Skateboard Bushings Guide For Buyers

What are bushings? They are those rubber rings made of polyurethane, attached to a truck’s kingpin; they help navigate your board. These bushings come in pair and are usually adjustable for user convenience, but before picking your skateboard bushings, you must consider your weight, style, and most especially, your board type.

Most times your selection range narrows down to the style you perform, for instance;

  • For longboards, softer bushings are best for carving.
  • Racers and downhill skateboarders should get stiff bushings for stability
  • For technical tricks and street skating (daredevils), a cone/barrel shape bushing is preferred.

Keep in mind that bushings also come in different shapes, sizes and quality. And as this buying guide will show you, buying low-quality bushing for your skateboard will not enhance your riding experience but make it less responsive. It is also worth noting that the rebound effect decreases over time, which is also a good reason to get a high-quality bushing at the initial stage.

What Kind Of Skateboard Bushings Are Best For You?

Not all bushings can be applied to any skateboard, even interchanging your bushings is a tricky idea. Regular skateboard users can use bushings with 87A or 92A hardness, but longboarders might have little difficulties picking out the right bushings.

Bushings can be soft or hard. The former makes it easier to turn, but with the disadvantage of less stability and the latter, stability is guaranteed, but making turns and pivot will be trouble, and even with adjustment, both still retain their perks.

Top Bushing

Let’s talk about how bushings work

Bushings come in different thickness/hardness and shapes; they play a significant role in the navigation, i.e., steering, although the pivot cup also helps in turning your skateboard. The right bushings can contribute to a successful skateboard performance.

Bushings usually have a board side located atop, and a roadside at the bottom, which is were most of your weight is resting. The roadside portion accommodates most of the forces when that comes from your steering and compressing the bushing itself. While the board side receives less impact – it supports the bottom bushing while holding your truck together. And if the bottom bushing (roadside) is maxed compressed, the board side (top bushing) assumes duty.

Regular skateboard bushings: coming in different shapes and styles, the durometer varies upon skateboard type and your preference. Bushings come in three shapes: barrel, conical, and eliminator, but with improvement in modernisation, more bushing shapes have been invented, which brought an end to the relentless experimenting of bushings by skateboarders.Regular skateboard bushings

Now, where barrel-shape offers less turning and more stability, cone-shape offers better turning and less stability, so often you’ll see technical skateboarders who prefer to combine these two bushings. The most important thing to be aware of is that the durometer (hardness) depends on the tightness of your trucks and weight. Also, street skateboarders can use the barrel/cone-shaped bushing, but the recommended bushings used by skateboarders are the Bones bushing.

Although all skateboard trucks bushings are mass-manufactured as stock, this still has its shortcomings as not everyone weighs the same, and some skateboarders may want to personalise their tightness. And as stated earlier, hardness can be in the range of 87A, 90A, and 92A, but keep in mind that unless there is a break or tear in your bushing, you don’t need to replace them.

Longboard bushings: These bushings are based on your weight and style. Skateboarders that love carving might want to get soft and responsive bushings, though for downhill skating, a stiffer and less responsive bushing is needed for balance. There are numerous varieties of longboard bushings to pick from. You should know that washers have a great impact too in carving, stability, and responsiveness.

Bushings for better carving and cruising: If you are looking to use barrel bushings or cone-shaped bushings, then it is handy to know that they are considered to be softer bushings for more responsiveness and turning. In addition, flat washers and cup washers are the ones to get if you are after optimal turns and more stability, respectively.

Note – flat washers are less stable.

Below is a chart for Longboard bushings hardness compared to the weight required for carving and cruising

Weight (KG) Weight (Pounds) Stiff Medium Flexible
79 - 100 + 175 - 220 + 97a 93a 91a
56 - 79 125 - 175 91a 89a 87a
45 - 66 100 - 145 88a 87a 85a
34 - 56 75 - 125 85a 83a 80a
23 - 45 50 - 100 81a 78a 65a

Downhill bushings: Depending on your weight, you need a double barrel bushings or stepped bushings with cup washers for the utmost stability.

Below is a chart for going downhill with longboard bushings

Weight (KG) Weight (Pounds) Stiff Medium Flexible
79 - 100 + 175 - 220 + 100a 93a 91a
56 - 79 125 - 175 93a 90a 88a
45 - 66 100 - 145 88a 87a 85a
34 - 56 75 - 125 85a 83a 80a
23 - 45 50 - 100 81a 78a 65a

Bushings for Freeride: for free-riders, your bushings must be a bit harder compared to cruiser bushing- slightly hard on the durometer scale. This is because free-riders will need firm stability, especially when sliding or going fast and a bit of responsiveness when turning. A double-barrel setup is recommended for free-riders.

Below is a chart showing the hardness needed for freeride bushings VS rider weight

Weight (KG) Weight (Pounds) Stiff Medium Flexible
79 - 100 + 175 - 220 + 97a 93a 91a
56 - 79 125 - 175 91a 89a 87a
45 - 66 100 - 145 88a 87a 85a
34 - 56 75 - 125 85a 83a 80a
23 - 45 50 - 100 81a 78a 65a

Let’s talk about the different shapes of bushings

skateboard bushing shapes

Bushings come in various shapes but not all the shapes available are suitable for your style. Regular skateboards usually only require the classic combination of cone and barrel. For longboarders, on the other hand, there is more of a range to pick from. This basically boils down to what type of longboarder you are and the type of longboard you ride.

The good thing about normal skateboards is that they are very  similar in shape and components which makes choosing the right bushings for you – a lot easier. The bushing seats have the largest density, pressure surface and provide utmost stability even at a very high speeds.

Double barrel bushings

double barrel bushings This is recommended for downhill and speed junkies; even free-riders could use this as long as it is a longboard that is being used. To achieve more stability and rebound, a cup washer should be added.

The popular brands for regular skateboards include,

  • Bones
  • Independent
  • Khiro
  • Oust

Popular longboard brands include the following,

  • Venom
  • Ronin
  • Rad

Note – this bushing is not suitable for slalom and carving.

Cone barrel-shaped bushings

It is a typical combo used by technical skateboarders; most trucks come with this combination as their stock bushings. A combination of barrel and cone is known as the standard bushings or regular. The barrel provides stability while the cone provides easy pivoting and turning. cone barrel bushings Some skateboarders prefer a different degree of hardness for each bushing – the softer the conical bushing, the easier it is to steer and pivot while the harder the barrel bushing the more stability provided. It could also pass as an excellent combo for cruising and longboards.

Cone bushings

These are the best for cruising and longboards because of its high turning and caving ability. The conical bushing is manufacture with less medial support; thus it promotes more and easier caving, due to its conical shape it has lesser mass and resistance, i.e., less polyurethane which gives a great deck lean performance. Therefore a wild skateboarder ought to get a different shape or else with too much deck lean, you risk unstable turns. To eliminate this flaw, you can combine it with a harder barrel bushing. In fact, with more deck clearance, wheelbite is terminated; thus, if you weigh under or over 140lbs, use a softer durometer like an 87A or 93A durometer.

Double cone-shaped bushings

From research, many skateboarders have said and agreed that the bones hardcore cone-to-cone bushing, is the best. The top bushing can be harder than the lower if you are a stiff skateboarder or into skate transitions. double cone bushings Bone bushing come in three types;
  1. Soft bushings; 81A durometer for 61B
  2. Medium bushings; 91A durometer for 71B
  3. Hard bushings; 96A durometer for 76B
The above are the most common bushings, especially for street skateboarders, and they offer more stability than the standard (cone barrel combo). Here, your weight and durometer scale must be put into consideration.

Stepped bushings

The single stepped bushing is highly recommended for longboarders and downhill riders due to their high rebound power, stiffness, and their compressing coupled with releasing ability at the centre. They are less responsive and are crafted to fill the bushing seat; they come lacking a standard- with multiple shapes, and because of their shapes, they make a great combination with barrel and truck bushings.

The stepped bushing can be straight, curved, or angled.

Note – stepped bushing is not suitable for regular skateboards.

Double Stepped Bushings

These bushings are epic; they not only create a vast lean resistance but have high rebound power, which means they snap back to the centre in swift action. Their stiffness and tightness are 100 per cent efficient, especially if you need your truck to be very tight, thus suitable for fast, speedy longboarders.

double stepped bushings

They somehow have a long surface like the barrel and sometimes referred to as stepped barrels. Moreover, it is possible to combine barrel and stepped to give barrel/stepped bushing; placing the stepped at the bottom with the barrel atop gives your truck ultimate stability. The former is in charge of lean resistance and stiffness, while the latter is all about your rebound. With this combo downhill, longboarders will make sharp turns at ease.

Note – the barrel and stepped bushings is not also suitable for regular skateboarding.

Other bushings may include…

There are different kinds of bushings, one of which is cone-shaped but tagged hourglass bushing. Its top possesses small surface great carving and turning is allowed. Longboarders become more responsive, but downhill riders tend to wobble due to high velocity.

The larger surface at the top offers more resistance, and the bottom provides excellent rebound; for stability, it is advisable to add a cup washer. This combo is suitable for slalom more than it is for regular skateboards.

How Your Bushing Choice Is Based On Your Weight

Yes, the type of bushing you choose is weight bound because when you make turns, your weight compresses the bushings, therefore, a bushing that is too soft may cause an imbalance of which a harder bushing might correct.

Skaters with heavier weight ought to use harder bushings, which makes your ride less responsive, although this depends upon their style and preference unless your trucks are tight; it is no use going with a soft bushing.

So if you’re a heavy skateboarder, you need to get harder bushings.  

 

What Is A Bushing Durometer?

It measures bushing, just like wheels. Durometer has two common types A & B Like wheels, with the A-scale going from 1-100, so anything above a hundred doesn’t even exist, and you should know that the durometer A-scale is 20 points higher than durometer B-scale. The durometer comes in three forms: soft, medium, and hard.

  • Soft durometer: it is usually below 90A or 70B, suitable for lightweight skateboarders, and it also turns and compresses swiftly.
  • Medium durometer: it ranges from 90A, 96A, and 70B, 76B, respectively.
  • Hard bushings: 96A or 76B

Getting to know the right washers…

This goes back to longboarders and downhill riders. Cup washers hold bushings together, making your skateboard truck tighter but flat washers free bushings for swift turns. Flat washers offer less rebound, though the wider ones make the turn easier; they snap your bushings in place more quickly than the narrow types. The narrow washers will allow deeper carving but less stability, and they also take time to snap back to position.

In short, longboarders and cruisers should get flat washers while downhill riders and regular skateboarders should go for cup washers.

Note – The washers are of two shapes flat and cup-shape, as deduced from the previous text.

When To Replace Skateboard Bushings?

If you see a crack, crumble, tear, or you start hearing funny noise, although they can be long-lasting, their lifespan also depends on your skating style. Some of these sounds can be as a result of your bushings drying out, it is fixable though, all you have to do is to add candle wax or grate some soap in. Weather can be a factor in wearing out your bushings.

Some skateboarders complain of clicking sounds; this, on the other hand, is caused by your washers, which may be due to it moving around the kingpin, replacing them is the best solution.

Note – All longboard skateboard bushings are usually the same size, so they can be swapped anytime with different varieties, but not all are suitable for all skateboards.

Skateboard Truck Bushing Washers, Setups, Maintenance And Tips

  1. When getting a bushing, don’t forget to add washers as they can increase the performance of your skating as well as your stability.
  2. For loose setups, use a set of soft cone bushings and flat washers.
  3. To achieve tight setups, get barrel bushings coupled with cup washers for stability.
  4. Do not over tighten your nuts, as it could damage your bushings and pivot cups
  5. To avoid wheelbite, use a set of medium-soft bushings or just soft bushings with cup washers, but heavy skateboarders need to harder bushings to prevent wheelbite.

How do you break in bushings?

Tightening your trucks can help to speed up the process of breaking in your new bushings. You can untighten them later.

Usually it can take anything between  3 to 7 hours to fully break your bushings in.

How do I know if my skate bushings are bad?

Once your bushings begin to show cracks, begin to crumble, or begin to squeak or look squashed, then your skate bushings are bad and need to be replaced. Usually, how long bushings last for will depend on the frequency and aggressiveness you put into your skating. Other factors that are worth considering is the temperatures that you skate in and where you store your skateboard each day.

High temperatures will wear down the bushings on your skateboards a lot quicker, the same way that storing them in hot and moist environments will shorten their lifespan. 

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