Skateboard buyers guide
All you need to know about a skateboard but were too afraid to ask. Its confusing and can be midboggling , so we hope this guide helps you understand what to look for.
How to Buy A Skateboard:
There is a lot more to a skateboard than meets the eye. That little piece of wood on four wheels is actually a highly technical piece of equipment comprised of many parts, all working together for the optimum ride. Your individual style of riding, budget, and terrain will dictate what type of skateboard and components are right for you.
5 main parts to look at for buying a skateboard are: Deck, trucks, wheels, bearings and bolts. Other parts are available to purchase or upgrade, service the existing parts of your board or replace damaged or broken ones.
its parts and descriptions
The board, also known as the deck, this is the infamous wooden platform on which trucks are mounted to the bottom and griptape is applied to the top. The nose and tail of the board are, typically, concaved and raised slightly to provide a kicktail for the rider. Standard boards consist of 7 plies of hard maple wood laminated together and pressed into whatever concavous shape makes skateboarders happy. Most technical decks are in the range of 7.25" to 8.5" inches wide and between 29" and 33" inches long. Width choice is also a purely personal decision, although smaller skaters (especially smaller footed skaters) will find a deck under 8" in makes it easier to learn tricks. Being made of wood and used and abused ruthlessly by aggressive human beings, decks do break frequently. Despite this, wood is continully used due to it's comfortable, responsive nature.
The nose is the front kicktail of your skateboard. It is usually slightly broader than the tail.
The tail is the back kicktail of your skateboard. It is usually slightly smaller than the nose.
Eight mounting holes in the board, four near each kicktail, are drilled to allow attachement of the trucks to the deck. Mounting holes for industry standard decks and trucks are a specified size so any standard truck should fit any standard deck.
A ply is one layer of wood in a skateboard deck. Most technical skateboard decks are either 7 or 9 plies of hardwood maple. Some decks utilize a layer (or ply) of fiberglass for strength and rigidity including: Powerlytes, Powerpro, Poptop, Drops and Fiberlights.
Laminates are the glues used to adhere one ply in a deck to another. The laminates used for skateboard decks are harmless in a dry board, but are highly toxic during the laminating process.
Wheel bite sucks. If you turn too hard in one direction on a truck, the wheel you're turning over may contact the deck and "bite" into it, causing the board to stop or slow down abruptly while you just keep on going... not good.
Wheel base of a skateboard deck is the distance between the inside mounting holes on a board, essentially the distance between two mounted trucks. Generally, the longer your legs are the wider you'll want your wheel base. There's no need to get too concerned about this though since board length is more important and the wheel base varies accordingly. Ultimately, comfort is priority one and only you can decide what feels best to ride.
Griptape is the sandpaper like sheet that is applied to the top of the deck. It is usually 9" wide by 33" long and is self adhesive. The Griptape is grainy because in order to have control and traction of your skate board, you need a substance that will catch and grab all the movement of your feet. Can be plain black or graphic grips are available and die cut too.
its parts and descriptions
The axle is a metal rod that runs through the truck hanger, protruding a couple of inches on either side. One wheel is inserted on either end and held in place by the axle nut. Generally a small spacer is placed either side of the wheel on the axle. Occasionally, after much abuse, a truck axle will begin to "slip." When this happens the truck axle slides a bit to one side, loosening one wheel and tightening the other. Tapping it back into position will remedy this temporarily - but if your trucks are this thrashed it may be a good idea just to invest in a fresh pair. The diameter of every industry standard truck axle is the same, however, lengths vary to accomodate different deck widths.
An axle nut is threaded onto the truck axle to hold the wheel in place. After much abuse, the axle nut and/or the end of the axle itself can become worn enough that removing or attaching the nut becomes difficult or impossible. If this happens, try flipping the nut upside down, using a different nut, or rethreading the axle altogether.
Bushings are cone-shaped urethane pieces that are inserted onto the kingpin of a truck. There are 2 bushings per truck, 1 above and 1 below where the hanger fits onto the kingpin. Adjusting the kingpin nut to tighten or loosen the bushings will adjust the turning radius and response of the truck itself. Tighter bushings mean stiffer trucks and less chance of wheel bite, while loose bushings make for easier turning but a greater chance of wheel bite disaster. Sometimes new bushings will be naturally stiff, causing the truck hanger to be offset and your wheels to rest unevenly on the ground. Don't flip out, this is fairly common. To correct this just start skating and make a point to turn a bunch in both directions on each truck, forcing the urethane bushings to soften up a bit. Also, not all bushings fit every truck.
This is the componant of a truck that is physically attached to the board with the mounting hardware. A baseplate consists of the plate itself (with 4 or 6 mounting holes) and it's supported kingpin and pivot cup. The truck hanger then fits snugly into the pivot cup and over the kingpin, which is held in place by the king pin nut. Thunder rebuild Kits, which include pivot cups, bushings and washers are replaceable and come in different colors.
The truck hanger is fastened to the baseplate by the kingpin and rests in the pivot cup of the baseplate. It contains the axle on which your wheels are mounted and provides the surface we so relentlessly grind on. Hangers are brand specific, meaning they are not interchangeable with other truck companies' baseplates. Come in different shape, colours, grapics, lengths and heights.
Deck width against truck width table:
|Deck width||Grind King||Destructo||Royal||Venture||Independent||Thunder|
|7.0 - 7.25||4.75||4.75||4.75||4.75||-||-|
|7.25 - 7.50||4.75||4.75||4.75||4.75||129||145|
|7.50 - 7.75||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||129||145|
|7.75 - 8.0||5.25||5.25||5.25||5.25||139||147|
|8.0 - 8.25||5.25||5.25||5.25||5.25||149||147|
|8.25 - 8.50||5.5||5.5||5.5||5.5||149||149|
|8.50 - 8.75||-||-||-||-||169||149|
|8.75 - 9.0||-||-||-||-||169||-|
A pivot cup is a plastic cup-shaped piece that rests inside the baseplate and supports the trucks hanger at the pivot point, allowing it to turn smoothly in either left or right directions. After much abuse, a pivot cup may begin to wear down in spots causing the truck hanger to pivot unevenly. If this happens, a replacement pivt cup is a good investment.
The kingpin is a partially threaded bolt protruding from the baseplate that supports the bushings and truck hanger. The axle nut at the end can be adjusted to loosen or tighten the turning capacity of your truck. Most trucks' king pins are replacable. Some now are hollow, some are inverted also.
King Pin Nut
The king pin nut, which keeps the truck hanger and bushings in place, can be adjusted to tighten or loosen your trucks.
Riser / riserpad
Drilled with mounting holes to fit, a riser is a plastic/ rubber platform mounted between the truck and deck. A riser increases the clearance between the top of a wheel and the bottom of the deck thus reducing the chance of wheel bite, as well as slightly raising the rider's center of gravity. Risers range from 1/8" to 1", though typically 1/8" to 1/4" is the biggest you'll need. Can be soft or hard.
its parts and descriptions
All skateboard wheels are made from polyurethane. However, the composition and colour of skateboard wheels varies greatly.
MM or mm is the diameter (or height) of a skateboard wheel in millimeters. Most common skateboard wheels are between 52 mm and 60 mm, but can be as small as 49mm. Smaller riders might find the small wheels to be lighter and easier to control, however, wheel size is very much a rider preference item. Larger wheels can be used no prob, but thicker risers may be required to allow enough clearance under the board to prevent wheelbite.
52-55MM Good for many uses. Street, skate parks, bowls. Smaller riders.
56-60MM Good for many uses. Street, skate parks, bowls, vert ramps. Bigger riders.
60+ MM Specialty rides. Long boards, hill riding, dirt boards.
Durometer is the international standard for the hardness measurement of rubber, plastic, and other nonmetallic materials. There are several types of durometers, each designed to measure a particular range of materials. Skateboard-wheel urethane is most commonly measured on the A scale, however B and D have become more recently adopted by some companies for accuracy and dual-durometer wheels. 99A, 82B, and 45D are roughly the same durometer.
87A Cruiser riding, long boards, hill riding. Very rough surfaces.
95A Street riding, rough surfaces, smooth, fast, and durable.
97A All around street, skate park, ramp and pool. Smooth surfaces.
99A All around street, skate park, ramp and pool. Smooth - rough surfaces.
100A Very hard with least grip. Not good on rough or too slick surfaces. Choice of many top pros.
The bearing seat of a wheel is part of it's core and keeps the bearing vertically positioned and centered inside the wheel. 1 bearing is fitted against each side of the bearing seat of a wheel. Spacers act as a kind of additional bearing seat, keeping the center rings of both bearings equally spaced and vertically positioned. Bearings can be pushed into the wheels using tools or the hanger and if needed, tightening the nut more than usual will allign the bearings, but remember to loosen it back a few turns,
Cores are the center of the wheel where you will insert the bearing. Some wheels are designed with a core of higher durometer urethane to increase durability and sometimes decrease weight. Cores can also be made from solid plastic or hollowed out plastic. Core designs vary from brand to brand.
its parts and descriptions
Skateboard bearings allow for the rolling motion of a wheel on it's axle. They consist of 6, 7 or 8 balls enclosed in races between two shields encased in a disklike body. 2 bearings, 1 on each side, are inserted into every wheel, totalling 8 bearings necessary for a complete skateboard. Industry standard skateboard bearings are of one universal size, except for Micro Bearings which can be adapted to fit respective Micro-Core wheels. The shields of some bearings (including Bones, etc...) are removable to allow for cleaning and lubrication.
Annular Bearing Engineering Committee or Council ratings follow numerical values of 1,3,5,7,9 and are precision ratings as to how well a bearing performs under high speeds in a straight line. Considering the fact that the ABEC rating is applied for industrial machine operations and purposes, ABEC means very little in skateboarding. The fact is, Skateboarding introduces forces and strains that a bearing was never intended to handle. Side loads and high energy impact can break down a bearing at any rating level. High ABEC rated bearings allow optimal performance of critical applications requiring very high RPM and smooth operation. BONES are regarded as the best on the market. Read what they say: ABEC VS. SKATE RATED ™
Delrin crowns hold and seperate the individual balls within a bearing. By keeping the ball bearings lubricated and clean within their delrin crowns, you can lengthen the life and strengthen the performance of your bearings. Crowns are also sometimes called retainers or cages.
The bearing shield is essentially the side of the bearing, which keeps dirt from getting in and the ball bearings and/or delrin crowns from falling out. Often there is a C clip to keep the shields in place. Some bearings shields are removable to allow for cleaning and maintenance. The C clip is a mechanism for locking bearing shields in place. It's basically a thin C-shaped wire that fits tightly into a groove around the outside perimeter of the bearing shield to hold it in place against the bearing casing. Not all bearings have them, but those that do can typically be taken apart for cleaning and maintainence.
Lubricant is the sauce that keeps your bearings rolling quick and quiet. It is a synthetic blend of low viscosity, high speed oils that minimize friction within the bearing and allow them stay spinning smooth. New bearings are already lubricated but due to the abuse we dish out they do get dirty after a while. If you don't want to buy new ones, clean them up and try squirtin' some Bones Speed Cream, Reflex Bearing Lubricant or FKD Bearing Lubricant in there to keep them rolling like new. It's a good idea to maintain your bearings on a monthly basis.
A spacer is a tubular piece that fits within the bearing seat of a wheel, between the two bearings, to keep them evenly spaced and vertcally aligned. Spacers are not necessary, but they do slightly improve the performance and durablity of your bearings. Some bearings include a set of spacers, though most do not.
The casing is the disklike metal body of a bearing in which the shields, crowns and balls are housed. The balls in a bearing are contained by delrin crowns that allow the bearing casing to spin around them. Most bearings contain 7 ball bearings, however the Bones Super Swiss Six Bearings contain 6 bigger balls for increased strength and speed.
its parts and descriptions
Mounting bolts or often known as hardware is sold in a set of 8 nuts and bolts. Hardware allows you to attach your deck to your trucks. Wreckless has a large selection of sizes and brands. All sorts exist. Different colours, length, type of tool e.g allen key, philips head, full thread, half thread. Typical bolts for a skateboard without riserpads are 7/8". 1" are commonly used too. Cheap and easy way to add colour to a deck. Coloured bolts can be used as an identifier for a nose or tail. Some bolts are gripteck style, hammered in and only a spanner is needed to tighten up the bolt.