How to Choose the Best Longboard for Freeriding and Sliding – An In-depth Buying Guide
Freeriding is a unique style of board riding and no wonder the freeriding board has its own set of characteristics. You just can’t go for any basic setup for the freeriding and sliding as you did in case of a cruising longboard.
Let’s first have a look at the summary table of the recommended parameters of different longboard components for freeriding and sliding. Later I am going to describe them all.
Freeriding and Sliding Longboard Buying Guide Summary
Material – Any materials but stiffness should be something you should be looking for from your board – fiberglass, carbon, solid hardwood are some of the most suited materials for this type of riding.
Size ( length )
- 38” – 42” is the ideal size for freeriding and sliding
Shape – Symmetrical shapes are the most suited ones particularly the cut-out or drop-down or speedboard shapes.
Deck profile – Preferably “Rocker” to get the most feet placement support.
Concave – Progressive, w-concave, tub, radial are the four concaves that a freeriding or sliding longboard should have any of these.
Deck Flex – Stiff or medium flexible. Should avoid the flex decks for freeriding and sliding.
Mounting System – Drop through or drop deck or double drop.
Width – 10” or 180mm for optimum stability.
Kingpin – Reverse kingpin.
Bushing Seat – Tight bushing seat for stability.
Bushing – [Roadside / top – Barrel, Boardside / bottom – Barrel] Or [Roadside / top – barrel, Boardside / bottom – stepped cone bushing] – these are the perfect combination. But barrel – eliminator, eliminator – eliminator are good to go as well if stability is the topmost priority for you.
Bushing Durometer –
- Weight ( 50 lbs – 100 lbs) -> 80a – 81a
- Weight ( 75 lbs – 125 lbs) -> 83a – 84a
- Weight ( 100 lbs – 145 lbs) -> 85a – 87a
- Weight ( 125 lbs – 175 lbs) -> 89a – 92a
- Weight ( 145 lbs – 195 lbs) -> 91a – 93a
- Weight ( 175 lbs – 220+ lbs) -> 93a – 97a+
Baseplate Angle – any angle, lower than 50 degrees for the beginners, 50+ for intermediate to advanced longboarders
Size – 68mm to 72mm
Shape / Lip Profile – Beveled lip / rounded lip.
Wheel Durometer –
- If your weight is 150 lbs or less go for 78a – 83a wheels.
- If your weight 151 lbs – 180 lbs go for 81a – 84a range.
- Is your weight is 181+ lbs? Then go for 82a – 86a.
Wheel Core – Centerset or Offset core.
Let’s move to the detailed explanation of the above parameters of freeriding and sliding longboard components.
Freeriding and Sliding Longboard Deck Configuration
Let’s first decide which deck material can act like a charm for freeriding and sliding.
Unfortunately, there is nothing like that.
Any material can perform well for freeriding and sliding. But if you choose some material that gives you stiffness and proper grip then that will be a wise decision for you.
For example, the decks that are made from fiberglass and carbon are good stiff decks.
Similarly, solid hardwood provides stiffness as well.
The use of the sand with fiberglass ensures excellent grip.
To ensure the proper grip the grip tape is the most commonly used material for longboards. The grip tape is quite ok for the freeride longboarding.
The deck size of the freeriding longboard ranges from 38” – 42”. But this doesn’t mean all the freeriding deck falls in this size range. It can vary but this is the ideal size range.
Because less than 38” will not give you enough stability and more than 42” will feel like a bulky one to maneuver comfortably for freeriding and sliding.
The Symmetrical deck shape is the most common and comfortable one for freeriding and sliding. To be exact most of the freeride deck is cut out or drop-down or speedboard shape to provide you a number of features that are required for freeriding or sliding.
For example, the drop-down shape gives you extra stability and space to place your legs on the board, resulting in extra control and easy pushing. The cut-out shape will also help you to get stability. Generally, you will see the freeriding boards are a combination of cut out and drop down shapes together.
The speedboard shape is also a handy solution when you are looking for speed and stability.
So, as you can see for freeriding longboard having any of these three shapes is fully logical as you want your board to help to generate speed and also stability to avoid falling down while freeriding or sliding.
Which deck profile is preferred here? Camber or Rocker? – This time rocker is preferred as it gives the stability more than the camber. Stability is something that you should be looking for freeriding and sliding.
Progressive concave and W-concave are the concaves that make the deck more user-friendly by transferring the energy from your toe to heel and giving the high precision. These concaves help you to lock the feet as well which turns into a handy solution for freeriding.
Tub concave and radial concave can be a good choice for the freeriding and sliding longboards.
Now comes the most important part.
What is the deck mounting system a freeride longboard should have?
Well, in my opinion, it should be a drop-through mounting system or drop deck or double drop.
This is not only my opinion but also, in reality, you will see most of the boards that are particularly made for freeriding are having a drop-through mounting system.
You will want the braking very smooth and braking should not make you tired. Also, you need stability and speed. Drop through mounting helps exactly to achieve all these.
A freeriding longboard should NOT have top mounting. If it is not drop-through then it should be at least a drop deck. Double drop mounting can turn into a handy solution as well particularly for the beginners.
What about the deck flex? Flex deck or Stiff deck? – A freeriding deck should be a stiff one or at least medium flex to provide the required stability.
Truck Configuration for Freeriding and Sliding Longboards
What is the ideal truck width for a freeriding longboard?
Typically 10” or 180mm to get the proper stability.
The reverse kingpin is the most used kingpin for this type of board. The standard kingpin is not meant to be in this type of longboard.
No wonder why. Reverse kingpin plays a role in both slow and high speed. When you are sliding and freeriding you got to have control, stability, and predictability. Reverse kingpin supports you in this case.
In case of a cruising longboard, I said an open bushing seat is better than a tight bushing seat. But this time, I am telling you the opposite.
For a freeriding or sliding longboard, there should be a tight bushing seat to make the bushing comparatively less turn friendly and make the board a more stable one.
Probably you already know about the different bushing shapes and durometer.
For freeriding, the most perfect bushing combination is the two-barrel combo. That means barrel for the roadside ( top ) and barrel for the board side ( bottom ).
Another good combination can be a barrel for the roadside ( top ) and a stepped cone for the board side ( bottom). This combo is more restrictive than the barrel – barrel combo hence provides more stability.
You may go for a combination like a barrel – eliminator or eliminator – eliminator as well to get the highest stability. But Eliminator is something that you may want to skip in case of a freeriding and sliding longboard to get the proper responsiveness.
I personally prefer barrel – barrel combo for freeriding to get a nice mixture of stability and responsiveness.
Choosing the bushing durometer largely depends on your weight. I have mentioned the recommended durometers against your weight above in the summary. ( That recommendation is based on the recommendation of muirskate.com
In general, the harder bushing provides more resistance hence good for the heavier rider, and softer bushing is good for the lighter riders.
In terms of performance softer bushing provides more liveliness but less stability. The harder bushing does the opposite.
When it is about a truck baseplate angle, anything lower than 50 degrees baseplate is something you will choose if want stability more than turning ability. As you know lower degree baseplate angle is there to support less in turning but more in stability.
Having said that, in the case of a freeriding baseplate you can go for any angle you want, less than 50 degrees, 50 degrees, or greater than 50 degrees angle.
I personally prefer greater than 50 degrees because I want the reactive turning ability from my board.
But if you are a beginner then you may want to have lower than 50 degrees baseplate to get more stability from your board.
If you want both stability and responsiveness then you can use the lower degree baseplate for the back truck, and higher degree baseplate for the front truck. This way you can get stability from the back and turning support from the front.
Freeriding – Sliding Longboard Wheel Configuration
What is the perfect wheel size for freeriding or sliding longboard?
Well, for sliding, the smaller wheel size is always good and the smaller wheels tend to make the thane lines better than the bigger size wheels.
You should avoid bigger size wheel for freeriding to be on the safe side against wheel-biting as well.
Usually, a freeriding longboard should have 68mm to 72mm wheel size. Smaller than 68mm tends to wear out fast and make the wheel unusable and bigger than 72mm will have a chance of making your life hard as the chance of wheel biting increases here.
The freeride wheel should have a narrower contact patch to provide less grip and the outer skin should be rough to make the wheel more sliding and freeriding friendly.
So, as you guess the lip profile needs to be the rounded lip as it has got the narrowest contact patch among its other lip profile cousins. Or at least the beveled lip profile.
The Hardness of the wheel depends on your personal choice. Harder wheel tends to help sliding more than the softer wheels. So typically you may want to go for the harder wheels for the freeriding and sliding longboards.
I also like harder wheels for sliding as I am weighing over 231lbs. But remember harder wheels can create trouble to control the board if your weight is anything below 150lbs.
That means heavier rider finds it easier to control the harder wheels, and softer wheels give them a “slow” feeling for sliding.
On the other hand, if you are not a heavy person then you will find it difficult to control the harder wheels, so you may want to restrict to 78a – 83a durometer if you are weighing below 150lbs.
Here is the recommended wheel durometer range based on the different weights
If you are weighing 150 lbs or less go for 78a – 83a wheels.
If you are weighing between 151 lbs – 180 lbs go for 81a – 84a range.
Is your weight 181+ lbs? Then go for 82a – 86a.
Centerset and Offset core are said to be the most perfect matches for freeriding and sliding longboard wheels. Particularly centerset is the most recommended core by the expert freeriders.