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How Tight Should Skateboard Wheels Be? – GearBikesReview

How Tight Should Skateboard Wheels Be
Written by Joshua Fernand

Skateboard trucks play a huge part in your ability to turn while skateboarding. You can choose to keep them loose or you may prefer them tighter, but that all depends on your preference.

But there is a happy medium to keep in mind. You should always try to keep your trucks loose enough so you don’t burst your bushings, but tight enough so your kingpin won’t fall out.

How Tight Should Skateboard Wheels Be?

The answer to this question is purely opinion and preference-based. It’s up to you, the skater, to decide how loose or how tight you want your trucks.

The looser the trucks, the more flexibility and ability you have for tricks, but you may have a wobbly, unstable feeling when you ride.

Tighter trucks may give you the feeling of being more stable and a more solid trick landing, but it’s a little harder to turn your board in different directions.

Factors You Should Keep In Mind

Check trucks with long kingpins

Check trucks with long kingpins

Step 1: The side of the bushing should look flat

Trucks with longer kingpins are higher off the ground. The bushings on your trucks are the two polyurethane donut-shaped pieces that go through the center of your truck on your kingpin.

When you adjust the tightness of your trucks, the bushing should look flat on both sides and not raised. If you have a side that is not flat, you didn’t screw them in properly.

Step 2: Don’t tighten your bushings beyond two full turns

If you tighten your bushings more than you should, (beyond two full turns) you run the risk of bursting your bushings and you’ll need new ones immediately.

Step 3: Get harder bushings if you need more than two turns

Harder bushings are more durable than softer bushings. If you feel like you need your bushings tighter than the two turns, get harder bushings.

The harder bushings will be able to handle the added pressure, but they may give you stiffer turns.

Check trucks with short kingpins

Step 1: Tighten the kingpin until it’s flush with the kingpin nut

Shorter kingpins are set up differently, but not by much. Trucks with shorter kingpins ride closer to the ground.

Make sure the bushings are flush to the kingpin nut instead of looking flat.

Trucks vary in size, so make sure you make the proper adjustments for the size of the kingpin for maximum output.

Step 2: Do the same thing for both front and back kingpin nuts

Whatever you do to your front bushings and kingpins, do the exact same thing for the back bushings and kingpins. They should both be the same tightness and flush to the kingpin nut.

Step 3: Test your ride and evaluate your trucks

Get on your board and take a ride, see how stable you feel and how much control you have.

Start your trucks looser at first. If you don’t feel comfortable on your ride, go back and adjust them to make them tighter.

Keep up this process until you feel fully comfortable and in control of your board.

Step 4: Use softer bushings for looser trucks

Use softer bushings for looser trucks

If you want to keep your trucks looser, use softer bushings. The softer bushings will give you more mobility on your board. They won’t break as easily if you’re using them on looser trucks.

Harder bushings should be used with tighter trucks because there’s more durability in them for the pressure and friction put on them.

Step 5: Turn the kingpin a quarter or half turn at a time when adjusting

Don’t turn your kingpin a full turn at a time when you’re adjusting how loose or tight you want the trucks to be. Remember, you should only turn them two full turns and nothing beyond that. So start yourself with a quarter or half turns to test out until you reach your comfort zone with the tightness.

Why Having Your Trucks Too Tight Is Bad?

  • Your bushings can deform permanently

Some skaters that are starting out make the mistake of tightening their trucks all the way because they’re scared of the control they have when riding.

Your bushings can deform permanently

You should actually be doing the opposite of that!

If you tighten your trucks too much, your bushings will stop bouncing back and become permanently deformed. The friction and the heat that gets to them while riding will wear them out quicker than they should.

Bushings unfortunately will end up deformed no matter what though due to wear and tear from the grit, salt, sand, etc. on the road.

  • You feel ‘wobbly’ when you speed up and go fast

When you start out too fast on your board in the adjustment process, you’ll feel wobbly on the board at a higher speed.

The scare of this usually leads people to want their trucks tightened more. But tightening them too much can be dangerous because you will have less control over overturning and will have to work harder to get the mobility you need while riding down the road.

Start off going slow and getting used to how your trucks feel before you start speeding along down a road full of cars. Keep your trucks looser to start and skate at a slower speed to avoid the wobbly feeling!

Get used to your trucks and the feel of your board before you start speeding up!

Benefits of looser trucks

1. Complete control and comfort while skating

Like we said previously, get yourself comfortable on your board and get used to how tight or lose you keep your trucks.

Tighter trucks can be more dangerous and leave you with less control.

Keep your trucks loose enough so that you feel comfortable skating and so that you still have that feeling of being in complete control over where you’re trying to go.

2. Longer lifespan and better performance from your bushings

The looser you keep your trucks, you’ll see a longer lifespan and better performance out of your bushings.

Looser trucks means less friction and heat on the bushings when you skate.

You’ll still get wear and tear, but it will come from external factors when you’re riding and not from the pressure you’re putting on them.

Keeping your trucks loose will get you the longest lifespan out of your bushings and will give you the best performance from them.

How to Perfect the Tightness of Your Skateboard Trucks?

Step 1: Completely loosen your kingpin nut

Start out by loosening the kingpin nut completely. The washer should spin when you give it a flick with your finger.

Step 2: Tighten the nut until it’s a half turn past the point of resistance

Start tightening your kingpin nut back up. As soon as you feel resistance being given back from tightening it, turn it another half turn and then stop.

Step 3: Do these steps for both front and back truck nuts

You can start this process on the front or back trucks, it doesn’t matter. Doing the front one first won’t affect the back one and vice-versa.

Just make sure that whatever you do to one truck, you’re doing the exact same thing to the other one!

You want both trucks to have equal looseness/tightness.

Step 4: It’s ok if the threads for both nuts aren’t the same

It’s perfectly fine if you have a different thread for each nut. The thread doesn’t matter as much when you’re making adjustments.

Stick with the method of tightening until you feel resistance and giving the nut a half turn more.

As long as you tighten them the same way, having different threads isn’t a problem.

Step 5: Take a test ride and adjust accordingly

Start loose and slow!

Take your board out for a test ride and see how you feel on it. Make sure you have control enough to turn the board both ways without too much effort given.

Give it a little speed test and see if it feels wobbly or unstable and try turning at the higher speed too.

You can always adjust based on how you feel on the board.

Step 6: Adjust the trucks evenly or make the back trucks slightly tighter

Adjust the trucks evenly or make the back trucks slightly tighter

You should almost always have both trucks adjusted to the same looseness, but if you feel in control yet still a little wobbly, you can make your back trucks slightly tighter than your front ones.

Making your back trucks a little tighter than your front ones will help reduce the unstable or wobbly feeling while riding.

Step 7: Make small adjustments between test rides

Keep your adjustments small in-between your test rides.

You don’t want to adjust them too much, or past the two turn mark.

Smaller adjustments make it easier for you to figure out your preferred looseness without making the trucks too loose or too tight. The smaller the adjustment, the better the chance of you finding your desired looseness.

Tips on Tightening Your Skateboard Trucks

  • Skate slow or use harder bushings if you need that pop

Always start slow when you’re getting used to your trucks. If you feel unstable on your board and want your trucks tighter, get harder bushings.

Harder bushings are more durable and can resist the friction and heat from being tighter on the trucks better than softer bushings.

  • Make sure your bushings aren’t popping too much

Keep your bushings flat or flush with your kingpin depending on the size of it.

If the bushings pop out too much, they’ll be in danger of permanent damage and you won’t get maximum performance from them.

  • Don’t run the trucks too tight or too loose

Keep your trucks at that happy medium.

If your trucks are too tight, you have a better chance of ruining your bushings and putting yourself in more danger because you have less control over your movements.

If your trucks are too loose, you’ll feel unstable and wobbly on your board and you’ll expose your bushings to the damage the ground gives them more than they should be.

  • Don’t adjust your trucks too often

If you adjust your trucks too often, you can ruin your bushings or strip screws. Find your comfort zone with your trucks and stick to it.

After a while, you’ll notice your board may feel different. This is when you can go back and adjust your trucks back to where you want them to be.

Until you notice they’ve come a little loose, or gotten a little tighter, don’t keep adjusting them and just ride with it.

  • Change your bushings if the insides are chewed and cut up

Even the inside of your bushings can get cut up and chewed and start deforming from the pressure and friction of riding.

Replace your bushings as soon as you notice this. You’ll have that feeling of more movement, but less control with it.

Not changing them right away can be dangerous for you, so as soon as you notice the bushings deteriorating on the inside, get new ones.

  • Change your bushings if they are permanently deformed

Fact is, you can’t skate on deformed bushings, inside or out.

Bushings will deform from normal wear and tear if you’re riding often enough.

As soon as you see or feel the bushings becoming deformed, get new ones right away and replace them.

Don’t play chicken with the bushings and see how long they can last, it probably won’t end well for you.

  • Change the bushings if your trucks aren’t performing

If your trucks stop performing like they used to, check your bushings and see if they’re laying how they’re supposed to be on your kingpin.

If you adjust the bushings and your trucks still aren’t performing, get new bushings and replace your old ones.

When replacing the bushings, keep in mind how lose you like them and if you should be getting soft bushings or harder bushings.

  • Write down how tight you make each bushing

It’s important to know how tight or lose you like your bushings, so when you figure that out make sure to write it down.

That way when you need to replace your bushings you don’t have to go through the test ride process again and you’ll already know how to adjust them to your liking.

  • Don’t tighten trucks based on how many threads of the kingpin are showing

Sometimes your threads won’t match up on the front and back trucks, which is fine!

Don’t tighten your trucks based on the threads.

Tighten both trucks by measuring how tight they are using the turning method.

  • Bushings may need readjustment when getting older

Bushings will age with use. You can always adjust your bushings as long as they aren’t damaged.

Using your board frequently will cause the bushings to move. Screws come loose, they tighten, etc. This is normal when you’re skating a lot.

Don’t go buy another set of bushings if they don’t have any damage. Save yourself the money and readjust them back to where you want them to be.

Heavy vs Light Skateboard Trucks: What Should You Get?

If you’re smaller in size and plan to do a lot of tricks and jumps, lighter trucks would work just fine for you. But if you have a lot of strength in your legs when you pop, you may want to consider heavier trucks.

Light trucks are just as strong as regular trucks surprisingly, but are easier to grind with because they don’t weigh as much.

If you’re a little bigger, but still want to do tricks and jumps, heavier trucks would work best for you because they perform better under more weight and strength.

Heavier trucks are going to feel more solid, but lighter trucks give you more agility and ability to do tricks.

But again, this decision is one only you can make based on your comfort on the board. I can only give you the facts to help you make your decision!

About the author

Joshua Fernand

I’m a 38-year-old father of two and an avid adventurer with a history of road bike racing in the mountains. I’m also a member of the Mountain Top Cycling Club, Colorado. I took part in several cross country rides across the states with my cruiser bike.

Tell you what, each tour was over a thousand miles long and it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t studied bike mechanics. Most of the fixes required during my travel had to be fixed by myself. Cruiser became my favorite category since then.

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