Every discipline of skateboarding requires a different board setup. Unless you’re directly familiar with skateboarding, you may not understand how intricate skateboard setups can be.
The deck, wheels, trucks, bearings, and other specific components are all removable and able to be swapped and upgraded. The difference in characteristics of these parts varies greatly depending on the style of riding you plan on doing.
There are four distinct types of board setups. Let’s take a look at these four unique configurations.
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Different Board Setups
Each different setup has its unique blend of different sized components based on the type of riding.
Tony Hawk would be considered a vert-style skater. Vert skateboard setups are designed for huge air and doing crazy spin and flip tricks on large ramps. Most of the participants in the X-Games are vert skaters, and this is easily the most popular form of skateboarding on mainstream television.
Cruising could be the oldest discipline in all of skateboarding. Instead of a thrill and big air, cruising is designed more for easy-going enjoyment.
Cruiser skateboards have pointed ends in the front. They are usually set up with large wheels that grip the pavement and make it easier to turn.
You won’t see many tricks out of a cruising skateboard setup. Most of the time, cruisers just ride around and enjoy their leisure.
Besides the vert setup, street skateboarding is probably the most popular. Street skateboarders perform a variety of flip and kick-tricks on flat land.
Street skaters also specialize in grinds and board slides. Wherever there is an urban landscape, you can find a street skateboarder practicing his craft.
Park and street skating were previously considered the same. The two were married for decades until, eventually, park skating took on its own genre, and street skating moved on to a more suitable namesake.
Park skaters can be considered a blend of vert-style and park disciplines. Usually, park skaters will specialize in gap tricks as well.
Street skateboarding is one of the most popular styles of skating and has seen many changes over the years. Street skating was originated in the late 60s and early 70s as the brand of skateboarding made popular by the riders in the Dogtown documentary.
The skateboarders of that era defined this style of riding when they began to skate empty pools. Eventually, the street brand of skateboarding shifted into parks where riders used equipment like benches and rails to do grind and kick-tricks.
This park skating eventually developed into its own brand known as park skating, and street skating took on new territory that better suited the name. Present-day street skating makes use of actual urban street geography as skaters navigate natural terrain in different cityscapes.
The specific style of riding and obstacles that riders face while they partake in this genre of skateboarding requires a very specific board setup. If you’re interested in street skating or ready to pull the trigger on modding your board configuration, you’re in the right place. This is a guide on the best skateboard setup for street-style skating.
Ideal Setup for Street Skateboarding
When you develop a setup for a skateboard, the perfect configuration depends on the rider. These suggestions fall between a window of certain measurements. It’s up to you as a skater to determine the exact setup that works for you. We’ll start with the deck and work our way out from there.
There are two basic measurements when you’re picking skateboard decks. Width and length are what you’re going to pay the most attention to. These two measurements of skateboard decks have the biggest effect on the feel and control of the board.
Street skating is a discipline where riders score a lot of flip tricks, technical moves, and grinds. Slimmer decks are ideal for street skating because they are easier to control and flip with your feet. The best deck width to use for street skating is between 7.5″ and 8.25″.
The deciding factor on which end of the spectrum you land at will be your shoe size. If your feet are larger, you’ll be closer to 8.25″, and the smaller your feet, the closer to 7.5″ you’ll get.
The same principle is used for board length when it comes to street skating. The smaller the board is, the more control you’re going to have. Somewhere between 31″ and 33″ should be perfect. If you fall anywhere over 33″, the board is going to be too big to maneuver how you want.
You’d be surprised how many different shapes of skateboards are available. It can be pretty overwhelming.
The best street skating is done with a double-kick board that isn’t concaved in any way. You’ll want a completely flat skateboard with both ends rounded evenly.
The selection of trucks for street skating is very important. This is where your maneuverability will come from.
The width of your trucks should be almost identical to the width of the deck. Basically, you want your wheels sitting flush with the edges of the deck on both sides. This could be the most important dynamic of the entire setup.
When the wheels sit flush in this manner, it allows the rider to have a feel for where the wheels are so they can line up their board to do tricks. It’s easy to line up the wheels when they are flush with the edge of the deck.
Axel length is what you’re looking for when you measure the width of the trucks. It’s imperative you don’t install trucks where the nut sticks out any further than ¼” from the edge of the deck.
Most trucks offer measurements on the width, then offer a high and low version of each different measurement. Get the low version if you’re using the trucks for street skating.
Low trucks make grinding a lot easier. Higher versions of trucks make the board unstable because of the elevation.
Bushings are the cylinders that sit inside of the trucks. These tiny components give the board extra stability and are one of the most important parts of the turning process. Most trucks come with bushings, but usually, a more efficient type can be purchased separately and installed.
The best choice for street skating is the cone/barrel-shaped bushings. The bushings will be two distinct sizes.
The top bushing is placed closest to the edge of the deck. This space should be reserved for the cone-shaped bushing because it allows the deck to lean, which is what you need for street skating to nail tricks that require a lot of balance.
The bottom bushing will be the barrel shape and gives the skateboard stability while teetering on the axles.
Bushings get rated with a durometer just like wheels do. When you’re street skating, you want soft enough bushings to allow the board plenty of flexibility. You don’t want them too soft because, at a certain point, you’ll sacrifice stability. Somewhere between 87A and 92A should be perfect for the job.
The wheels will be a huge influence on the quality of your street skating board also. Street skating is usually done more efficiently with smaller wheels. Larger wheels are more ideal for faster disciplines like longboarding.
Small wheels are a lot easier to control than large wheels. You won’t build up as much speed with smaller wheels, which is what you want for street skating. You don’t need super-fast speeds when you’re skating in urban areas.
A diameter between 49mm and 55mm should suffice. Diehard street skaters will want something just above 49mm or exactly 49mm. Beginner street skaters benefit more from larger wheels and should hover as close to 55mm as possible.
Remember, wheels use the durometer the same way that bushings do. However, just because we wanted soft bushings don’t mean we want softer wheels. Sometimes rough surfaces are a factor and harder wheels are ideal.
In street skating, harder wheels are ideal. When hard wheels are used, they don’t typically absorb the shock impact, and this makes them more responsive because their movement isn’t affected when the board lands.
A skateboarder can feel the ground beneath them better on rough surfaces when the wheels are harder. This is what makes the board more responsive. A rating between 96A and 101A is perfect for street skating. The exact number is a matter of personal preference.
Equipment/Obstacles and Tricks Used in Street Skating
Listed below are some of the most common obstacles and equipment that street skaters use when they’re riding. These items may vary and aren’t limited to what’s listed below. Street skaters can be very crafty and creative.
· Flower beds
· Park benches
· Picnic tables
Areas that street skaters use to ride are referred to as “spots.” The most common areas are industrial zones, plazas, and abandoned parking lots. You will usually always see street skaters at a skate park using mini ramps. Below are some of the common tricks performed in street skating.
· 5-0 Grind
· Backside air
· Feeble grind
· Smith grind
For street skating, you’re going to stick with a pretty tight, narrow, and responsive setup. Nothing fancy or weird shaped, and you want tightness from the trucks and hard wheels that respond better.
Always remember that a skateboard setup is all about a rider’s personal preference and what feels natural under their feet. You might have to experiment with different setups before you find the right balance that suits you best.