Attention Bowl Shredders!!! This is the article you have been looking for. We are going to help you decide what trucks you need to get the best trucks for bowl skateboarding.
Ace Trucks are considered by many to be the best trucks for carving. Independent Trucks come in at a close second. Generally speaking, Gull Wings, Thunders, and other brands come in last.
That is not to say that you cannot have a good session without Ace Trucks, but popular opinion states that Ace and Indy’s are the best for carving bowls. It also comes down to personal preference. Let’s check out some of the pros and cons of the most popular skateboard trucks for carving.
1. Independent Truck Co.
Probably the world’s most popular skateboard truck, Independent Trucks are excellent trucks for carving bowls. Indy’s have long been the favorite skateboard truck of bowl riders old and young since the dawn of the company.
You won’t go wrong with a set of Indy’s under your feet. I purchased a set of Indy Stage VI 139 for my street setup, but man do they work well for me carving bowls and banks.
Independent Trucks are one of the highest trucks you can get. Standing at about 54mm high, Indy’s have extra clearance for you to use wheels 54mm or larger without the fear of getting wheel bite too often.
The Positives: Independent Trucks are very meaty. There is a lot of metal on the hanger for you to grind off. Don’t be scared to take on that pool coping; They provide a very nice grind on concrete, especially after you develop that grinding groove on the hanger. They truly are one of the best skateboard trucks for every style
The baseplate is nicely set a bit more forward so you slide less on your wheels, giving you less chance to stick on nose and tail slides. The geometry makes the wheelbase a bit shorter which makes for really tight turns and carves. Perfect for destroying pools.
The Negatives: With all that extra meat, Indy’s are one of the heaviest trucks on the market. Luckily that doesn’t matter much when you are carving bowls. The stock bushings also leave something to be desired. This is one of the biggest gripes that even loyal Indy riders have.
They seem to take a long time to break-in, and then they are very loose. I skate my trucks quite loose. I probably put in about 10 hours into my Indy’s before they broke in and they almost felt too loose until I got used to them.
I’ve had several sets of trucks from different manufacturers, and the Indy’s definitely took longer to break in than the others. But they do feel really good now.
Independent Trucks have been around since 1978 and show no signs of going anywhere. They turn sharp, they grind smooth, and they can stand up to any punishment you put them through.
You can ride them with some big wheels to help you gain and keep the high speeds you need for carving bowls. You won’t go wrong with a set of Independent Trucks on your bowl set up.
2. Ace Trucks MFG
“Loose Trucks Save Lives” is the tag line for Ace Skateboard Trucks, and I couldn’t agree more. The looser the better in my not-so-humble opinion. The last thing you want when carving a tight bowl corner at high speed is to have to do a kick turn because your trucks are too tight for a smooth carve around the corner.
Ace Trucks come in Low and Classics. The lows are pretty low at 48mm and are comparable to the height of Venture lows. Lows would probably not serve you very well carving a bowl as you need small wheels to prevent wheel bite.
Instead, look to the Classics. Standing at 52mm height, the Classics are a mid-height truck comparable to the height of Thunder Trucks.
The Positives: Ace Trucks are built for carving bowls. Their mid-height gives plenty of clearance for really leaning into your carves without worrying about wheel bite. Their geometry is similar to Indy’s so you can get a nice smooth carve at high speeds.
The stock bushings don’t need much of a break-in period. Ride them loose and you shouldn’t feel much of a difference between the first day, and the second day of riding.
The Negatives: When people switch to Ace Trucks, they can find them to be a bit squirrly. They definitely feel different than skating Indy’s. Like skating any new type of truck, you just have to get used to the feel of them and decide for your self.
Ace also doesn’t have a lot of meat to grind off. People have said that they tend to wear down quickly when grinding concrete, but the shape of the hanger provides some very nice and smooth grinds.
People that ride Ace love Ace. But the general consensus is: You have to ride them loose. This allows them to perform the way they are intended to perform; tight turns and smooth, buttery grinds. With Ace Trucks, you will have no problem carving up the corners like a Christmas goose.
3. Gullwing Trucks
A quick mention of Gullwing trucks is necessary. While not really a big brand anymore, Gullwing makes trucks mainly designed for wider decks, longboards and shortboards alike.
They are regarded as excellent trucks for carving. I have not personally rode Gullwing trucks since the ’90s, so I cannot speak from personal experience on these ones.
I have seen Gullwings on a few different cruisers and longboard setups. They are a durable and responsive truck with an excellent turning radius which makes them perfect for carving bowls and streets alike.
Gullwings have integrated speed rings (Those little tiny washers that you always lose when you take off your wheels) on the hanger and the axle nut.
Aside from being an awesome idea, these help keep your bearings properly aligned, and take away the friction stress on the bearings when you are rolling at high speeds.
A really neat feature of the Gullwing Pro III trucks is that they have a groove cut into the center of the hanger which helps you to lock in and keep locked in on coping grinds and stalls. This is great for beginner bowl riders but might become annoying once you get better.
I know of a couple of exceptional bowl shredders that ride the Gullwing Pro III and love them. They must be a good truck because the Barrier Kult (BAKU) put their name on a Gullwing Pro III truck.
4. Venture Trucks
One of the most stable trucks you can get and also great at carving. Venture offers low and high trucks and you definitely want the latter. When I first skated these trucks I was amazed how easy it was to lock my grinds and axle stalls.
The max deck they fit is 8.75″ so 9″ deck riders probably should look for another truck. It doesn’t take long to break in the bushings and once they do you have one of the best carvy trucks you can get. Adjust the tightness of the trucks a bit to what you like and shred!
I also tried the lows but had a much harder time locking in grinds. They are still very responsive but I could really feel the difference. Might be a good choice if you also like to skate street though.
5. Thunder Truck Co.
Thunders are also a highly regarded skateboard truck. They are especially loved by street skaters. Thunders give you a wider wheelbase than many other skateboard trucks, because the hanger is angled more forward than their competitors.
Because of this geometry, they feel more stable landing street tricks, and they give an excellent fulcrum for doing manuals and one truck grinds such as 5-0 and nose grinds.
Thunder Trucks are a mid truck. But they are actually fairly low at 49mm tall. Depending on your style, you could run into some problems with wheel bite whilst carving, if you have wheels over 53mm. I have a friend that rides Thunder Trucks that are super loose, with 56mm wheels, and he has no problems eating up the bowls and transition.
While I get wheel bite with Indy’s and 50mm wheels. I don’t really know what that means, aside from the fact that he is a far better skater than me. Maybe try some riser pads if you are rocking Thunders in the bowl.
Thunders are a very stable truck for carving, grinding, and landing. Their geometry gives a nice balance point for doing stalls and grinds on one truck.
Their geometry also helps you lock into stalls nicely because your wheels will hit the coping. They have a very responsive turn, that isn’t delayed like with Independent trucks. Skate them loose and you will have no problems ripping bowls.
Thunders are a pretty low truck which means you won’t want to run too big of tires without riser pads. Thunders don’t have as much meat as Ace or Indy’s which means you will wear through the trucks a bit faster if you are grinding a lot of concrete coping.
They are well built, so don’t think you will be blowing through Thunder Trucks as quickly as you would skateboard decks. They will still give you many months of carving pleasure.
I have Thunder 149s with 53mm tires on my ramp set up. I skate that setup mostly on mini ramp, and I love it for that. It feels better than skating ramps on my setup with the Indy’s. The setup with the Thunders feels really stable to me.
I have very little problems carving the bowl, and because my wheels always hit coping on stalls, I don’t tend to slip out that often (I ride hard 101A durometer wheels). I feel like I have better balance and stability for coping tricks, but sharp turning is lacking a bit in the carves. Not really lacking, it just feels different than with Indy’s.
The long and short of it: For carving bowls, Ace, Venture Hi, and Indy’s are regarded as the best trucks. Gullwings are excellent for parks and carving streets. Other trucks, such as Thunders, will also work for carving, but may not be as good as the other options. Basically it comes down to personal preference and the skateboard brand you prefer.
Carving requires you to be comfortable on your board and you will be able to carve well with whatever trucks you prefer. But, you should have your trucks as loose as possible to be able to carve well.
If you currently ride tight trucks, loosen them a quarter turn each session until they are loose enough for a good carve. You won’t notice the difference much if you loosen your trucks a bit at a time. Next thing you know it, you are super comfortable riding trucks like Daewon Song.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.