Your skateboard trucks are one of the most important components on your board. This component has the most control over how well your board turns and is also crucial for balance elements.
The skateboard should be responsive, but you don’t want them too loose. This could make your board too hard to control, and it might send you tumbling.
The tightness of the trucks depends heavily on what discipline of skating you want to do. Street skating, vert-skating, longboarding, and other disciplines all have different recommended levels of truck tightness.
If you’re just beginning and haven’t quite mastered how to adjust your trucks, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how tight the skateboard trucks should be.
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3 Settings: How Tight Should Skateboard Trucks Be
There are three basic truck settings – loose, medium, and tight. These are the major differences in the three tightness settings.
· Tight trucks lead to faster riding and are easier to manage. You will have increased levels of balance if you’re riding downhill or at higher speeds. Tight trucks make for a better response time.
· Medium trucks are a perfect balance for all different types of riding.
· Loose trucks are easier to turn, and you’ll have a better flow when you’re carving and cruising.
How Tight Should Skateboard Trucks Be for Different Boards
As we stated earlier, different truck tightness settings are better suited for different disciplines. Below is a list of which settings are more efficient for each style of riding.
1. Street Skating
For street skating, you’ll want a medium-tight setting on your skateboard trucks. You’ll need a good response time for obstacles, but you also want them tight enough to handle higher speeds.
Remember, you’ll always be hitting air at certain points when you’re street skating, and too loose of a setting can throw you off balance.
Vert-skating requires tighter skateboard trucks for two reasons; high speeds and fast response times. When you’re skating a vert-ramp or any kind of big-air discipline, you’ll want your trucks adjusted to nearly the tightest setting.
Even for smaller ramps, you should still tighten skateboard trucks. Tighter trucks give you much-needed balance
When you’re using the cruising riding style, you can dial your trucks back to a looser setting. Balance isn’t as much of an issue because you’re moving at slower speeds, and there shouldn’t be any major obstacles in your way. Looser trucks allow for better sweeping curves as opposed to tighter trucks.
There’s no need for ollying or any other flip tricks, so sticking a landing is out of the picture. The looser setting in this scenario will allow you to enjoy some wide, sweeping turns and a relaxing ride.
This is where adjusting the trucks can get tricky. Research would tell you that since longboarding is downhill and the speeds are fast, you’d want tight trucks. However, because you need to be able to carve efficiently, extremely loose trucks will allow you the pumping you need to carve.
The best thing to do here is set your trucks to a medium setting and install riser pads to allow more leaning on the skateboard. You can also switch to soft bushings. The lean will compensate for the lack of flexibility in the trucks, and you’ll be able to carve. The larger skateboard wheels that are already on the longboard are built for speed, so you should do just fine with this configuration.
How To Adjust The Tightness of Your Trucks
Trucks are adjusted by the kingpin nut that runs through the trucks and axle bolt. When you tighten the trucks, you’re adding more torque to the kingpin. Alternatively, when the kingpin is loosened, you’re releasing torque on this component which allows the truck adjustment. You can make these adjustments with a skate tool.
The best way to adjust your trucks is by grabbing your skateboard tool and finding a flat spot of pavement. Stand on your skateboard, placing your feet on opposite edges. Wobble back and forth in a bouncing motion from side to side.
You should feel the skateboard move under your feet. This is called the responsiveness of the skateboard. If the skateboard moves a lot, more than what you feel would be comfortable for you while riding, flip the board over and tighten the nut. You only need to make adjustments of about an eighth-of-a-turn each time. It doesn’t take much movement from this component to adjust the settings of the trucks.
Alternatively, if the board doesn’t move much at all and you need it to respond better, you would loosen the kingpin nut. After each adjustment, get back on the skateboard and repeat the process.
Remember, don’t turn the nut too much, or you will over-adjust and lose your place. Adjust the nut in minor increments.
When to Switch to Tight Trucks
If you’re expecting to move at high speeds, you should adjust the trucks to a tighter setting beforehand. In situations where you’re using larger wheels, or if you’re going to be carving, you might want to also adjust the trucks before starting a session.
Tighter trucks can help prevent wheel bite. Wheel bite is when a portion of the wheels makes contact with the bottom of the deck. This can lead to some really nasty falls, especially if you’re going downhill.
Keeping the trucks tight can also eliminate the dreaded speed wobble. Speed wobble is when you hit higher-than-average speeds, and the board begins to wobble beneath your feet. Most people try to fight against this motion and end up eating pavement as a result.
If you start to wobble, skate into the wobble instead of trying to fight it. You might stand a chance if you use the momentum to keep moving into the wobble, and eventually, the skateboard will correct itself.
When to Switch to Loose Trucks
Usually, tight trucks hinder your ability to ride efficiently. Unless you’re using this setting for a specific discipline, tight trucks make it harder to turn and use your body to steer the board.
Loose trucks can improve the flow of your skating. If you find yourself feeling rigid or too stiff, you should probably loosen the trucks.
If you’re a beginner and you’re learning how to do ollies or other tricks, you should use loose trucks. This goes against everything that’s been said about trick disciplines, but there’s a good reason for this.
Loose trucks are very forgiving of less-than-perfect landings. When the trucks are tight, you have to stick the landing perfectly to stay planted on the board. There’s more play when they’re loose, so the odds are higher that you’ll stick the landing even if you don’t nail the trick perfectly.
How tight should skateboard trucks be for rookies overall? Medium is the perfect setting for newcomers. This gives them a chance to learn faster and discover their riding style.
Like many other elements of skateboarding, deciding on how tight the trucks should be is a game of trial and error. Mix it up between different tightness levels, wheel sizes, and bushing designs.
The more you learn about yourself as a skater, the closer you get to finding the perfect truck setting. After some time under your belt, you’ll discover the perfect setting to suit you best.