What’s a Bushing? Nailing Your Skateboard Setup for the Perfect Ride

Get the lowdown on what's a bushing, learn how selecting the right ones can elevate your skateboard ride, and more. Skateboarding decoded, simplified.

From customizing your ride to nailing crazy tricks, bushings are the secret MVP, making it all happen. Are you slammed too hard against the pavement one too many times? Are you just learning to sail around your local park or shredding the gnar on a gnarly half-pipe? Whatever the case, get ready to ramp up your skateboarding knowledge because we’re diving deep into the world of skateboarding bushings!

What’s a bushing? A bushing is a little rubbery ring that fits around the kingpin on your skateboard trucks, helping your board pivot and turn smoothly. Each truck should have two bushings made of polyurethane, making four in total.

Why do skateboards need bushings?

Bushings are the critical components that allow for that sweet, precise control when maneuvering your skateboard. They assist your trucks—the metal T-shaped pieces mounted on the underside of your skateboard—in pivoting seamlessly. Their subtle flexibility allows for a much smoother, more responsive ride when turning, leaning into tricks, or simply cruising.

Image of two skateboards with some graphic designs.
Image of two skateboards with some graphic designs.

There are two bushings on each truck of your skateboard. The top bushing, perched above the hanger (the largest part of the truck), is the secret sauce to those slick, precise turns you’ve been mastering lately. The bottom bushing, nestled comfortably between the hanger and the baseplate, can be tweaked—tightened or loosened—to alter the responsiveness of your trucks.

Bushings come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here’s a list to break it down:

  • Cone bushings (Tapered): Often referred to as the top dogs, cone bushings provide high steerability. This ensures the skateboarder remains nimble and agile during their rides.
  • Barrel bushings (Straight): The beastly counterparts to cone bushings, barrel bushings are all about stability. They keep your trucks firmly grounded, almost like they hold a personal grudge against the asphalt.
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My favorite complete skateboard (at the moment):

Enjoi Whitey Panda Complete Skateboard

What's a bushing? Nailing your skateboard setup for the perfect 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.

How do bushings affect skateboarding performance?

It’s all in the feel—harder bushings make for a more resistant ride, keeping things stable as you sail the streets. A stiffer board is a solid choice for all you tricksters pulling off killer ollies. Looser, softer bushings, on the other hand, make for easy movement—a safe bet if you’re cruising or carving the streets.

For skateboarders who prefer a softer and more ‘surfy’ feel to their rides, they can opt for a double cone combination, which includes two conical bushings. Remember, never underestimate the power of a little fine-tuning. It’s wild how tweaking your bushings can offer a custom ride as dialed in as your skills.

When should I replace my skateboard bushings?

Just like your worn-out skateboarding sneakers, bushings aren’t eternal, dude. If your board feels a tad wacky or your trucks are less responsive, it could be a sign that your bushings are screaming out for a replacement. Read the signs; they matter as much as knowing when your skateboard wheels need replacing.

“Bushings, like the best of us skateboarders, come in all shapes and sizes. They’re the secret sauce to those slick, precise turns you’ve been mastering.”

As a novice skateboarder, I truly believe that understanding and choosing the right bushings is an often overlooked and underappreciated aspect of skateboarding. While they may seem insignificant, they can dramatically improve the responsiveness and feel of your skateboard, making all those grinds and kickflips feel hella smooth.

Image of a male skateboarder skating in a skate park.
Image of a male skateboarder skating in a skate park.

Dos and don’ts of choosing skateboard bushings

Here’s a data table outlining the dos and don’ts of choosing skateboard bushings:

Do’sDon’ts
Understand your weight and riding style.You may need harder or softer bushings depending on your weight and style depending on your weight and style.
Check compatibility.Neglect to replace both bushings: If one is worn out, likely the other one is, too. Replacing only one can lead to uneven performance.
Different bushing shapes (conical, barrel, stepped, etc.) offer varied turn responses and stability. Choose the one best suited for your needs.Don’t avoid reading reviews. User experiences can provide valuable insights.
Opt for high-quality urethane. Quality material ensures durability and consistent performance.Don’t neglect to replace both bushings. If one is worn out, likely the other one is too. Replacing only one can lead to uneven performance.
Depending on your weight and style, you may need harder or softer bushings depending on your weight and style depending on your weight and style.Don’t skip regular checks. Over time, bushings wear out. Don’t forget to check and replace them as necessary.
Ensure proper installation. Align bushings correctly and ensure they’re not pinched or misaligned when tightening the kingpin.Don’t assume one size fits all. Bushings come in various durometers and shapes. I don’t think every bush will provide the same experience.

The world of skateboarding offers more than just dizzying spins and heart-stopping jumps. It provides a treasure trove of knowledge about the mechanics that make the sport possible. One such gem is the data surrounding skateboard bushings and their role in a skateboarding setup:

Bushing ShapeRide Feel
Cone bushingsMore steerability and agility
Barrel bushingsMore stability, keeps trucks grounded
Double cone combinationMore stability keeps trucks grounded
The impact of bushing shapes on your ride

Advantages and disadvantages of customizing skateboard bushings

Customizing skateboard bushings can seem pretty insane, like trying to taste the difference between two drops of ocean water. But believe me, it’s a journey worth embarking on.

Advantages

  • Enhanced control: Customizing your bushings based on weight and skate style increases control and precision while skating.
  • Custom ride feel: Different bushing shapes offer a variety of ride feel, from agile to steady.
  • Improved performance: The right bushings can make tricks easier and your ride smoother.

Disadvantages

  • Time-consuming: Testing different bushings to find the perfect fit takes time and patience.
  • Potential for over-tightening: Skateboarders, especially beginners, may mistakenly overtighten bushings, which could lead to cracked or damaged bushings.
  • Added expense: While not overly expensive, regularly switching out bushings can add to the cost of maintaining a skateboard.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You’ve leveled up in the bushing knowledge department. But I hear you; it’s been a wild ride, and some lingering questions remain. No sweat, here’s a rapid-fire round covering more in-depth queries about those dope little wonders known as skateboard bushings—let’s roll!

How often should I replace my skateboard bushings?

Bushings, like those killer skate kicks, don’t last forever. Your sweet little bushings might show wear and tear depending on how hard or often you ride. Lucky for you, they’re pretty cheap and easy to replace. So if your board starts feeling a little off—wobbly even—don’t hesitate to check those bad boys and ensure all is well in bushing land.

What material are skateboard bushings typically made of?

Skateboard bushings are typically made from polyurethane, a heavy-duty plastic that packs a punch in terms of durability and flexibility. This wonder material allows your board to turn and pivot smoothly, ensuring you sail like a pro, whether ditching sidewalk cracks or launching off a gnarly ramp.

Can I mix and match different bushings on the same skateboard?

Yes, you can mix and match different bushings on the same skateboard. Experiment with different shapes or hardness levels to find your perfect ride feel. For example, a cone bushing at the top and a barrel at the bottom is a common combo. Dive into the world of bushings to find your most epic setup for your shredding shenanigans!

What’s the difference between the top and bottom bushings?

Glad you asked! The top or roadside bushing is usually conical and ensures smooth and graceful turns as it’s closer to the skateboard’s road-facing side. The bottom bushing, or the board-side one, typically resembles a barrel and keeps your trucks grounded, making them less likely to wobble around. Note that these roles can vary depending on the specific setup of your ride.

Final thoughts

Understanding skateboard bushings isn’t about transforming into a skateboarding geek but enhancing your ride experience. It’s about knowing how to crank up your skateboard’s performance dial and your enjoyment factor. From choosing the right hardness based on weight to experimenting with different bushing shapes, each choice forms a piece of the puzzle that equals your epic ride experience!

And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment! If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tricks on skating like a pro. Thanks for reading, and, as always, keep ripping it up!

Key takeaways

In this wild loop-de-loop ride through the world of skateboard bushings, we’ve covered some valuable ground. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Skateboard bushings are integral for control and precision in your ride.
  • Deciding between harder or softer bushings depends largely on your weight and skateboarding style.
  • The shape of your bushings—taped or straight—greatly affects how your ride feels.
  • Knowing when to replace your bushings is as important as choosing the right ones.
  • Experimentation is key in the world of bushings to discover your personalized skateboarding feel.

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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