There is an age-old saying in skating: One in the hand is worth two in the bushing… I’m sorry but that’s the best bush pun I could make. Now with that out of the way let’s talk about esk8 bushings. Bushings have a huge effect on your ride and are often the most overlooked part of the electric skateboard. The only thing overlooked more is Pivot cups and we’ll go into that as well in this guide. No matter what type of skating you do be Eskating, longboarding, or traditional skateboarding, I have the answers for the best bushings. There are two companies that make the best bushings and that is Riptide and Venom. There are no other companies that cover as much ground as these two. For third place, I put in Bones bushings and Orangatang. Between these two companies, there are some decent bushing options. Bones and Orangatang aren’t bad quality bushings, they don’t have a lot of options in durometer or shape. On why these two are the best I’ll get into that further in the article but first let’s cover what exactly bushings are.
Top 3 Bushing Brands:
Bones and Orangatang Bushings
Introduction Electric Skateboard and Longboard Bushings
You are about to see a visual guide explaining Bushings. I want to credit Stephen Chick for the Images. We got the pics from this Reddit Post.
Made of polyurethane
Polyurethane also referred to as urethane or thane by skaters, is a polymer that’s used in skateboard bushings, pivot cups, and wheels. Altering the chemical makeup or formula makes the bushings harder, softer, or rebound differently.
Durometer is a scale that Is usually used to measure the particular hardness of plastics, rubbers, or polymers. In skateboarding, this applies to bushings and wheels in particular. There are several different hardness scales. The most common when used in skateboarding is the A scale. I’m sure if you look at the side of your wheels right now you’ll see something like 78 a, 87a, or if it’s a street wheel it’s possibly as high as 101a. Although scientifically speaking you can never go over 100 on any of the scales when it says 101 it’s a marketing ploy. There are also other scales such as the B and the D scale. These are rarely used though in the Skate World. Bones have a few wheels that they measure in the B scale. One important thing to note is that durometers are not the same across different formulas within the same company. So if you buy a 90a hardness bushing from one company, a 90a from another company might feel way softer or way harder. If you want to know more about the durometer scale here’s a good video:
Boardside and Roadside bushing
Identifying which bushing you’re talking about can be difficult if you refer to them as the top bushing or the bottom bushing. This is because when you’re riding them a different one is on top then when you are doing maintenance on the board has flipped over. For this reason, we use the terminology roadside and board side bushings. The boardside bushing is the bushing that is closer to the board.
The roadside bushing is the bushing that is closer to the road when you are riding the board.
Different Bushing Shapes
Bushings come in many different shapes. Anybody who makes a bushing could make a new shape if they wanted to. The two most common shapes are the barrel and the cone. Yet, there are many more shapes and we’re going to go through all them here and let you know what each one does.
The cone is the shape that provides the least amount of resistance and stability. These trucks allow you to achieve the full lean of your truck.
The barrel is more stable than the cone and one of the most common shapes used in both RKP and TKP trucks.
Stepped Barrel/ Stim
The stim shape is a general term for any stepped bushing. What I mean by stepped is it looks like a stair-step almost. Riptide has a shape called Chubbys while Venom carries a shape called Eliminators. The smaller stepped part of the bushings are usually around the same diameter as a barrel shape. meaning the rest of the bushing is wider in diameter. This allows for the potential for more stability without having to increase your durometer hardness. Thus giving you more stability. These shapes are usually used on setups where you want to go fast like downhill or any other time you don’t want your truck turning as much.
This shape is one of my favorites. I use it in several setups including my long-distance setup. This shape provides a higher resistance when you lean and offers a rebound to get you back to center. The shape usually stays on the board side. That’s where it’s recommended it should go, but skateboarding is all about creativity so I guess you could try to put it on the roadside. It’s just that it usually won’t fit on most trucks on the roadside. Currently the fact own is only available from Riptide Sports. The shape is great for any boards you plan on pumping. they’re also pretty decent for helping against wheel bite if you’re having that kind of problem. However, there are other ways to combat wheel bite as well.
At first glance, the cannon shape looks like a barrel. Although the shapes are the same the cannon is slightly wider in diameter. This offers more stability and rebound. This is a shape currently only sold by Riptide.
This shape is designed to give a progressive feel in both rebound and resistance than a regular Barrel. This also creates less of a hard stop then with other bushings. The shape is only currently available from Venom.
Tall: As the name suggests these bushings are tall. Usually when they say tall though they mean tall for a longboard bushing or a reverse Kingpin bushing. These bushings are usually made for specific trucks that require a taller bushing. If you are thinking about installing these checks with the bushing company to make sure they would work in your truck.
Short: This term usually comes into play more with traditional Kingpin trucks. with traditional kingpins, your board side bushing tends to be taller than your roadside brushing. This isn’t always the case though it depends on the length of your Kingpin and the maker of the truck. Once again ask your truck maker or the company that you’re buying bushings from for which ones you need. If you know the exact measurements, Riptide has the exact measurements of every bushing they sell. Venom does not so you would have to contact them directly if you’re looking for a specific size. Another option is to look at Venoms products on Muirskate.com where the sizes are often listed.
Reverse Kingpin (RKP)
When it comes to any type of skateboarding there are two types of truck, excluding gimmicks or prototypes. The first one that you see on most longboards and almost all electric skateboards is the reverse Kingpin(RKP). The RKP sits a little higher than a TKP truck which makes it great for smooth turns and carves. With most reverse kingpins both the board side and roadside bushing are the same size.
Traditional Kingpin (TKP)
Traditional Kingpin trucks are lower than reverse Kingpin trucks. They have a more divey turn rather than a linear turn. On TKP trucks the board side bushing is usually taller and the roadside bushing. I should also mention that there are a few e-skate companies that make a double Kingpin truck. These trucks function as a traditional Kingpin with double the amount of bushings. So double any prices in this article for the total cost. Also, I do know some of them like Evolve use RKP bushings boardside and TKP bushings roadside. Check with your truck company for exact measurements. Then double-check them on Riptide or Venom sites to make sure you’re getting the correct ones.
Custom shapes for other trucks
Lacroix uses custom bushings (made by Riptide) for their Hypertrucks and some MBS trucks use shock blocks.
Trucks without Bushings
Some trucks don’t use bushings at all. Instead, they opt for a spring system instead. These systems allow you to tighten and loosen the spring like a bushing. Some examples of this include Baja Boards and Kaly NYC.
Pivot cups come in one shape, yet, each truck uses its own size. So it’s important to buy a pivot cup made for your truck.
Along with the bushing you will use a washer. You should always use a washer on the roadside bushing as that protects the bushing from the nut as you screw it down. Most of the time you’ll run a washer on the board side bushing as well. There are exceptions to this. For example on my long distance setup both of the fat cones I have on the front and back have no washer board side. No washer means there’s nothing for the bushing to push against so you get less resistance. Conversely having a washer provides resistance for the bushing to push against. There are different size washers, but most bushing companies will give you the correct size washer with the bushings you buy.
The other option besides a flat washer is a cupped washer. As the name implies when you get towards the edges of the washer they turn upwards or downwards to create a cup. This shape helps to restrict the bushing which can make it feel more stable. You can apply this washer if you just need a little more stability before tightening your bushing or switching to a harder bushing.
Like shapes, they make bushings from different formulas. These formulas can have as drastic of an effect as the shape. Most companies just have their one formula. But, Riptide and Venom have many formulas within their companies. That’s why I chose them as the top two. I’ll get into their formulas when I go into details about each of their companies.
How to install Bushings the right way
When you install a bushing you should tighten down your Kingpin until you can no longer easily turn the washers or bushings. When the bushing is at this point it has its maximum range of movement. You can tighten down many bushings from this point which restricts its movement range and makes them feel harder. If you find yourself tightening your kingpin more than 540-720 degrees then bump up to a harder durometer in that formula.
The Best Electric Skateboard and Longboard Bushing Brands
No one matches Riptide in their number of formulas, shapes, and durometer options. On top of this, they also stand alone in quality pivot cups. No other company makes pivot cups that are the same quality or that precisely fit every truck. They even make bushings soft enough that you could put in a skateboard for your kid. Riptide can be a One-Stop shop for your whole family. Link to the Riptide Website: riptidesports.com
Let me put this in perspective so you understand how customizable Riptide bushings are. Let’s say you want a simple barrel bushing. Now that you have the shape down you can choose between one of the 3 formulas; WFB, APS, or Krank. Between those three formulas combined there are over 25 different durometer options. If we wanted the same barrel shape with Venom they have 2 formulas, SHR and HPF. Between those two formulas a total of 15 different durometer options.
Not only this but Riptide also makes all of their shapes for Traditional Kingpin (TKP) trucks as well. Most bushing companies if they make traditional kingpin bushings make the double cone.
Interview with the President of Riptide
In researching this article I was able to reach out to the president of Riptide Sports, Brad Taylor Miller, and ask him a few questions. I will paraphrase what he told me when I interviewed him throughout this article. When I do I’ll make sure to cite what advice he gave me.
Riptide Customer Service
I’ve been riding Riptide bushings almost a year now on my longboards. Yet only at the beginning of March did I find out that Riptide made all their shapes for TKP trucks. So I bought an APS Street bushing kit. When it arrived I noticed one of the short cones had a chip missing out of it. I went to Riptide’s website, found their phone number, and called. Brad picked up and was able to answer my questions and told me how to send it back and get a replacement. Imagine that. In this day and age so many companies outsource customer service or only allow contact through email. Riptide, on the other hand, has a phone number where the president picks up and can help you out. If that’s not awesome customer service then I don’t know what is. I should also mention though Brad also has an awesome coworker named Tracy who also answers the phone and helps with customer service as well. Between the two of them, any issues I’ve had they’ve been able to solve faster than lightning. Also, Riptide has a bushing recommendation form on their website but you can fill out and they will reply with recommended bushings for you. I’ll cover this a little more in a bit.
So as I mentioned earlier Riptide has 3 formulas. These 3 formulas are the world’s fastest bushing(WFB), the animated polymer system(APS), and the Krank formula.
Worlds Fastest Bushing (WFB)
The WFB Formula compound offers a different trait from most bushings. It has unique lubrication that does not bond with the urethane. Because of this, there will be some white residue on the surface of these bushings. What this does is create reduced bushing friction for fast transitions and a deeper lean then the APS compound. It also has a lower rebound than the APS compound giving it a very fluid response. As I stated before Riptide suggests that you tighten the kingpin to where it’s snug enough that the bushings are difficult to move by hand. This compound when tightened past the snug recommendation won’t change unlike other bushings. I personally haven’t ridden these bushings so I don’t have too much more to add on them.
Animated Polymer System (APS)
This compound has a high rebound and is quite lively giving you lots of control and lean. Riptides website says that this compound “will turn 10 to 15% more than the same durometer of other brands.” When I was talking with Brad he said that you can tighten this formula down past the snug recommendation. You’ll notice a difference for approximately 540 degrees of Kingpin rotation. Or about 70% to 80% as much as you could get out of the Krank formula. APS Formula was the first compound I bought from Riptide. It’s a great compound and I still use it on my rear trucks on my long-distance setup. They definitely are quite lively.
Krank is the coolest of the formulas because it doesn’t need an acronym. That’s my stance at least ;-). This formula has fewer durometer options than the other two but for a good reason. This compound is Riptide’s highest rebound formula designed to change under pressure. This allows the user to turn the kingpin up to 2 full rotations or 720 degrees. This gives you a lot of wiggle room to find the sweet spot for riding. So full disclosure, I spent a decent chunk of change buying Krank bushings to test for this article. It’s a terrible business plan but an awesome stoke plan. I also have no regrets because Krank is by far my favorite bushing ever. I’ve tested it in my long-distance setup, tech-slide setup, surfskate, and my skate park board. The high rebound is incredible and adds liveliness to my setups. The number of shapes it comes in as well gives so many options to make plush setups. So on my long-distance setup, I switched out my 90A APS bushings for 84a Krank bushings on my front truck. I kept the same shapes with both formulas(fat cone boardside cannon roadside). The Krank bushings feel harder than the APS of an equal Duro. Obviously, this isn’t that surprising based on their numbers. Yet the part that was surprising is that when I was getting up to 25 plus miles an hour I was feeling as stable with the Krank formula. Unfortunately, right now with the closing of all the skateparks due to COVID-19, I’m not able to test out my transition board as thoroughly as I’d like. But whenever they reopen and I test it out all update the section of the guide.
What is each formula best for?
When I asked Brad about this he said that they don’t define what each is best used for, rather they let the riders decide. With that in mind, he said WFB is great for rough roads, but you need the exact right duro. Whereas I mentioned earlier you can alter both APS and Krank by tightening the Kingpin. To find out what formula is best for you, fill out the bushing recommendation form on Riptide’s site. Brad will read it over and send you back a recommendation tailored to exactly what you need. Riptide does have several weight charts on their site for choosing a bushing. But Brad told me he did those because people kept asking for them. It’s best to talk with Brad and he’ll help you get the perfect fit. If I would have used the chart online I would have bought harder ones that I needed.
On an old Reddit post, I found someone who has ridden all of the Riptide and Venom formulas. They then went ahead and listed them from least amount of rebound to most rebound: RipTide WFB, RipTide APS, Venom HPF, Venom SHR, Riptide Krank. There’s more to each bushing than the rebound. But I thought this might be a useful bit of information when comparing all five compounds between the two companies.
What sets Riptide pivot cups apart from standard cups?
As I mentioned earlier everyone overlooks pivot cups on a skateboard. Riptide is once again unmatched when it comes to pivot cups. If you go to the website you will see the very long list of pivot cups they make for each specific truck. The standard cups that come equipped on most trucks are plastic, not urethane and that’s why they degrade quickly. Urethane can compress and set back to its original shape. What this does is it allows your pivot cup to go on for a very very very long time compared to the crappy plastic ones. Changing these out on your board won’t always be noticeable immediately but rather in the long term you won’t be having to change them out very often.
E-skate companies Riptide collaborates with:
Since this is an e- skating blog I thought it would be pertinent to know that Brad is heavily involved in the e-skate scene. He involves himself with the IUF which is the International Uphill Federation. This is a group that races electric boards uphill at speeds of 50 to 60 plus miles an hour. He works directly with the following Estate companies:
- West Coast Standard
- Stooge Raceboards
So he’ll be able to steer you in the right direction even when it comes to dialing in bushings for your electric skatebaord.
When I finished talking to Brad I asked him what in his opinion made Riptide the best bushings? Brad said it is the customers. He builds what he wants and customers like the same thing and continue to support him. Also, their attention to detail, consistency, and manufacturing process is really tight. They inspect each bushing 2-4 times for air bubbles, color inconsistency, or other defects. Brad says his wife does the final inspection and she is more of a stickler than he is. At the end of the day, Brad says he takes pride in what he makes and wants to make the best product possible and make it and cool fun colors. Link to Riptide Website.
Venom makes bushings but they also make wheels along with a few other accessories. At one point they made pivot cups but not anymore. Venom bushings are super popular in the downhill skateboard community. There are also plenty of other disciplines that use them as well. They also make a set of bushings for TKP trucks. Note that these bushings are only the cone shapes and do not include the other shapes that Venom makes for their RKP bushings.
Venom does not have a direct phone number contact like Riptide. During research for this article, I sent two emails to Venom. One of the emails was to ask a question about bushings and the other was to ask if I could call them up to do an interview similar to what I did with Brad. I still haven’t heard back from either email. I’m not sure Venom closed its doors right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but their website and social media make no mention of this. So the Riptide section will have more information because I can only pull what I find from Venom’s web site and what customers say online.
High Performance (HPF)
Venom High-Performance formula is Venom’s original formula. They say that it is the perfect blend of rebound and dampening to keep you stable at higher speeds for use in downhill skating.
Super High Rebound (SHR)
They created this bushing because of the demand for high rebound bushings at the time. And there weren’t any products on the market that were high rebound enough. The ones that did have a high rebound offered no damping.
Venom descriptions seem to hold up to the opinion held online that they are definitely a higher rebound bushing. Being higher rebound bushings than both the Riptide APS and WPS with slightly less rebound than then Riptide Kranks
When it comes to information on Venom’s bushings I find the website Muirskate to be easier to access all their product information.
Overall Venom is a good brand that offers different bushing compounds then Riptide and in that sense, they don’t really step on each other’s toes. Even Brad the owner of Riptide said he is glad they exist because what they make is different from what he makes.
In regards to Eskating, I’ve seen several e-skaters mention that they use Venom bushings in their setup. If you wanted a recommendation on what to use with them you could try reaching out to them via email and hope they reply. Otherwise, you’ll have to use the weight recommendation chart. Another option is to reach out to people in the Eskate community that have ridden on them to see what they say.
Orangatang is a company that’s well known for their wheels. They make quality wheels and they also make a set of bushings. They call their bushings nipples and they come in three harnesses: soft medium and hard. They don’t give durometer numbers For their harnesses. They also only sell them in packs of 4 and in only one shape. Also, it says on their website that they are only compatible with certain trucks. The website says, “Nipples are NOT recommended for every truck on the market, but they do work well with Paris, Tracker Fastracks and Randals (among others).” I have actually ridden orangutan soft nipples. They came in the first used deck I bought when I started longboarding. They seemed like good bushings but honestly, I didn’t ride them long because they were too soft for me.
You’re probably familiar with the brand name Bones especially if you ride a skateboard or if you’ve bought Bones Red bearings. They also make very good TKP bushings. They named these bushings Bones Hardcore. The reason they named them hardcore is they literally have a hardened core in the center of the bushing. They only come in one shape and that’s the cones. Much like Orangatang they also only have three harnesses: soft(81a) medium(91a) and hard(96a). Bones do give you duro numbers with these. It’s worth noting that for a brief time. Bones also made Hardcore RKP bushings. However, these bushings are no longer on their official site. You can find them on several longboarding store websites for sale, but I don’t think they intend to make any more. I have skated their TKP bushings. In fact, it was all I used until I found out Riptide also made Street bushings and had since switched over to them. The bones bushings are great quality bushing but once again limit themselves by the fact that there are only 3 duros and 1 shape.
This question was a hard one to answer. Most of the skate companies I found didn’t list where they make their bushings. Since I was able to talk to Brad on the phone I do know that Riptide makes their bushings in Santa Barbara CA and Brad makes them himself. Also on Bones website, it says they make their bushings in Santa Barbara as well. In general, I do know that a lot of skate companies make their wheels and bushings in California. But other than Riptide and Bones for the sake of this article, I can’t confirm where Venom and Orangatang make their bushings.
For pricing, I think it’s important to compare apples to apples. What I mean by this is bushing prices change for different shapes and different formulas within a company. For this pricing section, I’m going to compare the same shapes from different companies for the same type of truck. I pulled these prices off of the official websites for each company.
|Bushing Model (RKP)||Price|
|Bushing Model (TKP)||Price|
All the companies are pretty close in pricing, only varying by a few dollars. There are no giant savings for going for the cheapest compound. Something I didn’t mention is that there are always super cheap no-name bushings you can find on Amazon or other places. When I first started out I tried this out and wasn’t impressed. I found the quality wasn’t great and in fact, a few of them had deformities and air bubbles. It’s worth the money to spend a few dollars more to get quality.
Maintenance and replacement
How often should you replace bushings or what should I look for as a sign it’s time to replace? And when should I replace pivot cups? The answer to this one is simple and that is replacing them when they no longer feel good. This is what Brad told me and it makes sense. If you’re seeing any cuts, tears, or air bubbles that could also be another sign it’s time to replace that bushing. Pivot cups, once they become sloppy and lose and the hanger shakes around in the pivot cup. That is your signal that it is time to replace it.
Now that you got the big picture to let’s sum it all up. In my opinion, if you’re going to get bushings to get them from Riptide or Venom. They are both associated with quality and have a huge range of shapes, formulas, and durometers. Not only that but their prices are in the same ballpark as Orangatang.
If you are new to bushings and find yourself intimidated my recommendation is to use the form I mentioned above with Riptide. That way Brad can look over it and narrow down your choices and really help you out. He even helped me out when I was interviewing him in choosing which Krank duro I should go with.
If you’re experienced with bushings before and are going to try out a bunch I would still recommend using the form with Riptide as a starting point. Then buy a set from each formula from Riptide and Venom. If you do this you’ll know you have the exact perfect setup. That could get a little costly but for some people, it might be worth it.
Whichever camp you find yourself in I highly recommend you try Riptide out or Venom bushings if you haven’t. My personal favorite is the Krank formula from Riptide. My reason is how high the rebound is and how adjustable the bushing is.
I said this in the beginning but I’ll state it again. The bushing is one of the cheapest ways to change how your ride feels completely. You can spend somewhere between $14 – $23 (for 4 bushings) and It can take a dead feeling board and make it feel like a brand new whip.