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How do I choose the right longboard?

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How do I choose the right longboard?
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The concept of longboards goes back to the 1990s. Over the years, longboarding has gained countless enthusiastic fans and professionals. But what exactly are longboards and how do you choose the right one?

Longboards are essentially longer skateboards. Their length can vary between 84 cm (33") and 150 cm (59"). Compared with skateboards, longboards are heavier and have softer wheels with better traction. The trucks - the metal parts that connect the board with the wheels - allow you to steer the board simply by moving your waist or shoulders.

Longboards can be divided into several groups depending on their use. A longboard can be a convenient means of city transport or a vehicle designed for downhill longboarding or freeriding. Some types of longboard even allow you to perform the same tricks as skateboards. In short, it all depends on what you want to use it for.

Board types

Longboards are also divided into several categories according to their shape. Pintail, Drop-Thru, Cruiser, and hybrid longboards can be considered the key types.

Pintail
Shaped like a teardrop, the Pintail is the oldest and most common type of longboard. This shape is particularly suitable for beginners.

Pintail, ve tvaru kapky, vhodný pro začátečníky, rozšířený model

Drop-Thru
As the name suggests, Drop-Thru longboards have a characteristic design in which the deck is positioned below the trucks. This is achieved by mounting the trucks on top of the deck (i.e. Drop-Thru), or by shaping the deck into a special curved shape (i.e. Double-Drop). The lower centre of gravity makes these longboards remarkably stable even at high speeds. This type is therefore particularly suitable for downhill freeriding.

Drop-Thru, stabilní, downhill, freeride

Cruiser
This type resembles a conventional skateboard, only longer and wider. You can also perform most skateboard tricks on it as well. However, its higher weight and larger dimensions make this more demanding on the rider.

Cruiser, do města, skateboardové triky

Hybrid boards
A universal design that is as suitable for riding around town as for downhill longboarding or freeriding. Longboards of this type have characteristic cutouts at the wheel level. The trucks are mounted on top (Drop-Thru), which provides better stability. Just like the Cruiser type, hybrid longboards tend to be shorter and allow you to perform similar tricks as a skateboard.

Hybridní longboard, skateboardové triky, downhill, freeride

Length is another important aspect when choosing a longboard. Generally, the rules are as follows:

  • 97 cm (38") to 107 cm (42") - suitable for urban environments (but only as a means of transport) and for downhill longboarding and freeriding. (Take a look)

  • 107 cm (42") and longer – suitable for a high-speed rides into town (only as a means of transport) or for downhill longboarding and freeriding. (Take a look)

Wheel attributes

When choosing the right longboard, wheels also play an important role. Generally speaking, the larger the wheels, the greater the maximum speed. Meanwhile, softer wheels have better traction. Another important aspect is the edges. Rounded edges do not stick to the surface so well, making them more suitable for sliding and skidding. Conversely, angular edges grip the surface better. Finally, a longboard's properties are also affected by the position of the wheel core.

Pozice středu koleček, Side-set, Center-set, Off-set
  • Centre-set – this position indicates that the core is placed directly in the centre of the wheel, equidistant to the outer edge of each lip. Centre-set wheels make it eas to go into a skid without losing speed.

  • Side-set – these wheels have cores that are directly aligned with the inner lip of the wheel. This type has greater traction and provides excellent stability even at high speeds.

  • Off-set - combines the two aforementioned types and has cores that are placed somewhere between centre-set and side-set. It offers a well-balanced ride and is the most commonly used type.

Wheels for urban use
Are you planning to use your longboard only as a means of transport around the city (carving, cruising)? If so, we recommend choosing side-set or off-set wheels with a size of 65-75 mm, about 80A hardness, sharp edges, and a large contact area. Such specs will ensure a comfortable ride from A to B.

Wheels for downhill longboarding
If you like to race, then you will be best served by 70-80 mm off-set wheels with a hardness of 80-83, sharp edges, and a large contact area.

Kolečka na longboard, polyuretan

Wheels for freeriding
Fans of fast downhill rides with numerous turns will appreciate centre-set and off-set wheels with a higher degree of hardness. These allow you to make sharp turns and slides.

How to choose the trucks?

As we have mentioned, the trucks are metal parts that connect the deck with the wheels. These determine the handling of a longboard. There are two basic types of trucks.

The first type is the so-called vertical kingpin. It is based on the classic skateboard truck and is perfect for riders who want to perform various tricks.

Trucky na longboard, vertical kingpin, reverse kingpin

The second type is the so-called reverse kingpin. It is the most widespread type of longboard truck. Compared with the previous type, the main difference is the angle of the kingpin. This type has better geometry, angular movement, and stability. It is therefore particularly suitable for traveling around the city, downhill longboarding, and freeriding.

Don't forget the brushings

The previous section indicated that longboard handling depends largely on the truck type. While this is true, the type of brushings also has a considerable effect.

Brushings are polyurethane components located in all trucks between the baseplate and hanger. In most cases, they have a cylindrical shape (greater stability, worse cornering) or cone (less stable, better turns).

Brushingy na longboard, polyuretan, válce, kužely

Once again, the softer the brushings, the greater the manoeuvrability (suitable for urban riding). Conversely, hard brushings offer better stability, which is why they are particularly suitable for downhill longboarding.

Bearings are more than just numbers

The final important aspect when choosing a longboard is the bearings. They are divided into the following categories: ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7 and ABEC 9. Generally, the higher the number, the more precise the manufacturing. These classifications, however, do not reflect the actual quality.

Chances are that ABEC 3 bearings from a reputable brand will work much better than ABEC 9 from an unknown manufacturer.

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