Posted on06 March 2008.
Of the all the parts of the skateboard, the truck is the most often overlooked. After all, you hardly ever see it for more than a split second during a 360°. For many skaters, having a good deck with solid wheels is all you need. But especially for trick skaters who like to grind rails, having the right gear underneath your board could make the difference between living on the edge and landing on your ass.
Unlike other components of today’s highly engineered boards, the truck is a part which is not necessarily used as originally intended. Manufacturers tend to think in terms of holding the wheels together with the board. After all, most of the time, the wheels are making contact with the riding surface or failing to. Using standard trucks to scrape along the sides of stairs can be very tough on standard skateboard truck assemblies, so if you spend a lot of time on grinds, you may want to customize the underside of your board as well as the deck.
The truck can be a wonder of micro engineering. The commonest metal by far is lightweight aluminum, in cast variety or titanium alloy, but everything from pewter to 24k gold is in use. High-performance units tend to be made of light aluminum, whereas models intended for the skate park tend to have a little more metal and dimension to take the hard punishment that constant grinding inflicts on the underbelly of the skateboard.
Skateboard trucks are the subject of fierce debates, attracting defenders and detractors with ever micrometer of design deviation. And for good cause-subtle, minute adjustments in the arrangement of kingpin, hanger and bushings will make miles of difference during that tight slalom turn or when flying the half-pipe. The truck is an interactive assembly, and the specs will define how the load-bearing part of your board will respond to your cues and shifts.
The clearance of the truck is a critical issue for many skaters, as is weight. Light, high trucks are associated with sharper turns, slalom skating, whereas a more substantial unit is preferred for downhill and longboard skating. The kingpin can be adjusted to the skater’s preference, a looser pin will make turning easier and smoother. One factor which doesn’t get a lot of attention from skaters is the hardness of the bushings, which can really make a difference in how your board absorbs shock and reacts to your movement.
Choosing the right skateboard truck will be a combination of brand loyalty, consumer research, and following the leader. What works for one skater might not work for another, so match your choice to your style. Check out the bottoms of boards you see pulling off the moves you want to make. Most of the big name skate companies have their own lines of skateboard trucks available, and specialty truck manufacturers have sprouted up to supply the endless demands of skaters for lighter yet stronger trucks that turn on a dime and slide down a curb.