While choosing a skateboard you may come across many options. Without proper knowledge, it can be a difficult task to choose among them. That is why, we have assorted all the information below. Read carefully to choose the right one according to your needs.
1. Types of Skateboards
They are categorized into three different types – standard, cruiser, mini and longboards.
This type are the best skateboards for kids. Their length is usually around 22 inches long x 6 or 7 inches wide. They are light in weight and easy to control the motion as well. So, they are perfect beginner tricks like ollies and flips. They are perfect for kids or teens who started learning about balance or cruising.
Standard or full-size skateboards are sized around 31 inches (length) x 8 inches (width). They are suitable for beginners over age of 9 years and adults because it is easy to control the motion of this skateboard. They work well for street skating, skate parks and any other style of skateboarding. They have hard wheels, and are popsicle shaped, featuring both nose and tail that are nearly symmetrical
If you wish to save your money on transit, then we recommend cruisers, as they are smoother, faster, and convenient to roll on rough surfaces. Cruiser skateboards are similar in length as standards, but come in different shapes. They mostly stand on soft wheels, are lighter allowing you to bob and weave through urban obstacles.
If you wish to buy a large and stable skateboard, that makes it easy for you to balance, then we recommend longboards for you. They are also good for mellow cruising, pushing long distances and skating down-hill at high speed. They are sized around 32 inches and have same equal width from tail to noise. They are perfect for people who like speed or want to quickly reach the destination.
Deck is the main component of a skateboard. As it carries your entire weight, it is the next important factor to consider. Suitable deck depends on several factors like…
- Dimensions – Length and width
- Skating style
- Shape of the deck.
We have mentioned a detail description of each factors below.
If you are new to the world of skateboarding, then we will recommend you to buy a skateboard with a width proportional to your shoe size.
If you wear men’s shoe size between 6.5 to 9, then start with a deck that is 7.5 to 8.0 inches wide. But, if your shoe size is larger than 9, then go for a skateboard with deck width between 8.0 to 8.5 inches.
Most of the skateboards available in India come width ranging from smaller size to 10 inches. Below are few general guidelines on size requirements.
|13+ or shoe size of 8 or more||7.5 inch wide or more||Full-sized or standard|
|9 to 12 years||7.25 to 7.3 inches||Mid-sized skateboards|
|6 to 8 years||6.75 to 7.25 inches||Mini skateboards|
|Below five years||6.5 inches||Micro or mini skateboard|
b. Deck Height
Skateboard decks are usually 31 inch to 33 inch long. One more thing to note is that 33 inch long decks will generally be 8.5 inch wide or more.
Also, decks that are longer than 33 inch will often have a proportionally longer wheelbase (difference between the front and rear wheel). A longer wheelbase keeps you stable and increases your turning radius.
If you are beginner, then Start off with a standard deck of 8.0 inch to 8.38 inch width, that is about 32 inch long. This is a common size, and best for beginners.
c. Skating Style
When it comes to using skateboard, there are two different styles – Transition and Street.
Transition skating is when you ride up and around vertical walls or ramps that transit 90º from the ground. These wave-like obstacles allow skaters to use speed to climb and drop vertically. For transition skating you would need a deck width of 8.38 inches or wider, as that will allow you to remain steady at high speeds.
Unlike transition skating that requires a special set-up, street skating is all about re-purposing your surroundings. Street skaters use benches, ledges, stair sets, and other urban fixtures to skate. To do street skating, you require a more maneuverable deck, so choose a deck between 7.5 inches and 8.25 inches wide. That will have narrow board making it more suitable for street tricks.
Note for Beginners – If you are a beginner unsure of whether to take up transition or street skateboarding, then we suggest you to go for a size between 7.75 inches to 8.38 inches. Also, if you have smaller feet then stay on the narrow side of the scale, and vice-a-versa for larger feet.
d. Deck Shape
Shape of the deck affects the deck’s feel under your feet, and is also responsible for the way the skateboard responds to your movements. Skates come in different shapes and edges. We have mentioned them below for your reference.
- Radial Conclave – It represent deck in ‘U’ shape. Most of the skateboards come in in this shape. They provide better foot grip and suitable for all skating styles and tricks.
- Progressive Concave – It is next version of radial conclave. However, it has steep wall which is perfectly blended with wide based. This provides secure foot area and safe skating.
- W-Concave – It contains an extra curve in the middle. This lets you shift the energy from heel to toe. In this way, you can enjoy precision and briskness while skating.
- Tub – It is also referred as flat-curve. This shape is identical to radical concave. However, it has a sharp angle at the deck rails. This deck maintains feet at flat position and also makes it easy to shift energy.
- Asymmetrical – In this shape, rails are slightly risen at different angles. This provides the user with more power at the heels.
- Convex – Unlike concave shape, they have upward arch. They are perfect for professional who like downhill ride skating.
- Flat – As the deck is flat with no curls, it provides a lot of space for feet which allows the user to perform several skating tricks easily.
e. Deck Material
Most of the decks are made up of wood or plastic. Some of them are even made up of fiberglass and carbon. Wood is the most popular choice as it is cost effective. However, fiberglass and carbon skateboards last very long. But they are bit expensive.
To choose the best skateboard you need to have a fair knowledge of its truck. Trucks are sold in pairs, and are the mechanics that allow your skateboard to turn. The wheels and bearings spin on them. So, if you are a beginner, having fair knowledge about trucks will help you get the right board. Some more important points to note are:
a. Truck Width
The width of the truck should correspond directly with the width of the deck. You don’t want your wheels peeping out of the board or hid completely underneath, both threaten your skating speed. Too narrow truck will be unstable, and too wide a truck can result in shoe to wheel contact while pushing the board.
- 5 inch Hanger/ 129 mm /7.75” Axle skateboard trucks fit decks from 7.5 to 8 inches.
- 25 inch Hanger / 139 mm / 8.0” Axle skateboard trucks fit decks from 8 to 8.5 inches.
b. Truck Height
Just like the width of the truck, even the height of it is equally important. A low truck has a short kingpin (the large screw that holds the truck and wheels together); hence it is able to provide extra clearance on your hanger for grinding, keeps your legs closer to the ground, and stabilizes the truck.
Also, with low trucks you get a better response while you kick and push your skateboard, which makes them an ideal choice for street skaters.
High truck’s kingpin is 5 mm longer than a low truck. They allow greater turning radius and also offer additional clearance between the deck and axle. High trucks are ideal for larger wheels, making them perfect for transition skaters, as large wheels give them the ability to make sharper turns.
Note: If truck specifications are not provided, then they usually considered as high trucks.
Bushings are an integral part of a skateboard truck. These are small cylindrical molds of urethane that allow your truck to turn. Usually all trucks, be it low or high come with bushings already installed. But, you need to replace them at regular intervals.
Bushings are usually bifurcated as per their hardness. A hard bushing will make your truck stiff and stable, but require more effort to turn. Soft bushings will allow the skateboard to turn easily.
But, it’s the stock bushings that come with most of the trucks. They are usually on the softer side. We recommend you to read the product description to know about the type of bushing, or when in doubt contact customer service to ask questions.
Wheels are the soul of a skateboard; hence you have to know about them. The best are urethane wheels, as they are able to grip and rebound, allowing the skaters to carve turns without sliding, and roll over rough pavement without feeling the rough vibrations of the road.
There are two most important aspects of a skateboard’s wheels – size and hardness.
The average size of skateboard wheels falls between 49 mm to 75 mm. A large wheel will go faster and weigh more. It will also raise you and your deck off the ground. A small wheel will weigh less, keeps you closer to the ground, and will be easy to maneuver.
Street skaters will prefer small wheels, as that will allow them to perform flip tricks. Transition skaters will opt for larger wheels as they offer better speed.
Note: If you are beginner, then we recommend to start with wheels that fall within 52 mm to 55 mm bracket. This range helps you learn basic of skating easily.
Hardness of the wheel is measured in durometer. It determines how much grip the wheel has and the amount of shock it can absorb. A softer wheel will compress when in pressure, while a harder wheel compresses less, giving it less grip.
Though a soft wheel creates smoother rides, but skaters usually prefer hard wheels, majorly for their responsiveness. The durometer or hardness is usually measured using ‘A’ scale. The larger the number the higher the durometer, and the harder the wheel.
For example, a 101A will be a very hard skateboard wheel, while 75A would be a soft one.
We suggest you to stick to a wheel that offers around 101A durometer. In fact, anything above 98A will perform well in street and skate parks both.
But is you simply wish to cruise around in your skateboard without bothering much about learning the tricks, then we suggest go for softer wheels between 78A to 90A.
Below is a table representing hardness and suitable purpose.
|Durometer A||Suitable for|
|100A||Skate parks, ramps. But has less grip|
|95A/96A||For cruising and tricks. A little more grip|
|90A/92A||Excellent for cruising and bouncing tricks, good grip|
|85A||Only cruising, higher grip|
Bearing are the small circular devices that allows the wheels to roll, and they are the ones that determine how fast and smooth the wheels will rotate.
Skateboard bearings comprise of five major parts that include Shield, Inner Race, Balls, Retainer, Outer Racer. Generally, a skateboard requires a set of 8 bearings, 2 for each wheel. Most of the times, all skateboard bearings are of the same size, and will fit on any skateboard wheel and truck.
Bearings with higher quality parts are faster and durable. Also, if you are a beginner, you will require the fastest bearing, hence look for a better quality bearing.
Another important aspect while checking bearings is – material. Most of the bearing used in skate boards are made up of either steel or ceramic.
Compared to steel bearing, ceramic bearings are durable, strong and lighter. However, they come under higher price range. If you want cost-effective one, then we recommend to go for steel bearings.
7. Bearing Spacers
Bearing spacers are small metal or plastic cylinders that rest at the center of the skateboard wheel. Their exact spacing is between the two bearings, around the truck’s axle.
This equipment has three major functions:
- Reduce the weight placed on each bearing
- Decrease the friction between each bearing and axle
- Eliminate the extra space between wheels and axle
But, do note that bearing spacers are usually not required for regular street or transition skaters. Unless you are downhill at a speed of 30 mph or more.
8. Bearing Lube
When you use your skateboards continuously, they tend to get dirty, including the bearings. This can cause your skateboard to slow down.
So, what you need is a bearing cleaner that can be availed easily in the market. Apply the bearing lube by first removing your bearings from the wheels, then removing the rubber shield on the outside of the bearing with a razor. You can then squeeze a couple of drops into each side of the bearing.
9. Grip Tape
It is the coarse, applied on top of the skateboard’s deck. The coarseness allows your shoes to stick, helping you to stabilize on the board, especially while performing tricks.
You can find grip tapes with range of graphics. They are sold in pre-cut rectangular sheets or custom lengths in a variety of widths.
If you are buying an exclusive grip tape for your skateboard, then make sure you buy one that is wider than the deck. This will allow you to size it well on the deck.
10. Risers and Shock Pads
Risers are small plastic platforms that act as spacers between the truck’s base plates and the bottom of the deck.
They are necessary for larger wheels, as risers help in creating clearance. By large we mean wheels that are larger than 56 mm.
Shock pads perform the same function as risers, but while the latter is hard and rigid, shock pads are rubbery and able to absorb shock better.
11. Speed Rings
These are thin metal washers that sit on the axle, on both sides of the wheel. Speed rings help in reducing friction between the outsides of the bearings and the axle nut on one side, and the edge of the hanger on the other.
Usually trucks come with a full set of speed rings already installed. Do not worry even if you lose them while using the skateboards, as they are only required when you wish to speed skate at 30 mph or more.
Not all skateboards are made of the same material, and hence their ability to carry weight also differs. We recommend you to take a skateboard that offers the highest capacity. Like if it is for a teenager then one that allows up to 60 to 70 kg weight is good. But, if you are an adult then we advise you to go for a board that can take up to 100 kg weight.
How to Care for your Skateboards?
Here is what you need to do to keep your skateboards safe and in good condition, for long:
Keep your boards indoor when not in use
The first step is to keep your skateboard inside and away from moisture. As the deck is made of wood, and wood soaks in moisture very easily. Also, the moisture outside can even settle into the bearings, rusting them.
Also, if you keep your skateboard in arid places, even then dust will settle on the bearings affecting the performance and speed of your skateboard.
In fact, you should also avoid leaving your skateboards under the sun for long, as it will heat up the metal parts and the grip-tape, making them expand, and when they get cooler they contract.
This process if continued for some time, wears off your skateboard components.
Take care of the chips in the deck
When you crash, or bail, or just lose your board and have it shoot across the street into the light pole, the edge of the deck starts chipping.
To protect the deck from chipping, sand down splintered wood, round off sharp edges, and be vigilant of the tail not becoming thin as a blade.
If there are rips or tears on the grip-tape, clip them out so that the tear doesn’t get big.
Replace the wear-off parts
Eventually you will see flat spots on your wheels, or the deck might start getting stress fractures, you may even while slamming your board into a sidewalk, rip half of its nose.
It is all good, till you replace the bad parts.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Ans: As per recent reviews the best skateboard brands are Oxelo and Razor. We did specifically recommend Oxelo for the beginners. For pros; Razor is a good choice to perform tricks as it is lightweight.
Ans: Skateboards can cost anything between Rs. 5,000 to even less than a thousand. It depends on the quality, and also the size of board.
Ans: Standard skateboards are considered as the best for beginners. They work well for street skating, skate parks and any other style of skateboarding.
Ans: Choose a deck between 7.5 inches and 8.25 inches wide. That will have narrow board making it more suitable for street tricks.
Ans: Yes. Skateboards are made of wooden planks, and wood soaks moisture very easily. Which is why you need to be careful and keep your skateboards inside.