How To Choose The Right Riser Pads
Riser pads, also called risers, are the plastic rectangular pads you insert between the longboard and truck. This will make the longboard higher. Why? On reason you want to do this is to avoid wheel bite. Wheel bite is the friction between the wheel and the longboard deck during a turn or trick. You don’t want this because the wheel will suddenly stop spinning and you will have a nasty wipeout and damage for your longboard wheels.
Riser Pads can preserve your longboard deck. It can reduce the stress cracks where the deck and the truck meet.
There is a variety of riser pads available. Thick, thin, different colors and designs.
Do I need riser pads or risers?
The larger the wheels, the more chance you get for wheel bite. Nowadays longboards have wheel wells (a cutout in the deck) allowing for more space for your wheels, but most longboards still need risers to make sure the wheel doesn’t touch the deck. The bigger the wheel, the higher your risers need to be.
Another reason to get risers is that they absorb some of the shocks of impact. The risers can prevent your hardware to get loose over time. You will see most longboards with risers. Only the drop through longboards are without risers. You will see short boards with and without riser pads. Skateboards and longboard decks that use wheels smaller than 55mm do not typically require risers but even 1/8″ of risers can help you prevent hardware from vibrating loose.
With your board and trucks, you need hardware to get your trucks in place. If you add risers, you need to adjust your hardware to the right length. Below is a chart with sizes:
No Riser – 7/8″ to 1″ hardware
1/8″ Riser – 1″ to 1 1/8″ hardware
1/4″ Riser – 1 1/4″ hardware
1/2″ Riser – 1 1/2″ hardware
Riser Pads holes
When you want to install your riser pads, you will have 4 screws that attach your truck and riser pads to the deck. You will notice 6 holes with the regular most standard riser pads. You only need four. Why are there six holes in risers? Well, the manufacturer added a set of holes to accommodate both new school and old school skateboards. The mounting holes in old school skateboards are slightly closer together since old school trucks were smaller. So the risers can be used on old school boards and new school boards.
Riser Pads Designs
You will also see different kinds of designs. The most common one is the flat riser pads with 6 holes. Some have a design to make the pads more interesting. This makes it not only look cooler but a plus is that it decreases the extra weight of the board. The purpose is the same, though.
Riser Pads Shapes
The most common and basic riser is the rectangular flat one in different thickness. It will increase your deck height and decrease the shock. Larger wheels ask for thicker pads. Experiment with different heights to see what works best for you.
Angled or wedge risers do not only raise your deck, but also fixes them at an angle from your deck. You can install them so they are angled away from the center, or towards the center. The wedge risers change the angle of the kingpin and the pivot point. To increase your turn capability, install the thick part closer to the center of the board. If you place the thick part of the angled risers towards the center of the board, you can increase front turn capabilities while decreasing rear turn capabilities.You can also flip the direction of your wedges to create different effects. Play with it to see and feel the effects.
No matter what riser pad shape you choose, you will need to buy longer hardware to accommodate the extra height.