Building a skateboard for the first time can be intimating. There are so many parts to choose from! What do I need and what is not essential?
In this article, we go through all the parts of the skateboard that are required to start riding and also include some important recommendations for the parts you can purchase.
6 Core Parts of a Skateboard
Each skateboard has 6 core parts. Some builds can have more parts, but every single complete will at least need these 6 components in order to function like a skateboard.
- The board in skateboard. This is the standing platform of the skateboard, typically made from maple wood.
- Adhesive tape with a sandpaper like side used to add grip to the skateboard deck. These are sold in sheets and stuck to the top of the skateboard deck.
- The axle part of the assembly. This is the component made of metal and acts as the wheel axle and the turning mechanism.
- The round parts made from polyurethane that roll along the ground.
- The ball bearings that go inside of the wheels, allowing them to spin freely on the truck axles.
- Eight bolts are required to mount the trucks to the deck. This is commonly referred to as "the hardware".
Let's go into a bit more details about each and offer some recommendations.
The skateboard deck is the part you stand.
A skateboard deck is typically made of wood, although some decks are also made of plastic or composite materials. The deck is typically 7.5 to 8.5 inches wide and 30 to 32 inches long. The nose and tail of the deck are both slightly raised. This gives the rider of the deck leverage to do tricks and maneuvers.
The deck will have 8 holes in it for mounting the trucks with the hardware. These holes come in two patterns which you can learn more about in our Ultimate Deck Guide.
Skateboard decks come in a variety of shapes, but the most common shape is commonly called the "popsicle". Popsicle decks have a symmetrical shape with a slightly raised nose and tail. This makes them ideal for street skating and other types of skating that involve flipping the board. This is typically the most common shape to come to mind when thinking about skateboards.
Other common skateboard deck shapes include:
- Popsicle Decks
- Popsicle decks have a symmetrical shape with a slightly raised nose and tail. This makes them ideal for street skating and other types of skating that involve flipping the board.
- Old School Decks
- Old school decks are wider and longer than popsicle decks. They usually have a large tail and more mellow or small nose. Old school decks are ideal for cruising and pool skating.
- Longboard Decks
- Longboards are much longer than popsicle decks, typically ranging from 36 to 50+ inches long. Longboards are ideal for cruising, downhill skating, and dancing.
- Penny Boards
- Penny boards are small, plastic skateboard decks that are typically only 22 inches long. Penny boards are ideal for cruising and commuting. We don't typically recommend Penny boards, but included them on this list because they are crazy popular for first time riders.
Types of Skateboard Decks
When choosing a skateboard deck, there are a few factors to consider, such as:
- Price: Skateboard decks can range in price from around $20 to $100+. Choose a deck that fits your budget and your needs. A decent popsicle skateboard will be about $35-$45 for a blank or $55+ for a good branded deck.
- Skill level: Are you really good or just starting out? This can help guide your deck decisions.
- Skating style: If you plan on doing a lot of tricks, you will want to choose a popsicle deck. If you plan on doing a lot of cruising or pool skating, you may want to choose an old school deck or longboard that will have larger and softer wheels for a smoother ride.
- Personal preference: Ultimately, the best way to choose a skateboard deck is to experiment and see what feels best to you. Watch some videos on YouTube of different riders and their style. Pick a skateboard similar to what they are riding to get you started.
- Deck Graphics: Skateboard decks come in a variety of graphics, from simple blanks to complex pieces of art. Choose a deck graphic that you like and that will make you stand out from the crowd. But remember, if you're actually going to ride it, graphics are going to get scratched and ruined eventually! It's part of the fun.
- Deck Construction: Skateboard decks are typically made of seven layers of maple wood, but some decks also have layers of fiberglass or carbon fiber. These additional layers add strength and durability to the deck, but they can also make it more expensive. Birch is also a common material used in building cheaper beginner skateboard decks.
- Why it's rad: We've been fans of CCS since back in the day getting the paper catalog. Lots of great graphics and a fair price. Made in China.
- Buy at Amazon
- Why it's rad: Lots of widths really allow for honing of preferences. Simple blank that gives you everything you need. Made in China.
- Buy at Amazon
Stoked Ride Shop Blank
- Why it's rad: Our shop deck, these boards are made in Mexico with premium glues and Canadian Maple. Good selection of widths at decent prices.
- Buy at Amazon
Skateboard grip tape is the abrasive sandpaper like material that is applied to the top of a skateboard deck. It provides traction for the skater's feet, which is essential for maintaining balance and performing tricks. Grip tape is typically made of sand or crushed glass adhered to an adhesive backing.
The grip is sold in sheets, stuck to the skateboard deck, and cut to shape. It can be a bit tricky to apply the grip your first few times. Most skate shops will put it on for you for free if you are not much of a DIY'er.
There is not too much to look for in grip other than the standard sheet. There are grips out there with graphics and even clear grip. However, these tend to lose some of their tack and quality due to compromises made to create the print.
We recommend getting the most basic grip and just ripping it.
- Why it's rad: It works and at a lower price than the others. We don't like this one quite as much, but if you gotta save a few bucks, you gotta save a few bucks!
- Buy at Amazon
- Why it's rad: I've gripped with tons of brands of grip, but none of them do I like quite as much as MOB. It's easy to apply and just works.
- Buy at Stoked Buy at Amazon
Once the deck is chosen and gripped, it's time to put on the turny bits.
Skateboard trucks are the metal axles that connect the wheels to the deck. They play a crucial role in determining how your board turns and feels while riding. Choosing the right trucks can make all the difference in your skateboarding experience.
Trucks are a sub-assembly of a few other parts. Let's go over the basics of what makes up a truck.
- The baseplate is the main component of the truck. It is the plate that attaches to the skateboard deck with four bolts.
- The hanger is the arm of the truck that contains the wheel axle and does the rotating during turns. The axle sticks out at both ends, providing space for the wheels to mount and spin.
- The bushings are the rubber cushions that sit between the hanger, kingpin and baseplate. They absorb some vibrations and allow the truck to turn with resistance.
- The kingpin is the metal rod that runs through the baseplate, bushings, and hanger. It attaches the baseplate to the hanger. This single bolt is what holds the entire truck assembly together.
Skateboard Truck Anatomy
Once the trucks are picked out, time to move on to wheels!
The skateboard wheels are one of the most important components of a skateboard. They come in a variety of sizes, hardnesses, and shapes, and each type of wheel is designed for a different type of ride style.
- Street / Park
- Street wheels are typically smaller and harder than other types of wheels. They are designed for tricks and skating on rough surfaces. Street wheels typically range in size from 50 to 58 millimeters and typically have a hardness of 90a or higher.
- Longboard / Cruising
- Cruising wheels are typically larger and softer than street wheels. They are designed for road surfaces and longer rides. Cruising wheels typically range in size from 60 to 75 millimeters and have a hardness of 90a or lower.
Skateboard Wheel Types
Of course these are general guidelines and there are street wheels that are softer, such as the Fireball Terra or Ricta Cloud Ride. These are commonly called "filmer wheels" because they can be used for filming because they ride more quietly than hard street wheels.
There are also longboard wheels that run harder than 90a, but those are much less common.
But what makes the wheels on the bus go round and round? That would be the bearings...
Skateboard bearings are small roller ball bearings that sit inside of the skateboard wheel. You will need x2 per wheel for a total of 8 ball bearings. The bearing size is 608, which is just the shorthand for 22mm (outer diameter) x 7mm (width) x 8mm (inner diameter/axle).
These components are by far the most precise part of the skateboard and care should be taken when installing them. Check out this YouTube video we made a few years back that explains how to install and uninstall bearings without a tool and without damaging them.
There are two types of materials used in the making of skateboard bearings: steel and ceramic. Steel is the most common and most affordable. Ceramics are going to be 2-3x the price of steel and only really needed for racing applications.
There are also two types of bearing designs: standard and built in. Standard is the most common and will require spacers and speed rings to work best. Built in have spacers and speed rings "built in" to the bearing, making them ready to go right out of the box.
The final pieces of our puzzle and what holds it all together is the skateboard hardware. The hardware is most commonly referring to the 8 bolts and 8 nuts that mount the trucks to the deck. However, it is worth mentioning that hardware can also refer to other nuts and bolts within the skateboard.
Skateboard hardware is usually 1.0" long. This is the length required to go through the deck, trucks and still have enough thread to mount the nut safely. If you add riser pads to the set up, you will have to get longer hardware.
Recommended Skateboard Hardware
You can use our hardware calculator here to see exactly how long the hardware has to be in order to mount everything safely.
Bonus! Other Goodies
Along with the "core" skateboard components, it is good to have a few extras.
Handy When Something BreaksStoked Ride Shop Skate Tool
For when your bearings get dirtyOust Bearing Cleaner
For making your skateboard extra speedyFireball Dragon RACE Bearing Lubricant
While these items are not strictly needed for skateboarding, just about every serious skateboarder has owned oil, bearing cleaner, and a skate tool at some point.
Skateboards are not that complicated when you break them down into their 6 simple components of deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, grip, and hardware.
Once you have all of the components, you can assemble your skateboard and get to shredding. This is a relatively simple process, but there are a few things to watch out for. It's our aim for this article to provide you with enough of the basics to get started and have fun in the world of skateboarding 🤙🏽