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Skateboarding is one of the leading recreational activities. It's fun and entertaining and provides exercise, though it can also be dangerous if the right precautions aren't taken. Choosing the right board and equipment is the first step in skateboarding safety. Here are some frequently asked questions about skateboards.
What type of skateboard should a beginner use?
For beginners, a basic board is best to learn on. Don't get too caught up in the details: Something simple will work until you're more comfortable with customization.
What are the components of a skateboard, and can I assemble it myself?
The components of a skateboard are the deck, trucks, bearings, wheels, bushings, risers and grip tape. You can purchase the components separately or in a package and assemble the board at home or have it assembled at the store. A board can also be purchased completely assembled. It depends on your understanding of how the components are assembled and the brand preferred.
What wheels should I get, and which are better, big or little wheels?
There are two terms for determining the wheels: diameter and durometer. Diameter is the size of the wheel and durometer is the hardness of the wheel. Typical wheels are between 52mm and 54mm with a durometer of 99A. The size is really based on preference. Larger wheels allow for faster, smoother rides, but it can take longer to get up to speed. Smaller wheels have quicker acceleration and slide easy but cause a lot of road vibration so are not practical on real roads.
How do I choose the right deck size?
Generally the skateboard deck size is based on preference. The width is based on foot size but is commonly 7.5 unches to 8 inches.
What are bearings, and what do the ratings mean?
Bearings are metal rings that fit inside the wheels and are rated on the ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers' Committee) scale from 1 to 9 in odd numbers. An ideal rating is 3 or 5 ABEC.
What size trucks should I get?
Truck heights come in low, medium and high. Low trucks are used with smaller wheels which are good for flip tricks and stability. High trucks are used with larger wheels for faster speed and longer distance. Medium or high skateboard trucks are commonly used for cruising and low trucks for street skating.
What are bushings?
A bushing is shaped like a rubber doughnut and fits inside the truck to cushion it. The stiffer the bushing, the more stable the board is. Beginner and intermediate skaters should use stiffer ones while more seasoned skaters can use medium bushings. Bushings that are soft need lots of control and make tricks difficult.
What is a riser, and what size should I get?
The riser, also called a shock pad, sits between the deck and the truck to help reduce the strain from the pressure that the trucks put on the deck. A riser also helps prevent wheel bite, which is when the wheel strikes the deck and suddenly stops. Like any feature, the riser or shock pad size is based on preference. Many skaters don't like to use risers or shock pads because they make the board taller, which makes technical tricks more difficult to perform (even a fraction of an inch can make a difference).
You may have more questions about skateboards, but these are the most basic for choosing your board and equipment. If you do have any other questions, consult the skateboard buying guide at Overstock.com.