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Anatomy of a Plate

This interactive picture is designed to provide detailed information about the parts of a traditional derby plate. See a part you want to learn about? Simply click the number identifying that part to display information such as its name and function below.

Derby Skate Anatomy 1 Baseplate 2 Kingpin 3 Cushions 4 Retainers 5 Kingpin Nut 6 Wheel Tire 7 Wheel Hub 8 Bearing 9 Axel Nut 10 Truck/Hangar 11 Axle 12 Pivot Arm 13 Pivot Cup 14 Toe Stop Housing 15 Set Screw 16 Toe Stop
1. Baseplate - The baseplate attaches to the outsole of the boot by means of rivets or mounting bolts. It contains several housings that anchor various other parts of your plate such as the kingpins and toe stops. Baseplates are most commonly available in nylon, aluminum, and magnesium, with each material having varying degrees of affordability, durability, rigidity, and weight. Alloy plates offer the best power transfer for those seeking the highest performance possible.
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2. Kingpin - Kingpins are attached directly to the baseplate and house cushions, cushion retainers, and the truck assemblies. Kingpins vary in weight and durability depending on the material used; steel and aluminum are the most common. The biggest impact from kingpins comes from the angle at which the kingpin protrudes from the baseplate - lower angles like 5° (almost straight down) are more stable but less responsive while higher angles like 32° are the opposite (more responsive and less stable). Kingpins are typically not widely compatible and are designed for a specific brand or model of plate.
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3. Cushions - Cushions (sometimes called bushings) are urethane, rubber, or plastic components that rest on the kingpin and compress due to force exerted on the trucks. This compression allows the truck assembly to pivot and effectively turn your skates. Softer cushions engage with less effort but provide less resistance and rebound. Firmer cushions take more force to engage but will snap back sooner and provide more stability.
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4. Retainers - Cushion retainers are small alloy rings that help distribute the force put on the cushions. Every cushion will have one retainer, located opposite the side of the cushion that is in contact with the truck. Properly placed and well-maintained cushion retainers will drastically improve the lifespan and performance of your cushions.
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5. Kingpin Nut - The kingpin nut will vary in shape, size, and material depending on the kingpin, but they all serve one simple purpose - to secure the cushions, retainers, and truck assemblies to the kingpin. The kingpin nut should be tight enough so that components on the kingpin do not move, but not so tight that it over-compresses the cushions. Some high end plates use micro adjustable kingpins nuts to allow for more precise adjustment.
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6. Wheel Tire - The Wheel's Tire is the urethane portion on the outside of the hub. This is the part of the wheel that is in contact with the ground and is available in a number of hardesses and sizes to alter the way your skates will feel (i.e. slide vs. grip). You can identify a tire's hardness (durometer) and size (profile) by looking for the number followed by an A in the wheel's graphics or on the product description. Softer tires have lower "durometers" and typically provide more grip and harder tires with higher "durometers" offer more roll.
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7. Wheel Hub - The Wheel Hub is the part of the wheel that provides rigidity to keep the tire in its correct shape. Hubs come in a number of different styles such as spoked, hollow and alloy; each of which provides different performance aspects. The hub also houses your bearings.
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8. Bearing - The Bearing is the part of the skate that allows your wheel to spin around the axle. Each wheel requires two bearings, one on either side of the hub, for a total of 16 for a full set. Upgrading your bearings will allow for better roll and a smoother ride.
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9. Axle Nut - The Axle Nuts screws onto the end of the axle to keep your wheel secured in place. Can be customized with colors and styles to personalize your skates.
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10. Truck/Hangar - The truck, sometimes called a hangar, sits in between the two cushions along the kingpin and transfers a skater's pressure to the wheels. The truck articulates along the kingpin, compressing your cushions and allowing you to turn. Trucks are typically not widely compatible and are designed for a specific brand or model of plate.
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11. Axle - The Axle is part of the truck and slides through your bearings to attach your wheels to your skates. Standard derby axles are 8mm but 7mm are available in some models upon request, however they do require special bearings.
12. Pivot Arm - The Pivot arm is the support system for the truck assembly and is sometimes referenced as a pivot pin. Some higher end trucks feature adjustable pivot arms, which allow you to change the length of this arm to improve the health of your skate.
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13. Pivot Cup - Pivot Cups are made of rubber, urethane, delrin or metal and house the end of the pivot arm within the skate. They are one of the highest wear areas of the skate as they support most of the pressure put on your trucks in order to protect your baseplate. Pivot cups are replaceable and should be checked regularly for cracks or shredding.
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14. Toe Stop Housing - The Toe Stop Housing is the threaded part of the baseplate that accepts an adjustable toe stop. It is important to check the threads of your toe stop housing for cracks and debris prior to installing a new toe stop to protect it from stripping.
15. Set Screw - The Set Screw features a hex head and is used to tighten the baseplate around the toe stop to keep it in place. It is recommended to remove this screw when changing toe stops to help prevent from stripping. The alternative to set screws is a locking nut, which is used primarily on nylon plates.
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16. Toe Stop - The Toe Stop features a rubber stopper and threaded metal stem that threads into the toe stop housing on the plate. They provide a stable surface to elevate a player off of their wheels for fast starts and quick maneuvering. Toe stops come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and harnesses to suit ever player's preference.
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