The skateboarding has seen recently an increasing popularity among young people of 18-25: fans of this kind of extreme sports. So, you’re interested in the sport as well, you should think about buying the best longboards. Your best results will depend not only on your skills, but also on the sports equipment that one uses.
The first skateboard in the form in which this sport exists now appeared in 1958. At that time small wheels were fastened to a surfboard. Due to some inconvenience of such “design” and virtually complete lack of manoeuvrability the board itself was improved in 1971 by Richard Stevens. This improvement resulted in better mounting and wheels, which made it possible to better control the board.
General Tips about Choosing the Best Longboard
A good longboard is not always sold as a whole, since the athlete well versed in the nuances can choose the best components for themselves and assemble your “perfect” skateboard. A wide range of high quality accessories for boards are sold in the shops making it possible to find the optimum set immediately. In addition to the technical diversity, this can also attract the youth because they can choose the stylish and original design patterns, which in many respects is the key to a successful marketability of boards of any brand. At the same time, this approach foresees that a person is well familiar with the cons and pros of many longboards available on the market these days. For those who do not have such knowledge, but nevertheless intend to buy a “perfect” for themselves skateboard, we have written this review.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Longboard
Do you know how to choose a good longboard? There are several good products on the market already and every day you may see new ones coming. In order to navigate, we would personally feel a bit lost with all this variety, therefore, we hope this article will bring some clarity to you. There are several important factors a buyer needs to keep in mind when choosing the best longboard. The factors are:
- The Right Deck
- Trucks and Wheels
- Other Things to Take into Account
Factor #1: The Right Deck
Deck is the foundation of any longboard. All deck have curved ends. The front end of the deck is referred to as the nose and the back one as the tail.
Side bends along the deck are called concaves. These same bends help to perform various tricks on a skateboard often called flips. Depending on the board, depth of the bends can be different.
Generally, the deck is made of several layers of wood which are strongly pressed and glued to each other. The most popular are 7-ply decks, the less popular are 9-ply ones. Nowadays, you are least likely to see a 6-layer model. Maple is the best material for construction of the board.
When choosing a longboard, one may also consider that many decks have below one additional plastic layer, called “slick.” It is needed for better sliding on the rails.
A longboard with such deck weighs a little more, so if you’re a beginner or just do not want to slide on the rails, it is best to choose a skateboard deck that has no additional layer. Also, one should be aware that the lesser the weight of the longboard, the easier it is to do tricks.
If we talk about the size, the average length of the deck is approximately equal to 80 cm (32 inches) with the width ranging from 19 to 21 cm (7.6-8.4 inches). One should be aware that on the narrow boards, is much easier to perform flips. On the wider longboards, it is easier to land after the stunt. Therefore, this is performance versus security balance that one should make here.
When choosing a longboard, one should also pay attention whether there are any cracks in the deck. Dry decks quickly break down so buying an item that has been in the warehouse for a long time is not recommended.
Grip tape is usually glued to the top of the board. This is an ordinary sandpaper that is only more durable and has a self-adhesive side. It is intended to ensure that person’s legs would not slip on deck.
Factor #2: Trucks and Wheels
Trucks or suspension is attached to the bottom of any longboard with bolts. Some manufacturers add special gum between a deck and tracks to protect the board from overloading.
When choosing a suspension please pay attention to their weight and strength. The thicker the trucks, the stronger the longboard is, but at the same time, it is heavier. When choosing a longboard, choose such trucks where the wheels are completely under the deck and do not stick out from the side.
Wheels are adjusted to the trucks of the longboard and they in turn differ in diameter and degree of rigidity. The diameter is not so important characteristic, rather than the outlook of the device. However, the hardness of the wheel is important.
Longboards with soft wheels transmit speed very badly, but they are easier to manage and due to the fact that they transmit less vibration, driving becomes a more comfortable process.
Soft wheels provide a large coefficient of adhesion so they wear out quickly and lose their speed. Hard wheels are lighter and are better positioned to hold speed. However, due to their strong vibration driving a longboard becomes less comfortable.
If you are going to ride the ramp, then choose a longboard with the soft wheels. Hard wheels are best suited for a ride in the park or on the street.
Two bearings are usually embedded into the wheels on the trucks of a longboard. ABEC standard is used in longboard bearings. They differ in speed.
Most popular are ABEC 3, ABEC 5 and ABEC 7 standards. Much less likely one can meet ABEC 1 and ABEC 9 models. The higher the number of bearings in their title, the more speed they can achieve. Exactly the same type of bearings is used in roller skates. So if you are coming to the longboards from skating, you should have already know the difference.
Factor #3: Other Things to Take into Account
If you still do not fully understand what you may need from the longboard, how long you intend to ride it and in general on what terrain, it is better to buy your first longboard in a specialized online or offline stores where you can read customers’ feedbacks and assess the pros and cons of each model. You can also choose to talk to an experienced sales attendant who might help to recommend to you your future purchase.
We do not recommend also buying low quality boards from unknown manufacturers. This may have a negative impact on your training of skateboarding and ultimately be dangerous for health and life. Such board may break down instantly causing a rider to fall on the ground with all negative consequences.
Do not buy boards with no concaves. Such boards may also have a very faint click, which adversely affects the elasticity of the board. Such boards can crack very quickly and have many other shortcomings. Therefore, it is better to know what you intend to purchase.
The beautiful videos you may see on Youtube show how skateboarders easily perform complex tricks. Nevertheless, you must understand that the performance of such complex tricks on a longboard is achieved through many long hours of patient training as well as bruises and abrasions. Therefore, the first thing you need to consider when buying a longboard, purchase protective gear as well. You will need a helmet to protect your head, knee-pads and the protection for elbows and hands. The correct protective kit does not bring much discomfort to riding a longboard, however, with broken knees and palms you will be significantly more uncomfortable!
Best Longboards Review
Many online shops offer huge variety of these products. We have focused on the most interesting, from our view, longboards currently available on the Amazon. They are:
- Quest Skateboards Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard
- Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Cruiser
- Volador 42inch Freeride Longboard (Drop Through Camber Deck)
Quest Skateboards Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard
Quest is one of global leaders in longboard manufacturing. The company produces premium quality and durable products. The company today has managed to innovate with longboards coming up with new bright engineering ideas.
Feature #1: Solid Deck with Attractive Design
The idea behind this product is make skating fun for any rookie players. It is made of the combination of the best available sorts of maple with bamboo upper layer with 7 layers of wood in total. Bamboo is more durable for everyday usage in comparison with the maple, but lacks its hardness. Therefore, such combination allows both good riding experience without fear of having the board broken down suddenly.
44-inch long board with a nice design is a perfect tool for riding on busy streets in the town. It is relatively lightweight (10 pounds) and can be easily carried in the backpack. Professionals and experienced skate racers will love this board for the feeling of solidness and easiness of manoeuvring it at impossible speeds. The length of 44 inches makes this board neither too long nor too short. It is one of the most balanced types of longboards currently available. If the board is too long, then it is difficult to control it or perform tricks. If the board is too short it is not a longboard at all. With many design patters available you will be standing out of the crowd when driving this longboard.
It has a kick tail, which allows beginners to learn how to perform tricks. Professionals will hone their already vast arsenal of tricks with this board. Therefore, it is suitable for both beginners and pros. Finally, it is complete so you don’t need to purchase anything else and can start practicing right away.
Feature #2: Trucks and Wheels
This product features easily gliding PU wheels made of durable material that does not rust or lose luster over long period of service. Trucks are made of aluminium with ABEC 7 Bearings. Aluminium is lighter than steel and generally less susceptible to rust or usual wear and tear. You will feel the wheels are adaptable to your riding skills and allow you to perform simple and complex tricks. The one downside there is no extra pair of wheels included in the package in case something happens with the preinstalled ones. Therefore, you may opt out for purchasing additional pair of wheels if you choose to buy this longboard. This will ensure that even the wheels break down some time in future you will have replacement available for instant mounting. Bamboo cover is good for resisting all usual dents and cracks associated with this extreme sport. Wheels are lightweight because of aluminium but may require a bit of loosening. Bearings need to be oiled regularly otherwise they may not last long. Overall, very good longboard for the priced offered.
Real Users Feedback
People say that this longboard allows smooth ride irrespective of the distance on paved roads in town or in the country. Many use it for getting to and from one`s work when other means of public transport are overcrowded. The deck is beautifully made and solid giving a complete feeling of control over movements of the board. Trucks can be easily cleaned and maintained. Riding experience is breath-taking and smooth. It is easy to perform various flips and tricks on this board.
At the same time, people report that wheels of this longboard do not handle debris efficiently. Again this is something that can be proofed by one`s real time experience only.
Pros of Quest Skateboards Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard:
- Attractive design and solid desk made of durable 7-ply maple wood
- Good PU wheels
- 10 pounds weight
- Easy to carry
- 44-inch length makes it a good board for handling
- Good price
- Suitable for beginners and professionals
Cons of Quest Skateboards Super Cruiser Longboard Skateboard:
- No extra pair of wheels in the package
- Bearings need to be oiled regularly otherwise can deteriorate quickly
Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Cruiser
About the manufacturer
The manufacturer of this beautifully made longboard claims that it is a revival of 1960s surfboard. Being located in shiny Los Angeles, the engineers of the company were inspired by surfing style of the 60s and introduced many elements of that age in this product.
Feature #1: New and Durable
It is lightweight (8 pounds) and durable longboard of the last year. It is made of combination of the maple wood and bamboo desk with nice California-like design (here is the resemblance with surfboards of 60s). This longboard is also available in many colors with breath-taking look making it very attractive. It is 44 inches long that is good for beginners and this board can be suitable for riding on any terrain. Especially it may be good for girls because of the stability it provides during the riding. At the same time, it is a bit narrow unlike the model we reviewed above.
Feature #2: Good Trucks and Wheels
This model is equipped with 7-inch trucks, which are made of aluminium. Therefore, they are lightweight and quite durable. There is also ABEC 7 bearing and reliable PU wheels. You can ride this product on stones and other uneven surface thanks to the sturdy bearing and trucks. Overall, this product provides a good reliable riding experience as evidenced by below feedback of its users.
Real Users Feedback
Customers who bought this model say that it is a real beauty with rather big wheels and lightweight, solid deck. It is very stable and is a perfect gift for kids who just start to ride longboards. Most of users also note that girls like it design for colors and pattern. At the same time, others mention that the board is not flat, but rather a bit curved. Therefore, those are used for flat boards may feel a bit awkward at the beginning. The manufacturer acknowledges that this is done intentionally to make people experience a stable riding and be able to turn quicker, but this may not be suitable for everyone. At the same time, some people mention that trucks are a bit noisy. It does not mean, of course, that they are of inferior quality (and proper oiling should be enough to take care of this little nuisance), however, this may be something your neighbours would not like if you try to ride this board at night.
Pros of Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Cruiser
- Beautiful look
- Quality materials
- Stable and good especially suitable for girls
Cons of Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Cruiser
- It is a bit narrow for feet
Volador 42inch Freeride Longboard (Drop through Camber Deck)
About the Manufacturer
Volador longboards, made by a company named ORCA Industries Ltd, have become a popular brand of skateboards recently. Volador mean flying in Spanish so this is a pretty good marketing idea from producers of these longboards. Undoubtedly, such name of the product will immediately attract attention of Spanish-speaking Americans and Spanish-speaking people elsewhere.
Feature #1: Laminated Maple Deck
Here again we see that the deck of this product is made of maple. It is lightweight at 8.5 pounds. Manufacturer claims that it is of Canadian origin with 8 layers of solid wood. It is laminated on top so it can be easily cleaned with chemical cleaners or an ordinary cloth. It is shorter than previous models, only 42 inches so this model is catered primarily for experienced skateboarders who know how to handle the short board. At the same time, it is quite flexible allowing a user to perform various flips and tricks.
It should provide good riding experienced both on the paved roads and uneven terrain (like on stones, pebbles, etc).
Feature #2: Robust and Flexible
The product is equipped with ABEC 9 bearings, aluminium trucks and 27.5 inch wheels. Overall, the material used and the quality of manufacturing seems to be good. It also has a kick tail and nose for easy manoeuvring. Manufacturer claims that it will perform equally reliable for routines tasks like commuting and performance-related ones. Still this is quite new product on the market so it is advised to compare other users` experiences before deciding to purchase this one.
Real Users Feedback
Consumers generally praise this longboard for its stableness and flexibility to ride. The grip tape is good so your legs will not slip even on high speed when cutting corners. The drawings on its top are also nice.
People also observe that beginners will probably have difficulty in using this product without some practice due to its plain deck. ABEC 9 bearings give a feeling of being a bit slow in comparison with similar ABEC 9 ones on other available boards. You also need to have a screwdriver to adjust the tightness of wheels and trucks. People warn that without this exercise the longboard may feel very slow especially for people who are used to fast riding. Besides, in some instances users mentioned that its nose had snapped if the player was weighting more or around 180 lbs. Therefore, if you think that your weight is higher or around this indicator, please make a mental note for yourself before hitting a purchase button.
Pros of Volador 42inch Freeride Longboard (Drop through Camber Deck):
- Attractive and manoeuvrable
- Good for professional users due to its short deck
Cons of Volador 42inch Freeride Longboard (Drop through Camber Deck):
- Wheel bolts are tight
- ABEC 9 bearing are slow
- Manufacturer is new
Comparison between All 3 Models
Making a comparison is usually the most difficult task in such kind of products’ reviews. In this case we see that reviewed products compete toes and nails in all available categories. So let’s quickly remind ourselves of the main findings.
Factor #1: Decks
All three models feature a multi-layer boards made of maple. The Quest board is also covered with durable bamboo layer and so is the Emporium Zed`s board. The Volador board is made of Canadian maple with a laminated cover. The first two models are 44-inch-long, which is the sufficient both for rookie players and professionals. The Volador brand is shorter, at 42 inches only so it is aimed for people who have already some experience in riding the longboards. Nice design of Emporium Zed`s longboard and its stability is especially attractive to female players who may like to have both features in one product. Nevertheless, it is narrower than the Quest model so this may not be so comfortable for newbies.
Factor #2: Trucks and Wheels
All three models have aluminium trucks and good wheels made from PU. The Quest and Emporium Zed’s products are equipped with ABEC 7 bearings which provide good riding experience together with reliability and stability. The Volado’s longboard boasts with ABEC 9 bearings, however, some user reports that they had to adjust manually their wheels and in general they are slow despite the higher ABEC’s mark.
Factor #3: Other Things to Consider
Both Quest and Zed are manufacturers with long history of making reliable longboards. It is relatively easier to receive customer support in case something happens with your purchase. Their engineers continue to come up with new innovations in the field where it seems everything has been already explored abut riding a wooden board with the wheels. Volador’s manufacturer is relatively new in this product niche and will need time to establish itself.
With all things being equal, we believe Quest has made the best longboard so far that can be recommended to all future customers both novice players and experienced ones, masculine and female alike. Its attractive design, multi-layer deck, reliable wheels and aluminium trucks will provide one with a stable and comfortable drive on any terrain. If you do maintain this product by oiling and cleaning it, it will provide you with years of wonderful riding experience. However, again don’t forget to buy your body protective gear as well!