A common question I see on various forums, and talking to new boarders, is “how tight should I run my trucks?“, which is really how tight should the kingpin nut be in compressing the bushings and holding the hanger in place.
The thing to understand is that the bushings on a conventional truck have to do a very complex job of reacting to multi-dimensional forces and keeping you out of hospital. Importantly, there is an optimum for the nut tightness and bushing compression. Too slack and the hanger will move unpredictably and reduce control, especially with speed wobbles; however, too tight and the bushing will deform and not work properly with poor progression, even damage. Meaning there is an optimum for tightness and over tightening does not help, it can actually make things more dangerous. Better stability and control does not come from overtightening tightening the kingpin nut, it comes from using a different bushing shape and durometer. Similarly, if a board won’t turn well, requiring too much brute force, loosening the nut more also does not work; use a different shape or software durometer.
Below is an excellent video from New Zealand skater Crunchie, which shows how to tighten on the bushings.
With rain outside (yet again), I changed the bushings on the Boosted Dual. The stock bushings are apparently 86a durometer, which in theory are too soft for me at 85kg (187lb). I say “in theory” because they don’t feel like 86a, they feel much firmer; however, they are easy to change, so why not. I had some spare Paris made barrels, so put in 93a boardside and 90a roadside. I may step up to 94a+93a, but will try the 93a+90a combination first.
UPDATE: After trying it (I am 85kg), I moved up to the 94a+93a combination and have settled on that.
I used Paris bushings for now (the 94a’s I have are DohDoh), as they are what I had spare, but any good make would work. I see a lot of e-boarders using Orantang Nipples, but there is no reason any good make will not work: Venom, Riptide, Mindless, Bones etc.
I like to run the e-boards like conventional downhill boards, based on the premise that both need to be stable at speed: two barrels and firm, rather than my usual barrel+cone cruising set-up on the conventional push boards. In simple terms, barrels have more surface area over cones and will hold their shape more.
With e-boards and their high-speeds, my preference would be to not run bushings at all and use spring trucks, like the Trampas or Seismic G5s. A polyurethane bushing has a complex job to do, given all the multi-dimensional forces it has to react against. Their dominance of the truck world comes from skateboarding, where they are cheap and make truck manufacturing easy; but skateboarding is not e-boarding, especially at speed. For now, however, I will live with the Boosted and Yuneec running conventional longboard trucks, but if there is ever an upgrade option, or I replace one of the boards with a Nottingham made Trampa or some exotic derivative, I will do it and go for springs.
Finally, I see a lot of people jumping into e-boarding having not ridden push boards before, not a problem if people take it easy to learn e-boarding and build up the speed carefully. One thing, however, that does become apparent, with those who have not push boarded before, is that lack of awareness of how important bushings are and the need to use ones with a durometer that matches the rider and type of riding. Given how inexpensive and simple they are to change, there is a need to get greater awareness in the community and new riders using what is right for them; especially, given the job of a bushing is to keep you out of a hospital and enjoying the ride.
The Paris trucks for the Kaliber deck came with Paris’s own black 90a bushings which, for my 85kg (187lb) weight, is too soft for my liking with the board tipping too easily and feeling overall less stable.
My understanding is that Paris use the following bushings on their trucks:
Blue – 81a
Orange – 85a
Black – 90a (which mine came with)
Red – 93a
I am not sure for certain, but it seems to be a bit of lottery what bushing you get with Paris trucks – my last set came with the red 93a and this set, an identical specification 50° V2, with the softer black 90a.
With a view to trying out some new bushings, I put in 94a Mindless JuJu Race barrel+cones bushings (wanted to try a new make), which firmed up the board significantly – a night and day difference from the default softer Paris ones; although it does not feel as perfect (which could be down to the deck as well) as my Hackbrett-Paris set up with white Venom94a SHR barrels combined with Red 91a SHR cones.
Try some out…
If you are unhappy with your board or never tried different bushings, I highly recommend having some fun trying ones with different durometer ratings and see how your board responds.
Buying replacement bushings also highlighted how much some people charge for them online. I initially looked on Ebay, and Amazon, and some sellers were selling the same ones, you can get from skate shops, for more than x5 the cost. The biggest rip-off was £13, and £2.95 postage, for just a cylinder and cone; which I can buy at my local skate shop for £4. Beware folks, there are unscrupulous people out there ready to rip off the unsuspecting.