Do you know what all the parts in your skateboard are called? Do you understand what they do and the role that they play?
Learning the parts of a complete skateboard might seem like an exercise in futility, one reserved for skateboarding geeks who can bore their friends with talk of decks, wheels, shock pads, and axle nuts, but there’s more to it than you might think. Learning these parts will help you to build the perfect skateboard and fine-tine the one you already have.
How Many Parts Does a Skateboard Have?
There are 12 parts to a skateboard, but these can be boiled down to three main elements, and it’s those that you need to focus on the most.
What Parts Make up a Skateboard?
The deck, wheels, and trucks are the main parts of a skateboard and the ones that you should focus on the most. But there are other aspects to consider, as well:
- Grip Tape
- Axle Nuts
Some of these are more important than others, as you’ll see.
Skateboard decks are platforms on which the rider stands. The best decks are made from multi-ply wood, but plastic, resin, and carbon fiber are also used.
The shape and size of a skateboard deck can vary greatly, but they are usually between 7.5″ and 8.25″ wide and 28″ and 32″ long.
Both the nose (front) and tail (back) are curved, and this is known as the “kicker”. The curve of the skateboard is also key, with the “rocker” being the downward curve and the “camber” the upward curve.
Here are a few other features of skateboard decks to look out for:
- Mounting Holes: Pre-drilled holes where the skateboard trucks are attached.
- Wheelbase: The distance between the inner mounting holes of the skateboard deck.
- Ply: Some boards are made from solid pieces of material, “ply” decks feature multiple layers of thin wood.
- Rails: The edges of the skateboard deck.
Grip tape is a rough surface that is applied to the top of the deck. It features a sandpaper-like surface on one side and an adhesive on the other, allowing it to be stuck to the skateboard.
Grip tape is sold in rolls and sheets. You stick it to your skateboard and then cut around the edges to get the desired shape.
If you are applying the grip tape yourself, you will also need to punch holes where the mounting holes are.
The bolts are what go through the mounting holes to affix the trucks.
Trucks are one of the most important parts of a skateboard. The trucks are what facilitate movement and grinding while helping the rider to gain air.
There are two skateboard trucks on the skateboard, each holding two wheels.
This essential piece of skateboard hardware is often made from a combination of steel and aluminum and consists of the following parts:
The truck hanger is a t-shaped piece of metal that is typically the heaviest part of a complete skateboard.
The hanger attaches to the baseplate which is then attached to the deck. The axle is located inside the hanger.
A solid piece of metal with holes for the hanger and deck.
A bolt that connects through the hanger.
Bushings are rubber cups that sit between the hanger and the baseplate and facilitate movement, making it easier to perform sharp turns.
There are two skateboard bushings for each truck and they are available in a variety of shapes and hardness levels.
Axle and Axle Nuts
The axles go through the hanger and hold the wheels. They are locked in place using axle nuts.
There are usually a couple of small washers located between the axle nuts and the hanger bearings.
Skateboard wheels are typically made from urethane and are available in a variety of hardness levels (measured by “durometer, which goes from 78A to 100A+) and diameters (50 mm to over 80 mm).
Small and hard wheels are best suited for performing tricks at the skatepark or on the street. Large and soft wheels are ideal for cruising and are used on longboards.
Each skateboard wheel has two bearings. These metal rings contain a number of small steel balls that help with movement, ensuring the board rolls smoothly even over rough surfaces.
Skateboard bearings are often graded using the ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineer’s Committee) scale, which goes from a low of 1 to a high of 9, with higher numbers indicating greater quality.
Most skateboard bearings are made from steel or ceramic, with the latter being the most expensive and the highest quality.
Optional Skateboard Parts
In addition to all of the above, there are a few other parts that can be included on a skateboard. You typically won’t find these on a complete skateboard purchased from a skate shop, but they can be added to improve performance or provide a more optimal ride.
As the name suggests, riser pads are plastic pads that “raise” the height of the skateboard, thus limiting wheel bite and preserving the deck.
Stickers don’t serve a functional purpose and are added purely for aesthetic reasons. They’re a great way to personalize your skateboard or show your allegiance to a particular brand or sports team.
Bearing spaces are metal cylinders that fit between the bearings on a skateboard wheel to distribute the weight more even, thus creating a smoother and more stable ride while potentially prolonging the life of the bearings.
FAQs About Skateboard Parts
Do you still have some questions about skateboard anatomy? Check out the following FAQs to get the answers that you need.
Do I Need Larger Wheels or Softer Wheels?
It really depends on what type of skateboard you have and where you’re riding it. If you’re going to be hitting the skatepark or doing a lot of street skating, you should look into small and hard wheels. If it’s all about cruising then larger and softer wheels are best.
What is the Underside of a Skateboard Called?
There are several parts on the underside of the skateboard. The t-shaped metal piece that holds the wheels is known as the truck. The top part of the skateboard is called the deck.
What is the Body of a Skateboard Called?
The “body” of the skateboard is the deck. It’s the biggest piece and it’s also one of the most important.
What is the Most Important Part of a Skateboard?
The deck and trucks are very important, as are the wheels and bearings. All parts play an important role and should be given equal merit, but if you just have room in your budget for one premium part, these should be your areas of focus.
Why Are There Never Stickers On Top of the Deck?
The reason that stickers are placed on the skateboard’s underside is because the grip tape is on top. Basically, the deck already has a large sticker, and it’s a fully functional one that keeps your feet rooted to the skateboard.
You can place stickers onto the grip tape if you wish, but it’s not recommended. Vinyl stickers may compromise the grip.