The wheelbase on a skateboard deck is the distance between the two trucks. The longer your legs are, the larger your wheel base needs to be.
Skater’s balance, turning speed, and stability are all impacted by the length of a skateboard’s wheelbase. A shorter wheelbase makes for a more responsive ride, therefore slalom boards are generally smaller. A longer wheelbase takes longer to turn but is worth it because it provides for a more stable ride.
Because the length of the deck affects your ability to perform skateboard tricks, there isn’t much variety in board wheelbases among street style boards (except for kid-sized boards for now). Vert boards, on the other hand, are sometimes a little longer.
What Is the Wheelbase Of A Skateboard?
Wheelbase of a skateboard is different than wheelbase on a car because there are two different measurements for wheelbase on a skateboard.
The length of a skateboard’s wheelbase is the distance between the front and back of the board, with mounting holes closer to the center. It’s an indication of how far your trucks are apart.
The truck wheelbase is measured in the same manner as a car’s, taking into account the distance between the center of each wheel on the same side.
Obviously, the distance between the two trucks is determined by truck and deck wheelbase. A longer board will have greater space between the two trucks. However, this depends on the manufacturer and model of the trucks.
For example, the wheelbase on Venture and Thunder vehicles is shorter than that of Independent.
How Is the Wheelbase of a Skateboard Measured?
If you can’t find the wheelbase on the specifications, or you want to double-check them, measure the skateboard’s wheelbase with a ruler or measuring tape.
Draw a straight line between two mounting holes on the same side for each truck to measure the deck wheelbase. To figure out the truck wheelbase, attach your trucks to your deck and measure the distance between the two axles.
The typical street deck has a wheelbase of 14.2 inches. Some decks, on the other hand, have a greater length than this, topping out at about 15 inches. This is an average for street decks in the same range (8″ to 8.25″).
Does Wheelbase Even Matter?
Wheelbase is an important consideration. If you’re searching for your first skateboard, however, it should not be a problem.
You may compare your old decks’ wheelbases to see whether they’re the same length. Maybe it will shed light on why one felt better to ride than another despite being identical in size and form.
You may have noticed that certain decks have a more steep nose and tail, for example. It all comes down to the wheelbase.
What Effects Does Wheelbase Have on Your Skating?
Switching between configurations with widely varying wheelbase may influence your rolling and trick performance. In a nutshell, it has an impact on your turning radius, ride quality, and pop.
Turning Radius & Stance
The length of your skateboard’s wheelbase has an impact on its turning radius. A 9″ deck is wider than an 8.5″ deck, as well as considerably longer. Because of the greater distance between your trucks, your skateboard is less responsive but has a smoother ride on rough concrete.
Simply stated, the shorter the skateboard deck, the sharper the turns. The longer the deck, the smoother and more comfortable it is to ride.
Wheelbase may also alter your stance. A long wheelbase provides more space between the wheels, giving the rider a larger overall stance. This last detail is essential to remember. If you are tall, choose decks with a longer wheelbase. Your knees will thank you for it.
The Lever Phenomenon
When you pop your skateboard, the wheels move back and forth. The lever effect is the motion that your skateboard performs when you pull it back. When your trucks are far apart, the board feels heavier to lift up high. And to do so, you’ll have to pop harder. This also makes the nose and tail appear shallower.
The longer the wheelbase on a skateboard, the more responsive it is. It’s simpler to perform tricks. However, you’ll get less yield, which means your flips will be more difficult than those on a deck with a shorter wheelbase.
I’m not sure if it’s the extra weight or the longer wheelbase, but Independent trucks make scoop-heavy tricks, like as a 360 flip or any 360 smashes, feel more difficult than Thunders or Ventures.
How Long Should My Skateboard Be?
There is no ideal skateboard deck length, since it all depends on what you want to use it for.
A long and wide deck is perfect for tackling large transitions. A shorter and more nimble deck is better if you want to do a lot of flips and slides.
Skateboards for adults are usually 31 to 33 inches long. However, if you’re shopping for your first skateboard deck, the length isn’t an issue. The width is what you should pay attention to.
The difference in length between the two decks is imperceptible unless you change, for example, from an 8.1” deck to an 8.25” one. In fact, the majority of 7.9 to 8.1 skateboard decks are 31.75” long, whereas 8.25” wide decks are 32.25″ long.
What Size of Skateboard Do Pros Ride?
Pro-skaters ride on all sorts of decks, just like any other skaters. For street skaters, the typical width is 7.5” to 8.5” wide, whereas transition riders prefer decks that are 8.5” or wider.
Unfortunately, there has yet to be a study on the most popular skateboard size. However, if you look at professional models available in skate shops, you can get a decent sense of what kind of size people prefer. People seem to like 8.0 and 8.25, which are both good for most skaters.
The majority of pro-models range from 8″ to 8.25.” It’s a little more chaotic when it comes to professional transition decks. When it comes to big-name riders, Ben Raybourn, notorious for riding the steepest ramps, has 8.3 and 9.0 inch decks.
Measurements on a Skateboard Deck
Measurements on skateboards are typically done in inches. Let me begin by saying that there are no rules to the size of deck you prefer. It is really your personal preference and it might help to stand on a few friends’ skateboards to see if you can figure out what size you prefer.
- Length – The length of the skateboard is measured from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Average board length is 28″- 32″.
- Width – The average width of a skateboard deck is 7.5″ to 8.25″. Width is influenced by the size of the rider, foot size and the type of riding you may be doing. Bigger riders and those skating ramps and vert ramps typically prefer a wider deck. Street skaters usually choose a smaller deck. Choose your skateboard deck according to the width, not length.
- Wheelbase – The wheelbase is the distance from one pair of inner mounting holes to the other inner pair. The average wheelbase is 13″-15”.
- Pan – This is the distance from the far truck bolts on the nose to the farthest truck bolts on the tail.
- Nose & Tail – The nose and tail of a skateboard can be hard to tell apart, but most decks provide you with graphics to distinguish the two apart. Also, most skateboard decks have a bigger kick on the nose and mellower kick on the tail. Pro Tip: You can buy mounting hardware that is colored to help tell front from back apart.
- Mounting Holes – Mounting holes are pre-drilled holes where the skateboard trucks are attached. Arranged as two sets of four holes; one set is near the nose, the other near the tail.
Different brands have tendency to have certain size and shape characteristics, you will find a brand that work’s for you.
Now that you have a little more information on what to look for in a deck, go out and find the perfect one for you. It may take a little trial and error, but eventually you will find what works best for you.
Skateboarding is all about finding your own style and what works best for you. So get out there and experiment with different boards until you find your perfect setup!
Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of what wheelbase is and how it affects your skating. Keep in mind that what works for one person might not work for another, so experiment until you find what feels best!