Whether you have been skateboarding for a while or just want to start learning to skateboard, it’s a good idea to know the arrangement of a skateboard. It may seem quite simple from first sight: just a wheeled board with some metal pieces. Still, each of the components has its peculiarities that may impact your skating in general.
This post will tell you what individual parts of a skateboard are called and describe their purpose.
A deck is basically the board where a rider’s feet rest while skating. Traditionally, decks are made of glued plies of hardwood maple. There are also decks made of several whole wooden pieces glued together and even plastic decks.
Each skateboarding style requires a unique shape of deck. Some decks are totally flat; some are with a kicktail or are concave. There are also double-kicktail boards or those with a combination of a kicktail and concave. And then there are also downward concaved longboard decks.
Griptape is the top coating of a board to prevent feet from slipping. Many skates have a special adhesive tape pasted on the deck surface. They come in different colors and designs.
Some skateboards — particularly those we make — have an abrasive coating instead of griptape.
Trucks are needed to attach wheels to the board. They are also the main mechanism for making turns. A skateboard can behave absolutely differently depending on the truck’s design. Surfskates, for example, feature a front truck with a special arrangement that allows acceleration by body pumping and making tight turns.
To fix trucks to a board, bolts and nuts are used.
A riser pad is a liner between a deck and trucks that adds some distance between wheels and a deck. Say, if you use larger wheels, there’s a chance of the wheel biting while making turns, which can be dangerous: wheels may be locked, resulting in roadside wipeouts in the event of a tight turn. To prevent this from happening, riser pads are used.
Wheels consist of a hub and a soft — or not quite so soft — polyurethane tire casing. A hub is made of stiff plastic. A bearing is inserted into the hub. A wheel with a bearing enclosed is mounted onto a truck’s axle and is then tightened up with a nut.
Skateboard wheels have two main parameters:
Diameter: the larger wheels, the faster the board. As a result, a rider will sense less disfigurement of the road surface. The smaller diameter of the wheels is, the closer to the ground you are, and hence, the more balance and stability you’ll experience. The diameter of wheels is measured in millimeters.
Stiffness: measured in special units of a 100-point grading scale, Durometer A.
Soft wheels (73a-87a) are for those who love comfort. With soft wheels, a surface warp can hardly be sensed. This means it will be quite comfortable riding over some poor-quality asphalt road, for instance. Such wheels will be slower, though, than stiffer ones, like 88a-95a. For performing skateboard tricks — grinding or powersliding — stiff wheels (96a+) will be necessary.
A choice of wheels is often a matter of your skating style. For riding around the city with comfort, we recommend choosing large and soft wheels. If you want to kick street tricks, then you should go for small and stiff wheels. And for skating in a ramp where high speed is required, some intermediate version of wheels is advisable, slightly softer (to avoid slipping in transition radius) and slightly larger for additional moves.
A bearing is a mechanical arrangement inserted into a wheel that allows rotation without wearing out. There are two bearings on each wheel. Bearings are distinguished according to the ABEC rating. A higher rating value means higher quality/precision of bearing and entails longer and faster ride capabilities. This also means having to do more thorough maintenance, though. Normally, skateboards for performing tricks have ABEC-3 or ABEC-5 (a standard choice) bearings installed. They are quite durable, roll well, and are not as expensive as ABEC-7 or ABEC-9. So you won’t have to regret it too much if they suddenly break down due to some tough landings.
Alternatively, ABEC-7 and ABEC-9 bearings are installed into boards where high speed is high priority, like surfskates, cruisers, and longboards. These bearings are more expensive, but they also allow faster accelerating and maintaining speed longer.
Depending on the components you choose for your wheeled board, a skateboard of a particular type will come out. Beginner riders usually buy a fully complete skateboard that requires no additional assembling. As they get more experienced, skaters can assemble their own set using various components that best suit their skating style.
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