Longboards Buying Guide
There are three main types of deck construction when it comes to longboard, there can be a great difference in the way the ride feels depending on your choice.
Most boards are made from maple, it is preferred due to it being strong and durable. Maple decks will last long and will take a good thrashing. A solid deck all round that is built to last.
Bamboo boards are often very flexible and aren’t nearly as rigid as maple decks allowing for pumping and a deep carve. Bamboo is lightweight and makes an excellent board for cruising and carving those sweet corners. It’s also pretty easy to carry around .
Carbon fibre boards are the crème de la crème of longboard construction. They are lightweight and stiff due to their foam core and carbon fibre outer layers. They will handle with ease around corners and through slides. They are durable boards but do cost the extra couple of quid. You will often spot these under the feet of experienced riders who demand the top level of manoeuvrability and speed.
These boards are used mostly as a form of transportation, they tend to be the most popular type of longboard that is used and makes cruising the streets major fun. The weight distribution of these boards is a lot closer to a skateboard which provides stability. They do not flex much and often have a kick tail for those cheeky little ollies over curbs.
These boards tend to be symmetrical to allow easy switching from nose to tail, they are similar to downhill boards however are used for going slower. They have good turning abilities and are brilliant for carving and slides.
Downhill boards are designed for speed, this is not the option for a first longboard as “bombing” hills can be highly dangerous. Expect to bail, with speeds reaching 40mph and upwards wipeouts are not too friendly and it is always recommended that you wear safety gear when hitting those steep hills. These boards tend to be a lot less flexible than other longboard’s due to the stability needed at high speeds and to decrease speed wobble.
These decks are used for ‘boardwalking’ otherwise known as 'dancing', which is a popular form of freestyle skating in which the rider performs tricks on the board and can switch between stances on the deck. These boards often have a kicktail or nose and have concaved centres. Good fun for beginners and pro’s alike.
Choosing Longboard Trucks
Longboard trucks are the metal T-shaped pieces that mount onto the underside of the longboard deck. The longboard truck size can be measured by the width of the hanger or the width of the axle. Every longboard skateboard will require two trucks.
Longboard trucks are very different in comparison to standard skateboard trucks. The main difference is that they will be much wider than a regular truck, this is to compensate for the difference in the decks length. Longboard trucks can often come with reversed or inverted kingpins, longboard trucks are normally reverse-kingpin meaning that the axel faces the opposite direction to that of a regular skateboard truck. This is to allow the rider to handle turns better and increase manoeuvrability. The two most common longboard truck hanger sizes are 150mm & 180mm.
What size longboard trucks do I need?
Longboard Truck Hanger Width
The axel of the truck runs through the hanger. For longboards, the hanger width is meant to match the width of your board. For a 9" deck or wider you will require wide truck, with a minimum of 180mm hanger width. In the case of cruisers and slimmer boards you can manage about 150mm
Longboard Truck Types
The textbook type of longboard truck (especially for cruising) is the “reverse-kingpin”. These are designed for a higher range of manoeuvrability that is preferred in longboarding. The use of “standard” style trucks for longboarding is rarer. But, this doesn’t mean standard style trucks won’t manage sharp turning! It’ll take a little bit of adjustment and a bushing upgrade, this will enable your trucks to turn smoothly and effortlessly whether they’re standard or reverse kingpin. However to make life easier, chose some “reverse-kingpin” trucks and you’ll be carving turns in no time.
The “standard-kingpin” style trucks are those you’d most often see on street skateboards. We generally recommend the standard style trucks for cruising board with kicktails since it allows for nice sharp response from the use of the tail.
Wheel Size and Hardness
Choosing longboard wheels is a little different in comparison to choosing skateboard wheels, it is very important that you chose the correct wheels for your board. Longboard wheels are larger than regular skateboard wheels and are designed to ride and grip better on rougher surfaces. This will make it possible for riders to reach higher speeds than regular skateboards. The durometer for longboard wheels usually range from 75a to 90a.
What size diameter longboard wheels do you need?
Longboard wheels vary in colour, size and durability. Longboard wheels are most commonly made of polyurethane. The diameter and durometer of the wheel affect the way the longboard rides. The diameter and durometer are a matter of personal preference and skating style.
Diameter- All wheels are measured in millimetres (mm). The smaller the diameter the smaller the wheel, so bigger diameters represent bigger wheels.
54-59mm- Average wheel size for beginners and bigger riders skating street, skate parks, bowls and vert.
60mm +- Specialty riders skating longboards, old-school boards, downhill and dirt boards; made for speed and rougher surfaces.
What durometer longboard wheels do I need?
A wheels durometer measures the hardness of the wheel, harder durometer wheels are better for faster riding and tend to be better for sliding. Softer wheels will be slower than harder wheels on a smooth surface however will provide added grip and will be a smoother ride.
Durometer is measured on the ‘Shore A Scale’ which ranges between 1-100 to measure hardness.
78a-87a - Soft wheels, great for riding over rougher ground and will handle well over cracks and bumps. These wheels are designed for cruising and perform well down hills.
88a-95a - A slightly harder wheel, with reduced grip (don’t worry, it’s still got enough). Great for street skating and rough surfaces.
96a-99a - The all rounder! These wheels have good grip and still provide good speed. This is a great starter wheel and can be utilized around the skatepark on some vert or in a bowl. Not to mention it’s great for street skating.
101a + - These wheels are the fastest and the hardest, they are not great on rough ground and have little grip. Brilliant for all those sneaky reverts. A bit more of an advanced wheel; can provide a different riding experience compared to softer wheels.
Longboard skateboard wheels also come in many different shapes to suit various riding styles. Wheels with rounded lips are better for cruising, freeriding and sliding, rather than downhill racing. Having a rounded lip allows the wheel to enter into slides with ease. Having the rounded lip when racing may create issues, because the edges will not grip the street when turning. Wheels that have straight edges rather than a round edge are typically designed to give riders more grip and control. Straight edge wheels work great for downhill racers that need to grip the street. MAY BE NOT NEEDED
Wheel bite is when the wheel rubs against your deck. This is usually due to sharp/hard turning or when you land a trick. This can cause the skater to stop abruptly and may sometimes result in a pretty nasty drop. This also wears down the deck and will cause there to be a slight spot where you can see an indent. This can be prevented via the use of risers or higher trucks. In most cases slight wheel bite is not a major issue. Take a look at our insane amount of longboard wheels currently in stock. If you still have questions about skateboard wheel sizing, please contact Customer Service.
Hardware sizes and riser pads
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
Do I need riser pads?
Risers have two uses; they help relieve stress from the trucks, which helps reduce pressure cracks forming. More importantly, risers help stop wheel bite, which occurs when wheels rub against the board when turning sharply, causing the board to stop abruptly. Most risers are about 1/8" high. If you have larger wheels, you'll want higher risers. On the other hand, if your wheels are small (52mm), then you might not need risers at all.
As the wheels get larger, there's a greater chance for wheel bite, which may cause a nasty wipeout. In general, the longer the board and the larger the wheel, the more height is needed in a riser pad. If you still have questions about riser pad sizing, please contact Customer Service.