A Buyer’s Guide To The Best Longboards For Cruising
If you are new to skateboarding and want to start out with the best option available, then you have to do your research. But where do you start? With all of the longboards and skateboards available on the market, finding the right fit is a bit easier said than done. You should decide if you want to do tricks or if you are primarily going to cruise with your board. If you find that you want to cruise more than you want to try Nollie and 180s, then a longboard may be the option for you. When deciding on which longboard, keep in mind a few terms:
- Flex – The amount of bend in the center of the board when stepped upon
- Concave – The amount of curve width wise
- EG – the term to refer to whether the board is flat or if the sides are higher than the middle
With these terms and a basic understanding about the functionality of a longboard this guide should help you in determining the best longboards for cruising, in today’s market.
The longboard offered by Quest is a cruiser, meaning that it is intended for transportation. Size of the board is 44inches constructed of Bamboo as well as Maple, the outermost base layer being bamboo to give it the aesthetics, and quite frankly to give the perception that the entire board is constructed of the material. Those which may be turned off by the maple within the bamboo board, should consider that this additive wood reduces the flex and increases the stability.
Trucks on the board are standard as super light aluminum. Where this material is lighter, it is also more prone to bending and damage. Then again, if the board is used for cruising (aka its intended purpose) then there will not be too much strain. For most, the maximum amount of strain on the trucks will be on the back wheels due to the longboard’s tail design feature. Being that the front does not have a pocket, but the back has a tail, riders are likely to do pops while crushing. It is recommended that those which wish to perform tricks, slides, and downhills replace the trucks with a heavier aluminum alternative.
The board is considered a beginner board by most and as such those which purchase it should keep in mind that it is not a “top end” piece of equipment. It should also be noted that there have been reports of cracking in the board shortly after purchase. Buyers should toughly examine the product when purchasing.
- Board can perform tricks as well as cruise
- Easy to control and ride
- Can take quick turns at high speeds
- Prone to cracking
- Bearings may need to be changed shortly out of the box
- A bit heavy for younger riders
The atom drop longboard is designed primarily for downhill and freestyle riding. ABEC-9 bearings allow for the board to reach very high speeds, while the high quality grip tape keeps you from flying off when reaching those speeds, doing slides, or turns. Constructed out of 9 plies maple and bamboo, the Atom Drop Through Longboard 40in weighs in at about 8 pounds. The wood is hybrid laminated allowing for the board to be used in about any weather conditions. Riders may find that the 9-ply works a bit adversely to their desires, however, as it does limit flexibility.
Stability of the board, apart from the 9 plies maple and bamboo, is achieved by the 10 inch width as well as the 180mm Truck hanger. Additionally, there is no wheel bite with the design and standard wheels. While the control is adequate for a beginner, out of the box, those which prefer a bit more responsiveness at turn taking may need to adjust the trucks. Brushing may also need to change to suit the weight of the rider. Riders have stated that the weight limit of the board is about 210lbs.
- Hybrid Laminated surface allows for riding in most weather
- Wide deck for stability
- Riders can obtain very high speeds both downhill as well as cruising. Wear proper safety equipment
- Perhaps too flexible which can lead to cracking, especially if you are a bit on the hefty side
- Limited responsiveness on turns which is not ideal for novices
- To optimize functionality a great deal of fine tuning is needed
The Sector 9 Aperture Longboard was designed by the company as part of the sidewinder series, specifically catered to the gold Wayne sidewinder truck. The length of the board is a bit shorter than other longboards on the market, making it a mid-range. This length is suitable for riders transitioning from the full length longboards to skateboards or vice versa.
In terms of design, there are a few things worth noting. One, the nose and tail are a fair amount narrower than the board which could pose navigation and trick capabilities for some users. Secondly, the exposed mounting of the trucks, especially where the bolts connect, are counterproductive to the design. Scrapping of the bolts and direct contact with roads, shoes, and such can damage the mounts making future changing of the mounts difficult. Finally, the maple ply greatly reduces the flex.
In terms of the quality of the board there are some definitive pros and cons. On the pros side, the board is beautiful and offers a smooth ride with minimal push offs. Additionally, the design of the trucks allows for the user to quickly switch the primary function of the board. For example, if you were to switch to Orangatang wheels, you would be able to perform slides. Standard wheels are intended for cruising.
The downside of the board is that there are several reports of poor shipping and care of the product resulting in scratches, gouges in the wood, and defective pieces. Additionally, the paint has a tendency to chip which could result in rust. To minimize the risk of paint chipping, apply a thin coat of sealant to the wood.
- Smooth Ride
- A bit smaller than other heavier boards which may prove a suitable option for younger and less experienced riders.
- Versatile design allows for cruising as well as for freestyle riding
- Paint tends to chip along the trucks which can lead to rust
- Shipping has shown pressure cracks on new boards. If cracked, return for a new board, don’t let your anticipation to ride compromise the integrity of the board.
- Bearings have been known to be defective
The drop deck longboard differs from the Atom Longboard previously mentioned in that the center portion is lower than the nose and the tail (for those who do not know what a drop deck design is). On this particular board, the drop deck feature allows for an extremely low ride making it a suitable choice for downhill carving. As the trucks are mounted on the nose and the tail of the board and the wheels protrude away from the wood, wheel bite is not an issue.
Construction of the board is made from maple giving the board a 9 pound tote weight. Like most longboards, the wood is 9-ply. Unique to the Atom Drop Deck design is the perimeter shape which allows for a 9.6 inch leverage in every turn. The combination of the board construction, the reverse kingpin durable trucks, as well as the ABEC-9 bearings all contribute to a fast, flexible, and relatively stable longboard for both the novice and the expert. Beginners should take a cautionary note of the high speeds before attempting any downhill maneuvers.
The pros of the Atom Drop Deck are primarily the speed and the durability of the product. The maple is a thicker, more durable wood over bamboo. Because it is a drop down design, proper foot placement is pretty much mandated (which in turn helps those who wish to perform tricks on a standard skateboard later). The cons of the longboard are an unsmooth ride, chipping of wood at the edges, and a detachment of grip tape. This issues, apart from the chipping wood, can be fixed by changing out the bearings and applying extra grip tape.
- Ultra-low ride allows for downhill at high speeds
- 9.6 leverage at every turn
- Reverse kingpins
- A bit on the bulky side making it more enjoyable to ride than to carry. Younger riders may have difficulty toting it around.
- May be too fast for novices. Use proper safety equipment when operating this board.
- Riding is unsmooth and the bearings can be felt and heard.
If you are familiar with the previous Dropthrough longboard from Sector 9, you will note that the new board is slightly bigger and wider than its predecessor. This board is 41 inches long by 9.6 inches wide, apart from the nose and the tail which are a bit narrower. Trucks on the board are mounted on the nose and tail and are secured on the top of the board with steel to aluminum mounting. As the mounts are through-mounted and due to the limited length of the longboard’s nose and tail, riders may be limited in doing tricks and maneuvers, although there have been several riders who have been able to perform basic pop ups. It is primarily a board for downhills and downhill sliding. It is not intended for freestyling, especially if you are a novice.
Aesthetically, the board has a top clear panel which accents the wood. The grip tape is clear, which could be a bit offsetting for those who are used to a more pronounced foot placement indicator. The base of the board has a huge tropical beach scene, which is the only option for the bottom painting. There is a bit of variety available on the wheels, but then again wheels are easily changeable on most longboards.
- Longer than previous editions measuring 41 inches. The width also is acceptable for those with larger feet to control the board.
- Performs Sliding well
- Smooth Riding
- Board cracks easily around the truck mounts. This may be a sign that they were mounted too tight to begin with. Check before use.
- Through mounted trucks can cause discomfort riding, especially if you have changed the tracks and used raised head screws.
- Clear Grip tape may be a bit offsetting to those accustom to darker grip tape.
While the views of reviews and online sources can give you a fair indicator as to the quality of the board, keep in mind that each board is different (kind of like thumbprints) and that you are apt to have advantages and disadvantages that others do not. Also, keep in mind that the board will perform differently based upon your weight (the more you weigh the slower the board will go), your experience, and he hardware that you add to the board. Most skateboard companies provide everything installed and ready to go out of the box. However, they also take for granted that riders will upgrade the wheels and bearings, so keep this in mind.
In terms of the products above, users may want to be cautious when purchasing the lower priced options. You do tend to get what you pay for, and the lower priced items do have a tendency to crack, have wood defects, and poor customer service when dealing with such issues. By no means is this a definitive list of all the boards on the market, and so riders should shop around and make their purchases based upon their needs, budget, and environment ( as it is a bit pointless to buy a downhill board if you have no hills to go down).
Keep in mind that longboards are primarily for transportation, not tricks. If you want to do freestyle, look at various skateboards.