When building a custom skateboard, you need to choose a nice pair of trucks. You also want to make sure the trucks fit and you avoid wheel bite.
First, I’ll go over the parts of the truck and explain each one, but if you only want to see brands and pricing then skip to the bottom half of the article.
Anyway, let’s get started.
Skateboard Truck Parts
The baseplate is the rectangular metal plate that mounts the truck to the board itself with 8 screws. The kingpin, bushings, and pivot are mounted inside of the baseplate. Sometimes a company will imprint its name or logo onto the baseplate itself.
This part is super simple and pretty much identical across brands.
Bushings are the malleable, colorful, and cylindrical objects in the center of your truck. When adjusting the center bolt of the truck, you are tightening your truck and pushing the truck against the bushing.
Bushings are actually somewhat complex as they control how easy it is to turn and often control your board. Over time, bushings become less malleable and more stiff compared to when they are new. This causes many skaters to tighten their trucks for the first few session with a new board only to have to loosen their trucks later as the bushings become more firm.
When purchasing cheap trucks, the bushings are usually terrible and affect the performance of the trucks.
The hanger is a wing-like metal component that houses the axle, connects to the baseplate, and holds the wheels and bearings. When you choose a truck size, you are typically choosing a hanger width to match your deck’s size. Some people prefer wider hangers and trucks than others.
When you grind the skateboard, you are grinding on the hanger of your truck.
The kingpin is not a mob boss but is a large bolt that connects your baseplate and hanger. There isn’t much else to say about this part other than you will probably never worry or even think about your kingpin. Personally, I’ve never replaced one or even had to consider doing so.
The axle is a straight metal piece that runs through and is connected to the hanger. On either end of the hanger, the axle is exposed so that wheels and bearings can be attached. Most all truck manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee about any axle bending or defects other than normal wear and tear.
The pivot cup is a small plastic cup that sits at the interface of the hanger and the baseplate. Because you can only see the top of the pivot cup, it can look like a little plastic ring. The pivot cup keeps the kingpin centered and also is partially responsible for allowing turning to happen.
If you are on the fence about getting a skate tool, or “T-tool”, check out our usage and recommendation guide here.
Skateboard Trucks Brands
There are only a handful of well-known and respected truck brands out there. So let’s have a little run down of those brands. I also include Havoc Trucks simply because they are everywhere on Amazon right now.
However, the quality of Havoc Trucks is not like the other brands mentioned and I do not recommend anyone purchase Havoc Trucks.
Independent is the largest skateboard trucks brand there is and probably the most well-known. They’ve been in business since 1978 and offer a good selection of different trucks with various styles and dimensions. If you buy the trucks from their online store, they are guaranteed for life.
At some point, you’ll inevitably skate Independent trucks.
How Much Do Independent Trucks Cost?
The price of Independent trucks varies depending on the retailer you use.
Independent trucks cost $40- $65 on Amazon where the more expensive trucks are custom designs such as their Milton Martinez trucks. On their company site, a set of trucks cost about $60-$70 depending on the truck design. Independent trucks are cheaper on Amazon, but the company site offers a lifetime guarantee.
The lifetime guarantee they give refers to axle bending or warping and has nothing to do with normal wear and tear.
Independent Trucks Sizing Chart
|Deck Width||Truck Axle Width||Independent Brand Size|
|6.65 in – 7.15 in||6.9 in||109|
|7.35 in – 7.85 in||7.6 in||129|
|7.75 in – 8.25 in||8.0 in||139|
|8.0 in – 8.50 in||8.25 in||144|
|8.25 in – 8.75 in||8.5 in||149|
|8.50 in – 10.40 in||8.75 in||159|
|8.75 in – 10.40 in||9.0 in|
|8.88 – 10.40 in||9.125 in||169|
Notice that there is some overlap when it comes to these sizes. This is a choice that is up to you as some people enjoy wider trucks. Simply search for Independent trucks with the size number after to find the truck you need. These trucks can be purchased from the Independent Trucks company site, Amazon, or your local skate shop.
If you feel like adults can’t learn to skateboard, check out my experience as an adult beginner here.
Thunder Trucks is a company formed in San Francisco in 1986 and is a well-known and respected brand. Their trucks have a reputation for good control and excellent turning ability. Bushings and turning ability is often something that is sacrificed with cheaper trucks.
The company also does a good job sponsoring riders and giving back to the skate community. The trucks are manufactured in California and are guaranteed for life much like other reputable brand name trucks.
How Much Do Thunder Trucks Cost?
Thunder trucks are reasonably priced and are sold for $40-$80 for a set of two. The more expensive options are the custom design and pro models. Similar to Venture Trucks, you cannot order directly from their company site. Thunder trucks are sold through various retailers are available online through Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers. Thunder trucks are also likely to be carried in your local skate shop.
Of course, I recommend first and foremost supporting your local skate shop. If you can’t be bothered or are too busy, then Amazon and other places online are always options.
Thunder Trucks Sizing Chart
|Deck Width||Truck Axle Width||Thunder Truck Size|
|6.65 in – 7.15 in||7.125 in||143|
|7.35 in – 7.85 in||7.6 in||145|
|7.75 in – 8.25 in||8.0 in||147|
|8.0 in – 8.50 in||8.25 in||148|
|8.25 in – 8.75 in||8.5 in||149|
|8.50 in – 10.40 in||8.75 in||151|
|8.75 in – 10.40 in||9.125 in||161|
Thunder Trucks do have smaller 7.6-inch axle trucks that are suitable for smaller boards used for teens or children. Otherwise, just use the sizing in the chart above to determine your truck size. Notice that there is some overlap in truck size for different board widths. This just comes down to preference.
Venture Trucks have a cool little logo that looks like something out of Marvel. The brand is a great choice for a mix of quality and price and the company does a great job sponsoring different skaters, creating pro model trucks, and contributing to the skate community. The brand operates with Deluxe Distribution which deals with other brands such as Spitfire Wheels and Thunder Trucks.
Similar to Independent Trucks, Venture trucks have a lifetime guarantee that covers any axle bending or potential manufacturing defect.
How Much Do Venture Trucks Cost?
Venture trucks are an economical option.
Venture trucks cost between $36-$70 on Amazon where the special truck models are more expensive. You can’t seem to purchase Venture trucks directly from the company site, but there are various online retailers to choose from. These are popular trucks and it is likely that your local skate shop will have them in stock as well.
It is surprising that you can directly order with the company, but I suppose that means they just rely on their distribution network to sell their product. Overall, still a great and genuine brand. I definitely recommend Venture Trucks.
Venture Trucks Sizing Chart
|Deck Width||Truck Axle Width||Venture Trucks Size|
|7.25 in – 7.75 in||7.62 in||5.0|
|7.75 in – 8.25 in||8.0 in||5.2|
|8.0 in – 8.50 in||8.25 in||5.6|
|8.25 in – 8.75 in||8.5 in||5.8|
|8.50 in – 10.40 in||8.75 in||6.1|
Venture Truck’s sizes are measured and advertised in inches. They provide trucks up to a good width of 8.75 inches, but as far as I can tell they don’t have smaller-sized trucks than an 8-inch axle length. So the are no options for children.
Regardless, use the chart above to figure out the size of trucks you need based on deck width. Simply search “Venture Trucks” with the appropriate size with your online retailer of choice or call up your local skate shop.
Tensor is a solid skateboard trucks company that boasts a Maglight truck that is supposed to be 30% lighter than other market skateboard trucks.
The company has some serious knowledge behind it as it was founded by skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen in 2000. Tensor trucks are very good quality, but they do tend to be a bit pricier than other brands in the skateboarding trucks space.
How Much Do Tensor Trucks Cost?
Tensor Trucks offer trucks priced for anyone depending on the quality and style you would like.
Tensor trucks are priced from $25-$80 for a set depending on the model. The extremely lightweight Maglight model trucks are typically the most expensive. There is no price difference between online retailers for these trucks. You also cannot buy directly through the company website.
You can go to the company shop and click “Shop”, but it will just redirect you to Thank You Supply which is an online retailer.
Tensor Trucks Sizing Chart
|Deck Width||Truck Axle Width||Tensor Truck Size|
|6.5 in – 6.75 in||6.9 in||4.25|
|7.0 in – 7.25 in||7.3 in||4.75|
|7.5 in – 7.75 in||7.625 in||5.0|
|7.875 in – 8.125 in||8.0 in||5.25|
|8.125 in – 8.375 in||8.25 in||5.5|
|8.375 in – 8.675 in||8.5 in||5.75|
When you order a Tensor truck you will need to select a size that seemingly is just random numbers. To select the correct size, use the chart above to match your deck width on the left to the correct Tensor truck size on the right.
Tensor Trucks has trucks sized for children and teens as well as adults.
Personally, I have never skated Havoc Skateboards.
They are relatively well known though for a new company as they started in 2013. They are based in Canada and produce skateboard decks and almost all types of hardware whereas other companies specialize. Their trucks are on the cheaper side and are not known to be of good quality.
How Much Do Havoc Trucks Cost?
Havoc trucks are a bit pricier than other skateboard truck brands. They sell their basic trucks for around $40 on their company site and the Havoc Skateboards company site also sells other brand name trucks like Venture and Independent. Havoc trucks sell for between $15-$40 on Amazon.
These trucks seem to be unavailable on the company site though, so I wonder if the cheaper trucks sold on Amazon are manufactured elsewhere where labor is cheap and are just a licensed version.
Havoc Trucks Sizing Chart
|Deck Width||Truck Axle Width|
|6.65 in – 7.85 in||180 mm|
|7.85 in – 8.25 in||180 mm – 182 mm|
|8.25 in – 8.50 in||182 mm -182 mm|
Notice that the axle widths are given in millimeters. This is because this is how the Havoc trucks are marketed and sold. I kept the chart for deck size in inches as that is the most common measurement for deck width. Be wary of these trucks. The metal seems to be quality, but these brands save money by reducing the size of the base plate and using inferior bushings which can make it difficult to turn.
Powell Peralta is a classic brand started in part by the star skater and filmmaker Stacy Peralta. The brand is one the biggest skateboard companies, sponsors star skaters like Andy Anderson, and is responsible for many of the best skate documentaries out there such as Bones Brigade: An Autobiography.
The Bones Brigade is a legendary skate crew that Peralta actually formed that included Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, and Alan Gelfand, the person responsible for inventing the ollie.
The brand has Powell Peralta blank trucks and used to sell these from their online store, but seem to have discontinued them. They are also absent from Amazon which is a bummer, but sort of expected. They never focused on trucks anyway.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size trucks are used for an 8.25-inch deck?
Some people who order a larger deck for their custom build might not know which size trucks to order.
Skateboard decks with a width of 8.25 inches can use trucks with an axle width of 8.25 inches or 8.5 inches. There is only a difference of preference between the two sizes. The smaller trucks size, 8.25 inches, will be most similar to the common skateboard set-up that most people ride.
So this is pretty simple. It’s hard to mess up truck sizes honestly. The easiest mistake might be ordering a set-up that requires riser pads, but even that mistake is quite hard to do.
If you want to cruise with your skateboard, check out our visual guide for putting longboard wheels on a skateboard here.
What does high or low trucks mean?
Unfortunately, sizing between different brands differs a decent bit.
Often when you purchase trucks you will see different trucks advertised as low or high or medium. This refers to the distance between the axle and the deck. In theory, having a higher truck would allow stronger skaters to pop more steeply and ollie higher.
I’m not so sure about higher trucks helping you ollie higher. Other people also mention that it’s a consideration for wheel bite which refers to when your board touches your wheels. Wheel bite is a bad thing.
This could be true if you’re using longboard wheels on your skateboard, but if you follow the sizing charts for each company’s trucks, you really won’t run into any issues with wheel bite.
So in conclusion, skateboarding trucks are a little complicated, but so much so. The parts are pretty straightforward and simple, but you’re unlikely to ever need to disassemble one. The most confusing part about trucks is that each brand uses random numbers to designate size, so be sure to check out a sizing table before you purchase.
I hope you learned something about what parts make up a truck, how to match deck size with truck size, and which brands are the best.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and look out for more articles from Board and Wheels.