What is 'Durometer?' - Motion Boardshop
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What is 'Durometer?'

Durometer, or "duro" for short, is the standard scale for hardness of urethane. This scale is utilized for wheels, bushings, or pivot cups. The higher the number, the harder the material is. Longboards use the portion of the scale labeled 'a', yet traditional hard skateboard wheels can fit in the same scale at the furthest end of the spectrum (around 100a). For practical longboard applications, expect to see durometers in the table below.

Wheels 72a-94a
Pivot Cups 85a-100a
Bushings 73a-98a 

These numbers mean everything in regards to your setup. Different durometers are meant to bring out different characteristics of whatever you're riding, and the more you know about how durometer effects each component, the better. So, lets look at how durometer plays a part in wheels, pivot cups and bushings!  

Wheels

Wheels can vary extremely based on what durometer they are, but there is no concrete way to explain a direct correlation between durometer and how a wheel will feel. This is due to the huge amount of other variances involved, such as what urethane the wheel is poured with, where it was poured, what sort of core it has, its shape, and so on. Regardless, the general idea around wheel durometer is the softer it is, the more the wheel will deform, grip, kill speed in a slide, shed more urethane quicker, and be slower on smooth surfaces, as well as dampen some of the vibration from rougher surfaces. Harder wheels will initiate quicker into a slide, will kill less speed/the slide will be "icier", overall will last longer and be quicker on smooth surfaces and rougher on hard ones. Durometers feel different from rider to rider primarily based on weight, but also because of all the other differences amongst setups. In a general cruising and grip sense, heavier riders can often ride slightly harder wheels because they have more physical force to get the same level of compression a lighter rider would get out of a softer wheel. For sliding and freeride, heavier riders will have an easier time sliding softer wheels than lighter riders because their force will break through the resistance easier. Also, heavier riders will decimate those soft wheels much quicker for the exact reason they slide easier, more force. Regardless, once again, there is no definitive scale to explain the differences. For reference though, if you were to take 66mm Abec11 Freerides and compare each durometer, these are some differences you would notice.

78a Shortest lifespan, hardest to initiate,
darkest/most thane, quicker to flatspot,
slowest rolling, slows you down the fastest
smooth slides on chunder, grip otherwise
81a Mid-ranged longevity, more seamless initiation,
average thane without as much wear, slightly more
flatspot prone (easier to 90 blast), average roll,
smooth/controllable slide, slides well on all surfaces
84a  Longest lasting, quick initiation, lightest thane
with smallest amount of urethane shed, more
flatspot resistant, good roll speed, bad vibration
for rougher roads, least amount of grip  

 We chose Freerides because there are no additional variables, with no differences besides the durometer

Pivot Cups

Pivot cups usually hang around the 90a-93a, with the softer durometers for absorption and lean, harder for more accurate, precise turns. Changing the pivot cup really effects the rate of turn, seeing as it alters how squishy or firm the trucks' pivot point is. Softer pivot cups (85a-90a depending on the riders weight) will offer more cushion, giving you more lean than actual turn, along with taking away potential shock from rougher roads. In turn, this will offer more stability and less immediate, wobbly feels. Firmer pivot cups (92a-100a depending on the riders weight) will give you a more solid wall of urethane, making turns more exact due to the pivot not digging into the pivot cup. If you're looking for direct response, get a harder pivot cup. If you want some more cushion for pushing speed, or just for chundery pavement, softer is the way to go.
Click here to see the pivot cups we carry.

Bushings

Most stock bushings are around 90a, but they vary from company to company.

 Truck Brand Stock Bushing Durometer
Atlas 89a
Bear 84a (?) 
Caliber 89a
Gullwing 89a
Luxe 85a/90a split
Paris 90a 
Ronin 92a

Initially, stock bushings are something a rider can get used to, especially for the more novice riders who have not experienced anything else. Regardless, stock bushings are typically not going to be what you would want. This is due to the poorer quality of urethane used, leading the bushings to wear out and become dead quicker. Plus, they typically come in a barrel and cone setup, which isn't going to be ideal for any speed oriented style of riding. To top it all off, odds are they won't be a proper durometer for your weight. Bushings are more weight dependent than wheels or pivot cups because they are what impact the turn and level of support your trucks provide, which if you're heavier you'll need more of and if you're lighter, you'll need less of. Here at Motion, we've carried Venom for the longest time, as well as are the most familiar with their shapes and urethane. Their bushings range from 78a-97a and you can find their relation to weight below. Recently, we've began carrying Blood Orange bushings and are down with their bushings as well. Since bushing performance depends so heavily on weight, style of riding, the trucks being used, user preference, and more, never hesitate to call, email or any form of getting ahold of us to get a second opinion on your setup.

Click here for more information on bushings.

Weight class:

< 100 lbs

< 45 kg

100–125

45–56 kg

125–150

56–68 kg

150–175

68–80 kg

175–200

80–90 kg

200–225

90–102 kg

225+ lbs

102+ kg

Standard Duro:

78a 81a 85a 87a 90a 93a 97a

SHR Duro:

80a 83a 86a 88a 91a 94a 98a

Bushing Shapes

Cones

The cone shaped bushing is meant for allowing your trucks to achieve their full range of motion. This means lots of turning ability, at the cost of less stability. Cones can be paired for extremely carvey setups or combined with a barrel for a good, carvey all-around setup.

Barrels

A barrel shape bushing is a happy medium between agility and stability. The barrel fills the bushing seat of your truck enough to keep the truck straight and centered, while still allowing enough turn to throw some carves. Barrels are great for all-around setups.

Eliminators

The eliminator shape helps to fill the bushing seat in your trucks and eliminate slop. This aids in stability but renders the truck less agile. This shape is best suited in a downhill setup.

Stepped Cones

Stepped cones are perfect for an in-between barrel and eliminator bushing. Usually put boardside, they have a step on one side and the width tapers down to that of a barrel, meaning you get more immediate resistance than a barrel, but less overall resistance than an eliminator. This gives a gradual turn, great for higher speed technical turning

Carving

This style is for riders who don't want to take a straight line down the hill. Carving is all about taking it slow and ripping up as much asphalt as possible on your way down the hill.

Recommended bushing shapes: cone/barrel

Freeride

Freeriding is all about the freedom—carve, slide, bomb, whatever. No pressure, no finish lines, just you and your board ripping down the road.

Recommended bushing shapes: barrel/step cone

Technical Downhill

Technical downhill is a marriage of speedy downhill riding and freeriding. Sliding to shave speed, hitting fast corners, and generally ripping at a faster pace than when you're just freeriding.

Recommended bushing shapes: barrel/step cone

Downhill

Downhill skateboarding is all about the fastest route to the bottom. Bombing massive hills, hitting the fastest speed you can, and drafting your buddies.

Recommended bushing shapes: barrel/eliminator