BY JOHN DOE, Feb 20, 2017 11:00 AM
Right from school, I had a passion for longboards. Surfing, carving, those tricks; it has never been a sweet journey. Most of the time I returned home with skinned knees, cuts and so on. But, never stopped. It got some magnetism that only longboard enthusiasts can feel. I used to save my pocket money to get different longboards. Today, I am supposed to pick the best longboards 2017. So, I picked 5 of my favorite boards. Me and my TSB buddies would take turns riding them to provide you with an exhaustive compilation of the top longboards reviews.
If you are just stepping into Longboarding, you must know how to buy the best and ideal longboard for yourself. It is not about the artwork or graphics. Evaluating the best longboards is a painstaking task. However, before you purchase a ride, you must ride one of your friends' board to get a hang of it. It also helps you to develop a preference which lets you decide what's best suitable for you.
There is nothing as such as the best longboards for beginners. It is all about deciding which ride would match you best. Either you can assemble one or buy a complete longboard. It is better to buy a complete one if you are a beginner. Let's get started with the basic deciding factors when it comes to picking one among so many best longboards.
1. Decide your purpose – First, decide why you want a longboard or skateboard before analyzing different rides. Each riding style whether it is cruising, carving, freestyle riding or downhill riding demand some specific features in the longboard. Like to perform tricks you need a longboard with a kickflip. Moreover, some styles demand the rider to be expert in longboarding.
2. Consider your topography – Where are you going to ride? Are the streets filled with cracks? Are there hills in your locality? Consider the topography of the area where you are going to ride the longboard. If it got a rough terrain then you need something with soft wheels and medium flex. If there are hills, then go for top mounting boards with standard trucks, square or beveled wheels.
3. Consider the deck styles – It decides how stable the board is. The deck style can make it effortless to footbrake and push. More the ground clearance, higher will be the center of gravity. There are so many questions to think over.
· Would you like a top mount board or a drop-through? In top mounts, the decks are mounted over the trucks and are flexible. In drop-through, the trucks are fastened through the board. It secures the boards firmly while braking or pushing.
· Do you need a twin tail or a kickflip? It helps you performing tricks.
4. Study the parts of longboards and features- Each and every part of a longboard plays an important role in the quality and performance of the ride. Therefore, you must know how it works and what is best suitable for you.
Different Parts of Longboard/Skateboard – How to Choose Them Right?
Whether it is the deck or the wheels, each of the parts come in several varieties. You need to analyze which variant, features would suit your style, body weight, and purpose. Here, we go;
It is the plank on which you put your feet on and ride. There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing the best longboards.
A. Shape & Style. As discussed above, decks come in several shapes and styles. Always look for a board with a flat deck or with a little curve. Below, I am sharing a small table stating which deck shape goes well with which riding style.
Suitable Deck Shapes & Styles
Traditional pintail. Cruiser. Drop-through. Drop-down.
Top mounting boards, Cruisers.
B. Material. A deck is generally made of several wood layers. Sometimes it is just made of one type of wood, sometimes it's made of a fusion of layers of several kinds of wood. Again, some are made of sturdy plastic. The material decides the flex of the board. It absorbs shocks and stabilizes you. Go for medium to soft flex.
C. Length. It is also important to decide on the length of the board. Longer the board is, lower will be the maneuverability.
D. Width. The thumb rule is to be comfortable. It should be wide enough there is ample space to rest your foot comfortably, especially if you are just starting off.
Deck Width Guidelines to Follow
7 ½ to 8 inches
8 to 8 ¼ inches
8 ¼ inches and more
Ideal for adults and advanced level riders. Ideal for doing tricks.
Good for riding in the pools, skating ramps or parks.
Good for beginners.
Ideal for traditional cruising around.
To ride a board you need a pair of T-shaped metal pieces that lock the wheels to the board. Three important parts of a truck are the kingpin, axle, and hanger. Now, let's check out the features of a truck that you need to examine.
A. Width. For cruising and narrow decks, the trucks should be 150mm wide. While for the 8.5" to 10.5" wide decks and for carving the trucks are ideally 180mm wide. Make sure the width of the truck is closer to that of the deck.
B. Standard or RKP Trucks. In these trucks, only the positions of the kingpin and the axle differ. RKP trucks are ideal for cruising and carving. It improves the maneuverability and flexibility while the standard ones are stable and ideal for downhill riding.
C. Truck profile. The truck profile is the distance between the bottom of the deck and the hanger. Generally, there are three truck profiles. High profile for 56mm or larger wheels. Mid profile for 53-56mm wheels and small truck profile for small wheels sizing between 50-53mm. Trucks with mid-sized profile trucks are an all-rounder.
Your wheels decide your speed! Generally, they are made of polyurethane. However, they differ in size, shape, color and hardness. When you are analyzing the wheels, you need to consider fours things.
A. Size. Depending on your deck length pick the size of the wheels. Generally, the smaller wheels of 60mm to 67mm size are good with 34-inch or smaller boards. Wheels sizing between 68mm to 72mm are a good match with 34-inch to 42-inch long longboards. While 70mm to 75mm large wheels are good for 40-inch or longer rides. Larger wheels provide stability. You can always add larger wheels to a smaller board, but you must include risers in your setup.
B. Wheel core. The wheel core is responsible for distributing the heat evenly which is produced by the rolling wheels. It prevents the melting of wheels. The bearings rest on it. There are three kinds of cores; offset, centerset, and sideset cores. Offset cores are great for sliding, while centerset cores are popular among the street skaters for easy flips. However, sideset cores got an excellent grip.
C. Wheel shape. There are several shapes of longboard wheels like square-edged beveled and round wheels. It is the contact patch between the wheel and the surface that make a big difference in the riding experience. For example.
a. Round wheels are perfect for sliding, freeriding as well as cruising around. It got less contact area which means less friction and less effort.
b. Square wheels are square in shape. There is one great thing about these wheels – grip! They have the largest contact area and therefore, the best grip. Also, it evenly divides the weight of the rider over a large area reducing the wheels' resistance that may otherwise slow you down. Perfect for performing tricks and bombing down a hill.
c. Beveled edged wheels are neither round nor flat. Instead, they got a slanting edge giving it versatility while sliding down the hill slopes.
D. Hardness level/Durometer. When did you last check your weight? If you are wondering what's the connection, let me clear it. Your bodyweight, your preferred riding style, and your purpose decide the appropriate hardness level or durometer rating of your wheels.
First thing first, a durometer rating tells you how soft or hard your longboard wheels are. Softer the wheels are, better the grip and stability. However, softness will also slow you down. However, you don't want your ride to squash down under your weight. Right? Therefore, you need your wheels to be strong and hard enough to withstand your bodyweight. There are two different durometer scales; a-scale and b-scale. If the hardness level of the wheel is 90a on the a-scale then it would be 20 points less i.e. 70b on the b-scale.
Now, I will share the standard rules of picking the right durometer according to your weight.
Wheels with hardness level between 78-80a.
Below 135 pounds
Wheels with hardness level between 80-83a.
Weighing between 135 to 175 pounds.
Wheels with hardness level between 83-86a.
Weighing more than 175 pounds.
a. Soft longboard wheel: Wheels with 78a to 87a durometer ratings are soft and good for light weighing riders to slid over the rough surface. They absorb all the cracks and the bumps of the road giving an excellent grip and smooth riding experience.
b. Medium-hard longboard wheels: Wheels with 88a to 95a durometer ratings are relatively firmer. They offer relatively less but nice grip. They run smooth on rough and splintered streets.
c. Hard longboard wheels: Wheels with 96a to 99a durometer ratings are pretty hard and offer great pace. They also offer good grip. However, they are ideal for skateboarding on smooth and even surfaces like ramps, skating parks, smooth roads, pools and so on.
These round-shaped metal pieces determine the speed and performance of your ride. It fastens the wheels and the truck axle together. There are several parts of a bearing; C-ring, bearing shield, inner and outer rings, steel balls, ball retainers and rubber seal. There are two types of bearings – steel and ceramic.
In the steel bearings, all the parts are made of steel. While the ceramic bearing is made with a combo of ceramic and steel. The outer part is made of steel and the ball bearings are of ceramic. The ceramic bearings come with more ball bearings and they give a smoother performance as compared to the steel bearings. Also, the ceramic bearings are more expensive.
The bearings are evaluated by ABEC standards. There are five ABEC ratings; 1,3,5,7 and 9. High the ABEC rating better the bearing quality and high the price is. So don't go by the cheapest price tag. ABEC5 bearings are the standard one and most of the manufacturers use them. They are perfect for newbie, commuter, cruisers. However, for performing tricks and speedy downhill riding you should put in ABEC 7 or 9 bearings.
Risers are not that mandatory. However, it is better to learn about it lest you need to mount your setup. This hardware is made of plastic and is used to escalate the space between the deck and wheels. It helps to prevent wheel bites during the turns. If you are pairing a small board with large wheels, then you must add these to your settings. This hardware come in several sizes and colors. There are 8 locknuts and bolts in one hardware set. Depending on the size of the risers, you need to pick the hardware set. Here's a size chart for your reference.
7/8" to 1"
1" to 1 1/8"
6. GRIP TAPE
It is a sandpaper like coarse material with an adhesive top glued to the deck. It is responsible for gripping the riders' feet at its place while riding. It is available as a single sheet in several patterns, graphics, and colors to suit everyone's unique taste and preferences. You can always peel off the old one and paste the new one yourself.
That was all that you must know prior to your first longboard hunt. Analyzing all the best longboards and their features could be a really tiring task, especially when there are so many brands flooding the longboard market. Therefore, analyze your requirements, your preference first. Don't go straight for the ratings, check out what matches your criteria most. Then start analyzing the best longboards brands and their best longboards. Now, compare and find out their features with the guide I just shared above and narrow down your options to a few best longboards. Thereafter, consider the customers' reviews and make your pick.
If you are beginner, you may want to read best longboards for beginners 2017
If you are a cute girl, you may want to read best longboards for girls 2017
How to Master Longboarding? Get 7 Best Longboarding Tips Now!
Atom boards need no introduction. Atom Drop Through Longboard is one strong contender in the race of best longboards. It comes with a 41-inch maple deck that looks stylish. It got great stability, making it perfect for downhill rides or even leisure cruising. The exclusive perimeter-shaped longboard with 80S grip tape gives you 9.6" of leverage while you make those turns.
Together with 40 degree Reverse King Pin trucks, 245mm axles, Wide-Lip 70x51mm SHR urethane wheels and ABEC 9 bearings, it promises high performance. Further, it guarantees no wheel bite. You are definitely going to have an excellent time riding it.
Even for us, it was super-smooth ride. Just an effortless push and it left everything behind!
Check out our detailed Atom Drop-Through Longboard review here
This high performance longboard is definitely worth your money, it is a durable product, which will fetch you the finest longboarding experience of your life. Consumers who have bought this product seem to love every bit of their experience with it. Reviews suggest that most of them loved this longboard.
The final best longboards 2017 entrant for downhill riding and cruising purpose is maple wood Atom Drop Deck Longboard. It got a low deck with a dimension of 41 inches in length, 9.6 inches in width and 4.7 inches in height. The drop deck style lowers the center of gravity, increasing stability and balance while riding downhill.
Designed to prevent any wheel bites, it is perfect for carving, cruising and downhill riding. Whether you are new to longboarding or a pro rider, you would definitely enjoy riding it.
Enjoy long distance longboarding with an easy push. Look-wise, it is a sweet-looking board with some amazing graphics at the bottom. Best part, it doesn't peel off as it is prayed on it. With RKP longboard trucks with 245mm axles, ABEC 9 bearings, 70x51 Wide-Lip SHR urethane wheels with 80S grip tape, it is a gorgeous board performing amazingly.
All in all the Drop Deck Longboard by Atom Longboards is a board fit for beginning long boarders and long boarders that find safety and handling more important than maximum speed. Unfortunately the board does require a fair amount of maintenance to ensure a safe ride and a solid performance from the longboard. But when the board is in top condition and used properly you will enjoy the experience.
The list of best longboards 2017 is incomplete without Sector 9 Drop-Thru Lookout II Green Wave Complete Downhill Longboard, which is made of 5-ply of renewable bamboo and camber mold with clear grip tape. It absorbs all the cracks and rocks. Drop Through mounting and low center of gravity facilitate stability and effortless pushing around the walkway. That is something you can find only in some of the top longboards.
It is 42-inch long, 9.6" wide along with a good wheelbase of 31.5". It got a sturdy construction with together with 10" Gullwing Charger trucks, 74mm Nineball wheels, ABEC 5 PDP bearings and 1.5" toughened steel bolts. It is safe, stable and easy-to-control; in short you are going to ride it like a dream.
We have reviewed this amazing Sector 9 earlier. You can check it right there.
Drop-Thru Green Wave long board from Sector 9 is one precisely made standard board that eases the urban riding for its user. This product uses all the quality and authentic components developed especially by Sector 9 itself.
This Santa Cruz Drop Thru Longboard is a marvelous 40-inch longboard that has mesmerized everyone with its Rasta Striped grip tape and top-notch performance. Unsurprisingly, it is counted among the best longboards 2017.
All the parts of this longboard are manufactured by Santa Cruz including the ABEC9 rated bearings and grip tape. It got 75mm 78a wheels and 180 trucks, both from Road Rider to suit various riding environments. Whether you are freeriding, cruising, downhill riding or carving, it is going to be very useful. It is stable as well as effortless to ride for years.
No doubt, why it is counted among the top longboards!
You can check out our exclusive Santa Cruz Lion God Rasta Drop Thru Cruzer Freeride Longboard here.
Santa Cruz is in this business for 40 years and no one knows the market better than them. This Lion God Rasta cruzer from Santa Cruz is a beauty to look for, which blends the featured components and amazing design for the users. This board provides a fast cruising experience downhill.
This is an ideal longboard for those who are just making a debut in longboarding. Look-wise, the amazing Aztec inspired designs are enough to stun anyone. However, it got more perks worth mentioning. The 40-inch board comes with a hardy deck made of 7 layers of Maple making it a hardy one with nice maneuverability. The lightweight 6-inch aluminum RKP trucks, 70mm 80A PU wheels, ABEC7 bearings are of premium quality ensuring a smooth, stable and safe ride always. It got nice control and responsiveness no matter what speed you are riding at. Further, the wheels are big, nice and grippe prevents the rider from falling off the board. The additional kicktail that facilitates easy tricks and turnings even at a high speed.
· Comes with a deck made of 7 layers of Maple.
· It is 40" long, 10" wide – good maneuverability.
· 70mm Polyurethane wheels with a hardness level of 80A.
· 6" aluminum RKP trucks, ABEC7 bearings.
· Attractive – with the Aztec inspired design.
· Kicktail – ideal for tricks.
· Many have complained about the bearings – recommended to change them for ABEC9 rated bearings.
· Maple wood construction limits its flex.
Anyone who wants to try all the riding styles like cruising, carving, downhill riding and even perform tricks would find Quest Native Spirit Kicktail Longboard best. A durable Maple wood deck is meant to bear all your cruelty without a crack. Along with quality trucks, bearings and wheels, it makes a safe, smooth and reliable option for beginners. Being lightweight, even girls can ride it comfortably. Last but not the least, people love its tribal look.