SkateCulture Article #4 - Trucks and Translations.
I had to replace one of my trucks last week so I thought I'd do a Skate Culture Article on the subject that nothing to do with haulage. If you want to read any of the other related articles, use the Blip search to search for tagged skateculturearticle by tractorfactoryphotos
Trucks and Translations...
When explaining aspects of skateboarding to pedestrians (not derogatory, just my definition of those who don't!), there is a shared language and a handful of words and phrases which are common usuage in the skateboarding community but have normal english speaking meanings. One of these such phrases that I often have to translate is the truck or trucks of a skateboard. This picture is of my nice shiney new virgin truck. It is essentially the axle and turning mechanism of the skateboard.
A truck is comprised of several component parts, most of which are obtainable or replaceable separately (some with added difficulty nowadays but that's a rant possibly for the end.). There is the hanger or the actual axel that the wheels are attached to. This sits in an angled pivot cup and is connected to the baseplate (part that attaches the truck to the board of the skateboard) with a kingpin (replaceable bolt that is used to tighten or loosen the turning circle of the truck). In amongst the kingpin, hanger and baseplate is 2 rubber bushings which are like large rubber washers that provide resistence for the turning so that when you lean over on a skateboard, you don't just hit metal on metal. Finally there are the wheel nuts and washers which are essentially part of the wheel mechanism but are sold with the trucks. Both of which are replaceable and can be bought as separate components.
This particular truck, in fact both in the picture although I only replaced one of them, is made by a company called Independent Truck Company so these are commonly referred to as Indys. It's very like the word Hoover. It's a product/company name but has become synonymous as the name of the object.
The Independent Truck Company was established in 1978 and is based in Santa Cruz, California. It is an iconic company whose cross logo is to skateboarding as McDonald's golden arches are to any westernised urban area. The skateboard truck itself is like skateboards as a whole. They have differed slightly in shape and size but the overall design has remained constant since it was first developed.
Incidentally, I'm not really a tattoo type person, but if I ever was to, I would get the Indy cross logo done.
Previously alluded to rant
The most common problem to occur to a truck and my reason for replacement, is the snapping of the kingpin. These are sold separately and there are companies whose main business is making these bolts themselves. It used to be that when you snap a kingpin, you just unscrew the truck from the skateboard and replace the kingpin. The design of kingpins seems to have changed since I last had to do this and without trying to explain the new design in kingpin, it basically is more forced into place than heavily slotted into place making it look really hard to take out and replace without specialist equipment. One of the joys of skateboard maintenence for me is the fact that all these component parts can be changed and bought independently without have to buy whole skateboard parts. This represented cheaper repairs and less wastage but this is another annoying move to a more disposable product.