How to Adjust Roller Skate Trucks – Loose vs Tight

Adjust roller skate trucks
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When you’re into roller skating, you’d probably want to adjust your trucks based on your style and preference. Some like it loose, some like it tight. But what do you like?

Loose trucks are easier to turn, while tight trucks make your skates go where you want them to go. Tight trucks are good for beginners, but most pros prefer loose trucks.

In this article, we’ll help you figure out what works best for you and how you can adjust roller skate trucks accordingly. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Why Do I Have to Adjust My Roller Skate Trucks?

When you’re starting out as a beginner, your trucks will probably be more towards the tighter side. It’s because you want your skates to listen to you, so you can stay in as much control as possible. You don’t want your skates to be dancing crazy on your first day, now do you?

But, as you progress, your control on the skates also progresses. You’ll want to learn more tricks that require good maneuverability. When that happens, you’ll have to adjust your trucks to your liking so you can perform those cool tricks that other skaters do.

Loose vs Tight Trucks – What’s the Difference?

Well, first of all, I want to mention that neither is better than the other. They both have their own set of pros and cons, and work differently in different situations. So, without further delay, let’s get straight into the comparison.

Loose Trucks

Loosely adjusted trucks are the go-to for most pro roller skaters. You know why? It’s because pro skaters already have good balance to make loose trucks work, and they want better maneuverability.

Here are the pros and cons of loose trucks.

  • Easy Maneuverability

With loose trucks comes the easy maneuverability. When you loosen your trucks, they get the tendency to tilt in either direction. So when you shift your weight on the side you’re planning on turning, it will tilt the trucks and you’ll automatically turn.

  • Skates Going Crazy

One thing that comes with loosely adjusted trucks, are crazy roller skates. Now, you might be wondering, what I mean by crazy? Well, crazy roller skates would go wherever they want to go.

If you don’t have a good solid grip, you’ll probably be sent away dancing on your skates. If you even shift your weight a little bit while roller skating, your wheels are going to spin like crazy.

  • Flowy and Smoother Skating

Loose trucks make your skating a lot more flowy. If you want to slither like a snake, I’d say go for it. For a lot of people, including me, flowy skating takes the win over speed and stability.

I like the feeling of those elegant movements and smooth transitions, rather than the speedy hardcore jumps. That’s why I adjust my trucks super loose.

  • Performing Tricks Become Easier

You can also perform a lot more tricks and stunts. Spins, backwards skating and slalom, become a stroll in the park with loose trucks. If you want tricks that do not involve speed and jumping, but rather technique and weight shifting, you ought to go for looser trucks.

  • No More Accidents

If you’re going down the road, and you want to avoid that one annoying rock that wobbles you up, loose trucks will be your best helper. With loose trucks, your turning becomes a lot tighter, which means less bumping into people and vehicles on the street.

So remember to loosen your trucks the next time you go skating at a busy street.

  • Speeding Becomes Dangerous

Adjusting your trucks loose isn’t all rainbows and sunshines. If you’re going downhill on a high slope, at a high speed, your trucks better not be loose. Unless you’ve got a god-tier control over your rollers, your feet will probably wobble like an earthquake. This can be quite dangerous in a lot of cases.

Tight Trucks

Now it’s time to discuss the pros and cons of tightly adjusted trucks. Now you might be wondering, loose trucks are the absolute better of the two. Well, tight trucks also have their unique advantages. They’re good especially for beginners, and speed skating.

Let’s discuss them in detail.

  • More Stability

The one thing that tight trucks do better than anything else, is stability. On a straight surface, if you intend to go straight, you will go straight. Beginners should adjust their trucks tight, because they require stability more than anyone.

So if you’re having trouble balancing yourself on your rollers, you better tighten up those trucks a bit.

  • Go-to Option For Speed

If speed defines your skating style, you should opt for tighter trucks. The thing with speed is that it requires more stability. If you’ve skated for a bit, you’d know that speed makes your feet wobble a lot. So for reaching optimal speed with maximum amount of stability, adjusting your trucks a bit tight is recommended.

  • Better for Downhill Skating

Extremely loose trucks are the death flag for downhill skating. If you’ve skated downhill before, you’d know how much you want to go in a straight line, and not stray towards either of the sides and crash into the sidewalk.

So before you go downhill skating on a mountain or something, tighten up those trucks, and make sure there’s no traffic.

  • Stable Jumps

When doing jumps, you want to land straighter, rather than leaning towards the side. The trick to landing a jump safely is to land straight with your center of mass right under you, in the middle. Tight trucks make your jumps more stable and and more accurate.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t jump with loose trucks. If you’re a pro at jumping, you can probably do it. But newbies might want to adjust their trucks tighter, to start practicing.

  • Turning Becomes Hard

With tight trucks, you can’t turn that efficiently. To turn on tight trucks, you’ll have to step with your skates, or use your body rather than just shifting your weight.

You can still turn, but the transitions are in no way smooth. They’ll mostly likely be accompanied by an unpleasant screeching sound. Which is why pro skaters prefer adjusting their trucks a bit loose.

  • Spins, Backwards skating and Slalom Becomes Hard

You know what else becomes a nightmare with tight trucks? Spins. Spins become extremely difficult, even impossible for some skaters, on tight trucks. And not just spins, slalom, backwards skating, and dance moves, are also pretty hard to do. It’s because these tricks require that flowy turning, that tight trucks can’t do very well.

What Adjustment Of Trucks Is Best For Me?

Well, let’s find out. You’ll have to do a lot of trial and error for this one. Just experiment a lot and try to figure out what works best for you.

To help you in deciding your desired adjustment, just ask yourself the following questions to get a basic idea.

  • Am I a beginner or an intermediate skater?
  • Do I still need to work on my balance, or is my control pretty good now?
  • Do I want to hit the streets to speed skate with my friends?
  • Do I want to perform cool turning tricks, like spins and dance moves?
  • What do I feel most comfortable with?

Now that you’ve asked yourself these quick questions, you’ve probably got the idea of what you want. Remember, you can always adjust your trucks a bit loose or tight later on. So, you don’t have to worry about it too much.

Also, you don’t have to adjust your trucks super tight, or super loose. You could go for something in the middle. Some skaters also adjust their front trucks loose, and their back trucks tight. This way, the maneuverability and stability, both are reasonably strong.

My advice is to loosen your trucks little by little, as you progress further.

How To Adjust Roller Skate Trucks?

Let’s face it. When you’re new, skate maintenance seems like this complicated process that we’re not supposed to understand. However, it’s not rocket science. Infact, adjusting and loosening your trucks is easier than it seems.

So let’s get into the full process.

What and Where are The Trucks Exactly?

You need to identify your trucks before adjusting them, right?

Trucks are basically the horizontal bars or axels to which your wheels are attached. Each roller skate has two trucks, one with the front wheels, while other with the back wheel.

If you hold your roller skate upside down, you’ll notice a quad plate, into which the kingpin goes. Two cushions, the ring or the trucks and an axle nut go into the kingpin.

So the ring in the kingpin, and the axle to which the wheels are attached, are actually the trucks.

Which Nut Do I Have to Loosen or Adjust?

Now you might be wondering, what exactly do I have to loosen. Well, if you loosen the axle on the kingpin, it would automatically loosen the nuts.

What Tools Do I Need?

In order to adjust your trucks, you need a socket wrench of the same size as the axle nut on the kingpin. Actually any tool that fits on your nut and can loosen it would work.

Precautions – Things to Look Out For

Here are the things you have to look out for.

  • The front trucks of both the roller skates should be adjusted similarly.
  • The back trucks of both the roller skates should be adjusted similarly.
  • Go bit by bit, and keep testing along the way.

The Process

Here comes the exact process of adjusting your trucks the way you want them.

1. Measure How Tight The Trucks Are

The first thing you’ve got to do is measure how tight or loose your trucks are already. A lot of you might be thinking of eyeing it and not paying much attention. But I’ll show you a way you can measure the looseness or tightness of your truck immediately.

All you’ve got to do is count the threads on top of the axle nut. The more threads on top of the axle nut, the more tight your truck is. Count the number of threads  for all four trucks and compare how much you need to loosen each one of them based on that.

The number of threads might not only be in whole numbers. It can also be in halves and quarters like, two and a half threads, or quarter to 3 three threads. You can simply eyeball it.

2. Figure Out How Much The Trucks Need to be Loosened

In order to adjust your trucks uniformly, you have to equate the back trucks of both roller skates, as well as the front trucks. Once you know how tight or loose your trucks already are, you can figure out now much more does each truck needs loosening or tightening.

Measure this in terms of quarter turns, half turns, or full turns.

3. Loosen Your Trucks Bit by Bit

The last step is to actually adjust your trucks. Take a socket wrench or any other tool and put it over the axle nut. Start making turns bit by bit. First make a quarter turn, because in roller skates, a tiny turn can make a big difference.

If your trucks are super tight, do one or two full turns, but if your trucks are already loose and you want to loosen them more, do a quarter turn first.

4. Test it out

Adjusting your trucks to that perfect state is a matter of trial and error. Loosen your trucks a bit, put on your skates, and feel it. If the trucks are not loose enough, or if they’re a bit too loose, repeat the whole process again, until you get the tightness you’re looking for.

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you in adjusting your trucks to your preference, so that you can have the best roller skating experience. As you progress further, loosen up your trucks little by little, and do more tricks easily.

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Good luck and have fun skating!

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