How To: Anatomy of a Longboard Truck
Trucks have 3 main parts:
Hanger – Houses axles, which is where the bearing/spacers/speedrings sit
Bushings – Variable durability urethane to change truck responsiveness
Baseplate – Most notable change in riding when switched
There’s a few more parts to complete the anatomy diagram:
Kingpin – Holds bushings/hanger together and provides pivot point
Pivot – Where nub of hanger fits into baseplate
These parts of the board work together to provide the rider with the most customization possible for longboarding. Watch the video above for a rundown and summary of how it all works together.
The hanger is arguably one of the most important parts of the truck. If not built strong enough, they are prone to bending and a bent hanger won’t ride straight. If made with lesser quality axles, they could be easily stripped by taking the axle nut on and off when switching wheels. It basically renders your hangers/trucks useless, unless you have a rethreadder tool handy. When buying trucks, it’s a good idea to spend a little more money for something that will be way more durable and last you longer.
The bushings are where the most customization takes place. With different shapes and durometers, there’s no limit of combinations you can get and the different feels you can achieve. Most people who have been longboarding for a while know what shapes and hardnesses they like, and tend to stick with that. Others who want to try new things or rely on bushings to change their freeride setup into a downhill setup (with more restrictive bushings) change out their bushings constantly. Bushings are the cheapest way to customize your board to your weight and riding style.
Venom makes the most reliable bushings with high rebound to push the board back to straight after a turn. Venom is (at the time of writing) the leader in the bushing game, with all the best shapes and variety of squishiness. The pivot cup is another customizable part of your setup. It goes in the pivot where the hanger contacts the baseplate. A harder pivot cup gives more responsiveness while a softer pivot cup gives a more gushy, shock-absorbent turn.
The baseplates are like hardware you change out once. The only reason to change baseplates would be to orient your setup to more of a downhill/freeride/carving board. As a general rule a higher degree equals more turn and less stability. On the other hand, a lower degree equals lesss turn and more stability. What degree trucks you should use is largely dependant on what kind of deck you have. For example, a topmount downhill setup should generally run 45 degree baseplates to increase stability. Whereas a dropthrough or dropmount deck should generally use 50 degree baseplates because the deck itself is already inherently stable, so running a 50 degree truck allows more maneuverability.There is a little customization in the angle of the hanger if it’s what’s called ‘raked.’ Atlas’ hangers have 3 degrees of rake, which means if the baseplate is 48 degrees, the overall degree of the hanger will either be 51 or 45, depending on which way the hanger is facing. This leads to slight customization when it comes to wanting two different degree trucks on a board or quickly changing the angle to a more speed-friendly setup. Click here to find out more detail on truck geometry.