They may be one of the smallest items on your skateboard, but bushings are so important for keeping a smooth ride and helping you turn and pivot. Choosing the best bushings for your board will depend on things like the type of board you have, your weight and your style of skating, though there will always be some that are just more well made.
In this article we’re going to take a deeper look at everything bushings; What do they do? Do you need soft or hard bushings? What should you look for when buying a new set? Let’s get straight to it and answer these questions and more…
What are the best skateboard truck bushings?
So, what bushings come with the best recommendations? Of course there are several different factors to consider when choosing the right ones for you (more on that later!), but when it comes to overall quality and solid performance, what are the best skateboard bushings? Here’s our pick of the top models on the market right now.
Bones Wheels Hardcore Bushings – Hard
Bones is recognized as one of the leading skate gear brands, so it’s probably no surprise that these bushings are so popular. The Bones Hardcore truck bushing comes with an insert that keeps things firm while also giving a bit of bounce.
|– Firm support with some “bounce”|
|– Usual great Bones quality|
|– Might be a little too hard for lighter riders|
Bones Wheels Hardcore Bushings – Medium
If you’re looking for skateboard bushings that are pretty much good to go straight out of the box, these ones from Bones are fantastic. Designed to suit most riders, they offer a decent amount of stability while also making turns and tricks easy.
|– A good fit for most skaters|
|– Almost no break-in needed|
|– Might be too soft for e-boards|
Bones Wheels Hardcore Bushings – Soft
These softer bushings from Bones are especially good for kids and lighter folk. Their ease in turning makes them super breezy – perfect for carving. High quality materials mean they’re built to last, making them a great investment, particularly given their affordable price point.
|– Usual high quality from Bones|
|– Different colors to complement your board|
|– Likely to be too soft for heavier riders|
Orangatang Nipples Skateboard Truck Bushings
If you’re looking for responsive bushings, skateboard brand Orangatang has the answer with this set. These larger sized bushings have plenty of rebound, ideal if you want a bit more resistance when turning. If you’re looking for something hard-wearing for carving and pumping, these are a safe bet.
|– Very responsive|
|– Great for e-boards|
|– Less stable at high speeds|
Dime Bag Skateboard Truck Rebuild Kit Bushings & Washers
Need a complete kit to update your board? This set basically has everything you need; 2 top bushings, 2 bottom bushings, 2 pivot cups and 4 washers. You’ve got a few different durometers to choose from, though keep in mind that these truck bushings are usually on the softer side – it might be a good idea to go up a level if you want something firmer.
|– Complete kit in one|
|– Good amount of bounce|
|– Very affordable|
|– Can run a bit soft compared to other brands|
These bushings come in eight durometers, so you can easily pick the right hardness for your setup. They offer plenty of stability even for loose trucks, yet have a decent level of ‘give’, so you can still turn with ease. They’re ideal for freeriding but if you’re planning to do heavy downhill riding you’ll need to add an eliminator bushing.
|– Great stability|
|– Available in durometers from 78a to 97a|
|– Just the right amount of softness to make smooth pivots|
|– Not suited for fast downhill riding|
Trouble Bushings Kit for Skateboard Trucks
This set has everything you need for a total overhaul, with 24 separate pieces including bushings, washers, rings, nuts and pivot cups. Being a little on the softer side, they might be better suited for riders looking for easy turns and more movement.
|– Everything you need in one package|
|– Gives a smooth ride|
|– Great for kids|
|– Might not be worth buying the set if you just need bushings|
Independent Truck Bushings
If you’ve already read some Independent bushings reviews, you’ll probably already have an idea of the kind of quality the brand is known for. These medium-hard bushings give you the option of having something firm without being completely rock solid.
|– Great middle ground between soft and hard|
|– Come with washers|
|– May not fit longboard trucks|
Independent Standard Cylinder Cushions Truck Bushings – Soft
Searching for soft skateboard bushings to get things a bit looser? These ones from Independent are perfect if you’re into loose trucks and making tight turns. Made from high quality, durable materials, these guys are built to last. They’re unlikely to work well for heavier riders, but Independent have harder options available.
|– Great for light riders|
|– Good wearability|
|– Can take a little while to break in fully|
Independent Cylinder Skateboard Bushings – Super Soft
When it comes to bushings for skateboards belonging to kids, there are few options better than this set from Independent. These extra soft bushings do a great job of overhauling the generic sets that come with cheap children’s skateboards, or converting an adult board for a youngster to use. They’re also good if you’re on the lighter side and in need of something with plenty of movement for carving.
|– Excellent quality|
|– Perfect for really light riders|
|– Soft enough for kids to turn|
|– Too soft for most adults|
Independent Standard Cylinder Cushions – Medium
These Independent bushings have a durometer of 90a, making them a good fit for the majority of skaters. They’re affordable, high quality and will last you a long time – what more could you ask for?! They have plenty of rebound for smooth turns and come complete with washers.
|– Great for loose trucks|
|– Good for riders who like pumping|
|– Can take a while to break in|
Independent Truck Bushings Standard Cylinder Cushions – Hard
These hard 94a skateboard truck bushings provide plenty of stability while also reducing friction. They made the ride super smooth and cope well with high speeds, and they’re also the perfect companion for street skating.
|– Give a lot of stability|
|– Easy to break in|
|– Can be hard to find outside of the US|
Shorty’s Doh-Doh Skateboard Trucks Bushing
These popular skateboard bushings come in a few different durometers so you can choose the hardness to suit you and your board. If you’re a heavier skater, give the ‘Rock Hard’ bushings a go – with a durometer of 100a they’re about as hard as it gets. These probably won’t suit a lot of riders though, so in that case opt for the Medium Hards (92a) instead.
|– Different hardness levels available|
|– Fit most skateboards|
|– Strong and durable|
|– ‘Rock Hards’ will probably be too tight for a lot of riders|
Best skateboard bushings for tight trucks
When it comes to skateboard bushings on the tighter side of things, there are several great options to choose from.
Bones Hardcore Hard are a solid choice for tight trucks. They can be good for those starting out, as you can then go looser as your skills improve and you get more confident with turning.
Independent Standard Conical Cushions Bushings in Medium Hard are another good choice if you want things tight. They have less rebound than the cylinder version and also cope well with more pressure.
Best skateboard bushings for loose trucks
Are you going for a loose setup? Give one of these bushings a try:
Bones Wheels Hardcore Bushings – Soft have the quality you’d expect from any Bones product, and are great for carving and tricks.
Independent Standard Conical Skateboard Bushings – Soft offer a great amount of bounce and make turning a breeze. If you want something really loose you can try the Super Soft version, though they can give a bit too much movement for most adults.
Best skateboard bushings for heavy riders
If you’re a heavier skater, try one of these truck bushings:
Bones Hardcore Hard give you all the stability you need without compromising on smoothness.
Independent Medium Hard are perfect if you want something sturdy that still has some bounce; a great in-between if the usual hard options don’t work for you.
The Ultimate Skateboard Bushings Guide
So, we’ve looked at the best, high quality options you can buy, now it’s time to get some background info in. In this skateboard bushings guide we’re going to aim to answer all of your burning questions about the specifics involved in getting the best bushings for you. If you want to customize your board to get optimum performance, bushings are a good place to start.
What are skateboard bushings?
Although they’re sometimes referred to as skateboard rubbers, bushings are made from polyurethane, which is actually closer to plastic. Bushings sit inside the trucks on your skateboard or longboard. Each board needs two; one facing the ground aka ‘top bushing’, and another facing the board, aka ‘bottom bushing’. They come in a variety of shapes and levels of hardness, as we’ll explore a little later on.
Do I need skateboard bushings?
Absolutely! There’s a reason all boards come with a set of skate bushings. They’re an essential bit of gear as they change the entire feel of the board, and help it to turn and pivot as smoothly as possible.
How do bushings work?
Between the two, it’s the bottom skateboard bushing that does most of the work. The bottom bushing faces most of the pressure when you’re on your board, and responds when you steer. It can be made tighter or looser depending on how much movement you want from your trucks. Meanwhile, it’s the job of the top bushing to hold the truck together properly while keeping it turning smoothly.
How should skateboard bushings fit?
You can easily adjust the bottom bushing to change its tightness, though how much will depend on the type of skating you want to do. Ultimately, a tighter bushing will be more stable but not as easy to turn. If you want to do something like downhill or racing, you’ll need things tighter in order to provide enough stability. On the other hand, if you want to do a lot of tricks and turning, it’s much better to go for a looser skateboard truck bushings setup.
Hardness is another important factor when choosing bushings. You can tell how hard a bushing is by looking at its durometer. This is the scale most companies use to measure the firmness of each type of bushing. The most often used is the A-Scale, which goes up to 100. The higher the number, the harder the bushing is. Soft skateboard bushings generally start at around 75a.
Skateboard bushings hard vs. soft
Whether it’s a polyurethane or rubber bushing, skate trucks can be fitted with different levels of hardness. Of course, the type of bushing you pick will have a huge impact on how your ride feels and what you can do with your board…
Hard bushings give more resistance and therefore your turns will be more stiff. They offer more stability though, and are generally better for heavier riders.
Soft bushings make turns easier but you’ll find your board is less stable – not ideal for things like downhill or picking up a lot of speed.
Bushing and your weight
The rider’s weight is a very important factor when considering the right skate bushings. It’s a pretty logical thing; the more pressure you’re putting onto the bushing, the stronger it needs to be. Without the right type of bushing to suit your weight, you’ll find steering and turning more difficult, and the bushing itself is likely to become damaged very quickly. Basically, smaller riders should go for softer bushings, while heavier skaters need harder bushings.
Skateboard bushings shapes and why does it matter
There are several types of skateboard bushing to choose from. Each of these are better for different things, so it’s a good idea to gain some understanding of what the different shapes mean. They can be used in different combinations to suit the rider – best to give each a try and see what works best for you!
The most common types are conical and standard (aka barrel). They are usually combined as either conical and barrel, or two cones.
Cone & barrel
In this combination, the cone bushing is used on top and the barrel at the bottom. This is the standard setup that the majority of boards use. The barrel provides stability, while the cone makes for easier carving. This combo is considered the best for bowl and park skating, and it also works better for higher speeds.
Cone & cone
Using two cone bushings together gives the ride a softer, breezier feel, though it can be harder to control. This type of setup is generally better for tight turns and carving. It can also sometimes work better for lighter riders.
How do I choose skateboard bushings?
Every skateboard will come with a set of bushings that will fit perfectly in the trucks. However, these original bushings are generally pretty weak; you can skate fine on them but if you want a smoother ride and better performance from your board you’ll probably need to buy some higher quality ones.
When choosing the right bushing for you, you’ll need to take into consideration all of the points we’ve mentioned already, including:
- Your weight
- What type of skating you want to do, e.g. bowl, downhill etc
- How hard or soft you want the ride to be
Plus, another important factor: which type of skateboard trucks your board has. Bushings that fit into Traditional Kingpin Trucks (TKPs) are different to those that are used with Reverse Kingpin Trucks (RKPs). Therefore it’s essential that you choose the right type of bushing to fit with your trucks. If not, you may find your bushings slip out while riding and could potentially cause an accident, not to mention damage your gear.
When to replace skateboard bushings?
If you skate on a regular basis, you’ll probably find that you need to replace your bushings every few months, as they’ll start to feel less smooth and you’ll notice your board generally isn’t performing as well. Aside from this, you should also swap them for fresh ones if they become cracked or damaged, or start making strange noises.
When it comes to getting the most wear from each bushing, skateboard maintenance is key. There are several things you can do to keep your bushings looking and feeling like new. These include:
- Not over tightening them – this can wear them out too quickly
- Avoid skating too aggressively and putting loads of pressure on your board on a regular basis
- Keep them dry – Water will make them worn out quicker – always dry them if you’ve been skating in the rain
- Don’t keep them anywhere too hot – high temperatures can also have a negative effect on the bushings
- Lubricate if needed – if they’re squeaking a lot you can try putting a little bit of candle wax inside, but if they’re still not right it’s best to buy a new set
Are all skateboard bushings the same?
As we’ve discovered in this skate bushings guide, there are quite a range of bushings on offer. From different shapes to hardness levels, having such a variety to choose from means that you can create the ideal setup for you personally. One of the biggest debates for skaters is usually whether to go for loose or tight trucks. Of course, much of this is personal preference, so will depend on what you want to get out of your board.
If you want control and stability, go for hard bushings and keep it tight. It’s also usually easier to land tricks with a tight setup. On the other hand, if a more flowy style suits you better, go for looser.
Who makes the best skateboard bushings?
Naturally, people have different favorites when it comes to the skate brand they like best. There are some things you should look out for when choosing the best skateboard bushings. Read reviews, talk to other skaters and look out for companies that provide useful information alongside their products, e.g. charts to pick the right one based on weight.
The higher quality the bushings, the longer they’ll last, not to mention the better performance they’ll give. So although it might be tempting to just go for the cheapest option, it’s worth spending a little more.
Choosing the right bushings for your skateboard is essential if you want to get the best ride possible out of it. There are loads of different options out there, and it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all matter – there are several factors to consider when buying bushings, so what’s right for one person won’t be right for someone else.
The best thing to do is play around with different shapes and hardness levels and see what works best for you – and the ones listed here are a great start.