So what have we learned?
1. There are lots of different types of longboards and they feel different
2. Assembling boards is easy
See below for more tips.
3. There are lots of very cool and beautiful decks out there
4. Don’t use an un-gripped board in the wet – it hurts!
5. Rough pavements need bigger wheels.
Blog article: Choosing Wheels
6. Always used the correct bushing
For me, the biggest single difference you can make with a board is getting the bushing right for your weight and riding style/purpose. This made a big difference for me on how stable a board feels and how it turns, at 180kg, and my younger son at 70kg. Bushings are inexpensive, easy to change and make a massive difference.
Blog article: Bushings
Bushing Calculator: Stoked LA Bushing Calculator
7. Good bearings are fun.
The three boards we bought complete, and every other complete friend’s boards I have tried, have all come with cheap overly resistant bearings. Replacing these with decent bearings has made a big difference, making them more fun. Just ignore every ABEC reference on the spec and put in good reputable bearings (and don’t ride through water, they rust quickly).
Blog article: Choosing Bearings
8. Always wear at least a helmet
It is simple, conventional or electric longboarding accidents can be very serious, including potentially life-long brain injuries. I always wear at least a helmet and usually gloves, sometimes more if needed. Please, please ignore all the social-media celebrity fuckwits riding around NY and other cities with no protection, no helmet – it is simply recklessly, promoting dangerous stupidity and will lead sadly to serious injuries for many. Wear at least a skateboard helmet, they are inexpensive and could make a difference to your life.
Article on protective gear: Body Protection
9. Good help is out there.
10. You are never too old and it is not that hard
11. Electric Boards are still in their infancy and break… often.
I have written more below, but in summary, it is still early days in the development of electric boards and conversion kits, and the market is awash with desperate prototypes and unfinished first versions dressed up a finished product. In the current market, you are a tester, not a consumer – they are fun, but not yet fully fledge consumer products.
Additional Blog Articles
- Conventional Boards – How Much To Spend
- Bearings – How Much To Spend
- Choosing Wheels
- Grip Tape Shapes
Further Technical points for assembling boards
- Bolts to fasten the truck to the deck can be flat-heads (aka “dome-heads”) or countersunk. Countersunk is when the bolt is going directly into the wood with a countersunk hole (if not use a washer) and dome-head where the bolt is going directly into the truck on a drop-through deck. Always use a washer with the nut, either on to the truck bottom or underside of the deck if a drop through.
- Avoid wheel-bite at all cost – get the right truck axle width, wheel size and use risers if needed.
- Choose the wheels based on purpose (and aesthetics) – shape, edge, core, size and softness/hardness all matter.
Blog article: Choosing Wheels
- Bearings sat on the axle, and in the wheel, need spacers between them to stop them twisting and laterally moving under pressure. These can be either simple tubes or built into the bearing itself (like the Bones Race Reds which we use). These are dependent on the axle diameter and the space needed between the bearings. Most are 8mm x 10mm, but it is always worth checking what is needed for the wheels and trucks you have.
- To grip the top or not – you have basically 3 options:
No grip – just the wood or deck material, which shows off the deck and works fine as long as you are not pushing the envelope (just nice easy cruising), you have good shoe grip and importantly it is not wet – if it is wet and your soles are wet, don’t use that board.
Grip-tape – clear, coloured or dark, pattern or complete coverage. The traditional most used way. Comes in different grades (standard, medium and heavy), as well as colours.
Grip-spray – like with tape comes in different grades, is generally clear and shows off the wood and pattern more than clear grip-tape. Unlike grip-tape, it is, however, not easy to remove once applied.
- You can clean your bearings, which will get dirty over time; however, if they are cheap in the first place, don’t bother just replace with good ones. Even clean cheap bearings will never be that good. Cleaning bearings should only be with specific citrus cleaners and lubricant – never WD40 and std 3-in-1 oil.
Blog Article: Choosing Bearings
- Skate Deluxe – Longboard Assembly Guide
- Ultimate Longboard Truck Guide
- Truck Geometry
- Good Boosted maintenance video by Jermaine Ellis
- Replceing the Boosted Skid Plates
- Lush – Wheel Guide
- Tactic – Wheel Guide
- Youtube – how to change wheel & bearing
- Youtube – installing wheel bearings
- Youtube – installing bearings and spacers
Longboard types – choosing something to start on
- Board types generally get classified for:
- Cruising – general streets, easy carving/cornering; the place to start.
- Downhill – fast boards: speed and grip is everything.
- Freeride – downhill with tricks
- Dancing – big extra-long board to move/dance around on
- Carving – fast, twitching turning board
- Cruising is where I and most people start; however, 90% of boards really do a bit of everything, so other than something specialized a lot of boards will work as starting boards. The more stable, less twitchy and less sliding is better as a starter; confidence is everything.
- I started with a 41″ (104cm) board which worked well for my height (1.85m) and weight (85kg). Personally, I like boards that are not too small, something 32-42” works well as a cruiser for me.
- Part of the fun is changing the feel and purpose of your board, typically by chaining the wheels and bushings, for less or more carve, grip or slide. It is relatively inexpensive to do and worth experimenting.
- Matching your truck bushings to your weight (usually replacing the ones it initially came with your board or trucks) is a good thing and can make a big difference.
- Buy something you really like the look of – the design, the colors etc – it does matter. Your board needs to be something you really really want to take out, it is the only way you are going to get confident. If it is not cool to you and you don’t drool, don’t buy it.
- You can buy complete longboards, ready to ride out of the shop; which is not a bad way to start. Most complete boards, however, use lower grade parts, which you will quickly end up upgrading if you keep the board. Of the two cheaper boards we have, we have ended up quickly changing the bushing and bearings on both. The difference was very noticeable.
- The alternative to buying a complete longboard is buying the separate parts and assembling it yourself, which is really easy and satisfying:
- basic parts: deck, trucks, bearings, and wheels
- plus, if needed: bolts, bearing spacers, grip-tape and replacement bushing (for your weight and style)