The Complete Guide to Skateboard Components

Skateboard Trucks
Skateboard trucks are made of alloy metal, among other materials, and  attach the wheels to the skateboard deck. Manufacturers are continually experimenting and manufactured different types of metals to try and improve the endurance of the trucks while decreasing the overall weight. Trucks bushings are made with different degrees of hardness that affects the ease of overall skateboarding turns. Skateboard trucks consist of the baseplate, kingpin, bushing, hangar, and axle.

  • The baseplate is the foundation of the skateboard truck. This portion of the truck is bolted to the board and is attached to the hangar. Most trucks have the standard pattern with four mounting holes for most  deck fittings.
  • The kingpin is a large bolt that is mounted into the bottom of the baseplate and secures the axle and hangar to the foundation of the truck. This may be adjusted to allow more maneuverability.
  • The bushings give the skateboard truck its pivoting ability that enables the board to turn. Bushings are available in different hardnesses that affect overall turning performance.
  • The hangar is the part that interlocks the axle with the bushings and kingpin.
  • The axle is the longest part of the skate truck. Wheels are securely attached on each end of the axle with threaded bolts. This is one of the most important considerations when choosing which trucks. In general, the axle is the part of the truck that is used to grind so it should be no longer than the width of the skateboard deck.


Skateboard Wheels
Skateboard wheels are made from polyurethane materials. All wheels are made with the same material, but the structure and style of skateboard wheels are totally versatile. The formula behind skate wheel mold varies between company brands.

Before you decide on the wheel's graphic design, it's important to know the primary use of the wheel. Will it be used for street, park, or ramp riding? The difference in wheel features are found in the wheel durometer (hardness and durability) and wheel diameter. These elements give the skater the ability to choose the perfect wheel for their desired style of skating. 

Skateboard Wheel Durometer


WHEEL DUROMETER

Hardness

How it rides...

87A

Made for very hard surfaces. Good for longboards, cruise riding, and downhilling. Provides exceptional grip and a smooth ride

95A

Made for hard surfaces. Good for street skating. Forfeiting some grip, but still smooth, fast, and will last longer

97A

Made for smooth surfaces. Good for street, ramp, park, and pool skating. Has some grip and speed

100A

Not good for surfaces that are too rough or smooth. Absorbs no vibrations and has no grip. Many pros choice.

 

Durometer is a measurement of the skateboard wheel's hardness and durability. It's measure embodies wheel speed, gripping capability, and the overall feel of the ride. The harder the wheel, the faster it will ride. It absorbs fewer vibrations and has very limited grip. Harder wheels are designed more for street skaters where as softer wheels are designed more for longboard and downhill skating. Softer wheels are slower, but provide a smoother ride as they are more absorbent. Softer urethane will wear down faster on rough surfaces compared to harder wheels.


Skateboard Wheel Diameter


WHEEL DIAMETER

Wheel Size

How it rides...

52-55mm

 Slower riding. Good for street, park, and pool skating. Good for smaller skaters

56-60mm

 Slightly faster. Good for street, park, pool, and vert ramp skating. Good for all size riders

60+mm

 Best for longboards and old-school boards. Good for rough surfaces and speed.

 

The skateboard wheel diameter is a measure of overall wheel height and speed handling capability. Larger wheels travel faster as they covers more surface area with every rotation. The larger wheels are also wider giving them added stability and control to support increased speeds. Smaller wheels tend to carry less speed but are optimal for technical street skating. They are lighter weight and adhere to tricks better than larger wheels.

We hope that this information will be helpful with the process in choosing which skateboard wheels are right for you. Keep in mind, choice is based on each skater's personal preference. Trial and error may be the only route in finding the perfect skateboard wheel for you.

Skateboard Bearings
Skateboard bearings are small components mounted to the inside of the wheel allowing the wheel to turn on the truck's axle. Most bearings are measured using a scale mandated by the Annular Bearing and Engineering Council or ABEC. The higher the bearing scale, the faster the bearing speed. The ratings are ABEC 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. One of the top bearing manufacturers, Bones Bearings, developed their own unique rating system called Skate-Rated. Skateboard bearings need regular maintenance to maintain optimum performance levels as bearings will leak the oil or grease over time. The excessive ‘gunk’ build-up hinders the wheel from rotating smoothly. When this happens, you will begin to hear the sound of metal scrapping on metal - the sound of the ball bearings scrapping against casing and each other. When this sound is heard, the bearing should be serviced or replaced immediately. To enhance the life of your bearings, you should keep a few things in mind:

Keep them dry and free of moisture - they can rust since they are made of metal
Wipe off bearings after every session - this helps prevent dirt buildup within the wheel
Soak the bearings in citrus cleaner - this is only applicable if your bearings are serviceable. Serviceable bearings have removable shields that can be cleaned and re-lubed. Not all bearings have removable shields.

Important Note: Why should you NEVER use WD-40 on your skateboard bearings? It may seem like a good idea, but with bearings, its actually speeds up and breaks down the much needed grease inside the bearing casings.

Skateboard Hardware


HARDWARE SIZE

Hardware

Riser

7/8 - 1 inch

No risers

1 inch

1/8 inch

1 1/8 inch

1/4 inch

1 1/4 inch

5/16 inch

1 1/2 inch

1/2  inch

 

Skateboard hardware refers to the nuts and bolts that hold the trucks in place on the skateboard deck. The key in purchasing hardware is to select the right length. Standard sized hardware is 1 inch. If you decide to purchase risers, make sure to increase the length of the hardware so that the components can be securely mounted. The following chart should make it easier to determine the size of the skateboard hardware based on the size of the riser.

Skateboard Risers
Skateboard risers serve two major purposes, (1) it's to avoid ‘wheel bite’ and  (2) to absorb shock.   Wheel bite is when the wheels rub against the of bottom of the deck. This happens with looser trucks during hard landings or turns. Risers add more distance between the bottom of the deck and the top of the wheel, which can help prevent injury in several ways.   Risers come in a variety of thicknesses and hardnesses. A softer, thicker riser absorbs more shock than a thin, hard risers. Cruisers and downhill skaters often select thick risers to make sure their wheels have adequate distance between the deck and wheels. This gives them more freedom for turning and a much smoother ride. Thinner risers are often chosen by those who skate street, ramp, and park terrains.
  
Skateboard Grip Tape
Grip tape is a gripping solution. The coarseness of the grip tape helps the skater’s shoes adhere the board while riding. Grip tape has a very strong, adhesive backing which is virtually impossible to remove once it's applied. Gripping a skateboard can be tricky so be sure to have it applied by an experienced individual or using an expert source. If you wish to take on this task yourself, be sure to check out our professional grip tape application guide.