There’s a longboard truck to suit every budget, skill-level and discipline. With as many choices as there are available, it can be daunting for a new skater to choose their first or second set of trucks. What are the best longboard trucks for you?
In this article, we’ll cover various aspects of longboard trucks, the different types and how you can find the perfect set of trucks for your riding style. That way, you’ll know more about your setup and can spend more time on your board.
Longboard Truck Features
Hanger width, baseplate angle, bushing seat and kingpin orientation are the main features that you should consider when buying longboard trucks. Does that sound like a lot to worry about? It won’t be complicated after you finish this guide on trucks.
What’s a hanger?
The hanger is the part of the trucks that connects everything else. Typically it’s the largest piece, it provides the support for the axle–the part that your wheels are attached to.
What’s the baseplate?
The baseplate mounts to the skateboard and serves as the interface between your hanger and the board. The hanger rotates around the axis created by the center line of the pivot cup. The angle of the baseplate controls how quickly the hanger turns where the steeper the angle, the faster the turn.
So, a 50° baseplate turns faster than a 40° baseplate. Most professional longboarders will put a higher angle on the front and a lower angle in the rear to increase stability.
What’s the axle?
The axle on your longboard functions exactly like a car but with fewer parts. It exists so that your wheels have a smooth surface to rotate on.
You won’t have many problems with your axle on your longboard but you may notice it when one wheel is loose. You will need some maintenance if one wheel side isn’t rotating as freely as the other.
On cast and forged trucks you’ll find that the axle runs the entire length of the hanger and is typically not removable. One feature you’ll find in precision trucks are replaceable axles. These allow for width adjustments and replacements in the event of damage by swapping axles.
What are bushings?
Bushings are a great way to improve performance on your board. They control the rate that your trucks turn, how much force is required to turn them and the maximum amount they can turn.
Because of their position as a link between the kingpin, hanger and baseplate, they also serve as a dampener. They are small, usually colorful, and available in a wide variety of shapes and durometers. It’s important to pick the right shape and the right durometer for your goals. Want something that carves really easily? Get a pair of 85a cones. Downhill? Get a set of higher durometer stepped bushings.
Keep in mind that these choices are dependent on your weight as well. Thankfully, bushings are the least expensive component of the truck and the one you are most encouraged to experiment with – Try them all!
What’s a Kingpin?
Yes, Kingpin was frighteningly awesome in Daredevil. But that’s a different guide.
The kingpin is the large bolt that connects all of the parts vertically in your board. It serves as the other pivot axis for the hanger. It can also help to modify the turning characteristics of the board – by tightening or loosening the kingpin, you apply or relieve pressure on the bushings. We suggest using the shortest, fine-thread 3/8” Grade-8 bolt you can find.
What are the Different Types of Trucks?
Longboard trucks are typically separated into categories by manufacturing process. While there are some who don’t fit the criteria, manufacturing processes include cast, cold forging and precision (CNC Milled).
In addition to manufacturing process, trucks are also separated into categories based on their kingpin arrangement: Traditional Kingpin (TKP) & Reverse Kingpin (RKP).
If you’re looking to buy longboard trucks, you’ll typically see reverse kingpin trucks used (All three trucks in the above photos are reverse kingpin). However, all categories of trucks are use for longboarding and you’ll find traditional kingpin trucks used often as well.
Let’s learn more about what they mean so that you don’t feel overwhelmed while buying your longboard trucks.
What Are Cast Trucks?
Most trucks are produced using a method called casting where super-hot liquid metal is poured into a mold and as it cools it hardens. The casting is removed from the mold, cut to tolerances and polished before being shipped.
It’s an expensive manufacturing process but it usually makes the most reasonable unit cost per truck. Thanks to this, cast trucks are typically the most affordable option and an excellent choice for new longboarders.
They’re available in a wide variety of sizes and styles from all the major truck manufacturers. They’re durable enough to withstand the rigorous abuse of skateboarding. If you buy a longboard with trucks, there’s a good chance it has cast trucks already.
If they’re good at all these things, why do we even need cold-forged or precision trucks? Well, their names imply some of their benefits and we’ll explore the benefits in greater detail later in this article.
What Are Cold-Forged Trucks?
Cold-forging is the next step up – a blend of premium, precision and affordability. Its also an interesting manufacturing process for those who are curious.
The benefit of cold-forged trucks vs. cast trucks is that the cold-forging process builds a stronger bond than cast. Not that a cast truck is not strong enough to endure the use and abuse of skating – cast trucks have been around since the inception of skating and they’ve more than proved their durability. Its safe to use either type of longboard truck but we do want to be clear that sometimes gear breaks. The best longboard brands have warranties or will work with you if your gear breaks quickly.
It’s good to know the type and strength of your truck and find one that works with your style. If you tend to go on longer rides for pleasure, you probably don’t need to worry about the strength of your trucks. Hitting downhill? You will want to get high quality trucks to stay safe while riding.
One cold-forged truck that we’re particularly fond of is the Paris Savant. We’ve previously covered them here.
What Are Precision Trucks?
Are they cold-forged? Are they cast? Are they somewhere in between? In truth, they’re something else entirely. Precision trucks are made by CNC machines and are best described as perfect.
CNC, or Computer Numerical Control machines, works the same as a 3-D printer works but is way more robust. Think car parts and airplane parts. The CNC machine cuts a block of metal according to an exact blueprint and out pops a perfect precision truck. “Precision” is very appropriate.
Precision trucks are better if you need a high-performance longboard build. This is even more true for downhill riding.
Their main benefits are associated with the exact tolerances. The interfaces between the axle and the bearings, the kingpin and the bushing seat and the pivot cup and pivot will be all be tighter. While it might be difficult to identify these benefits at lower speeds, they’re very apparent at race speeds. Professional racers prefer precisions.
If you expect precision trucks to be more expensive then you are correct! Precision trucks are generally more expensive than cast and cold-forged trucks. They require more time and material to manufacture and they can’t be produced as rapidly or in such large quantities.
If you’re a beginner, you won’t make a mistake just by picking a specific type of trucks. The best way to learn what you like is to just get riding to see what feels good!
Looking for the short answer?
Check out three of your best options for the best longboard trucks. We have deeper recommendations but these trucks really stand out in terms of quality and pricing. They will likely be an upgrade on the trucks you are currently riding.
|Beginner – Intermediate||Caliber II 44°||$45|
|Beginner – Advanced||Paris Savant||$160|
|Beginner – Pro||Aera RF-1||$155|
Next, we’ll look at how your choice of longboard trucks may be influenced by the type of riding you typically do.
Best Longboard Trucks for Your Riding Style
Now you know all about the different types of trucks. We are ready to find the perfect set of trucks for your longboard. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What kind of riding do you normally do?
- What kind of riding do you want to do more of in the future?
- Do you want to add these to a new deck or an old deck?
- Do you want to leave them the same deck on or swap them out based on what you’re riding?
- What’s your budget?
The last thing we want you to do is to spend $250 on trucks that you don’t need. That’s why it’s important to think about the riding you plan to do and also think about the gear you already have.
We hope you think about what to do with your old trucks. You can definitely sell your trucks or donate them to a friend. It’s always a good idea to help someone out who needs it and you will get great vibes from finding someone who battling against some bad trucks at the local spot.
Best Longboard Trucks for Downhill
Performance! That’s what you are looking for when you buy trucks for downhill longboarding. So what are the best longboard trucks for downhill?
The exception is for beginners to downhill. You may find that the performance is not the issue. Extreme downhill can be dangerous and we advise you to consider the mental aspects before you purchase precision trucks. In addition, world-class downhill riders take years to hone their skills. So maybe take your time getting up to the point where your trucks are holding you back.
A set of trucks with baseplate angles near 45° or a split angled set (45° front and 30° rear) would make a great set of beginner trucks for downhill longboarding. Our suggestions are Paris V2 or V3, Randal RIII or Caliber Fourty-Fours.
Best Longboard Trucks for Commuting
We’re going to lump in any longboarding where you’re going to focus more on pushing with plenty of room for error. That could mean longboarding across campus or a casual ride on a paved road on your way to visit friends.
For commuting, we find that traditional kingpin trucks are a little more ideal. The reason being that in general, a traditional kingpin truck is shorter than it’s reverse kingping counterpart. This means your board will be closer to the ground which makes kicking for extended periods of time a little easier!
Check out the Independent Stage 11 trucks in the width of your choice for commuting.
Best Longboard Trucks for City Riding
City riding can take some extra skill depending on the foot and car traffic in your city. For the most part, you’ll be pushing straight and not sliding down city hills (we think) so you don’t necessarily need high-performance trucks.
It’s a good idea to take extra care with city riding. You’ve got bikers, runners, walkers, cars, and other riders to worry about. From beginners to experts, wear extra safety gear and take care of your equipment.
We love a the Paris V2 with 50° baseplates for city slashing. Their higher angle makes them turn more quickly to avoid obstacles and their superior casting process means they’re extra durable.
Best Longboard Trucks for Dancing
We still aren’t sure if we’re seeing a full resurgence of dancing yet. Every year, we get a sense that we’re just one viral video away from a whole generation of dancers–but maybe we are just too hopeful.
In any case, if you find yourself using your longboard to dance and get your creativity flowing, you’ll want to get the whole longboard ready for it. So what longboard trucks should you buy for that?
We love the Atlas Ultralight for dancers because they are frequently kicking, flipping and throwing the board around. The less weight on either end of the board, the easier these maneuvers will be. Also, the less it will hurt if you come into contact with it in a fall!
Best All-Around Longboard Trucks
Most of you will do a mix of longboarding. You’ll ride it to the parks, in the city, take it on a long journey, maybe even do a little sliding. So what are the best trucks to have for all of those things? What are the best all-around longboard trucks you can buy?
If you like a little bit of everything, Randal Trucks RIII has always been our favorite. The RIIIs have a wide variety of baseplate angles and hanger widths available that are all interchangeable. This makes it a system that can be easily adjusted for various riding styles. If you’re looking to do some of everything, the RIII is the best choice. It also happens to be a very good truck!
Top Longboard Trucks
Aera Trucks are the designed and developed by one of the most well known professional skateboarders of our time – Kevin Reimer. Kevin’s performance on the race circuit has been unparalleled. He started Aera trucks to build the best possible longboard truck out there but they came at a price – they were expensive!
The RF-1 is a cold forged version of Aera’s popular K series of trucks produced in large quantities. It has many of the features of the more expensive K5 in a more budge friendly option. This is hands down the best truck for the price.
Randall has been manufacturing trucks for over 32 years. They’re considered the standard amongst the cast truck market. There was a time when new cast trucks were intentionally manufactured to be compatible with the Randall ecosystem (baseplate interchangeability).
Most, if not all skaters, have owned or tried a set of Randall’s. The RIII is the latest and greatest from Randall. It includes all 32 years of experience and upgrades. If you’re looking for a great first truck, look no further than the RIII – you won’t be disappointed.
An equally iconic option is Paris Trucks V2. The V2 has a reputation for quality, durability and reliability. Their gravity cast manufacturing technique results in a truck that is both visually appealing and significantly stronger (though still less than cold-forged or precision).
Paris trucks are seen regularly on Loaded boards and under the feet of professional racers on podiums. If you’re looking for your first set or your tenth set, Paris Trucks will not disappoint.
Caliber Trucks Caliber II Fourty-Four
Caliber trucks have not been around nearly as long as either Randal or Paris but they are still an incredible option. They’re well made, feature Blood-Orange bushings stock(!!!!) and have an exceptional kingpin, bushing seat and axle design.
Caliber trucks have a wide range of options and all the options are available in many colors. However, for beginners we suggest the Caliber II Fourty-Four. 44° baseplates hit a sweet spot for stability and quick steering, they’re constructed very well and the company stands behind them.
Looking to geek out with even more information about Longboard trucks? Check out some of these resources:
Randal Trucks has an incredibly detailed, thorough guide to longboard truck anatomy and how the various options affect the characteristics of your board. Use this resource once you’re looking to fine tune your trucks a bit more.
Sabre Trucks conducted an experiment that highlights the differences in strength for various manufacturing techniques. Check this to learn more about how strong each type of truck is.
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