If you are looking for ways to enhance the performance and the longevity of your longboard, you have probably encountered the term “bushings.” Bushings are an essential and often underrated component of a longboard’s setup. They play a crucial role in determining how your longboard turns, carves, and absorbs shock. In this article, we’ll delve into what bushings for longboards are, how they work, how to choose the right bushings for your longboard, how to replace them, and how to maintain them.
What are bushings for longboards?
Bushings are small, cylindrical rubber or urethane components that are sandwiched between the truck’s baseplate and the hanger. They act as a cushion between the two metal parts, creating a pivot point that allows the board to turn and steer smoothly. The durometer (hardness) of the bushings can be adjusted to fine-tune the board’s responsiveness, stability, and turnability. Some longboard setups have two bushings per truck, while others have a single bushing that sits on the kingpin or a combination of different bushing shapes.
How do bushings work?
The way your longboard turns and responds to your input depends largely on the bushings you choose. Bushings compress and deform when the board turns, allowing the hanger to pivot relative to the baseplate. The amount of compression and deformation depends on the rider’s weight, the trucks’ tightness, the speed of the board, and the shape of the bushings. A softer bushing will compress more easily and provide a looser, more responsive turn, whereas a harder bushing will resist compression and provide a tighter, more stable turn.
How to choose the right bushings for your longboard?
Choosing the right bushings for your longboard can mean the difference between a smooth ride and a wobbly, unstable one. Here are some factors to consider when selecting your bushings:
– Rider weight: The weight of the rider is a crucial factor in choosing the right bushings, as it determines how much the bushings will compress. Heavier riders typically need harder bushings to prevent the board from feeling too loose or unstable, whereas lighter riders might prefer softer bushings for a more responsive feel.
– Riding style: Your riding style also influences the type of bushings you should choose. If you prefer carving and cruising, softer bushings are more appropriate, as they allow for smoother turns and more agility. If you enjoy downhill riding and speed, harder bushings will provide more stability and control.
– Board setup: The type of longboard you have and the trucks you use will also affect the type of bushings you need. The shape and hardness of the bushings should complement the trucks’ angles and width, as well as the shape and size of the board.
– Durometer: The durometer of a bushing is measured on a scale from 1 to 100, with lower numbers indicating softer bushings and higher numbers indicating harder ones. As a general rule, softer bushings are suited for lighter riders, carving, and cruising, while harder bushings are suited for heavier riders and high-speed riding.
How to replace bushings on your longboard?
If you want to change the way your longboard feels and responds, replacing your bushings is a simple and affordable solution. Here’s how to replace bushings on your longboard:
– Remove the nut and washer from the kingpin with a wrench or a skate tool.
– Remove the hanger from the baseplate by sliding it forward or backward.
– Take out the old bushings and washers and set them aside.
– Place the new bushings and washers in the same order as before, with the flat side of the washer facing the bushing.
– Slide the hanger back onto the kingpin and secure it with the nut and washer. Adjust the tightness of the trucks to your liking.
How to maintain your bushings?
Keeping your bushings clean and lubricated can prolong their lifespan and prevent them from cracking or drying out. Here are some tips on how to maintain your bushings:
– Regularly clean your bushings with a damp cloth or a mild soap solution to remove dirt and grime.
– Apply a small amount of lubricant or wax to your bushings to improve their performance and prevent them from squeaking.
– Avoid leaving your longboard in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can damage the bushings and cause them to degrade.
– Check your bushings regularly for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, flattening, or deformations, and replace them if necessary.
What are some popular bushing brands for longboards?
There are several brands that specialize in producing high-quality, custom bushings for longboards. Some popular brands include:
– Venom: Known for their premium urethane formula and vast range of duro options, Venom bushings are a popular choice for downhill riders and freeriders.
– Riptide: Riptide bushings offer a unique blend of urethane and lubricants, making them highly responsive and durable. They come in multiple shapes and colors to suit various riding styles and truck types.
– Orangatang: Orangatang’s bushings are made from a proprietary formula that allows for a smooth, progressive turn. They offer a wide range of durometers and sizes to accommodate riders of all skill levels and preferences.
– Independent: Independent truck bushings are made from high-quality urethane and come in various shapes and durometers, making them a versatile option for all kinds of riding.
– Bones: Bones bushings are designed to offer maximum rebound and control, making them ideal for street and park skating. Their hard blue bushings are a popular choice among freestyle skaters and longboarders.
In conclusion, bushings are a crucial component of every longboard setup. With the right bushings, you can customize your riding experience to suit your style and preferences, whether you’re cruising, carving, or bombing hills. By understanding how bushings work, how to choose the right ones, how to replace and maintain them, you can maximize your longboard’s potential and get the most out of your rides.