Longboard Buying Guide: Bushings

In this guide, we will be assuming (1) that you are already familiar with basic longboard terminology and (2) that you have already chosen your trucks for your longboard skateboard. (3) Remember this guide is meant to be suggestive, since everyone's ideal setup may be slightly different due to weight, riding style, and a few other factors.

Fine-tuning your Longboard Trucks for the Best Ride

Bushings, pivot cups, and washers are some of the smallest items on your longboard, but they offer the greatest benefits in terms of comfort and control! When they’re customized to match your weight and riding style you are given a much better ride than with the stock components alone. Swapping out these main components will ultimately give you the proper amount of rebound and stiffness for optimal turning and stability.

Today most cruising, carving, freeride, and downhill longboards use Reverse Kingpin Trucks. However, Traditional Kingpin trucks (a.k.a. "regular skateboard trucks") are a great choice for street skating, park & pool skating, and even some cruising and mild freeride. That said, we’ve based the following guide on setting up your reverse kingpin trucks for some longboarding awesomeness.

Covered in this Guide
  1. 1 Bushing Shape - depends on your trucks and riding style.
  2. 2 Bushing Durometer - depends on your weight and riding style.
  3. 3 Washers - keep the bushings in place.
  4. 4 Pivot Cups - cushion the pivot point between your truck's hanger and baseplate.

How do I pick the correct bushings for my longboard?

Bushings are the colorful, rubber-like cylinders located in the center of your trucks. Typically bushings are made out of urethane and the vast majority of longboard skateboard setups use two bushings per truck (four bushings per longboard/skateboard).

The world of bushings can become very complicated considering the large number of factors and styles on the market, but don’t let that intimidate you! Just keep in mind the two main factors and you’ll be able to differentiate between the bushings you encounter: durometer (the hardness), and shape.

Other non-bushing factors to consider when selecting your bushings are: truck design, flex level of the deck, and rider weight. These factors (along with personal preference) all play a part in selecting the right bushings for your longboard skateboard setup, and it’s helpful to keep them in mind as you find the right bushings for your new (or old) setup!


1 Shape

Cones and barrels are the most frequently used terms to describe the shape of a bushing. "Standard" bushings are what we call a pair of bushings in which one is a barrel shape, and one is a cone shape. Stepped bushings are a hybrid between a barrel and a cone. Each shape/combo has its own unique performance characteristics. For example:

Cone Bushings

Cone bushings have a "conical" shape and are installed with the widest end of the bushing touching the hanger of the truck, and the smallest end facing away from the hanger (toward the ground or the baseplate). Cones are normally used for cruising and carving purposes because they have the least amount of mass, and the shape is less supportive around the center of the bushing, therefore providing less resistance when turning. This makes them great for lighter riders. Tall cones (0.750" in height) are less common but are also offered to fit specific trucks such as Ronin, Bennett, and a few others with larger clearances.

Barrel Bushings

Barrel bushings have a symmetrical "barrel" shape (same width at top and bottom) and are the most common choice for all styles of riding. This popularity is due to the barrel bushing’s greater mass and surface area which provides stability and an appropriate level of response at faster speeds. Tall barrels (0.750" in height) are less common but are also offered to fit specific trucks such as Ronin, Bennett, and a few others with larger clearances.

"Standard" Bushings

Standard bushings is the term we use to describe a set of bushings made up of one barrel and one cone bushing. This combination gives the board a smaller turning radius (thanks to the cone) while still maintaining a good level of stability at high speeds (thanks to the barrel). This "best of both worlds" combo is normally used for carving and mild-to-medium-speed freeriding.

Stepped Bushings

Stepped bushings are a less standardized shape in that each brand offers their own variation. Stepped bushings are frequently seen as a hybrid between a barrel and a cone, or as a hybrid between a barrel and a wider, flatter barrel thus creating a "stepped lip". Stepped bushings are typically larger in mass because they are intended to fill the bushing seat in your trucks. This aspect makes them feel somewhat restrictive when compared to a barrel or cone bushing, but this is contrasted by an increase in rebound. A few common examples of stepped bushings are the Venom Eliminator, Venom Freeride, Blood Orange Wedge, and the RipTide Chubby.

Bonus: Hourglass Bushings

Some manufacturers like to get creative with their bushing offerings but this can cause a bit of confusion or uncertainty when it comes to selecting the right bushings. Hourglass bushings have an "hourglass" shape which provides a less stable, yet more "leaning" ride style. If you’re a beginner, we ask that you tread lightly in the Hourglass category. If you’re not a beginner, try out the Hourglass shapes to spice up your bushing configurations! Tall Hourglass Bushings (0.750" in height) are less common but are also offered to fit specific trucks such as Ronin, Bennett, and a few others with larger clearances.

Examples:
Click on a product to see more details.
For more product examples:View our "hourglass bushings" category

Insert Bushings

Insert bushings (to put it simply) have washers integrated into the design of the bushing. This helps by relieving the need for washers in the bushing equation. These bushings are most commonly used in traditional kingpin trucks.


2 Durometer

Harder bushings provide more resistance (better for larger riders) and softer bushings provide less resistance (better for smaller riders). Getting the correct durometer (hardness) for your bushings is the most important part in getting your trucks to perform the way you want them to. (As a rule of thumb, if you’re able to select the correct durometer for your weight and intended discipline, you’re gonna be OK!)

The following section is filled with a bunch of numbers and relationships between rider weight and bushing hardness. The durometer rating is represented by a number (usually between 70-100) that represents the density (we’ll just think of it as "hardness") of a bushing. This number is followed by the letter “a” to indicate it’s on the "Shore A" hardness rating scale. A bushing rated at 78a is on the softer end of the scale than a bushing that is 100a. (The Shore A scale only goes up to 100, but for all intents and purposes in the world of skateboard bushings, this is just fine!)

Here’s our general durometer guide for selecting bushings for various disciplines. This will be a good start if you just need a quick reference! (If you’d like to get some more in-depth info, choose your desired discipline below and read on!)

For Cruising and Carving we suggest using a Standard Bushing combination (Barrel/Cone) like so:

Cruising / Carving
Weight Guide
Flexy
Medium
Stiff
50 - 100 lbs 65a 78a 81a
75 - 125 lbs 80a 83a 85a
100 - 145 lbs 85a 87a 88a
125 - 175 lbs 87a 89a 91a
145 - 195 lbs 88a 93a 94a
175 - 220+ lbs 91a 93a 97a+

For High Speed Carving and Medium Speed Freeriding we suggest using a Double Barrel Combination (Barrel/Barrel) like so:

Freeride
Weight Guide
Flexy
Medium
Stiff
50 - 100 lbs 68a 80a 81a
75 - 125 lbs 80a 83a 84a
100 - 145 lbs 83a 85a 87a
125 - 175 lbs 87a 89a 92a
145 - 195 lbs 89a 91a 93a
175 - 220+ lbs 91a 93a 97a+

For High Speed Downhill and Fast Freeride we suggest using Double Barrel combination (Barrel/Barrel) like so:

Downhill
Weight Guide
Flexy
Medium
Stiff
50 - 100 lbs 65a 78a 81a
75 - 125 lbs 80a 83a 85a
100 - 145 lbs 85a 87a 88a
125 - 175 lbs 88a 90a 93a
145 - 195 lbs 90a 93a 94a
175 - 220+ lbs 91a 93a 100a

This will get you started, but be prepared to play around with the setup until you find out what will work best for you. If you feel like you’d prefer a more restrictive setup, make your selection based off the values in the "Stiff" column. If you'd prefer a less-restrictive setup, go with the "Flexy" column! In the end it all comes down to preference, so what we suggest may not be your "ideal" setup. It just takes time and testing. Fortunately that last part is made up of what we all love to do anyway: ride our boards!


What type of riding will you be doing? (select one)

Cruising Freeride Downhill Park / Street