How much to spend?

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A few friends have asked me lately about returning to skating, after long absences, and buying a longboard (complete), so I thought it worth documenting how we framed it, specifically in answering the question: “how much do I need to spend?”.

Longboards and skateboards, like cycles and other basic mechanical things, are simple items and, when buying, you get what you pay for – more money just buys better-made parts. Equally, unlike with the luxury goods market, there is no real rarity, nor overly powerful brand names, where demand falsely drives up prices – this is a buyers market, not a sellers, so you are simply buying components that have been made to a price-point.

In very general terms, I categories boards sold into the following cost brackets:

  • <£75 – supermarket trash; don’t buy, the experience is just not going to make you want to progress and stick with it.
  • £75-150 – cheap cruising starters, but they are not going to last or progress with you. You will replace at some time – they are not keepers, but are perfectly good to start on and importantly get confidence.
  • £150-250 – decent complete boards that can be more focused on the type of boarding you want to do: freestyle, carving, downhill, dancing etc.
  • £250-400 – quality custom-assemblies (deck, trucks, wheels, bearings etc.)
  • £400+ – exotic, custom-builds: beautiful and exotic material, your own design etc.

There are always going to be a few exceptions and bargains to be found; we bought for my younger son (aged 7 at the time) in a closing-sale an Atom 36″ drop-through for £50, which was a great starter for him and over the year we only needed to change the bearings (£15).

Rather than  buy a complete board, if you want to assemble your own board, which is easy to do, I would look to pay roughly the following for the parts:

  • Deck: £150-300
  • Trucks (pair): £50-150
  • Wheels (set of 4): £30-70
  • Bearings (set of 8): £15-100

To me, a good self-assembly would start at £280-300 – less than that and I think you can get better value from buying a complete board from a single maker.

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