It’s easy to think of a skateboard as a board with wheels — but shame on us for forgetting about the trucks. The trucks after all are what make a skateboard turn, and turning is the soul of skating. But what are the best skateboard trucks?
Below, I’ll run through a list of quality skateboard trucks on the market, from classic standbys to high-tech upstarts, as well as give you some guidance on how to pick trucks. But you probably came here for a quick recommendation, so first I’ll give you my two cents on skate trucks after 35 years of skating.
Independent Stage 11 Forge Titanium Trucks
Independent Trucks have been around since 1978 and have long been the go-to truck for many of the world’s best skaters. Renowned for their turning ability and durability, Indy’s have also gotten lighter in recent years, thanks to the introduction of a titanium axle and hollow kingpins. There are several other companies that make terrific trucks, but if I had to pick only one pair of trucks to skate, it would be Indy’s titanium stage 11s.
I am currently riding a set of Indy Stage 11 Titanium 149s on my 8.5-inch-wide street deck. They are my top pick for street skating trucks because they are lightweight, durable, turn great, and Indy brand I can get behind.
I tend to keep two types of boards in play, one for street skating and a larger one for skating larger bowls (where I appreciate the stability of a larger setup). I would also be happy to use Independents on a bowl board, but am currently using Ace AF1s. See below for my rationale on that.
Independent Trucks Stage 11 titanium trucks are 53.5 mm tall and come in sizes of 129, 139, 144, 149, 159, and 169 mm.
Here’s a general guide for matching deck width to truck size:
|Truck Size (mm)||Axle Width (in)||Recommended Deck Size (in)|
|169||9.125||9 – 9.5|
|159||8.75||8.6 – 9|
|149||8.50||8.375 – 8.6|
|144||8.25||8.2 – 8.375|
|139||8.00||7.8 – 8.2|
|129||7.60||7.4 – 7.8|
It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines, and the best way to ensure the right fit is to measure the width of your deck and compare it to the width of the truck hanger.
Tensor ATG Mag Lights
Several years ago, Rodney Mullen’s truck company Tensor, release the Tensor Mag Light ATG (All Terrain Geometry) trucks, which were closer in height and geometry to Indy’s and other classic trucks. These trucks turn better than Tensor’s previous trucks and were made of magnesium, which makes them much lighter than trucks made of aluminum and steel.
They also grind really well, thanks to the magnesium. In my opinion, these ATG trucks are a legitimate competitor for Indy’s, especially if you are looking to set up a really light board.
Back in the 80s, Gullwing made magnesium trucks that were super light and ground really well, but for some reason never appealed to me (I never liked the divot in the middle of the trucks that was intended to grab coping). When Tensor ATGs came out, marketed as a truck that turned well AND was really light, I was intrigued. I bought a pair and loved them.
It takes a while to get used to how light they are, and some people say they like a little more heft in their board. If mine hadn’t gotten stolen, I’d still be riding them. As it is, I’m back on my Indy titanium and–well–I’m torn as to which truck I like best, the Indies or the Tensors. On the skate culture front, Independents win hands down. They are OG trucks. On the tech front, I’m not so sure. Check out my full review of these trucks for more detail.
For reference, the Titanium Independent 149s on my 8.5-inch street deck weigh around 344 grams each. In contrast, the Tensor ATGs (5.75) I bought for the same size deck weighed only 261 grams each. That’s around 24 percent lighter, which makes a big difference when you consider that’s for both trucks.
The Tensor Mag Light Trucks come in four sizes (5.0, 5.25, 5.5, 5.75) and I heard a rumor that they are coming out with a 6.0. Here is how those sizes convert to axle width and recommended deck size:
|Tensor Truck Size||Axle Width||Suggested Deck Width|
|5.0||7.625″||7.3″ – 7.75″|
|5.25||7.875″||7.75″ – 8.125″|
|5.5||8.125″||8.125″ – 8.38″|
|5.75||8.375″||8.38″ – 8.6″|
Ace AF1 Trucks
Ace is a newer skate truck company, founded in 2007 by Joey Tershay & Steve “Shrewgy” Ruge. The company is known for making high-quality trucks that turn really well, and in my experience, that reputation holds up. Ace released their redesigned AF1 truck in 2017, which really solidified their reputation for building bomber/tight-turning trucks. Recently, Ace released a titanium version of the AF1 which has a hollow axle and kingpin.
I’ve had them on several 9-inch wide bowl/ramp decks, and I can attest that they really do turn remarkably well, while also providing a stable carve. I’ve gotten so used to how Aces carve in a bowl, that I’m unlikely to switch to another truck. I’ll keep riding Independents on my street deck (and maybe set up a lightweight street deck with Tensor ATGs), but for bowl and ramp skating, I’m an Ace convert.
|Ace Size||Axle Width||Suggested Deck Width|
|22||7.75″||7.25″ – 8.00″|
|33||8.00″||8.00″ – 8.25″|
|44||8.25″||8.25″ – 8.50″|
|55||8.50″||8.50″ – 8.75″|
|60||8.75″||8.75″ – 9.00″|
|66||9.00″||9.00″ – 9.25″|
|77||9.25″||9.25″ – ABOVE|
How to Choose Skateboard Trucks
When choosing skateboard trucks, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Turn quality: How well the trucks allow the skateboard to turn and maneuver is crucial for tricks and overall performance.
- Weight: Lighter trucks make for a lighter overall skateboard, which is beneficial for performing tricks and reducing fatigue. That said, some skaters like the feel of trucks with more weight.
- Strength: The trucks must be strong enough to withstand the impacts of landing tricks, and not bend or break easily.
- Size: The size of the trucks should match the width of the skateboard deck and be appropriate for the your weight and riding style.
- Brand: Different brands offer different styles, performance, and quality of trucks, so it is important to consider brand reputation and rider preference. Don’t buy cheap knock off crap.
The type of truck (e.g. low, standard, or inverted kingpin), materials used in construction (aluminum vs magnesium, for instance), and the type of bushing (e.g. soft, medium, or hard) can also impact the overall performance of the trucks.
Skateboard Truck FAQ
What are magnesium skateboard trucks?
Magnesium skateboard trucks are made from magnesium–makes sense–which is a lightweight metal. The benefits of magnesium skateboard trucks include reduced weight, increased maneuverability and stability, and improved overall performance. Some skaters like the way they grind as well, which could be described as “buttery.” Some skaters prefer the lighter weight of magnesium trucks and say it makes it easier to do technical tricks, especially flip tricks.
However…Magnesium is more expensive than traditional aluminum, which can increase the cost of the trucks. Magnesium is also a softer metal, making it more susceptible to bending and cracking if subjected to heavy impact. So magnesium trucks are generally not as durable as aluminum trucks and need to be replaced more frequently.
What are skateboard trucks made of?
Skateboard trucks are typically made of metal alloys, with aluminum and magnesium being the most common materials. Different metals have different properties, such as strength, weight, and durability, that can affect the performance and overall quality of a skateboard truck.
What are the parts of a skateboard truck?
The hanger, baseplate, and kingpin are the main components that make up a skateboard truck, and these parts can be made of different metals, with varying properties and prices. The hanger is the part that holds the wheels, the baseplate is the part that attaches the truck to the deck, and the kingpin is the part that holds the hanger and baseplate together and allows them to pivot.