Does size matter when you are on the hunt for a skateboard? Are you off for something shorter but handy or are you the type who yearns for speed and thrill? Then you must be torn between a longboard and a cruiser. Although they are equally exciting to ride, purpose is the name of the game.
When length is to be talked about, the cruiser is in between a standard skateboard and a longboard. Both cruiser and longboard are designed similarly but function differently. The goal here is to tackle their differences so, let’s dive into those answers and put an end to your dilemma.
A Brief History of Skateboarding
Skateboarding is among the most favorite sports of teenagers in the United States. If you are living in California then chances are high that you have come across some of the skateboarding parks there. Or, you could be among those skateboarders who never seem to get tired of going through the streets in pursuit of pure joy. Yes, this is what skateboarding is mostly about.
All thanks to Larry Stevenson, the first person to establish a company that mass produces skateboards in the 1960s. For skateboarders, learning how to perform the so-called “skateboarder’s goofy stance” is just as important as knowing which board will suit them best. There are various types of skateboards but here we focus on the longboard and the cruiser.
What is a longboard?
A longboard should be at least 36 inches in length. These skateboards also come in different types such as casual cruising longboards, freestyle longboards or downhill longboards. Each is designed to serve a specific purpose.
Basically, longboards are made up of several parts such as the grip tape, deck, trucks, axel, bearings, kingpin, truck bolts and wheels. All these parts are assembled together to ensure that desired stability and speed are achieved.
The majority of longboards have soft wheels. However, some people would opt to install hard wheels with the aim of being able to gain more speed and also to make the board more suitable for downhill riding. Longboards would usually have wheel softness of about 78a to 80a durometer. This level of durometer is perfect for a rider to attain medium grip, slide ability and roll speed.
Longboards that are symmetrical on both ends are usually preferred when it comes to performing tricks. Other types of longboard show a drop deck with its middle section lower than both ends. These are also good for downhill riding.
What is a cruiser board?
A cruiser board is shorter than a longboard. But it is also longer compared to a standard skateboard. A cruiser board is ideal for skaters who just want to skate around the city. It is small thus making it so convenient to bring anywhere you may go. However, its size does not make it capable of ensuring stable rides when one decides to go freeriding.
A cruiser board may also have a kicktail which is a curve that’s visible at the back edge of the board. Cruiser boards have smaller wheels usually about 66-65mm in diameter. These also consist of standard board style trucks that are shorter. These things make the cruise board a lot lighter compared to longboards.
It is also equipped with soft wheels that allow the cruiser to confidently move over hard surfaces. The wheels of a cruiser have the softness of between 78A to 83A durometer.
Features to Explore
The deck is that flashy part of the board where the skater stands on. Decks are either made from maple wood or bamboo. There are also decks that are made from grade-A plastics. Longboard decks also come in different types. These are blunt, mini cruise, pintail and twin. The deck of the cruiser is shorter than a longboard. Cruiser decks are not longer than 32 inches.
Beginners who opt for a longboard must choose the one with the “drop deck” to ensure more comfort.
Longboards have grip tapes that cover the top part of the deck. It is much like a sandpaper that has a roughness which provides enough traction between the skater’s shoes and the board itself. Grip tapes are also important for beginners who use cruise boards. Otherwise, the board will tend to become too slippery.
Trucks and Wheels
Trucks refer to the metal T-shaped assembly that connects the wheels and the deck. It can be found attached on the underside of the deck. Smaller trucks would mean they are capable of making small turning radius. Longboard trucks are also higher compared to that of other types of boards. Trucks also consist of different parts namely, axle, kingpin, bearings, wheels and truck bolts.
Cruisers and longboards have kingpins, baseplates, bushings and hangars. Their differences are evident in the way they are constructed. For cruisers, all the truck components are arranged in a normal way but for longboards they are inverted. Longboards often have wider trucks compared to cruisers.
Every longboard has huge soft wheels with a minimum size of 70mm. Cruiser Boards have smaller wheels usually about 66-65mm in size. These also consist of standard board style trucks that are shorter. These specs make the cruise board a lot lighter compared to longboards. Cruisers are also equipped with soft wheels that allow it to confidently move over hard surfaces.
Bushings are usually made from polyurethane. These allow the trucks to steer as the rider leans. Generally, bushings are cone-barrel shaped. If you have a larger body built, better opt for harder bushings to ensure it provides a greater amount of resistance. Otherwise, leaning on it while riding may increase the risk of it flexing too much, gradually crushing the bushings and finding yourself getting injured.
Smaller riders may just opt for softer bushings. Racers and downhill riders will need stiffer bushings for better stability.
Longboard vs Cruiser: A Comparison
Which is suitable for beginners?
A cruiser is a good choice if a person wants to learn about all the tricks of skating as a beginner. Cruisers are ideal for beginners because they tend to be more forgiving when tackling rough roads. A cruiser also requires less effort when pushing around. It also provides more stability than other types of boards. Cruisers are a perfect combination between a longboard and a standard skateboard. Plus, it also offers great portability.
Which is perfect for short distances?
You can opt for a cruiser if you are looking to ride over short distances. The soft grippy wheels of cruiser boards make it the most favorite for those who want to enjoy a relaxed and smooth ride on level terrains. Besides, it is also easy to carry since it is lightweight. But when you’re planning to ride long distances, a longboard is a better option.
Which has better speed?
Riding downhill at a faster speed is not a problem if you use a longboard. The best cruiser boards are designed to provide comfort to the rider. It is not built for superfast rides on uneven surfaces. Longboards would usually have wheels with 78a to 80a durometer. This level of durometer is perfect for a rider to attain medium grip, slide ability and roll speed.
Which is better for crowded streets?
A cruiser will serve you better when riding in crowded places because its design has better maneuverability. It will not be easy to control the speed of a longboard and this can cause serious problems when maneuvering through congested areas.
If you insist on using longboards in busy streets, make sure to keep an eye on the people in front of you and on both sides. Use body language to signal pedestrians and other people which path your board will be passing through.
Which is better for hilly areas?
Cruisers are not a good option if you will be riding on hilly areas. Going up and down may cause your cruiser to wobble which will make your ride unstable. This can increase your risk for accidents and injuries. Longboards do better when crawling upwards and it can also run well when you’re going down the hills.
Which is better for performing tricks?
First and foremost, cruisers are not built to perform any tricks. But yes, you can still perform tricks using one but it would mean you will work harder. Cruiser boards are heavy which means it would also pose significant difficulties whenever you try to get it off the ground.
Besides, cruisers also have a different shape which is not totally friendly for performing tricks. The shape of a cruiser board will make it too hard for you to move your feet on the deck in order to perform any trick. It is better to use longboards and other popsicle-shaped boards when planning to perform tricks.
Which is better for learning ollies?
Learning to ollie using a cruiser board can be more difficult. It is better to use a longboard or any other trick boards when practicing ollie. Although you can perform an ollie up a curb with the help of a cruiser board, this type of board would not be your best option since it’s heavy.
Buying Your First Skateboard: FAQs
How do I choose the right skateboard size?
Choosing the right deck size is important not just for safety reasons. Practicing your skills using a board with the right deck size will make it more convenient and comfortable. Skateboard decks come in different sizes such as micro, mini, mid and full.
The width of the skateboard deck should also be proportional to the skater’s shoe size. For example, if your shoe size is between 6.5 to 9, choose a skateboard deck that has a width of 7.5 to 8 inches. If your shoe size is larger than 9, choose an 8.0 or 8.5-inch deck.
Does my board need to have a concave?
The concave is another factor to consider when buying a board. This refers to the area between the tail and the nose that forms a curve slightly towards the side. Experienced skaters know that the greater the concave, the easier it will be to flip the board.
What grip tape is best for beginners?
Newbies can opt for a standard version though a non-abrasive grip tape is also a good choice. Grip tapes also come in different colors. The most common is a black grip tape. There are also other styles and colors that will help you customize your board.
Grip tapes are either made from silicon-carbide or an aluminum oxide. If you’re looking for something that’s cost-effective, choose a grip tape that’s made from aluminum-oxide. However, its grip does not last longer than a silicon-carbide grip tape.
Is it good to opt for a board with smaller wheels?
If you are just looking to do some street cruising, go for the one with wheels that has a size between 49-52 millimeters. Wheels larger than this would be ideal for vertical or transition skating. Street skating requires smaller wheels so they would be lightweight. The board becomes so easy to flip and will tend to be more responsive if it is not heavy.
How do I choose the right truck size for my board?
Truck size should not be so wide that it sticks out of your board. It should also be not too narrow that they may cause the skater to have difficulty gaining balance. See to it that the board and the truck size match each other perfectly. For example, a standard sized 8-inch deck should have a truck that’s 149 millimeters in width.
Does my board need to have the right flex?
Flex is a skater’s term for its ability to bend given the amount of weight that the skater’s body put on it. Flex makes the board capable of absorbing shocks which translates to a more comfortable ride. But when riding at a much faster speed, the board’s flexibility can also compromise stability.
Incorporating more flex is perfectly fine for a longboard due to its larger size. But, if you will be using a cruiser board, it is better to choose the one with less flex. Note that the stiffer the board, the better it will be for skaters who are always riding on a faster speed.
Now which skateboard type should you choose? Get a cruiser if you are just looking to skate your way to school, office or within your locality on hard and plain surfaces. When cruising through unfamiliar streets, take time to check the roads yourself. Do not just rely on Google maps because it may not show well how bumpy the road could be. If you are planning to learn some tricks and ride with much speed, then a longboard will do better.