Bushings are one of the most important factors in how your longboard feels underneath your feet when your pushing and carving along. The fact that bushings are one of the cheapest parts of your longboard setup, leaves you no excuse to leave those crappy stock bushings that came with your trucks. I still remember changing my first boards bushing’s for the first time and being amazed at how much better the ride was (I was able to carve!).
Experiment with them and try different combos! You can get bushings with different durometers (hardness), different shapes (cone, barrel, stepped) and even different washers (flat, cupped) which will all affect the liveliness of your ride.
Bushings all have a perfect point of compression based on how tight you crank down the kingpin nut on your skateboard trucks. There should be no slop when you wiggle the trucks and if there is you should invest in some softer bushings or tighten the trucks till there perfect.
Using flat washers is recommended by a lot of people since it doesn’t mess with the bushings compression level during a turn as much as say a cupped washer. Flat washers will also give you a nice amount of rebound allowing your board to spring back out of the turn. Using no washers will give you a deeper turning ability but with much less rebound which could make your ride super sketchy.
Barrel bushings provide quite a bit of resistance in the turn and have a solid center of gravity while having a good amount of rebound.
Cones have the greatest turning ability by having less support in the center. This is ideal for a super carvy ride and never following a straight line.
Stepped bushings have the strongest center of gravity with the least turning ability and have great rebound. Often used in downhill setups due to their stability.
There are many different brands of bushings to choose from and it can be very overwhelming if your not sure what to look for. My personal recommendation is to stick with a well known manufacturer such as Venom, Khiros, Sabre and JimZ. I’ve tried lots of different brands and my personal favourite are by far Venoms which are very high quality and perform amazingly in any discipline of skating you can do.
Many people setup their bushings so that there is a harder bushing on the bottom and a softer bushing on top (closest to the ground). This will give you great stability and great turning depth when leaning into a turn. Extremely fun to ride this setup and the ride is very carvy and lively.
You’re not just limited to mixing the durometer either, I personally like to mix differently shaped bushings depending on what I’m going to be riding. Currently my favourite all around combo is a venom stimulator bottom with a venom barrel on top. This provides me with a great amount of rebound and turning at the same time!
So make sure you lose those lame stock bushings and try out some aftermarket brands such as Venom and Sabre, you won’t be disappointed!