Truck Bushings: A Comprehensive Guide to Adjusting for Your Riding Style

truck bushings a comprehensive guide to adjusting for your riding style

A lot is riding on your skateboard’s truck bushings. These rubber plastic rings act like shock absorbers, allowing you to maneuver your board. As such, you want to adjust them to match how you ride. 

Generally, truck bushings are adjusted based on the type of board you have, your riding style, your weight, and your personal preferences. You can make most adjustments by tightening or loosening the bushings. Loosening makes for better turns, while tightening makes your board more stable. 

However, adjusting your bushings will only get you so far. To get the most out of your ride, you have to start with the right bushings for your board. Read on to learn more!

Skateboard Truck Bushings Adjustment Guide

Typically made of polyurethane, skateboard truck bushings are the rubbery rings attached to the kingpin of your skateboard. These bushings may be barrel or cone-shaped, but they are all the same size and will fit any board. They also control how your board performs. 

They do this by acting as shock absorbers. As you move around the deck, your weight compresses the bushings. The compression changes the angle of your hangers and pushes the wheels and you in the direction you want to go, and then they rebound back to their original shapes to let you continue on your way.

What Do the Truck Bushings Do?

Every board has four bushings divided into pairs between the trucks. The top bushing, which sits above the hanger, helps your board turn smoothly. The bottom one sits between the hanger and the baseplate, and it controls the board’s responsiveness. 

It is also adjustable. For instance, loosening the bushings will give you more maneuverability but less stability, especially at high speeds. Meanwhile, tighter bushings make your board responsive when cruising or carving the streets – but it’s not as maneuverable. 

You have adjust the bushings based on the type of board you have, your weight, and your riding style. 

Types of Skateboard Truck Bushings

While all bushings are the same size, they aren’t all made from the same materials. They can vary in hardness and quality, and using the right one can make a big difference in how your board performs. For instance, low-quality bushings take longer to rebound than higher-quality ones, which could lead to a rougher ride. 

However, in most cases:

  • Most riders prefer bushings between 87A and 92A in hardness. 
  • Heavier riders need at least 94A.
  • Kids under 12 should go with something between 85A to 90A.

Otherwise, you want a stiffer board for downhill skating for stability. Carving requires soft bushings, while cruisers need something in the middle. If you’re more experienced and want more control, softer bushings are for you!

Remember, you can only adjust your board’s bushings so far before hitting their limits. As a result, if you need something outside your hardware’s range, you have to replace the bushings with something more appropriate for your needs. 

How to Buy Truck Bearings for Your Skateboard

A wrong fit is not the only reason to buy new bushings for your skateboard. You should also consider replacing them if they’re cracked, falling apart, making noise, or squished. How often you replace them will depend on how often you ride, your riding style, how you store them, and your local weather (especially if you keep them in a moist, warm environment). 

Buying new bushings works similarly to adjusting them. You want the ones that best match your style, board, and weight. Generally, you’ll need to buy 2 packages, since each package usually comes with one top and one bottom bushing.

That said, there are a few common recommendations that should fit most people:

  • For street skating and tricks, skaters should use either cone and barrel or pure cone bushings.
  • Bowl, park, and vert skaters should stick to cone and barrel bushings.
  • Longboards need soft bushings.
  • Downhill and racers need stiff bushings.

Choosing Between Hard and Soft Bushings 

As mentioned above, a lot is riding on the hardness of your truck bushings. Softer bushings provide better turning, but lack the stability for those epic tricks. Harder ones offer more stable rides, but they have reduced maneuverability that experienced riders don’t usually love. In either case, just make sure you get bushings that are the right size to fit your board’s securing nuts.

Skateboard Truck Bushing Shapes and Configurations 

While it’s not as important as hardness, you can also change the shape of your truck bushings. Even though you can technically use any shape with any type of skateboard, they aren’t all suitable for every riding style. As such, you may want to switch from the stock cone and barrel format that comes with most skateboards. 

That said bushings only come in the following three varieties:

  • Cone: improves turning and carving but with reduced stability
  • Barrel: provides a better pressure surface, density, and stability
  • Stepped: higher rebound but stiffer and less responsive

Luckily, you can mix and match them in various configurations to adjust your board’s performance to match your skill level!

Cone and Barrel Bushings

Cone and barrel setups have a cone-shaped top bushing and a barrel-shaped bottom one. This is the standard stock configuration and thus can be used in most situations. It also provides balanced responsiveness and stability.

Double Cone Bushings

In a double-cone configuration, both bushings are cone-shaped. These configurations are super responsive, making them great for tricks and shorter-distance street skating. You can find them in soft, medium, and hard hardness levels. Something for every skater!

Double Barrel Bushings

Double-barrel configurations use barrel bushings for both the top and bottom. These setups are stiff, stable, and fast, making them perfect for downhill and longboard racing with more control. However, you’ll want to use cup washers to increase their rebound. 

Double-Stepped Bushings

Double-stepped configurations use a pair of stepped bushings. These configurations offer the highest rebound performance on the market, but they only really work on longboards. 

Barrel and Stepped Bushings

Pairing a stepped bushing with a barrel creates a stable configuration with a decent rebound lean resistance. Great for tricks!

Hourglass Bushings

Hourglass configurations are double-cone configurations where the smaller ends of the bushings face each other. They are highly responsive, but they wobble at high speeds – maybe not for a high-speed chase (as awesome as that sounds).


Your skateboard’s truck bushings control its performance and handling. You can adjust them to improve the comfort of your ride and skill, which will be especially important when you first start out. How you do that depends on your board, weight, and your desired effect. Just remember that it takes time to break in new bushings, so be patient and ride on them for a few days before you make any adjustments. 

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