Imagine a regular skateboard that you could actually cruise on comfortably for hours in the city or on campus, while slashing and jumping like on a regular street board… If that sounds like what you need, the Arbor Pilsner may be what you want.
Even smaller than a traditional skateboard, the Pilsner lets you do street tricks while enjoying a much more comfortable ride around town than you’d ever get on a street deck. With its street trucks, the Pilsner is just as maneuverable as a skateboard in tight spaces, yet its cruiser wheels give you the smooth ride your street board lacks.
Priced between $130 and $160 for a complete depending on the version, the Pilsner is a nice, quality city cruiser that offers good value for the money and does exactly what it was designed to do.
Arbor Pilsner’s aspect
The Pilsner is a small board, 28.75″ long by 8.125″ wide. That’s shorter than most street decks – typically 30″ to 33″ long and 8″ to 8.5″ wide. The Pilsner’s standing platform is relatively wide for its short length.
The relative width, and the 15″ wheelbase – similar to “large” skateboards which typically have wheelbases of 13″ to 15″ – is what makes the Pilsner so comfortable to ride on.
The Pilsner deck has a wide directional cruiser shape deck with a big wide kicktail and wide upturned nose.
The 61mm wheels are quite large relative to the tiny deck – and to a regular skateboard, another indicator of the board’s cruising abilities.
Who is the Arbor Pilsner for?
the Pilsner is for riders who want a board for getting around but want more of a skateboard than a longboard feel. It’s a good choice if you like to do lots of slides, slashes and hard cuts, pops and snaps while cruising across town. It’s also a nice “longboard” option to take to the skatepark or bowl.
Riders choose the Pilsner for its small size and its ability to turn quick in tight spaces while offering fast and smooth rolling capability. Pilsner owners typically ride it around campus and on crowded sidewalks and city streets. If that’s your need then that’s exactly what this board will do for you.
Pilsner shape and construction
The Pilsner’s handmade deck has a 7-ply Hardrock maple construction, making it very durable. The construction is similar to the Arbor Pocket Rocket and the Bug, which have the reputation of lasting for years. The Pilsner feels solid and is reported to have good longevity – it can take a beating.
Just keep it dry and avoid rainy sessions if you can.
The bamboo top on the Bamboo version makes the deck slightly more lightweight without compromising durability. The bamboo layer also adds a bit of flex, which can help with carving and add some more pop to the board – though too much flex would get in the way of freestyle tricks.
The ample kick tail amounts to almost 1/3 of the size of the standing platform. The smaller nose gives the board a surfy look yet lets you pop the board on both ends to ollie up curbs. Kicks are of the reasons the Pilsner works so well for street riding and ramp.
The deck has well-designed and deeply flared wheel wells that allow support for much bigger wheels than a street deck without suffering wheelbite, even when doing fast and tight carving.
The Pilsner has a mellow concave that’s well-matched for freestyle riding – just enough to stabilize your feet while sliding or riding faster, yet without locking them in and getting in the way when doing kick and flip tricks.
The Pilsner deck boasts clear, spray-on grip made from crushed recycled glass. It looks great, though some riders complain about it not being replaceable. Most agree, however, the grip lasts for quite a long time.
Pilsner trucks and wheels
The Pilsner complete comes with 129mm Paris trucks, which are traditional kingpin (TKP), narrow street trucks. TKP trucks are shorter and usually more responsive to rider moves than reverse kingpin (RKP) trucks. The choice of street trucks reflects the Pilsner’s primary freestyle DNA.
The Paris street trucks are also strong and designed for hard landings, something you’ll need when kickflipping your board or getting air in a ramp.
The narrow TKP trucks give the Pilsner a lot of turn and a very tight turning radius. This, combined with the short wheelbase, makes the board highly reactive for fast carving and hard turning on small inclines and inside bowls.
As is often the case, the bushings that come stock with the Pilsner are very tough initially, but then soften up as you ride, making for more comfortable carving.
The 61mm Arbor Bogart wheels are big enough and soft enough (78A durometer) to roll fast and smoothly over small bumps in sidewalks and cracks in the pavement – that’s what the Pilsner was built for. These wheels have good roll (mileage for your push) and quickly pick up nice speed when going down hills.
The Bogart wheels have a wider contact patch than most mini-cruiser wheels, so they roll pretty smooth on rough surfaces. Yet they’re easy to get sideways into slides – the wheels’ slightly offset core also contributes to this balanced grip-vs-slide mix.
Pilsner versions and graphic design
The design on the different versions of the Pilsner is pretty great looking.
The Foundation version has a beautiful black walnut wood top sheet :
The Artist collection version features a sober, classic black grip on top with a small square Arbor badge in the middle. There are actually 2 variants of the Artist (below). The one on the left has a gorgeous colorful graphic from artist Henry Hablak on the bottom with a brown and yellow background.
The Solstice is perhaps my favorite version with a wooden look on top and ethnic colors with subtle flowery patterns on the bottom.
The Photo version also has a natural wooden look on top but more of a cool ocean vibe on the bottom:
The newer bamboo version has some pretty stunning tattoo-like art on the bottom :
Final thoughts on the Arbor Pilsner
The Pilsner is a solid choice if you’re looking for a fun board for getting around town fast and smooth, including on rough terrain and in crowded zones, while continuously carving, kicking, popping and jumping.
It’s a compact and lightweight (even more so with the bamboo version) mini-cruiser that can easily stand up to a traditional street board for freestyle tricks and skatepark.
Some alternatives to the Pilsner are :
- The highly praised Landyachtz Dinghy, probably its closest competitor. See my full review here
- The Bustin Bonsai
- The Earthwing chaser
- The formidable Loaded Poke, although a larger mini-cruiser. See my review.
I like the Pilsner because it’s affordable and does very well what it’s designed to do. That, along with Arbor’s reputation for making quality and durable boards, makes it a strong contender.