Trucks are arguably the most important part of your skateboard set up. They hold the wheels to the deck, and they allow you to turn. Having owned several different skateboard setups, and trucks of varying quality and condition, This article will help you to decide when would be a good time to change your trucks.
So when should you replace your skateboard trucks? You should replace your trucks when they are broken. But there is more to damaged trucks than your truck breaking off mid nosegrind. Riding trucks which are not damaged will save you a great deal of pain, money (hospital bills), and generally make your skating experience that much more pleasant.
Many pros, and amateurs alike, hate the feeling of new trucks, and will ride them until there is nothing left, and they break. A new set of trucks can take a while to get used to the feeling, and break in that sweet crooked grind groove, plus trucks can be expensive to replace. But hospital bills, missing work due to injury, and being unable to skate for 6 months because you broke your ankle kick flipping a 5 set with a broken kingpin, is, to some, a greater cost in the long run than $70 for a new set of trucks.
I personally like the feeling of a new setup, trucks included, and I have had my fair share of broken trucks, and the agony that goes with them. This article will detail some of the ways to know when you should change your trucks.
Replace your trucks when they are visibly broken
Do your trucks wobble like Daewon’s, but you haven’t removed the top bushings? Is the baseplate or truck hanger cracked? Are the bushings split or missing? Are the axles or kingpin bent?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should change your trucks. Bent and broken truck components not only make the trucks feel terrible, but your board won’t roll, or turn as smoothly as it would if the trucks were still in tact.Check out my huge guide about skateboard trucks to see what fits your style.
From a safety stand point, using anything that is broken, be it your trucks, driving a car with broken axles, carving a turkey with a broken knife, or playing a guitar with a splintered neck, is at the least, an unpleasant experience, and can be very dangerous. Skateboard trucks, as with other things, are not intended to be used broken, do not function how they were intended, and will fail, likely causing harm to you or others.
Change your trucks when they no longer function as they should
Do you have problems turning? Is your ride rougher, or more wobbly than it should be? Do you get wheel bite all the time, when it used to be rare? Do things feel extra loose now? If you haven’t made any adjustments, this could also be a sign that your trucks are damaged.
You can’t always see the damage that your trucks may have, but you should be able to feel when something is wrong. If you think something may be wrong, swallow your pride and ask at your local skate shop. They have probably been asked, and experienced, the same problem and will be able to help you. I have been to many, and they never pressure you to buy anything, they want to help, and love talking about skating, as we all do.
This past spring, when I dusted off my board from a long winter, I went to a new local skatepark. The first few times I tried to carve 1/4 of the way up the bowl, I got wheel bite. Same thing on the wedges, and quarterpipes. My wheels were 52mm, so this shouldn’t have been happening.
The next day I was working on ollies. Every landing came with wheel bite, and the inevitable face first slam on the ground. Not fun when you are 37. But this never happened when I rode my board backwards. That night I cranked my front truck super tight. The next day, same result. Even just turning sharp gave me wheel bite.
I went to my local skate shop to ask him for advise. So he took the front truck apart, and a bunch of metal filings fell out. The base plate had worn away where the kingpin sat to the point that the kingpin had a lot of movement and rattled around in its seat. So I had to buy new trucks, and it was a world of difference. Now I comfortably ride very loose trucks, and don’t get anywhere near the wheel bite I had with the old ones.
Change them if you have generic/blank trucks.
Generic or blank trucks are just that. Generic, as in they are made “who knows where, by who knows who” and blank, as in they have no name on the truck or the base plate. Even the higher end completes you buy may have Thunder, or Destructo trucks, but these are likely a price point truck.
Price point is a lower price, and lower quality, product sold on completes. While better than generic trucks, price point trucks will never stand up to hard, or even moderate, punishment that the pro models will.
If you are just cruising to the store or for coffee, and never intend to ollie, skate transition, or drop off curbs, they will probably last you a season, but you should probably get a cruiser or longboard. The moment you get the bug to advance your skating and try more difficult things, it is worth your while, and safety, to get a decent set of trucks from your local skate shop, made by a reputable manufacturer such as Royal, Independent, Venture, Krux and Thunder.
I used to cruise around a lot, and did the odd ollie, manual, boneless, drop off ledges and low 2 sets of stairs or bomb drop, but never really committed to learning the art of transition or technical skating. Also, I never had much disposable money, so I just bought cheap completes, with generic trucks, thinking that would work for me.
The trucks would break, and I would buy another one on sale for $60. Those would break and I would buy another, usually once a year. I have probably spent 4 times the amount of money on crappy completes with generic trucks than I would have otherwise spent if I had simply replaced my trucks with a quality brand, and put them on the, otherwise fine, deck. As a rule, quality trucks will last you far longer than several decks.
Change trucks if you want to try something different
When it comes to truck selection, the options are overwhelming. So many colours, styles, shapes and sizes are available to the consumer. It is important to find a truck that fits your board, your style, in a colour way you like, and from a brand you know makes a quality product. You can’t go wrong with Independent, Royal, Thunder, or Venture.
Look at what your favourite pro rides. No sense in getting the same truck as Andy MacDonald if you skate like Ritchie Jackson. Technical street skaters prefer low to mid trucks, where transitions skaters might prefer a high. It all comes down to finding a truck you are comfortable with, in a colour you like, that suits your style of skating.
If you can afford it, it wouldn’t hurt to try a bunch of different styles, and brands, until you find the perfect fit. Odds are your friend will buy the gently used trucks you didn’t like, so you can find some you do. Having a truck you like will make your skating experience that much better!
For me, on my last set, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I went with the Royal Pirates in raw with a black base plate (because I don’t really care about colours). They seem to work well for me, and have held up for a whole season of bashing into curbs, boxes, and roll on 50-50’s, without the normal scrapes and damage.
They cost $60. The next level up, all black with the inverted kingpin was $70. Not too bad of a price for a quality set of trucks that should last me through next season. Maybe I’ll try Independents when I need to replace these.
What are the best truck brands? Independent, Thunder, Royal, Venture, Tensor, Silver, Krux, Grindking, Destructo, Gullwing.
Can I replace truck components? Only the bushings, and pivot cups, and hardware (which are not really part of the trucks) can be replaced. If you want looser trucks, you can get softer bushings, visa versa for tighter trucks. Any other components cannot.
Are suspension trucks good? The Avenue Suspension Truck is a new take on trucks, but I don’t know anyone who has ridden them. Reviews say they help pop, as they are a spring, but that is about it. My opinion: like a spring, when it compresses, it has to decompress. I don’t think that decompression would be good when jumping down a big gap, or if you were a heavier skater. They might be really good for technical flat ground only.