Special thanks to Stoked Skateboards for sharing your amazing info graphics! Longboard trucks are not quite as simple as they may appear. Be it the angle of the truck or even the width of the axle, there are some things you need to know before investing in a pair of trucks. Like most board components in longboarding, the type of trucks that you ultimately decide on should be heavily influenced by the kind of riding you want to do on them. Almost any truck will fit on your board, but only certain trucks will do what you want them to.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of longboard trucks, it is probably a good idea to quickly review some terminology:
Axle – supports the wheels and bearings, locking them in place.
Hanger – top piece of the truck, can be used for grinding obstacles
Kingpin – keeps the bushings in place and controls the tightness of the truck
Bushings – urethane above and underneath hanger which influence turning
Baseplate – stable foundation for hanger to connect with
Pivot Cup – turning point of the hanger, urethane inside keeps turning smooth
Mounting Holes – used to connect trucks to longboard
Alright now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s dive right in! We will begin with hanger width. Trucks are strange in that they often use both millimeters and inches to describe the size of the hanger. Often the millimeters are used to detail the hanger width, where as inches are typically used to define the width of the axle. This is not a standard rule however, it is always best to double check the hanger size before committing to a set of trucks.
It may seem straightforward but is still worth mentioning, the bigger the hanger helps provide a rider with more stability. On the other end of the spectrum, a small hanger will provide much less stability, but add for more maneuverability. So why would you ever choose a small hanger over a large one? Well, one is to match you board size, but also because they turn much faster due to their smaller width, as said earlier.
However, it is also important to consider that a shorter truck width can increase the risk of getting wheel bite, which is a fancy way of saying that your wheels make contact with the bottom of your board. You can combat this by using smaller wheels with your setup. Check out our “How to Choose Longboard Wheels Guide” for more info.
RKP & TKP:
“But wait, hold up, there are two different kinds of trucks? What!?” Yes, now calm down, we will figure this out. There two types of trucks which are RKP (Reverse Kingpin) and TKP (Traditional Kingpin). These distinctions refer to the placement and orientation of the kingpin in the truck.
A TKP truck is your standard skateboard truck, with a kingpin that is nearly vertical and a hangar that sits in front of the kingpin. RKP trucks on the other hand have an angled kingpin and a hangar that sits behind the end of the kingpin. Traditionally RKP has been used for longboarding, as they provide a surf like feel, with lots of lean and turn. TKP has traditionally been used for skateboarding, with strong design to hold up against all the tricks, you have up your sleeve.
Times are changing! With the fusion of styles and the massive range in board shapes these days, many people are creating hybrid set ups that can bomb hills while also thrashing up their local skatepark. The combinations are nearly endless!
Now that we’ve established the difference between TKP and RKP trucks, let’s get down into your RKP’s baseplate angle. A simple rule of thumb when talking about baseplate angle is: Lower angle = less turn, Higher angle = more turn.
“So why in the hell would I ever want a low degree baseplate?” you may ask. Well, sit down and let me learn ya somethin’ kid. While a higher degree baseplate is better for turning, you’re going to sacrifice stability. This is where low degree baseplates shine. If you’re looking to reach high speeds without having to worry about getting the wobbles, snag a set of low degree trucks.
Another thing thing that needs to be talked about is truck “lean”. Lean is a truck’s ability to tilt from side to side without turning. While this may sound like a bad thing, a truck with lean will give you more stability at high speeds. This is the main reason why trucks with lower baseplate angles(which have more lean) are more stable than trucks with high baseplate angles.
Take the Seismic Aeon 30 degree trucks for example. At 30 degrees, these truck are going to have a lower angle than the majority of longboard trucks on the market. With such a low baseplate angle, these trucks will have more lean than Lil’ Wayne on a binge (if you know what I’m sayin’).
Truck stability doesn’t just stop at the angle of your baseplate though. The shape of your bushing seat can also have a big effect on the way that your trucks perform. Bushing seats usually come in three main forms: Stepped, Rounded, and Flat.
Let’s start with stepped bushing seats. A stepped bushing seat is gonna be your best bet for stability. This type of bushing seat will hold on to your bushings more securely than others. What this does is decreases the “slop” of your trucks, or their tendency to turn without having pressure applied.
Next up is rounded bushing seats. These are a going to be good for carving setups, or anyone looking for a more “turney” truck. This bushing seat will sacrifice some stability however, and is therefor less suited for downhill, high speed riding.
Flat bushing seats are more “do it all”. A flat bushing seat will give you many more options for your bushing setup, as they will be able to accommodate a much wider variety of bushing shapes and sizes. Bushing seats like these will have more slop than others though.
If you’re a hardcore longboarder, and you like to push your setup to the very edge, then axle thickness may be important for you. The thickness of a truck’s axle is a major factor in the strength of that truck. A common issue that skaters face is that their trucks will bend due to stresses from riding.
Truck axles can come in 2 different thicknesses: 8 mm, and 10 mm. The vast majority of trucks on the market have 8 mm axles. For most people 8 mm will work perfectly fine. If you do want a sturdier axle, then 10 mm is the way to go. The only drawback to this however is the lack of options that you will have in both truck styles and bearings that will fit those axles.
The mounting of a truck is the configuration of the holes drilled in its baseplate, which dictate where mounting screws are placed. There are only two mounting configurations that you will come across with modern trucks. These configurations are called “Old-school” and “New-school”.
The mounting configuration of a set of trucks will dictate what board they will be able to fit on. This is becoming less of a problem though, as more and more truck manufacturers are combining Old-school and New-school mountings on baseplates.