From a high level, there are 3 main parts of a skateboard: the deck, trucks, and wheels.
But if you get closer, you’ll see that there’s more to it than that.
Each of these parts is essential to how a skateboard functions.
Learn about the details of a skateboard’s anatomy so you know what you’ll need to build your own complete.
Different Parts of a Skateboard
Get familiar with a skateboard’s anatomy and learn how to choose the best parts for your riding style and skill level.
It’s important to choose wisely and keep each part well-maintained.
The skateboard deck, also known as the board, is the piece you stand on.
It is commonly made out of maple wood.
The parts used to construct a deck include the grip tape and bolts that connect it to the trucks.
Decks come in many different shapes and sizes.
The most common is a popsicle shape, which has a kicktail and nose. Different popsicle decks will feature subtle sizing differences in the nose and rear. These are good for skaters who want to be technical on the streets and in skateparks.
Skateboard deck sizes vary in length and width.
Old school decks are good for skaters who want to skate transition, mini cruisers suit those who want comfortable low-key rides and a portable board, and longboards are best for long-distance skaters and downhill carving.
Typically, a narrow skateboard deck is more responsive but less stable. On the upside, it is easy to maneuver and flip.
On the other hand, a wide board will give you more stability with less maneuverability.
A wider deck is usually better for heavier riders.
If you are new to skating, try out different decks and choose a size by measuring it against your feet as a starting point. A good deck width will typically be just under the length of your feet. With your heels all the way to one side, your toes should only hang off about an inch.
Grip tape is secured to the top of a skateboard deck to give riders grip. Its surface is similar to sandpaper.
New grip tape can wear down your shoes quickly.
The skateboard trucks (which you will learn more about below) are attached to the deck using eight bolts.
This part supports the weight of the skateboarder while they stand on the deck. They attach to the deck and keep the wheels, bearings, and deck together. They also allow you to lean to turn the board.
It’s not necessary to spend the big bucks on these as a beginner. Standard trucks don’t differ much, and most new riders will not notice the difference. You will, however, want to make sure to align the trucks you buy with the width of your deck. If installed too narrow or too wide, your deck could be unstable to unrideable.
The height of the trucks is up to personal preference.
The benefit of lower trucks is they give you more balance. Higher trucks make the board better for transition skateboarders who will be turning often and skating ramps, bowls, and vert ramps.
You need to pick trucks that will give your wheels enough clearance from the deck too. Larger diameter wheels will require higher trucks.
The baseplate is a rectangular metal piece of the truck that is utilized to attach the truck to the deck. Baseplates have anywhere from 4 to 6 mounting holes.
The kingpin is a large bolt nut that controls the level of pressure put on the bushing (learn more about the bushing below). It supports the truck hangers (more on these below) as well.
This is a metal located on the bottom of the truck. It is a T shape out of either metal or alloy. It is constructed to be as light as possible, but strong.
This piece lies between the baseplate and the hanger. It is included to cushion the truck while the skater is turning in different directions or moving around the board. There are two bushings on each truck.
Standard stock bushings will do the job, but you may need harder ones depending on your weight.
When it comes to bushings, softer is less stable but gives you good turning power, harder is more stable but will give you stiffer turns.
Axles, otherwise known as hanger shafts, are used to link two wheels to each truck, which are held into place by an axle nut.
This piece is optional. When used, it is placed between the baseplate and the deck. It is useful in preventing the wheels from hitting the bottom of the board and customizing the exact height of your trucks.
The wheels are the part of the board that allows it to roll. They come in different shapes, sizes, and compositions.
Larger wheels (67 to 80 millimeters) enable the board to go faster.
Wheels that are both large and soft are best at absorbing impact. Because of this, they are preferred for cruising and vert riding.
Smaller wheels (52 to 58 millimeters) keep the board closer to the ground, requiring less force to accelerate.
Smaller and harder wheels are often best for street skating, skateparks, and performing tricks.
The perfect medium between hard and soft will give you a good cruise and the ability to do tricks.
This part keeps the wheels spinning in place on the truck.
Two washers are placed between the axle nuts and hanger inner bearings.
Each wheel has bearings that allows it to smoothly spin. The bearing attaches to the center of the wheel and rest on the axle.
Each skateboard wheel has 2 bearings, and a full skateboard has 8 total. They all come in a standard size.
Bearings are rated on their ABEC factor (Annular Bearing Engineer’s Committee).
This rating gives you information about their quality and smoothness. The range starts at 1 for low-quality, cheap bearings and goes up to 9 for better-quality and more expensive bearings. Most bearings are made of precision steel. High-end bearings are made of ceramic and absorb the heat from the friction of the wheel to allow it to go fast.