that will give you a smaller turn radius. The opposite goes for higher degrees. The higher the degree, the wider you can turn with less stability. The most common degree is 50°, which is usually the highest degree someone will use. Lower degrees are in the lower 40s. Degree is usually only considered for reverse kingpin trucks.


Kingpin Placement

There are 3 main styles of kingpin placement: Traditional Kingpin Trucks, Reverse Kingpin Trucks, and Double Kingpin Trucks. Each style has a unique feel to it, and are used for different styles of skating.





Traditional Kingpin placement is the style that is commonly used for shortboard trucks. This style is uncommon on most longboards, but is occasionally put on longboards when someone is setting up a long distance push board. This offers more stability with less turn. Great choice for someone who is building a board to go farther distances on flatter surfaces or mild slopes. Not for downhill or carving. Degree of the hanger is not really a focus in this style. When mounted to the board, the side of the hanger with the bushings will face inward.

Reverse Kingpin placement is the style that is found on most longboards. They are taller and allow for better carves and turns. Since most styles of longboarding involve a lot of turning, this is usually the style longboarders prefer to skate. This style gives longboards the feel that most riders are used to. Great for downhill and cruising. You'll see the degree of the hanger's angle very often when browsing this style of truck. When mounted, the side of the hanger with the upper bushing will face outward. Also good for carving, but if you are building a longboard to carve specifically, you want double kingpin longboard trucks.

Double Kingpin longboard trucks are a style of truck made specifically for carving. This is a concept from Gullwing, used in their sidewinder trucks. If you are looking to build a longboard for carving specifically, this is the best option on the market. These trucks are unstable at high speeds so do not use these for a downhill build.

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