How To: Set Up Your Longboard

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, covering every aspect of how to put together a longboard. For the demonstration, we will be setting up:
DB Freeride Deck
Atlas 48° 10mm Trucks
Abec 11 78a Big Zigs
Reds Bearings

Step One: Tools 
DB Longboard, Atlas Trucks, and Abec 11 Big Zigs Gripping a drop deck

You are going to want to have your deck, grip, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and all the tools you need. For tools, we recommend a having razor blade, something to file down the edge before cutting (like a screw driver), your T-tool, a small poker, and a powerdrill. At this point you will need 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 rarely make errors here at Motion, so the extra length is purely for demonstration purposes.

Step Two: Gripping
Cut out grip drop on drop deck Gripping a drop deck longboard

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. This will heat up the adhesive and help it bind to the deck. Afterwards, 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 DB Freeride with wheel cutouts, as the grip will not get rasped effectively near the cutouts. Now you can use a screw driver 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
How to cut grip tape with a razor Gripped drop deck

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. This is depicted in the second picture above. Some people like a steeper angle, verging on vertical. 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 instead wrap it around and cut it just so there isn't any grip facing the ground. This is depicted in the third picture above (If you look at the third picture closer, you will notice it's a different board. Purely for demonstration purposes.)

Step Four: Quality Control
Properly grip the edge of your longboard

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
Grip a drop through longboard Cut out grip on a drop through longboard

Grip drop through longboard

If your board has drop through mounting like the DB 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 to allow the grip to conform better to the wood, kind of like what we did in step 2. Then get the screwdriver (or your rasping tool of choice) and rasp the inside edge of the drop through mounts. 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 grip and the deck.

Step Five: The Rest
Atlas Trucks

Gather all of your parts to complete your setup and the the necessary tools to finish the process. If you are mounting your trucks on a drop through board, you need to separate the two parts of the trucks, the baseplates and the hangers, before you can mount them. Look at the pictures and use your skate tool to achieve the same result.

Step Six: Baseplates
How to mount trucks on a drop through longboard Mounting baseplates on drop through longboard

Place your hardware on the board. If you purchased hardware from us we included 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 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
Assembled trucks on drop through longboard

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.

Step Eight: Bearings
Atlas Trucks and DB Longboards Longboard bearings and spacer on Atlas trucks

At this point your trucks are all tightened, and you’re ready to put the wheels on. Take off the axle nut, 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
Longboard Atlas Trucks and Big Zig Abec 11 Wheels on DB drop through deck

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 are 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, scope out our sticker page on our website!

DB Longboards DB Longboard

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 have a good one!

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