How to Pick Skateboard Parts: Your Ultimate 10-Step Guide

Master the art of picking skateboard parts with this easy 10-step guide. From decks to bearings, get your ride rolling right!

Are you feeling a little lost on how to pick skateboard parts? I’ve got your back! I can almost imagine the look on your face as you stroll through the alleys of a skate shop, surrounded by decks, trucks, wheels, and whatnot. The ordeal of smoothly tying them can sometimes seem harder than sticking that New York flip. Been there, done that!

In this guide, you’ll find a step-by-step process, simplified for beginners, on how to choose killer skateboard parts that vibe with each other. Picking the right parts takes more than just an eye for graphics—it requires a balance between the deck, trucks, and wheels that forms a harmony as unique as the Premium Pop that a Fish Brain grind has!

What is a skateboard?

A skateboard is a flat board with wheels at its base, used for riding and performing tricks. It provides both a means of transportation and a form of recreation, and it has become an integral part of street culture in many parts of the world. The basic skateboard design consists of a deck (the main board), trucks (which attach the wheels to the deck), and the wheels.

Snapshot of a skateboard truck wheels deck and griptape. Source: skate warehouse youtube channel
Snapshot of a skateboard truck wheels deck and griptape. Source: skate warehouse youtube channel

Skateboarding has grown from a street activity to an organized sport, with various competitions held worldwide. It has even become a part of the Olympics. Beyond the sport itself, skateboarding has influenced fashion, film, music, and more. It’s not just a hobby for many; it’s a way of life.

My favorite deck (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Skateboard Deck

How to pick skateboard parts: your ultimate 10-step guide | 51zg0zexcwl. Ac sl1500 | skateboard salad
My favorite deck (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Skateboard Deck

I have always loved Enjoi’s simple designs and iconic panda. These decks are rare nowadays, so you will turn some heads. It pops great and lasts lots of grueling hours at the skatepark. Maybe it’s the simplistic design, but this is by far my favorite deck.

Why is it important to buy the right parts for your skateboard?

Choosing the right parts for your skateboard is crucial for several reasons, encompassing safety, performance, and the overall skateboarding experience. Mismatched parts can lead to equipment failure. For example, wheels that are too large for a board without proper risers can cause “wheel bite” (where the wheel rubs against the board), leading to sudden stops and potential falls.

Quality parts designed for specific skateboarding styles can handle the stress and impact better than generic or ill-suited components, reducing the risk of unexpected breakage during a ride. The right trucks, for instance, can drastically influence how well you can steer and turn your board.

The hardness (durometer) of your wheels affects ride smoothness. Hard wheels are fast on smooth surfaces but can be rough on uneven terrain. In contrast, softer wheels provide a smoother ride on rough surfaces but might be slower. A suitable grip tape offers the necessary traction, impacting how well you can control the board, especially during tricks.

How do you pick the right skateboard parts?

Choosing the ideal parts for your skateboard isn’t a rollout in the skatepark. It’s truly about synchronizing the basic components—deck, trucks, wheels, and bearings—to create a match as perfect as Tony Hawk and his 900. Ready to kickflip into it? Let’s shred this list!

1. Skateboard deck

The deck is the lifeline of your skateboard, the very platform on which you’ll stand and perform your tricks. Nailing this decision is pretty much like nailing an ollie—crucial but not too complex. Aim for a deck width anywhere between 8.0″ and 8.5″. Trust me on this: it’s a feasible width that fits both petite and larger foot sizes and balances maneuverability and stability.

Wider decks offer increased stability and are perfect for vert, parks, and bowls. Narrower decks, on the other hand, deliver enhanced flip control, making them ideal for street skating. You’re looking at a preference that you’ll understand better as you progress, so don’t sweat it too much initially.

2. Skateboard trucks

Next up, we have to hook up your deck with some killer trucks. Like legendary skater Jamie Thomas once said, ‘Skateboarding is the key to eternal youth, and the key to eternal skateboarding definitely lies in matching your trucks to your deck’s width! Trucks provide the essential link between your deck and your wheels, controlling your turns and impacting your overall ride.

When you’re starting, there’s no need to chase after gimmicky hollows and titaniums. Simple, well-matched trucks are your solid choice. The axle width of your trucks should align perfectly with your deck’s width—for instance, an 8.25″ deck should be paired with trucks with an axle length of about 8.25″. Ensuring this assures a balanced, fun, and safe ride!

3. Skateboard wheels

Colors ain’t just for show here—skateboard wheels are distinguished not only by their diameters but also by hardness (durometer). Street skating demands smaller wheels, about 50mm to 53mm, and hardness between 96A and 99A. Skating parks and verts, however, will need slightly bigger wheels, about 54mm to 56mm, and a wider hardness range from 96A to 101A/84D.

The right wheels can feel similar to nailing the intricacies of a 360-degree flip—wonderful and exhilarating. Smaller wheels provide quicker acceleration and offer more control, making them perfect for technical tricks, while larger wheels skate faster and glide smoothly over rough surfaces, something you’ll appreciate when cruising or hitting skateparks.

4. Skateboard bearings

Bearings are like the secret sauce in a Vert Burger—often overlooked but critical to the overall ride. Bearings dictate the spin of your wheels, which affects your speed and smoothness of the ride. One brand that always tops the recommendation charts is Bones.

Bearings come with ABEC ratings that indicate their precision levels; however, don’t get too hung up on this—good-quality bearings from trusted skate brands will generally ensure a smooth ride, irrespective of their ABEC rating. Think of skateboard bearings as the final piece in a perfectly coordinated skate ensemble; they might not be visible, but their impact is pretty much paramount.

6. Grip tape

On to accessorizing our rig. A decent grip tape is like a fresh spray of grip for your shoes; it’s what keeps you glued to your deck when you’re doing flips, turns, and ollies. Remember, the relationship between skater and skateboard should be like Harry Potter and his wand—unbreakable.

Don’t overlook the quality and installation of your grip tape. Ensure that it’s smoothed out evenly on your deck without any bubbles or crevices. After all, it’s the foundation under your feet that gives you the confidence to try those insane tricks!

7. Wheel spacers

This one’s for you, stability seekers! Wheel spacers are little metallic tubes that you install between your bearings. Not exactly as flashy as pulling off a Heelflip, but wheel spacers provide you with stability that’s pretty much invaluable during your ride.

They help distribute weight evenly across the axle, reducing pressure on your bearings and optimizing wheel alignment. Simply put, with these fellas, your wheels will give you a smoother roll and potentially a longer-lasting set of bearings.

8. Riser pads

Are wheel bites biting into your smooth skating experience? We need to chat about riser pads. Installed between your trucks and deck, these little geniuses increase the distance between your wheels and deck, reducing the incidence of those pesky wheel bites.

Remember, riser pads aren’t necessary for everyone. If you’re rocking wheels below 55mm, you might not need them. But if you’re riding larger wheels or you like your trucks loose, they might be just the addition you need.

Snapshot of different skateboard bushings. Source: tactic boardshop channel
A snapshot of different skateboard bushings. Source: tactic boardshop channel

Dos and don’ts of picking skateboard parts

Selecting the right parts for your skateboarding setup needn’t be as hard as a variable kickflip. Here’s a handy table of dos and don’ts to keep in mind!

Match your trucks to the width of your deckDon’t overlook wheel size and hardness when picking wheels
Invest in good-quality bearingsDon’t skimp on the grip tape
Consider wheel spacers and riser pads, if applicableDon’t compromise on skate shoes
Get a decent Skateboard toolDon’t forget to try different setups to see what you like
Remember, these are guidelines, not immutable laws. Individual preferences can and do vary!

Additional skateboard part selection tips

Here are some additional tips for making your skateboard part selection process smoother than a killer grind:

  • Don’t just focus on the look. Functionality should always be your priority.
  • Read reviews and ask for recommendations from more experienced skaters or skate shop staff.
  • Keep your own body type and skate style in mind when picking parts.
  • Experiment! Sometimes discovering your ideal setup is a result of trial and error.

My personal journey: The art of skateboard assembly

Now let’s chuck out the manual and delve a bit into my personal journey into the art of skateboard assembly. It’s not a big secret that I started off clueless, just like you. Deck sizes, truck brands, wheel dimensions—it was like walking into a skater’s SAT!

However, I realized that it’s all just about the right mix. You’ve got to find that flavor that gets you stoked, much like Ryan Sheckler when he lands that backside flip. After all, it’s not just about comfort but also making a setup that is quintessentially ‘you’.

“Finding my ride was definitely part of discovering my skating style. Fair warning, though: once you’ve nailed this process, you’ll be attached to your board.”

Finding my ride was definitely part of discovering my skating style. Fair warning, though: once you’ve nailed this process, you’ll be attached to your board. It’ll practically call out your name every time you see a flip-able object or a grind-able rail.

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Curiosity often leads to a tight half-cab heel flip! So, let’s answer some common questions about picking skateboard parts that haven’t been covered yet. These are some of the queries that often pop up in the skateboarding community.

How often should I replace my skateboard parts?

The frequency of replacement depends entirely on how often and aggressively you skate. On average, decks may last around 5–6 months for frequent skaters, while trucks can last a couple of years. Always visually inspect your board for any wear and tear before you ride. Check out my Guide on Skateboard Maintenance for more details on this.

Is it cheaper to build your own skateboard?

Building your own skateboard can sometimes be pricier than buying a pre-built one. But the ability to customize each part to your preference and ensure quality on every component often outweighs the extra cost.

Can adults skateboard on youth skateboards?

Adults can technically skateboard on youth skateboards, but it’s not recommended due to the size and weight differences. For a more suitable option, check out my post on Choosing a Children’s Skateboard.

Final thoughts

Picking skateboard parts might seem like an uphill ride at first—different brands, sizes, and materials—but it’s enough to make a beginner’s head spin more than a 720 Gazelle Flip! However, with this detailed guide and a dash of practice on your part, you’ll be just as savvy as any skateboard shop guru. How about you? Have you started thinking about your perfect skateboard setup? Let me know in the comments section below—I read and reply to every comment. If you found this guide helpful, share it with a friend and dive deeper into the world of skateboarding on my blog.

Key takeaways

We sure rolled down a lot of skateboarding information today! Here’s a quick review of what the article covered:

  • Skateboards are unique to every skater, and it’s crucial to choose parts that complement each other.
  • Skateboard decks should ideally be between 8.0 and 8.5 inches wide.
  • Trucks need to match the width of your deck.
  • Wheel size and hardness change with street and park skating.
  • Investing in quality bearings is worth it, regardless of ABEC ratings.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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