Skateboard Bushings Guide: Your Blueprint for A Superior Ride

Master skateboarding with the ultimate bushings guide. Turn better, ride smoother, and bolster your skate game today. Read on to learn more!

Do you need your board to respond like a pro tennis player at the Wimbledon final, or do you want it to be as solid as an old oak tree standing tall on a breezy day? The key element involved here is skateboard bushings. This post’ll dive deep into factors like the bushing types best suited for different skate styles, the hardness range, the sweet spot depending on your weight, and more. Not to forget the science behind bushings, the importance of quality, and the top recommendations for bushings, depending on your ride.

What is a skateboard bushing?

A skateboard bushing is a small, typically cylindrical piece of rubbery material that fits inside the skateboard’s trucks (the metal T-shaped pieces that hold the wheels). The bushings are crucial to how the skateboard turns and handles rider weight.

A snapshot of different skateboard bushing. Source: css youtube channel
A snapshot of different skateboard bushing. Source: css youtube channel

Bushings, identical to wheels, are crafted from polyurethane and are available in diverse shapes and hardness levels, contributing significantly to your skateboard’s feel and action. Steering comes easy when you lean, as the force applied compresses your bushings and the angle of the truck’s hangar shifts.

Each truck has two bushings: one above the hanger and one below. When a skater leans to the left or right, the bushings compress, allowing the trucks to turn the skateboard in that direction. The bushings’ shape, size, and durometer (hardness) can influence the skateboard’s responsiveness and turning radius.

High-quality bushings promise fast, fluid rebound, allowing maximum responsiveness. Skating with superior quality bushings is the difference likened to riding on a smooth road versus a gravel track; it’s that stark!

My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

Skateboard bushings guide: your blueprint for a superior ride | 61vn95mf7ql. Ac sl1184 | skateboard salad
My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

I had my board stolen a few years ago and was forced to quickly replace it with a complete. I got one with an Enjoi deck and loved it so much that I still buy the Whitey Panda deck each time I need a new deck. This complete with budget-friendly, beginner-friendly parts, but I still swear by it.

What types of bushings should you opt for?

The thrilling universe of skateboard bushings is vast, with each variant aligning to a different style. So, how do we decide where to take the plunge?

  • For the techy tricksters indulging in street skating, the cone/barrel-shaped or cone/cone-shaped bushings are a solid choice. They promise perfect pivots and sick spins.
  • For vert, park, and bowl skate enthusiasts, explore the realm of cone- and barrel-shaped bushings to shatter those trick records.
  • Softer bushings should be your go-to if you’re into longboards and love slicing the air like butter while carving.
  • For the racers conquering downhill rides at insane speeds, stiffer bushings provide the stability required, keeping those scary speed wobbles at bay.

Bushings operate in pairs. The top bushing steers your board, and the bottom one, tweaked with the nut’s tightness, can fine-tune the board’s responsiveness. This tiny component can truly transform your experience from night to day!

Which is better, hard vs. soft skateboard bushings?

In the battle of bushings—hard vs. soft—who comes out on top? Well, it really depends. Softer bushings make turning a breeze, but they can be somewhat sketchy regarding stability. Harder bushings, in contrast, snug up your trucks, enhancing stability but making turns slightly trickier. Remember to allow your new bushings some time to break in before passing the replacement judgment.

The type of bushings ideal for your ride hinges upon your skating style and body weight, making it crucial to shed light on these aspects when deciding on your skateboard bushings purchase.

A snapshot of an orange skateboard bushing on a truck. Source: tactics boardshop youtube channel
A snapshot of an orange skateboard bushing on a truck. Source: tactics boardshop youtube channel

Selecting bushings for regular skateboards

Skateboard bushings are pivotal in how a skateboard turns and feels underfoot. Choosing the right bushings can make a significant difference in your ride. Here’s a guide to help you understand and select the right skateboard bushings for your needs:

Skateboard bushings have various types

  • Barrel: These are cylindrical and offer more resistance, making them suitable for stability, especially at high speeds. Common for downhill and longboarding.
  • Cone: Tapered and less material than barrel bushings, which makes them more responsive and allows for easier turns. Great for cruising and carving.
  • Stepped Cone: Combines attributes of both barrel and cone, offering a balanced response and stability.
  • Eliminator: These have a larger and squared-off shape, restricting turn for maximum stability.

Durometer (Hardness)

Bushings are rated in “A” (like skateboard wheels), indicating their hardness.

  • Soft (78A-85A): Best for lighter riders or those wanting very responsive turns.
  • Medium (86A-92A): Suitable for average-weight riders or those wanting a balanced feel.
  • Hard (93A and up): Ideal for heavy riders or those desiring stability and less turn.

Picking the right bushings

  • Weight: Lighter riders might opt for softer bushings, while heavier riders might choose harder bushings. However, this isn’t a strict rule, as personal preference plays a role.
  • Riding Style:
    • Cruising/Carving: Softer to medium bushings.
    • Downhill: Harder bushings for stability.
    • Freestyle/Street: A mix, but generally medium hardness.
  • Board Type:
    • Longboards: Often have softer bushings for carving.
    • Shortboards: Might have medium to hard bushings for tricks and stability.

Adjusting with washers

Washers are the flat metal pieces that sit above and below your bushings. Changing the size and shape of your washers can impact how your bushings compress, altering your ride slightly.

Maintenance and replacement

Over time, bushings can wear out, crack, or lose their rebound. It’s essential to check them regularly and replace them when needed to maintain an optimal ride.

Extra tips

  • Experimentation is key: Bushings are inexpensive, so buy a few different sets for your preference.
  • Tightness of trucks: Adjusting the tightness of your trucks can also change your ride’s responsiveness, so play around with this in conjunction with bushing swaps.
  • Brands: Like all skate components, the brand can matter. Some popular and trusted bushing brands include Bones, Independent, Riptide, and Venom.

My opinion on skateboard bushings

I’m not a pro, and honestly, the world of skateboard bushings still baffles me at times. But, in my opinion, investing a bit in high-quality bushings significantly boosts your ride quality. It’s an overlooked aspect, but every micro-element matters if you’re stepping into the bigger league. And yes, boards are not just about designs and color palettes; it’s about the ride.

Once the groundwork is done and the board is set, shredding the streets or the park is all about your grit and passion. It’s not just a board; it’s an extension of your will that amplifies your spirit’s echo. So pick your components wisely, and may the winds guide your wheels!

Give my guide on choosing the right skateboard wheels a read if you want to delve deeper.

Diving deeper into skateboard components, it’s interesting to look at some bushings’ figures and how they correlate with skateboarding preferences.

Type of SkatingPreferred Bushings Hardness (Durometer)
Street Skating87A-92A
Heavyweight Skaters94A
Kids under 1285A-90A
Cruising/Carving (Longboards)Softer Bushings
Downhill (Longboards)Stiffer Bushings
Preferred bushing hardness varies with skateboarding styles and the skater’s weight.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Choosing the right skateboard bushings can spiral into a bouquet of questions, particularly when you’re a beginner. Here are some commonly asked queries and their responses to empower you with knowledge about skateboard bushings.

What is the role of the pivot cup in skateboard bushings?

The pivot cup plays a quintessential role in our ride as it works with the truck hangar, ensuring smooth turns and leanings. Here’s how it works: when you lean or turn, the hangar moves within the pivot cup, enabling the desired motion effortlessly. Its role, though not visible, has a prominent impact.

Thus, ensuring your pivot cup is in good condition is crucial. Explore our post on when to replace skateboard wheels for more about skateboard upkeep.

Are there different bushings for children and adults?

Yes, indeed! Bushings, like most skateboard parts, aren’t one-size-fits-all. Children, typically lighter than adults, require softer bushings. Something in the range of 85A to 90A should work for most kids under 12. If you’re on a quest to start your child’s skateboarding journey, check out our guide on how to teach your child to skateboard.

Does the bushings’ shape impact my ride?

The shape of skateboard bushings can massively influence your ride. For instance, cone-shaped bushings are more responsive to turns, making them a solid choice for street skating. On the other hand, barrel-shaped bushings offer more stability, preferred by skaters who enjoy vert, park, or bowl skating. Determining your preferred ride style will guide you in selecting the most suitable bushing shape.

What is a bushing rebound in skateboarding?

Bushing rebound refers to how quickly bushings return to their natural, uncompressed state after being compressed due to the force applied when leaning on the board to turn or carve. High-quality bushings offer quick rebound, ensuring better responsiveness while steering.

Remember that rebound performance diminishes over time, especially with low-quality bushings. Learn more about the technical aspects of skateboarding in our post on skateboard truck sizes.

Final thoughts

Riding the waves of the skateboarding world is thrilling, adventurous, and full of unique surprises. Every component of your skateboard, including the bushings, plays a significant role in the ride you experience. Making informed decisions about your bushings will impact your skateboarding game tremendously.

So, are you all set to explore the sights and sounds of your skateboard with the right bushings? Let me know in the comments section below – I read and reply to every comment. If this guide clarifies skateboard bushings, consider sharing it with a friend and check out my other blog posts on tips for buying a skateboard as an adult beginner and more. Thanks for reading and shredding on!

Key takeaways

Dominating the terrain on a skateboard involves making informed decisions about every component. This article covered a crucial aspect – skateboard bushings. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Skateboard bushings and the polyurethane rings shape your ride’s pivot and turn.
  • The choice of bushings for a rider depends on the type of ride, personal preference, and weight.
  • Softer bushings make turning easy at the cost of stability, while harder ones increase stability but restrict turning.
  • The quality of bushings impacts your ride. Opt for high-quality bushings for a better skating experience.

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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