Mountain boards and skateboards work similarly; they are both highly agile boards on wheels. So, it should come as no surprise that mountainboard trucks and skateboard trucks would have some similarities. This guide will help you understand mountainboard trucks as much as possible.
Yes, it could be that these types of technical topics aren’t why you got into mountain boarding in the first place, but it’s always beneficial to understand a bit about how whatever machine you are using works. Not only does this allow you to have a greater appreciation of the mechanics that go into it, but it could also help you improve your skill level. It will help you get better at maintaining your mountain board yourself.
So what are mountainboard trucks? What do they do, and how do they work?
What Are MountainBoard Trucks?
Much as is the case in skateboards, mountainboard trucks are the steering devices at the bottom. They allow mountainboard wheels to swing in a predetermined arc, allowing for easier steering so you can maneuver the board as needed. These devices include:
- A base plate mounted to the board of your mountainboard
- An axle that easily pivots on bushings
- A pivot point
Although designs may vary from mountainboard to mountainboard depending on the manufacturer, these are the basic parts that you will find in many non-customized mountainboard trucks.
What You Need to Know About MountainBoard Trucks
The first thing to note is that, even though a mountainboard truck is similar to a skateboard truck, there are some fundamental differences, depending on the specific trucks you choose. As a beginner, you are going to come across two main types of trucks:
- Channel trucks: These types of trucks pivot around a fixed bolt. They have springs and dampers that allow you to change their level of stiffness and stability.
- Skate trucks: These are the kinds of trucks you would typically find on a skateboard and work in the same way. These trucks tend to be much lighter than channel trucks. However, unlike a channel truck, skate trucks tend to be more unstable at higher speeds. These trucks are often popular with much lighter riders or those who enjoy mountain kiteboarding.
How Do Mountainboard Trucks Work?
To understand how any machine works, you need to look at the components making up a machine. As rudimentary as they might seem, mountainboard trucks are machines in their own right. They are a small yet crucial part of the entire system. Here are the parts that go into making your typical mountainboard truck.
Note: These parts may slightly differ depending on the mountainboard and manufacturer.
Although the baseplate is the lowest part of the trucks, they are at the very top of your mountainboard’s deck. The base plate holds the trucks and the board together and evens out the pressure you exert on the board while riding. With the help of the kingpin, the baseplate ties the entire system together.
You will find a few holes (often between 4 and 6) on the base plate, depending on the kind of truck design your mountainboard has. The baseplate mounts onto the deck of your mountainboard through these holes. Anytime you want to replace your trucks, always make sure that the number of holes on the new trucks matches those on your mountainboard deck to avoid drilling new holes into the deck.
Whenever you see a bolt in any mechanical system, assume that it’s there to keep things together and that it’s a very vital part of the entire system. As the name would suggest, the kingpin is one of the most integral parts of the truck. It’s what holds the mountainboard to the trucks. However, that’s not all it does.
The kingpin can be tightened or loosened. If you tighten it, you compress the urethane bushings around it and stiffen the action offered by the trucks. In short, by tightening the kingpin, you make the board more stable but harder to turn. By loosening it, you make the mountainboard floppier and easier to turn.
Since bolts are made out of metal, they can create a great deal of friction, which can cause some damage through wear and tear. To minimize this friction, the kingpin has bushings around it. The bushings cushion the vibrations and metallic friction within a manageable range. The kingpin holds the hanger and baseplate together, and once it’s broken, the entire system goes into disarray. Thankfully, the kingpin is ironically very easy to replace.
Typically found around the kingpin, the bushings are paddings that help to dampen the vibrations and minimize the friction created by the rubbing of metals between the plate and the kingpin. There are often four bushings for every two pairs of trucks.
When looking at bushings on a mountainboard, there are two main types from which you can choose. You can go with harder bushings designed for more advanced and technical riders. These types of bushings offer less resistance. Or, you could choose softer bushings that tend to be more responsive and are better suited for people who don’t intend to do too much off-roading on their mountainboards.
In each mountainboard truck, there’s a hanger. True to its name, this part does look like a clothes hanger. It has a T-shape and is often made out of aluminum. The hanger is where the wheels are attached and are the part of the truck that is in constant contact with the ground, which also means that it needs to be the strongest component of the entire system.
There are many different types of hangers, some of which are quite lightweight and hollow, and others are compact and heavy. Typically, the hanger is built to be tough and is quite durable, but it does wear off with time and usage. Thankfully, like the kingpin, the hanger is easy to replace. You just need to make sure that the replacement matches your mountainboard specifications.
While these are optional parts, they play a crucial role in ensuring that you have a smoother ride, especially when going off-road. Risers maintain or increase the height of mountainboard decks. Just like bushings, they play a vital role in dampening the vibrations felt when riding over rough terrain.
What Material Are Mountainboard Trucks Made of?
As you would imagine, every brand has its own trade secrets and, as such, makes its trucks a little differently, using a unique combination of materials to get an edge in the market. The kind of material the trucks use determines how efficient they are and how well they respond to your riding skills. In many cases, you will find that trucks are made of steel and aluminum combinations. Some brands use other materials such as magnesium or titanium, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
Now you know what mountainboard trucks are and how they work. This information should help you understand your mountainboard better, and it might even give you some insight on how to maintain it and get more out of it!