Guide To Longboard Bushings

By: Tyler Mixon | February 3, 2023 | Longboards

Bushings were the last thing that I personally messed around with.

I’ve swapped bearings, wheels, hardware… you get the point. Do bushings really make a difference?

longboard bushings

What are bushings?

Bushings are cylindrical pieces of polyurethane that go through the kingpin and support the top and bottom of the hanger. What the bushings do is allow the trucks to pivot at the pivot cup in a manner that may be manipulated by the rider. Bushing types and hardness will determine how your trucks feel and ride.

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Types of bushings

Different shapes of bushings will affect the riding feel.

Cones

Cones have a shape where one side is narrower than the other. They may be used on one side, usually the top, or they may be configured to the top and the bottom of the truck. Cones have a lower resistance than barrels and allow the truck to pivot further than the barrels.

Barrels

Barrels have the same diameter on the top and the bottom and provide a more sturdy platform for the truck to rest. Barrels restrict the truck more than cones do.

Alternate Shapes

Alternative shapes are generally reserved for specialty trucks that require a differently shaped bushing, but there are many bushings available that come in different shapes for specific purposes related to downhill and slalom.

Types of washers

The purpose of washers is to help with structure and rebounding.

Cup washers contain the bushing better than flat ones. When you carve, cups will rebound you back to center since their edges are curved.

Flat washers won’t rebound you as efficiently, but it doesn’t mean they’re worse. It’s just a different feel and comes down to personal preference.

Popular Bushing Brands

Skateboard vs Longboard Bushings

There are differences between longboard and skateboard bushings, but the difference is more related to the truck geometry than the bushing itself. You can use longboard bushings on a traditional skateboard truck and vice versa, but it’s important to know what type of truck you have first to determine what type of bushing you need.

Skateboard Street Trucks

Let’s start with traditional street trucks. You would use regular street bushings from…

In general, if you don’t know what brand of bushing you should get, then stick with the brand that also made your truck, you will get bushings designed specifically for your truck’s geometry, and this will be effective while you experiment to find what suits your needs.

Not all street trucks are made the same. The truck geometry comes into play when you’re looking into bushings, and I find the comparison between street and longboard bushings to be most apparent when talking about traditional kingpin trucks designed to use taller bushings.

TKP trucks from longboard companies such as…

They have a different geometry from traditional street trucks in that the kingpin is longer and the hanger sits higher to accommodate larger bushings.

The surefire way to tell if you have a truck made to fit larger bushings is how tight you have to tighten your kingpin nut before the truck is stable. With street bushings, the truck will be floppy when the kingpin nut is threaded to the nylon lock, and that means your bushings are not long enough.

Size & Durometer Differences

The bushing duros available for street boards are typically just labeled soft, medium, and hard. The matching duros are usually in the range of 78a for the soft bushings, 88a for the medium bushings, and 98a for the harder bushings. With longboard bushings, you will find a more diverse range of duros. Even going to ½ a duro for precision. 

Another difference you may find with longboard bushings is the different “formulas” that may be advertised. Most of the time the word formula is in reference to the rebound the bushing gives. Higher rebound formulas want the truck to stay in a neutral position whereas a low rebound formula would allow the truck to stay wherever its placed. 

The final key difference between street and longboard bushings is the price. With street setups, the bushings are not as integral as other parts of the board, so the bushings usually come in at less than $10 a set; whereas, longboard bushings play a larger role in the purpose of the board and more work, as well as more expensive materials, are put into them making a price that can be as much as $10 a bushing.

What to do if your bushings squeak?

If you turn and your bushings squeak, this is normal, but a slightly annoying phenomenon that happens from the friction between the metal of your truck hanger and the rubber in the bushings or pivot cups. 

If your bushings are squeaking you have a few options. While you can always replace your bushings and pivot cups, this may not be necessary. In order to get rid of the dreaded bushing squeak, one can simply put some wax in the pivot cup. I have also seen where riders have taken 800 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the areas where the trucks were in contact with the bushings.

Tyler Mixon

In the rural areas of South East Georgia, I have dedicated the last 13 years of my life to skateboarding. Our mission at Concrete Waves is to fuel the growth of all genres of skateboarding.

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