Best longboards for cruising in 2020
May 1, 2020
Cruising is easily the most enjoyable part of skateboarding. It’s simple, it’s fun, and anyone from a seasoned pro to someone who learned to skate 5minutes ago can enjoy it.
Today’s article is a guide on how you can get yourself the best cruiserboard possible. I’ll be covering how the deck, wheels, and trucks factor into the riding experience, and what type of components you should look out for. I’ve also thrown in some great cruiserboards you could choose from if you would like.
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How to pick the best longboard for cruising
This part of the article talks about the components that make a cruiserboard feel good. It’s key to read if you want to understand how different parts of the skateboard affect the overall ride.
A good rule of thumb is to aim to get a cruiser board that turns good, rolls smoothly and feels comfortable to ride. These attributes are usually dictated by a handful of features. Learn more below.
Make sure it’s comfortable to stand on
It shouldn’t be too narrow or too wide
Comfortable boards are usually 9-10inch in width. This may seem a bit wide in comparison to narrower cruiserboards (like the 8in Penny), but its what makes standing on these things feel comfortable.
An extreme example of this is standing comfortably on the floor (with adequate space for your feet), verses balancing on a beam and having to constantly shift your weight to stay balanced.
Finally, an added benefit of the board being wider is that it will be more stable. You fight the trucks less for balance and can relax a tiny bit more when skating.
Anyone who has skated a narrow cruiser board understands how much the feet hurt after a few minutes of skating. This is amplified even more if your feet are bigger.
It shouldn’t be too long
If a board is too long it will have a huge wheelbase. Whilst boards with huge wheelbases are more stable, they tend to be a bit slow to turn and feel sluggish to ride.
The main goal behind a long deck is to try and get as much stability out of it as possible. But if you’re doing the majority of your skating well below 30mph, you don’t need to worry too much about stability.
Shorter decks turn well and work really great for cruising and carving. You should aim to get a deck that is anywhere between 32inches to a maximum of 36inches length. This also ensures you have enough room to comfortably stand shoulder width apart.
It should roll smoothly over most terrain
A wheel that can roll well over most terrain will provide a nice comfortable ride. It will roll over pebbles, cracks and all types of road imperfections and it will make skating over rumbly feeling asphalt feel a lot smoother and comfortable.
So obviously, you would want to have this type of wheel for your cruiserboard. But which aspects should you look out for to guarantee that your wheel will roll smoothly?
Most skateboard wheels can’t roll over pebbles mainly because of how small they are. As most are around 50-60mm in height, pebbles are large enough (comparatively) that they can stop the movements of the wheels. With bigger wheels, pebbles and even small rocks simply get blasted out of the way.
You should aim to get wheels around 70mm in height. At this height, they aren’t so large that they become difficult to push, but are still large enough that they can handle the roads.
Wheel durometer is essentially how hard or soft a wheel is, and it is typically measured on the shore scale.
Wheels vary from 73a to 100a in hardness. Most longboard wheels are 77a, whilst skateboard wheels hover around the 98a mark. The range you want your cruiserboard wheel to fall on is between the 78a and 82a range. These wheels have a good balance between softness and hardness.
If your wheel is too soft, it can feel sluggish when pushing and will roll rather slowly. If it is too hard, it will make the ride feel rough as it will reflect every bump and bit of roughness you go over as you skate. It is wise to get wheels that fit in the middle of the spectrum.
Has a nice smooth, comfortable ride
Apart from the wheels, the smoothness and comfortability of the ride is then determined by the deck. The following features help determine how your skateboard will feel, and whilst they won’t be as effective as the features in the wheels above, they will aid in comfort.
A deck that has a bit of flexibility tends to be comfortable to ride. The flexibility absorbs a ton of road vibration and evens out the ride as you go along. So as you go over a bump or a crack, the deck flexes allowing the wheel to go up whilst you and where you’re standing on the deck remain in the same position in space. In the same way the suspension works in a car – where the wheel goes up and down whilst the car remain in the same position in space.
The flipside though, is that it isn’t the best if you’re looking for ‘precise’ control. It will also make it easier to get wobbles as you go faster and faster (+25mph).
Convex is when the middle of the board is higher than the sides. A cross-section of the board will show the top part of the deck is higher than the sides.
This simply mimics a natural resting position for your feet. The convex feels comfortable and even therapeutic for your soles. That said, it isn’t such a big factor that it should be a deal-breaker when it comes to buying a deck.
Very light concave
Concave is the opposite of convex. If you can’t get a deck with camber, try and get a deck that has very light concave.
Concave simply doesn’t feel comfortable to skate with especially if you’re pushing around, or are on top of your deck for long periods of time. It forces your feet to rest in an uncomfortable position, which simply isn’t nice to be in for too long. It is amplified if you have particularly big feet.
Fortunately, most cruiser boards don’t have too much concave. Some downhill longboards do have a considerable amount and are one of the reasons most of them aren’t very good for skating around.
Has a good turn
The turning of a skateboard is typically handled by the trucks. But not all trucks are the same and work the same way. They all turn yes, but some do it in different ways.
You can learn more about skateboard trucks here.
Get high-quality trucks
Not all trucks are the same. Some trucks are made cheaply through the inaccurate casting process. They may not have the right geometry and their components may not fit right with each other. This leads to their turn not feeling perfectly smooth and consistent.
Finally, the impreciseness of cheap trucks is also the main reason a ton of people get wobbles as they start going faster.
You should aim to get a skateboard that has trucks from brands like Paris trucks, Caliber truck co, Bear trucks, Atlast trucks, Rogue trucks, Ronin trucks, Gullwing, Randal, Sabre, Bolzen, and Arsenal trucks. Trucks from these mentioned brands would work well and feel good.
Check out my review of every truck in the Paris trucks line-up here.
Make sure it has RKP trucks
There are two main types of skateboard trucks – reverse kingpin (rkp) trucks and traditional kingpin trucks. The trucks work very similarly, but rkp trucks tend to be smoother turning and easier to control. They also have a much better turning and lean more and deeper.
That said, TKP trucks are good enough, especially if that is what is available to you.
Decent bushings and pivot
High-quality trucks like the Paris v3 trucks come with decent pivots and bushings. These are essentially the ‘suspension’ of your truck. Higher quality bushings and pivots allow your truck to turn in a smooth, consistent way. Simply allowing it feel more controllable and precise.
Best longboards for cruising reviewed
In general, all the longboards below are beginner-friendly. Any beginner can step on to them and feel confident about riding them.
**I’ve purposely not picked any China or “cheap”, “budget” brands. These brands do make skateboards yes, but more often than not the standard and quality of their product is far below that of proper brands. And they produce cheap decks that break, trucks that don’t feel good and wheels that roll too slowly.
For a proper riding experience, the name brands I’ve mentioned below are the way to go.
If you’re looking for the best North-American Longboard brands, check out my article on them here.
The budget-friendly option – Rayne Longboards Crush 39″ review
The Rayne Longboards Crush 39″ hits the mark as a high-quality longboard at an affordable price. Simply put, it’s hard to beat when it comes to value for money.
Featuring high-quality Atlas Trucks and large 70mm Rayne Envy wheels (at 77a). This complete will turn smoothly and feel controllable. It has a pretty exotic deck built with bamboo and “pre-tensioned triaxial fiberglass”, to allow for a little bit of flex and shock absorption. It’s clear this complete has been built with up with cruising and carving in mind.
However, the board is a bit long at 39inches, sitting outside the range of my suggest 32-37inches. So whilst it won’t be as maneuverable as other options on this list, it is good if you’re looking for something more stable.
Find out more about the Rayne Crush here on Amazon.com.
The high-quality option – The Loaded Poke review
This board is a high-quality option through and through. Like all Loaded longboards, it features premium parts from the bottom up.
The Loaded Poke comes in at 34inches in length and 9.1inches in width – fitting perfectly in my suggested ranges for comfort and control. It comes with 150mm Paris trucks and large 70mm, 80a Orangatang Stimulus wheels.The deck is made from a combination of bamboo and fiberglass, which keeps it lightweight and allows it to have that little bit of flex for comfort.
Out of all the boards on my list, this fits perfectly in my ‘description’ of what a great cruiser board should be like. However, it is quite expensive, check out the Loaded Pokes cost here on Amazon,com.
Still, I believe it is worth the money if you can afford it, but that said, the cost alone alienates a ton of deserving skaters out there. No choice but to start saving up.
The reasonably priced option – Sector 9 Nicaragua review
It’s hard to get a high-quality longboard that doesn’t cost much more than $100. Fortunately, the Sector 9 Nicaragua isn’t too far off the mark. Whilst not as cheap as the Rayne Crush above, this skateboard is still quite affordable for a high-quality complete.
Coming in at 39in length and about 9.4 inches in width, the deck is a bit longer than I’d like, but that length is thanks to the little kick-tail it has. With a 26.5inch wheelbase, this deck will still turn and carve fairly well.
The deck itself is made of 5plys of vertically laminated bamboo. This helps keep it lightweight, gives it a little flex and makes it look kinda stylish. Paired with the clear griptape, the bamboo finish is exposed uptop. Finally, it comes with high-quality Gullwing charger trucks and large 65mm Sector 9, 9ball wheels.
In summary, I’d say this is one of the best all-around boards on my list. It fits well with my suggest ranges, and its price is fairly reasonable too. So I think it should be high on your list of options – but its style is fairly polarizing. Find the Nicaragua here on Amazon.com.
The best all-around option – The Landyachtz Ripper review
A bit of a throwback, this is an homage to the pintail era of longboards and is honestly a bit refreshing to see amongst the more modern shapes.
The Ripper comes in at a decent length of 36.9in with a width of 9inches and a relatively small 24.9in wheelbase. It comes with 130mm Polar Bear trucks and 63mm tall, 78a Fatty Hawgs. Though the components alone are impressive (and quality on their own), whats stands out is the deck – which has a ton of flex.
This translates to a ton of comfort when riding the board and a riding experience that feels playful and fun. Though the other options are pretty great, this looks the funnest to ride to me.
Finally, the price is reasonable, and the Ripper comes in (a lot) cheaper than the Loaded poke but a bit more expensive than the Nicaragua. Fortunately, I believe it is well worth the price. If you are willing to spend a bit more, this is the board you should get for sure. Check out the Landyachtz Ripper here on Amazon.com. (P.s I don’t think they’ve included this board in their 2020 lineup).
Another pretty good option – Arbor Mission Review
Coming in at 35inches in length with a narrow width of 8.7inches, this board is my go-to pick for kids. It has a similar pintail shape to the ripper above but is nowhere near as large.
The 35inches length will allow a kid to stand fairly comfortably, whilst most adults may feel a bit awkward and some complete beginners may struggle to balance well on it. However, it is top-mounted so it might feel a bit responsive for some riders. Nothing tightening the truck a bit can’t fix.
The complete itself is fairly high quality. The deck is made from 7 plys of maple, with clear grip on the top and a minimalist graphic on the bottom. It comes with 150mm RKP Paris trucks and 65mm tall, 78a Mosh wheels. Not much to say here, but I think it’s fairly obvious that this complete will give a good riding experience.
The kicktail also adds some functionality and a rider can use it to pick up the board, get down curbs, or even do some tricks with it. The ArborMission is quality through and through. And should fit the majority of riding styles out there. Find the Flagship here on Amazon.com.
The easiest to ride – Landyachtz Drop cat/Drop carve review
New in the 2020 Landyachtz line-up, we have the Drop cat. This board comes in two main sizes. The first is a smaller size, 33inches in length, and 9.6inches in width. The second is a larger size and comes in at 38inches in length with a 9.9inch width.
Both boards are high-quality. If you’re a bigger rider, the large 38inch option will ride better for you. If you’re a smaller rider, the smaller 33inches option will be more comfortable and easier to control. Alternatively, if you just want a smaller board, the 33inch will be good. And it will still remain comfortable to ride because of its wide 9.6inches of width.
Size aside, the Drop cat comes with high-quality components. It has Bear Grizzly trucks, 72mm tall Hawgs wheels, and Abec 7 bearings. Finally, it has drop-through mounting and the deck has a rockered platform and flex. Check it out in action in the video below.
The rockered platform and drop-through lower your center of gravity and they bring the standing platform of this board close to the ground. This makes it stable, easy to push, and easy to ride. Despite this, it is still responsive to rider input and changes direction on a dime.
This is one of the best cruising boards on the market. It’s responsive but remains stable, which is a hard combination to find. If you want the larger 38in option, check it out here on Amazon.com. If you would like the smaller 33in option, you can find by clicking here to go to Amazon.com.
Don’t get this one – the Landyachtz Dinghy Review
As much as this is one of the best selling cruiser boards on the market, the Landyachtz dinghy wouldn’t be my go-to pick for a decent cruiser. It is simply too small and too narrow to feel comfortable to ride for more than 3minutes at a time. Within a few seconds of riding, your feet start hurting and you start fighting the board for balance and control. That said though, I think it may be a good option for kids.
In summary, anyone over 5feet in height should really avoid this board. But given that its main advantage is how portable and easy to store it is, you can still get a board that has those features but is actually comfortable to skate.
Get the Landyachtz Tugboat instead.
The Landyachtz Tugboat is the older brother of the Dinghy. At 9inches in width and 30inches in length, it is a bit wider and longer than the Dinghy – especially where it counts.
As mentioned earlier, a board that is too narrow sucks to skate. But with the Tugboats 9inch width, it is wide enough to actually be comfortable to ride.
The only other drawback is its 30inch length. This means most adults will have to stand with their feet a bit close together, which might be a bit uncomfortable for some, but is something you can adapt to with time.
It has all the advantages of the Dinghy and but is more comfortable and beginner-friendly. I believe it should be the obvious option between the two. Check out the Landyachtz Tugboat here on Amazon.com.
But that said though, I don’t think either make the best of cruiserboards, especially for beginner skaters.
Fireball Cruiser: Limited Edition Artist Series – The Landyachtz Dinghy Alternative
Fireball recently sent me a cruiser to ride a bit and review (my review will remain unbiased). I was stoked on this board. I loved the graphic and was eager to get my hands on it. The deck itself is made from 7plys of maple and comes with wheel flares to prevent wheel bite. It also has a small, but functional kicktail in the back.
Coming in at 8.5inches in width and 29.5inches in length, this cruiser is slightly bigger and wider than the Dinghy above. It rides a bit more comfortable, but still retains that mini-cruiser maneuverability and portability. It comes with Paris TKP trucks, and 81a, 60mm Fireball Tinder wheels. All high-quality parts.
The complete works really well with these parts. The Paris TKP feel smooth turning and controllable about of the box. And even being 150lbs, I couldn’t get the wheel to bite even on really hard turns. The wheels also felt great. They accelerated quickly and had a comfortable ride – despite their small size.
Finally, the bearings, spacers, and hardware were all high-quality. The bearings and spacers fit really well in the wheel and I was able to fully tighten the axle nut. The wheels still had a considerable free spin, which is uncommon for a non-built in bearing.
The hardware was good too. It came with flat Allen head bolts and self-locking nylon screws.
The board is comfortable despite its small size, but the wheel flares can feel uncomfortable to stand on – this is easily solved by moving your feet. But I like to stand directly over the trucks so it is a bit awkward for me. Finally, the kick nose isn’t functional at all. I would have preferred further up than to have a kick nose I can’t use.
Altogether, this is one of the best cruisers on the market, easily giving the Dinghy a run for its money. It’s also very affordable, retailing just under $110. For the components you get, that is a bargain. Check out the Fireball cruiser here on Amazon.com. You can also pick it up here directly from the Fireball website.
Which board do you think is best?
To wrap this up, I’d have to pick the Landyachtz drop cat as the best choice in the line-up. Given all, it’s features, components, and reasonable cost, I’d say it wouldn’t be wise to not pick it. It rides well, looks great, and makes your smile when you ride it. What more could you ask?
Hope this list has been useful. Cruising really and truly is one of the best parts of skating, and if you pick the right board, you’ll be motivated to go out time and time again.