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Longboard Bushings- A Deep Dive

Today’s article is on longboard bushings. These little things can make or break your ride – they’re the suspension of your longboard, controlling how they lean and turn feels. It’s worth investing in and learning about them if you want to make your board feel just right. Check it out below. 

What are longboard bushings?

First, let’s talk about what longboard bushings are. Longboard bushings are made out of urethane. Urethane is a rubbery-like springy compound. It bounces and compresses the same way rubber would, but it is stronger, maintains its elasticity for longer, and it is more resistant to wear and affects the environment (and things like oils). 

What do bushings do?

So yeah, bushings act like little springs. They go in your trucks between your hanger and the baseplate and the kingpin nut. They are there to control how your truck leans and turns. Because they are springy, they provide some resistance when the trucks are being engaged. It’s like they provide a counterforce to your input.
Bushings come in different levels of hardness. The scientific (and widely used) metric for this is “durometer”. Durometer is a measure of how hard or how stiff a given piece of urethane is.
Most stock urethanes that come in most trucks will be 90a. 
The higher the number is, the harder the given bushing is. The lower it is, the softer a given bushing is.
Another thing to keep in mind is that whilst a piece of urethane might be 90a, it’s formula and amount of rebound will ultimately determine how it feels. So not all 90a bushings will feel the same. The feel will vary between bushings and bushings from different companies at the same durometer will feel different.

How a bushing feels is affected by your weight 

So now that you know what a durometer is, it’s time you learned about how your weight affects the behavior of the bushing. 
Just like a normal spring, the more pressure you apply, the more squishy a given bushing it will be. So yeah, the more force you apply, the more squisher a bushing will feel. And in this way, a bushing compresses and deforms more the more you weigh – simply because you are applying more force on it, the more you weigh.
So yeah, for the same bushing, it’s gonna feel stiffer if you weigh a little and it’s gonna feel squisher and looser if you weigh a lot. This is one of the main reasons people choose to get aftermarket bushings, as they can get specific ones suited to their weight.

Should you get aftermarket bushings?

Most experienced longboarders get after-market bushings. This is mainly because the stock ones in most trucks are made from low-quality urethane and aren’t appropriate for their weight.
Getting aftermarket bushings can improve how the ride feels – they can make the lean and turn to feel a lot smoother and more controlled. 

Are stock bushings bad?

Stock bushings are often made from low-quality urethane formulas. These stock bushings don’t allow your truck to lean and turn very well. They often don’t have any rebound and just allow the truck to flop into the turn. They also have no return to the center, so they don’t help you bring back the truck from the turn. They just don’t feel good – that said, some trucks do come with decent bushings though.
Caliber trucks come with fairly decent stock bushings. Check them out here on Amazon.com.

You can also get weight specific aftermarket bushings

Finally, getting aftermarket bushings will allow you to get ones suited to your weight. If you’re lightweight, this means you can get softer bushings for a more flowy ride – you’ll actually be able to turn! If you’re heavier, you can get harder bushings which will support you better and make the turn feel more controlled.
In summary, yes get aftermarket ones, just be careful with what you pick as there are many options out there.

What should I consider when getting aftermarket bushings?

The main things to consider are (in order of importance):

  • Truck type
  • Truck bushing type
  • Your weight
  • Your riding style

Your truck type and bushing type is important. Different trucks have different bushings suited to them. Traditional kingpin trucks have smaller shaped bushings, whilst RKP trucks have larger bushings, with a broader variety of shapes available for them. 
As I highlighted above, weight is important. It will determine the durometer of bushing you get.
Finally, your riding style will be key. For example, if you want to do high-speed downhill skateboarding you’re going to want, stiffer, double barrel bushings. If you want to carve around, you’re going to want a barrel cone bushing combination – it is going to allow the truck to turn quicker, giving it a nimbler more carvy feel. 
Let’s talk more about the different shapes of bushings available

What type of bushings are there?

There are a ton of different sizes and shapes of bushings available. For the most part, if you just get the same size and shape bushing your current truck has you should be fine – that’s an easy way to make this process a lot less complicated.
But let’s talk about the shapes available. The main shapes are:

  • Cone 
  • Barrel

Those are the main shapes of bushings – but those also come in different sizes. TKP trucks have shorter barrels and cones. RKP trucks tend to have taller barrels and cones, and finally, some RKP trucks come with super tall bushings. Rogues, Arsenal, and Ronin trucks are some common tall bushings trucks.
Finally, other shapes you can get are – venom freerides, venom eliminators, venom super cones, Riptide fatcones, Riptide magnums, etc. There is quite a number to choose from and they all have their purpose. It can get quite confusing so connect with some experienced longboarders through Facebook groups or Reddit to get a guiding hand if you choose to deviate from the simpler bushing shapes.  

What bushing should you get for your weight?

This will largely be determined by the brand. Most will have guides which will tell you what is best for your given weight. For example, the Venom bushing chart should help you get the right bushings for your weight. Riptide also has a weigh chart for their bushings.

What bushing brands are good?

The best bushing brands right now are:

  • Venom skate bushings
  • Riptide bushings
  • Hardcore bushings
  • Khiro bushings
  • Orangatang

Check out the Orangatang Knuckle bushings here on Amazon.com

A set of bushings from any of those brands will work well.

What do you think? Are you going to pick up some bushings?

There are quite a number of bushings to pick from and yes the process can seem quite complicated, but if you take the time to figure out what you need and what works for your trucks, you’ll be reaping the rewards in no time. Investing in aftermarket bushings is a very rewarding process – it can bring new life to your trucks, and even go as far as giving you the confidence you need to hit new top speeds.

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