Choosing Longboard Trucks
When choosing trucks for your longboard, the two biggest decisions you need to make are: How wide should my trucks be? And do I want Standard Kingpin (SKP) trucks or Reverse Kingpin (RKP) trucks? This guide will help you make those two most important decisions and give you insights on the all the components of longboard trucks and the benefits of each style of truck. For the most visually pleasing explanation of longboard trucks, check out the video below.
CHOOSING TRUCK WIDTH
The width of your longboard trucks should be as close to the width of your longboard deck as possible (usually within ¼''). If your deck width and truck width match perfectly, you will get superior performance out of your setup because the leverage points on your board will be properly aligned with your trucks and wheels. However, if your trucks are just a little too wide or narrow for your deck, it shouldn't cause you any major problems. In general, it is better to have trucks that are a little too wide than a little too narrow. For example, 10'' trucks would work better on a 9'' wide deck than 9'' trucks on a 10'' wide deck.
Finding the right truck width for your deck can be confusing because not all companies measure in the same units or from the same points on the truck. When a company measures their trucks in inches, this usually refers to the length of the axle. When a company measures their trucks in millimeters, this refers to the width of the hanger alone. A 9'' axle has a hanger width of 160mm and a 10'' axle has a hanger width of 184mm. Most longboard decks are 9-10'' wide, so 9-10'' axles or 150-180mm hangers are the standard sizes for longboard trucks.
In general, a wider truck will be more stable but less responsive while a narrower truck will be less stable but more responsive. For these reasons, 10'' or 180mm trucks are the standard for downhill and freeride, while 9'' or 150mm trucks are more common for carving, transportation, and freestyle.
STANDARD KINGPIN OR REVERSE KINGPIN TRUCKS?
Choosing between standard kingpin trucks (SKP) and reverse kingpin trucks (RKP) should be decided by the type of riding you wish to do on your setup.
SKP trucks are most commonly used for street and park skateboarding because the kingpin is tucked behind the hanger (facing inwardly towards the center of the board) and doesn't interfere when grinding or preforming other coping tricks. They generally come in narrower sizes than RKP trucks but some companies including Gullwing and Independent offer wide SKP trucks that will fit on many longboards. If you want a versatile all around truck to put on your transportation cruiser board that has a low ride height and wont hold you back in the park, then these are the trucks for you. For more info on SKP trucks, check out our Choosing Skateboard trucks page.
RKP trucks are the most commonly used type of truck for longboarding because they are lively and responsive at slow speeds while offering more stability and control at high speeds. RKP trucks generally sit higher than SKP trucks and the kingpins face outwards towards the nose and tail of the board. The reversed orientation of the kingpin also causes RKP trucks to give you a slightly smaller wheelbase than if you were to mount SKP trucks in the same holes. If you aren't planning to grind ledges or take your setup into the skate park then RKP trucks will give you a more stable and responsive setup for carving, transportation, freestyle, freeride, and downhill.
The bushing seat of a RKP truck is one of the most important things to consider when choosing your longboard trucks. The bushing seat is the pocket in the center of the hanger which cradles the bushings and helps regulate the trucks ability to turn.
Tight bushing seats fit snugly around the bushings and can greatly restrict the movement or turn of the trucks. This can be beneficial to freeride and downhill riders who want to push their speed because it will provide more stability. Trucks with very tight bushing seats will feel great when going fast but will be far less lively and responsive at slower speeds.
Open or unrestrictive bushing seats allow your trucks to make sharp turns and carves with minimal amounts of force. These trucks are great for transportation, carving, freestyle, and slower speed freeride because they are highly responsive and give the setup a fun, carvy ride.
Most longboard trucks fall somewhere in the middle of these two categories to provide a more versatile truck that can be more easily customized for any type of riding. Bear, Caliber, Gullwing Charger II, Paris V2 and Randal trucks are all great great examples of trucks with moderately restricted bushing seats that work well for just about any style of longboarding.
No matter what the bushing seat, you can customize the feel of your trucks by swapping out the shape, and durometer of your bushings. If you need some help finding a bushing setup that will work well for your riding style, check out our Choosing Longboard Bushings page.
The angle of your truck baseplate dramatically affects the way your trucks turn. The baseplate angle adjusts the angle that your hanger sits at when riding.
Most RKP trucks come stock with 50 degree baseplates. This high angle will make your trucks tall and divey. Putting just a small amount of pressure on the edge of your deck will make your setup turn a large amount. 50 degree baseplates are ideal for carving, transportation, freestyle, and slower speed freeride because they give you a very snappy, responsive feel even at slow speeds. 50 degree baseplates are recommended for beginners and people riding under 35 mph. Don't miss out on these fun, easy carving 50 degree trucks.
Lower degree baseplates are generally preferred for fast freeride and downhill because they allow you to lean more while turning less. A setup with 42 degree trucks will turn far less than a setup with 50 degree trucks when the same amount of pressure is applied to the edge of the deck. This allows you to lean hard into fast corners without over steering. A less responsive setup is also more stable at high speeds because speed exaggerates even the smallest of movements. A lower degree baseplate will make your setup less twitchy and less affected by imperfections in the road.
Many downhill riders prefer split angle setups, where a lower degree baseplate is used on the back truck than the front truck. For example, 42 degree back truck and 50 degree front truck. This makes the setup lively and responsive in the front while keeping you stable in the back and avoiding back truck steering which can cause speed wobbles.
Precision trucks are designed to give advanced level downhill and freeride longboarders premier performance from their trucks. While most trucks are cast or shaped by being poured into molds, precision trucks are cut out of a single piece of metal by a CNC machine. This makes them far stronger and far more accurate to the specifications of the trucks. CNC machining also allows the trucks design to be perfected down to the tiniest details that may be unachievable through the casting process. This results in a smoother, more predictable turn, and a generally more stable ride.
Precision trucks offer top of the line performance but are quite a large investment. However, they are often worth their price for dedicated riders because they are very durable and will far outlive their cast counterparts.
Still Have Questions?
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- Longboard Deck Buying Guide
- Longboard Wheel Buying Guide
- Longboard Bushing Buying Guide
- Longboard Accessories Buying Guide
- How to Assemble a Longboard