Tips for Buying Skateboards
Defying gravity and surfing gravel is a lot easier when you are in harmony with your skateboard. Whether you’re a beginner interested in learning a few tricks or just thinking of using it to travel around the neighborhood, there are a few must-knows about skateboards.
There are two ways in which you can get yourself a skateboard. You either pick out a Complete Skateboard, which is already assembled and is a good choice for a young child or beginner. Or you can source out the parts of the skateboard individually and assemble it yourself, which is what a lot of serious enthusiasts do. Either way, you’ll need to understand what each part is and how to pick the one perfect for you.
A skateboard is comprised of 3 parts – the deck, the truck and the wheels. The deck is the board on which the skater balances his feet, and the trucks connect the deck to the wheels.
Most Skateboard Decks
are made of Canadian maple and are built by placing layers of ply over each other. Plastic is also used in some of the less expensive decks, but is not really preferred despite its durability since it compromises performance. More recently, decks are being made out of materials such as aluminum and fiberglass, which are both lightweight and durable.
There are two types of skateboards depending mainly on the length of the deck. Traditional, or street skateboards, are less than 33 inches long. They’re incredibly versatile and allow skaters to experiment with a variety of tricks. Longboards, on the other hand, range between 42 to 45 inches in length and are used for cruising or on the street.
Skateboards vary between 7.5 to 8.5 inches in width. Less width gives you more maneuverability, while more width provides balance and stability. So depending on your experience and level of comfort using the board, go for a size that suits you. Most skateboards are concave in shape, i.e. they have a raised nose and tail. Again, you’ll have to find the middle ground between stability and flexibility, since a steep deck will allow you to do more tricks, but won’t provide the balance of a mellow deck.
Skateboard Trucks, as we said, attach the wheels to the deck, and their size naturally depends on the size of the deck. In generally, they range between 4.75 and 5.5 inches in width. With increasing width, the stability of the skateboard increases. But it also becomes heavier, and the turning radius decreases. So a medium sized truck is best to keep you both well-balanced and flexible. Trucks also contain bearings or bushings. These are made of rubber and protect the truck when you’re performing tricks. Softer bearings are used by pros since they are much easier to perform tricks with, while hard bearings lend stability.
are a critical component for any quality skateboard. There are two factors to consider when picking them out – their size and hardness. 52 to 60 mm wheels are ideal for many situations, whereas wheels above 60 mm in size are used mainly on longboards for traveling, etc as bigger wheels result in faster speeds.
All wheels these days are made from polyutherene, and their hardness is measured in durometers. Wheels below 90a durometer are soft, giving you better grip. These make your ride smoother and are ideal for rough surfaces and longboards. Wheels above 90a durometer are hard, and the preferred choice of experienced skaters and pros because they help them while doing tricks.
While there are a lot of inexpensive skateboards available out there, it is a good idea to not restrict your budget too much in this case. Skateboarding can be a dangerous sport, and for the quality and safety it provides, invest in a skateboard between $100 -$ 200 at least. A self-assembled skateboard will cost you anywhere from $120 to $ 150. So get browsing, pick the deck that suits your style, and get surfing! And don’t forget to order your helmet and knee pads if you’re buying for a young one!