Longboarding is an adrenaline driven sports that has fans and players all over the world. Longboard surfers find it exhilarating and liberating experience.
Just like any equipment for sports, the gear for longboard should be chosen with great care for all the details and keeping in mind what sort of longboard surfing you are interested in. Cruising, Freeride, freestyle and downhill are the options available. Considering you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert surfer, the gear should be chosen accordingly.
There are many components that form a longboard and each part has its particular function that affects the riding experience. In this article, we are going to discuss longboard trucks.
What Should I Know About Longboard Trucks ?
Basically, the longboard trucks are metal T-shaped parts that are fixed on the underside of the longboard deck and are attached to the wheels. Every longboard comes with a pair of trucks. Although, the purpose served by trucks is same, still the trucks of longboard are different from that of skateboard. Longboard trucks are wider than that of skateboard to accommodate the size difference of the deck. For this reason, trucks of longboards and skateboards cannot be used interchangeably. The measurements of trucks are done by hanger width or axle width.
There is a large variety of longboard trucks available in the market and choosing from them can be a tricky proposition. So let us help you in making your choice much easier. Firstly, two major decisions should be made.
- Width of the trucks
- Standard Kingpin (SKP) or Reverse Kingpin (RKP)
Let us discuss these two characteristics in detail.
As a thumb rule, the width of your truck should be as close to the deck’s width as possible. This could be within ¼”. And if you are lucky and have both truck and the deck’s width the same, you are going to enjoy supreme quality of performance from your longboard. This is so because, this way the leverage points of your board will be properly aligned with the truck and the wheels. But if there is a little difference, it is better for the trucks to be on wider side, than the deck.
It could be tricky finding best truck width for your longboard, as different companies use different units and scales to measure the width of trucks they manufacture for their longboards. If for instance, the measurement is done using inches, usually the length of axle is measured. On the other hand, if the company is using millimetre to measure the width of the truck, than most probably, it refers to the hanger’s width. As an example, mostly decks measure 9-10” in width so axle with the width of 9-10” or 150-180 mm hangers are the standard sizes for the longboard trucks.
To sum-up the width of trucks, a truck with wider axle or hanger, is more stable but less responsive, while narrower trucks are less stable but more responsive.
Kingpin: Standard or Reverse
Choice between the standard kingpin and reverse kingpin depends on the kind of ride you are into.
Standard Kingpin or SKP trucks are considered best for street wise riding as the kingpin is fixed behind the hanger making it face towards the inner side of the board. This setting prevents the truck to interfere with the grinding and performing of other tricks. Width wise, they are narrower than RKP or reverse kingpin. But still, there are lots of companies that are manufacturing wider SKP trucks that mount on many longboards perfectly.
Reverse kingpin or RKP trucks are mostly used in longboards. They are more responsive at slow speeds and more stable at high speed making them easily controllable. These features make them ideal for any kind of ride you want to take. RKP are mounted a little higher than SKP and faces outwards, towards the nose and tail of the board. This gives RKP a little smaller wheelbase. If you are not into Park longboarding or grinding, then RKP has more stability and responsive ride to offer for your Freeride, freestyle and downhill surfing experience.
There are other major components of a truck that holds equal importance and play their part in making the ride a joyful experience.
Baseplate joins the truck to the deck of the longboard. The angle of the baseplate fare high in how the trucks take the turn. In RKP trucks, the baseplate comes in 50 degree angle. This kind of angle is considered best for carving, freestyle and slow Freeride because of its responsive characteristic. This kind of baseplate is recommended for the beginners. Lower than 50 degree baseplates are best for high speed Freeride and downhill surfing. It helps the rider to lean hard without over steering making the ride more controlled and stable at high speed.
Bushings are small urethane grommets that centre the hanger and provide inertia while trucks take the turns. There is a pair of bushing on both sides of the hanger, top and bottom. Bushings are designed to provide cushion between different components of the trucks. The harder the bushing, the stiffer the truck; compelling the rider to lean harder to turn. For more response trucks, the bushings come in softer variety.
It is a pocket in the middle of the hanger that controls the ability of trucks to turn. There are multiple types of bushing seats available. Bushing seat which is wide open with less restrictive characteristics will provide your hanger with more space to move around which aids in your lively and free carving. And the one with restrictive room for hanger makes it more stable for high speed rides.
Hanger is a T-shaped aluminium alloy beam that attaches wheels to the main body of the truck.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Longboard trucks are different from skateboard trucks, so in no circumstances, should they be used interchangeably.
- Wider hangers provide more stability and control over your ride. Narrower hangers assist the riders in the manoeuvrability and agility in turning and performing tricks.