Are you eager to get into skateboarding but don’t have the gear? Or maybe you’ve already tried it out but want to challenge yourself further by building your own? There’s no doubt that skateboarding is an extremely thrilling and rewarding activity. But it takes more than just skill and determination to put together a superb setup.
While there are many things beginners need to get better at riding a skateboard, the core components of the board itself are what will influence the overall performance. Not only can this have an impact on the ease of control and maneuverability, but it’s also key for safety.
What Parts Do You Need for a Skateboard?
Before you take on the building process, you’ll need to assemble all the parts. After all, it’s these individual components that make up the whole package.
These are basically the metal parts that attach to the deck and hold the wheels. The trucks are composed of two pieces – the hanger and the baseplate. The hanger – also known as the kingpin – is where the wheel axles are attached for rotation, while the baseplate is what connects the hanger to the deck.
When you’re browsing through skate trucks Australia stores have to offer you’ll notice they have a distinct design, shape and width, which affects the performance of a board. Generally speaking, the more lightweight and narrower the trucks, the easier it will be to make sharp turns. On the other hand, wider and heavier ones typically offer more stability at higher speeds.
While the specific numbers may vary, a good rule of thumb is to opt for skateboard trucks that are approximately the same width as the deck. Anything wider may make the board harder to turn, while narrower ones can lack stability. Luckily, there’s no shortage of skate trucks Australia-wide that can satisfy your criteria.
In terms of tension, you can usually adjust the tightening or loosening of your trucks depending on what kind of performance you’re looking for. It’s simple enough to do, often requiring nothing more than an Allen key.
Make sure you don’t overdo it though, as this can cause more harm than good. Too much tension on the kingpin can make it difficult to turn and can result in cracks on the bushings, which are located inside the trucks.
On the flip side, anything too loose can make the nut come off and your wheels will be stuck in the same position. This is known as wheelbite, and it can lead to potentially dangerous situations if you’re on the board when it happens.
Moving on to the foundation of the skateboard, there are two main types of decks – popsicle and drop-through. Popsicles have a symmetrical design and usually feature a kicktail, giving them the signature shape of a popsicle.
Drop-through decks are usually made up of two cutouts where the trucks fit through. This kind of construction lowers your centre of gravity, making it easier to push around and ideal for cruising and freestyle riding. As you move up in terms of deck width, you can make bigger and more controlled turns with more stability.
When it comes to the wheels, you’ll need four of them – two for each truck. As you can imagine, the size of each wheel can have an impact on the board’s manoeuvrability. Smaller wheels are more responsive and require less effort to push around, making them better for street skating and tricks.
Meanwhile, bigger wheels are usually used for cruising and bowl riding since they provide more grip and speed. Even though they’re a bit heavier, they can make it easier to roll over small cracks and pebbles.
In terms of hardness, the higher the durometer rating, the harder the wheel. This number is usually written on the side of each wheel and it’s measured on a scale from zero to 100. Harder wheels – which are typically between 78A and 90A – are better suited for smooth roads since they’re less likely to absorb bumps.
These small cylindrical pieces are placed on the inside of each wheel to reduce friction and help them roll. The higher the bearing rating, the faster your wheels will spin and the longer they’ll last. The scale for ratings ranges anywhere from 3 to 10, with the highest rating offering a lot more control and speed.
However, higher ratings don’t always guarantee better performance. In most cases, ABEC 7 or ABEC 9 bearings are more than enough for everyday skateboarding. If you don’t have many technical tricks in your repertoire, these should be more than enough.
Last but not least, you’ll need to top off your deck with some grip tape. This helps keep your feet in place while you ride and can also add a bit of style to your board. It’s placed on top of the board, usually covering the entire surface.
When it comes to choosing grip tape, there are two main types – perforated and smooth. Perforated models have tiny holes in the surface, making them less abrasive and a bit easier to apply. Smooth models offer more grip but they can be a bit harder to take off if you decide to switch them out.