Are longboards easier to ride than skateboards?

Skateboards can be quite difficult to skate, especially if you’re a beginner. They don’t roll easily and don’t give you the best control. I always see beginners struggling to learn on skateboards – some of them even give up learning altogether.

If you want a board that will be good for cruising and easy to learn on, it’s appropriate to pick out a longboard.

So with that in mind, today I’ll be talking about what makes longboards easier to ride. 

Why are longboards easier to ride?

Their bigger wheels have a comfortable ride

a longboard wheelIn comparison to skateboards, longboards have much bigger wheels. Skateboards come with wheels 50-59mm in size that are hard – 95-100a in durometer.

These small wheels are designed so that they are lightweight, easy to push, and roll fast. They are supposed to be used in a skatepark. In a skatepark, the pavement is smooth and allows hard wheels to move fast.

However, when you take these wheels outside a skatepark and onto the street, they don’t perform as well. They get caught in cracks, vibrate on rough pavement, and roll quite slowly. Longboards have wheels that are designed to perform better in this type of environment.

Longboard wheels are bigger, coming in between 66-72mm in size with a hardness between 78-82a. This large size and soft durometer allows them to roll over anything and to provide a smooth ride.

Longboard wheels can comfortably run over pebbles, cracks, and different imperfections in the pavement. Their larger size allows them to do this easily. They also roll for a much longer time because they have more momentum due to their big size. Finally, their softness absorbs a lot of road vibration so they provide a comfortable and smooth ride.

However, they are harder to get moving and don’t accelerate as fast as skateboard wheels.

Bigger trucks that turn smoother

Skateboards come with trucks about 4 to 5.5inches in width. Longboards have wider trucks that are around 7 to 10inches in width.

Because they are wider, longboards trucks have a smoother turn and are more stable. This makes them easier to balance on and makes them feel smoother through the turn. 

A skateboard’s trucks are narrower. Narrower trucks turn side to side much quicker. This might result in a twitchy ride that makes them feel unstable and uncontrollable. It makes them quick turning for skating in a park, but uncomfortable for simply cruising around.

Finally, some longboards come with reverse kingpin trucks (RKP). RKP trucks are more stable and smooth turning than the traditional kingpin (TKP) trucks that skateboards have. They have a more controllable turn and are more stable at different speeds.

They are wider and longer

Longboards tend to come in wider and longer sizes than skateboards. Skateboards have a smaller size. They come in at widths between 7.5 to 8 inches, and lengths around 32inches. This puts the rails of the deck underneath your toes and heels which makes them perfect for doing tricks. It’s easier to do flips and control the board when it isn’t too wide. 

longboard maintenanceHowever, they aren’t the best for balancing on and aren’t comfortable to ride for long.

Longboards come in a bigger size. They have a width of 8.5 to 10inches and are anywhere from 32 to 40inches in length. This large size makes it easier to balance on. 

With more room available, a rider can be more relaxed and fully spread out their feet. This is what makes longboards comfortable and easier to ride.

Finally, the extra width and length make them easier to balance on and more stable. When the distance between the trucks is longer, it allows the deck to have a slower turn. This slower turn makes it stable at higher and slower speeds. The longboard won’t turn too much so a person doesn’t have much trouble balancing properly. These types of boards are great for beginner skaters.

Some of them are flexible

Skateboards come with a stiff deck made from 7plys of maple. This stiff deck provides a firm, responsive ride. It gives a rider good control over their trucks and makes it easier for them to do tricks. However, it doesn’t provide the best ride and reflects a lot of road vibration. They aren’t the most comfortable to cruise on.

On the flipside, longboards come with decks that have a lot of flex. This flex comes as a result of the different deck constructions they have. Some use bamboo, vertical lamination and fiberglass to provide flex.

This flex allows the board to bounce and flex when a rider steps on it. This allows the deck to act as suspension, flexing whenever you ride over anything rough. It results in a comfortable ride where road vibration and any roughness is smoothened out by the flex. 

Different longboard and skate styles

There are different types of longboard and skate styles. All of them have different types of boards, built specifically for the different types of riding. Though some boards can be used for more than one style, it’s a good idea to get the one built for what you want to do.

Longboard styles

  • Cruising – this is pretty much getting from point a to b in the most relaxed way. RIders here use large decks that have large wheels for a comfortable ride.
  • Freestyle and Dancing – this is the version of longboarding where riders do tricks. Riders do flips, cross-steps, and other tricky maneuvers. They use larger, longer decks that have smaller wheels.
  • Long-distance pushing – this is simply skating as far as possible. Riders use decks that are low to the ground. They also use huge 85mm wheels because of their momentum and high speed.
  • Downhill – this is pretty much going down a hill as fast as possible. Riders use gear that is a bit more specialized. They have slide gloves, high-quality trucks, and specialized protective gear.

Skateboarding styles

  • Pool & Vert – These are different styles that are quite similar. Riders go up and down in a bowl or a ramp. They tend to use decks that are slightly bigger and tighten their trucks for stability.
  • Park and Street – Here riders do all sorts of tricks. They tend to use narrower decks with smaller wheels.

How to pick an easy to ride longboard

Buy a pre-built longboard from a high-quality brand

An easy way to pick the right board is to get one from a high-quality brand that’s been around for a long time. These brands know what they’re doing and have a lot of experience putting together these decks. They know how to make great longboards.

A good example is the Landyachtz Chief. This board comes from Landyachtz. They’ve been around since the 90s and are arguably the most popular longboard brand out there. 

The Chief is a pretty good beginner longboard. It comes in a decent 8.75in width with a 36in length. It has RKP trucks and large 63mm wheels. Finally, it has moderate flex so it can provide a comfortable, cushioned ride. It would make a good deck for a beginner rider. Check it out here on Amazon.com.

Get one that is drop-through

Drop-through longboards are some of the easiest to ride. When a longboard is drop-through, it means the trucks are mounted on top and through a cutout.

This simply lowers the center of gravity of the board. It also brings the deck closer to the ground and changes how the ride interacts with the trucks. All these features make it easy to push, stable, and smooth turning. Perfect features for a beginner looking for an easy to ride board.

A good example of a drop-through is the Magneto Bamboo longboard. Not only does it come in a large size, with a 38.5in length and 9inch width. But it also has RKP trucks and 70mm tall wheels. Paired with the drop-through and flex provided by the bamboo, the Magneto will be an easy to ride board. Find out more about the Magneto here on Amazon.com. 

Get one that has big wheels and flex

Big wheels and flex will ensure your board rides comfortably. The Loaded Icarus is a good example of a flex deck. It has a vertically laminated deck made from bamboo and fiberglass.

The deck flexes quite a bit and provides a comfortable ride. You can even choose from different flexes according to your weight or the feel you want from the deck. 

Finally, the Icarus also comes with RKP trucks and big, oversized 80mm wheels. It’s one of the best cruising decks you can get. Check it out here on Amazon.com.

What do you think? Ready to pick up a longboard?

A big mistake people make is confusing the capabilities of a skateboard for that of a longboard. They think just because a skateboard gets caught by a pebble, a longboard would too. But no longboards are easier to ride and can tackle a greater variety of terrain. They have a smoother ride and roll for longer too.

If you want an easy to ride skateboard, it’s a good idea to go for a longboard.

William Thaddeus Baker
 

My name is William and I’m boardsports enthusiast. I’ve been skateboarding streets since I was about 9. Also I’ve experimented with longboarding & downhill. As to this site my goal is to help beginner riders to find the right equipment. Everything that I write here is my own opinion…