When learning how to longboard it is a common mistake for people to ride their trucks too tight. This inhibits your ability to carve and perform longboarding maneuvers such as sliding. By riding tight trucks you limit your boardâ€™s responsiveness which can lead you into sketchy situations. There is a saying out there that goes â€œloose trucks saves livesâ€. While that doesnâ€™t mean you should ride the trucks so loose that the kingpin is almost falling out (which is what Adam S does, hahaha). A good starting place is to tighten your trucks so that bushing and hanger are snug against each other. You do not want to over tighten your trucks by compressing your bushings. It is a good idea to ride your trucks as loose as you feel comfortable so that it will help develop your balance quicker. When beginning to longboard you are NOT supposed to bomb any big hills. It is important to work your way up. It is a common misconception that speed wobbles come from loose trucks. Tightening your trucks will not get rid of speed wobbles and will only perpetuate the problem to give you a false sense of security. Speed wobbles are induced by not being balance on the board. Personally in the opinions of Louis, Adam S, and I loose trucks are the way to go.
I find that having a very loose set up for dancing helps. When I step on someoneâ€™s dancing bard with tight trucks I immediately fall off because I am so use to a sensitive ride where if I put all my weight on an edge that baby responds instantly. This really allows you to move the board well under your feet and allows your moves to flow together. Nose manualing on loose trucks is a good thing and will immensely improve your balance. Be sure to make sure that your trucks are not so loose that you get wheel bite (wheel coming in contact with the actual board.) If you do get wheel bite, you probably will have to add risers or tighten your trucks a tad.
Loose truck allow you be more aggressive with your slides and allows you to turn on a moments notice and really allows you to bring back tweaked speed checks and 180 slides. It just makes sliding more effortless and easier.
This is a personal preference, but a lot of the times people canâ€™t believe how loose Louis and I ride our trucks down a raging hill. I would say have your trucks as loose as your comfortable with without you getting mad wobbles. This will allow you to make turns easier and without as much effort. The faster you go the more sensitive your trucks will get. It is a common practice to put harder bushings in your speedboard to provide extra stability.
Have fun and be safe,
Louis P. (cowboy)