Route One Skateboard Guide
Get On Board
Looking to buy your first skateboard or want to know more about the bits that keep you rolling? Our skateboard buying guide will help answer all those questions you've wanted to ask.
COMPLETE SKATEBOARDS: First things first, do you want to build your setup or pick something up that's skate-ready? This is a personal preference and both are great for beginners. Complete skateboards are all built, gripped and ready to roll, which is super hand if you're unsure of the components. You'll also get a great deal on a complete skateboard and usually a little cheaper than a custom set up. We have over 200 completes in stock suitable for everyone, check them out here.
Building your skateboard will take a little more time and effort, but does mean that you'll have a bespoke set up based on your preferences and budget.
A shopping list to build your board: Skateboard deck, grip tape, trucks, set of bolts, set of wheels and a pack of bearings. If you want to keep the cost down you can also pick up an undercarriage kit that contains, trucks, wheels bearings and bolts so you can attach it to your skateboard deck. Oh, and if you're new to gripping boards, you can pop a note on your order with us and we'll grip it for you before posting!
Let's have a deeper dive into the skateboard components, there are plenty of variants so you can find out what is best for you.
Skateboard decks come in a whole range of shapes and sizes. We could be here forever talking about different types like cruisers, longboards and everything in between, so for this guide, we’re sticking to your regular skateboard. The most common shape is the popsicle, which features a round nose and tail, it's an ideal shape to start with. Sizing for skateboards is based on the measurement across the with of the deck in inches.
A basic guide to finding out what size is best for you:
Height 5’ and under: 7.75”- and smaller
Height 5’1 – 5’4: 7.75” – 8” Board
Height 5’5 – 5’8: 8” – 8.25” Board
Height 5’9 – 6’: 8.25” – 8.5” Board
The size of your board is a personal preference, a skinny board will react quickly and flip faster, a wider board will feel more stable and provide more to land on. If you’re stuck, an 8” board is a great place to start for most.
Trucks are the metal pieces that hold the wheels to the board and allow us to turn. Skateboard trucks are made from 3 main components:
Hanger- the long metal part where the wheels are attached and the axel goes through.
Baseplate- this is the flat part that is mounted on to the board and the hanger sits on. It also holds the kingpin, which you can tighten or loosen to create movement with your board.
Bushings- rubber or plastic cylinders that sit on the kingpin and allows the trucks to turn.
Trucks are made in different sizes that are specific to the size board. To find the correct truck for your board, look for the axel width of the trucks. They should be within ¼ inch of the width of your deck, you don’t want them hanging out underneath the deck.
To find the right size trucks for your board:
7.75" Board Route One 5.0 Independent 129, Thunder 145, Venture 5.0, Krux 7.6
8" Board Route One 5.375, Independent 139, Thunder 147, Venture 5.2, Krux 8.0
8.25" Board Route One 5.375, Independent 144, Thunder 148, Krux 8.25
8.5" Board Route One 5.5, Independent 149, Thunder 149, Venture 5.8, Krux 8.5
Trucks can come in different premium lighter variants. This is a personal preference for the skateboarder, the lighter the truck the lighter the board, which will help with popping tricks and flipping boards quicker.
Skateboard wheels come in an array of shapes and sizes. The two things you’ll want to look for is the durometer (Hardness) and the Diameter (Size) of the wheel. Wheels are measured in millimetres (mm) and the average size range for skateboards is between 50mm -60mm. A wheel around 51-53mm is perfect for starting off.
Wheel hardness will determine how smooth the skate will be. A softer wheel around 78a-85a will be very soft and are great for cruising on pavements. They aren’t great for tricks as they are too soft and grippy, so won’t slide well on ledges and rails. A medium wheel around 90a-95a will slide better and provide more grip so will be great for tricks, but you’ll start to feel the bumps in the floor. A hard wheel around 99a-101a will be the best wheels to do tricks on. I will be a lot faster skate, have minimal bounce so you can roll away from tricks easier.
78a-85a- Great for cruising
90a-95a- Great for learning tricks and park skating
99a-101a- Great for speed and advanced tricks
Bearing live inside the wheels and help them spin and give you a smooth ride. Most skateboard bearings are based on the ABEC rating system which rates the precision and durability of the bearing. Some bearings are designed specifically for skateboarding and don’t have a rating, but still of great quality. Bearings can be made with different materials and ball sizes, which will change the speed and durability of your ride.
To keep your bearings fresh, they need to keep cleaned and lubricated. Most bearings have a removable rubber shield that keeps the dirt out, you can take off for maintenance. Bearings need a silicone lubricant so they don’t dry out and stop moving, you can pick up skate specific skate lubricant.
Skateboard bolts keep the trucks mounted to the board.
Bolts are available in a range of sizes and colours and will have either a Philips Head or an Allen key head to allow them to be tightened. Coloured bolts can sometimes be used to help indicate what end is the nose or tail of your board.
For fixing a regular truck to a skateboard deck, you'll need 7/8"-1" bolts, any longer and the bolts will stick out at the end.
If you have larger wheels and need to use a riser pad, you should opt for longer bolts for the extra thickness.
Here's a quick guide for sizes:
7/8” – No Riser Pad
1” – 1/8” Riser Pad or Non
1 ¼” –1/4”or 3/8” Riser Pad
1 ½” – 3/8” or ½” Riser Pad
Grip tape does exactly what it says on the tin- it provides grip to your skateboard. Grip tape is available in an array of colours and patterns and some in different levels of coarseness.
Whilst a courser grip will cause your shoes to wear slightly quicker, lots of skaters prefer this as the grip stays consistent for longer and wears out slower.
And lastly, protection!
Protection is essential for everyone, no matter what you skill level. For a beginner, a helmet and pad set is perfect for getting set up and started, protecting your head, knees, elbows and wrists.
Helmets come in a range of sizes, the best way is to measure the circumference of your head around the forehead and check this up against the manufacturers info on the product page. Most helmets come with different foam pad to Velcro inside the helmet to create a tighter fit. When fastening the clip under the chin, you want to leave just enough space to fit two fingers, to ensure a comfortable fit.
Pads can come separately or together in a set. Knee pads are essential for skating vert ramps, helping you with a safer fall, plus elbows and knees will help you protect yourself, especially when starting out. Pad sets come in 3 different sizes, but are all extendable with the elastic velcro tabs. You want to make sure that you have a snug fit, with pads staying up on your knees after you've strapped in.
How To Set Up Your Skateboard
Our George runs through everything you need to know about setting up your skateboard.
Check the video out HERE.