You’re no true skater if you haven’t broken anything. And I’m not talking about breaking a limb while showing off. Actually, all professional skaters strongly advise that you should carry at all times the right protective gear in the form of a helmet, and knee and arm pads. But everyone who skates frequently knows that there’s one part of the board that is always prone to breaking – the trucks. The skateboard truck is an element that tends to wear off with frequent use. It’s one of the most overlooked parts of a board, but nevertheless, plays a great role in its performance.
For newbie skaters that don’t understand what I’m talking about – trucks are the metal triangular pieces that hold the wheels securely in place. If they somehow break mid riding, it can result in your board going in one direction and you in the opposite one. Therefore, you have to understand how important it is to regularly check the trucks and replace them when necessary in order to avoid injuries or accidents. The performance of a skateboard truck is usually defined by the elements it’s made of.
The kingpin is the most important element of a skateboard truck. It’s a vertical bolt that’s used as a pivot for holding the truck and the skateboard together. It runs through the middle of the truck and secures the baseplate and the bushings on the board. Since it’s essentially a metal screw, some skaters think that the kingpin weighs them down. But recently, shallow kingpins have become popular because of being much lighter without compromising the strength or durability of the trucks.
The defining triangular shape of a skateboard truck comes from the hanger. The hanger is the middle metal piece which and the largest element of the truck. It connects the kingpin with the axle in one functional whole. The hanger is also the part that takes the most beating. If the truck profile is too high, the hanger can grind on the ground and thus break. Make sure to check that it’s not touching the ground at all. It’s important that the hanger is durable because it has direct contact with rails and curbs.
Of course, since the trucks can experience a lot of stress it’s important that they have the proper cushioning to reduce the pressure and secure the hold. That’s why bushings are an essential safety feature of a truck. They are made of rubber which cushions the grinding between the kingpin and the hanger when you’re twisting and turning during a skate trick. Because the bushing is not necessarily visible to the eye when the truck is assembled, in order to check its condition you need to detach the kingpin to the hanger. Doing so will make sure your ride is always as smooth as possible.