SKATEBOARD STABILITY IS IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER WHEN RIDING AND RACING AT HIGH SPEED.
Skateboard stability is complex but performance aspects can be broken down into the following parameters:
- Wheel base length
- Combination of front and rear truck pivot angle
- Truck width
- Bushing selection & tightness
What does all that mean?
Longer wheelbases will increase the turning circle of your skateboard at a fixed deck lean angle. Increasing wheelbase increases the stability of your skateboard.
Wider truck width means your feet can exert less of a turning force onto the wheels at any moment in time, less input force available to apply to the wheels at any moment in time means higher stability. Wider trucks are also less susceptible to high siding.
Raith electric skateboards have fixed wheel base lengths per model and fixed truck widths per model so it’s up to the rider to choose suitable front and rear truck angles, suitable bushings and bushing tightness.
Truck angles should be adjusted based on top speed and rider preference. Lower truck angle means the truck will pivot at less of an angle in the steering plane of the skateboard per change in deck lean angle from horizontal, i.e. the lower your base plate angle, the larger your turning circle at a certain deck lean angle. Larger turning circle means less acceleration and force induced for that certain deck lean angle, i.e. the board is less sensitive, exerts less force onto you and is more stable at reduced truck angles.
The dreaded speed wobbles can be eliminated
Speed induced truck oscillation or “speed wobbles” is a condition that causes instability in skateboards at high speed predominantly due to the effects of too high an induced rear truck steering angle and too low a damping coefficient in the reverse kingpin truck system. The effects of speed wobbles can be reduced by lowering the rear truck baseplate angle relative to the front so that the board favors steering from the front truck, i.e. more like a car. They can also be reduced by globally lowering your baseplate angles together front and back. They can also be further reduced by either tightening your trucks or increasing bushing hardness, due to the fact the bushings are acting as a damper in the system. As bushing hardness increases so does the damping coefficient of the truck, however bushing selection should be based on the individual rider weight. Optimization of your truck system will mean speed wobbles are a thing of the past.
Truck base plate angles
Truck base-plate angles are rider preference. The world record for fastest speed on a skateboard (gravity powered) of 146km/ph was set on a board with a 38/33 setup (38 degree front, 33 degree rear). Electric skateboards induce more weight on your rear foot under acceleration/load so a reduced rear base-plate angle compared to your downhill setup is recommended. It is always recommended that your front truck angle be set larger than your rear. The world record for fastest speed on an electric skateboard of 132kh/ph was set on a board with a 38/30 setup.
Riding style is also a factor to consider. Using a tuck position will help to reduce your air resistance which will increase your acceleration and top speed.
It is not recommended to use slick urethane wheels in wet environments. Extreme caution should be taken when riding in patchy, damp or wet conditions, loss of traction can come swiftly and without warning and can be extremely dangerous, if it starts raining, stop safely and ride another day.