A longboard looks very simple. A few wheels and a piece of wood and you are good to go.
If you have a good board, great, you don’t have to do anything, however after longboarding for while things might start to feel not good enough. It might be time to adjust your longboard.
So it’s time to understand the technical components a bit better. Know how your board was put together and what each component does, so lets look at longboard bushings today.
Where to find the bushings?
A longboard has 2 trucks, each with many parts.The 2 big metal parts of the truck are called the base plate (connects to the board) and the hanger (connect the wheel to the truck).
These 2 parts are attached to each other with a pivot and a kingpin. The pivot is the fixed point and the kingpin is the large bolt where your truck turns. The 2 rubbers/ rings on your kingpin are called bushings.
Bushings are an important part of the truck.
These bushings can give you a completely different feel to your longboard.
Trucks usually have 2 bushings per truck. One bushing is in the middle of the truck for the flex and springiness and turns. The other bushing is smaller and set right beneath the head of the kingpin so you can tighten and loosen it easier.
- Tighter: more for tricks
- Looser: more for cruising.
Hardness of bushing
Bushing come in different hardness. Hardness is measured in durometer and most bushing are made of polyurethane.
This is a number followed by the letter A. The higher the durometer, the harder the rubber. A common durometer is somewhere between 60A and 100A.
- Lower number: the softer the bushing, less snap back to center, less stable.
- Higher number: harder, less tunable, but nice and stable and have a lot of rebound.
Shape of Bushing
- Cone shape (cruising ): has the least polyurethane. Least amount of resistance, so quicker turns.
- Barrel shape (carving, free ride, downhill): has the most polyurethane. Takes force to give into your turns
- Stepped cone (free ride): similar to the cone, but fits more snug, so it will provide a little more resistance for more control.
- Double stepped (downhill): similar to a barrel, but with extra polyurethane in the center for more stability. This one is often used for downhill longboards.
The complete feel of your longboard depends on different components. Before you have your personal super longboard, you will have to try different components to see what is right and feels best for you. Everybody has different experience, technics and skills. What for one works, might not work you for. Bushings are an easy and cheap way to quickly change the way to your longboard feels.
Go shred and have fun.