I know it’s quite difficult for new skateboarders to pick a skateboard, especially when you don’t want to spend too much but still want a decent setup. If this is you, you’ve come to the right place.
Over the years I and my helpful local skateboarders have tested many setups to see what works and what doesn’t. This post is a bit different from what you’re used to, sure I’ll suggest a few assembled skateboards but I’ll also want to show you some awesome custom setups specifically for your needs.
Perhaps you only want to ride in your local skatepark, others just want to cruise (and perhaps a few basic tricks). And there are people (me included) that love transition skateboarding, or bowl and mini ramp skating. Over a year ago I decided to buy all the stuff that people love and test the right combinations.
At this point, I feel confident enough to share my findings and present you with the best skateboards for beginners, be it a cheaper complete or a custom assembled setup for technical skateboarding.
Since many of you also love to just cruise, I added a couple of cruisers that are in my opinion the best beginner cruisers. Of course I tested them and I don’t recommend boards that are trash.
Note: This page contains links that earn me a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
- 1 Best Beginner Skateboards
- 1.1 1. Santa Cruz Skateboard
- 1.2 2. Element Complete
- 1.3 3. Stoked Complete
- 1.4 4. CCS Complete Blank
- 1.5 5. Arbor Whiskey Recruit Complete
- 1.6 6. Landyachtz Tugboat
- 1.7 7. Arbor Oso
- 1.8 8. Globe Big Blazer
- 1.9 9. Perfect Street Setup (8.0″)
- 1.10 $100 Budget 8.0″ Street Setup:
- 1.11 $150 8.0″ Street Setup:
- 1.12 10. Street/park Skateboard Setup (8.25″)
- 1.13 11. Strong Setup for Heavy Riders
- 1.14 12. Skateboard Setups for Adults 8.5″
- 2 How to Choose A Beginner Skateboard
- 2.1 Picking The Right Beginner Skateboard Wheels
- 2.2 Skateboard Trucks For Beginners
- 2.3 Choosing Skateboard Bearings
- 3 Types of Skateboards Explained
- 4 Skateboarding Terminology Explained
Best Beginner Skateboards
So let’s start with a few boards that I and my local skateboarders tested. These are for the lazy who don’t want to configure their own board, or just don’t feel confident enough and that’s okay! These completes are of great quality but often there are a few cons about them, they are cheaper and that means corners have to be cut.
Still, they are great for beginners and you probably won’t notice the cons anyway because you’re new to skateboarding or just came back from a big hiatus.
For those who want something special, I lined up a number of setups for people on a budget, heavy riders, adults that are just starting out, aspiring bowl skaters, street skaters, and skate park enthusiasts. My advice here is to go to your local skate shop and tell them you want this setup, you could also purchase this stuff online and let them assemble it for you! Now enough talk, let’s go!
1. Santa Cruz Skateboard
Let’s hit it off with Santa Cruz, the oldest brand in the world and I absolutely love their complete skateboards. Be aware that they offer several setups that look the same with slight variations in the hardness of bushings and wheels.
The wheels are soft enough for beginners (95A/54mm) and hard enough to pop a few tricks when you’re ready without bouncing all over the place. They will flat spot though so I wouldn’t recommend power slides on rougher surfaces.
This deck consists of birch which is a bit disapointing, birch is cheaper and less poppy. It features a mellow to low concave for extra stability and leaves enough room to position your feet properly.
When testing this board I was pleasantly surprised, the shape feels comfortable and it’s not super technical. The deck will probably last for at least two seasons depending on how often your skate.
The Bullet Trucks perfectly match the deck and the bushings are soft and very turny. You might want to tighten the trucks a bit if it feels too jittery, this will help your to keep your balance while learning how to ride. Heavy riders should skip this one though, the soft 90A bushings will make the board feel unstable.
There’s enough clearance between the kingpin and the truck hangar to prevent hang-ups when you attempt a couple of grinds. I can’t say how long they will hold up when you get to the gnarly stuff but they should last for a while. By the time the trucks start to fall apart you probably have assembled a skateboard yourself.
The bearings are okay, nothing special but they do what they’re supposed to. They don’t rattle and are holding up so far. There are currently a couple of boards available on Amazon. Pick you favorite graphic, the boards are all the same.
- Wheels: 54 mm, 95A
- Deck: Birch, various sizes, medium concave
- Trucks: Bullet Trucks
- Bearings: Standard bearings
2. Element Complete
If you are looking for a complete beginner setup with a cool graphic you should check out Element Skateboards. This board is absolutely gorgeous and the best looking complete in my collection. In my opinion, Element (and Santa Cruz) come with the best graphics that gets you stoked to ride.
Even though graphics only serve an aesthetic purpose, they are important. Cool graphics just want you to go out there and shred, blanks are cheaper but less appealing even though they are just as functional.
The element complete in the image above is a collaboration with National Geographic and I just love this board.Element often has collaborations. I also really love their Star Wars themed decks (Amazon link), like the recent Mandalorian decks.
Element completes come with 95A All Terrain wheels or 99A street/park wheels, deck sizes vary, Element brand trucks and 90a bushings.
Great complete setup for beginners and one of the best skateboards for kids who want to learn technical street skateboarding and don’t want to spend too much. I advise to tighten the trucks because they feel rather loose, it takes some time before the bushings start working properly.
Available on Amazon
- Wheels: 53 mm, 99A or 95A
- Deck: Maple, various sizes, medium concave
- Trucks: Bullet Trucks
- Bearings: Standard bearings
3. Stoked Complete
Stoked Ride Shop offers the best complete skateboard on a budget and you even get a skate tool. I don’t think there is a bettter complete out there. If there is one board I would recommend it’s this one.
The Paris trucks turn well and can handle abuse, I must admit that it takes some time before you break in the bushings so turning might feel a bit tight at the beginning. That okay though, if you’re new to skateboarding your don’t want a board that starts turning when you aren’t prepared. it will give you the needed stability so you won’t hurt yourself at day one.
The bushings will break-in eventually and by that time you’re probably used to this skateboard. It comes with blank 99A wheels with a wide contact patch for extra grip and stability. As a bonus you get quality bearings, the Fireball Dragon bearings are great and better than that cheap non branded stuff.
But wait there’s more. Stoked also offers a cruiser-street hybrid setup. It’s exactly the same setup but with 81A/60mm Fireball Tinder wheels. Great wheels for doing a couple of ollies while still being able to cruise around. I would recommend getting a wider setup if this is what you are looking for. 8.25″-8.5″ would be a wise choice.
Stoked Ride Shop offers in my opinion the best complete you can get. Sure there are better boards but this one is the best value for money, period. Check here for the cruiser version. Interested in the street setup? Click here (link to Stoked Ride Shop).
- 7.75″ / 7.875″ / 8.0″ / 8.25″ / 8.5″ Canadian Maple 7-ply Deck
- Paris Street Trucks or Independent trucks!
- Paris Hardware 1.25″
- Fireball Bearings
- Fireball Tinder 60mm 81A (cruiser) or 53mm/99a Blank street wheels
- Bullet Griptape
- Skate tool
4. CCS Complete Blank
Another blank complete, though not as great as the Stoked Ride Shop setup, it’s still a good choice for beginners. The CCS blank complete is a street deck and for those who want to move on to technical tricks once you learn the basics.
CCS has been selling these for a long time and in general, skateboarders are very positive about this board. It comes with CCS trucks, Mini Logo bearings, CCS branded wheels, and a blank deck.
The deck has decent pop, a mellow concave, consists of 7-ply’s maple wood and can take quite some abuse. I had someone skate this board for 2 months and there were no signs of chips or delamination. The tail started showing some wear after a month of street skating and after 3 months the tail is a bit worn. Pretty good considering all the hours it was used.
The trucks hold up fine so far, you will be able to practive 50-50 once you are ready and the trucks can handle the abuse. I don’t think they will last for years but for a beginner skateboard this is a really good choice.
The bushings are stiff and take some time to break-in, the good news is that they will start turning smoothly once you skated them for a few hours.
The wheels are okay, nothing special and they are rather small. The contact patch is pretty narrow so this means you have less grip and stability. They work though and you can safely take this skateboard to your local park. It’s fast on concrete and the wheels can handle asphalt as long as it isn’t too crusty.
Great budget street setup, it also comes with a skate tool in case you want to tweak the trucks. Currently available on Amazon
- Deck: Maple, width between 7.0″ and 8.5″
- Wheels: CCS 52mm 100A
- Trucks: CCS
- Bearings: Mini Logo
- Skate Tool
5. Arbor Whiskey Recruit Complete
Arbor offers great snowboards, cruisers and recently introduced their new complete skateboards. I’m pretty impressed with this complete and think Arbor did a great job at getting the right parts that beginners need. The Arbor Whiskey recruit is a street setup that comes with 54mm 90A wheels for a comfy ride.
This boards is great for gritty asphalt, parks and transition and the softer wheels deal well with cracks and pebbles. Super stable board and the soft wheels will help you to keep your balance instead of eating sh*t.
The Ace trucks are very turny so you might need to tweak them a bit but they offer a decent turn and can handle grinds and ollies.
Asphalt, pavements, concrete, and wood won’t be a problem and at 90A you can even take it for a short commute. Quality 7-ply maple wood and a very decent setup for a great price. Arbor is a reliable brand and I like the direction they are going, their cruisers are on of the best and so are their new technical boards.
This is a great skateboard for whose who want something stable and softer wheels that can deal with rough terrain. The low/medium concave makes it easier to place your feet but makes it harder to do flip tricks. Perhaps the best complete for beginners on this list, but they may not always be available.
Available at Stoked Ride Shop
- Width: 7.75″, 8.0″, 8.25″
- Length: 32″
- Wheelbase: varies
- 7-ply maple deck
- Ace Classic Trucks
- 90a 54mm wheels
- Shielded standard bearings
6. Landyachtz Tugboat
So let’s look at a couple of cruisers that offer lots of stability and a comfortable ride. Landyachtz is a great brand that offers lots of different cruisers but the Tugboat is a great choice for those who just want to ride comfortably.
You might need to get used to the concave, I feel like it’s rather steep but the board is wide enough so you can easily place your feet in the concave pockets. I like how this board carves without feeling the need to bail, only when you attempt an extremely deep carve the trucks will lose grip.
You can take a more laid back stance but also position your foot on the huge tail for aggressive riding. It really feels like a plow board, I was able to ride through gravel, grass, and rough surfaces without issues. Make sure you lean backward when you do this kind of stuff.
The extra-wide trucks feel comfortable, not too loose or too tight, just right. I’m not a huge fan of Bear trucks or Fatty Hawg wheels but on this board, they really shine unlike it’s little Dinghy brother.
The wheels offer enough grip and a smooth ride, not buttery smooth but smooth enough for an enjoyable ride. The Tugboat is currently my favorite Landyachtz Cruiser and recommended for beginners, heavy riders, tall people, or people with huge feet.
- Wheels: 60 mm, 78A
- Deck: Maple, 9.0″ wide, steep concave
- Trucks: Bear trucks
- Bearings: Spaceball bearings with integrate spacers
7. Arbor Oso
The Arbor Oso is comparable to the Tugboat but has a mellower concave. This cruiser is also a great beginner board and heavy or tall riders will really appreciate the real estate. There is lots of room for your feet to move around and it’s very forgiving if you are slightly off stance.
Easy to correct your feet placement and doesn’t make any unexpected movements. To be honest, I like this board just a bit better than the Tugboat but they come really close. I do like the Tugboat’s bushings better though. The Oso bushings take some time to break in and felt really tight. This made turning a bit harder in the beginning but after breaking them in the seem fine.
The wide Paris Street trucks are amazing, super beefy trucks that can take lots of abuse but this cruiser looks so nice that it would be a waste to trash it. Once the bushings work properly, they turn great and you can really put your weight in when turning.
It has a huge kicktail for a more aggressive stance and plows through almost anything. The Arbor EasyRider wheels feel buttery smooth and are one of the better cruiser wheels. They aren’t made for tricks so they might chip when you want to grind a ledge, I would advise against it.
Get this cruiser when you want something super stable but also like to ride a bit more aggressive. Great for heavier and tall people, but also for those who want a reliable aggressive cruiser.
Currently available at Stoke Ride Shop.
- Wheels: 61 mm, 78A
- Deck: Maple, 10″ wide, medium concave
- Trucks: Paris Street Trucks
- Bearings: Standard bearings
8. Globe Big Blazer
The last beginner cruiser I really need to mention is the Glove Big Blazer. This is the most stable cruiser on this list and makes learning how to ride a lot easier. It’s quite long for a cruiser, has no concave and a tiny kicktail.
The lack of concave makes this a boring ride for those who already know how to skateboard, but it’s ideal for new riders that just want to cruise a bit and do some carving. The tensor trucks turn well and feel reliable, not too tight or too loose. Depending on your weight you can tweak them a bit to your liking.
The big soft wheels are decent and I really didn’t experience any issues. They roll pretty smoothly and handle cracks, rocks, or anything small really well. Great and affordable cruiser for new riders that want something reliable at a fair price.
- Standard Tensor alloy 6″/152 mm hanger, 219 mm axle
- Slant wedge (angled) riser pads
- 7 Ply, 32″ tall and 9″ wide, Canadian Maple deck, Premium Palisander wood finish
- Globe conical-shaped wheels, 62 mm/78A wheels
- Globe ABEC 7 Bearings and Spacers
- 17.7″ wheelbase which can’t be adjusted
Especially for you older new guys out there, get a globe blazer, learn to ride, and get something better. It will really speed up to process, currently available at Amazon (affiliate link)
Let’s move on to custom setups, if you want the best you will need to pay a bit more.
9. Perfect Street Setup (8.0″)
Let’s move on to some custom setups. an 8.0″ street skateboard is one of the most popular setups. Great for both outdoor and indoor skate parks, perform well on the street, easier to pop and flip and great for those who want to get into technical skateboarding.
This one requires you to pick the parts yourself but I’m going to help you out and make a couple of suggestions I believe are great for beginners. Let’s start with a decent cheap setup and also look at a premium setup, perhaps something in between is also a good idea.
Remember you can swap components around and decide if you want to invest more in trucks or wheels, if there’s one thing I wouldn’t cheap out on its trucks. They will last for years and investing a bit more can make a huge difference in performance.
$100 Budget 8.0″ Street Setup:
- Blank Skateboard deck ($35)
- CCS ($30) or Mini Logo trucks ($39)
- Mini Logo C-Cut 52mm 101A ($20)
- Bones reds standard ($20) or Fireball Dragon Bearings ($16)
- Spacers ($1)
- Jessup griptape ($8)
$150 8.0″ Street Setup:
- Blank Skateboard deck ($35)
- Thunder Hi Polished 147 ($45) or Independent 145 Stage 11 ($53)
- Spitfire Classic 52mm 101A or 99A ($40) | Bones 100’s ($30)
- Bones reds standard ($20), Fireball Dragon Bearings ($16)
- Spacers ($1)
- Jessup griptape ($8)
Swap the wheels for mini logos and you immediately drop this quality setup to aprox. 130 bucks. Add 15 bucks and get a cool deck from a reputable with a nice print, 165 bucks
10. Street/park Skateboard Setup (8.25″)
So let’s say you want to skate street but I know you also like to visit parks once every while, what would be a good setup? It’s not complicated, but it all depends on yo budget. If you started out with a cheap complete these setups will make a huge difference.
For skatepark skateboarding you can consider and 8.25″ setup or an 8.0″ setup, even 8.5″ and 7.75″ will work. You can go either way, the choice is up to you. 8.0″ means faster flipping but your wheels and trucks also play a part.
I have to be honest here, any setup will work. Getting into these extreme details and overthinking the optimal setup is (IMO) a waste of time. If you have the luxury of testing all the possible components, yes you will get your ideal setup. Honestly, if you get some decent components it will work for you. This blog is not for pros that visit woodshops and get their own custom shapes.
Anyway let’s look at the setup that will work for you:
8.25″ Street and Skatepark Setup on a Budget
Let’s start off with a cheaper setup, but I’m not going to cheap out on the trucks. Those will last for a long time and are super important, again it’s indy’s or Thunders.
- Blank Skateboard deck ($35)
- Thunder Lo Polished 148 ($45) or Independent 145 Stage 11 ($53)
- Bones 100’s ($30) or Mini Logo C-cut 54mm 101A ($20)
- Bones reds standard ($20), Fireball Dragon Bearings ($16)
- Spacers ($1)
- Jessup griptape ($8)
11. Strong Setup for Heavy Riders
Heavy riders should consider harder bushings. For those who are a little overweight or you giants out there, check out this table before we get to the setup proper setup.
|Weight (lbs)||Weight (kg)||Flexible||Medium||Hard (stiff)|
|50 – 100||22.5 – 45||65a||78a||81a|
|75 – 125||34 – 56||80a||83a||85a|
|100 – 145||45 – 66||85a||87a||88a|
|125 – 175||56 – 79||88a||90a||93a|
|145 – 195||66 – 88.5||90a||93a||94a|
|175 – 220+||79 – 100+||91a||93a||100a|
Now that we got that out of our way, lets look at the setups that work well for heavy riders. This is going to be more expensive because I’m going to add a couple of boards that can deal with impacts.
I would like to point out if you are obese and just want to ride, you don’t need a deck with fiberglass or any fancy expensive deck. All decks will work, it’s up to you to pick the brand and or graphic. Only those who want to learn tricks should consider stronger skateboard decks like Powell Peralta Flight Decks, Dwindle Impact decks, or Santa Cruz VX decks.
This Santa Cruz setup is great for cruising but also for shredding bowls depending on the wheels. The Santa Cruz VX deck is super strong and consists of 5-plys maple and 2 fiberglass layers on both the top and bottom.
It’s a bit more flexy compared to 7-ply maple decks but you won’t snap this board in half if you make a minor mistake. The standard Independent (169) trucks have lots of meat to grind through and turn great.
You can either go with 95A wheels or harder street wheels. I would really recommend getting Spitfire Formula Four Conicals 99A. Even though they are higher on the Durometer A-scale, they are great for many types of terrain.
Great for both street and transition skateboarding, they feel great on asphalt, concrete, and wood. The large contact patch also provides extra stability. Not for cruising by the way! For cruiser wheels get OJ Super Juice wheels (78A, 60mm or 54mm)
12. Skateboard Setups for Adults 8.5″
Just want to ride and hop curbs? This setup will work. Just get an 8.5″ deck from the brand you prefer, Independent Stage 149 trucks (the ones pictured here are the Titanium Forged version), 1/8″ shockpads, Ricta Clouds 54 or 56 mm wheels (92A), 1/8″ hardware, and Bones Reds bearings.
The Indy trucks are turn well and are indestructible, Ricta Cloud wheels are filmer wheels so they are a bit softer and provide a comfortable ride. The shock pads absorb impacts and Standard Bones Red Reds bearings are always a good choice.
Consider Bronson Raws if you want to ride faster. Don’t forget grip tape and a skate tool!
How to Choose A Beginner Skateboard
In my opinion, the wheels are the most important factor. The problem with buying a complete skateboard is usually the small hard wheels that aren’t exactly beginner-friendly. Next, it’s time to take a look at trucks, you know those T-shaped metal things that are attached to a skateboard.
Lastly bearings (easy) and a deck. Picking the right deck is more about the size than the brand though there are many terrible boards out there. Don’t worry, I got you covered so you don’t make a bad purchase.
You can skip this entire section by the way, I created a skateboard configuration tool that offers the best compatible components and you can e-mail your choices right to your inbox! Please leave me some feedback, it will help me improve the tool.
You’ve probably seen a couple of words that make you scratch the back of your head, don’t worry I got you covered. To be honest, when I first started this site I actually was confused myself. Even though I skated for many years.
I just never paid attention to specifications and what all that jargon means, I always asked my friends and only one of them actually could share some insights which I just ignored. Big mistake, turns out I’ve been riding a bad setup for years, but you get used to it and won’t really notice until you get the good stuff.
Let’s start with the most important things first, warning this might require you to pay attention and read. I also tend to ramble when it comes to this kind off stuff, sorry.
Picking The Right Beginner Skateboard Wheels
Now that I’ve tested and had other tests over 30 types of wheels I think I can share some stuff you won’t find on other blogs. You probably heard of the Durometer scale, and if you haven’t, keep on reading. For the lazy, check out my best skateboard wheels for beginners article.
I already wrote a huge guide about skateboard wheels (that definitely needs an update) but here is the gist of it.
The funny thing here is that you often see these 99A wheels which are great for street skating and park skating, the bad news is that there can be a huge difference between brand Y and Brand X which both advertise wheels being 99A. To higher you go on the Durometer A-scale to more inaccurate it is, I’ll cover that more in-depth in a moment.
The most important choice to make when picking the right wheels is that you need to think about where your ride, how your designated area to ride looks like, and what you want to do. Lots of slick and smooth asphalt? Go with hard super hard wheels! Do you live an area with crusty asphalt and rough sidewalks? Get super soft and bigger wheels.
The Right Wheels For You
So what is a good choice? That depends on your budget and what you want to do. Remember that quality wheels will last for a VERY long time, the same goes for trucks. If you’re on a tight budget consider getting a blank deck and better wheels, though your main focus should be on top-notch trucks.
Beginners won’t need super fancy wheels, just make sure you get some wheels that ride okay. I recently gave a guy a set of mini logo wheels which I consider mediocre, but he was really happy about their performance. This made me realize I’m spoiled and mini logo A-cut wheels sure arent up to the standards of Spitfire Classics or Formula Fours, but so much better than the brandless wheels he used to ride.
If you’re completely new to skateboarding a set of Mini Logo wheels is an excellent choice. Even though they tend to flat spot, beginners don’t have to worry about that. Only experienced skateboarders that love powerslides will experience flat spots. Want to best, get Bones for skate parks and Spitfire for street skateboarding.
But what about just cruising around? If you just want a comfortable ride you want big soft wheels. There are tons of options, one of my favorite wheels for cruising are OJ Superjuice 78A/60mm. Affordable and buttery smooth.
If you want skateboard wheels for cruising and tricks, Ricta Clouds are an excellent choice.
Skateboard Wheels Durometer Explained
So here’s what Wikipedia says:
The Shore durometer is a device for measuring the hardness of a material, typically of polymers, elastomers, and rubbers. Higher numbers on the scale indicate a greater resistance to indentation and thus harder materials. Lower numbers indicate less resistance and softer materials.
So let’s say you buy cheap Mini Logo 99A street wheels, good job because they are excellent budget wheels! Now compare them to Spitfire Classics 99a. Totally different riding experience! Brand X can have softer or harder 99A wheels compared to brand Y and you can really feel the difference.
The problem with the durometer A scale is that it becomes inaccurate at the end of the scale. That’s why there are more scales and some brands use the B-scale which is more accurate higher up the scale. Durometer When you see wheels that are labeled 104A, they are actually 84B.
What About the Size of Skateboard Wheels
I tested many wheels and even 2 millimeters in size can make a huge difference, but mainly for experienced riders. Here is my thumb of rule for every style:
- Technical street skateboarding: 51mm to 53mm
- Street and skate parks: 52mm to 54mm
- Transitions such as parks, bowl, mini ramps: 54 to 56mm, 58 mm for vert skaters, 56mm for dedicated mini ramp and bowl skateboarders
- Cruising and tricks: 58 to 60mm, 81A durometer for less bounce and 92A-96A for those who like to kickflip, ollie and have a comfy ride. Not ideal, it’s a trade-off.
- Cruising: At least 60mm and 78A durometer, pretty much the sweet spot. Not taking longboards into account.
Skateboard Trucks For Beginners
The best skateboard trucks for beginners should turn well but not too much. You can adjust the tightness of trucks but some trucks are so loose, you’ll have a hard time balancing your deck in the beginning.
Because of this, I would avoid Ace trucks or Venture Lo’s, those are for carvy skateboarding and you will be all over the place, except on your board. Independent, Venture Hi’s, and Thunder trucks are great premium trucks. Cheaper brands that work for beginners are Paris Trucks, Tensor Standard Trucks, Krux, and CCS.
Skateboard trucks come in different sizes so make sure to pick the right size, trucks don’t have to be the exact same width but there are limits.
Skateboard trucks are the heart and soul of your skateboard, they determine how fast you turn, how stable your ride is, and whether you can lock-in a grind or how easy it is to flip your skateboard. If there is one component where you shouldn’t go all frugal, it’s trucks.
Trucks last for many years given you buy the right ones. Sure you can buy a pair for 20 bucks, but they will suck.
There is a huge difference in quality and performance between cheap trucks and dominating brands like Independent and Thunder Trucks. They also come in different heights and to make it more difficult, there is no standard.
Venture Lo’s aren’t the same height as Thunder Lows, but I wouldn’t think too much of it. Usually, its just a 1 or 2 millimeter difference that beginners will not notice at all.
The main thing about height is that lower trucks offer more stability and high trucks are better at turning. This explains why transition skaters often prefer Independent trucks of Thunders because they like to carve bowls, mini ramps, and transitions in general.
That doesn’t mean street skaters always skate Thunder trucks, not at all. My main advice here is not to overthink this too much, you will get used to what you skate. Once you progress you can decide to try something else or stick with what you are used to. Here’s something anecdotal for context:
I sponsor a local kid over here and got him a setup with Thunder Team trucks (very low trucks) and a setup with Independent Titaniums, both top-notch premium stuff. I told him to pick the setup he thought would benefit him the most and he went for Thunders.
After a month or two I asked him to ride the Independent Titanium trucks. A few weeks later he absolutely loved the indy’s over the Thunders. This guy is experienced, quite skilled, and told me that the lows made his ride very stable but he had a harder time flipping his board. The higher and lightweight independent Titaniums turned out to be perfect for him.
Do you see what’s going on? Personal preference! BUT it also really depends on where and how you skate. Tom mainly prefers street and parks but also likes to ride our local mini ramp once every while and found the perfect trucks that can do just that.
This can be a hit and miss and a lot depends on your weight and the quality of the plastic mix (polyurethane). Usually, stock bushings are fine but not for those who are super skniiy and lightweight or heavy riders.
If you are light as a feather stock bushings could be too hard, this makes turning more difficult. Heavy riders on the other hand need harder bushings, your trucks could feel super loose so if you feel like you need to do something, replace the bushings. Make sure to loosen or tighten the trucks first before you buy new bushings, also or check this table.
This isn’t a common problem but it happens and if you feel the need to replace the bushings you should definitely consult my bushings buyers guide. Let’s move on to the myths of truck width.
Should Trucks Match the Width of Your Skate Deck?
Trucks should be about the same width as your deck but you can easily fit 7.75″ trucks under an 8.0 deck. You can also fit 8.0″ trucks under a 7.75 deck, this won’t really matter. The former will make your board flips faster and the latter will offer more stability.
Just don’t go beyond a 0.25″ deviation, you either get the carpet ride effect or your push foot will come into contact with your wheels which is super annoying.
To all you cruiser riders out there, forget what was said. Cruisers often have wheels sticking out and I occasionally need to bail because I’m pushing too close to the rear trucks and hit the wheels. It happens and it doesn’t matter at all for simple cruising.
Cruising on trucks that are narrower than your deck will result in a very nimble and carvy cruiser, wider will give you more stability and a comfy ride.
Choosing Skateboard Bearings
There are differences, some bearings are durable and can handle a lot of abuse. Other bearings are trash and will break after jumping a 3-stairs. ABEC-rating doesn’t mean anything, at least it’s not important for skateboarding. Don’t be fooled by cheap knockoffs that advertise them as super fast ABEC-11 bearings.
Bearings that are great and affordable are Bronson Bearings (G2), and Bones Bearings (Reds).
Those fancy expensive ceramic bearings are for experienced skateboarders that want to get the most out of their boards, ceramic bearings are a waste of money.
One thing that’s often overlooked are spacers, these tiny metal or plastic tubes are meant to protect your bearings from friction and dirt. They also protect them from screwing the axle nut too tight so you won’t crush them when assembling your skateboard.
Bearings are all the same size and will fit any skateboard wheel, the best skateboard bearings are cheap.
Types of Skateboards Explained
So I listed a couple of different types of boards over here. Some may not like cruisers and some may not like super technical decks so I tried to cater most of you and hope there is something that relates to your personal preferences.
I’ll briefly explain the types over here but I need to keep it short or this post will become too big.
Cruisers are in my opinion the best way to learn how to properly ride a skateboard. They are about the size of a regular skateboard but way more forgiving. You get big soft wheels that make it very easy to keep your balance and they are way more predictable in behavior, at least the boards I listed here.
They didn’t make the cut, even though longboarding can be considered skateboarding, it’s not something I ride. Yes, they are great for beginners. They are super comfy to ride given you buy a decent longboard, but it’s not my area of expertise (yet).
What I do know is that they allow you to ride for hours on end without much effort
Probably why you are here, but skateboards are those popsicle shaped skateboards that usually consist of 7-layers of maple wood. A kicktail to pop ollies, kickflips, boardslides and whatnot, and trucks that can grind ledges, rails, or anything you encounter.
Skateboarding Terminology Explained
For those out of the loop, here is an explanation of jargon that isn’t complex but might be confusing to newbies.
Flat spots occur when you slide your wheels on crusty or rough surfaces. Flat spots are small spots that are shaved off because of (power) slides and often occur when you ride cheap wheels. It’s very annoying and you’ll notice them when you ride your board. There’s not much you can do about it unfortunately.
Pretty simple, The Durometer scale is to the hardness of your wheels. The harder the wheel the better they are for performing tricks. The trade-off is that they won’t feel very comfortable if you just want to cruise. Softer wheels perform great on rough surfaces.
How easy it is to ‘pop’ your deck or lift your board from the surface by kicking (or popping) the kicktail of your deck. Pop also relates to the wheelbase, the close the mount holes (where your trucks go) to your tail, the less pop you get.
I personally think how much pop a board gets really relates to the height of your trucks and your wheelbase. There is no such thing as the best skateboard decks for pop, that’s BS. Sure there are the worst decks, but it also depends on your technique.
The concave of a skateboard deck is the curvature across your deck’s surface and edges. Concave can be classified as low, medium (mellow), or steep. Steep concave is great for technical tricks and will make it easier to flip your board but harder to ride for beginners.
Mellow or medium concave is just in between, still great for flips but offers more stability. Low concave is great for beginners but a bit boring, it offers lot’s of stability but tricks are harder. Beginners should go with medium concave or low if you just want to cruise.