When picking out and setting up a longboard it's easy to focus on the largest pieces. Start with the deck, then pick a truck color, select your wheel size and duro, load it with what bearing you prefer and you're set! However, one of the most overlooked parts of a longboard setup is also one of the most crucial. Inside your trucks is the magical longboard bushing. This bushing does more to affect the ride and feel of your longboard than nearly every other part of the setup! And we aren't talking about simply cranking down or loosening the nut, bushings are a science! So get ready to learn, because this article is here to teach!

Durometer

Each bushing has a durometer rating same as your wheels. Durometers for bushings also run basically the same as wheels as well, often starting somewhere around 78a and going up to about 95a, with a few select offerings outside that range. The lower the duro rating the softer the bushing. A softer bushing will make your trucks feel much more loose and thus using a lower or higher duro bushing is the appropriate way to change the response of your trucks as opposed to over tightening or loosening the nut on the kingpin.

So how do you pick a duro? It comes down to two factors, your weight and riding style. Lighter riders tend to use lower duros as they take less weight to compress and thus turn the board. Lower Duros are also used by riders looking for a more free loose ride with lots of cruising and slow speeds. Higher duros are the choice of speed demons and bombers as their stiffnes creates a very stable ride but are prohibitive towards sweeping tight turns.

Shape

The other thing you can take in to account is the shape of the bushings. Shape is far less simple than durometer with many companies creating experimental shapes and designs. These are all different ways to adjust the amount of and flex pattern of the urathane. 

There are 3 main shapes of bushings you will regularly run in to: cones, barrels, and stepdown/eliminator. These can all be used both boardside and roadside as a complete set up or you can mix and match with every combination providing a different feel and ride.

Cone bushings have the lowest amount of urethane and thus easiest to compress making them great for carving. Barrels provide a lot of urethane and a super stable feel allowing them to excel at speed. Stepped/Eliminator bushings are similar to the barrels but with extra width around the center and creates a very restrictive ride, these are best used for intense speeds and very demanding conditions. A barrel bushing boardside with a cone bushing roadside is a perennial favorite setup due to it's versatility for carving and sliding. A double barrel setup is equally popular for it's stability in most conditions without excessive restriction.

What Now

Use your new found knowledge to go out and see what you like best. The only real way to decide is to test and test and see what feels good. We love to promote Hairy Bushings as they offer very large kits with a huge variety of bushings for lower than most other companies sell a single set. Just remember no matter what bushing you choose to go with the important part thing is you are out riding!

Posted in Gear Talk By

Luke Balbo