So You Wanna Buy a Skateboard
Here at Aegir, we want to make sure that you get the setup that's best for you. In talking to new skaters, old skaters getting back into it, and parents, we've determined what info you need to pick out the right gear and get rolling.
Skate decks have changed a lot over the years. Tiny banana boards, gigantic pigs, footballs, popsicles, squared shapes, pointed shapes, round shapes, weird shapes. But if you're looking for a trick board, a standard popsicle deck is the best place to start.
Board sizing depends on the rider and the style - transition, ramp, and pool skating demand bigger boards, while technical skating traditionally uses smaller, lighter decks. We always recommend new riders come into the store to get sized and figure out what's comfortable for them, but this is the quick and dirty guide for parents, by age:
7.25" - 7.5" Ages 5 and under
7.5" - 7.75" Ages 5 to 9
7.75" - 8.25" Ages 8 and up
Depending on the rider's size, if they're over 8 or 9 years old, they should look for decks between 7.75" and 8.25" wide. Wider decks are more comfortable and easier to land on, but often harder to flip. Narrower decks are easy to flip but have less stability and landing space. In our experience with our skate lessons, wider decks are a bit easier for kids to use.
Trucks are the lifeblood of a skateboard. If you're riding a board and think "man this sucks!", more often than not its because of the trucks. Of any part of a skateboard, the trucks require the most foresight and consideration in selecting. Even if your deck is destroyed by the elements, or a car, or your shredding, your trucks will usually survive to get slapped on your next kit. So, you want to consider the size of the deck you want and also the level of skating you're shooting for.
Assemblies are affordable setups that you'll find on popsicle completes. They're great for starter boards or casual skating, and are composed of a set of trucks, bearings, and wheels pre-assembled together. The assemblies we carry are by Bullet and Mini Logo, and they're great if you're trying to get out there, skate, get good turning, and do some light grinds. We also sell the trucks by those brands separate at a price point. Assemblies are usually around $65 and Bullet and Mini Logo trucks usually retail for $32 alone.
ACE trucks are renowned for their turning ability and are great if you're a beginner and want a higher quality truck and want to save a bit of money. Aces are also great for experienced skaters who want a truck with great turn. We recommend these for beginners, shredders who like riding their trucks with a loose feel, and for cruiser setups.
Independent trucks have been the industry standard for almost 40 years. They essentially do everything well. If you're just starting out or putting together a board for your child, you may not want to invest in such a heavy-duty truck and err on getting an assembly, a set of Bullets or Mini Logos, or a set of ACEs. But, all things equal, these are great trucks.
Sizing - we've listed the sizings for all of our truck brands on their pages for reference. As a general rule, you want the axle - the horizontal ends of the truck - to be flush with the deck's width, but as there are many sizes and shapes of decks, they won't always fully align. In those cases, the width of the trucks can usually be .25" over or under the deck width so there's some wiggle room.
A similar rule applies to wheel selection - bigger / wider wheels are generally faster and more stable, especially in a city environment with rough ground, but heavier. Smaller / narrower wheels are lighter and more nimble but generally slower and, depending on softness, can be more difficult on rough streets and areas with imperfect ground and cracks. Each of our wheel listings have the size, shape, and softness listed so you can decide what is best for your style.
Wheel size is measured in millimeters, and in general if you're starting out with a trick setup, you'll want to stay between 50mm and 56mm. The sweet spot is between 52mm and 54mm for a beginner.
Those looking for a strictly cruiser setup will want to stay around 55mm and up. Cruiser wheels can often reach the 70+mm range, although, depending on truck height, wheels over 56mm often require risers to prevent wheel bite. Wheel bite is when the wheels touch the bottom of the deck on turns, stopping the board and sometimes tossing the rider.
Wheel softness is measured in durometer, or duro, and is usually listed as a number followed by an "a" on the packaging. You'll generally see durometer span from 74a to 101a, with wheel hardness increasing with number and anything under 95a or 97a being considered soft. You can do tricks on any wheel hardness, but street and park wheels are generally 99a and 101a. Cruiser wheels can be 95a and below. In general, softer wheels will be slower at the park, with a "sticky" feel.
We often recommend 87a - 95a as a duro range for skaters who want a kind of hybrid setup. With wheels between 52mm and 54mm and a softness 95a and under, the wheels are small and light enough to do tricks but also soft enough to cruise over difficult ground.
Those interested in a dedicated cruiser setup will want to stay around 92a and below, usually more in the 74a - 87a range.
Bearings go inside the wheels and help them spin. We recommend Mini Logo Bearings for beginner, budget, and casual setups, and Bones Reds or Bronson for intermediate and beyond. Each brand has different price points, but they are all great for NY skating.
Risers are used to elevate trucks to prevent wheel bite from large wheels. They usually come in sizes from 1/8" (58mm wheels and under), 1/4" (59mm to 63mm") and 1/2" (63mm and above). Risers will usually go on large wheeled setups but you can also use them with smaller wheels, adding some extra height to pop the board.
Hardware refers to sized sets of bolts and nuts that attach the trucks to the board. Hardware size is in relation to riser sizes. 7/8" hardware is very short and used without a riser. 1" hardware is the conventional choice for a riserless board, and also works for setups with 1/8" risers. 1.25" bolts work with 1/4" risers, and 1.5" hardware works with 1/2" risers.
Hardware comes in two styles of bolt head - philips and allen. Philips is the more popular style, but some prefer allen and maintain that it is less likely to strip.
Griptape is a coarse, sandpaper-like material that is placed on top of a skate deck to prevent slipping and aid in riding. Grip comes in many different styles, designs, and coarseness. In general, Jessup grip tends to have a medium coarseness, and MOB tends to be extra gritty.
We often get casual skaters and kids asking about removing griptape from a deck. The short answer is, yes, you can do it, but it demands heat to melt the adhesive and more elbow grease than it's worth. So choose wisely when you get your grip.
Griptape also does not need to be removed if it appears dirty. That is a natural consequence of skateboarding. However there are eraser - style griptape cleaners available if that is a concern
Still have questions? Contact us at the shop or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll get ya sorted.