From Griptape to Bearings: Understanding the Basics of Skateboard Components

from griptape to bearings understanding the basics of skateboard components
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Getting out and skateboarding is very fun, and as you get better and better, you might start to consider putting together your own skateboard. While it may seem like skateboards are fairly simple, you are going to want to know all the parts of the board before you start building your own.

A skateboard has three main parts, the deck, trucks, and wheels. The trucks have the most small parts, and the deck is the easiest part to customize. If designing a personalized board, it is critical to make sure that all 15 components are prepared to make assembly simple and easy.

Whether you just want to know more about the parts of a skateboard or you are looking to know the parts you need when building your own board. Continue reading as I will cover all the crucial parts that every skateboard has. I will cover in detail each part, what it does, and where you can find it on your board, so that you can be an expert about skateboards!

The Deck

The deck is the base of the skateboard, where the rider puts his or her feet. Every other part of the board attaches to the deck in some way. Different skateboards have different styles of decks, can be made of different materials, and can be a wide range of sizes.

There are a number of different types of deck, each with its own intended purpose. These types of decks include:

  • Longboards
  • Cruisers
  • Shortboards
  • Old school boards

Grip Tape

Grip tape is the sandpaper like material that you attach to the top of the deck and provides extra grip for your skateboard. If you have a skateboard that is for tricks, having good grip tape is crucial, and you will want to replace it somewhat regularly to ensure good grip.


Everything that is going on below the decks is going to be attached using the bolts. These are placed through the top of the board and are attached to the baseplate. Each skateboard has 8 bolts, 4 for each baseplate.

happy dark skinned guy wearing cap looking on his skateboard

The Trucks

While everything might connect to the deck, the trucks are the most complex part of the skateboard. They contains the most parts, but fortunately aren’t too complicated if you are trying to build your own skateboard. The trucks are going to allow your board to move, turn, jump, and do just about anything else you can do with a skateboard.

If you are getting pre-assembled trucks for a board, the dimensions are going to be determined by the hangers and the axles. These should be small enough so that the wheels are completely under the deck.


Risers are an option that you can include between your deck and the baseplate in order to make your skateboard stand a bit taller. There are a number of different heights you can get risers in, but typically they are only going to effect the height of the deck by a few inches. If you do want more height to the deck after putting a riser in, you can’t just add another riser, as this can damage or break both risers.

Shock Pads

Shock pads go against the deck and the baseplate (or against the riser and baseplate), and are there to help absorb some of the shock on your deck from skating on rough terrain or landings from tricks. While not required, it is extremely helpful to have them as it can also help lengthen the lifespan of your board.


The baseplate is the most important part of your trucks, as everything connects through these. This mounts to your deck and will keep everything front your axles, wheels, and hangers connected using the kingpin. There are 4 mounting holes on the baseplate to mount it to the deck, riser, and shock pads.


The kingpin is the large bolt that is going to stick out of the baseplates, and you will also need to have the kingpin bolt in order to keep everything together. The kingpin directly holds the bushing and the hangers, and can be tightened or loosened in order to find what works best for your board.


Attaching to the other end of each kingpin is the hanger. This looks like a large metal rod and is going to be the heaviest part of your board, and it should also be the strongest. Besides the wheels, the hanger is going to be hitting the ground and debris more often than any other part, and you do not want it to break while you are skating. At each end of the hanger is the axle, which is also frequently called the hanger shaft.


The brushings are the small rubber caps that allow for your skateboard to turn. They are made up of two small rubber caps, are placed between the baseplate and the hanger. These allow for you to turn, and depending on how tight your kingpin is, will determine how easy it is to turn your board.

The Wheels

young man repairs a skateboard and changes wheel sets in a home workshop

The type of wheel that you choose is determined by how you are mostly going to use your board. You can get larger wheels that are great for long rides, or smaller, softer wheels that are perfect for skate parks and doing tricks. The toughness of the wheels is rated on a scale of 78A to 100A+ and can range in size from 50 mm to 70 mm+.

Axle Nuts

The axle nuts are what keeps your wheels in place and often get worn out and need to be replaced frequently. You will want to keep an eye on your axle nuts condition to make sure you replace them before they break.

Ball Bearings

On each axle, you are also going to have some ball bearings. There are a number of different options from cheap to expensive, but typically precision steel bearings are used. This helps keep your wheels spinning evenly and makes moving much easier.

In conclusion, delving into the fundamentals of skateboard components, from griptape to bearings, unveils the intricate tapestry that makes up this iconic piece of equipment. Each component plays a unique role, contributing to the overall performance and feel of your skateboard. Griptape ensures a solid foothold, trucks dictate your turning precision, wheels impact speed and grip, and bearings facilitate a smooth and effortless roll. Understanding these basics not only deepens your connection with your board but also empowers you to make informed decisions when customizing or upgrading your setup. So, as you navigate the skateboarding world, armed with knowledge about these essential components, let the synergy of each part inspire your ride and propel you to new heights in your skateboarding journey. Happy shredding!

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