A definitive guide to picking your first longboard truck
September 22, 2018
One of my favorite things in longboarding is choosing between trucks and figuring out what works best for me. There are definitely a lot of options out there.
Initially, it is really easy to look at trucks and think they all work the same. It’s also really easy to look at all the technical terms and get overwhelmed by all the differences.
In this weeks article, I’ll briefly go over the important differences between each longboard truck and what they mean for you.
Alternatively, if you don’t care about trucks and just want something cheap to ride, I’ve also included some cheap decent longboard truck options for you.
Paris Trucks V2, 50° and 43°
This is the go-to truck if you want a lively, surfy and responsive ride.
It has a wide and open bushing seat which really allows you to put the bushing to work and compress it effectively. The truck also has rake which makes it turn a little initially, then turn a lot and then turn less towards the end of it’s lean. These are great if you don’t have good ankles. There are two options available, the 50degree truck which has the best turn and smallest turning radius. It also rides the tallest so it doesn’t need any risers when using big wheels. It is the best for cruising, carving, dancing and freeriding. Check their price on Amazon.com here.
The other option is the 43-degree trucks. These are more stable and are oriented for going faster. They lean more than they turn and have a stronger center due to the bushings used. They will be great for downhill skating and freeride but still be good enough for dancing, cruising and carving. You can check out their price on Amazon.
For a more in-depth review click here to read my opinion on the trucks.
These trucks are also really strong so will last you a long time and they come with a lifetime warranty so if you bend them or break them (naturally) Paris will replace them for free.
However, they can feel twitchy for some for downhill. A more stable option are the Caliber trucks, they have a restrictive bushing seat and no rake so they will have an easy to hand linear turn and stable feel.
Freeriding on Paris 43* Trucks
Caliber Trucks V2, 50° and 44°
These trucks are well known for how stable and how beautifully they lean in turns and into slides. They have no rake which means they will have a linear and smooth turn, they only turn as much as you lean. They have a restrictive bushing seat, which really locks into the bushings, making the trucks more stable. However, the no rake and restrictive bushing seat combo make these trucks feel dead for some (I’ve found running them with softer bushings makes them turn well and feel stable).
Same with the Paris, there are two options available. The 50-degree trucks which are good for cruising, carving, dancing and even light freeride. They have the best turning radius but still feel stable. I recommend them highly for cruising. You can check these out on Amazon.com. These might be the best longboard trucks for beginners.
On the other hand, the 44 degree trucks are really great for downhill and freeride. They are often highly recommended to beginners because of their stability. At 44 degrees they will have a decent turn to lean ratio. I personally skate them for downhill and I’m satisfied for now. If you wanna do downhill, check the prices of these out on Amazon.com.
Like the Paris, these also have a lifetime warranty (but it isn’t advertised, shhhh) if they bend or break due to a manufacture default (and they will bend if you’re a heavier rider). As I mentioned, they’ll feel dead for some, if so, check out trucks with rake like the Bear 845 or Paris 43 degrees trucks.
Bear Grizzly 845s and 852s
Coming all the way from Canada. Bear trucks is a daughter company of Landyachtz longboards, and just like Landyachtz, they make a lot of quality equipment. These have a restrictive but slightly open bushing seat and rake – a balance between the Paris and Caliber trucks if you will.
These will have a lot of stability because of the bushing seat, but will also turn well cause of the rake. Though some people don’t like them cause of the restrictive bushing seat. Paris trucks are a good open bushing seat and rake truck option if you need a livelier feel.
Bear also shaved off materials in spots and thusly reduced the weight of the truck. Making it slightly lighter and better for popping ollies and doing tricks.
They come in different colors and have some creative options. There is a galaxy colorway available and looks amazing. There is also an incandescent option available.These options allow you to further customize your deck and even match colors, check the 52* out on Amazon.com to see the full-color range. Personally, I only care about the quality of gear I ride but having a sick colorway never hurt anybody.
The 52-degree will turn more and the 45-degree will lean more and turn less. At an angle like 52-degrees, the trucks will turn sooo much. Some people like this others won’t, but I highly recommend it for cruising, carving, and dancing. Alternatively, this also means the 45-degree ones will turn a lot too. They are a safe option if you want a stable, turny truck. I would also recommend them for cruising, carving etc., and also downhill and freeride. Click here to check them out on Amazon.com.
These are the OG reverse kingpin (RKP) trucks. The first ever made. All the above trucks and all other RKPs simply copy their design (and some make small changes to it, like pivot, bushing seat etc.). They can do this thanks to Randal not being stingy and not putting a patent on their design (as a result a lot of trucks are interchangable).
Having been around longer than all the others, you know they got some quality shit going on. They have gone through 3 versions of RKP trucks so far but I’ll focus on the RII for their affordability (the RIII are also available and they are amazing, but cost more. Click here to check their price out on Amazon.com).
Available in 50-degrees and 42-degrees. These trucks have rake and a slightly open, but kinda restrictive bushing seat. They aren’t too dissimilar from the Paris in how they feel and how they act (they don’t look as good imo though).
Not too much has changed since the first iteration of these trucks. Yet people keep buying and riding them and giving them great reviews. I know quality when I see it and this is a great truck.
For downhill, freeride and even cruising, the 42-degree Randals are a good option. For everything that needs you to be turny and quick, the 50-degree work great.
Check out their price on Amazon.com. Available are many options, but beginners should go for the 180mm wide ones. 150mm and below are for narrower boards around 9inches in width and are designed for cruising. Advanced riders can use them for downhill too though.
Your cheap but decent option – SCSK8 Longboard Truck Review
I only recommend this option if you are truly broke. The other options only cost more, but the quality will give you a much better riding experience (they’ll last longer too). Recommend saving up for them.
The SCSK8 trucks are basically the same as the Randal RIs but they use cheap materials (I believe steel?) and poor manufacturing processes. This is reflected in the price.
The cheap materials will mean these trucks will bend after some time of riding and they won’t have as great turning or as much stability as the other higher quality trucks.
However, beginners may not notice. SCSK8 as a brand is only interested in selling trucks to beginners. and will have not improved on the certain parts of the truck (as the other brands above have) in order to make the best truck possible.
For those on a tight budget, you can get the option with the complete undercarriage (check them out on Amazon here). Helps you save quite a bit of money, or the just the trucks alone if you have everything else.
If you’re buying these as your first truck and first beginner board, I kinda recommend them. But the trucks after this one should be higher quality. You’d have build up skills and you’d be able to appreciate the quality. That being said, I do not recommend these for downhill or going fast on your skateboard. Take a look at these trucks on Amazon.com.
If I’m truthful, any cheap longboard truck will probably be the same. Most of these trucks come from the same factory in China and they all rip off the Randal R1 design.
Some might have different hangers and baseplates but at the heart (the bushing seat and pivot cup), they are all the same … Randal rip offs. #SecretTips
Types of trucks you can get?
In general, there are two types of trucks available. Reverse kingpin trucks (RKP) and traditional kingpin trucks (TKP). RKPs are what you see on longboards, The are more stable to ride and have smoother turning. TKP’s are what you see on skateboards. They turn progressively and have a thick hanger which is great to do tricks and grind on.
Beyond that, we have the type of manufacturing process that the trucks are made from. This makes a difference as it dictates how strong and sturdy a truck will be:
- Cast trucks – This is a process where molten steel or aluminum is poured into a truck mold. It is the cheapest method of manufacture. All the trucks above are made from a cast process.
They sometimes can have slop or parts that aren’t extremely accurate. This shouldn’t worry you if you wanna cruise, but for downhill riders going fast, this could be an issue. (Calibers have the least slop out of all cast trucks).
- Forged trucks – Forged trucks are made when they get a red-hot block of metal and beat the sh*t out of it into a trucks shape. These trucks are the strongest available. Truck companies go further to machine the important parts so they are accurate.
They are relatively affordable, cost half of what precision trucks cost and are double the price of cast trucks. These will literally last you forever though.
- Precision trucks – These are made when a solid block of Aluminium is cut by a CNC machine into a trucks shape. They can get the accuracy down to a millimeter.
However, they are the most expensive and not even as strong as forged trucks.
Beginners should steer away from forged and precision trucks for now.
The most important thing for buying trucks?
To simply put it, experience is the most important thing you can have as you buy trucks. You can read all the guide in the world and watch all the videos, but nothing other than riding the trucks will tell you if you like them or not. Sometimes you’ll just have to bite the bullet and spend that money.
I can tell you it’s all worth it. Money comes and goes, but because of that experience as a result of trying the right (or wrong) truck, I know what I like and can trust going 50mph on.
Check out the accompanying video for this article below. I expand more on baseplate angles and hangers widths.
What do I ride?
I’m an advanced rider so I have a bit of a Frankenstein setup. For downhill, I have a 44* Caliber 158mm truck up front and a 35* Randal baseplate + Caliber 158mm hanger combo in the back.
Why can I pair a Caliber truck with a Randal baseplate you ask? They have the same geometry and similar pivots so they are interchangeable. You could also do this with some other trucks too.
I also ride Abec 11 HD Big Zigs, Seismic Lokton griptape, venom bushings and a Jet longboards Tomahawk deck. Great setup for going fast, gripping and remaining in total control.
Love skating on it as well as tweaking it to feel differently.
For freeriding, I used to have 44* Caliber trucks but I wanted to try the 43* Paris trucks.
So running that on a Sp8boards Bullet with Cult Cerebrum wheels.
It’s really fun to ride, the rake makes the trucks a little more lively so it’s perfect for freeriding and doing big slides.
For cruising, I got the 150mm Paris 50*. They are really turny and fun to ride. Wouldn’t go very fast on them cause they are twichy and unstable ish.
Which trucks will make the best gift?
Definitely the Paris or Caliber trucks. If it’s just for cruising, the 50* options are fine, but if the trucks will be for someone skating downhills, the 43degree or 44degree options will be good too. They are both high-quality trucks and are built to be fun to ride.
Monster truck madness, which truck will you pick?
Definitely a lot of options out there for beginners. My advice though, keep it simple and buy any of the trucks mentioned above. They will all perform great and you can’t go wrong with either of them. Once you know whether you like the truck or not is when you can really know which truck to buy. If you’re still hesitant, pull the trigger on the Paris V2, I can tell you that you’ll love them.
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