In the world of roller skating, a truck refers to the metal component that connects the wheels to the main frame of the roller skate. It plays a crucial role in determining how your skates move, turn and manoeuvre. Just like the trucks on a skateboard, roller skate trucks come in different sizes, each offering a unique skating experience.
The size of a roller skate truck is mainly defined by the width of the hanger, which is the distance between the two axle arms that hold the wheels. If you are still unfamiliar with the different parts of your skates and how to adjust them, you can learn about it here.
Generally speaking, we talk about narrow trucks and wide trucks. But what does this mean exactly?
Narrow Trucks: Also known as "standard trucks", narrow trucks come in most stock skate set ups and they usually measure 2 inches.
The smaller width between axle arms allows for tighter, quicker and more responsive turns, making them a go-to option for skaters who are looking for agility, more manoeuvrability and/or performing intricate footwork, spins, and dance moves. Roller derby, figure and dance/jam/rhythm skaters usually skate on narrow trucks.
Wide Trucks: These trucks have a larger hanger width, resulting in a wider stance for your wheels. Most roller skate trucks called "wide trucks" measure somewhere in between 2.5 and 3 inches. As the industry grows and new products are developed, we expect to see many different variations of truck sizes which is super exciting!
Wide trucks provide more stability and balance, making them a popular choice for skatepark/aggressive skating. The extra surface area not only offers better stability for learning tricks, but they also allow "grinding" on coping and ledges.
Choosing between wide and narrow trucks comes down to the skating modality you want to practice, your skating style and of course, personal preference. Just like with every other skate component, it might take some trial and error to find the product that best suits you!
Some other factors like skill level and body type could also influence your decision when it comes to choosing the width of your trucks. For example, skaters with smaller feet (like myself or Chuffed Skates founder Sam) often choose the smaller side of wide trucks, making the 2.5 inch Chuffed Core trucks our truck of choice. You can read about why we designed these trucks the way we did here! Skaters with bigger feet, or those who simply want to go all out on real estate of their grinding surface area real estate often go for bigger 3 inch wide trucks!
The height of a skate truck is also something to take into consideration. Trucks made by different manufacturers come in different heights, and definitely affect skating! Lower trucks offer a lower centre gravity, giving the skater added stability when skating.
Of course, the last thing to note is that, sadly, not all trucks are compatible with all skate plates. Compatibility in between skate components is still very much a WIP in the roller skate industry, and at Chuffed we hope to see more and more compatibility in between brands as we move forward! Always make sure to check that any skate hardware you are purchasing is compatible with your existing set up to avoid any unwanted surprises.