Longboard Buying Guide: Cruising & Carving
Cruising & Carving
If you want to ride your longboard to class, to the mall, or to the burger joint with some friends, a cruising board is what you need. There are many options, so read below to see what's right for you.
Choosing Your Cruising Wheels
"Dude, I want pink wheels!" When it comes to choosing the correct wheel for a cruising longboard, color is not the important factor in determining how well the board will ride. (Believe it or not, color-coordinating a longboard doesn’t always give you the best setup.)
The size of the wheel (aka diameter) and the wheel’s hardness (aka durometer) are the two main factors in choosing the proper wheels for your cruising longboard. Some wheels only come in one color, and other wheels have different colors to represent the different durometers. (Luckily for you, however, there are plenty of brands and styles to choose from, so odds are you can find one in a color that suits your liking.)
Covered in this Section (in order of importance)
the size of a wheel
measured on the standard "A" scale for hardness.
Rounded edges, Squared edges...
1. Choosing Your Wheel Diameter
Generally speaking, longer decks work well with bigger wheels and smaller longboard decks with smaller wheels. Smaller wheels can work with longer decks, but a larger wheel would provide a better over all ride. Larger wheels, on the other hand, won’t work with a smaller board because they will be more inclined to rub against the bottom of the deck while carving (aka “wheel-bite”) causing the board to stop abruptly. Follow the general rules below for a longboard setup that will help you avoid wheel-bites.
For Large Decks 40" and Up
Select a wheel in the range of 70-85mm for boards 40” and over. A wheel in this range will generally be a good choice for longer boards. It’s a common practice to select the size of the wheels in proportion to the deck (A larger board should get larger wheels!) Boards in this range such the Loaded Dervish, Gravity Ed Economy, and the Landyachtz Pinner can/should be paired with a wheel in this range.) Advanced Tip: For easier acceleration (aka “pushing”) select a smaller wheel in this range. For slightly higher speeds select a larger wheel in this range. Keep in mind this is a very slight difference.
For Medium Decks 34" -42"
Select a wheel in the range of 68-72mm for boards between 34”-42”. Selecting a wheel in a medium size range for a medium size board is the right way to go! Advanced Tip: For easier acceleration (aka “pushing”) select a smaller wheel in this range. For slightly higher speeds select a larger wheel in this range. Keep in mind this is a very slight difference.
For Short Decks 34" and Below
Select a wheel in the range of 60-67mm for boards 34” and below. Due to the small wheelbase of smaller boards, it’s a good idea to select a wheel that’s smaller so your board isn’t as top heavy. You don’t want an SUV... You want a sports car! Advanced Tip: For easier acceleration (aka “pushing”) select a smaller wheel in this range. For slightly higher speeds select a larger wheel in this range. Keep in mind this is a very slight difference.
2. Choosing Your Wheel Durometer
The proper hardness for a wheel is based on (1) rider weight and (2) personal preference. For your cruising setup, it’s best to just assume that your personal preference is to have a soft, comfortable wheel that will roll smoothly over bumps and cracks in the sidewalk, so let’s just stick with that for your cruising setup. The heavier a rider is, the harder their wheels should be. If you’re too heavy for the wheel you’re riding, you’ll be slowing down quicker and feeling every crack you ride over. If you’re too light for the wheels, you may not provide the correct amount of pressure to keep the wheels gripping to the ground. Considering these points, it will help if you spend some time choosing the right wheel.
Riders between 135 and 175 lbs
Look for a cruising wheel in the 80a-83a range.
3. Choosing Your Wheel Shape
Another factor in determining the best cruising wheel for your longboard skateboard is the wheel shape. For the most part, any shape will work as well as any other when it comes to a decent cruising setup. But let’s get a little more specific to guide you in your quest: After you’ve narrowed the wheel down from the many options in size and hardness, you’ll be looking for a wheel with more of a square edge to make sure you can maintain traction while you’re cruising to your destination.
Choosing a “Sharp-lip” Shape
This style of wheel is a great example for general gruising, carving and in some cases slalom. A sharp lip on a wheel allows for more grip than “round-lip” wheels when force is applied during hard turns.
Choosing a “Round-lip” Shape
Wheels with round lips are a great choice for riders looking to perform surf-inspired slides and carves, or just simply for someone who might intend on learning how to powerslide. The round-lip profile of a wheel lends to a predictable slide from start and finish.