What is a bushing, and why would I buy one?

I get this question all the time.

What is a bushing?

Bushings are the little colorful polyurethane pieces that go in your trucks. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, as well as different durometers. Two bushings fit into each individual truck. One that goes “board side” (or on the bottom), and another that sits “road side” (or on the top). The hanger of the truck separates them.

RandalAnatomy

In this image, courtesy of Randal trucks, you can really visualize which part of your trucks are the bushings.

Durometer

Think of bushings as the tension for your trucks. They come in all sort of different densities, or “Durometers.” You will see bushings described as 78a, 85a, 90a, etc. The lower the number, the less dense the compound is. The higher the number, the more dense the compound is. With a low durometer bushing, you will have a softer feel. With a high durometer bushing, you will have a stiffer feel. Each company measures their bushing durometer with different methods, causing a slight discrepancy in durometer when comparing between different brands. What this means for us is that Venom’s 90a is going to feel different than Riptide’s 90a. However, it’s a safe bet that they are pretty close in hardness. Also, keep in mind that durometer doesn’t describe the characteristics of the polyurethane, it merely measures the density. Different polyurethanes react differently under pressure. Some have tons of rebound, while others have more lean. Durometer is often represented by color, so don’t color coordinate! This is one piece of your board you really can’t do that with.

Shape

Different shapes either allow or restrict turn. By using a combination of shape and durometer, you are able to achieve the perfect feel. The different shapes are as follows: Stepped Barrels, Barricles, Barrels, and Cones

 

Stepped Barrels

The Eliminator by Venom is one of their most restrictive shapes. The Eliminator is a stepped bushing.

The Eliminator by Venom is one of their most restrictive shapes. The Eliminator is a stepped barrel bushing.

Stepped Barrels are the most restrictive shape available. They keep the truck from achieving any significant amount of lean. They are a stable shape, most commonly found in downhill setups. However, they are a very useful shape for other applications. If you like to use big wheels while still maintaining a low ride height, these guys can restrict enough turn to keep the wheels from biting. If you pick a soft stepped barrel you can still achieve turn, but it might be enough to keep the wheels from biting.

Barricles

Venom's Freeride shape is a great example of a barricle. The barricle is a good in between a stepped barrel and a barrel.

Venom’s Freeride shape is a great example of a barricle. The barricle is a good in between a stepped barrel and a barrel.

Barricles are a really versatile shape. They have a wide end the same size as a stepped barrel, that tapers down to the size of a barrel. These guys are flippable! Putting the wide part towards the center makes these more restrictive, while putting the narrow part towards the center allows for more turn! This is a fun bushing for moderate to low speed freeriding, but can also be useful in other kinds of riding!

Barrels

A barrel shape is a great all around shape. Stable, yet still carvy. Do a little bit of everything with this moderately restrictive shape.

A barrel shape is a great all around shape. Stable, yet still carvy. Do a little bit of everything with this moderately restrictive shape.

Barrels are a very consistent, all around shape. They have a great carvy feel, but can also feel really good for faster speeds. Try combining these with other shapes like stepped barrels, or maybe even cones to create the feel you need from you trucks.

Cones

Cone are very minimally restrictive. They allow lots of turn. Most people combine these with barrels to get a nice carvy, yet still stable feel. Many truck companies, like Paris and Caliber, stock their trucks with a barrel/cone combo.

Cones are the least restrictive bushing available!

Cones are the least restrictive bushing available!

Bushings allow creativity

By combining shape and duro, you can achieve the exact feel you want or need. Slay any hill, shred any park, or conquer any distance. Bushings will help you get that edge. Stop by the shop today and try some of the many different bushings we have to offer! Brands include Venom, Riptide, Blood Orange, R.A.D., and Orangatang. If you have any questions about bushings, contact us now!

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