HOW-TO: Set Up Your Longboard - Motion Boardshop
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HOW-TO: Set Up Your Longboard

SK: For those of you who maybe just got a new longboard and are anxiously waiting to set it up, or just have a few simple questions about putting together your board, this is for you. Today we will go through step by step with pictures from how to grip until it’s ready for you to rip it! Today for the demonstration, we will be setting up:
DB Freeride DT 41" Deck
Atlas 48° 10mm Trucks
Abec11 ZigZag 80a 70mm (Green)
China Reds Bearings

Step One: Tools 

You’re gonna wanna grab your deck, grip, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and all the tools you need. We recommend a razor blade, something to file down the edge before cutting (like a screw driver), your T-tool, a small poker, and a powerdrill will make the process a little quicker. At this point you’re going to want to decide whether or not you want to grip the board from nose to tail or maybe leave some of the board exposed. For this board we’re going to grip the whole surface, so we cut the grip to about 42 inches to account for the drops in the board and a little room for error. We don't make errors here in Motion, so the extra length is purely for demonstration purposes. ;)

Step Two: Gripping

Once you have removed the backing from the grip tape you can lay it down on the board. If you’re having trouble getting it to stick to the board you can use a heat gun or a hair dryer and apply some heat and then take a wheel and roll it over the grip to help it better stick to the board. Once the grip is adhered to the board and before you start rasping the edges, you want to cut off the excess grip around the edges. This is most important if your board looks like the DT Freeride with wheel cutouts, as the grip will not get rasped effectively near the cutouts. Now you can use that screwdriver we talked about and run it back and forth around the edge of the board. This will help score the grip tape, making it easier to cut in the next step.

Step Three: Cutting Grip

After scoring the grip around the entire board grab your razor blade and slowly run it up the side of the board cutting the grip. It is best to keep the blade around a 45° angle during the cut, as it will give the grip a bit of a 'border' and it's not as likely to dig into the wood, as you can see in the second picture above. Some people like a steeper angle, verging on vertical, for a bit more grip around the edges for monkey-toeing during slides. Depending on what the board is being used for, sometimes I like to not cut the grip near my rear foot on the toe side, and just wrap it around and cut it just so there isn't any grip facing the ground, like the third picture above (if you're not observant, look at the third picture closer, its a different board. Purely for demonstration purposes).

Step Four: Quality Control

Your board is now fully gripped, check around it for any small pieces of grip you may have missed. If you wish, you can run the screwdriver or blade along the edge again just to smooth it out, but that is not entirely necessary. At this point you’re ready to continue assembling your board.

Step Four and a Half: Drop Through Mounting

If your board has drop through mounting like the DT Freeride, then there's another step you have to do to remove the grip from the holes. Start by turning the deck over, and cutting a cross (not unlike Jeebus') to allow the grip to conform better to the wood, like we did in Step 2. Then get the screwdriver (or your rasping tool of choice) and go to town. The grip might 'cut itself' during this part, don't worry about it, as you're cutting it away anyway. When the rasping is done, get that handy blade and use it! For this cut, most like to hold the blade almost vertical to make it look like a clean transition between the deck, grip, and air.

Step Five: The Rest

Gather all of your parts to complete your setup and the the necessary tools to finish the setup, unless you're awesome like us and had them together from the start. If you need a refresher, you will want to make sure you have your choice of trucks, wheels, bearings, bearing spacers, and hardware. If mounting on a drop through board, you need to separate the baseplates and hangers while mounting the trucks. Look at the pictures and use your skate tool to achieve the same result.

Step Six: Baseplates

Place your hardware on the board. If you purchased hardware from us we include washers, and recommend using them between the board and the nut to help displace the pressure from the hardware. On a top mount this would be on top of the board or on a drop through between the nut and the board on the bottom of the deck, as exemplified in these potato pictures. If you can't see the washers, turn your brightness up and squint. Make sure people see you doing this as it makes you look really smart. (Better picture below)

Step Seven: Hangers

Once the baseplates are secure to the board, if you're mounting a drop-through, you need to re-attach the hangers back to the board so you can ride it.

Step Eight: Bearings

At this point your trucks are all tightened, and you’re ready to put the wheels on. Take off the axle nut and one of the provided speed rings, then grab your bearings and place two of them on the axle with the outer part of both bearings (the side with the shield on it) facing inward towards the truck, and the spacer (if you have them) between the bearings. The bearings we're using have two shields on them instead of the usual one, so there isn't an 'inside' or 'outside' of the bearing.

Step Nine: Wheels

Now that your bearings are on the truck, grab two of your wheels and push the outer part of the wheel on (graphic facing inwards), it helps doing both at the same time that way you have something to push on. Like that Newton guy once said, "every force has an equal and opposite reaction." Here you're just providing two counter-forces to press the bearings into the bearing seat. Once one of the bearings on each wheel are pressed into the seat, pull the wheels off, flip them around, and push the wheel on with the logo facing out. At this point the wheel is on the truck as it should be when you ride it.

Step Ten: Speed Rings

With both wheels now on the truck, grab your speed ring and axle nut that you set aside earlier and place those on the truck and tighten them all the way down until it is snug. If you don't have spacers, you may notice the wheels don't spin properly when the axle nut is tightened all the way. Just loosen the nut a little to give the bearings some room to spin. Repeat steps eight through ten on the other side of the board.

Step Eleven: Wheelbite?

At this point your board is fully assembled and you’re going to want to check a few things: Stand on the board and do a wheel bite check, done by putting all your weight onto one side of the board and making sure the wheels don't touch the wood. It is not a bad idea to turn harder than you ever would when you’re actually riding just to ensure you won’t experience wheelbite at anytime when riding. If two wheels come off the ground and you're still not getting wheelbite, then there's a very good chance you won't get it when you're moving either. Also check all your nuts and bolts to make sure they are on nice and tight.

Step Twelve: Swag

Whatever companies you like to support, slap a couple stickers on your board and make it your own. If you don't have any cool decals, feel free to send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) to Motion Boardshop, and we'll gladly hook you up!

Step Thirteen: Shred

Your board is fully setup and ready to ride! Look at it, head out, and shred! After you go out and ride your new board we recommended just doing a once over and checking to make sure everything is still tight as it should be. If you have any questions about setting up a board or anything else we covered today, feel free to give us a call at (206) 372-5268 and we would be happy to help you out. Skate safe and haveagudone!

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