With our selection of pro decks and complete skateboard setups Sk8 or Die is the independent Bristol skate shop with the choice of 100 boards.
The main components of a working skateboard are a deck, two trucks, four wheels, eight bearings, eight bolts and grip tape.
Deck: Usually a choice deck will be 7 ply maple glued, pressed and shaped with a concave or double concave at the nose and tail. Canadian maple is the most sought after wood for skateboard decks because it has the best ‘pop’. Pop is the feel of how a skateboard ‘pops’ into the air. The tougher the wood, the less you need so the lighter the board will be. Street skaters tend to go for as lighter board as possible so it is more effective popping into the air. The colder climate in Canada and North America means the tree grows slower and more densely providing the best characteristics for skateboard wood. But really, who knows if this is fact or theory? If you know please enlighten us why Canadian maple is better than say Russian or Chinese maple. Tests need to be done.
Canadian maple is not rare. It’s not unheard of for Canadian maple to be exported to China for skateboard manufacture then to be imported back to America for distribution and retail.
Another important factor for choosing the right skateboard deck is the size and shape. The smaller the board the lighter it is which helps with getting it off the ground but some skaters prefer wider and longer decks for carving on the ramp and in the bowl.
Deck artwork cannot be ignored as a buying factor either. You may fall in love with a particular deck just because of the picture on it.
Check out our range of decks here.
Trucks: Truck size depends on what type of skating you’re doing and what size board you’re riding. Generally the wider the deck the wider the truck. The chart here provides the recommended sizes.
Trucks are made up of mostly metal components, base plate, kingpin, hangar, axle, nuts and speed rings. it’s important trucks are strong and able to take force but at the same time they shouldn’t be too heavy that the complete set-up can’t get into the air easily. Some hangars and base plates come hollowed out to save weight. These components are generally aluminium or a related alloy as it is a lighter metal. The axle and kingpin has to be strong and is generally steel. Some trucks may contain titanium for the best strength/lightness ratio – you’ll which ones these are because of the price!
For street skating and accomplishing tricks with lots of air and flips ‘low’ trucks are preferred for the lower centre of gravity. These will normally be used with smaller wheels – 48 -53mm diameter. Anything bigger and there’s more chance of wheel bite. This is when the rotating wheel meets the deck and effectively drops the anchor, sending the rider flying and marking the deck.
Optional riser pads are used to increase the gap between wheel and deck. The pads sit in between the trucks and the deck.
‘High’ trucks tend to be used with larger wheels which are chosen for cruising riders.
Urethane bushings sit where the hangar and kingpin fasten. The bushings help movement of the trucks for steering. Softer for cruising, harder for street skating.
Check out our range of trucks here.
Wheels: Wheel size and hardness are the most important factors to consider for your skateboard.
Smaller, harder wheels are preferred for street skating and larger softer wheels are preferred for cruising.
Hardness is measured on the durometer scale. There is an A scale and a B scale. The A scale is 20+ the value of the B scale so a wheel measuring 100a is the same as a wheel measuring 80b.
Harder smaller wheels are the choice of experienced street skaters. On a smooth surface the harder wheels will provide the best conditions for slides whereas softer wheels provide more grip which is ideal if the ground is too slippy or too rough.
Check out our range of wheels here.
Bearings: The most common and affordable bearings on the market are steel with abec ratings around 5 to 9. The higher the abec rating the more precise the ball bearing has been cut and should in theory rotate quicker. Not always the case though as some cheaper bearings claiming higher abec ratings are inferior to better quality bearings with lower abec ratings.
For the absolute best quality on the market you may choose ceramic bearings. These are lighter, last longer and rotate quicker -meaning you go faster and you don’t have to change them as much as steel bearings which eventually corrode and stop rotating effectively.
Ceramic bearings cost about eight times that of steel bearings. It’s up to you whether you think it’s worth it though.
Once you have your chosen set up you start by gripping the deck. The most common way of gripping the deck is to carefully line up grip tape with the top side of the deck, starting at the nose or tail and peeling off the back sheet which allows the adhesive side of the tape to stick to the deck. Applying pressure to the grip tape and deck assures it is stuck down. Using a file you then rub around the edge of the deck. You will likely see the deck outline where the grip has worn. You then use a sharp blade to cut the excess grip off and use the waste grip tape to sand around the edges.
Do this on a soft surface like a towel as not to scratch the underside of the deck (even though as soon as you ride it in 15 minutes you’re gonna mark it up pretty good anyway).
Using a sharp, thin object (a screw works fine) break holes in the grip through the deck holes where the bolts go. There should be eight of them.
Push the bolts through the holes from the grip side and attach the trucks, one at a time. Remember to slot in risers if you are using them. Tighten the nuts on each bolt making sure both trucks are on tight. The kingpin of each truck should be on the inside – facing each other.
Each wheel has two bearings. Push the bearings into the space for them on each side of the wheel. Use the truck’s axle to push them firmly in position.
Make sure the speed rings – or washers to any layman – are on either side of the wheel. One on the inside between the wheel and the hangar and one on the outside between the wheel and the nut.
Once you’ve put all four wheels on make sure the nuts are not too tight that the wheels don’t rotate yet not so loose there’s movement between the wheel, outside nut and hangar.
Tighten the truck kingpin to suit your riding style, remember if it’s too loose it could cause immediate wheel bite.
Now you should be good to go. Enjoy.
At Sk8 or Die we offer a wide selection of pro skateboard decks along with trucks, wheels, bearings and everything else you need to complete your set up.
Each deck in store is hand picked for its quality and aesthetic from brands such as Element, Flip, Plan B, Toy Machine, Foundation, SOVRN, Sk8mafia, Fracture and Jart.
We offer many options for your customised skateboard.
Along with our selection of complete skateboard setups Sk8 or Die is the independent Bristol skate shop with the choice of 100 boards.