All About Longboard Trucks And Wheels
Longboards are the latest craze in skateboarding. Longboards have been around for a long time, but recently the parts, especially longboard trucks and wheels, have gotten an upgrade. Trucks are made with precision CNC manufacturing to make them stronger and turn better. Wheel formulas are being advanced and they are made to drift at high speeds while still being able to grip for carving.
Skateboard VS Longboard
Longboards aren’t called longboards for nothing, the decks are longer!
Aside from this, the major differences compared to traditional skateboards are are the wheels and the trucks.
TKP VS RKP
TKP stands for traditional kingpin trucks. They are like most trucks where the kingpins face each other toward the inside of the board. The kingpin sits below the trucks so you can grind.
RKP stands for reverse kingpin trucks. Reverse kingpin trucks are designed for longboarding. The design makes them turn better. The kingpin also usually sticks up past the truck.
Trucks are designed with geometry to work a certain way. You can’t just flip your trucks around and act like they TKP is now RKP or vice versa.
The angle of the baseplate is often overlooked in traditional skateboard trucks. Skaters will tighten their trucks to turn less when bombing hills, but not change their baseplate entirely like longboarders do. Sometimes angled riser pads are used to make the kingpin higher which makes the trucks turn more.
Longboard truck angles are very important and arguably the most important aspect of tuning a truck. The higher degree your truck baseplate is, the more it will turn. Think of how a 90 degree angle is more of a turn versus a 45 degree angle.
Often, longboarders will use a split degree setup, which uses a lower degree angle on the back truck of the board where speed wobbles start from. This allows them to go faster and enhances turning.
Changing bushings is also a way to tune trucks to turn differently. Harder bushings make the board more stable. Street skaters use different bushings too, but not to the same extent longboarders do, especially when racing.
Longboarders mess around with their bushings a lot until they get their setup exactly how they want it.
The rule of thumb is: harder bushings go on the bottom of the truck on the side of the deck (board side bushing) and softer bushings go facing the road (road side bushing) for drifting . They will put softer bushings on the board side and harder bushings on the road side for gripping turns. It all just depends on what feels good though.
The way downhillers check which bushings are harder or softer when they are in a random pile is by biting them. A little dirt don’t hurt!
Some companies are figuring out how to make split durometer bushings where some parts are harder or softer than others. This gets complicated, but longboarders get really into learning about how their board will work according to the physics and engineering.
Longboard trucks are usually wider than regular skateboard trucks. This makes them more stable and matches the width of longboard decks which are usually wider as well as longer.
Usually longboard wheels are taller and wider than traditional skateboard wheels. A larger wheel helps the board roll at higher speeds. Smaller wheels will gain speed faster, but won’t be able to reach as high of top speeds.
The wider wheel makes the board grip better because there is more wheel actually touching the ground.
The hardness, or durometer of the urethane material also affects the grip of the wheel. Softer wheels will grip better. They will form and squish to the ground more. Hard wheels can roll faster over hard surfaces. Soft wheels will squish too much on hard surfaces, slowing them down. The harder wheel will not roll over rougher surfaces and won’t grip as well.
There is a trade off with skateboard wheel durometer between grip, slip, and roll speed.
The shape of the wheel also determines its ability to grip. Square lipped wheels that have sharp edges are designed to grip. Wheels with rounded lips are better for power sliding, but the contact patch and durometer can make them grip well too.
Longboard wheels often have cores. These are hard plastic pieces that hold the bearings. They have these to hold the bearings in place when the wheel is softer. Without them the bearings might come out when the wheel flexes. The core also affects how heavy the wheel is. Plastic weighs less than urethane. With a large plastic core and less urethane wheel, the wheel will be lighter.