This is a continuation of the first part of Everything You Need to Know About Trucks. If you haven’t read Part 1 we highly recommend starting there and then continuing on to part 2. We’re currently planning a part 3 to come soon.
The degree of the truck’s baseplate decides how much lean a rider has to give in order to make the truck turn. The lower the baseplate degree, the less the truck is physically able to turn and the more lean it takes to turn the truck. Baseplates usually run between 40-50 degrees with 50 degree being the most common angle. 45 degree trucks are considered low degree, and anything lower than that is for people who just love to lean. Baseplate angle can also effect slides, in the sense that low degree baseplates typically create lower degree slides. This is because the hanger will turn less at the point that you are used to leaning on higher degree trucks. Typically, a low degree truck is better for a rider who likes their body weight farther off of their board and likes to take wide lines. Higher degree trucks are for people who want to fiend, and are good for quick and agile turns, throwing around lots of lines and thrashing. Speed plays a role in baseplate as well, typically lower degree trucks feel more stable at speed but be harder to turn and feel much more dead at low speeds. Low degree trucks tend to feel a bit more lively once they are pushed up to speed, though.
All trucks on the market have unique bushing seats that effect how the hanger interacts with the bushing, affecting the turn of the truck. The restrictiveness of the bushing seat effects how the truck compresses the bushing when turning. An open bushing seat compresses the bushing as little as possible, creating the least amount of restriction on your turn. Examples of open, unrestrictive bushing seats include Aeras, Randals, and PNL. When there’s a bit of metal coming outward surrounding the bushing, it causes the bushing to compress against the metal wall when turning, causing the truck to be more restrictive. Examples of trucks that are somewhat restrictive include Munkaes, Calibers, Surf-Rodz, and Ronin’s. The long and short: the more restrictive the bushing seat, the less lean and turn you’ll get (and the “tighter” the truck will feel).
The width of the hanger affects the tracking of the wheels. While the turning radius is defined by the baseplate, the hanger size will define where the wheels track. That means you’ll be able to rail the same turn on 150mm hangers and 190mm hangers, but your wheels will be in different places.
Hanger sizes affect the leverage over your bushings more than anything else. A narrower hanger size will grip the pavement more, whil a wider one will allow you to break traction and slide much easier. This is why you frequently see super small hanger widths on slalom decks.
Larger hangers feel less responsive when turning and track much wider. Larger hangers also create lower degree slides, less traction, and slides that maintain speed for longer. Reverse kingpin trucks come in various hanger widths but the most popular size is around 180mm. For commuting and cruising setups people will run 150mm hangers, but it isn’t common in most downhill and freeride. Most downhill and freeride setups run between around 170mm-190mm.
Truck hangers have different characteristics in terms of how the truck pivot feels relative to the baseplate degree. Hangers may either turn at the same angle as the baseplate or feel like they turn at different angles. Positive rake will add more height to your truck setup, giving you more traction with the road and leverage on the bushing, while negative rake will make the board easier to break out and lower the ride height.
This difference when you flip the hanger is called “rake.” For instance, if you have a truck that’s 45 degrees and the hanger is flipable with +/-2 degree rake, then the truck feels like it runs runs at either 43, or 47 degrees.
Calibers are an example of trucks that don’t have rake, when flipped they are the same, while Randals and Surf-Rodz are examples of trucks with rake.