Here is our in-depth guide on how to install mountain board suspension trucks.
We should start by differentiating the different types of trucks and where they are relevant so that our thoughts on installation make sense.
The geometry of the trucks affects how the mountainboard turns and different trucks are applied differently to achieve diverse results.
There are two main classes of trucks that cover almost every skateboard truck today:
- Standard Kingpin (SKP) Trucks also referred to as Traditional Kingpin (TKP) Trucks
- Reverse Kingpin (RKP) Trucks
Knowing the difference between the two puts you in a better position to choose the best mountainboard suspension trucks for your individual needs and provides direction on the best way to install them for optimal performance on any terrain.
SKP Trucks / TKP Trucks
These are the initial models of suspension trucks. The Kingpin takes on an almost vertical angle and holds behind the hanger which is where its bushing is. This design allows a vertical lean but is limiting for horizontal leaning, which restricts the rider’s turning ability.
The two trucks mount so that their kingpins and bushings face each other beneath the deck. Consequently, the mountain boards are strong and ride low, making them stable for high-speed riding, grinding, and jumping. They are a great choice if this is your style of mountainboarding.
The kingpins on reverse kingpin suspension trucks lean towards the hangers and even cross through them, putting one of their bushings behind the hanger and the other in front. The two bushings are at different angles, combined with the acutely angled pivot cups and kingpins, allowing more liberal-leaning in multiple directions and closer turning.
They are heavier and higher than TKP suspension trucks, and because they have their kingpins facing opposite directions, away from the center of the deck, they are not as stable for grinding and jumping. They are, however, more responsive, allow instant turning, and are great for sliding and instant braking.
RKP suspension trucks are versatile and deployed in different ways to achieve different results. You can opt to flip the trucks such that their kingpins face each other towards the center of the board, just like TKP trucks. The mountain board will ride lower as a result, which enhances stability, but you will lose out on some of the responsiveness.
What Is the Ideal Size of Mountain Board Suspension Trucks?
The ideal size suspension truck ties to the size of your mountain board deck, and there is no one size fits all answer. The best suspension trucks are those that fit and are the closest in size to the deck width. Installing wider suspension trucks makes your mountain board wheels stick out from the deck, and your feet can easily get caught on them.
Touching the wheels while in motion is highly dangerous.
For perspective, the smallest RKP trucks in the market use 150mm (5.9 inches) each, which will be too wide for the 7.75-, 8- and 8.25-inch boards. You can use them on boards with 15” wheelbases and at least 9 to 10 inches wide. These boards are perfect for TKP trucks, so you need to know your needs to decide.
One way to prevent the wheels from sticking out when using bigger RKP suspension trucks is by flipping the trucks and bringing the wheels closer to the center. This can expose you to wheel bites when making turns, and you should confirm there is adequate space between the two trucks before getting on the mountain board.
If they are too close, you should consider installing risers between the trucks and the deck. The right height for the risers depends on the size of the deck and the wheels. The larger the diameter of the wheels, the larger the risers required.
Drop through boards are designed long and have a long wheelbase as well. This design is for pushing and long-distance riding. They are great for RKP trucks as they have ample space to fit them.
Mountainboard manufacturers use two main mounting hole standards. The modularity helps in board customization to suit individual needs. Some proactive manufacturers have already developed boards with a combination of both standards.
Old School Pattern
This pattern is based on the first skateboards before mountain boarding was even a thing. The dimensions have been maintained to date. The provisions are made 2.5 inches apart along the deck’s overall length and 1.625 inches along its width.
New School Pattern
This truck mounting standard was borne out of necessity as pool tricks and tail slides caught on. It saw the removal of outside bolts that were becoming a hindrance to performing these tricks. They reduced the distance between the holes along the length to 2.125 inches, but they maintained the 1.625 inches along the width.
How deck and truck manufacturers apply these standards is entirely up to their discretion, so it is important to study the pattern on your deck before settling on the suspension trucks.
Some trucks are old school but have extra holes to facilitate installation on new school decks.
You can use the same holes to modify the wheelbase if needed. Some are old school with a targeted deck in mind, while others have the new school standards.
The same variance applies to the decks, fortunately, with the right tools, you can drill customized holes on the decks to accommodate your chosen trucks.
The wheelbase is essentially the distance between the two trucks supporting your deck. You can settle for what the deck and trucks have provided or decide to modify the wheelbase to suit your style. It significantly impacts how the mountainboard rides and should be a key consideration when installing its suspension. The default wheelbase is often indicated along with the mountain board’s width and length.
A short wheelbase enables you to turn easily and fosters responsiveness. The smaller turn radius of the board makes it easy to turn without applying a lot of energy. The board’s flex also decreases as it is almost fully supported by the trucks. It, however, reduces the overall stability of the board because of the smaller footprint, so it is not ideal for high speeds. There is a higher probability of wheel bite as the wheels and tires are naturally close to each other.
Widening the wheelbase increases stability at high speeds but allows more flex, which can adversely affect this stability. It also makes it harder to turn the board or stop instantly.
The decision is entirely up to you and should be based on how you project to be using the mountain board. We recommend that you try out different positions before settling on the most comfortable one as that is the only way you will realize value for your investment.
There is no standard way to install mountain board suspension trucks that can be appropriate for all circumstances. This process is arguably the most critical part of tuning your mountain board.
We hope you now know how to go about meeting your demands and how not to. It is a balance between your riding style, the kind of deck you have, and the mountainboard truck.
Each variable makes a giant contribution to your mountainboarding experience.