First-time buyer mistakes
Many first-time shoppers, especially parents, grandparents or non-Longboarders in general, often pick best mini cruiser board gifts based on the graphic artwork. That is, they find a pretty picture or some design, they think matches the user’s personality.
What is really important?
Well, although a nice-looking ride is important, The feel and performance of this longboard must always come first. So beware. If you do not want to disappoint, you will need to do a little homework and some sniffing around…
What are the popular brands and the intended use?
If your longboarder is a seasoned rider, you already have been given a brand and model. Alternatively, maybe a list of components to buy. However, if not, then your first task is to identify the local popular brands. And I don’t mean by looking at a department store. Some of the most Well-known brands nation-wide are: Gold Coast Longboards, Sector 9, Loaded, Gravity, Comet, Arbor, Original, or Never Summer, just to name a few. So Listen carefully for the chatter around the neighborhood or kitchen table, and make a mental note if one of these names are mentioned.
If you have identified a particular brand name, then you are on your way to picking the “best longboard ever.” You must now identify the intended riding style. Will it be just transportation, or downhill racing, a little slalom, or all the above? This makes a big difference, as each of the brands mentioned above have dozens of models, that have been individually designed, component by component, to provide the riding experience specific to the riders riding style and purpose.
Designed for all-purpose Longboarding
For brevity, Let’s look for an all-purpose longboard that will provide a new longboarder with the most versatility and riding pleasure. We will begin by discussing the various components to include the deck, the trucks, the wheels, and the bearings.
It begins with a well-designed deck.
The basic properties of a deck are: length, width, shape, flex and truck mounting setup. Although the longboard size varies from 32 to 60 inches, a good starting point would be around 40 inches. Width varies from 7 to 10 inches, but for now I would recommend a width of around 8.25 inches. For the overall shape, I would recommend a pin-tail (teardrop shape) with a kick-tail (the tail of the board is slightly curved upward). Stability is a factor when just learning. I would recommend, a medium flex using a top-mount truck system instead of a drop through to get them started. The construction of the deck varies, but I would stay with between 5 and seven ply with some camber and concave from an edge to edge for better edge control. Lastly, this brings us to the subject of grip-tape. For me this might be where I would avoid models with grip-tape and allow the new longboarder to apply his own to customize the look.
Buy “complete” when shopping first longboard.
Now this part is easy, identifying the trucks, the wheels and the bearings. Once your longboarder finds his own riding style and activities, they will want to customize everything themselves. For now, you should buy “complete.” That is one that already has everything assembled. Each manufacturer, has matched truck size to deck size and has taken the deck shape and overall flex into consideration. The wheels will also be a match generally using a softer wheel allowing better grip, while minimizing unplanned slides. For bearings, if you see the word bone, then you have found a good industry standard to begin with. However, keep it simple. Once you decide on a brand, and the deck properties described above, pick any model that comes complete.