A Practical Guidebook for Choosing The Best Longboards

“Taking your longboarding enthusiasm to the next level”

Did Ed Economy and Tom Sims, the two pioneers of longboarding, ever think that longboarding which they publicized for the first time could become one of the most exciting and thrilling sports one day? Probably not, but this has been around since the 50’s or 60’s era.

Freestyle LongboardSince then, longboards have become the daily companions of adrenaline seekers who love to get swept from coast to coast. With skateboards, you may feel happy with cruising sideways, but with longboards, you will feel like cruising with stability while suiting yourself to many tricks.

In modern times, longboards are available in a myriad of lengths, widths, flexes and shapes, which yield different feelings depending on the riding abilities and styles. While choosing the best longboards is neither an art nor a rocket science, the host of features and technicalities involved in your decision-making procedure make it quite tricky for you to find the best one that nicely complements your very own arsenal of styles.

Well, stop hovering your mouse here and there around the web and save your sweat. This guide will provide you with an expert’s insights regarding the selection of the best longboards. As long as you are reading this, you are just one step away from the streets.

Price may not be the first thing to consider

In fact, longboards should not be the priciest items in your fancy collection. You might believe the higher the price, the higher performance delivered.  That’s another thing. But, you must understand that you are not buying the best longboards with the highest withdrawal from your wallet.

Some expensive items may prove to be for fancy purposes only while some items can be really geared for high performance given that you are paying a higher amount. Expect to spend anywhere between 30 dollars and a few hundred dollars. You will get your longboard right away.

Cheap longboards are good solutions, but how?

Some longboards sell at a very reasonable price, but it does not indicate that the manufacturers are only trying to save you some money without entertaining your demands. With only 100 bucks, you can make the best purchase, but that precision requires in-depth understanding of longboarding in association with your own passions for the sport.

Technical considerations – the trickiest part of your decision-making endeavor

The following considerations if made properly can get you the best longboard setup.

  • Ability Level
  • Riding Styles and ideal choices of longboards
  • Board Shape
  • Length of the wheelbase
  • Width of the board
  • Board Styles
  • Deck Rail
  • Board Flex
  • Board Camber
  • Board Concave
  • Board Traction
  • Trucks
  • Wheels
  • Bearings
  • Materials used for the boards

Now, sit tight and take a few minutes to understand how longboards actually work if you can choose them appropriately in the light of your own interests.

Ability Level:

Be realistic about what you can do. There is no shame in being a beginner, but it is not a pleasant experience if you end up forgetting about getting the true breeze of longboarding just because of not knowing your ability to ride. How the shape, flex and mounting type of your board should be depends mostly on how adept you are at riding.

This segment is for all the skateboard lovers out there; especially, the beginners. Longboarding is not only a sport but also an art that allows you to express yourself. However, just like you need the right kind of paint brush to make the perfect strokes and the right kind of shoes to do the perfect dance, you also need the right kind of longboard to allow yourself to enjoy longboarding at its fullest in your own style.

There are many kinds of longboarding style and it is necessary to choose your longboard based on your personal style. Here is a whole list of longboards, of the best ranks, which will hopefully help you make your decision more easily on which longboard to buy.

 

Here Some of the Best Longboards in 2016

Quest Super Cruiser Artisan Bamboo Longboard Skateboard

Quest Super Cruiser Artisan Bamboo Longboard Skateboard detailsThis is a classy longboard, made from multiply hardwood maple and bamboo. It comes with rugged 7 inch aluminium trucks, 70mm durable PU wheels and a beautiful and sturdy 44 inch deck which is designed to have a kick tail as well. It is absolutely perfect for beginners and is also great for cruising and freeriding.

This specific longboard has also been rated as a #1 bestseller on Amazon.com and it has a rating of 4.5 starts with over 700 reviews!

Atom Drop-Through Longboard

Atom Drop-Through LongboardThis is a gorgeous 40 inch longboard made from maple and bamboo. It comes with the following specifications:

Trucks: Navigator Drone, 40 degree base with 180mm hangers

Wheels: Atom AREA 51, 70mm diameter, 51mm width, 78A SHR

Bearings: ABEC 9 with high-speed lubricant

Grip: Coarse 46 grit

It is perfect for downhill riders. It is super fast and super stable. The build quality is one of the best and the craftsmanship put into it is absolutely breathtaking!

Ripstik Caster Board

Ripstik Caster Board ReviewThis classic attention grabber acts as a snowboard-skateboard hybrid. It has two wheels, opposed to the usual four. It has the capability of making smooth 360 degree turns with ease.

The main features of this skateboard include:

  • Inclined caster trucks
  • Concave deck platforms
  • Traction plates
  • Kick nose
  • Kick tail
  • Rubber-padded handle
  • Torsion bar
  • 76mm polyurethane wheels
  • High-performance ABEC 5 bearings
  • 220 pound rider weight capacity

In short, this is a revolutionary design that has clearly been a success. The countless rave reviews are the proof to it. For more detail, please visit the link below.

Yocaher Professional Speed Drop Down Stained Complete Longboard

Yocaher Professional Speed Drop Down Stained Complete LongboardThis longboard was particularly designed with professional longboard riders in mind. It features a 41.25” x 9” sized deck with the following specifications:

Wheel: Q-ball 70 x 52mm, 78A hardness.

Trucks: HD7 heavy duty, 180mm hanger, aluminium alloy.

Bearings: ABEC 7 Chrome.
Wheel Base: 33”

Construction: 9-Ply Maple.

This longboard is unique in the way that its deck is designed in a way which lowers the deck at the centre, lowering the rider’s centre of gravity and provides more stability at greater speeds making it a great option for speed-boarding.

Krown Wood Sunset Complete Longboard

Krown Wood Sunset Complete LongboardThis is another great board for new riders; it carves very well and delivers a smooth, stable ride. It features the 42 inch pintail shape which is very popular among enthusiasts. It comes with a deck that measures 42” x 9” in size and is made from Canadian maple wood. It also includes 70mm/78A mag wheels, ABEC 7 bearings with smoke black cover and 7 inch heavy-duty aluminium, Allen head kingpin trucks.

 

 

 

 

Rimable Drop-through Longboard

Rimable Drop-through LongboardIf you are looking for a drop-through longboard with tighter turning radius then this is the one for you! It has a 41” x 9.5” sized deck constructed from 9 ply maple (laminated) and it features drop-through 7 inch 180 aluminium trucks, 70 x 51 mm PU wheels and ABEC 9 with high-speed lubricant. It is absolutely perfect for freeriding as the 70mm PU wheels enables super smooth rides and the wide deck provides maximum stability which also makes it a great choice for downhill rides.

 

 

SCSK8 Natural Blank & Stained Assembled Complete Longboard

SCSK8 Natural Blank & Stained Assembled Complete LongboardThis particular longboard was designed in a way to make it attractive and simple at the same time. Even though it has a simple plain deck without any artwork, its shape is what attracts attention without fail. It has a 40 inch deck and comes with 70mm wheels, 7 inch trucks and ABEC 5 bearings. For its price, it is definitely one of the best choices!

 

 

 

 

 

Riding Styles and ideal choices of longboards:

Your styles of riding bear great impacts on your choice of a longboard.

Carving or cruising: You may want to carve down gradually sloped pathways or streets or rip through the quad on the way to your home or class. Then, you must have love for cruising or carving. Choose a cruiser longboard.

Cruising longboardsHowever, remember the following factors:

  • A cruiser board that ranges from 28-inch to 46-inch is simply a great choice.
  • Shorter people or younger adults may choose a cruiser board that has lengths from 28-inch to 32-inch.
  • If you are no less than a beginner, choose a longboard that is in the range of 32-inch to 42-inch regardless of your own size.
  • Choose longer cruiser boards only if you want relaxed rides with heavy boards.
  • Newbies can choose stiffer cruiser boards while experienced people can choose very flexy boards.

 

Downhill longboarding: Do you enjoy bombing hills quite fast and without losing the control? Make sure you have advanced level of skills. If you have, downhill longboards are for you to ride at a very high speed.

Downhill Longboard

Here are some important considerations to make.

  • Deck style is quite important when it comes to downhill longboarding as it involves stability, speed and precision.
  • A top mount deck is what a pro downhill longboard should come with.
  • Drop-through decks give more stable feeling than a top mount deck.
  • For downhill longboarding, ideal are the decks which have a length anywhere between 37 inches and 43 inches.
  • With the length any shorter than this, a deck can be unstable when put at high speeds. Similarly, a deck with any longer length may lack maneuverability.
  • It is safe to stick to a deck that has a length between 40 inches and 41 inches.

Free Ride: This style of longboarding involves riding hills with a great speed while styling the ride up with curb hops and slides. Also, sliding for controlling the speed on bigger descents is involved. This style is suitable for only intermediate and advanced longboarding people.

 

Purchase of free ride longboards requires you to think about the following matters:

  • Roughly speaking, any longboard can be used by free riders.
  • The dimension of the deck should be anywhere between 38 inches and 42 inches.
  • Beginners should choose drop platforms as they offer an enhanced level of stability.
  • Intermediate or advanced free riders should choose drop through decks which feature lightweight and slim construction.

Freestyle: Freestyle longboarding is a learning curve for beginners and an extremely delightful undertaking for both intermediate and advanced longboarders who need to possess a wide range of riding skills including sliding, dancing, board tricks, goofy and regular riding.

With all these in mind, freestyle longboards should feature the following things:

  • Perfect amount of agility required for creative riders.
  • The construction should focus on nimbleness.
  • Designed to enable longboarders to perform in different ways.

Board Shape

In order to allow both newbies and advanced people for convenient longboarding, manufacturers have brought into different shapes which offer diverse functionalities and styles.

  • Pintail shape: A surf-inspired shape that is classic by nature is available mostly on cruiser longboards. With this shape, you do not need to be wary of any wheelbite. The tail along with a wide center deck and the tapered nose yield a surf-like balance when you carve or cruise.
  • Fishtail shape: Much like the pintail shape, the fishtail comes with a split tail, so it mimics the split tail surf board style. You want to keep the footing while turning on the different shorter varieties, this shape will work well for you.
  • Blunt shape: With a wide and round tail and nose, the blunt shape may not accommodate large wheels and offer as much clearance as a cutout or pintail could.
  • Mini cruiser: This is not technically an ideal shape for a longboard, but it is good enough for those who love to have a compact cruiser setup. These boards are usually pin shaped with a length of 33 inches.
  • Twin: Sometimes, this is called a symmetrical board that feels almost the same, no matter which way you touch it. Doing 180° slides is common in freestyle and free riding longboarding. Therefore, twin boards are simply good for freestyle longboarders. The width can be more than 8.5 inches while the length may range from 28 inches to 33 inches.
  • Cutout shape: When it comes to the wheel clearance, the cutout shape is the best one. Its bidirectional shape allows riders to ride comfortably and switch without any hitch.
  • Drop down shape: The lower deck of a drop down deck drops down from the board’s nose and tail and allows the rider a good number of sorts to enjoy stability. This shape also allows riders for easier pushing in transportation and long distance scenarios. You can pair a drop down deck with a cutout deck for excellent wheel clearance.
  • Speed board shape: This shape is ideal for those who love to enjoy ultimate stability even at great speed. The shape is mainly a combination of a nose that is much like a sharp tapered pin and a tail like that of a blunt. This shape is adequately convenient when combined with racing style wheels.

 

Width of the board

The wider the board is, the more stable it is, but with one downside; that is wide boards are less responsive. Again, the thinner the board is, the more responsive it is but with less stability. An ideal selection of width for the mini cruisers and downhill longboards can range from 6 inches to 11 inches.

Board Styles

The stability of the board and its ability to deliver ease for foot-brake depend on the deck styles which also translate how easily riders can push the board on flat ground.

  • Top Mount: It is a traditional mounting system that is also the least expensive. This style requires that the truck’s baseplate mount to the bottom of the tail and nose of the deck. It can be relative to another style called the drop through. A top mount is usually a higher ride height, so riders can turn it quickly without adequate stability at speed.
  • Drop through mount: This drop thru mounting system features a lower center of gravity that allows for increased stability as well as easy sliding and pushing. The only downside is slower turning response.
  • Drop through flush mount: This mounting system involves special machining in the process of deck construction. Like a standard drop mount system, it requires a low level of center gravity. This style is another less frequently chosen one.
  • Drop Deck: These decks may look weird but they deliver an effective way to lower the center of gravity, meaning that riders enjoy increased stability but with less fatigue, especially when braking or pushing.
  • Double Drop: With maximum stability, this is the most expensive deck style, which is why it is less frequently chosen style. This shape can only be available on dedicated downhill longboards.

 

Deck Rail:

The edge that is found around the deck is the rail of a board, which changes the way one’s foot feels after standing on it. There are three styles of rails, such as sharp, rounded, and beveled or gas pedal rails.

Deck Rail

Board Flex:

Different flex ratings have made boards interesting and efficient at different levels. Flexes of longboards can be dictated by various factors which include laminates, material, the amount of concave and length of the board.

Board flex

  • Soft Flex: A board with soft flex offers standard shock absorption facility on rough roads but is unusually unstable at speed. Boards with soft flex offer fun for certain tricks and mellow cruising.
  • Medium Flex: A board with medium flex can help riders maintain adequate stability at speed while providing them with a “spring-like” feel which can give them energy while pushing and carving. Medium flexes are known to offer excellent shock absorption over bumps. They are ideal for commuting and cruising at a moderate speed.
  • Stiff Flex: Boards with stiff flex offer maximum stability at any speed level, but they are not friendly when riders are on cracked or bumpy pavement. Stiff flexes are ideal for free riding and bombing hills.

Board Camber:

The middle portion of the board sits at a certain high or low position in relation to the tail and nose. That high or low position is what camber signifies. Board camber has an impact on how the board typically flexes under pressure.

The majority of longboards can have flat camber while a trifling minority may have positive or negative/ rocker camber. A board that has a positive camber may yield a large amount of bounce or flex to it. Flex and speed don’t mix well so you’ll find camber mostly on your cruiser style decks for a smoother ride. Rocker boards may not be common but offer great stability at speed, especially if you love to feel like locked in pocket.

Board Camber

Board Concave:

Concave is the part in the form of a bend across a board’s width that dictates the board’s ability to react to the force of the rider’s foot when turning. Typically, the concave puts a direct impact on the transfer of toe-heel energy communicated by the rider’s foot to the board.

Board Concave

Some common concaves along with their features have been stated below:

  • Flat no-concave: If you like a flat platform on which you want to dance or do some fancy footwork without requiring much speed, the absence of concave can be good. So, the dramatic transfer of toe-heel energy cannot be available in an expected way.
  • Radial concave: it is the most commonly used concave type that is often referred to as “Taco” which offers excellent balance of the transfer of toe-heel energy.
  • Elliptical concave: This concave features a sharp transition from the board’s center to its edge. So, the board with elliptical concave is able to yield a more rigid response.
  • W concave: With a W shape, this concave looks like two radial concave put together on the same board. Advanced or even intermediate racers usually love to achieve maximum precision with fast turning facility. So, W concave is, no doubt, the best choice for those riders.

Board Traction:

Traction helps racers keep their feet on a longboard.

Here are a few traction materials for you to consider:

  • Grip tape: This material, identical to sandpaper in terms of appearance, is the most popular material for board traction. The material comes in both smooth and rough texture and flavor, so everyone has something to pick.
  • Die-cut grip: This tape is often cut in to funky fresh styles so that riders feel good as they look down their tootsies.
  • Painted grip: Many longboards with fancy wood veneers come with painted grip, so that the beauty and richness of the wood remains fresh and intact.
  • Cork: Without shoes, grip fails to keep traction, but cork bridges up the gap as it enables cruisers to maintain their surf lifestyle while riding barefoot. If you accept limited traction, cork will give you cushy and soft feelings without requiring any shoes.
  • Plastic: Slippery and helpful for quick cruising, plastic withstands for a long time.

Longboard Trucks

These components attach the board’s wheels to their decks and allow riders to turn and pivot on the axle. With inverted or reversed kingpins, the trucks on longboard differ significantly from those on standard skateboards. So, side-to-side movements become more enjoyable with better control and stability.Board Truck

Wheels

Board WheelThe wheels of your longboard are the components that decide the grip between the road and you. The performance of wheels depends on the following factors:

  • Shape: Round and square are the two principal shapes of wheels. Wheels that have round lips are available mostly on skateboards. They offer less traction but easy sliding. Square wheels are specifically designed for longboards as they offer improved contact with the street with better sliding resistance and traction.
  • Height: The height or diameter determines the distance between the spot on which the board’s wheel touches the ground to its urethane top, in a fairly straight line. Larger wheels offer smoother ride with facility to roll over obstacles with little effort. Smaller wheels offer faster acceleration than the larger counterparts but with inadequate facility to roll over large obstacles.
  • Width: Width determines the distance from the wheel’s outer to inner edge. A wider wheel offers more grip but works slowly because of their close contact with the ground.

Board Wheel White

  • Durometer: Durometer determines the hardness of the wheel. It is typically followed by a specific letter like “a” or “b” which helps riders determine the scale used for the measurement of the wheel. For the best control pr grip, beginners and intermediate riders can get softer wheels in the 75a – 80a range.
  • Core: The wheel’s center that houses the bearings is called the core. There are three types of cores, such as offset, centerset, and sideset.
  • Offset cores offer nice balance of sliding ability and grip.
  • Centerset cores can prolong the wheel’s lifespan.
  • With minimal urethane the wheel’s inner lip, sideset cores can offer excellent sliding ability.

Length of the wheelbase:

A longer wheelbase comes with wider turning radius along with more flex while a shorter one has tighter turning radius along with less flex. For optimal freeride and downhill performance, ideal range of length can be anywhere between 28 inches and 32 inches. For mini to long cruisers, the ideal range of length can be anywhere between 11 inches and 38 inches or even more.

Bearings

Bearings make the wheel spin and are rated by a certain standard known as ABEC. The higher rating bearings have, the faster the wheels spin.

best Longboard Bearings

  • ABEC 3 bearings can be ideal for cruising
  • ABEC 5 can be ideal for freeride
  • ABEC 5–7 or higher rated bearings are good enough to provide superior speed for racing and downhill longboarding.

Materials used

Some sort of composite material or wood is the principal construction material for longboards. Certain types of wood may split quite easily as the longboard hits a curb or bumpy something. If you dislike worrying about any unconscious abuse of your longboards, composite material is the best thing to consider. Boards made with bamboo laminates are popular because of the end product being lightweight with soft to medium level of flex and capability to deliver powerful spring-like experience.

You don’t want to get started with too many considerations, do you? Well, you have got a lot to consider, but this guide will just ease out the confusions right away.