A guide to building a custom complete skateboard
This is a beginner's guide on buying all the parts that will combine together to make a complete skateboard. These are the same recommendations we give to anyone that comes into our store, but of course are only guidelines. We'll number the things you need and provide links to the section of those items within our website.
The first thing you need to think about is what type of skateboarding you'd like to do. If you just want to cruise around (point A to point B, on a bike path, etc) then any type of board would work, but a softer, bigger wheel is recommended. If you're interested in doing tricks then most people will ride a standard shaped deck (pill shaped) and a harder wheel (we will get more into wheel hardnesses below).
1) A deck is the wooden part of a skateboard and is where most people begin when buying a complete. Your size can play a factor and there are recommendations, but sizing is arbitrary and over time becomes preferential. If you are just beginning here are some recommendations for size:
- if you are interested in cruising then any board can work for you
- if you are interested in tricks there are recommendations for board sizes:
- for younger people 5' and under we recommend a smaller board (7.5" width and under, and if you are really small something a bit shorter under 30" length). These boards are usually called a "mini"
- the average board size in 2020 is 8.25" (Boards range from 7.75" all the way up to 9.5" and beyond). Most boards available these days are in the 8.0" to 8.5" range. On the skinnier end of this boards are easier to flip and are lighter. On the wider end of this boards are more stable and will not break as easy. the middle ground is the best of both worlds, thus 8.25" being the most common size. You can view all of our decks here.
2) Grip tape goes on the top of a skateboard so it isn't slippery. There are many different types, but all are functional in the same way. There are various colours but most will ride black grip. You will only need one sheet. You can view our grip selection here.
3) Trucks are what your wheels are mounted to. They should match the width of your board. There can be high or low options (high makes for more clearance for a larger wheel, low is for a smaller wheel for a lower center of gravity). All trucks sold on the site are sold in pairs. You will only need to put one in your cart. You can view our truck selection here.
4) Wheels can vary in size and hardness. Most are on the A-scale with a lower number (78A to 85A) being a softer cruiser wheel up to a higher number (99A to 101A) which is more suitable for a board for doing tricks. The most common size sold for harder wheels is 52-53mm, the most common for softer wheels is in the 58-65mm range. Wheels on our site are always sold in a set of four. All of our wheels can be seen here.
5) Bearings go inside the wheels. They are sold in a set of eight (two for each wheel). There are many kinds available, we usually recommend to start with Bones, but all bearings we have will do the job. If you want the "Cadillac" of bearings we recommend Swiss bearings. See all of our bearings here.
6) Hardware is the bolts that mount your trucks to your board. They are sold in a set of eight. To figure out the length to hardware needed you'll have to look at what size wheel you have chosen. if you have chosen anything 55mm and under then you can purchase 7/8" to 1" hardware. If you have a wheel in the 56mm to 59mm range you will need 1-1/4" hardware paired with 1/8" riser pads. If you have a wheel in the 60mm and up range you will need 1-1/2" hardware paired with either 1/4" riser pads (60-65mm) or 1/2" riser pads (65mm and up). See the appendix below. Hardware and riser pads can be purchased here.
APPENDIX: if you buy a larger wheel (56mm and up) we strongly recommend buying riser pads which go under the truck to raise the clearance between the truck and the wheel. This prevents "wheel bite" which is when your wheel touched your deck while turning. Wheel bite can stop your board abruptly and isn't safe or fun. See the appendix below for recommendations.
Of course all of the suggestions above are recommendations. There are no rules in skateboarding, so get what you like as you need to be confident in your board. Contact us if you have any further questions.