Whether you are buying your first skateboard setup for yourself, or you are looking to purchase a setup for your child/sibling/niece/nephew/grandchild/etc. the trucks you choose could be the difference between having an enjoyable beginning to skateboarding or having a rocky start. We are going to help you pick the right trucks for you or the beginner shredder in your life.
Note that I added the best beginner trucks, not the cheapest. Cheaper trucks are often frustrating to ride and sometimes even unsafe. First let’s look at some quality trucks, and then some tips to help you pick trucks in our buyer’s guide.
All these trucks are tested by us, if we don’t like something we don’t recommend it.
5 Skateboard Trucks for Beginners
Simply put, the best skateboard trucks will be high-quality trucks that fit the board you are riding. You won’t go wrong with trucks from any of the top brands: Independent Trucks, Thunder Trucks, Ace Trucks, Royal Trucks, Tensor Trucks, Krux, etc are some examples of high-quality manufacturers that make trucks to fit all sizes of skateboards; from narrow skateboard decks for smaller beginners to wide decks for larger sized beginners.
We will dive deeper into several of these brands in this article, but if you are looking for a quick answer: Pick one of the brands I just mentioned. If you are looking for a complete beginner setup, check out this article.
Now we will have a look at some skateboard truck brands that are available today. We will be able to help you narrow down the brand that will best suit you and make it easier to learn to skate.
1. Venture Trucks
Venture make very good quality trucks at a reasonable price point. They are not the least nor the most expensive trucks. Ventures are a very stable truck so they are excellent for beginners. The geometry of Venture trucks creates a bit of a longer wheel base than other brands. The truck hanger is angled slightly more forward than its competitors. This means two things:
- They don’t turn very sharply. The turns on Venture trucks is smooth and controlled. You don’t need to worry too much about getting into to sharp of a turn when you aren’t prepared for it.
- You can use a skate tool to tighten the front bolts, but you need to place it at an angle. Because the hanger is angled forward, a flat wrench make is easier to get to the front nut bolt.
Venture trucks are medium weight compared to their competitors but are beefy enough that you won’t run the risk of breaking or bending them when you bash your wheels and base plate into stuff while learning how to ollie up curbs. Ventures are a good bang for your buck as a beginner.
2. Thunder Trucks
Thunder Trucks are my personal favorite. They give a very stable ride and landing. They turn smoothly and consistently. It is easy to control your turns to turn as much as you like. The break-in period for the bushings is practically zero. They feel great right out of the box. I think that Thunders feel great for all styles of skating from Mini Ramp to street to bowls to parks.
Many regard Thunder Trucks as being mostly for street use, and they are not completely wrong. They give a beautiful smooth grind that feels fantastic. Once you start doing Crooked and Smith Grinds you will really notice that Thunder Trucks give a great pinch.
They do give you a wide wheel base, but not as long as Venture Trucks so you can actually use a skate tool to tighten the bolts. Manuals feel really nice and balanced on Thunder Trucks. It also feels easier to do scoop tricks with Thunders, such as pop shuvits.
Thunder Trucks are also a mid-price point truck, being less expensive than Independent, but higher priced than some other brands. They are considered a mid-height truck but are a bit of a lower truck than Venture and a much lower than Independent Trucks.
That means you have a higher chance of getting wheel bite when landing tricks poorly or if you are prone to wheel bite (like me), but your center of gravity is lower so you will feel more stable. Thunder Team (the standard model) are one of the lighter trucks on the market, even without hollow kingpins and axles. Going for the hollow variations shaves even more weight off them.
The one complaint skaters have of Thunder Trucks is that they wear down quickly when grinding concrete. While it is true that they are less beefy than other trucks on the market, the stability and performance they offer is an acceptable trade-off.
Besides, as a beginner, it will take you a really long time to grind your trucks down to the axle. I recommend Thunder Trucks for beginners because they are a good and stable truck that can be used in any situation a beginner might find themselves in.
3. Independent Trucks
Independent Trucks (AKA Indys) are an extremely popular truck. A lot of skaters like Indy’s because of their durability and their tight turning radius. Indy’s are especially prized by bowl, ramp and park riders for their sharp turns and because their taller height allows them to use bigger wheels so they do not lose as much speed. Indy’s are a great truck but might and might not be the best truck for beginners.
Because Independent Trucks are taller than most, you are less likely to get wheel bite when landing. This is a nice feature to have. Wheelbite can be off-putting to a new skater (I am very prone to wheel bite, and it is still off-putting for me). But wheel bite isn’t the worst thing, and you can adjust your trucks to compensate.
Indy’s are one of the heavier trucks on the market, at least the standard ones. The Titaniums are actually quite light but also expensive. Just looking at Indy’s compared to other trucks you can see that there is a vast difference in the amount of extra metal you will have to grind through before you will wear your Indy’s out.
Personally, I like Independents quite a bit. While they are heavier and taller, I ride a board with mellow nose and tail, so I don’t really notice the extra heft required to ollie. If you are skating a board with steep kicks you will get a high pop, but it can be tiring for a beginning skater to learn ollies on a steep deck with Indy’s.
At first, I found them to be unstable, but now I don’t give it a second thought. They are a good all-around the truck, but I did find that they took longer to break in than the others. Now, I love them.
4. Paris Street Trucks
Paris is known for its carvy V2 and V3 longboard/cruiser trucks but they also sell the Paris Street trucks which are great for beginners. They don’t excel at anything but, like Tensor, are a jack of all trades kind of truck.
They turn well and don’t require a lot of time to break-in. They offer lots of stability and can hold op when you try some slappies or ollie a few stairs. You often see these trucks on higher-end complete skateboard setups because of their all-around nature.
Locking in grinds is a bit more challenging but they are capable of technical tricks like flips, ollies, and slides. They also are suitable for bowl skating because and park riding. Paris Street trucks are affordable and will last for a long time but are less durable than Indys or Thunder trucks.
If you really don’t know what type of skating you like or have no idea what to pick for your kid, Paris is a safe choice.
5. Tensor Trucks
Tensor Trucks is Rodney Mullen’s company. If you don’t know who he is, I suggest you google him right now and learn about the man who invented modern street skating and created practically every trick in the book.
While definitely not the best or most durable trucks on this list, Tensor Trucks are a decent all-around truck. They are good for most things, but not great for one specific thing. They are some of the lighter weight trucks on the market, and they have a nice all-around geometry. I haven’t personally seen any Tensor Trucks for sale in skate shops, but I have seen them sold on several complete setups.
I have tried a few friends setups that had Tensors, and they were pretty decent. I could do the same things on other setups as I could on the Tensors. They felt like decent all-around trucks that would work for almost any situation.
When I was learning heelflips, I did my first clean one on a beat-up, old complete that had Tensors. I think it more had to do with the board being a tiny 7.5″ than the Tensor Trucks). I would say that Tensors are a decent beginner truck. If you are looking to start out and find a complete with Tensors, its a good find for your first setup.
What Beginners Should Look for in Skateboard Trucks
There are several factors that come into play when selecting skateboard trucks. Many beginners give up skateboarding because it is hard to do. True, skateboarding is a hard sport to learn, but it’s even harder to do with low-quality trucks that can easily fail or trucks that aren’t right for your board. Without mentioning brands, let’s have a look at some of the features your trucks should have:
Trucks Should Be Made of Quality Metal
Back when I started skating in the early 90’s, there were no skate shops around so I had to buy complete setups from department stores. Much like they are today, department store complete skateboards back then were also garbage. The decks were made of weak wood, the wheels were cheap, the bearings didn’t roll well, and the trucks were made of plastic.
One of these completes cost me about $20 and lasted me for only a few weeks before they were completely destroyed and I had to buy another one. The first thing to break on these was always the plastic trucks. The trucks would break from simply doing kick turns and sharp turns. Any sort of impact would either bend the axle or break the hanger where the kingpin connected.
A couple of times I found skateboards with metal trucks. They were about $40 and would last me for a couple of months before they broke. Even though they were made of metal, they were poorly constructed of low-quality metal and would inevitably break at their weak points.
I was never seriously injured from trucks breaking, but that isn’t to say that I didn’t take some nasty spills when my trucks broke while I was rolling off a curb or doing a bomb drop.
Short story long, you should only buy name brand trucks that you know of and can find reviews for. A quality truck will have a name brand stamped on the baseplate. Don’t purchase unbranded, generic trucks if you can avoid it. Even if you buy a complete, it would be wise to spend a few extra bucks and get one with branded trucks.
The trucks that come on completes are not generally the best, but they should at least last a beginner a season or two. A poor quality truck can break easily and ruin your day, to say the least.
Trucks Should Fit You and Your Setup
It is important that your skateboard setup suit the style of skating you are going to do, but it is more important that it fits your size as a person. In general, the width of your skateboard trucks should match the width of your board, but it’s not a golden rule.
Trucks can be a bit wider or a bit narrower than your board, just don’t go overboard. Make sure they are equal in width or .25 larger/smaller than your deck, that’s about the max.
If you are buying a quality complete from a skate shop or Amazon.com, the trucks should come matching the board width. If you are building your own complete do some research to find out what trucks will best fit the board that best fits you.
If you are a very small beginner (Under 7) you will want a small setup from 7.5″ to 7.75″. A small skater (under 12 years old) will likely fit a 7.75″ to 8″ setup. An adult skater would be good to start with an 8″-8.25″ setup.
Once you are comfortable skating you may want to change up your setup size to accommodate the style of skateboarding you are wanting to pursue. Use our Skateboard Configurator to help you pick the perfect setup.
If your trucks are too wide for your deck you run the risk of hitting your foot on the axle when you are pushing. I have done this and its not a fun way to stop. Trucks that are too wide will also make it difficult to learn technical flip tricks.
If your trucks are too narrow you will not have the stability you want. Turning will be a challenge, and sharp turns can cause you to tip over and land on your butt. Also not a fun personal experience.
Having a well-balanced setup with the right size components makes your skateboard handle better and gives you more control. As a beginner, it is hard enough to learn skateboarding let alone learning to skate with a board that is imbalanced or doesn’t fit your size. Having the right sized skateboard with properly sized trucks makes for a much more controlled and satisfying experience.
Pick a “Mid Height” Truck
When you are just starting out, you want to make sure that your truck is not too high or too low. Every manufacturer offers their version of the “mid height” truck. A mid-truck is neither a high nor a low. Just as it sounds, its right in the middle. (Goldilocks) It is important to start with a mid truck because that will give you the most “standard” feeling for your skateboard.
They will feel (depending on the brand) similar to the trucks that your friends all ride. They will suit you just fine for learning how to push, roll, turn, cruise and eventually ollie. Most skaters ride mid-height trucks.
The High or Low trucks are for advanced skaters that have dialed in their styles and want to make a change to their setup that better helps them achieve their goals. But I can almost 100% guarantee that the top pros all started skating with mid-height trucks before they moved onto experimenting with different heights.
Pick a Standard Weight Truck
Trucks are available in different heights, but they are also available in different weight categories. Most manufacturers offer a “light version” of their standard trucks. This means that they are the same shape as the standard, but are made with lighter materials, or have hollow axles and kingpins to shave down some of the trucks weight.
This can be nice, but for the extra cost of purchasing the ultra-light hollow Titanium trucks, you will not notice the difference that much as a beginner.
The weight of standard skateboard trucks also varies by the manufacturer, but not enough that you will notice as a beginning skater. Personally, I have a few different setups I skate and I don’t notice too much difference between the setup with the hollow light trucks and my other setups with standard weight trucks.
There is a difference but it is not enough to throw me off my game so I have a bad session.
Don’t Buy Gimmick Trucks
A gimmick is “a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business.” Gimmick trucks are trucks that have some kind of feature added to them which is not necessary, and doesn’t make the truck operate more effectively.
These days there are not as many gimmicks on the market as there were a couple decades ago. But that isn’t to say that they don’t exist. Just go with a reputable skateboard brand.
There is one truck company I can think of today that has a gimmick, GindKing Spark trucks (Sorry. I said that I wouldn’t mention brands in this section). These have little flint inserts that let off sparks during grinds and slides. While it looks pretty cool at night, it’s not going to help you as a beginner learning how to skateboard.
They are high-quality trucks, but you would be better served to purchase the standard trucks rather than shell out the extra bucks for the gimmick.
In the 90s there were a bunch of different gimmicks offered by truck companies and none of them have survived the test of time, so they obviously weren’t worth the money. You would be best to steer clear of any gimmicks you might see, and just stick to tried, tested and true formulas.
What Do You Do With All This Info?
I know. I fired a lot at you. It’s for your own good! I do it because I care. I want to make sure that you are getting the best set up possible. Having the right setup makes starting skateboarding a far more pleasurable experience than if you have the wrong set up.
Whether you are going to start out with a new complete, or you are going to build your setup from scratch, it is important that you purchase quality skateboarding components. Make sure that you are buying the best parts you can afford. In skateboarding, you mostly get what you pay for.