Street skateboarding is one of the most popular skateboarding styles. It can be done pretty much anywhere in an urban setting and focuses on practising and perfecting tricks often using outdoor obstacles as part of the trick.
As street skateboarding developed away from park or bowl skateboarding, the skateboard itself began to change and develop to better suit street riders and their style.
You can buy a complete skateboard from many shops and online retailers but these won’t necessarily have the best parts for street skateboarding. If you want to get your board just right for you and your style you’ll need to do a custom build.
Custom builds aren’t difficult to assemble, the only tools required are a skateboard multitool and a screwdriver. The difficult bit is selecting the right parts for street skating.
This article will give you an overview of the best options for street skating for each part of your board. It won’t review individual items or brands, but we do have plenty of reviews on our site for you to check out afterwards.
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Pretty much all decks are made from maple ranging between 7-9 ply. The measurement you want to pay attention to when choosing your deck is the width.
For street skating, you are going to want a slimmer deck because it is a lot easier to manoeuvre in technical tricks and flips. The ideal width deck for street skating is between 7.5” and 8.25”.
Your shoe size will play a part in the width of your board. If you have larger feet you are going to want to go towards the top end of the measurements so that you can ride comfortably.
The next measurement to look at is the length of the board. Again, smaller is better for street skating. Most decks are between 31” and 33” long. You don’t want to go any longer than that because it will make the board more difficult to control.
There are lots of different, jazzy shapes available for decks but for street you are going to want to stick with the classic popsicle shape. This is a board with two rounded edges that are pretty much symmetrical.
You will also want a board with double kicks which is where the nose and tail edges curve upwards slightly to allow you to pop and lift the board.
For street skating, you will want a flat deck, so avoid any concave decks. Flat decks allow you to position your feet better for all the different tricks you’ll be doing.
Trucks are the metal parts that the wheels and deck attach to. You need two trucks for a board, one for the nose end and one for the tail end.
First things first, check the width of your trucks!
You want it to be as close as possible to the width of your board. This stops your wheels from peeking out or hiding under the deck and will help you have a better understanding of the positioning of your board and wheels when doing tricks.
Brands list trucks using different measurements. Some go for the length of the axel, others use the length of the hanger, still, others use completely different units. It is frustrating, but the measurement you want is the axel length. You should have your axel nuts no more than ¼ inch in or out from the edge of your deck.
Most brands will offer a high and low version of their trucks.
For street, you want a lower truck. It makes the board more stable and responsive and makes grinding much easier.
Bushings are urethane cylinders that sit inside the trucks.
They help the board turn and provide stability while riding. Trucks will usually have bushings installed but they may not be the best choice.
Bushings come in a variety of shapes, each designed to support a different style.
The best choice for street skating is a cone/barrel bushing. The top bushing, which is installed closest to the deck, is cone-shaped and allows a lot of deck lean. The bottom bushing is cylindrical and provides stability.
Bushings, like wheels, are classified on the durometer scale depending on how hard or soft they are. The scale goes up to 100 though some use the B-scale which is harder but twenty points behind the normal A-scale.
For street skating you want your bushings to be fairly soft to give you more turning flexibility but not too soft that you loose stability. Bushings of about 87A-92A should give you the right ride.
Wheels, like bushings, are made from urethane and will affect your ride massively.
For street skating, you need smaller wheels. The are easier to move and control and they don’t tend to generate as much speed as larger wheels.
Wheels are measured according to their diameter and for street skating you want wheels of between 49mm and 55mm.
The wheels on the smaller end of that range will be dedicated technical wheels geared for tricks. Wheels closer to 55mm will work as all-rounders that favor street skating slightly. These may be more appropriate for beginner street skaters.
Harder wheels are more responsive as they don’t absorb shock or impact, instead they pass it straight on to the trucks and deck. These are the kind of wheels you want for street. You’ll be able to feel the ground beneath you and respond better to the environment.
You should look for wheels that measure between 96A and 101A or between 83B and 84B if you are an experienced street skater. Any softer, and you will find them too squishy and grippy for tricks.
A lot of skateboarding is about personal preference and building your own board is no exception. The guidelines above will help you narrow down your choices, but you still need to think about how you like your board to feel.
If you are new to skateboarding try out wheels of a few different durometers and sizes in the right range until you find the ones you love. Same goes for your deck width and bushings.
Your board should feel right to you, and as long as you’re comfortable and able to move it into the tricks you want to do, you shouldn’t worry about what other people are using.