Now that I’ve given you guidance on electric skateboard bearings and bushings it’s time to keep on trucking…Get it? If you don’t, then truck you. Just kidding, but seriously this article is gonna make sure you get the best bang for your…truck… Ok, that’s the end of truck puns for now, but I can’t promise that there won’t be more throughout this article.
So with our traditional dad-jokes out of the way lets get down to business. If you read my last guide on bushing some of this will be a review for you, but plenty will be brand spanking new.
Types of Trucks used for Eskating
Reverse Kingpin Truck (RKP)
Trucks come in many different types, shapes, and sizes. Most are quite simple, some are super complex, and others are gimmicks that die off. The most prominent truck type used in Esk8 is the Reverse Kingpin a.k.a RKP truck. These trucks tend to be stable at higher speeds and offer a good linear carve. These also can come in a variety of degree angles. More on that later. These trucks are among the most common style in Eskating.
Double Kingpin Truck (DKP)
There is also the Double kingpin truck which kind of fits under the TKP style based on the hanger and pivot. You could possibly fit this into its own category. This truck gives a very fluid response and is one of the best trucks for a good carving feeling. Another cool aspect of this truck is that you can remove the middle piece and turn it into a TKP truck. So with this, you have two trucks in one. There are a few downsides. Number one is that you need double the amount of bushings, so when you buy new quality bushings the price is doubled. The other thing to note is both TKP and DKP aren’t as stable at high speeds as RKP trucks. This doesn’t mean you can’t ride them fast, just that you will always be able to ride a low angle RKP faster.
Traditional Kingpin Trucks (TKP)
The other common type of truck is the traditional kingpin truck a.k.a. TKP truck. These are the trucks that started it all back in the day. Although not super common Eskating they do exist. These tend to sit lower than RKP trucks and offer more stability with landing tricks. They also tend to have a divey carve feeling.
There are also chamber trucks, that move along a bolt hinge. Examples of this would be MBS trucks and La Croix Hypertrucks among others. These trucks have 2 chambers where a special wedge bushing goes, so they are quite different from the other 3 trucks in that regard. Most riders use these trucks for offroad adventures, so they tend to be more robust.
Electric Skateboard Trucks Explained
Size of Eskate Trucks
Let’s talk about truck size. To start the wider your trucks the more stable they become. The narrower your trucks the more responsive they are. With that in mind, most Eskate trucks tend to be larger than the board even when they are top-mounted. This provides more than enough stability. Most truck sizes are going to be between 150mm-180mm. This measurement usually refers to the hanger’s measurement. But, every truck company measures its trucks in different ways. Some measure the entire axel length as their measurement.
Keep in mind that two trucks with the same measurement won’t always be the exact same size. For example, I have a set of Indy 169mm and a set of Paris 169mm trucks. The Paris trucks are 4mm longer on their hanger. Yeah so as a former math teacher that bothers me, but moving on. There are trucks bigger than 180mm especially off-road and mountainboard trucks.
Base plates a the piece of your truck that gets mounted to the board. They do much more than anchor your truck to the board. They also create the angle of your truck using the kingpin. Most trucks have fixed angles. Some precision trucks have adjustable angles though.
Most trucks will have an angle between 30-55 degrees. There are exceptions to this rule. On my long-distance pushing longboard, I have a 20 degree truck in the back and a 55 degree truck in the front. This is for pumping the board and providing stability on steep downhills. The larger your truck angle the more your truck can turn. A smaller angled truck can’t turn as much but has a better stability. It is possible to run two different truck angles on a setup as I mentioned above. If you do this always put your higher truck angle on the front of your board. Otherwise, you are not going to have a good time.
The last note on baseplates is that there are 2 mounting patterns Old school and New school. Skateboards from the ’70s and 80’s used the Old school patterns, as the name suggests. In the 90’s street skating came into its golden age. With this new golden age came new grinds wich would often damage the screws and nuts at the end of the baseplate. So the answer was to shift the mounting holes back around a fraction of an inch. Trucks made today either have only new school holes or they will have the option for both. As a rule of thumb, TKP trucks have new school holes while RKP trucks have holes for both on the baseplate. Shorter skate decks often have New school mounting holes, while longboard decks use old school mounting holes.
The hanger is the other piece of your truck. Within and on the hangar you will find the axle, the bushing seat, and the pivot. When we refer to the width of the truck this piece is what determines that.
The hangars are also made using different construction methods. These three methods are cast, precision, and forged. Cast being the weakest and forged being the strongest.
Rake is how much your axle is offset from the pivot axis.
How rake effects your truck is hotly debated in the skateboard world. A lot of companies make claims that may just be marketing hype. Here is a thread from Pavedwave forums. Read through it if you want to go down that rabbit hole, but I have a feeling this subject would need its own article.
This is the section on your hanger where the kingpin passes through and where the bushings sit. The bushing seat changes how the bushing compresses and feel. Some even require specific bushings.
Risers have one main purpose and that is to make sure you don’t get wheel bite and eat s***. They come in 3 common sizes: 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 inch. There are larger sizes and other sizes but they are for specific uses. There are also angled risers that allow you to change the truck angle without buying a new truck. Risers come in a multitude of materials, but most often they are plastic. There are some rubber ones as well that can help with slight shock absorption.
Choosing a Truck for Electric Skateboards
You have limited choices when choosing esk8 trucks compared to regular skateboards. This is due to the nature of esk8 with the back trucks. With that though you still have options.
Carving is possible on any truck, but some trucks feel much better than others. Carving is a motion you do on the board that is a combination of lean and turn. I have a 20-degree RKP that can lean very far, but hardly turns at all, so it wouldn’t be a good carving truck. What makes the best carving truck is an opinion. For this reason most people like Double Kingpin DKP trucks. DKP trucks allow for the greatest lean with also great turn. Once again this is the most popular opinion, but you can still get great carve out of other trucks.
If you are going high speed, especially on the road, your best bet is a low angled RKP. When in doubt on anything in Esk8 look at the analog counterpart. Downhill riders ride various brands of RKP that are around 44 degrees. This lower angle limits the turning which helps prevents speed wobbles. Also if you plan on higher speeds learn proper form. Make sure your weight is towards the front of the truck. Otherwise, you will suffer speed wobbles and eat some pavement. Here is a video that demonstrates the physics behind this using a trailer.
For off-road, wide trucks are your best bet since you will want to run big wheels. There are wider RKP, and DKP trucks for offroad, but chambered trucks seem to be the most popular truck for this. Chambered trucks allow more flexibility and responsiveness. They are also usually built with offroad in mind and are a little beefier
Best Electric Skateboard Trucks
So with this guide, there is no simple answer for something like the top 3 trucks. It’s very complicated. But I’m going to give you reputable brands that you can buy from for whatever your Esk8 goals are.
Before we go any further there are 4 types of motor options for esk8 trucks. Belt Drive, Gear drive, Hubs, and Direct Drives. Let’s break this down.
Belt drives us a belt between the motor and wheels to move the skateboard. The pros to this are it is highly customizable, provides high torque and you can use 4 regular wheels. Also with this option, you can choose your back truck as long as you can find a motor mount to fit it. The downsides to this truck are that they are bad at free-rolling. They also can be loud and need maintenance.
Hub drives are the cheapest option out there. This is why a lot of companies use them. They are also easy to install(with the correct truck), have good free-roll, very quiet, and sleek looking. The major downside to this wheel is you cant buy any wheels. The back wheels are the motor with a thin urethane sheet over them you have to buy special wheels for the back truck. This model also has weaker torque and a higher failure rate.
The direct drive takes a lot of the positives of hubs and belts and combines them. They have excellent free-rolling, use 4 regular wheels, and are silent. Of course, they still have drawbacks. They are heavy, bulky, have low ground clearance, and aren’t as available as belts and hubs. A good truck in this style for DIY is the Torque truck kit. If you don’t what to DIY the Revel conversion kit is also a DD.
A Gear drive is similar in some ways to a Belt drive. First, you can have 4 regular wheels on it like the Belt. Also, it attaches to a regular truck. It has the bonus of being excellent for free-rolling, unlike the belt drive. Some of the cons include a high pitch noise, expensive, difficult to maintain, and are bulky. There is also a question on how durable they are.
Electric Skateboard trucks for DIY
In this section, I am going to go over some various trucks that you could use in a DIY longboarding build. These trucks are longboarding trucks that have motor mounts that can fit on them for DIY.
Caliber trucks are the most common truck for DIY builds. In fact, this is the truck that most DIY suppliers clone for their own trucks. One reason for this is that they provide a very stable ride. The other reason is the fact that their rectangular-shaped hanger makes it very easy to mount onto. Another cool design feature of this truck is that the hanger is reversible. Riding it one direction provides rake when flipped it has no rake. I own a pair of these trucks and I will say that they are a solid choice. Calibers come in one size 184mm and two degrees 50° and 44°. They do not offer any warranty on their site. Link to their website: calibertruckco.com
Paris trucks are a favorite in the longboarding community. They have a reputation for providing a fluid feel and are a great all-around truck. Their trucks have rake built into them and they do not have the option to flip the hanger. Another great option is that they offer the trucks in size 150mm, 165mm, 180mm, and 195mm. They also offer 50° and 43° trucks. This provides you with some options during your build. They also have a lifetime guarantee on any trucks you buy from them. I own their 150mm RKP trucks and 169mm TKP trucks and I will say I love how they both ride. Link to their website: paristruckco.com
Bear trucks aren’t super common in Esk8, but I have seen a few builds when I was scouring the DIY forums. I have a pair of Bear Grizzly RKP trucks and Their Polar Bear TKP trucks. I don’t recommend them. They ride fine, but their customer service sucks and they don’t put any info about their trucks on their site. Their site is all about making their trucks look cool. And they do look cool, but I prefer function overlooks. My biggest gripe is that with their RKP trucks they machine/weld the kingpin into the baseplate. This means you can’t knock it out with a hammer when it comes time to replace it. You either have to machine it out with a lathe or a press. This is an awful design. At some point, you will replace your kingpin as part of maintenance so it doesn’t snap on you while riding. On mine, the tread on mine got damaged when it hit a curb and I couldn’t replace it meaning I would have to buy a whole new truck. I reached out to Bear multiple times asking what I should do and never got a response. Also when I bought the Landyachtz Dinghy I noticed a week later that a bushing had a giant air bubble in it. Once again when I reached out to bear for help the only response I got was silence. I am biased on this truck so feel free to disagree. Link to website: beartrucks.com
Randal Trucks are another uncommon truck in Esk8, but once again not unheard of. I have never ridden Randal trucks, but I hear good things. For starters, I do love how much information their website gives about their trucks. They have a lifetime guarantee, like Paris. Their hangers are can be flipped to adjust rake, like Caliber. They also have a wider selection of sizes and angles than both companies put together. They offer 125mm, 150mm, 160mm, 170mm, and 180mm trucks. As for angles, they have 35° 42° and 50° trucks. One last cool note is most of their trucks hangers and bases are interchangeable. They also sell hangers and baseplates separately. Meaning you could buy a separate set of baseplates to try out different angles. This would save you money and space on storage. Link to website: Randal.com
Precision Reverse Kingpin (RKP) Trucks
Precision trucks as the name implies have precise measurements. These trucks can range in price on average from $150 – 300 for a complete set. These are uncommon, but you can still find builds using them on esk8 forums. There are many precision longboard trucks out there that I could do a whole article on them. Being they are very precise you want to know what your goal is for you build that way you know which specific set to get. I own a set of Don’t Trip Poppy trucks and they are great for pumping and long distance on an analog longboard. Yet I’m not sure I would use them in an electric build, but rather another one of Don’t Trip’s precision trucks. Surfrodz, Haggyboards Kahua truck, and Trampa boards 12-fifties all came upon several build’s online. These three trucks all have mounts that work for them. There may be others that you can make work, but that will require a lot of inquiry and asking around on forums. You can check some of them out here.
Double Kingpin Trucks
This section is going to be brief because DIY DKP doesn’t have many options. Most DKP electric trucks like Evolves, Backfire, and Ownboard are quite expensive. A complete set of Ownboards trucks are $120 and evolve are $175 and that doesn’t even include bushings. This is pretty expensive for non-precision trucks. Keep in mind these trucks are all based on the Gullwing Sidewinder which a full set retails from $54 – 74. However, the Gullwing hanger is smaller. If you want to do a DIY with DKP you’re going to need to dig deep on the Esk8 forums and do quite a bit of research. Safe to say this wouldn’t be a project for a beginner.
So I have zero experience riding chambered trucks in analog or Esk8. So I will guide you to quality brands based on what others say. Some of the big brands of chambered trucks would be Lacroix, Trampa, and MBS.
Lacroix’s hyper truck is one of the few chambered Precision trucks on the market. At a whopping $850 for the pair, I would hope that this is the best-chambered truck money can buy. These also use special bushing wedges designed by Riptide. These trucks cost as much as some solid builds for a complete DIY build. So, make sure you know you want them.
Link to the website: lacroixboards.com/trucks
MBS trucks are another popular chambered truck with several options. It is a brand that has been around for a while. Lacroix even uses their trucks on their lowest option model. Link to MBS website: mbs.com/trucks
Trampa has several Chamber trucks and is a popular brand and supplier in the esk8 scene. They sell everything from parts to completes. They have a large selection of off-road parts, but also some road build parts too. Link to website: trampaboards.com/trucks
I’m not going to dive into this much since most of the truck mounts I’ve found cater to RKP trucks. If you want to run your front truck as a TKP or you are going to buy one of the Loaded kits I talk about below then I’ll give you some quick recommendations. Independent Trucks or Paris TKP. I’ve ridden both of these trucks and they carve great. The Paris TKP trucks ride a little hight than the Indys, but only by about 2 – 3mm. I also hear great things about the Surfrodz Precision TKP truck, but I don’t have any personal experience with it.
All-In-One Electric Skateboard Truck
Ok, so let’s say DIY isn’t your thing and you want to buy an all in one system. This limits you to a hub and Direct drive options. The main 3 options on the market right now are Revel Kit, Loaded, and Mellow. All 3 options are air safe and easy to move from one deck to another hassle-free. Of course, you can use any of these on a drop deck. Another benefit of these all in one unit is the ability to buy extra batteries to swap out.
If you are looking for a cheap price and options on wheels go wit the Revel kit. It uses a direct drive so you can use 4 regular wheels and you won’t be riding directly on the motor. It can go 28mph with a range of 6-15 miles. It only has a 6-month warranty. Link to website: revelboards.com
Unlimited x Loaded Kits
If you want truck options then go with one of the 3 loaded kits. This system uses a hub motor. They range in price from $759-$1349. Keep in mind this doesn’t include any trucks so add another $50 or so depending on the trucks you use. You have to bring those to the table. Depending on which kit you get they have a top speed of 23-26miles per hour and a range of 7-13miles. Their warranty lasts 12 months. Link to website: unlimitedxloaded.com
Go with Mellow Drive if you want a long warranty. Their warranty is 2 years which is double the lengths of Loaded’s. They also use a Hub motor, but they have a built-in truck so you can’t customize that like Loaded’s system. You could swap out the front truck for another truck. The top speed is 22mph and the range is 7 miles. Link to website: mellowboards.com
This article doesn’t have a simple answer to the best truck or top three like some of my other articles. I’m sorry about that, but it is the nature of this subject. It all depends on your goals on your board, the terrain you are riding, how you want your trucks to feel, and if you want to DIY. I hope this guide can help point you in the right direction and narrow down your choices. And if you’ve learned nothing else from this article remember this: I hate Bear trucks…rawr.