Picking the right size skateboard truck is pretty easy. Just make sure they fit your deck or you could get some issues with responsiveness and balance. The hight of skateboard trucks is a personal preference, low, medium or high trucks it’s really up to you.
The width of your truck should match the width of your skateboard deck. This data table shows exactly what size you need.
|Deck size||Axle width||Hangar width|
|7.75 inch to 8.0 inch||7.75 inch / 197 mm||5.0 inch / 129 mm|
|8 inch to 8.5 inch||8.0 inch / 203 mm||5.25 inch / 139 mm|
|8.5 inch to 9.0 inch||8.5 inch / 216 mm||5.75 inch / 149 mm|
|9.0 inch to 10.0 inch||9.0 inch / 229 mm||6.5 inch / 169 mm|
|10 inch or more||10.0 inch / 254 mm||8.5 inch / 215 mm|
Picking the Right Truck Width
Make sure the trucks you pick are the right size for your deck. The axles shouldn’t stick out and your deck shouldn’t be wider than your trucks. Now, it doesn’t really matter if they don’t match your deck perfectly. Some people actually like trucks that don’t match their board size.
A couple of pros skate narrow trucks that don’t fit their board because it improves flip speed. Others like wider trucks because it provides a more stable ride. In general, just makes sure the axle width matches your deck’s width.
Wide vs Narrow
Wider trucks provide more stability because you cover a larger surface. They are less responsive than narrow trucks resulting in a larger turning radius compared to narrow trucks. Narrow trucks weigh less, are smaller, and have a lower moment of inertia. Because of this, it makes it kickflips a little bit easier. The thing is if you master flips, you’ll probably don’t have any problems on a wider board.
In general, you want trucks to be proportional to your deck’s width. You should also take your wheel size into consideration. When you ride a wider board, let’s say 8.5 and above, you might consider bigger wheels. That also means you’ll be needing a higher truck.
What Happens When Your Trucks Are Too Wide
The truth is that it isn’t a huge problem. Only when you advance to the more technical tricks they might get in the way. Aesthetically it bothers me, it just looks weird but that’s not really an argument. It also doesn’t really cause stability issues.
So what’s the problem then? Less comfort when riding and you also might have to push a bit wider because your feet could touch the wheels. Even more so when you also have large wheels. Your axle and axle nut will wear down faster because there’s a bigger chance of them hitting the ground when you flip your board for example.
When you are at a level that you can do some advanced slide tricks on the edge of your wheels, it really becomes a problem. There’s also less clearance, meaning less distance between your wheels and deck (wheel bite).
Some claim that they grind better with wider trucks and feel like they steer better.
What Happens When Your Trucks Are Too Narrow
When you’re trucks don’t match your board and aren’t wide enough you’ll get the carpet riding effect. You won’t be able to see your wheels, just your deck. Just a tad too small doesn’t really matter but at a certain point, you’ll run into trouble.
If you’re unsure if your trucks are too small, lay your skateboard on the side and see if it stands up straight. A few degrees to the left or right is fine, but when it’s in an almost diagonal angle you should either get a new deck or buy new trucks.
Hanger Width and Axles
What matters most is the total width of your truck so pay attention to the axle width. The axle is where you put your wheels and bearings. The hanger is like the core of your truck. It has the axle attached to it and your bushings. It allows for steering as it rotates in the pivot cup.
|Axle width||Truck width|
|6.0″ to 7.25″||6.5″ to 7.25″|
|7.5″||7.25 to 7.5″|
|7.75″||7.5” to 8.0″|
|8.5″||8.5” to 9.o″|
|9.0″||9.0” to 10.0”|
|10.0″||10.o” and above|
Difference Between High and Low Trucks
In general low trucks offer more stability, while this is heavily debated there are a few situations in which they perform better. Take circle rails, for example. 1 cm can actually make a difference. It can increase the angle and distance when it makes contact to the rail. High trucks tend to move more to the side of a rail and have less resistance. This is because the fulcrum between the rail and your foot is longer.
In theory, this would mean lower trucks provide more stability on circle rails. There’s more resistance between the rail and your truck so it’s less likely your trucks will slip and cause you to fall. Like always it comes down to your skill level, if you’re not ready to grind a rail you’ll fall just as much with high trucks.
To take it a step further, it’s not only the height of your trucks that matter. Hard or soft bushings or how much pressure you apply, affect stability. So in the case of rails, you might be better off using low trucks. Lastly, low trucks allow you to put more pressure without slipping compared to high trucks.
That’s nice to know, but it may not even apply to you. So what about high trucks?
High trucks are great for carving and allow you to skate loose. They allow you to ollie higher because there’s more distance between your tail and the ground. This also come down to skill so not everyone will notice a difference. Because of the height, you’ll have more room to pivot. High trucks are great for bowls, ramps, transition, and cruising.
Pros of high trucks:
- More room to pivot and tighter turning radius.
- More pop, your angle is bigger. While not everyone agrees on this there’s more distance between your tail and the ground providing more pop. You can snap the tail harder when you want to ollie from for example a tail slide.
- Great for transition skateboarding and tall people.
- You can skate looser trucks because of more clearance.
- Less wheel bite and they allow for bigger wheels.
Cons of high trucks:
- Less stability when griding, more so on circle rails.
- Heavier, but it doesn’t really matter.
Medium (Mid) Height Trucks
Medium height skateboard trucks are great for all-around skateboarding. Suitable for skate street, parks or bowl/ramps but don’t excel in any. You can slap averagely sized wheels on them around 53 millimeters and 56 millimeters, some like them smaller others bigger. Some brands sell their trucks as mid-sized while they are just as tall as a competitor’s high trucks, that kinda sucks.
While I’ve already explained the benefits of low truck there are some other benefits besides stability when grinding rails. Let’s look at the pros and cons of low trucks. This is all just theory, it makes sense but not everybody will agree. Most of the differences are hardly noticeable. Maybe when you go for trucks that weigh 50 grams less you might feel a difference. Wheel size should be around 53 mm depending on the brand.
Pros of low trucks:
- Provide more stability when grinding rails. You’re a bit closer to the ground but it’s just a couple of millimeters.
- Makes your board flip faster provided you also have small wheels. A narrow board also make a difference.
- Less weight, but do a couple of grams really matter?
- Lower center of gravity, quicker pop and more responsive.
Cons of low trucks:
- Increased chance of wheel bite when you ride larger wheels.
- The kingpin could stick out a bit meaning you could come in contact with the surface you grind or slide. Less clearance can be solved by scraping a bit off the bolt.
- Less turning radius, this is only a problem when you carve a lot.
So Which Trucks Are the Best?
When you browse the web you’ll see lots of discussions going on about which brand has the best trucks. People defend their brand and claim it’s just the best. I always wondered why that is.
As I dug a little deeper than average I think it’s just because of the different measurements brands use and what you’re used to. Let’s say for example you skated Thunders all your life and switched to Ventures recently. You buy a couple of mid trucks just like you’re used to but they somehow feel different. This could be because one brand claims their trucks are lows while compared to another brand the are mediums or even high.
So when you get used to a certain truck and switch brands it might feel different. People are just used to what they skate and any change can mean a big difference. Not all people though, some don’t even feel a difference. I don’t really favor one brand, I like Thunder, Venture, and Independent. Here’s what I recommend if you’re looking for a pair of decent trucks.
Independent VS Thunder VS Venture
Let’s take a look at the most popular brands and how they compare to each other. While most will vouch for their favorite brand, I sort of like them all.
Thunder trucks turn the quickest and indies turn the slowest. Thunders are great for grinding but tend to wear down faster than indies. This has probably to do with the fact that they grind so well. Indies last longer and weight more, though the hollows changed this a bit.
Venture trucks are great for stability, they aren’t too heavy or light and wear down in between Indies and Thunders. Independent is the most expensive where Ventures are the cheapest, leaving Thunder in the middle.
Go with Independent trucks when you skate bowl, vert, and ramps and like to grind a lot. Go for Thunder trucks when you skate a lot of street and like to shred rough edges. Pick ventures if you’re looking for more stability.
Different Brands and Inconsistent Measurements
Some brands won’t publish details like height or weight which makes it hard to find out if you’re buying what you want. Another problem is that some brands advertise their trucks as lows but when you hold them next to another brand mids there isn’t really a difference.
Independent and Thunder use the metric system to and name their trucks accordingly. The Thunder Titanium lights 149 is 144 mm wide. for example, ‘129’ which refers to the hanger width in mm. Great! So that means the Indys 169 Titanium Forged are 169 mm! Well, not really, they are 166 mm. Sigh. There’s always the possibility of some slight deviation that occurs during production in any truck, but the lack of standards is pretty frustrating.
Most brands manufacture trucks that start at 5.0 inches and increase them by 1/4 inch scale. Just check the chart at the top of the page to see what I mean. That’s not the case with Royal though, their 5.5 inch is actually about 5.8 inch and an 8.75-inch axle. To be honest, the slight deviations don’t really matter.
The truth is you won’t really feel a difference when you’re a new skateboarder, just make sure you pick the right width. Once you’ve been skating for a while you may want to switch and get something that suits your style. I recently switched from Thunders to Independent, but hardly felt any difference. And there are others that really can’t get used to a new brand.
Do Lighter Trucks Make a Difference?
The theory is that lighter trucks will make you pop higher, but when you’re out there it hardly makes any difference. It’s all about your technique and not so much the weight of your trucks. In most cases, it doesn’t really make sense to go for the lightest trucks. I’m a bit of a heavier skater myself and it would be better to lose a couple of pounds instead of saving a couple of grams on a truck.
Don’t Forget About the Wheel Size
Not all trucks fit every wheel so be careful not to get something that requires you to buy new wheels. There’s a maximum wheel size for trucks, although you can always consider adding riser pads. Here’s a chart to help you on your way:
|Truck type||Truck height||Maximum wheel size|
|Low||46 mm||51 mm|
|47 mm||52 mm|
|48 mm||52 mm|
|49 mm||54 mm|
|Mid||50 mm||56 mm|
|52 mm||60 mm|
|High||53,5 mm||62 mm|
|55 mm||63 mm|
|56 mm||64 mm|
|58 mm||65 m|
Skateboard Truck Size Chart
Here’s a guide with the most popular brands and their sizes. Note that measurements are in millimeters and grams. I’ll be sure to add more data soon.
|Manufacturer||Model||Truck Size Class||Hanger width, mm||Axle width, mm||Weight, g||Height class||height, mm||Truck|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 129||5.0/129||x||x||367||x||52.5||Independent Stage 11 – 129|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 139||5.25/139||x||x||376||x||51.5||Independent Stage 11 – 139|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 149||5.75/149||150||215.9||394||High||55||Independent Stage 11 – 149|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 159||6.0/159||156||222.25||405||High||54.5||Independent Stage 11 – 159|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 159 on Gullwing baseplates||6.0/159||156||222.25||395||Mid||52.5||Independent Stage 11 – 159 on Gullwing baseplates|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 159 redrilled baseplate||6.0/159||156||222.25||405||High||54.5||Independent Stage 11 – 159 redrilled baseplate|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 159 with bones bushings||6.0/159||156||222.25||397||Mid||53||Independent Stage 11 – 159 with bones bushings|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 169||6.25/169||166||231.78||412.5||High||54.5||Independent Stage 11 – 169|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 169 Forged||6.25/169||166||231||382.5||High||53.5||Independent Stage 11 – 169 Forged|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 169 Titanium Forged||6.25/169||166||231.78||357||High||53.5||Independent Stage 11 – 169 Titanium Forged|
|Independent||Stage 11 – 215||7.25/189||187||253||426||Mid||51.5||Independent Stage 11 – 215|
|Tensor||R2 5.5 low raw magnesium||5.5/144||x||203.2||300||x||x||Tensor R2 5.5 low raw magnesium|
|Tensor||R2 5.75 low black magnesium||5.75/149||145||212||243||Low||46.5||Tensor R2 5.75 low black magnesium|
|Tensor||Response 5.25 Mid magnesium||5.25/139||133||200.03||280||Low||48||Tensor Response 5.25 Mid magnesium|
|Tensor||Ten 5.75 low||5.75/149||146||215.9||262||Low||45.5||Tensor Ten 5.75 low|
|Tensor||Ten 5.75 low 2nd measurement||5.75/149||146||215.9||262||Low||46.5||Tensor Ten 5.75 low 2nd measurement|
|Tensor||Ten 5.75 low with tall barrel bottom bushings||5.75/149||146||215.9||262||Low||47||Tensor Ten 5.75 low with tall barrel bottom bushings|
|Tensor||Ten 5.75 Mid||5.75/149||146||212.73||295||Mid||52||Tensor Ten 5.75 Mid|
|Tensor||Ten 6.0 mid||6.0/159||152.4||x||x||x||x||Tensor Ten 6.0 mid|
|Thunder||147 Hollow Light||5.25/139||x||x||306||x||x||Thunder 147 Hollow Light|
|Thunder||149 Hollow Lights||5.75/149||149||215.9||330||Low||49||Thunder 149 Hollow Lights|
|Thunder||149 II (2014 Drop 2)||5.75/149||149.225||215.9||x||Mid||52.3||Thunder 149 II (2014 Drop 2)|
|Thunder||149 Light||5.75/149||149||215.9||345||Low||49||Thunder 149 Light|
|Thunder||149 standard||5.75/149||149||215.9||362.5||Low||49||Thunder 149 standard|
|Thunder||151 Light||6.0/159||155||222.25||350||Mid||51.5||Thunder 151 Light|
|Thunder||151 standard||6.0/159||155||222.25||368||Mid||52.5||Thunder 151 standard|
|Thunder||Titanium Lights 149||5.75/149||149||214.31||311||Low||48.5||Thunder Titanium Lights 149|
|Venture||5.2 High||5.25/139||137||203.2||355||High||53.5||Venture 5.2 High|
|Venture||5.2 Lo||5.25/139||136.5||203.2||352.5||Low||47.5||Venture 5.2 Lo|
|Venture||5.8 High||5.75/149||149||215.9||375||High||53.5||Venture 5.8 High|
|Venture||5.8 Light||5.75/149||150||215.9||350||Mid||53||Venture 5.8 Light|
|Venture V5||5.2 lo||5.25/139||136.5||203.2||326.33||Low||47.25||Venture V5 5.2 lo|
|Venture V5||5.2 lo with Bones Bushings and flat top washer||5.25/139||136.5||203.2||315||x||x||Venture V5 5.2 lo with Bones Bushings and flat top washer|
The truth about width is that it comes down to personal preference. But as a beginner just buy something that fits your deck. You get used to what you skate, be it high or low trucks, wide or narrow, loose or tight. Bushings matter, not all trucks come with great bushings, they help you turn your board. If you’re heavy or tall you need harder bushings. If your bushings are too soft, you’ll have a harder time stabilizing your skateboard. Most high-quality trucks have great bushings but you need to replace them if they are too hard or soft for your body type.