A Guide to Downhill Longboards

Downhill longboards provide a new level of racing experience. Ever since the invention of skating in 1950s, racing has been an important part of the entire skateboarding culture. Downhill longboards allows riders to race in the fastest manner that too down the most technical hills in the world. There has been an explosion of companies that make downhill longboards since the popularity of downhill boards started. Here is a guideline that will help you get to the core of downhill longboards and a list of the best- selling downhill longboards of 2018.

Best Downhill Longboards in 2018

Never Summer Reaper Longboard

Never Summer Reaper LongboardProduct details

  • Brand – Never Summer Industries
  • Average customer rating -4.5

Features

  • 5 inches x 10 inches
  • Top-mount downhill longboard
  • Maple fiber-glass construction
  • 75 inches to 29.25 inches wheel base
  • 75 mm wheels of 80 A
  • ABEC 5 bearings
  • 180 mm trucks
  • Black grip traction

Description

The board employs multi core technology. It has a W concave with ergonomically molded foot pockets. It has a 3D molded base and flared wheel wells. Reaper is one of the hardest charging, most insanely stable and comfortable downhill board ever to be created.

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Bustin Sportster Pro Longboard

Bustin Sportster Pro LongboardProduct details

  • Brand-Bustin Brooklyn
  • Average customer rating – 4.5

Features

  • 5 inches x 10 inches
  • Drop-through downhill longboard
  • Maple carbon fiber glass construction
  • 5 inches wheel base
  • 70 mm Five-O-Sniper wheels
  • ABEC 7 bearings
  • Bear Grizzly trucks
  • Black grip tape

Description

It is a low riding speed machine. It is suited for easy pushing on flats and easy tucking on slopes. It employs Thermo-carbon technology that provides a light, strong, and stiff deck that can tackle anything.

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Sector 9 Faultline Longboard

Sector 9 Faultline LongboardProducts details

  • Brand – Sector 9
  • Average customer rating – 5

Features

  • 5 inches x 9.5 inches
  • Drop-through downhill longboard
  • 9 ply cold pressed maple construction
  • 70 mm Race Formula wheels
  • PDP bearings
  • 3200 Jessup grip tape
  • Sector 9 double mold lock

Description

It has a concave that brings riders slightly lower to the ground that provides good balance and control while drifting round corners. It is a great all around free ride longboard that can handle speed seamlessly.

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Landyachtz Time Machine Longboard

Landyachtz Time Machine LongboardProduct details

  • Brand – Landyachtz Longboards
  • Average customer rating- 5

Features

  • 25 inches x 10 inches
  • Top mount deck
  • Maple construction
  • 28 inches to 29 inches wheel base
  • 76 mm Zombies wheels
  • ABEC 7 bearings
  • Bear Grizzlies bearings
  • Black grip tape

Description

The board is very good for carving. The board features angle drops that maximize the carving ability a dropped foot platform deck. The unique design gets riders’ feet close to the trucks as much as possible that make it a good free ride board. It is very comfortable to ride in and yet agile at speed.

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LandyachtzEvo Longboard

LandyachtzEvo LongboardProduct details

  • Brand – Landyachtz Longboards
  • Average customer review – 5

Features

  • 39 inches x 9.8 inches
  • Top mount downhill longboard
  • Maple construction
  • 7 inches to 32.2 inches wheel base
  • Bear Grizzly 840s trucks
  • ABEC 7 bearings
  • Black grip tape
  • 70 mm Biggie Hawgs wheels of 80 A

Description

It is one of the most iconic downhill longboard ever made. It has a wedged front and a de-wedged rear that allows more turning up front and less in the back that provides great stability.

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Loaded Truncated Tesseract Longboard

Loaded Truncated Tesseract LongboardProduct details

  • Brand – Loaded Carving System
  • Average customer review- 4.5

Features

  • 33 inches x 9.5 inches
  • Vertically laminated bamboo construction
  • 5 inches to 26 inches wheels base
  • Course-grit black grip tape

Description

The board is designed for big mountain roads, high speed rides, and snappy slides. The board employs rocker, wheel well flares, W-concave, and multiple wheel base options. It is very light weight and has a traditional but race inspired shape. The board also retains all the performance driven ergonomics and construction of its precursor.

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Downhill Deck

Choosing The Right Downhill Deck

Downhill drop-through deckChoosing the deck style – It is considered by all riders that any kind of board is preferable for downhill riding but experts after riding vigorously down Southern California mountain roads declared that stiff drop through and top-mount decks are most ideal for downhill riding. It was identified that drop-through decks are suitable for beginners. These types of board sit lower to the ground which provides riders lower and more stable gravitational center. More stable rides help eliminate fear of beginner riders of high speed rides. Top-mount decks are ideal for intermediate riders. These decks have their trucks attached to their bottom that allows the decks to achieve more grip when racing around curves. It was found that top-mount decks remain more stable high speed when compared to other decks. These boards provide better performance downhill as the deck allows proper sliding round tight corners. However, using top-mount boards require many tricks and motions to be mastered first because of the advanced high speed motion it allows.

Choosing the deck dimensions – Decks in the range of 37 inches to 43 inches are ideal for downhill racing. Shorter deck is less stable and longer ones lack maneuverability. It is recommended that beginners use longer boards for more stable rides. People who do not know their level of experience are suggested to use boards in the range of 40 inches to 41 inches. The width of the board is generally made to be in correspondence with the length of the board which is usually 9 inches to 10.5 inches. Riders with big feet should better use wider decks and vice versa.

Downhill Trucks

Choosing The Right Downhill Trucks

Downhill TrucksChoosing truck design – Longboarding trucks are ideal for downhill riding which is basically a truck with reverse kingpin equipped with a bushing suspension and turning system that are typically manufactured by Bear, Randal, and Caliber. This type of truck can be used on both drop-through and top-mount decks. These trucks have predictable behavior and allow smooth turns. However, some professional and intermediate riders prefer precision trucks. They are very good but are equally expensive so are not suitable for beginners. Another important aspect is the degree of the baseplate which said to determine how radically the board will turn with a certain amount of lean. High degree trucks of around 500 will provide a quicker response while low degree trucks of about 400 will provide somewhat slower response, but are more stable at high speeds.

Choosing truck width –The width of the truck is maintained in relation to the width of the deck as much as possible to ensure proper functioning. Truck widths are usually 10 inches or 180 millimeter long.

Downhill Wheels

Choosing The Right Downhill Wheels

Downhill Deck WheelsRight lip profile – Sharp lips on a wheel provide much more grip without compromising the wheel’s ability to slide. The quality of urethane wheels also plays a big part in determining wheel’s performance.

Diameter of wheels – Typically wheels of length in the range of 70 millimeter to 75 millimeter are ideal for downhill riding. Smaller wheels wear out too quickly from the action of massive riding and larger ones are susceptible to wheelbite. That being said, larger wheels keep a higher degree of traction around turns and are preferred by many riders for the reason.

Durometer of wheels – Wheels of lower durometer are usually called soft wheels provide better grip and highly suitable for downhill riding. Wheels of 80 A are a great choice for beginners because it provides adequate balance of the grip and long wheel life. Riders over 180 pounds should try out wheels that are 83 A and above for fast and stable rides.

Core placement of wheels –There are fundamentally three options for core replacement of wheels and they are centerset, sideset, offset. Centerset wheels are ideal for downhill riders who love sliding. Sideset wheels provide smoother slide commencement but have a tendency to wear down quickly. Offset wheels have an all-in-all property and have the most advantages for downhill riding. Downhill riding will never be dull or wrong with offset wheels.

Width of the wheel – Beginners are advised to use wider wheels, as they provide extra grip around corners, of about 50 millimeter. Wheels of narrow width may leave the riders sliding out in wide corners. However, wheels above 60 millimeter will be difficult to slide out with.

Downhill Bearings

Choosing The Right Downhill Bearings

inexpensive bearing Selecting an inexpensive bearing – According to expert riders here is a list of inexpensive but high quality bearings for downhill riding.

  • MuirSkateBeasto Bearings
  • Rush Abec 9 Downhill Titanium Coated Speed Bombers Bearings
  • Zealous Built-In Bearings
  • Bones Reds and Spacers

durable bearingsSelecting durable bearings – Installing spacers with bearings can increase the life of bearings. They reduce the damaging effects that come from sliding sideways. Some bearings are more durable than others and it is recommended to use the durable ones. Given below are a list of durable bearings itemized by experts’ opinions.

  • Zealous Built-In Bearings
  • Seismic 6-Ball Tekton “Performance Skateboard Bearing System” Bearings
  • ABEC 11 Biltin Bearings

Extra Features

Some Extra Features

Bushings – The right kind of bushings depend on a lot of factors like truck design, board flex, and rider’s weight and of course personal preference.  Given below is a chart that is ideal for downhill setup given the rider uses a stiff deck with reverse kingpin trucks.

Weight of rider Bushings
50-100 lbs 78-80a
75-125 lbs 80-85a
100-145 lbs 85-88a
125-175 lbs 88-93a
145-195 lbs 90-94a
175-220 lbs 91-97a
220 lbs and above 94-97a

 

Risers – Riser pads also known as shock pads protect the deck from unwanted wear and tear when trucks rub directly against the deck. It is recommended to use 1/8 inch Khiro Shock Pad for top mount decks 1/8 inch Khiro Drop Through Shock for  Absorbing Strips for drop-through decks. Both the pads go between the truck’s baseplate and the deck but in different styles.

Grip tape – The grip tape like bushing depends on a lot of factors. The stock grip on most longboards is an ideal choice for downhill riding for beginners. When riding larger hills more course grip tapes are recommended. Vicious, Jessup, and Edger, Super Course grip tapes are a great choice for riding larger hills.