Longboards are fun but do they have to break the bank? No, they don’t. With so many longboards in the market, there are enough choices that are cheap and still have good quality.
The question here is, how do you find that longboard that fits your budget yet is durable and reliable? Keep reading to know how you can choose a cheap longboard.
What are Cheap Longboards?
Since you’re looking for a longboard that you can use, you’re not supposed to look at toy longboards or the longboards found at Target or Walmart. They’re not the kind of longboards that will last you a year.
These toy longboards are often $30 and below. Yes, they’re very affordable, but they’re most likely made of materials that will easily break. No self-respecting long-board will be priced that low given that its main materials aren’t super cheap.
What you should be looking for are longboards that are priced from $40 to 100. While they are reasonably priced, they’re also made of materials that can last for at least a year.
Why Should You Get a Cheap Longboard?
Aside from wanting to save a little bit on a longboard, what are the other reasons you should consider a cheap longboard?
The first is if you aren’t sure if you’re going to commit to longboarding. If you’re not sure whether longboarding is your thing or not, then it’s only wise not to spend a lot of money on a board yet. What if you don’t like it in the end? With a cheaper longboard, you get to test your preferences.
Another reason is when you don’t know your preference for longboards yet. As you get used to longboarding, you slowly identify what you want in a board. Do you prefer a larger longboard or you want a smaller one? What kind of materials do you want for your deck?
When you’re unsure of what to buy, it’s best to spend money on a cheaper longboard. You can always buy another one when you’re absolutely sure about the kind of longboard you prefer.
What if you just want a means of transportation that isn’t cheap? If your only reason for wanting a longboard is a cheaper way to travel, then it doesn’t make sense to buy a very expensive model. Regardless of the price, any longboard will get you from point A to point B anyway.
Parts of a Longboard
You’re probably wondering why you need to know the parts of a longboard. If you’re a newbie to all this, you’ll want to know the parts. That way, you know what you should be looking for.
The parts of a longboard are the deck, wheels, bearings, trucks, and grip tape. Here is a brief description of what they are and what they’re supposed to be made of.
The deck is the largest part of a longboard. It’s the long wooden-looking board that you step on. You can consider this as one of the most important parts of a longboard.
The deck is made up of laminated materials that are pressed together. They’re pressed side-by-side to form the shape of the deck. Some longboards have one layer while others opt to have 2 or more layers to make the deck sturdier.
The most common material for a deck is maple. They’re pretty common which is also why it’s the cheapest material. Maple is also very durable. It’s a perfect choice if you want an affordable yet durable longboard.
Some decks can be made of bamboo, Birchwood, and other composite materials. Other models use carbon fiber for their deck.
Just like the deck, the wheels are very important for a longboard. Good-quality wheels make or break the longboard’s performance.
Longboard wheels are usually made of polyurethane or all-urethane. As much as possible, the wheels of your chosen longboard should be mostly made of urethane. When it has more plastic on them, the performance won’t be as good.
Ever heard of bearings? If you haven’t, they’re the ones where the wheel spins. Have you seen the metal parts on the wheels’ side? Those are the bearings.
Bearings are made of metal. No other material is used for this part. Since this is the case, the only way to know if the bearings are in good condition is when you test the longboard.
A high-quality set of bearings should allow your wheels to spin freely and quickly. When the wheels take a long time to spin, that means there’s friction affecting it. Since you want a smooth drive, your bearings should be able to make your wheels move as it pleases.
The trucks are the metal parts where the wheels are placed. No, they’re not like the bearings. They’re the metal poles where both the bearings and the wheels are connected.
The trucks are connected to your deck using other aluminum parts. The truck is often made with aluminum, but some longboards use metal.
The most important factor when looking at the trucks is their weight. You want the trucks to be light so that it doesn’t make the whole longboard heavy.
To add to that, the truck should allow your board to turn easily. Just like the bearings, these parts should be able to make you turn and move seamlessly. However, there are trucks that weren’t made to be the most seamless. That’s also okay. Some trucks are made for stability instead of lightness and agility.
Lastly, you have the grip tape. The grip tape is like the sandpaper-textured material on top of your deck. For obvious reasons, you need to look for a thick grip tape on the deck so that it doesn’t thin with wear and tear.
Of course, the grip tape should have non-slip properties. The only way to know if this is good is to try the longboard.
How to Choose a Cheap Longboard
Finally, it’s time to know how to choose a cheap longboard. Now that you know what you have to look for in each part, it’s a lot easier to spot a good-quality board.
How do you spot an affordable longboard that won’t let you down? Here are all the things to look for.
You can start with the deck. Since the deck is the easiest to assess, a quick look at its material will already tell you if it’s worth trying. Remember, the deck should be made from maple or bamboo so that it’s durable but not expensive. Other materials may be durable but they definitely drive the price of the longboard up.
There’s hardly a longboard that doesn’t use aluminum for its trucks and steel for its bearings, so this won’t be a problem.
As for the wheels, look for those that are not made of plastic. If they are, then it’s not worth buying. The longboard won’t last a week.
Lastly, the grip. This might be hard to tell when you just look at the board, so ask the manufacturer what kind of grip tape was used. The grip tape should be thick and well-placed on the deck. You don’t want it peeling off.
Assembly of All the Parts
When it comes to assessing a longboard, you can’t just look at the materials used. That’s just one part of the whole thing. You shouldn’t forget to look at how everything is put together.
How a longboard is assembled affects its overall performance. You might have the best materials but if they’re not fitted properly, there’s no use for the longboard.
A good-quality longboard is one that is assembled tightly and with the right materials. All the parts should fit together. No screw out of place, and no material in the wrong size.
How the Parts Interact
The last thing to look for is how all the parts interact with one another. Don’t be fooled – just because they all fit doesn’t mean they will work well together. The only way to find out if all the parts work well as a whole is to try them.
There’s no shortcut here. Even if you aren’t used to riding a longboard yet, it’s best that you see for yourself how the whole board feels when you ride it. Is it too rigid or is it too flimsy? Take note, however, that there are longboards that feel flimsy but they were just made that way. There are skaters who want a softer board so that they can better maneuver it.
There are lots of longboards that are affordable but are durable. Just because a longboard is cheap doesn’t mean that it’s automatically made with cheap materials or was assembled poorly.
The best way to know if a cheap longboard is a good buy is when you assess and test it out for yourself. You have to know what materials were used. Plus, you have to try riding the longboard. If it’s a good fit and it doesn’t seem to break, then that longboard could be an excellent choice.