Choosing the Right Skateboard

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Choosing the Right Skateboard

To ensure you learn tricks easier, ride more fluidly and land lines you need the best possible skateboard to suit you and your abilities. To help you find the perfect skateboard for you, we’ve put together this handy guide.

The Skateboard Size Chart

It’s important that your skateboard is the right size so that you can control it properly.

The size chart below shows approximate sizes, but it should give you an idea of the size of deck you need. If you’re looking to buy a smaller skateboard for a child, you can find all of our children’s skateboards here. Bear in mind that as you progress as a skateboarder, a certain width of deck might start to take your preference. Typically, a ramp/vert ramp rider would choose a wider deck for stability. A street/light park use rider would choose a thinner width of deck in favour of manoeuvrability

Skateboard Size

Approx. Age

Approx. Height

Full Size

(Decks 7.5” or higher)

13 years and older

5’3” and taller

Mid Size

(Deck width 7.5”)

9 to 12 years

4’5” to 5’2”

Mini

(Deck width 7”)

6 to 8 years

3’5” to 4’4”

Micro

(Deck width 6.5”-6.75”)

5 years and younger

3’4” and shorter

 

Complete Decks

When you’re buying a skateboard you can either buy a ‘complete skateboard’ where all the parts have already been assembled for you, or a ‘custom skateboard’ where you are able to choose all the individual components yourself based on your preferences.

If you’re a novice skater, then a pre-assembled skateboard could be a good option for you. They’re often also perfect for traditionalists who have been riding with the same set-up forever.

Custom Skateboards

Many skaters enjoy building their own custom set-ups so they can tweak elements to suit their style. If you’re an experienced skater, the process of building a skateboard will only take 10-15 minutes. However, if you’re a relative novice, it could be a minefield (although we can build it for you if you like).

If you’re building from scratch, you’ll need to know about all the component parts that make-up a skateboard…

Deck: A deck is the board or footplate that you ride on. It’s usually made out of 7 or 9 ply laminated maple sheets, but other options are also available.

These often come with cool colours, graphics and styles to suit your taste. We have over 600 in our online store. You can take a look here.

Grip Tape: This is a sandpaper like material that sits on top of the deck. It’s completely anti-slip, allowing you to grip to the top of the board as you ride. It’s usually black, but colours can vary and we have stylish graphics, patterns and bright colours. Ours are available here. It’s essential you keep your grip tape clean for it to function as designed. You can change your grip tape when it starts to wear to ensure maximum grip.

Wheels: Wheels are usually made of Polyurethane (PU) and each skateboard needs 4. They’re known as ‘rubber wheels’ and they come in a variety of sizes. The width of the wheel, or the ‘contact area’ as it’s also known, is generally 32mm. This does differ but is unlikely to affect compatibility with your board. Instead it’s down to personal preference.

Cruiser style wheels are wider than standard skateboard wheels and offer more grip due to the larger contact area. These are often found on Penny and other plastic deck skateboards. These wheels are good for cruising, commuting or use in bowl riding set-ups. If you’re looking for a larger diameter wheel then you should use high trucks or riser pads (we’ll discuss these later) as they provide you with better wheel clearance and stop ‘wheel bite’ where the deck rubs on the wheels.

The diameter of wheels is measured in mm. Smaller wheels are slower, while larger wheels are faster. For most standard skateboard set-ups, a 50mm-55mm wheel will be fine.

Large wheels will have a greater top speed, but they’ll also take longer to accelerate. Smaller wheels will accelerate quicker but also have a lower top speed.

In terms of durability, each wheel is given a number between 70a and 100a. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. The grade of the wheel is known as the durometer.

If you’re unsure whether you require a hard or a soft wheel, then we recommend a mid to hard wheel in the 90s as these are more forgiving when performing tricks.

There’s also a B scale which measures 20 points lower than the A scale, so an 80b is the equivalent of a 100a. Wheels using this scale are extremely hard, allowing for an increased hardness rating.


The softest wheels are great for rough surfaces where grip is needed to travel over cracks and pebbles. Anything given a rating of 101+ is a pro wheel with the least grip. These are ineffective on slick and rough surfaces.

 

Some brands also offer wheels made out of their own specialised polyurethane. This is used to suit a specific surface. However, if this is the case, we’re always sure to label it in the product description and/or product title.

You can find our great range of wheels here.

Trucks: These are an integral part of your skateboard and they’re likely to be the most lasting part. A pair of trucks (most trucks offered on our site come in pairs but please check the product description carefully) are an essential part of a skateboard.


The width of the truck should correspond with the width of your deck, with the tip of each axle level with the edge of the deck. This will mean that the wheels are within a quarter of an inch of the edge of your deck. This will help keep the skateboard stable and will prevent over and under turning. This size guide should help you find the perfect trucks for your deck:

 

Trucks consist of a mounting plate, bushings, a kingpin, axels and a hanger. When assembled, it should look like this:

We’ll now explain each part in detail:

Base Plate: This is a flat plate. It mounts the trucks to the deck and usually comes with holes that will correspond to holes on the deck itself.

Truck bolts are then fitted through these holes to secure the truck in place, although these are not included with the trucks. Part of the job of the base plate is also to help evenly distribute the pressures of skating on the underside of the deck.

Risers and shock pads: It’s always worth owning risers, you will need 2 for one skateboard. You can find them here. They’re plastic plates which sandwich between the deck and base plate. They’re used to raise the deck to prevent ‘wheel bite’, where the wheel touches the deck.

These are usually only used for boards with large wheels (56mm+) where extra clearance is needed. Trucks are now also available in ‘Hi’ versions which already provide extra clearance. These remove the need for risers and are great for bowl riding. ‘Low’ trucks are also available. These are preferred by technical or street skaters and help for performing ollies and flip tricks.

Shock pads are fitted in the same manner but are made of rubber to absorb the impact from landings and skating over rough surfaces.

Hanger: This is the large ‘T’ shaped part of the truck. It holds the axles and forms the main body of the truck assembly. They’re usually, but not always, made of aluminium alloy. Regardless of the material used, most brands and models are a similar weight. Lightweight and titanium axles are also available, however these are often costly.

This is the part of the truck that will have the most surface contact and is used in many tricks, such as grinds and stalls. As such, it has to be durable enough to rub against rails and curbs.

Bushings: These polyurethane cylinders sit between the deck plate and the hanger. Also known as ‘cushions’, they support the truck as the board turns during steering.

The bushings will affect the way the board feels and they’re available in varying degrees of hardness. Softer bushings increase turning response and feel looser. As a result, they’re preferred by lighter riders for cruising and carving. Harder bushings complement street and technical styles, giving a firmer and more stable ride for heavier riders. Most skateboards have bushings with medium hardness.

You might want to try different bushings to sample different set-ups for your skateboard, they’re easy to replace and are widely available.

Kingpin: This is a central bolt that holds the truck together. It feeds through the entire hanger and into the base plate. You can tighten or loosen the kingpin and this will affect the responsiveness of the trucks to suit your riding style.

You can see our great range of trucks here.

Bearings: Skateboard bearings are used to mount the wheels to the axle, and they’re all the same size.

The majority of bearings have an ABEC rating, which stands for Annular Bearing Engineers Committee. This is commonly mistaken for scale to rate how fast and strong a bearing is. Wrong. Watch this video to find out more about one of the most important parts of your skateboard.

Note, some individual companies also use their own rating systems. You can find all of our bearings here.

Bolts: Bolts keep your trucks mounted to the skateboard, and they can be fitted using these skateboard multi tools.

Bolts come in a variety of different sizes, lengths, colours and brands. People use different coloured bolts to help identify the nose and the tail of the skateboard, or just to customise their board.

You can find all of our bolts here.

 

Armed with all this information, you’re ready to find a skateboard that’s perfect for you. Just let us know if you need any help. 

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/@joshbyers

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