Buying Your First Skateboard Trucks
Now that you have your skateboard deck picked out (if you don’t, here’s our choosing your first skateboard deck guide), let’s figure out the best trucks for your first skateboard. Trucks are generally sold in pairs, they allow your skateboard to turn, they’re what you grind on, and are what your wheels and bearings spin on. But for your first skateboard, we recommend you keep things simple and just focus on getting the right size trucks for your board.
What you need to pick out your first skate trucks:
- Know the width of your board: You want your trucks to be as flush to your deck as possible (you don’t want your wheels sticking out or hiding underneath your board).
- Choose a trucks brand: Any truck in stock at CCS.com has our seal of approval. You can’t go wrong with what we have to offer. Later, you might decide you prefer one over another, but that comes with experience. Right now just find something that looks cool with your board or fits your budget.
- Double check the sizing: Use the truck sizing cheat sheet below to make sure you have the right size trucks for the deck you’re skating.
If you’ve done all three, you’re ready to choose some trucks. If you want to learn more about skateboard trucks, we’ve got you covered in our All About Skateboard Trucks section.
All About Skateboard Trucks
Trucks are your board's axle. Your trucks will control the way you turn, ollie, grind, and are responsible for translating your movements into your skateboard's movements. They are the middle-man between your deck and your wheels, and it is important to size them properly.
In order to choose the best skateboard trucks for your complete skateboard, you'll need to figure out what size truck will fit your deck. The width of your trucks corresponds directly to the width of your deck. Too narrow a truck will be unstable; while too wide a truck can result in shoe to wheel contact while pushing, among other problems.
Choosing the best skateboard trucks for your setup can be somewhat challenging as skate decks are measured in inches, while trucks are measured using a variety of units that vary by brand.
Some truck brands also measure the width of their truck from axle nut to axle nut, while others measure just the width of the hanger. In the end, what you want is a truck that, when mounted on your deck, positions its axle nuts within a quarter of an inch from the edge of the deck. This means that your axle nuts do not extend outward beyond the edges of your deck, and do not rest further than 1/4" inside the edge of your deck.
In the first column you'll see the names of popular skate truck brands. In the second column you'll see each company's truck offering broken down that brand's sizing system. In the third column is a range of skateboard deck widths that are compatible with each truck size. You'll notice some overlap, as some deck sizes can accommodate more than one size truck. Keep in mind that choosing a wider truck in this scenario will offer you more stability while a narrower truck will offer quicker turning.
Once you've figured out the width of truck you need, you may want to consider whether you'd like a "low" or "high" truck. Many skate truck brands offer their products in both low and high options, and each is going to perform a little differently.
A "low" truck has a shortened kingpin, which provides extra clearance on your hanger for grinding, sits you lower to the ground, and stabilizes the truck. There is also less material for you to manipulate with a low truck, so your kicks and pushes go a little further. The stability, response, and grind clearance offered by low trucks is often preferred by street skaters.
A "high" truck has a kingpin that is about 5mm longer than a low truck. This allows a greater turning radius and additional clearance between the deck and axle, which allows high trucks to be compatible with larger wheels. The ability to make sharper turns and accept a larger wheel makes high trucks attractive to transition skaters. The increased turning radius also make high trucks ideal for simply cruising around town.
NOTE TO BEGINNERS: Trucks that are not specified "high" or "low" are generally equivalent to "high" trucks.
Skateboard bushings are small cylindrical molds of urethane that allow your trucks to turn. Straddling the kingpin, the bushings translate pressure from your feet into your trucks, allowing you to perform turns, carves, and other maneuvers.
All trucks come with bushings already installed, but from time to time you may need to replace them. Bushings are available in a variety of durometers, or hardness options, which influence the stability and response of your trucks.
Hard bushings will make your trucks stiff, stable, and will require more effort to turn. Soft bushings will turn easily and quickly respond to pressure. The stock bushings that come with most skateboard trucks are usually on the softer side, so if you know that you want harder bushings, it is best to buy a set separately.
Most companies will offer a selection of bushings that cover a wide spectrum of hardnesses. To determine exactly how hard or soft a bushing is, a hardness rating, known as a durometer, is assigned to each bushing. The durometer is indicated with a two-digit number followed by the letter "A". The greater the number preceding the "A", the harder the bushing. See the table below for a breakdown of bushing durometers by size.
Aside from hardness, bushings can also vary by size. Many bushings are universal and will fit most trucks, but some will be specific to high or low trucks. Bushing companies usually list whether their products are size-specific, so read product descriptions when shopping and ask questions when in doubt.