Ultimate Longboard Buying Guide [2 Infographics]

Longboards are the type of skateboards which can be used for traveling in and around the city and also commuting from one place to another. You can use a longboard to go to your school and also perform some awesome tricks on a longboard to impress your friends and show your talent and get some fan following as well. You can use longboards for downhill racing too.

Firstly, let’s talk about skateboarding. Skateboarding is now one of the most popular sports and many people, especially teenagers, are into it as skateboarding is much fun rather than just being a sport. Skateboarding nowadays is not only about freestyle skateboards or vert skateboarding but also about longboards and electronic boards. Longboards are a newly developed version of skateboards used for commuting from one place to other, cruising boards are one of the most popular longboards.

If you are planning to buy a skateboard that you can use for going to your classes or for downhill racing or slalom, then longboards might be the one. They are perfect for such situations. They are slightly different in terms of size and shape from the regular skateboards that freestyle skateboarders or vert skateboarders use. They contain some stable and good quality decks that offer more grip and more stability to control the board while moving around the city.

Based On Your Level:

While buying a longboard you need to keep in mind that whether you need an assembled longboard or the one which you can assemble it by yourself and if you are confident enough on yourself that you can assemble one and have some prior experience in doing so then you can go for buying different parts of a longboard and then assemble it by yourself. But if you are a beginner and do not know how to assemble a longboard and want to practice longboard, then you need to buy an assembled one and start practicing on it.

But if you are an intermediate and you have some experience in riding longboards then you can buy a the parts of the longboards and assemble them by yourself, because when you do it by yourself you have that satisfaction that you have got a good board for yourself, and also you can perform tricks on your own rather than depending on anyone else. If you are an intermediate skateboarder, then you need to keep in mind that the assembled longboards are slightly less costly than the parts and you need to take proper care of your longboard.

Now, if you are an expert then you perfectly know which longboard to choose if you are going for an assembled one, but as most of the experts try and assemble their boards by themselves you can also do the same and as an expert you know about the brands and quality you can expect from them, so you need to take care while buying the deck or the truck or the wheels of the longboard.

Types Of Longboards

TYPES              FEATURES
HYBRID BOARDSTraditional longboards.Longer wheelbase for commuting and standing for a long time.
DANCING BOARDS Can efficiently perform fancy foot maneuvers.Loaded Bhangra and Loaded Tarab provide good riding experience because of their flex patterns.
CARVING BOARDS Offers high performance to riders.Top-mounted carving boards provides responsive turning.Drop-thru carving boards provide a comfortable ride and are very much used for pushing and commuting.
DOWNHILL/FREEBOARDS. As they are used for downhill rides, they are designed to provide stable rides.

Buying a Longboard:

Buying a longboard might be difficult for you if you are a beginner and want to learn skateboarding and want to travel and commute to your classes on a longboard. If you are a beginner, then you might want to buy an assembled longboard as you do not have prior experience on parts required to construct a longboard. You do not have any information regarding the deck size, quality of the parts, and the brands of the parts so that you can buy an assembled one and practice on it. Later once you become an intermediate skateboarder or an expert, then you can try assembling one by yourself. 

Buying a longboard can be difficult instead of assembling one and keeping in mind that you are a beginner it must be more difficult as you need to understand about the brands and keep the quality of the product in mind as you are spending some money on it. You also need to keep the durability of the product in mind while buying an assembled longboard.

The good thing about buying an assembled longboard is that it is cheaper than the one which you need to assemble by yourself, as while doing so you need to maintain the quality and the brand of the part and check how long will be the part last after excessive usage.

Now, while choosing for an assembled or the parts of the longboards, you need to keep this always in mind that the deck of the board must be spacious for your shoes to fit on it and must have a good grip tape to glue your feet on the board for smother, stable and comfortable rides. Also, the trucks must be stronger enough to provide smooth turning and be comfortable for downhill riding. The wheels must be smoother and faster but safe for downhill and a quick ride on it with proper bearings fitted into them. You also need to take some extra care regarding the hardware of the longboard for better performance and maintenance of the longboards so that it lasts long.

Let’s talk about some about the different parts of the longboards.

The Deck:

Now, as we have mentioned above the deck of the longboard must be strong enough to carry an average person weight and also spacious enough so that you can place your feet comfortably on it to ride on it. There are different materials and different sizes of longboards available, and you can select one of them to assemble your skateboard.

Here is the list of materials used to make a longboard deck and the features of it.

MATERIALFEATURES
MAPLEA most common material for longboards.Sturdy and enduring.Reliable even after rough usage.
BAMBOOMore flexible and lightweight.Perfect for carving, cruising, transportation.
CARBON FIBERMost expensive.Made for effortless turns and slides. Professionals use it.

Now here is a list of shapes of decks used in longboards, you can choose one shape of your choice on which you want to ride or on which you are comfortable.

  • Cruisers:
    1. Most popular longboards.
    2. They are maneuverable and fast.
    3. Good weight distribution.
    4. Perfect for beginners.
  • Downhill:
    • Not suitable for beginners.
    • High speed is easily achievable while downhill racing.
    • Long wheelbase for more excellent stability.
    • While riding helmet and pads are very important.

Also, not only the types of skateboards the longboards buying depends on your style of riding. These are some common styles long boarders use while moving around.

  • Freeride:
    1. Typically for experts.
    2. It is made for skilled board control and high speeds.
  • Freestyle:
    1. Used to perform board tricks, regular and goofy riding.
    2. It is used for dancing also.
    3. Suitable for beginners.
    4. Also great for intermediate and expert riders.

Cambers and rockers:

There are two different curves that longboards usually consists of they are cambers and rockers. Cambers are the decks that are raised in the middle, and the rockers are the decks that are dropped in the middle.

Rockers with less center of gravity are personal choice for many skateboarders as they are perfectly suitable for carving and downhill skaters.

  • Kicktails:
    • Suitable to perform tricks.
    • They are curved at the ends.
    • Important for sharp turns, slides, pivot.

Here is a table regarding the trucks that you can mount on the decks:

Truck mountingFeatures
Top mountMost common truck mounting.Great leverage.Excellent control for the rider.
Drop ThruPopular among longboards and cruisers,Because of the cut-outs, you can attach them to the sides.Traditional top mount.Less responsive.
Dropped DeckLow center of gravity.Excellent stability and side control. 

Features of longboard decks:

  • Width:  7.5’-8.35’ or at least 7.5”.
  • Length: longer than 32 inches.
  • Wheelbase: 13”-15”.
  • Short EFP (Effective Foot Platform).
  • Rails: Three types of rails.
  • Rounded rails
  • Sharp rails.
  • Gas pedal rails.

There are two different curves that longboards usually consists of they are cambers and rockers. Cambers are the decks that are raised in the middle, and the rockers are the decks that are dropped in the middle.

Rockers with less center of gravity are personal choice for many skateboarders as they are perfectly suitable for carving and downhill skaters.

This is the list of shapes of longboards that are available in the market.

SHAPE OF SKATEBOARDFEATURES OF SKATEBOARD
Radial concaveU-shapedDeeper curveBetter grip for all styles of skateboarding.
ProgressiveDramatic version of radial concave.Secure footing and a locked-in feel.
W-concaveThe extra curve helps to shift energy from heel to toe.It can turn in a faster way. 
TubThe sharp rails give shift in energy.Almost the same as radial concave
AsymmetricalThe rails rise at different angles.More power to heels for smooth turns.  
ConvexUpwards-arching deck.Provide natural foot placements.They are loved by slalom and downhill skaters.
FlatWith no concaveMore space for foot.Helps board walking.Some good tricks.

You can check out cruiser longboards here.

You can check out the downhill longboards here.

The Trucks

The next most crucial part of the longboards are the trucks of the longboards. The trucks provide proper stability of the board and also offer great turning and comfortable ride. The trucks are generally made of metal and are attached to the deck using screws. The trucks are T-shaped and placed beneath the deck. There is a considerable difference between the skateboard trucks and the longboard trucks. The longboard trucks have wider hangers. The most common trucks in longboards are of 150mm and 180 mm, and they also have reversed and inverted kingpins. For easy turning and maneuverability, the trucks have softer utherane bushings.

Hanger width: For a 9” deck, you need to have a 150mm truck which is quite suitable with cruiser/carving boards.

Baseplate Angle: Baseplate is the part that is connected to the deck, it determines the turnability of the wheels, and a low baseplate angle turns less compared to a higher baseplate angle. Minimum baseplate angle for a longboard is 50 degrees, but a baseplate angle of 40 degrees with 180mm truck is enough for a downhill rider.

You can check out the truck collection here.

The Wheels

As we are done with the deck and the truck now it’s time to move on and get the wheels for our longboard as without these the longboards are incomplete. There are kinds of wheels available in the market, but we need to buy a branded and good quality wheels which are durable and do not get damaged after some harsh longboarding in the town. The wheels are made of polyutherane, and there are many colors, sizes of wheels available, and this might be a tough task to choose between different colors of wheels.

SIZE        FEATURES
54-59 MM DIAMETERAverage size.Good for beginners.Suitable for vert ramps, street skaters.
60MM and AboveFor LongboardsOld school boards, downhill and dirt boards.Can be used on rough surfaces.

Now while buying wheels, you also need to focus on the hardness of the wheels.The harder the wheel, the faster it is, or the more rpm it has. To measure the hardness of the wheels, you can use a durometer which rates the hardness of wheels on A scale of 1-100. Also, some organizations use the B scale, which has 20 points less than that of A scale, so if we measure 70 on A scale, then it is 50 on the B scale.

DURO METER         FEATURES
78a-87a For smooth rides.Can be used in longboards, cruiser.Can be used on hills, rough surfaces.Soft wheels
88a-95a Slight harder and faster.Less grip.Used at streets, skate parks, pools, ramps.It is used on smooth surfaces.
96aa-99a Good for beginners practicing on the smooth surfaces
101a and above Hard and fast.Less grip.Pro wheels.
83b-84b Very hard.As they are rated on b scale, they are harder compared to wheels rated on A scale.

You can check some wheels for your longboards here.

The Bearings

Once you have bought wheels, you need to keep in mind that you need friction for the wheels to rotate smoothly on the ground and for that, we need bearings for your wheels. Bearing are also very important for your wheels as without bearings the wheels do not rotate. Buying bearings is not a more significant task, all the bearing is the same, and the only thing you need to take care of is about the quality of the bearings. The higher the quality, the more expensive is the bearing.

The bearings are given ABEC ratings depending on the performance of the bearing so you can buy any of them all the bearings are suitable and would perform in the same manner. The bearings are rated ABEC 1,3,5,7,9, and as we all know, the higher the rating, the better the bearings are so you can buy the one with higher ABEC rating. But you need to keep in mind that ABEC does not specify the noise, vibrations, precision, materials, lubrication, Rockwell hardness, etc. of the bearings so that why ABEC 3 is better than ABEC 7 hope you get this.

Buying other materials:

As we are done buying the bearings it’s time for us to look into the smaller parts of the skateboard such as the hardware, the grip tape and the riser pads for the skateboard.

The skateboard hardware which means the nuts, bolts, screws required to connect or assemble the parts to the deck of the skateboards. Allen head or Philips head screws can do the job.

Now, coming to the grip tape of the skateboard, the grip tape is required to provide grip to the skater and the angle he places his foot and holds needed to perform tricks on the skateboards. The grip tapes are of the size 9” X 33”. It is made of sand-paper, and many types and designs of the grip tapes are made to make the skateboard look attractive.

Next, comes the riser pads these pads are placed between the truck and the deck of the skateboard to stop wheel bites while bites are a phenomenon that occurs when the wheels touch skateboards deck when skateboard takes a turn and prevents the wheel from rotating.

             RISER                 HARDWARE
½” RISER 1 1/2’” Hardware.
¼” RISER One ¼” Hardware.
1/8” RISER 1 1/8” Hardware.
No riser 7/8” to 1” hardware.

You can check out some materials here(riser pads).

You can check the following Infographics:

Longboard Fundamentals Infographic:

Image Source

Conclusion:

Once we are done buying all the parts of the longboard necessary for a beginner, then we start assembling them. First the deck is placed, and the trucks are attached to the decks with the help of screws. Then the wheels are attached to the truck along with the bearings and the riser pads. At the end the grip tape is stuck to the deck so that it gives grip to the rider. Remember grip tape must be of good quality and does not wear out after some rough usage. Also, you need to keep in mind the Maintenance of the longboard and do not wet it out in the rain or skate in the mud as the grip tape might lose its grip too quickly. You need to take care of the board and change the screws and parts regularly to skate for a longer time.

After you have assembled your skateboard, we need to follow the safety measures also and wear a knee-pad and helmet always while skateboarding. Safety is the first criteria while skateboarding.

Enjoy skating.

Cheers!!

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