Everything You Need to Know About Trucks: Part 1

Basic Overview:

Paris V2 43*'s on a Loaded Boards Tesseract

Paris V2 43* Trucks on a Loaded Boards Tesseract

Trucks are extremely important when it comes to downhill skateboarding. No one can tell you what trucks are the best or which are better for you. It happens to be one of those things, like many in this world, that is simply too subjective to be compared in a manner of one being better than the other. With that said, there is a lot that goes into a reverse kingpin truck, and although the topic of what truck is best may be subjective, there are obvious physical differences that cause trucks to respond in certain ways that may affect ones riding.

How They Work:

On a reverse kingpin truck there are four components: a baseplate, a hanger, a pivot point, and two bushings. The baseplate of the truck is attached to the board and leans in sync with the board as you change your weight distribution, causing the hanger to pivot over the bushings at the angle of the baseplates pivot point, which then allows the truck to turn. The factors that go into the turn of the truck are based on various factors.

Truck Tightness:

TRUCKS SHOULD ONLY BE RUN AT ONE TIGHTNESS. Tons of people out there try to change the turning of their trucks by tightening or loosening them.paris-43s Although this works, this is not the way they’re designed to change the turn of the truck. Trucks are designed to be tightened down to the point at which the hanger comes out of the pivot point of the baseplate at the angle of the baseplate. Having trucks too lose causes slop, which can be fun to mess with, but can also be extremely sketchy and increase your chance of speed wobbles heavily. Running trucks too tight causes bushings to deform, and eventually break down or blow out, trust me it sucks when your bushing breaks while you are riding, especially the bottom one. This also causes the hanger to run at a lower degree than the baseplate is designed for, destroying your pivot cup and giving a bad pivot point. Usually the ideal tightness is at the point just after loose slop has been removed, and no tighter. Stand next to your board and put weight on one of the rails, forcing the trucks to turn one direction. If your board returns to the center perfectly when you take your foot off the rail, then you know it’s tightened correctly.

Bushings:

The bushings of a truck are one of the key things that go into a truck’s turning ability. Changing bushing setups can make the same truck feel completely different and finding the right one is key. IMG_0187The characteristics that go into how a bushing responds are its durometer (hardness), shape, urethane type, kingpin tightness, washer setup, and placement as the top or bottom bushing.

Duro:

Bushings are made out of urathane and run on a durometer hardness scale typically between around 78a-96a. Basically it works like this: The lower the durometer, the softer the bushing, and there for the easier it is to make the truck turn. Some argue that there are ideal durometers for individual rider weight categories, and although these may be used as a decent guideline for what bushing hardness to get, these charts in no way represent what you should ride, for that is up to you.

Shapes:

bushings

There are a few various bushing shapes and even more have been coming out recently. In this article the three most widely used bushing shapes will be discussed, and these are: Eliminators, Barrels, and Cones. Barrels are the most common bushing shape, and for good reason. Barrel bushings allow for a distinct type of turning in which the trucks turn/lean ratio stays fairly consistent throughout the entire turn. This basically means that with barrel bushings if you lean on the board, it’ll turn proportionally to the amount of lean the rider gives in a fairly consistent manner. Barrels also provide a decent amount of rebound when diving into turns, or pumping. Coned bushings on the other hand have the most dive and do not allow for much rebound.IMG_0194[1] Cones are not common in fast riding and are more common in freestyle, dancing, commuting setups, as they lend themselves well to quick turns and agile movements. Eliminators are the widest of the bushings and therefore restrict turning the most out of the three shapes. With that being said, the turning is only restricted more than another bushing of the same duro. For instance, a 90a eliminator will be more restrictive than a 90a barrel, but may not be more restrictive than a 95a barrel. It is important to understand that eliminators are not designed to decrease turn, but to make the turning more progressive. Since there is more surface area contact between the hanger and the bushing in an eliminator setup, the turning becomes more progressive, rather than divey. In my opinion, eliminators feel comfortable when they are run at a durometer that is about 3a-5a less than your usual barrel setup. At low speeds eliminators do not turn much unless run extremely soft, but at speed they begin to become alive, feeling more like a barrel would at a lower speed.

Rebound:

The urethane formula has an effect on the turning of the bushing. Just like with wheels different urethane formulas of the same hardness may feel different. For example, an 87a Blood Orange bushing may feel softer than an 87a Venom bushing. Different companies have different urethane formulas and each formula has a unique feeling. One of the key components to the feeling of the urethane used is the rebound that is given from the bushing. Lots of rebound makes the truck want to turn back and pump, giving a lively feel. Low rebound gives a damper feeling turn. Rebound is not a good or bad thing and is once again something that is up for the individual rider to decide for themselves whether they like or not.

Washers:

The washers used in trucks are also a component that goes into how they respond. The two shapes for washers are flat and cupped. Washers are pretty simple, flat washers give less restrictive turn and less rebound and cupped washers give more restrictive turning and more rebound. Washers also come in various sizes, smaller washers being less restrictive. washersCupped washers are also an easy way to get rid of wheelbite if you don’t want to run risers and don’t mind sacrificing the turn.

Roadside vs Boardside:

Boardside and roadside bushings both have different roles in the trucks performance, and it is important to understand the difference. The bottom bushing (boardside) has more impact on the turning of the truck and its direct pivot, where as the top bushing (roadside) acts as a force to push back on the bottom bushing, and controls how easily the truck gives in or rebounds back. People typically run either the same durometer bushings all around, or a top bushing that is slightly softer than the bottom. It is also common to see people run an eliminator bushing on the bottom with a barrel bushing on the top, or a barrel bushing on the bottom with a cone bushing on the top.

boardside_roadside

Local Company Spotlight: Surf-Rodz

There’s beginning to be a lot of talk on the streets about a company by the name of Surf-Rodz who are beginning to make some big waves across the international longboarding community. In case you haven’t heard of them, Surf-Rodz produces the popular V2 deck, and revolutionary RKP (reverse king-pin) and INDeeSZ trucks. I got a chance to visit their Seymour, CT manufacturing facility and sat down with co-owner and founder Wayne Gallipoli to talk about Surf-Rodz, what they’re doing, what they hope to be doing, and what they want to bring to the sport.

Surf-Rodz is producing CNC (computer numerical control) trucks. Get the confused look off your face, I’ll explain what it means. Most trucks are produced using a method called casting, super-hot liquid metal is poured into a mold, allowed to harden, removed from the mold, and are polished and shipped. Surf-Rodz doesn’t do this, instead they take a solid block of aluminum and machine it down into the component they need. What does this mean? Precision, durability, and the ability to do some pretty revolutionary stuff with trucks.

Trucks might seem like the established, static technology on the skateboard, with most attention these days being focused at wheels and deck manufacturing but that’s not the case at all. As skaters push the limits of what they can do, they’re also pushing the limits of what their gear can do. Wayne said after seeing traditional cast trucks starting to fail earlier and cost skaters performance there was a clear need for change in the industry, and SZ was ready to step up and make it happen. Surf-Rodz’s trucks can get replacement parts as needed, saving you money in the long run. Grind down a hanger? You can buy a replacement for a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire truck. Bend an axle? Good news, Surf-Rodz’s axles can also be changed out too, saving you money once again by eliminating the need to replace the entire truck. Surf-Rodz also have adjustable hanger widths depending on how you assemble the axle/hanger, allowing you to have 3 different widths with one set of hardware. That’s a range of 127mm-197mm on the INDeeSZ and 150mm-170mm on the RKP — lots of options, one price, one set of hardware. Not only can you change the width of the hanger depending on how you’ll be riding that day, the way the trucks are designed take full advantage of the pivot pin axis, allowing the rider to utilize the full range of motion and control turns much easier.

Still need more? How about designs and colors on trucks? Surf-Rodz is leading the way in truck graphics, and let me tell you, they look cool. Really cool. Through an anodization process (this is pretty much the only part that isn’t done in-house) the trucks are colored pretty much anything you could think of. Nice, vibrant colors that are bound to the metal itself, meaning it won’t chip or crack like paint would. The possibilites are almost endless, when I was talking to Wayne at the shop they had just found out they could do up to three colors on one piece, meaning we could see some really cool combos in the near future. While I was there I also got a sneak peek at the new camo-themed trucks, these things are just too freakin’ sweet. Surf-Rodz can also do laser engraving now and has plans to do some limited edition runs (check out the picture of me holding the “Captain America”-esq trucks) and custom engravings in the future, although right now they’re still in the planning stages. Honestly, I’d never seen any trucks that look so beautiful.

If your mind isn’t blown yet it gets better. Surf-Rodz are not only better than every cast truck and other CNC trucks, they’re half the price. The INDeeSZ will set you back $199.99 and the RKPs go from $210.00-$250.00, not too steep when compared to the Bear Precision Trucks which retail at $400. Because Surf-Rodz is run out of the same shop they machine the hardware at they can make changes faster than competitors and offer better prices than other companies who have to outsource the work. What’s that mean? The more popular SZ gets the lower the price will get, making them more and more affordable. One of Wayne’s goals with SZ is to make affordable CNC trucks, allowing them to get into the hands of every skater possible.

So where does Surf-Rodz go next? Really, the sky is the limit it seems. While I couldn’t get all the juicy details, it sounds like SZ is on the verge of a couple new ventures that could prove pretty revolutionary for other aspects of the sport, too. It’s clear that Wayne is dedicated to driving the sport forward and a desire to stay one step ahead of what skaters want. I’d also expect to see Surf-Rodz starting to collaborate with some deck companies in the future to do completes thatfeature either the INDeeSZ or RKPs and possibly even more decks themselves (they currently offer the V2). In fact, just this morning Drang Longboards announced that they were designing a new line all around Surf-Rodz, an example of what will surely start becoming a trend as SZ grows more.

It was clear in my conversation with Wayne that he and his partners are excited about what they’re doing and are excited about their ability to drive the sport forward, helping skaters push the limits of what was previously thought possible. Wayne himself is a skater and is passionate about the sport and getting feedback about the trucks and input from the community on what they’d like to see. If you have any suggestions or questions about Surf-Rodz pop over to their Facebook Page and ask away. While you’re over there you may as well also like our Facebook Page too.

I’ll write a full review of the trucks themselves in the near future. For now take a look at some of the other pictures I took while visiting SZ.