How to Choose the Best Longboard for Cruising and Carving? – Buying Guide
Cruising is the most basic longboarding style and a perfect way to start the longboarding journey to the beginners.
Of course, it is the style that everyone from beginners to advanced longboarder enjoys doing.
As the name suggests cruising is just moving around, going point A to point B. Nothing fancy, no advanced tricks, sliding, etc.
So, now you can understand the longboards that are made for cruising or suitable for cruising can have very basic construction.
But what is a carving longboard then? Carving longboard can be a subset of a cruising longboard but must have the good turning support. Typically you will want good turning for cruising as well.
So, by now you understand the cruising and carving longboards have an almost similar configuration except few things that must be present in case of a carving board.
Here is the summary of the different configuration first. Below this summary, I will discuss everything in detail; meaning why this particular configuration is suitable for your cruising/carving board.
Cruiser and Carving Longboard Buying Guide Summary
Material – Any material that provides flexibility – a combination of bamboo and maple is perfect for flexibility and durability.
Size ( length )
- 28” – 32” for the young and small rider
- 32” – 42” suitable for all the riders ( tall or short )
- 43”+ for the tall riders
Shape – Directional shape is preferred ( mostly pintail and fishtail ), but symmetrical shapes are also good to go.
Deck profile – Preferably “Camber” to get the most flexibility and turning support.
Concave – Flat concave and radial concave are the most perfect ones. But no hard rule.
Deck Flex – Flexible or medium flexible. Should avoid the stiff decks for cruising and carving.
Mounting System – Top mounting or drop through.
Width – Around 150mm for deck width less than 8.5”, 180mm for deck width greater than 8.5”
Kingpin – Both the standard ping and reverse pin are ok. But reverse kingpin is the most dynamic one and provides carving support better than the standard kingpin.
Bushing Seat – Open bushing seat for carving support.
Bushing – [Roadside / top – Cone bushing, Boardside / bottom – Cone bushing] Or [Roadside / top – Cone bushing, Boardside / bottom – Barrel bushing]
Bushing Durometer –
- Weight ( 50 lbs – 100 lbs) -> 65a – 78a
- Weight ( 75 lbs – 125 lbs) -> 80a – 83a
- Weight ( 100 lbs – 145 lbs) -> 85a – 87a
- Weight ( 125 lbs – 175 lbs) -> 87a – 89a
- Weight ( 145 lbs – 195 lbs) -> 88a – 93a
- Weight ( 175 lbs – 220+ lbs) -> 91a – 93a
Baseplate Angle – 50 degrees
- If the deck size ( length ) is 40+” then go for wheel size 70mm – 75mm.
- If the deck size ( length ) is in the range of 34” – 40” go for the 68mm – 70mm wheels.
- If the deck size ( length ) is smaller than 34” go for the 60mm – 67mm wheels.
Shape / Lip Profile – Sharp lip
Wheel Durometer –
- If you are weighing 135 lbs or less go for 78a – 80a wheels.
- If you are weighing between 135 lbs – 175 lbs go for 80a – 83a range.
- Is your weight 175+ lbs? Then go for 83a – 86a or 90a.
Now let’s get into the detailed explanation or logic behind choosing the above parameters for different components.
Cruiser / Carving Deck Configuration
If you ask me which is the material that you should go for the cruiser and carving deck, I will answer the deck material is highly dependent on your personal choice and budget.
If you want to use the board for only cruising and carving I suggest you go for the material that provides the most flexibility.
Why flexible decks?
I am going to discuss the reason after a while.
For the time being, take my suggestion for granted and try to choose a deck that is made with a combination of bamboo and maple to get both the flexibility and durability at a time. This is the optimized solution for a cruising deck.
The deck size in length of a cruising longboard generally ranges from 28” – 46” in length. So from shorter to longer any size can be a good choice for cruising and carving. You will find mini cruisers as well that sized 26” or less to carry the board anywhere you go.
If you want to move around the town where you got to pass through a number of pedestrians you should go for the relatively smaller sizes from the 28” – 46” range. Preferably any size from 28” – 32” range. This is a suitable size for young and small riders.
32” – 42” is considered to be the deck size that you can go for if you are confused about the perfect size that may suit you. This is a deck size that is suitable for all the riders tall or short.
43”+ size is perfect only for the tall riders. Small and beginner riders will find it difficult to maneuver initially particularly this is not a perfect size for cruising through the crowds and sidewalks. The weight of these larger boards also may cause trouble to carry them here and there.
The ideal cruiser deck width varies from 7” – 8.5”.
Most of the cruising longboards have directional deck shape mostly pintail and fishtail. But it is not a crime to use symmetrical shape longboard for cruising and carving.
What will be a suitable deck profile? Camber or Rocker?
For cruising and carving, the camber is my choice because of the flexibility it provides and also helpful for turning. Is this anything that you must follow. No, not at all, deck profile does not have that much of impact for cruising and carving. It is most important for freeriding and downhill riding.
What about the concave? – Flat concave or radial concave will do the trick for you. Again no hard rule here.
If you ask me which deck flex you should go for in case of a cruising and carving longboard; I would suggest you go for the flexible ones or medium flexible ones.
Because for cruising you don’t need any stability in high speed riding like downhill.
What you need is the most shock absorption support to make your life easy on the rough and tough roads. Flexible decks will do exactly that.
But the stiff decks fail to do so. It is essential to use the stiff decks on the flat road, and when you are cruising you don’t want to bother choosing the surface, right?
Any particular mounting system?
Mostly you will be looking for the top mounting deck for the most turning support.
A flexible drop-through board can turn into a handy solution as it will provide the mix of flexibility and stability with good pushing support.
So for the sake of simplicity, you better go for either the top mounting or the drop-through mounting system.
Truck Configuration for Cruising and Carving Longboards
First, let me give you an idea on which truck width is perfect for cruising and carving.
The perfect truck width depends on the deck width mostly. The truck width should match the deck width as close as possible. But again a few inches more or less won’t hurt you.
For carving, you require more responsiveness. In that case, if the truck width is smaller than the deck width, it will be more responsive resulting in easy carving. But if the truck width is larger than the deck width, it will provide you more stability but less responsiveness.
If you go for deck width less than 8.5” use a truck that has the width around 150mm and if your truck width is bigger than 8.5” a 180mm truck will be something you should be looking for.
For the cruising longboards, you will see both standard kingpin or reverse kingpin truck.
As I said earlier, cruising does not require too many facts to take into consideration. But if you want to take my opinion, I always prefer reverse kingpin to the standard kingpin to get the most customization option and carving support.
Tight bushing seat or open bushing seat for cruising and longboard?
Well, if you want to choose only one, I would suggest going to an open bushing seat as you will get good carve and sharp turns in this case. But again, this is not any hard rule. You will find the combination of tight and open bushing seats to give you both stability and carve at a time.
Cone bushing helps for the sharp turning and liveliness which you will want for the carving longboard. So use cone bushing for both roadside and board side. You can also use the combination of cone bushing ( roadside / top ) and barrel bushing ( board side/bottom) to get both the turning support and stability.
The durometer of the bushing is important to get the right feel while riding and it depends on your weight.
The heavier people tend to choose the harder bushing due to the higher resistance and the lighter people tend to choose the softer bushing to get the perfect turning support based on their weight.
Above I mentioned the general guideline on the bushing durometer against your weight.
When it is about the baseplate angle, generally you will want to get the 50-degree baseplate angle for the cruising and carving longboards to achieve the optimum turn against your leaning effort.
Cruising and Carving Wheel Configuration
The wheels should be bigger in size ( 70+mm ) to roll over the small obstacles, cracks, or bumps on the road. Small wheels are mostly good for sliding. But for cruising and carving you are also allowed to use smaller wheels as they fit in almost any setup.
I think if you opt-in for a bigger wheel then go for bigger decks. Similarly, use a smaller deck if you want to use smaller wheels.
If you use the bigger wheels with smaller decks then keep the wheel-biting factor in mind. Your board should have enough options for wheel clearance. Either a cut-out deck shape or a top mounting system can be helpful in this case. Using a riser helps to avoid wheel-bite as well.
To get rid of the confusion here is the general guideline every longboarding experts suggest. If your board is 40” and above in length go for 70mm – 75mm. If your board is in the range of 34” – 40” go for the 68mm – 70mm wheels. Go for 60mm – 67mm if your deck is smaller than 34”.
I like to go for the bigger wheels for cruising and carving; keeping the wheel clearance in mind.
If the lip profile of the wheel is sharp then it’s going to give you some extra grip. Probably you won’t mind the extra grip from your cruising board particularly if you are a beginner and you are not going to be doing sliding too often with your cruiser board.
If you keep your wheel size right and choose the sharp lip then you won’t have to think about the contact patch. Because the contact patch will be fairly bigger with that combination for the grip you expect from the wheel.
One of the most crucial parameters that are related to your wheels is the durometer. That means should your wheels be hard or soft?
Well, softer wheels give you more grip and absorb the shock and pass over the bumps and crack better than the harder wheels. On the other hand, harder wheels are faster. But if you go for 78a – 80a then it will give you the combination of grip and pace.
But the durometer should support your body weight. This is more important than considering the grip or speed.
Look, if you are using softer wheels but you are a too heavy person, what will happen?
Your board will slow down quickly.
On the other hand, if you are too light you won’t get enough grip from the harder wheels.
Here is the general guideline of the wheel’s durometer against your weight.
If you are weighing 135 lbs or less go for 78a – 80a wheels.
If you are weighing between 135 lbs – 175 lbs go for 80a – 83a range.
Is your weight 175+ lbs? Then go for 83a – 86a or 90a.