General FAQs

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What setup is best for me?

Don't ask us. We don't know you and we sure don't know your tastes and styles. If you want our opinions, you will be pelted with a myriad of different things that will only confuse you. If you want a good setup, gain the experience to make your own choices. We won't hold your hand while skate either. But in all good fun, I'll try to explain what a good setup is. It's when you ride it and suddenly you start picking up chicks. Something like that. Whatever.

What shoes are best for longboarding?

Which ever you feel comfortable enough to skate in. I won't name shoe brands here. Any shoe will work. I've seen a guy skate my 6' halfpipe in flip-flops. Some people ride with no shoes; it's a must on the beach sometimes. If you are riding down hills, I suggest shoes with shoe laces.

External Link: Also see this Skate Shoes – What Makes Them For Skateboarding Anyway?

What wheels slide the best?

All wheels slide; some just better than others. Shape matters more than hardness. In reality, it's all rider preference. Don't bother asking for opinions either, because it will only confuse you more because every brand of wheel will eventually be listed.

What flex should I get?

It's not rocket science, but for those of you who don't get it... get the one that is in your weight range, which is located on board company's website. If you are still unsure, get the stiffer/stiffest flex. Please note that flexible boards are not suggested for downhill.

Why isn't flex recommended for downhill?

Easy, try going 40+mph on a flexible board and surf a hairpin. Flex alters the angle of the trucks, causing them to respond different. This will cause loss of control. In other words, flexible boards are unstable at speeds.

Does my setup come assembled?

It shouldn't matter. It's not hard to put a board together. If you don't know, you should pay more attention to what you order over the internet. In many cases, ordering a deck by itself won't come with grip tape. Completes are normally assembled loosely. There should be an option on the website. If there wasn't assembled, don't cry over it. Regardless you need to tighten down everything anyways.

My trucks make noise!

This sound usually comes from the pivot rotating in the pivot-cup, during a turn. It's fixable by a variety of methods, such as applying wax, soap, graphite powder or cooking oil to the cup. It's recommended you don't use petroleum-based products as they can degrade the pivot cup and bushings.

Rattling usually comes from the top washer. It's caused by the weight of the rider compressing the bottom bushing. This can create a gap between the top bushing and the cup washer enabling the washer to rattle against the kingpin. The easiest fix is tightening the kingpin. However this can change the turn characteristics.

Other rattles can come from the deck-bolts being loose, check that they're snug. Deck-bolts should be checked regularly as part of maintenance. Another potential source of rattles is bearing spacers, they sometimes rattle between the bearings. Keep your wheels as tight as you can without the bearings binding or compressing the spacers. If your wheels still rattle, check if the spacer is the right width, or has been compressed. In either case replace them. Most readily available wheels require either a 0.400” or a 0.300” inch spacer.

Source: Randal Skateboard Trucks

Which way do Trucks go?

The rule that's true for practically all trucks is: both the pivot cups should face the outside of the board. If you turn left and the board goes to the right, your trucks are on wrong. Always inspect a virgin board before riding it.

How can I make my trucks more stable?

Tighten the kingpins. Don't over do it though. You still need to be able to steer around sudden obstacles and it can reduce traction. Or install harder bushings. Same advice as 1. What is too hard depends on rider weight, hanger width, board-width and pivot-axis.Remove any risers, this lowers the board’s leverage over the bushings. A thin gasket is still advised to help reduce vibration. Check for wheel-bite before riding. Run lower angle baseplates. This can be done to both ends, or the tail only. Or insert angled risers/wedges. These change the pivot-axis of the truck. Thin side in results in less turn per board lean. This option usually also increases the board’s leverage over the bushings, using a lower angle baseplate is sometimes preferable for this reason. Also see Angled Risers. You can try Flipping Hangers. It depends on the trucks because some hangers have a centered rake. Lengthen the wheelbase. This may involve drilling extra holes. This isn't always a good idea as the boards flex will likely increase.

Source: Randal Skateboard Trucks

What about flipping my hanger?

Once again, info about trucks can be found here: Trucks

Getting Wheel-bite?

This happens when a turn causes a wheel to collide with the board, usually resulting in the board suddenly stopping... It's something that you should test for, before riding any board. There are a few ways to prevent this from happening. The simplest is to keep the kingpin tight enough to prevent the hanger from leaning far enough for it to bite. Unfortunately this has an adverse effect on responsiveness, and if overdone can even create a board with an unsafe steering capability.

So, the four preferable methods are:

1. Risers, usually plastic, can be put in between the base-plate and the deck, putting the wheels further from the board.

2. Wheel wells can be sanded into the board where the wheels would normally hit. This is not always possible with composite boards.

3. By fitting smaller wheels, the lower radius can give enough room for a full turn potential.

4. By making cutouts, simply removing the section of board that has any chance of hitting the wheel.

Notes on wheel-wells/cutouts

Not all trucks pivot on the same axis, or have the axle in the same position relative to the deck-bolts. This means that not all wheel-wells are put in the same position by different manufacturers, or even different models by the same maker. Wheel size also shifts the contact point. Bigger wheels contact closer to the truck than small and can also require larger cutouts. Cutouts can create a weak-point. It's inadvisable to do this to a less than 9-ply board, without reinforcing it somehow.

Source: Randal Skateboard Trucks

How do I know what bushings are best for me?

Bushings are probably the simplest and most effective way to change the performance of a truck. Fortunately it's often the cheapest too. Unlike wedging, it has the advantage of not changing your ride height. The behavior of bushings is affected primarily by their hardness as measured by a durometer, their shape, and their rebound.

Different shapes have different 'lean resistance curves'. These are a measure of how much harder they become to compress the further over the board leans. The conical bushings that most Randals ship with offer a relatively flat resistance curve. It's also worth noting that different bushing seats, washer shapes and sometimes the hanger can also affect this curve.

Higher durometer bushings offer more resistance to lean than soft ones.Which duro' is right depends primarily on rider weight and the type of riding the board is intended for. But pivot-axis angle, hanger/board width, and wheelbase also play a part.Rebound is literally how bouncy the bushing is. It's generally better to have a high amount of rebound. This aspect of a bushing slowly degrades with use.

Source: Randal Skateboard Trucks

How do I do maintenance?

Maintenance is important for your skateboard(s). Keeping clean will make your board last longer.

Nuts

Both the kingpin and axle nuts have a nylon locking mechanism to stop them from loosening or tightening during riding. However the nylon’s ability to grip the thread slowly degrades, especially when it is taken on and off the thread. This degradation can cause the nylon to no longer do its job, potentially leading to parts falling off. Use a thread-lock fluid.

Check the condition of axle nuts during bearing maintenance, as winding them off to check them will wear them out quicker. When the nylon is degraded the only answer is new nuts, fortunately they’re cheap and readily available. The kingpin is 3/8-24tpi and the axle is 5/16-24tpi.

Pivot cups

The hole in the pivot will eventually enlarge, this usually takes quite a long time, but it can cause stability problems when it gets bad.

Bushings

The rebound of the bushings will degrade with use, this is unavoidable as the molecular chains slowly break when they get stretched and compressed. While low rebound isn’t necessarily a serious problem, the truck will feel and perform better if the bushings are replaced when they loose rebound.

Kingpins

These endure a lot of force and vibration and literally hold the whole truck together. Unfortunately it’s practically impossible to assess their condition. It is therefore advisable to replace them every year.

Source: Randal Skateboard Trucks

How do I take care of my bearings?

You didn't bother looking anywhere did you... It's at this page: Cleaning Bearings

What causes stress cracks?

Well, when you throw your board down and it bounces off the ground... Don't do that. Also try not to hit expansion gaps/cracks straight on.

How do I get free stickers?

Send in a self addressed stamped envelope mentioning stickers... to the company you want stickers from.

Can I make my own pivot cup?

Yes, you can go down to your local hardware store and pick up some nylon tubing that fits snug over the pivot and tightly into the pivot cup seat.