Longboard Trucks - A Truckload of Tech beneath Your Feet
Hanger? Check! Baseplate? Check! Kingpin and bushings? Check! You’ve got yourself a complete truck! Unfortunately it’s not quite that easy; depending on your riding style there are still a few more things to take into account when choosing the right trucks for your new setup.
Essentially there are two types of trucks, known as the Standard Kingpin Truck and the Reverse Kingpin Truck. What that means and the differences in board performance you can expect from trucks with a wider hanger width will all be explained in just a moment. When choosing the right pair of trucks there are a number of things to be aware of and you’ll find them on the diagram of a standard truck to the left.
What’s this King doing in my Truck?
At first glance, if you’re new to the scene, you might struggle to see the difference between longboard and skateboard trucks, but once you get a bit more into the nitty gritty of it all, you’ll be surprised at how big a difference your trucks can make to the feel of your skate. The main difference is in the geometry of the trucks.
In particular, the most important role is played by the Kingpin, the screw that holds the baseplate and hanger together.
Most of the time in longboarding the Reverse Kingpin construction is preferred. In this type of truck, the kingpin enters the truck at an angle, pointing towards either the nose or the tail.
Its counterpart is of course the classic Standard Kingpin Truck found mainly on skateboards - these trucks are rarely used on longboards, unless, for example, you’re building a cruiser or kicktail-dancer.
If you’re still wondering what difference the alternative constructions make, here comes your explanation: The Reverse Kingpin truck gives your longboard a massive boost when it comes to setting lovely smooth carves and turns. Carving and Slalom boards, then, tend to be equipped with these trucks.
The Standard Kingpin truck is less responsive, and is only very occasionally mounted on longboards. Retro-Cruisers for example, being direct offshoots of skateboards, are usually built with this kind of truck. They also receive a lot of love from the Downhill scene, as a less responsive truck is much less likely to buck you off at high speed.
Basic Truck Maths for your Longboard
Even if you’ve got dyscalculia there’s no need to panic, we’re only talking about angles and degrees here, nothing to be scared of. It’s a fairly simple principle: When choosing your trucks, it’s important to know the Baseplate Pivot Angle. If you choose a higher angle, i.e. above 45 degrees between the pivot and the baseplate, you’re going to have a whole lot of fun riding slalom, as well as being perfectly equipped for all the other disciplines where turns are the name of the game.
If you’re an absolute speed junkie, you’ll want a less steep angle to get more support out of your trucks. It can also help to flip your truck’s hanger over.
It’s easy to do with virtually all trucks from Madrid or Paris Trucks and brings you that little bit closer to the asphalt, giving you more control and stability. Add to that a set of small diameter wheels and your board will virtually stick to the ground.
Hanger width also plays an important role. In longboarding, trucks usually have a hanger width between 150 and 180 millimetres. Wider trucks are less responsive in turns and carves than narrower trucks, which are usually perfectly suited to flexible cruisers.
An essential factor when choosing your trucks is the width of your deck. If your deck is narrower than 8.5 inches, a 150 mm hanger width will do just fine, but between 8.5 and 10.5 inches wide, you’ll definitely be looking at 180 millimetres. Remember, with trucks it’s always better to be too wide than too narrow!
Bushings - the Rubber Heart of your Trucks
There are a few ways to adjust and optimise your trucks’ performance. By tightening or loosening the kingpin you can adjust the tightness of your trucks.
Underneath the kingpin are two rubber rings, known in the skateboard world as bushings, which also make a big difference. Thanks to Orangatang, you can make a big difference to your trucks with relatively little energy or cash expenditure. Conical bushings (Cone) make for easier turns, whereas barrel bushings are known for being less responsive. Eliminator and chubby bushings are particularly useful when it comes to preventing speed wobble on high speed downhill rides!
Try the following bushing setups to suit your style:
- Cruising to carving: Cones (top & bottom)
- Carving to freeride: Cones (top) & barrels (bottom)
- Freeride to downhill: Barrels (top and bottom)
- Downhill: Barrels (top) & Eliminators/Chubbys (bottom)
Now it’s up to you to find the right trucks for your riding style. Have fun rummaging through the huge selection at Blue Tomato!