If you are just looking for the right bushings for your riding style, look no farther than this section. To understand the full role of longboard bushings and the small differences between different setups, read on.
Common Setups and Our Recommendations
Cone – Cone – Absolutely superb for carving and cruising, there is no other setup which will give your board this much lean. I would suggest cupped washers surrounding both to reduce the slop in the trucks.
Sidenote: Don’t know what slop is? Read about washers for bushing below for more information!
Cone – Barrel – The most versatile setup, this combines the leaning power of the cone bushing with the stability and rebound of a barrel bushing. Always run the cone bushing roadside with the barrel boardside. Run a cupped washer on top of the cone and then it is up to you if you want to use entirely cupped washers or a mixture. I prefer to go with cupped washers around the cone with flat washers for the barrel.
Barrel – Barrel – Absolutely best for downhill, this barrel barrel bushing combination is supremely stable and will help you obtain those high speeds you have been looking for. You want 2 large cups surrounding your boardside with 1 cupped washer underneath your roadside and 1 flat washer on top of it.
For barrel shaped bushings, you don’t get much better than Orangatang Nipples. These bushings are available in a wide variety of durometers aimed at riders in different weight ranges. Orangatan Nipples are designed to provide you with a lively and energetic ride. To this end, they offer a lot of rebound making them perfect for any carving, freeride, long distance, or cruising setup.
Make sure that they fit your current longboard trucks! Orangatan Nipples fit on Paris, Tracker Fastrack, Gullwing Charger II, and old (pre-2010) Bear trucks.
If you want a great option for alot of different setups, I would suggest instead of buying individual pairs bushings, buy a bag! There are several large bags which typically cost around $20 and give you many pairs of different bushings to allow you to play around with your setup cheaply.
I suggest looking into the Hairy Bushings Big Hairy Sack which contains 32 different bushings allowing you to setup a highly flexible carving board one day and a stiff downhill board the next. These bags of bushings are definitely the best value for your money if you are simply looking to experiment with a large number of bushings.
Once you figure out what exact bushing setup you love, spend the extra money and upgrade. But for experimenting, a bag or sack of bushings is your best bet.
What are Longboard Bushings?
Turn over your longboard and take a close look at your trucks. Do you see those two pieces of rubber on either side of your truck. Those are your bushings.
Longboard Bushings are the typically round pieces of material that surround your truck. They help govern how far you can lean to either side on your board. Depending on the shape and material that the bushing is made out of, you can go from highly stable downhill board to simple cruiser.
The most important aspect of a longboard bushing is it’s shape. The shape is the primary aspect that determines how far and how easy it is to lean to either side on your longboard. There are two main shapes: the barrel and cone.
Shapes: Barrels vs Cones
The barrel shape is linear in terms of compression. That means the difficulty in leaning to one side increases at the same rate the further you lean. These bushings take up more space than cone bushings simply due to their shape.
High durometer barrel longboard bushings are amazing for fast downhill because their stiffness makes your longboard more stable. Low durometer barrels are great for flat land as it will feel “plushier” underneath your feet and provide more rebound than cone shapes.
Unlike barrel shaped longboard bushings, cones are not linear. In fact, they provide progressive resistance to turns as the cone increases. This means that it is very easy to lean a little but then it gets a lot harder to lean a lot.
Cone longboard bushings are typically used for carving applications. Due to their shape, a cone bushing will always have more lean than a barrel would. This means they are great for cruising, slalom, and hard carving.
The Importance of Durometer
Durometer is a measure of how hard something is. In longboarding it is used to measure the hardness of wheels and bushings. It is typically rated on a scale of 0-100 although some longboard parts have durometers over 100.
The durometer of a longboard bushing should be chosen according to your weight. The heavier you are, the larger durometer you should get. This is simply because of how much the longboard bushing will compress when you stand on the board.
The durometer also depends on what style of riding you want to do. Below shows a good chart that illustrates this point.
If you want to get a softer bushing, remember that it will be a little more cushy and will allow you to lean more. Harder bushings are the opposite. They’ll help your board resist lean more allowing you to hit higher speeds.
What type of Washers for what type of bushings?
Washers are important to reduce the amount of slop in your longboard. Wait, what’s slop again? Slop is unnecessary movement of your trucks. Typically your trucks will turn when you place pressure on one side of the board. Having a large amount of slop means that your trucks can turn without any pressure on them.
For beginners, you want to reduce the amount of slop in your trucks by tightening everything down securely. One way to do that better is to use washers to cup your bushings.
There are two types of washers, cupped and flat and they both look exactly like their names. Cupped washers have an upward edge which grips the upper part of the bushing lightly while flat washers do not.
Cupped washers typically help tighten the bushing more than flat. You should always use a cupped bushing on the smaller end of a cone bushing. You can use cupped washers with barrels too if you want a tighter setup.
For a looser setup, run flat washers on both sides of a barrel bushing.