The Ultimate Guide to Pivot Cups
What are pivot cups?
Pivot cups are the small "bushings" in the baseplate of your truck that keep it turning effectively about the baseplate's intended angle. They are usually made out of hard polyurethane or sometimes hard plastics like Delrin. Most cast trucks on the market today come stock with hard urethane pivot cups. These get the job done, but it might surprise you how much of a difference an upgrade will make.
Pivot cups are delicious.
Why Upgrade Pivot Cups?
The problem with the stock pivot cups in most trucks is that they tend to be on the "sticky" side. This means when your truck is leaning from side to side, you can feel resistance in the truck's lean from the friction caused between the pivot cup and the hanger pivot. Sticky turning can lean to decreased stability at speed and less predictable turning.
This affects just about everything you do on your skateboard. Also, stock pivot cups often deform over time and/or get worn out and loose, creating a lot more unwanted play in the truck hanger.
Hard plastic pivot cups made out of materials like Delrin effectively fight deforming urethane pivot cups over time. These dense and slippery plastics are a good application for truck pivots as they keep the hanger pivoting around the intended angle without much play at all.
Delrin is often used in precision trucks where the designer wants to eliminate as much slop in the truck as possible. Hard plastic pivot cups are great in a lot of ways, but because they don't compress like urethane can, they tend to have a harsher feeling ride since the pivot cup will absorb very little of the road vibration.
RipTide manufactures a very effective pivot cup out of their 96a WFB urethane. The reason why I recommend RipTide's Pivots is because they provide the best combination of comfort, performance, and durability that I have tried on the market today.
Being made out of urethane, they provide a nice dampening effect while riding rough terrain. They also perform exceptionally thanks to the WFB formula's internal lubrication. Finally, that 96a is hard, so they also last a long time!
RipTides goes through a lot of trouble to make pivots precisely designed to fit one truck model. If you have Paris Trucks, you get the RipTide Pivot Cups for Paris. If you have Caliber II Trucks, you get the RipTide Pivot Cups for Calibers IIs. You get the idea.
RipTide offers a massive variety of precision made pivot cup choices.
The internally lubricated WFB formula is a perfect application for the truck pivot cup as it provides an amazingly friction-less turn straight out of the package. There isn't a need to break in the pivots with the 96a internally lubricated surfaces.
A lot of other aftermarket urethane pivot cups, as well as stock hard polyurethane pivots require a break-in time where the pivot is generally feeling more sticky than normal. Additionally, a lot of brand new pivot cups will cause the truck pivot to squeak when turning. In my experience so far with RipTide pivot cups, I have never heard my trucks utter a peep. Not a huge deal, but noisy trucks can be annoying for some people.
In addition to all the reasons listed above, RipTide also makes a wide variety of pivot shapes, from cups to tubes, that fit flawlessly in almost all of the popular trucks on today's market. RipTide has something for Caliber, Paris, Buzzed, Ronin, Aera, PNL, Gunmetal, Independent, Bennett, REY, Kahalani, Randal, and SurfRodz.
Riot is another awesome brand that offers a massive variety of pivot cups. The cool thing with Riot is that they offer different durometers for their pivots, giving riders an immense level of customization in their setups.
Riot Pivots are color coded so riders can tell which durometer is which.
Riot has sized their pivots so that they work in a wider range of trucks. For example, Caliber II pivots will also work in Gullwings, Navigator, PNL, and others. This fit is not as precise as RipTide, but is balanced with the other customization of the durometer choices.
How Different Durometers Work
Like wheels and bushings, varying the durometer of a pivot will change the performance of the skateboard. Riot understands this and gives their customers the ability to choose which duro they want for maximum performance. They explain:
RiotCups are much like the springs in a car’s suspension. The harder the cup, the more responsive and accurate the steering input and output will be. The softer the cup, the more road damping and less twitch you will encounter.
Also in the pivot cup game is the infamous bushing manufacturer, Venom. They make three different durometers (90a, 93a, and 97a) and fit Caliber, Gunmetal, and Paris trucks. The feel of Venom Pivots is highly regarded and made from Venom Bushing Urethane.
Depending on your truck, pivot cups can be super easy to remove and install or one of the most annoying things you change on your board.
If you're trying to preserve the old pivots, it can be even harder. Sometimes old pivots are locked into the truck baseplate so hard that is almost makes more sense to just rip or deform them during removal. A few truck brands, including PNL, have a little hole on the other side of the pivot, so instead of pulling, you can push it out. This makes things HEAPS easier.
A little hole in the PNL baseplate allows for pivots to be popped out.
Some truck companies are trying new techniques when it comes to pivot removal and installation. Atlas Truck Co. has pivots that screw in.
This is awesome for two reasons: 1) It makes pivot replacement super easy and 2) It is harder for air to get trapped between the truck pivot point and the pivot cup, creating a little air pocket inside the pivot.
It's super subtle, but becoming more common on precision trucks with tight fitting pivot cups. Any air gaps can mess up the precision of the hanger mount and kingpin placement. Altas is the first to market with the screw pivot variety and it a pretty awesome idea for more than one reason.
Threads on the bottom of the Atlas pivot allow for super easy removal with the truck hanger.
Be careful of little pockets of air getting trapped within the pivot cup when you are putting it on the hanger. These become more common on lubed pivots and precision trucks. Sometimes it makes sense to put the pivot on the hanger first, then install on the baseplate. That way you can pinch the pivot a little to force out any little bits of air.
Air pockets will make the truck hanger not match the baseplate properly. It completely confused me the first time this happened because everything appears to come together correctly. Be on the lookout!
The little blue section on the left represents air getting trapped inside of the pivot cup. This can mess up alignment of the hanger.
If you don't have Atlas or PNLs, you're going to have to remove pivots the old school way. Never fear, we'll help you here.
Pliers, specifically the needle nose variety are helpful. Try to grab hold of your old pivot on the top lips (if the top lips aren't covered) and pull it out that way. This usually allows for minimal damage.
Needle nose pliers can help grab and remove pivot cups. We recommend this brand from Amazon.
You can also remove pivots using the wedge method. To do this, simply grab a screwdriver or something similar and start prying at the pivot to get it out. This, like the pliers, can get destructive fast. If you want to reuse your old pivots, proceed with caution.
Removing pivot cups with a screwdriver can be destructive, but it might be your only option.
Once you get the pivots out, installing the new ones usually just takes a second. Just slide them on in and you're good to go. Sometimes air can get trapped (similar to as described above), but it is usually easily overcome by flexing the pivot cup. Mount up the hangers (watch for air bubbles) and feel how buttery those pivots are... Mmmm good.
Measurements shown here can be taken up or down 0.5mm (0.02 inches) and still function. Pivots are made of urethane and subject to flexing and squishing.
For RipTide Pivots, you'll simply pick the name of the pivot that will work for your truck. For example: Paris RipTide Pivots for Paris Trucks. However, it is helpful to also have the specs of the pivots, so we listed them below.
RipTide Pivot Cup specs, drawn to relative scale.
Khiro pivot cups work in most traditional kingpin trucks, like Independent and Tracker. Randal pivot cups are a direct replacement for Randal Trucks. For your reference, we listed out the other sizes of the pivot cups that we carry. These measurements were taken with a caliper, so some rounding and approximating can be done.
|Pivot Type||Inner Diameter||Outer Diameter||Depth||Compatible Trucks|
Polar Bears (TKP)
|Paris Trucks (RKP, V1 and V2),
|Pretty Noise Lab (PNL)||12.3mm
|RipTide Ronin Tubes||9.7mm
|Paris Trucks (RKP, V1 and V2)|
|RipTide Caliber II||12.8mm
|Caliber II (RKP)|
|RipTide Indy / Bennett||11mm
If you know a certain truck works that is not listed, please reach out to us! We want this to be the most complete guide that can answer every question. If you have a question about the sizing of a pivot, please email us!
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