The Ultimate Skateboard Bushings Buyers Guide


Bushings are the rubber rings that are attached to your trucks kingpin. They help you make turns and pivot your board and are made of polyurethane. Picking the right skateboard bushings depends on what type of board you ride, your style, your weight, and your personal preference.

In general, the right skateboard bushings for each style comes down to:

  • For street skating and technical tricks get cone/barrel-shaped or cone/cone-shaped bushings.
  • For vert, bowl, and park skating get cone/barrel-shaped bushings.
  • Longboards require softer bushings that allow for carving.
  • Downhill and racers require stiffer bushings that provide stability.

Bushings come in pairs. The top bushing on your skateboard truck makes your board turn, the bottom bushing can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the nut to make adjust responsiveness. Loose means better turning but less stability (especially at high speeds) and tight mean more stability but less responsiveness.

Picking the right bushings can mean a difference between night and day, also the quality varies so make sure you know what exactly makes a great bushing.

what skateboard bushings should you get?

There are a lot of different types of bushings but not all are suitable for every skateboard. If you use a regular skateboard barrel/cone bushings with a hardness of  87A, 90A, or 92A should be fine. Longboarders need different bushings as regular skateboards. You can usually interchange them but that’s not always a good idea. When it comes to regular skateboards the choice is a lot easier.

Longboarders will have a harder time picking the right bushings. Downhill requires bushings that provide a lot of stability and should be a bit stiffer. At great speeds, you get that wobbling effect and you run the risk of losing control. Carving requires soft bushings to make perfect curves and cruisers require something in the middle.

Skateboard bushings hard vs. soft

Softer bushings will help you turn better but offer less stability. Harder bushings will cause your trucks to be tighter and increase stability, turning your skateboard will be more difficult. You can adjust the tightness of your trucks but only to some extent. If you feel like you can’t turn the nut any tighter and still think your trucks are too loose, consider getting harder bushings.

Same goes for feeling like your trucks are too tight if the nut almost comes off it’s time to look for softer bushings. Remember that new bushings need some time to break-in, make sure you skated them for a few days before you decide to replace them.

How do bushings work?

Just like wheels, bushings are made of polyurethane and come in several shapes and hardnesses. They have a huge impact on how your skateboard feels and performs. Bushings help you steer when you lean in a direction, depending on the hardness and your weight and the amount of force you use.  When you turn or carve the force applied compresses your bushings and the angle of your trucks’ hangar changes.

We speak of rebound once bushings get back into their natural state (uncompressed). The pivot cup also plays a part when turning your skateboard. Low-quality bushings will be less responsive and take more time to rebound compared to high-quality bushings. Rebound diminishes over time so consider getting quality bushings when you shop for a new set. They will last you longer, provide more stability and responsiveness.

Bushings have a board side and a roadside meaning one is placed on top and at the bottom. Most of your weight is on the bottom bushing as its the closest to your board. This bushing deals with most of the forces when you steer and compress the bushing. The one on top suffers less force and basically helps to hold your truck together while supporting the bottom bushing. Once the bottom bushing is maxed compressed, the top bushing will take over.

Bushings for regular skateboards

set of bushings and washers skateboardBushings come in different shapes each specifically designed for different styles. The hardness or durometer vary depending on what type of board you skate and what you prefer. Over the years skateboarders experimented with different shapes, combining them and figuring out what works best. Originally bushings came in 3 different shapes: conical, barrel, and eliminator. Since then a lot has changed and new shapes were developed.

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In general, a cone-shaped bushing is better for turning but offers less stability where barrel-shaped bushings don’t turn as well as cones but provide more stability. For technical skateboarding often a combination of barrel and cone  is used. The most important factor here is the hardness (durometer) of your bushings based on your weight and the tightness of your trucks.

All trucks come with stock bushings, but not everyone likes the stocks which makes sense. Not everybody weighs the same and skaters prefer different tightness on the trucks. Note that bushings need to break in a little before you can tell you want to replace them.

Many skateboarders recommend Bones bushings (link to Amazon) for street skating but you’re fine with standard barrel/cone bushings. The hardness is a matter of what you like but anything between  87A, 90A, or 92A will do. Depending on how loose or tight you prefer your skateboard trucks, you can go higher or lower on the durometer scale.

Bushings for longboards

Longboards require different bushings depending on your style and weight. If you’re more into carving you’ll need soft and responsive bushings. Downhill requires stiffer and less responsive bushings to maintain stability. There are many variations of longboard bushings available just make sure you pick the ones that match your style.

Don’t just think of bushings, washers have a huge impact on performance. Some types allow for better carving and responsiveness where others provide a more stable ride.

Think about what kind of board feel you prefer. Do you want them to be responsive when carving? Do you need stability because you like to go fast? Do you need a strong rebound (meaning you want them to snap back to the center quickly) or perhaps you need lots of drive? Check out Muirskate if you want to buy bushings online.

Bushings for carving and cruising

Consider standard barrel/cone bushings. Cruising and carving require a bit of a softer bushing depending on your weight. Soft bushings are more responsive when you lean allowing for better turning. get cup washers if you want more stability and flat washers for optimal turns (less stable).

Longboard bushings hardness vs weight for carving and cruising
Weight pounds Weight KG Flexy Medium 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 87a 89a 91a
145-195 66 – 88.5 88a 93a 94a
175-220+ 79 – 100+ 91a 93a 97a+

Freeride bushings

Your bushings should be a bit harder compared to cruiser bushings. Freeriders need a bit of stability when going fast or sliding, but also some responsiveness when turning. You’ll end up with a slightly harder bushing on the durometer scale, but not too stiff. Go with a double-barrel setup if you are a dedicated freerider.

Freeride bushings hardness vs weight
Weight pounds Weight KG Flexible Medium 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 87a 89a 91a
145-195 66 – 88.5 88a 93a 94a
175-220+ 79 – 100+ 91a 93a 97a+

Bushings for downhill

In general, it’s recommended to get double barrel bushings or stepped bushings combined with cup washers for maximum stability. You’ll need a set of hard bushings depending on your weight.

Longboard bushings for downhill
Weight pounds Weight KG Flexible Medium 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+

Bushings and shapes

different bushing shapes for longboarding and skateboarding

Bushings come in many shapes but not all are suitable for your style. Regular skateboards just require the classic combination of cone and barrel but longboarders have a wider range to pick from. This mainly has to do with what type of longboarder you are and the type of longboard you ride. Normal skateboards are quite similar in shape and components making the choice a lot easier.

Cone barrel-shaped bushings

cone barrel skateboard bushingThe most common combination for technical skateboarding consists of a cone and barrel bushing. This combination of cone-shaped and barrel-shaped bushings is also referred to as standard or regular bushings. The cone allows you to turn and pivot your skateboard and the bottom barrel bushing provides stability. Many trucks provide this combo as stock.

Some skateboarders prefer different hardness for the barrel and cone. Placing a harder barrel will provide more stability while the softer conical bushing still allows your board to turn and pivot. The combination is also often used for cruising and longboards.

Compared to a pair of conical-shaped bushings they are less responsive. As mentioned these bushings are mostly used for street and skatepark skateboarding. Cone/barrel bushings are the standard and come in stock with most trucks.

Brands to look for:

  • Independent
  • Mini logo
  • Khiro
  • Oust
  • Shorty’s (Doh-Doh)

Cone bushings

Cone bushing for a skateboardCone-shaped bushings are great for turning and carving and typically more suited for longboards and cruisers. Because of their conical shape, they have less polyurethane (less mass and resistance) they allow for greater deck lean. The shape has less support in the middle which makes them ideal for carving.  The wide end should face upward and the narrow end downward.

If you’re a heavy rider, you should look for a different shape otherwise you’ll end up having too much deck lean causing unstable turns. You can compensate this by picking harder barrel bushings and combine this with a softer cone bushing. More deck clearance might also help you to prevent wheelbite. If you’re under 140lbs go for durometer 87A. If you weigh over 140lbs go for durometer 93A.

Brands for regular skateboards:

  • Bones
  • Independent
  • Khiro
  • Mini logo
  • Oust

Brands to look for (longboard):

  • Venom
  • Riptide sports
  • Blood Orange

Double cone-shaped bushings

double cone bushing skateboardMany skateboarders say this is the best combo, specifically Bones cone/cone bushings. I can’t testify as I never tried a set. A friend of mine who rides them says they seem to snap back in place faster than his last bushings. He likes his upper bushing a little harder than the lower bushings, mainly because he skates transition and likes stiff trucks.

I personally am fine with standard bushings and my general setup, so no need to change anything, it does make me curious though so I’ll report back when I tested them to see if I feel any difference.

Anyway, Bones bushings come in soft, medium and hard. Soft bushings start at Durometer 81A (61B),  medium durometer 91A (71B), hard 96A (76B). These are the most recommended bushings by street skateboarders. They offer a bit more stability compared to standard bushings but More about the durometer scale and weight in a moment.

Barrel bushings

single barrel bushingBecause of their symmetrical shape barrel bushings are the most common bushings used in both regular skateboards and longboards. The polyurethane bushings have the largest pressure surface, density and provide the most stability.

If you’re looking for speed these bushings provide the most stability at high velocity. Downhill and speed-junkies usually go for this type of bushings as they prevent speed wobbling. Double barrel bushings are more suited for longboards and not regular skateboards.

Brands for regular skateboards:

  • Bones
  • Independent
  • Khiro
  • Mini logo
  • Oust

longboard brands to look for:

  • Venom
  • Ronin
  • Riptide sports
  • Rad

Double barrel bushings

double barrel bushingsRecommended for downhill speed maniacs and fast longboard freeride. The stiffness will provide lots of stability keeping you safer at great velocity. Go for the recommended brands mentioned at the single barrel bushings. Don’t forget to combine them with cup washers for more rebound and stability. Not recommended for carving and slalom.

Brands for regular skateboards:

  • Bones
  • Independent
  • Khiro
  • Mini logo
  • Oust

Longboard brands to look for:

  • Venom
  • Ronin
  • Riptide sports
  • Rad

Stepped bushings

single stepped bushingGreat for downhill riders and longboarders because of their stiffness and ability to compress and release to the center. Stepped bushings have a high rebound but are a bit stiffer in general which makes them less responsive. They’re a bit bigger than your average bushing and are designed to fill the bushing seat. It’s a bit harder to make a choice here as brands have different shapes lacking a standard.

Some have more of a curved shape and others have a more straight or a slight angle. Because of their shape, stepped bushings could be considered a combination of barrel and truck bushings. They are suitable for longboards and cruisers, but not designed for a regular skateboard.

Brand to look for (longboard):

  • Venom
  • Riptide

Double Stepped Bushings

double stepped bushingsGo for double-stepped bushings if you want your trucks really tight. Because of their shape, they create a lot of lean resistance even if you have softer bushings. They have a larger surface like the barrel shapes but with an added indent on top. Stepped bushings are also referred to as stepped barrels because of the similar shape.

Besides tightness and stiffness, they also provide lots of rebound, meaning they snap back to the center quickly. Only suitable for longboarders that like speed and faster rides! This combination would be a nightmare on a regular skateboard.

Barrel/Stepped Bushings

barrel stepped bushingsCombining a barrel on top with a stepped bushing on the bottom creates a lot of stability in the trucks. This is a good choice for downhill longboarding, where stability is more important than making sharp turns. The stepped bushing provides stiffness and lean resistance allowing for a stable ride.

This combination of bushing shapes on the top and bottom will give you lots of rebound. Again, make sure to get cup washers to get even more stability. In general, this combination isn’t recommended for regular skateboards.

Hourglass bushings

hourglass bushingsCone-shaped bushings but the smaller surfaces are placed on top of each other. This makes a longboard very responsive and allows for a great carving and turning experience. Less suitable for downhill as the high velocities will cause the trucks to wobble.

The larger surface area on top offers more resistance compared to barrel bushings and causes less shape distortion. The bottom is the opposite when leaning and they offer great rebound. Add some cup washers if you want more stability. This combination isn’t for regular skateboards and more suitable for slalom.

Bushing hardness and your weight

The type of bushings you need depends on your weight. Your weight compresses the bushings when you turn and picking bushings that are too soft impacts balance. I noticed this when I picked up skateboarding again and gained some weight. It felt like my bushings were too loose. After tightening the kingpin nut it didn’t really change anything. If felt my skateboard slipping away under my feet, especially my back truck was all over the place in the mini ramp. After getting some harder bushings I finally got the stability back and could skate more confident.

Heavier skaters should pick harder bushings but it also depends on your personal preference and style. Some like to ride them loose, there’s even a pro out there that entirely removed them.

The heavier you weight the harder your bushings should be (in general). However, if you like to have your trucks tights you can go with softer bushings. Riding tight trucks compresses the bushing making them less responsive and harder as they are squished together. So if you’re a heavy skateboarder, make sure to get harder bushings. Here’s a table that explains which hardness you need according to your weight. This is a general indication and only meant for regular skateboards.

Weight and bushings durometer for regular skateboards
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

Bushing durometer

Like wheels, bushings are measured by durometer. Most brands use the Durometer A scale and others (Like Bones) use the B-scale. Durometer A is limited in scale, by using scale B manufacturers can produce harder wheels while the scale still makes sense. Officially the A-scale goes from 1 to 100, so 104A doesn’t even exist. 84B makes more sense in that regard. Just keep in mind that Durometer A-scale is 20 points above durometer B-scale.

Brand divide the hardness into 3 categories; soft, medium, and hard. In between the categories, the hardness varies. Soft bushings have a durometer below 90A or 70B. These turn the best and compress the easiest. These are suitable for light (as in weight) skateboarders and people who prefer loose trucks. These are not suitable for speed maniacs as the become unstable causing your trucks to wobble.

Medium bushings are in the range of durometer 90A (70B) and about 96A (76B). They still have the responsiveness and are great for all-around skateboarding.

Hard bushings are in the range of durometer 96A (76B) and higher. These provide the most stability but are harder when turning. If you’re a bit on the heavy side, consider harder bushings. They are also excellent for tighter trucks and higher speeds.

Beware that not all brands classify soft, medium or hard bushings the same way so make sure to pick them according to your weight and the tightness of your trucks.

Bushing washers, seats, maintenance and tips

Don’t forget about washers when you’re looking for the right bushings. They have a huge impact on performance and stability. Another important factor is the way you tighten your trucks. If your trucks are too loose your deck becomes unstable, too tight might cause you to damage your bushings. Bushings can be maintained but sometimes you just need to replace them. In time they’ll lose flexibility, dry out and need replacement.

Tightness of trucks

Make sure not to show more than two threads on your kingpin when tightening your trucks. Tightening the nuts too much could damage your bushings and pivot cups, instead, get a set of harder bushings.

Both trucks should behave the same so try to evenly tighten them to make them behave the same. If, for example, your back truck is looser than your front your ride becomes unstable. Your board will start to wobble and turning will become harder. You’ll have to feel your board in order to determine if you tightened them evenly. Having both trucks behave the same is especially beneficial when you skate switch a lot (symmetrical skateboards only though).

Tips for loose setups

In order to get most out of turning, get a set of soft cone bushings and a set of flat washers. Avoid wheelbite by making sure your trucks have the proper height or get a set of medium-soft bushings or soft bushings with cup washers. Don’t forget about your weight, heavier skaters obviously need harder bushings to prevent wheelbite. As for trucks, get a pair of high trucks. If you need something more stable just go with the classic barrel/cone bushing. You’ll still be able to cruise and carve.

Tips for tight setups

Go for barrel bushings, one on top and one at the bottom. Barrel bushings provide more stability which you’ll need at higher speeds to prevent wobbling. Consider harder barrel bushings at the bottom combined with cup washers for maximum stability.

Flat washers vs cup washers

One distinct difference in washers is the shape, washers can be flat or have a cup-like shape. Regular skateboarders shouldn’t worry about that but longboarders really need to consider the difference. flat washers won’t trap the bushings allowing for sharper turns, the cup-shape holds them together making your trucks tighter. If you’re a downhiller you’ll need cup washers. If you like to cruise, travel long distances and like carving get flat washers. Regular skateboarders only need cup washers, flat washers will cause your trucks to be all over the place.

Flat washers offer a more consistent amount of resistance but have less rebound as it takes them longer to get back in place. Wider flat washers make turning a bit easier as they restrict the movement of your bushings more. They also snap back in place sooner compared to narrow washers.

Narrow flat washers allow more freedom of movement allowing for deeper carving. They take longer to get back into position and provide less stability.

Bushing seats

skateboard truck bushing seatThe bushing seat is where your bushings are placed on your trucks. It’s an indented round spot close to the hangar opening. The seat affects how the truck compresses the bushing when you lean on your skateboard.  Its main function is to keep your bushings in place and limit the force that can be applied when turning. 

There are 2 different types of seats, open bushings seats, and restrictive bushing seats. Don’t worry about this is you have a regular skateboard, it’s more of a longboard thing.

Open bushing seats

Open seats expose your bushing more compared to restrictive seats which allow for better turning. Because there’s less pressure your bushings become more flexible depending on how hard they are. If they’re too flexible for your taste, consider getting harder bushings.

Restrictive bushing seats

Restrictive seats are less ‘turny’ compared to open seats. They feature taller metal walls and enclose the bushings. This causes the bushing to compress against the walls when you make a turn.

When should you replace your bushings?

Once your bushings show cracks, crumbling, make noise or are squished it’s time to replace them. Bushings usually last for a very long time depending on how often and how aggressive you skate. Other factors are storage and climate. High temperatures will wear them down sooner and storing them in hot and moist environments will shorten their lifespan. Squeaky sounds are usually a sign of dried out bushings that you can fix by putting soap shavings or candle wax inside the pivot cup. It’s a cheap solution and might fix the noise, if not replace them.

Clicking sounds often have to do with your washers. They may be a bit too large and start moving around your kingpin. It doesn’t happen very often and it’s best to just replace them.

Can I fit my longboard bushings on my skateboard? Yes, all bushings are the same size so you can swap them around. Not all bushings are suited for each type of skateboard though.

How long does it take for bushings to break in? It takes about 3 to 7 hours. Tightening your trucks speeds up the process, untighten later.

 

Replacing them is really easy, check the image below.

how to replace the bushings of your skateboard truck

Beginners should just stick with the stock bushings, you won’t notice the difference. Once you start to do more advanced tricks and bigger jumps you might notice the difference.

Ruben Vee

I 'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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