Longboarding Key Terms
Longboarding is exploding in popularity and so is the vocabulary that goes along with it. The terms used to describe the new decks, wheels, trucks, riding styles, and techniques can be confusing and overwhelming at times. We want to give you as much knowledge as possible so you can choose the longboard setups that perfectly cater to your needs. Browse this long list of longboard lingo to help bring yourself up to speed and become fluent in the language of longboarding.
For more specific in depth guides on how to choose the longboard setup that is right for you, make sure you visit our Choosing a Longboard Deck, Wheels, Trucks, and Bushings sections.
GENERAL TERMS AND TECHNIQUES
Dialing in your perfect setup is important, but longboarding isn't all about the gear you ride. Make sure you know the basic tricks, techniques, and terms that will come in handy no matter what your riding style.
REGULAR OR GOOFY STANCE
Like being right or left handed, nearly everyone has a naturally dominant stance when riding any type of board. Regular stance riders are more comfortable with their left foot in front while goofy stance riders are more comfortable with their right foot in front.
Switch stance is riding the opposite of your natural body stance. Like a right handed person working with their left hand, switch stance riding can feel very awkward but deserves all the more respect if done with style.
HEELSIDE / FRONTSIDE
A heelside turn or slide is performed by applying pressure on the rail of the board that is closest to your heels. If you are regular, a heelside turn is the same as a left turn. If you are goofy, a heelside turn is the same as a right turn. Heelside turns and slides can also be referred to as frontside turns and slides.
TOESIDE / BACKSIDE
A toeside turn or slide is performed by applying pressure on the rail of the board that is closest to your toes. If you are regular, a toeside turn is the same as a right turn. If you are goofy, a toeside turn is the same as a left turn. Toeside turns and slides can also be referred to as backside turns and slides.
Wheelbite occurs when the wheels rub on the underside of the deck, causing the board to stop and the rider fly over the front. It is a common problem that is encountered when putting together a new longboard setup, and is most common at slow speeds. Wheel wells and wheel cut outs are designed to give your wheels more clearance and help you avoid wheelbite. If you are experiencing wheelbite, try using riser pads, smaller wheels, or harder, more restrictive bushigns.
Speed wobbles are a very common occurrence for beginning to advanced freeride and downhill riders who are pushing their limits and speeds. They happen when the board begins to steer from the back truck, causing the front truck to rapidly turn or wobble back and forth.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to put more weight on your front foot and/or scoot your foot positioning closer to your front truck. This will allow you to steer more easily from your front truck and avoid the back truck steering that causes speed wobbles.
There are also many ways that you can tweak your setup to make it more stable. Stiff construction decks, longer wheelbases, wider trucks, lower angle baseplates, split angle baseplates, and harder or more restrictive bushings will all make your setup more stable and less susceptible to speed wobbles.
For an in depth guide on how to choose a more stable longboard setup that will help you conquer those death wobbles, check out our Choosing a Longboard Deck, Trucks, Wheels, and Bushings pages.
This is the first and most important technique to learn when you are getting comfortable on any type of longboard or skateboard. It is preformed by taking your pushing foot off your board and dragging the sole of your shoe along the road to decrease your speed. Foot braking will do some damage to you shoes but is by far the safest and most effective speed control technique in almost every situation. You should be a confident foot braker at every speed you ride at.
How awesome was it when you learned jump? Learn to ollie no matter what type of riding you prefer. Snap the tail and drag your front foot forward to to leap up, over, and off of any feature you encounter. It may be harder than learning to jump on your feet but it will come in handy and you will be glad you put in the effort.
Pumping a longboard is similar to pumping on a swing set. As you carve, use your legs and hips to shift the momentum from side to side like a surfer, to increase or maintain your speed. Boards with small wheelbases and/or flexible constructions work best for pumping.
To perform a power slide, the rider turns their board hard enough that their wheels lose traction and begin to slide across the riding surface. This maneuver can be used as a trick or a method of speed control. Power slides have always been a fun part of skateboarding, but in recent years, downhill and freeride longboarders have pushed soft wheel power sliding to extreme speeds and distances.
PENDULUM / SHUT DOWN SLIDE
Pendulum or shut down slides are usually the first and most important hands down slides for beginners to learn. It is a very functional maneuver for slowing yourself down or stopping at the end of a run. To preform a pendulum slide, first place one or both hands on the ground (with slide gloves!), then swing your board across your body. As the board is reaching a full 180, you will feel the wheels reverse direction. This will help your board gain the momentum it needs to swing back across your body to complete the pendulum and gain traction in its original position.
STAND UP SLIDE
As its name suggests, stand up slides are power slides preformed standing up without using your hands. Freeride longboarding is a riding style that revolves around the stand up slide. Riders love to slash driveways, preform spins, switch slides, and drift corners without using their hands as they fly down steep hills.
Pre-drifts are very difficult maneuvers but are often the fastest and most enjoyable way to get around a corner. To properly preform a pre-drift, you must initiate a slide to slow yourself down as you enter the the corner. It is very important to regain traction before the apex of the corner so you can accelerate through the exit of the turn. Dialing in your pre-drifts is essential to being a fast downhill rider.
Speed tucks are used to counteract air resistance by folding your body into a more aerodynamic position. A functional speed tuck also distributes your weight closer to the front truck for increased stability. It takes some time to perfect but having a good tuck is essential to being a fast downhill rider.
LONGBOARD RIDING STYLES
Longboarding and skateboarding revolve around creativity and innovation. There is great crossover between each style of riding, but getting familiar with each category will help you identify the type of riding you want to do and the products that will work best for your own individual style.
Skateboarding is a healthy and “green” way to get around town, and is a lot more fun than sitting in traffic. The number of people using longboards for transportation has increased dramatically in recent years for many reasons.
Longboards are less expensive to own and maintain than bicycles, they can be more maneuverable in tight spaces, and can be conveniently carried into stores, on buses, and into school or a house without having to worry about bike locks and theft. Many of us also find skateboards to be far more playful and fun than bicycles. They give you an opportunity to be creative with the way you navigate around the many obstacles you encounter on the way to your destination.
LONG DISTANCE PUSHING
Some longboarders embark on epic journeys to push thousands of miles on their boards. There are also many long distance push (LDP) races that are similar to long distance bicycle and foot races.
FREESTYLE / DANCE
Longboard freestyle and dancing encourages maximum creativity from the rider. It incorporates old school boardwalking or dancing maneuvers with technical flatground tricks and any other stylish elements that the rider wishes to mix in. Shuv its, kick flips, cross steps, and tiger claws can all be considered freestyle tricks.
Freeride is a very accessible form of downhill longboarding and skateboarding. This discipline revolves around the powerslide but encourages creativity and blending of many styles. Riders use protective slide gloves with plastic pucks so they can slide their hands across the surface of the road to improve their balance during slides. However, freeriders love to slash driveways, preform spins, switch slides, and drift corners without using their hands for balance. This is a very fun riding style that is a great way for beginners to get comfortable on their boards and learn how to control their speed. However, many expert riders have learned to throw standing drifts at very high speeds.
The most extreme and exhilarating discipline of longboarding, is referred to simply as downhill. At speeds that can run upwards of 60 mph, riders use a racing style to negotiate hairpin turns and maximize their speed throughout the run. Riders use protective slide gloves with plastic pucks so they can slide their hands across the surface of the road while preforming technical pre-drifts and tight cornering. This can be very dangerous on public roads, and should be reserved for expert riders only. However, there are many downhill races held around the world which close roads to traffic and let riders test their limits under controlled conditions. This type of riding is still very risky, so riders almost always wear full face helmets and full leather suits.
CRUISING / CARVING
Aggressive downhill and freeride longboarding is not for everyone. After all, skateboarding and longboarding are all about having fun. Some people just love the feel of gliding down a mellow hill, path, street, or sidewalk. Longboard cruising and carving is also a great alternative to jogging or biking for exercise.
Any board can be used for cruising and carving, so board selection all comes down to personal preference. However, many cruisers prefer longer, more flexible boards with soft bushing setups which can exaggerate carves and generate speed/energy out of turns using a technique called pumping.
LONGBOARD DECK VOCAB
The board or deck is the primary component of any longboard or skateboard setup and is the platform you stand on while riding. This may seem pretty straight forward, but there are many types of decks and an ever expanding vocabulary of terms used to describe them. Browse the terms below to boost your deck IQ.
For a more specific in depth guide on how to choose the longboard deck that is right for you, make sure you visit our Choosing a Longboard Deck page.
The wheelbase of a longboard is the distance between the front and back truck. It is measured from inner mounting hole to inner mounting hole. In general, a smaller wheelbase is more responsive and less stable while a longer wheelbase is more stable and less responsive.
These are the holes on your deck which come in sets of four and are used to mount your trucks. They line up with the holes in your truck baseplates. Slide your bolts through each hole and screw the nuts on the other end. Sometimes boards offer multiple sets of mounting holes so you can adjust your board's wheelbase.
Concave is the curvatures in a deck that make it more comfortable or functional for riding. Standard concave runs from rail to rail giving the deck a rounded platform (with the lowest point in the center) that helps keep the riders feet in place. In recent years, manufacturers have pioneered many new types of concave which are specialized to perform different functions for the demanding sports of freeride and downhill. However, their main goal is still to prevent foot slippage while riding.
The best invention in skateboarding since the skateboard. An upward curve in the nose or tail of a deck which can be used as a lever to perform tricks and provide increased maneuverability.
The rails of a deck are the edges which run lengthwise from nose to tail.
HEELSIDE / FRONTSIDE RAIL
The heelside rail of the deck is the rail that is closest to your heel when riding. A heelside turn or slide is performed by applying pressure on the heelside rail. If you are regular, a heelside turn is the same as a left turn. If you are goofy, a heelside turn is the same as a right turn. Heelside turns and slides can also be referred to as frontside turns and slides.
TOESIDE / FRONTSIDE RAIL
The toeside rail of the deck is the rail that is closest to your toe when riding. A toeside turn or slide is performed by applying pressure on the toeside rail. If you are regular, a toeside turn is the same as a right turn. If you are goofy, a toeside turn is the same as a left turn. Toeside turns and slides can also be referred to as backside turns and slides.
EFFECTIVE FOOT PLATFORM (EFP)
The effective foot platform of the deck is the area of the deck which can be functionally used for riding. On a drop deck or deck with cutouts, this is the area of the deck between the drops or cutouts.
A board with a directional shape has a designated front and back. Directional shapes are often accomplished by using taper, and are commonly used for downhill and transportation because switch riding is rare.
A board with a symmetrical shape has no designated front or back and can be easily ridden either direction. Symmetrical boards are popular for freeride and freestyle because riders often find themselves or their boards riding backwards.
If a longboard has taper, that means that its width decreases or gets narrower towards one or both ends. Most boards with taper are wider in the front and narrower towards the tail, giving it a directional shape.
The classic pintail shape was made popular by Sector 9 in the early 90's and is still one of the most common shapes used today. Its surf inspired design features long overall board length (40-45'') and taper from tip to tail, combined with varying degrees of camber and a flexible construction. This board style mimics the feeling of slashing big waves by giving you a powerful release of energy from each carve, which makes them great for pumping.
This is the original and most common way to mount your trucks. The truck baseplate is mounted to the bottom of the skateboard. It will ride higher than a drop through and will have a more responsive feel with fun divey turns. They provide more wheel clearance which allows for shapes that let the riders stand closer to the trucks for more control. They also provide more grip through corners when downhilling but make it more difficult to control the initiation and hookup of slides. Decks with drop through mounting holes can still be top mounted like any other board.
Drop through mounting holes are used to mount the truck baseplate on the top of the deck. This achieves the opposite of a riser pad by lowering the board's center of gravity and ride height, giving increased stability and less required pushing effort. Riser pads can also be used between the deck and baseplate to lower the board even more. Drop through decks are great for beginners because they are more stable, take less effort to push, and make it easier to initiate slides. If desired, decks with drop through mounting holes can also be top mounted like any other board.
If you need help setting up a drop through board, check out our Assembling a Longboard page.
Flush mounting is most commonly used on boards that have a micro-drop or a significant amount of rocker which interferes with the truck mounting. A rectangular section of the bottom of the board is routed out to provide a flat tuck mounting surface. This allows the rider to securely mount their trucks closer to the board's pockets without changing the truck's baseplate angle.
Wheel wells are recessed areas on the bottom of a deck that are located above the wheels to provide more wheel clearance and avoid wheelbite. They are not as effective as wheel cut outs but are often used as an alternative because they do not restrict the effective foot platform of the deck and allow you to ride with your feet closer to your trucks. Even with large wheel wells, riser pads are often required for wheels over 70mm.
WHEEL CUT OUTS
Wheel cut outs are sections of the deck that are removed above the wheels to provide more clearance for large wheels and avoid wheelbite. Cut outs are very commonly used with drop decks, and drop through boards to accommodate their lower ride height.
Flexible constructions are often used on carving and transportation decks to give the board a lively and responsive feel at slower speeds. Having a flexy board also provides vibration dampening and makes it easier to preform some freestyle tricks. While flexible constructions are fun at low speeds, they can become very unstable at higher speeds. Depending on the wheelbase, 5-7 ply decks are generally considered to have a flexible construction.
Stiff constructions are most often used on freeride and downhill boards because they provide increased stability for higher speed riding. This added stability also makes them less responsive at slower speeds unless accompanied by a small wheelbase. 8 or 9 ply decks are generally considered to have stiff construction.
Torsional flex is the boards ability to twist across its width. You can test the torsional flex of your board by taking a wide stance and applying pressure with your right heel and left toe, then left heel and right toe. High torsional flex means that the board will be softer and more forgiving while low torsional flex will give you more accurate and immediate performance for sliding and cornering.
Camber is the curve of the board from nose to tail. If you place a cambered board on the ground with the grip tape facing up, the center of the deck will sit higher than the nose and tail. If you flip it over, it will rock back and forth. Many carving decks with flexible constructions have added camber to give the flex a lively pop and bounce. The opposite of camber is reverse camber or rocker.
ROCKER / REVERSE CAMBER
A board with rocker or reverse camber has an elongated curve from nose to tail with the lowest point in the middle, like the shape of a banana. If you place a rockered deck on the ground with the grip tape facing up, it will rock back and forth like a rocking chair. Rocker is commonly used for downhill and freeride boards because it allows you to comfortably lean into and apply leverage to the foot pockets of the board.
Some concave profiles are flat in the center of the deck and raised towards the rails, but radial concave follows a continuous arc as it extends the width of the deck. This provides your foot with continuous leverage points from rail to rail.
Foot pockets are created from a variety of styles of 3D concave (including micro-drops, radial drops, rocker, and w-concave) and are designed to create an ergonomic bowl for your foot. They are used to provide locators for your foot, prevent foot slippage, and provide leverage points for cornering and sliding.
While all concave is 3 dimensional by definition, this term refers to concave that runs in more than one direction. Many freeride and downhill decks offer very creative concave profiles that run from rail to rail, nose to tail, and just about any way you can imagine to create comfortable and functional pockets that help keep your feet locked in while providing leverage points for cornering and sliding.
Dropped platform decks or drop decks lower the riding platform by adding curvatures to the camber of the board in a way that positions the effective foot platform below the truck mounting. This achieves a lower center of gravity while creating a second set of concave at the ends of the standing platform. This second concave, or drop, can be used as a locator for your foot, or as a pocket to keep your foot in place and apply leverage while cornering and sliding. Because of these benefits, drop decks are commonly used for transportation, freeride, and downhill.
Deep drop decks also offer very different turn characteristics. As you turn, instead of tipping to one side like a standard top mount deck, you will feel the board swing to one side like a hammock. Many people prefer this feel because it allows you to lean hard into corners without over steering.
Micro-drop decks are drop decks with very slightly dropped platforms. Rather than lowering the riding platform, the main purpose of these drops is to create additional concave. They have become very popular for freeride and downhill because they can offer superior concave and foot pockets while still offering similar grip and turn characteristics to a standard top mount deck.
A double drop deck has both a dropped platform and drop through mounting holes.
WHEEL WELL FLARES
Wheel well flares increase the amount of concave on the rails of a deck, above where the wheels will be mounted. This creates a pocket and leverage point for the rider's feet, and allows more clearance for larger wheels.
While traditional drops are linear and run perpendicular to the rails of the board, radial drops take the shape of a rounded arc. This provides a bubble like lump toward the ends of the effective foot platform to create an ergonomic pocket which functions similarly to a foot stop.
W-Concave is an extra ridge of concave that is placed in the center of the board. If you look down the length of the deck, the concave will be raised at the outside edges and again in the center of the board, creating a “W” shape. This extra lump of concave sits under the arch of your foot and is used to create a pocket and leverage point for cornering and pushing out slides.
Boards with gas pedals have sections of the rails sanded down to provide an angled surface to apply lateral pressure with your foot. They are very popular among riders who like to monkey toe, or hang their toes and heels over the edges of their board for increased leverage while sliding and cornering.
Foot stops are intended to do exactly what their name suggests: stop your foot from moving. They are attached to the top of the deck and usually rest along the outside of your front foot to prevent slippage during toeside slides. Foot stops can be purchased or made from any number of objects. You can easily make your own from a long hardware bolt, a washer, and an old bushing. Use those items to replace your inner heelside bolt so the bushing sticks up from the top of your board.
LONGBOARD WHEEL VOCAB
All wheels can roll and slide, but how does their size, shape, core placement, and durometer effect they way they ride? Check the terms below and start talking like a pro.
For a more specific in depth guide on how to choose the longboard wheels that are right for you, make sure you visit our Choosing Longboard Wheels page.
Durometer is a scale that is used to rate the hardness of plastics and urethanes used for a variety of products including skate/longboard wheels and bushings. Skateboard and longboard wheels range in durometer from 75-101a. Soft wheels are generally 78-88a while hard wheels are typically 90-101a.
Skateboard and longboard bushings range in durometer from 78-98a. 78-83a bushings are considered to be soft, 84-90a bushings fall in the medium range, and 91-98a bushings are considered to be hard. In general, a softer bushing will be more responsive but less stable while a harder bushing will be more stable but less responsive.
Wheels that fall into the category of hard wheels generally have a durometer of 90-101a. They are most commonly used for park and street because they roll and slide fast on smooth concrete and ledges. Because of their low grip and fast slides, hard wheels are also used for tech sliding on longboards. This discipline includes blunt slide variations and many fast rotating spins. For more information on choosing the hard wheels that our right for you, click over to our Choosing Skateboard Wheels page.
Soft wheels are most commonly used on longboards because they are quiet, grippy, and roll easily on any type of pavement. Wheels that fall into this category have durometer ratings of 75-88a but most soft wheels have a durometer of 78-83a. For an in depth guide on the many types of soft wheels and how to choose the set that is right for you, make sure you check out our Choosing Longboard Wheels section.
The core of the wheel is the inner, usually plastic, hub of the wheel. It provides support for the wheel's urethane and provides a place for the bearings to be mounted.
The core placement of a wheel describes the alignment of the core within the wheel. There are three categories of core placement that are common among longboard wheels: centerset, offset, and sideset. Each style will give you slightly different performance and slide characteristics.
Center set wheels have cores that are placed directly in the center of the wheel, equidistant to the outer edge of each lip. Of the three, this core placement style gives the most amount of grip because it creates a very large inner lip. Another advantage of center set wheels is they can be flipped inside out to promote even wear and a longer lifespan. For this reason, many freeride wheels have centerset cores paired with small contact patches. Check out these popular centerset freeride wheels:
If you want a very grippy centerset wheel with a wide contact patch, look no further than the Hawgs Biggie Hawgs wheels. These epic downhill wheels are as wide as they are tall but still manage to break out for clean pre-drifts when needed.
Sideset wheels have cores that are directly aligned with the inner lip of the wheel. This core placement style has the least amount of grip because it allows little to no inner lip. Sideset wheels allow smooth slides to be easily initiated with little required force. However, their lack of grip also makes them harder to control while sliding. A sideset core also causes the inner lip to wear much faster than the outer lip which can result in severe coning. Despite their drawbacks, sideset wheels are still very popular for freeride and a great choice for beginners who are learning to break traction on their longboards.
Offset wheels have cores that are placed somewhere between centerset and sideset. By blending the characteristics of the previous two core placements, offset wheels give the rider the best of both worlds. Most downhill wheels and many freeride wheels are offset because they give you a more forgiving slide initiation and hookup while still providing ample grip and control in the slide.
The lip of a wheel refers to the outer edges of it's contact patch. The shape of the wheel's lips help regulate the amount of grip the wheel has. All wheels have varying degrees of sharp or round lips.
SHARP OR SQUARE LIPPED
The lip of a wheel refers to the outer edges of it's contact patch. The shape of the wheel's lips will tell you a lot about the way it rides. Sharp or thick square lips will give the wheel more grip and are generally preferred for downhill.
The lip of a wheel refers to the outer edges of it's contact patch. The shape of the wheel's lips will tell you a lot about the way it rides. Rounded lips will give the wheel less grip and are generally preferred for freeride because they make it easier for the rider to break traction and initiate slides.
SKINS OR MOLD RELEASE
When brand new wheels come out of their molds, they have a shiny coating on their surface which is commonly referred to as its skin or mold release. The wheel's skin is very grippy and makes the wheels very difficult to slide. It usually takes quite a few slides to break in or wear the skins off a set of wheels so that they slide quiet and smooth. Because the skin is so grippy, top racers often ride fresh wheels in each heat to maximize their grip on the road.
If you want to avoid the choppy break in stage and are looking for a freeride wheel that will slide great right out of the package, try a stone ground wheel with round lips.
Stone ground contact patches have become very popular for freeride wheels in recent years. When brand new wheels come out of their molds, they have a shiny coating on their surface which is commonly referred to as its skin or mold release. The wheel's skin is very grippy and makes the wheels very difficult to slide. It usually takes quite a few slides to break in or wear the skins off a set of wheels so that they slide quiet and smooth. For this reason, many manufacturers now stone grind the skins off the contact patches of their round lipped freeride wheels so that they slide great right out of the package. Stone ground wheels are highly recommended for beginners who want to learn how to slide.
Thane lines are trails of urethane that are left behind after preforming a power slide. If your wheels are leaving thick lines on the road, that means that your wheels are wearing quickly and will not last long. However, many riders love fast wearing wheels for freeride because they feel great in the slide, and it is fun to check out your lines and compare them to your friend's on your way back up the hill.
With repeated sliding, wheels will typically wear more quickly on the inner lips of the wheels giving them a coned shape. Side set and off set wheels are most susceptible to this type of wear. Center set wheels will also show signs of coning, but can be flipped to promote more even wear. If you slide in one direction far more than the other, then half of your wheels may reverse cone, or wear more quickly on the outer lips than the inner lips. For example, doing only heelside slides will cause the wheels on your heelside edge to cone and the wheels on your toeside edge to reverse cone.
OVALING AND FLATSPOTTING
Wheels are round for a reason, so ovaling and flatspotting can make your wheels very uncomfortable to ride. These forms of uneven wear occur when the wheels do not wear consistently and can cause your wheels to vibrate and slow you down. Ovaling and flatspotting is almost always a result of poor slide technique. If you slide with your board at 90 degrees or perpendicular to the direction you are traveling, this can make your wheels stop rotating and all the wear will fall in the same area, causing your wheels to oval and flatspot. If you slide with your board closer to a 45 degree angle to the direction you are traveling, your wheels will keep rotating and will be less likely to oval or flatspot. Wheels with slow wearing urethane and large supportive cores are more resilient to these types of uneven wear.
LONGBOARD TRUCK VOCAB
Trucks are the most complicated component of a longboard setup and can easily be the most confusing. Read up on how all the parts come together and dictate the way your setup turns.
For an in depth guide on how to choose the longboard trucks that are right for you, make sure you visit our Choosing Longboard Trucks page.
The baseplate is the flat part of the truck, which mounts directly to the deck, ensuring even pressure and a secure hold. The baseplate comes drilled with four – sometimes six – mounting holes, which should match up with the mounting holes on your deck. This is also the part of the truck that adjusts the angle that your hanger sits at.
The baseplate angle adjusts the angle that your hanger sits at. 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.
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.
Just as it is in the automotive world, the kingpin is the most integral part of any skateboard or longboard truck. Essentially, this one thick bolt is the only thing that holds the entire apparatus together, fastening the hanger to the bushings to the baseplate. Luckily, kingpins are replaceable if they break, so you won’t have to buy new trucks.
The hanger is the T-shaped component of the trucks which houses the axle. The kingpin runs up the interior of the hanger, interlocking it with the bushings. The truck's hanger is very important to the way it performs because it contains the bushing seat, and establishes the width of the truck. For more information about how those features affect the way a truck will ride, check out our Choosing Longboard Trucks section.
The axle runs inside the hanger, and is exposed on either end where the wheels are attached. The standard axle diameter is 8mm.
The pivot is the third point of the hanger which slides into the pivot cup on the baseplate. Once in place, it rotates to allow the truck to turn.
The pivot cup is the small rounded bowl in the baseplate that is lined with urethane. The pivot of the hanger should fit snugly inside while still being allowed to rotate.
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. For more information on the types of bushing seats and which may be right for you, check out our Choosing Longboard Trucks page.
REVERSE KINGPIN (RKP)
Reverse kingpin trucks are the most common type of truck used for longboarding because they are lively and responsive at slow speeds while offering more customization for stability and control at high speeds. RKP trucks generally sit higher than Standard Kingpin 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. Take a click over to our RKP Longboard Trucks section to view our wide selection.
STANDARD KINGPIN (SKP)
Standard kingpin 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. If you want a versatile all around truck to put on your 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, make sure you check out our Choosing Skateboard trucks page and browse our selection of SKP Skateboard Trucks.
SPLIT DEGREE OR WEDGE / DEWEDGE
Many downhill riders prefer split baseplate 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.
LONGBOARD BUSHING VOCAB
Bushings are the urethane support cushions that are mounted on the kingpin and fit into the bushing seat on both sides of the hanger. They give adjustable levels of resistance when turning and prevent the metal components of the truck from grinding on each other. Each truck should have two, and you can customize the way your trucks feel by adjusting the size, shape, and durometer of your bushings. Study up on the shapes and setups below so you can dial in your bushing setup and give yourself that perfect turn.
For an in depth guide on how to find your ideal bushing setup, check out our Choosing Longboard Bushings page.
The boardside bushing is the bushing that is closer to the board when mounted on the trucks.
The roadside bushing is the bushing that is closer to the road when mounted on the trucks.
Just like longboard and skateboard wheels, bushings have durometer ratings that asses their hardness. Most bushings range from very soft 78a to very hard 98a. 78-83a bushings are considered to be soft, 84-90a bushings fall in the medium range, and 91-98a bushings are considered to be hard. In general, a softer bushing will be more playful but less stable while a harder bushing will be more stable but less responsive. For advice on how to choose the bushing durometer that is right for you, check out our Choosing Longboard Bushings page.
SPLIT DUROMETER BUSHING SETUPS
A split durometer bushing setup is when two different durometer bushings are used in one truck to fine tune the way the truck feels. If you are using bushings with two different shapes or durometers in one truck, it is recommended that you place the harder or more restrictively shaped bushing on the boardside. A harder or more restrictive boardside bushing will give you a stable, supportive base while a softer or less restrictive roadside bushing will allow a divey, responsive feel.
Short and tall cone shaped bushings give your hangers a wide range of motion for a divey, easy carving feel. They are great for transportation and carving because they make your board very lively and responsive at slow speeds but are less stable at high speeds. Because of its size, a tall cone will be slightly more restrictive and stable than a short cone and is most often used in RKP trucks or as the boardside bushing in SKP trucks. Short cones are most often used as the roadside bushing in standard kingpin trucks.
Barrel shaped bushings are designed to fill the entire bushing seat to give the rider increased stability for more aggressive freeride and downhill riding. However, softer barrels can also be great for carving and transportation. Barrels are often paired with a tall cone to give riders a great all around stable and responsive setup for any type of riding. If you like the barrel-cone setup but want a little more support for higher speed riding, try a split durometer double barrel setup with a softer durometer roadside bushing.
STEPPED BARREL OR ELIMINATOR BUSHINGS
Stepped barrel or eliminator shaped bushings are designed to be very restrictive in order to prevent wheelbite in SKP trucks or provide ultimate stability in downhill RKP trucks. They fill the entire bushing seat and have an additional bevel that steps out around the outside of the bushing seat for increased support and control. Because of their restrictive shape, they allow you to ride a softer durometer than you may be accustomed to. This gives you the advantage of having both a large supportive shape and soft responsive urethane. They are usually only used as a boardside bushing and are commonly paired with barrel bushings.
STEPPED OR FREERIDE CONE BUSHINGS
Stepped or freeride cone shaped bushings are a mix between cone and eliminator shaped bushings to give you the best of both worlds. One end offers a very supportive base which locks in and around the bushing seat for increased stability while the other end tapers to allow a wider range of motion from your hanger. This innovative shape provides similar performance to barell-cone and split durometer setups that can be used on either or both sides of the hanger. Depending on the durometer you choose, this shape can be great for any type of riding.
Each truck should have two bushing washers. One that sits between the boardside bushing and the truck baseplate, and one that sits between the roadside bushing and kingpin nut. Different types of bushing washers can be used to further customize the way your trucks ride. Cupped washers provide more support and control while standard washers allow an un-restricted lively feel.
Longboard deck, trucks, and wheels are the primary components of your setup but they aren't the only things you need to shred. Make sure you've got your nuts, bolts, and bearings, then check out the many longboarding accessories that allow you to fine tune your ride and learn new techniques.
Longboard and skateboard hardware is the 8 nuts and bolts that attach the trucks to the board. The standard size is 10/32''.
Bearings are what allow your wheels to roll and your longboard to move. Each setup should have 8 that fit around the axles and inside the wheels. Longboards use the same bearings as standard skateboards. The universal industry standard is 8mm 608 size bearings. However, some trucks have thicker 10mm diameter axles which require 10mm 608 size bearings.
Bearing shields are protective covers that form the sidewalls of the bearings. They help to prevent dirt, water, and other debris from entering the bearings and slowing you down. Some bearings come with shields on both sides while some come with shields on only one side. Be careful not to damage the bearing shields when tightening or loosening your axle nuts. Bent or dented bearing shields can obstruct the bearing's ability to spin.
Bearing spacers are hollow cylindrical pieces of metal that fit on the truck axles and inside the wheels between the bearings. They are made to be the exact width of the distance between the two bearings when they are placed in the wheel's core. This allows the axle nuts to be tightened down all the way without obstructing the wheel's ability to spin. Bearing spacers are highly recommended for longboarding because they do not allow the wheel to have any lateral movement on the axle. This will give your bearings longer life, and help prevent vibrations and chatter when cornering and sliding. Pick up some bearing spacers now.
Riser pads are small pieces of rubber or plastic which can be placed between your deck and truck baseplate to raise the board's ride height and and avoid wheelbite by providing more clearance for larger wheels. They can also be used on drop through setups to lower the ride height. If they are made from flexible materials, they also act as vibration dampeners to give you a smoother, quieter ride.
AXLE WASHERS / SPEED RINGS
Speed rings are small washers that are designed to be placed on the axles on either side of the bearings to prevent the hangers and axle nuts from rubbing on the bearings. Each truck comes with 2 speed rings on each axle and they are extremely easy to lose. Be careful when changing wheels, but if you do lose one, don't worry, it happens to everyone and it is almost impossible to feel the difference.
Next to a helmet, slide gloves are the most important item to have if you want to start riding aggressively on your longboard. They are protective gloves that have plastic pucks attached, usually by Velcro, to the palm and sometimes fingertips. These slide-able pucks allow you to place your hands on the ground in order to improve balance while cornering and sliding, making them essential for freeride and downhill. Learning to use your gloves properly will open up a whole new world of tricks and terrain to learn and conquer. Even if you are not planning to learn how to slide, slide gloves are valuable safety gear that provide wrist support and prevent you from tearing up your hands. Be sure to check out our featured options below, and browse our entire selection of skateboarding gloves.