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Skateboard Trucks – The Ultimate Buyers Guide

What size trucks do you need for your skateboard?

All manufacturers use different size convensions to measure the different size of the skateboard trucks they make, so it can be quite confusing. However, the thing to remember is that most manufacturers all recognise that there are some standard key sizes of skateboard decks that most people ride. This means you can actually take your deck size and then work out exactly what is the right truck size for that deck. Below you will find size charts from all the key skateboard truck manufacturers that you can use as a reference to decide what size skateboard trucks you need depending on what board you ride.

Manufacturer size guides

Thunder Trucks

Truck SizeRecommended Deck Width
1437.4″ or thinner
1457.4″ – 7.9″
1477.9″ – 8.12″
1488.12″ – 8.38″
1498.38″ – 8.62″
1518.62″ or wider

Independent Trucks

Truck SizeRecommended Deck Width
1096.2″ – 7.6″
1297.4″ – 7.8″
1397.8″ – 8.2″
1448.1″ – 8.5″
1498.25″ – 8.65″
1598.6″ – 9″
1699.2″ – 10.5″

Venture Trucks

Truck SizeRecommended Deck Width
5.07.9″ or thinner
5.27.9″ – 8.1″
5.58.1″ – 8.3″
5.68.4″ – 8.6″
6.18.62″ or wider

Royal Trucks

Truck SizeRecommended Deck Width
5.07.75″ or thinner
5.257.75″ – 8.25″
5.58.25″ or wider

Tensor Trucks

Truck SizeRecommended Deck Width
5.07.5  – 7.75″
5.257.75 – 8″
5.58 – 8.25″
5.758.25 – 8.5″
6.08.5″ +

Krux Trucks

Truck SizeRecommended Deck Width
7.6″7.25  – 8″
8″7.75 – 8.25″
8.25″8 – 8.25″
8.5″8.25 – 9″
9″8.5 – 10.5″

Why trucks are important

“I love new skateboard trucks!” said no skater ever. In this article I’m going to try to break down the important factors in buying new trucks and give you some tips to lessen the ‘challenge’ of breaking those shiny new trucks in.

Trucks are something you tend to basically ignore until one breaks (a rare event these days), the hanger is ground down to the axle, or you change deck size dramatically because you are changing from tech wunderkind to grizzled bowl rider (for example).

We’re going to take a look at some of the best known brands like Independent, Thunder and Venture. They are also the 3 main trucks we stock at Supereight.net because we have ridden them all and know they are great trucks that we can back. We really aren’t interested in the kookier, glow in the dark, bat wing molded truck offerings around here.

Things to consider

Skateboard trucks are most important component on your board. They massively affect the weight, turning circle, height and overall maneuverability of you set up, not to mention how easily your board flips, pops, grinds etc.

When the time does come to change trucks you are going to want to get it right for you because out of everything, new trucks take the most getting used to.

You are going to want to look at width, height and material as the basics to obtaining your ideal truck. Sounds straight forward but can be mildly baffling due to the wide range of styles out there and the nomenclature each brand uses to describe these dimensions.

Width

Buying the right width skateboard trucks is really important. In general, the wider the axle, the more stable your board, so technical skaters are generally going to go for slimmer boards while park / bowl /vert guys are going to want those wider set-ups.

Get overly wide trucks and flips are going to be harder as you have to work to get that board’s inertia going. Get skinner trucks than you need for your deck and you will face having too much leverage, wheel bite and your friends commenting that you board looks dumb. You have been warned…

You need to get the right hanger size for your deck and in classic skate industry style there is no standard measurement for this.

For example: Independent trucks use 129, 139, 144, 149, 159 etc for truck width. This measurement is in millimetres. Venture Trucks measure in inches so trucks are 5.0, 5.25 etc. Bafflingly, Thunder Trucks, who like Venture are part of the Deluxe family (Real, Antihero, Krooked skateboards) are measured differently. A 147 hanger will fit 8 inch decks and a 149 will fit a 8 ¼ . Who knows what the numbers mean because they don’t relate to a measurement! Truck width names therefore vary from brand to brand so make sure you reference their size charts which will show you what truck size you need for your board width.

Skateboard Truck
Skateboard Truck

Height

Fortunately considering the height of skateboard trucks is somewhat simpler (but no less important) than the widths and is normally denoted in High or Low styles. Generally street skaters tend to go for low trucks and Vert / Bowl guys go for high trucks to accommodate their larger wheels.

If you are riding around a 52 / 53mm wheel and below, low trucks will be fine, anything over that and you need to be looking at the higher trucks to avoid the dreaded wheel bite and subsequent humiliating slam.

For example, the difference in height between a Venture Low and a Venture High is about 10mm, enough to make it feel like an entirely different truck from weight to clearance to turning circle.

If you have bungled and bought low trucks to go with your mega ramp big wheels, it’s time to start stacking those riser pads!

Should one be changing their truck height, it is going to affect your timing on all of your tricks. The tail will either hit the ground sooner or later than you are used to, thus affecting timing. This can really throw you off as those quick reflex, muscle memory movements you have worked on will all need to be reset. It is probably a good idea to find a truck that is similar in height to your current ones if you want to avoid some fairly tortuous skates where all your tricks are just ‘off’ for a good while.

Another thing to bear in mind is truck height, like wheel size is going to affect the angle your deck is at when your nose or tail hits the floor when popping. Different people prefer different angles and It’s definitely down to you as to what feels right.

So watch out for the “High” or ‘Low’ info when appropriating your chosen trucks….

Materials and weight

In recent years we have seen the introduction of different weight saving materials  like Titanium. I feel like that the way this can be presented a little confusing for the average consumer – here’s why. A Titanium Indy or Thunder truck gives the impression it is made of Titanium. This isn’t the case. The axle running through the hanger is Titanium. This means the axle is certainly less prone to bending in a situation where your board gets run over by a bus for instance. However, the weight saving is not massively significant, especially when compared like for like with a hollow axle truck. For example, we weighed an Indy 139 Hollow (the axle is hollow, like a very strong metal straw) and An Indy 139 Titanium and the difference was…..5 grams. So a 10 gram saving on the weight of your deck. Not that impressive for a considerably more expensive truck.

If you are sticking with Independent for life, I wouldn’t blame you. They are a great truck with heritage and team to match. If they are good enough for Eric Koston, they are good enough for anyone. So if you think that 10 gram weight saving and mega tough axle is for you, it is probably worth stumping up the cash.

Design & geometry

Much more important than materials for the weight of a truck is design.

Thunder trucks are considerably slimmer in profile to Independents (cheaper too) and this results in them being considerably lighter.

Venture has a cut out hanger which gives the truck it’s distinctive upside down ‘V’ shape and lighter weight.

Independent, currently the king of trucks is far slimmer than it’s older incarnations but it is still a very substantial beast and subsequently heavier than the other tow brands mentioned.

Design also affects how quickly the trucks turn and how large their turning circle is. It is probably worth trying someone else’s deck who have at least the brand trucks you are considering to see how they feel for you before taking the plunge because these attributes are a really personal thing and cannot be gleaned by simply looking at the truck.

Another part of the design to consider is the placement of the hanger on the truck. Is it further towards or further back the nose/tail of your deck? Again this is all to do with angles and will affect several things:

  1. How your board pops because a more set in hanger will lead to a mellower angle when the tail starts an ollie .
  2. How your board carves and turns because it will affect the length of the wheelbase – the distance between the front and back wheels. The further apart the wheels, the wider the turning circle and therefore slower the turn.
Skateboard Truck

Breaking in those new trucks – Hot tips

Even if you, like me, know your favourite skateboard trucks and replace like for like everytime, you are still going to have to get used to new, stiff pivot cups and bushings, not to mention a fresh hanger without your familiar grind marks from your go to grinds.

The little black rubber cup that sits in between hanger and baseplate is the pivot cup. When your pivot cup is heavily worn down, your hanger will rattle around more, making it harder to land tricks as the position of your hanger and therefore wheels is less predictable. A new pivot cup on the other hand makes the hanger quite stiff initially and you are going to want to do plenty of carving to wear those little guys in.

Bushings are the biggest factor in how your board turns and reacts, other than the geometry of the truck itself. Not all bushings are created equal and it is often worth swapping out the standard bushings for Bones or Krux spares which come in different hardnesses to cater for different requirements, softer for more loose trucks and harder for tighter ones. Your body weight and how fast you go also affects how your trucks turn so it is worth taking that in to account too. If you are a big guy flying around a bowl at mach 10, harder bushings may still be better for carving because a softer bushing would lead to wheel bite, an immediate stop and a displeasing beat down which could have been avoided with the right bushings…

Your bushings eventually mold to your particular stance and tend to crush down on your toe side. This is good because it makes your board comfortable and unique to you. In fact, it is something that you might want to preserve on your new set of skateboard trucks, so provided they have not split or broken down too much, I would suggest moving them over to your new trucks and putting them in at exactly the same position as they sat in your old trucks. This will give you the familiar feeling of how your old trucks sat and are one less thing to break in. I find Bones and Krux bushings last great and are perfect to do this. It’s much like getting higher performance footbeds like Foot Print insoles for your skate shoes, they mold to your feet so you are going to want to move them over to your next pair of kicks. Same thing!

The Hanger accommodates the axle of the truck, sits between the wheels and is what sees all the action. Initially you are going to find your grinds are much faster and a lot less predictable. This is because the new curved grinding area is going to have a lot less surface area than your old worn in trucks. I tend to go straight into as many 5050s and 5-0s as I can be bothered with until the trucks are a little ground down before I go into any harder grinds that I’m less consistent with.

Skateboard Truck

My trucks – A real world example

I recently decided, after a lot of consideration, mainly due to the aforementioned knowledge and being an all out fuss-pot, to move over to Thunders. After all, if they are good enough for the incredible style king that is Marc Johnson, I figured they must be pretty damn good.

I treated myself to 147 Titanium lows – hey you only live once right? I was coupling them with my 8” Powell Peralta Flight deck with Bones V3 slim wheels in the search for the ultimate light set-up.

I found the turning circle and reactiveness of the trucks to be easy to adapt to and after 2 sessions at Lady Bay skatepark in Notts, they felt just right. Definitely trucks I would recommend  – cheaper than Indy Titaniums and considerably lighter.

One last thing…

Skateboard trucks feel pricey compared to decks and wheels but this is because they are metal, they have complex moving parts and will last you for years. When you see the trucks you want for half price, make sure that they are not just being sold singularly. Trucks are sold singularly and in pairs. Singularly is for the occasional person that has broken one or only ground down the back truck for instance.

You haven’t found a bargain, you have found a single truck and twice the postage costs when you have to order the second single. Sounds obvious but it happens loads, so hopefully I have saved you some disappointment and postage money! Haha!

Happy shredding!!!!

Skateboard Truck

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