How To: Truck Information
Longboard trucks are an important part to a complete set-up, however the individual differences between trucks can be difficult to understand. There are a multitude of different trucks in the market today, ranging from cast, forge, and precision building methods. Construction is not the only difference between trucks; some other differences include baseplate angle, rake/offset axle, pivot, and bushing seat. To start off the different building methods results in a variation in structural integrity.
Cast trucks are the most common and are produced by melting recycled metal then pouring this molten metal into a mold producing the truck. Companies such as Caliber Trucks use this method, however, unlike cast trucks, forged trucks use mechanical and or thermal energy to press solid metal into a mold to form the trucks, companies like Bear Kodiaks and Atlas Trucks are great examples of this building method. Due to the melting of the aluminum, the casting method produces misaligned grains of the metal, while as forging keeps the grain of the metal more or less aligned due to the solid state of the metal producing an overall stronger truck. The next level of construction is a precision truck, they are produced by milling a solid block of metal by a CNC (computer numerical control) router. This produces the strongest trucks compared to casting and forged trucks due to the grain of the metal staying completely inline and produces exact geometry, eliminating slop. Slop refers to the sloppiness and misalignment of the geometry that occurs in casting and forged due to the mold and variation of the geometry. Precision trucks eliminate this geometry flaw with the help of computers producing a precision cut. Some examples of precision trucks include Caliber precisions, Bear Precisions, and Rogue.
Baseplate angle is another component of the longboard truck that can change the feel of your board. This angle is determined buy the axis of the hanger and baseplate. A higher degree baseplate will provide more turn then a low degree truck resulting in a change of turning radius. A lower degree truck will also provide more lean then a higher degree truck. Lean refers to the angle of the deck as you turn. A higher degree truck will provide more turn than lean, while a lower degree truck will provide more lean then turn. Higher degree trucks, such as a 50-degree baseplate, are common in the cruising scene where turn is needed, however a lower degree truck is more ideal for stability or when speed is a factor. Deciding what baseplate is for you is a lot of personal preference; some people like a turny board even at speed and vice versa. If you are looking for a recommendation, a higher degree baseplate (~50 degree) is typical for <35mph while a lower degree baseplate (~40 degree) is recommended for >35mph.
Next thing to discuss is hanger width. Typically, the first thing to keep in mind is the width of the trucks in relation to the width of the deck. The two should be similar widths, yet personal preference for narrower or wider trucks exists, as well as can be chosen specifically based on types of riding you plan on doing. Generally, a narrower hanger has more overall grip with snappier slides, quicker turning response, and less stability if you’re not used to it. Bigger hangers have more gradual rates of turn, less grip, more moderate initiations into slides, and more stability. So what hanger width should I get? We feel as if this is a good guideline to go off of
|Deck Width||Truck Width|
The next thing to discuss is rake and axle position relative to the pivot axis and kingpin axis. This is commonly referenced as offset and rake. Rake is the distance from the pivot axis, this change in geometry effects the perceived turning angle of the trucks. A truck with positive rake will act like a higher degree truck. However, the turn changes the further into the turn you get. The truck starts off with a flowy/lively feel at the start, then progresses to a mellow turn at the end of the hanger articulation. A negative rake truck will feel like a lower degree and provide more leverage and lean over the trucks. An offset axle position describes the location of the axle along the pivot axis, relative to the distance of the kingpin axis. This geometry determines the response and liveliness of the truck, in addition to ride height. Positive rake, as seen in Atlas Trucks, provides a higher ride height along with a slightly slower response time. An inline axle provides a quick response time, along with more linear turn characteristics.
Why Should I Flip My Hanger?
Stability! You ever see a newbie go down a big hill, pick up speed then violently wobble back and forth? Those are called speed wobbles. If you get speed wobbles and can't seem to control them, that’s when you want to flip your back hanger to a relatively lower degree. (I say relatively because it’s a common misconception that flipping your hanger changes the degree of your trucks while it actually only changes the degree your hanger rests at, not the degree of the kingpin.) This will make the rear of your board more stable and less likely to wobble. Flipping your hanger will only affect your stability if you have a raked truck.