How to choose a cheap longboard (and not regret it)

Longboarding is a passion .  If you’re like me, you may have gotten hooked the moment you first got on a longboard.  Or, you may be feeling the itch to give it a serious try, but you’re not yet ready to fork out a lot of money for a board.

Is it possible to get started with serious longboarding by getting a cheap longboard ? Yes it is, and in this post, I am going to explain why.

I’ll start by going over some key criteria regarding what makes a quality longboard, so we have something against which to evaluate the “cheap” longboards I‘ll be looking at.

Next, I’ll review 11 cheap longboards that I have selected based on these criteria .

But first, let’s do a bit of scoping.

Cheap longboard : what exactly do we mean ?

The focus of this article is on all of you serious – and wannabe serious – longboarders out there.  For this reason, I will not be considering what we might call “toy”, “disposable”, or “wallmart” longboards, namely those that sell for under $30.

These typically have some plastic parts that, most of the time, won’t hold out for long and won’t let you feel the rush of gliding and turning on a real board.

As far as I (and many peer longboarders) am concerned, cheap longboards that can be considered decent for a serious rider fall into the $40-$60 price range.  So that’s the price range this post will be exploring.

So you got the idea : our goal is to look at longboards that are “cheap” as in “inexpensive”, not “cheap quality”.

OK, with this in mind, let’s examine what determines the quality of a longboard.

What factors define a longboard’s quality ?

As you may know, a longboard is the sum of a number of parts, so the quality of a longboard boils down to :

  • The quality of its parts
  • The way its parts are assembled
  • The way its parts interact

As you’ll see in the brief product reviews below, these are the factors that keep coming back when judging the quality of a product.

The parts that make up a longboard are :

  • Deck
  • Trucks (themselves composed of a bunch of assembled parts)
  • Wheels
  • Bearings
  • Grip tape

Although my goal here is not to go deep into each part, let’s briefly look at which factors makes each part a decent choice or not for our cheap longboard.

Cheap longboard : the deck

Let’s review the main factors to consider when evaluating the quality of a longboard deck.

Deck materials and construction

Most longboard decks are made by pressing together vertically laminated layers of maple or Birch wood, bamboo, and/or composite materials such as carbon fiber.

In the price range we’re looking at (under $60) most decks will be made from maple wood laminates, maple being the most abundant and durable wood around  – although some decks may get a bamboo outer layer for looks.

Materials determine the deck’s durability, weight, and flex amount.  Maple decks (when pressed right) are very durable. They are also heavier than bamboo or composite decks.

The number of laminate layers also plays a role in the board’s quality and feel.  Fewer layers means less weight and more flex, more layers means more weight and a stiffer deck – flex may be good or bad depending on riding type.

Longboard deck shape

Decks come in many shapes, symmetrical or asymmetrical, pintail, square tail, round tail.  Overall shape is not an indicator of quality, but features such as concave (curved surface along the deck width) or camber (curve along deck length) help improve riding quality.

Cutouts and wheel wells, which are cuts or channels in the deck meant to make space around the wheels so they won’t touch the deck as easily in sharp turns, also add to deck quality.

Kicktails (ends raised ends for tricks) are also a desirable feature for freestyle or speed boards, showing an additional level of craft.

Cheap longboard : the trucks

Quality of the trucks is crucial in the board’s overall quality.  The trucks largely determines the boards stability and trick agility.

Truck materials

Quality trucks are made mostly of aluminum to reduce weight (and hence the longboard’s total weight).  However, most also contain alloy for durability – less supplemental metal often leads to faster aging.

Truck width and height

Truck dimensions are important because they impact the likelihood of wheelbite during turns – when the wheels get in contact with the deck, bringing the board to a brutal stop.  Wheelbite is a serious problem especially for speed riding.

A longboard’s truck should have roughly the width of the deck, and that’s what we look for in a cheap longboard as well. Most longboards with decks 9” or wider have hanger width of 180 mm (an indication of truck width).

A cheap longboard’s perceived quality is greatly affected by its ability to turn.  That depends on the stiffness of the deck, tightness of the truck, and truck height.  The higher the truck, the more room for the deck to lean without wheelbite.

Truck kingpin style

Cheap longboard trucks may use “reverse kingpin” or “traditional kingpin”, referring to the orientation of the truck (trucks kingpins facing each other or not). RKP trucks are higher and better turning.


The bushings are rubber parts around the kingpin and between the truck’s main parts, that act as cushions. The quality of bushings plays a role in overall longboard quality as it impacts the board’s turning ability and speed handling.

Cheap longboard : wheels and bearing

Wheel material

Quality longboard wheels are made of polyurethane, with as little plastic as possible (lessens performance).  When choosing a cheap board, if possible look for all-urethane wheels.

Wheel dimensions

Even with decent construction quality, it’s important that wheels have an appropriate size for the truck they are mounted on.  Larger longboards have larger wheels – typically 70mm diameter by 40-65mm width.

Bigger wheels can cause wheelbite in turns, affecting overall riding quality.  This can be fixed by adding risers between deck and trucks, or by switching to higher trucks.

Wheel hardness (durometer) and shape also affect the quality of a longboard.  Both need to be adapted to the style of riding the board is designed for.


Bearing are the metal parts that let the wheels spin on the axle. Low quality bearings impede the wheels spinning freely – shorter spin time because of friction.

The performance of low quality bearings decrease over time, whereas quality bearings often get better after some initial breaking in.

Bearing precision is measured by the ABEC rating. A cheap longboard should have at least a standard ABEC 5.  ABEC 7 bearings are supposed to be fast, and ABEC 9 super fast.

However, other factors, such as bearing material, are at play, so the ABEC alone is not always synonym for quality.

Grip tape

Grip tape is the rough adhesive you put on top of your longboard deck to prevent slipping and give you more control in riding – in combination with the deck’s concave and/or camber curving.

Quality grip tape will grip well, and won’t wear off quickly even if you ride hard.

Putting it all in practice

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what to look for in a cheap longboard, let’s take a closer look at 10 decent boards under $60 which I’ve selected based on price, quality and popularity.

In the following reviews, I’ll present key highlights based on actual user experience.  Here are the 10 cheap longboards I’ve picked :

  • Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed
  • Rimable pintail 41”
  • Quest Rorshack Bamboo
  • Karnage Drop Through
  • Sanview Bamboo Drop Through
  • WiiSham Professional Speed Downhill
  • Playshion Freeride Freestyle
  • Yocaher Drop Through Professional Speed
  • SCSK8 Natural Blank and Stained
  • Volador 42” Freeride

Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed

  • 44” x 9 ½” deck
  • bamboo & maple hybrid construction, 8 plies
  • 7” aluminum trucks
  • kicktail, cutouts
  • wheels 70x51mm, 85a durometer.

This is a great beginner board which rides exceptionally smooth and has an excellent turning radius. Riders say the board feels very stable, which is good for starting out, but also for cruising.

The board has generic trucks, wheels and bushings that work great. The big wheels provide good grip and comfortably roll over most bumps and cracks.

The deck is well built with a nice-looking bamboo finish.  It’s quite stiff, providing for good control when carving. Wheel cutouts allow you to take full advantage of the board’s great carving ability, reducing wheelbite.

The bearings may offer some resistance, so if you want more speed you may want to upgrade them for little money.

In short, this cheap longboard is really good for beginner cruising and carving, offering high maneuverability and speed.  It’s very stable, easy to ride including for heavier riders, with a nice carving feel. It holds up really well compared to much more expensive boards out there.

Rimable Pintail

  • 41” x 9.5” deck
  • 9-ply maple construction, pintail shape
  • Top mount
  • 7” aluminum trucks, 180mm hanger
  • 51mm big soft wheels
  • abec 9 high speed bearings

The Rimable Pintail is a good standard beginner cruiser longboard with a surf-like style and feel.  It is designed for easy carving and does a fine job at it.

The deck is sturdy and can easily handle a 220 lb rider.

The board can really pick up speed and be taken up to at least 20 mph downhill without wobbling.  It allows for smooth turning and moderately sharp turns.

It’s well suited for everyday commuting to school or work a few miles away.  It cruises smoothly without too much effort.

We like the Rimable Pintail’s good quality grip tape, great trucks, and decent bearings.  The wheels are nice and fast with no rattling, soft enough to ride over small bumps. You may need to loosen the wheels for optimal results.

Some say the Rimable Pintail rides like a Sector 9 for half the money.

One small caveat is the board’s weight for carrying around.
Also, keep the longboard away from excessive and prolonged heat – it may damage the deck.

Quest Rorshack Bamboo

  • 34” deck, maple + bamboo
  • 6” aluminum trucks
  • 65mm wheels
  • abec 7 bearings
  • kicktail

With its smaller size and weight (7 lb), the Quest Rorshack is great for carrying around.  It may not be the best choice for long commutes or extended cruising, but once you get used to it, it’s a fun board to start learning carving and tricks.

The board is a bit unstable by design, so it will challenge your sense of balance.  The soft wheels, however, have good grip and stick well, making for good carving and basic cruising.

The Rorshack’s deck is rigid and strong, with little flex, that’s part of the board’s DNA, along with the kicktail for quick turns and tricks.

The Rorshack’s trucks are smaller than most other boards in this list, which is expected given the relatively small size of the deck.  The trucks perform OK but may be improved by upgrading the bushings (a few dollars). You may want to upgrade the bearings as well since the stock ones can be a bit noisy.

All in all, the Rorshack is an average board but does have its fans, due to its lean size and weight, and untamed character.  With a little tuning – loosening wheel nuts, tightening the kingpin, upgrading bushings and bearings, you’ll end up with a cool and versatile board you can take anywhere and that will help you build your riding skills.

Karnage Drop-Through

  • 38” x 9” deck, maple twin board
  • Drop through mount
  • 7” alloy trucks
  • 70x51mm wheels
  • abec 7 bearings.

The Karnage is another very popular cheap longboard that rides really smooth.  Unlike the topmont cruisers we’ve looked at so far, this is a drop-through board, that is, the trucks are mounted through the deck, bringing the deck a bit lower to the ground.

This longboard is easy to ride due to its lower center of gravity.  This makes it great for cruising around, pushing with less effort, and going fast.

The Karnage has good concave, resulting in more comfortable foot hold and improved control.

This longboard has wide and soft wheels so you barely notice when it rolls over bumps. It’s a well balanced, very stable board for both adults and kids.

The board’s turning radius is quite wide, probably due to the way the trucks are mounted. Yet the Karnage is a good basic board for cruising around and commuting comfortably and going fast.

Sanview Bamboo Drop-Through

  • 38.5” x 9.2” deck, 7 ply maple + bamboo
  • drop through mount
  • Super flexible
  • Wheels 70x42mm 78A
  • Trucks 7” aluminum, bushings 83A
  • Bearings abec 9 with nylon ball cages

This cheap longboard looks and feels much more expensive than it is.  Most of the riders who have tried it have been raving about it.

The Sanview is very light due to its hybrid bamboo deck – a rarely found material in this price range.  Yet the deck is solid and durable, including for heavier riders. It has a good amount of flex and spring – one of the qualities of the bamboo material.

The longboard is extremely stable, yet turns very sharp with very decent control.  Its stability makes for longer ride compared with other boards. Riding it is also very smooth and quiet.

The Sanview is built with high quality materials – and feels like it is.  It has great wheels, good bearings, and quality hardware. The Sanview feels incredibly sturdy and well made, rugged enough for freeriding.

The relatively wide deck (9.2”) in relation to length lets you perform cross step and other tricks.

The price of this longboard is very attractive, as the Sanview stands the comparison with $200 boards.

Overall, the Sanview Bamboo longboard is considered a superb choice for entry to expert level riders. Its outstanding stability and turning capability make it a great choice for both cruising and freeriding.

WiiSham Professional Speed Downhill

  • 41” x 9” deck, 9-ply maple
  • Twin board, drop-through mount
  • Aluminum alloy trucks
  • 70x52mm wheels, 83A hardness
  • abec 9 bearings

A two word summary of this longboad is “solid and simple”.  Most riders agree this is not a cheaply made longboard – it was actually sold at a $150 price point in the past.

It has a strong and durable deck with good flex, yet the board is very lightweight, making it easy to carry around, and to lift up and re-orient.  The clear grip tape adds a nice touch to its design.

The board rides smoothly with good cruising capability. It also works great for heavier riders.  It’s designed for speed and performs well downhill thanks to its drop-through mount.

Riders report a good set of wheels and better than average bearings. The WiiSham’s wheels have just the right amount of hardness, providing good shock absorption without sacrificing control.

The trucks may feel a bit stiff initially, but over time they loosen up a bit – and as always, you can fine tune the trucks and wheels yourself.

One issue you may find with this longboard (out of the box) is a bit of wheelbite despite its cutout shape.  This can be improved by tightening down the trucks (for serious downhill) or fitting risers.

The longboard holds up really well after many months, including after heavy use in terms of distance and crashes.

Overall, the WiiSham Downhill Pro is perceived to have great value for a longboard under $60.

Playshion Freeride Freestyle

  • 39 x 9.1” deck, 8-ply maple
  • 70x50mm wide wheels, 78A durometer
  • 7” aluminum trucks, bushings 83A, rubber riser pads
  • abec 9 bearings with nylon ball cages
  • Drop-through mount

The Playshion is another inexpensive longboard with great strong construction – strong enough for a 300 lb rider – and good looks with a nice simple design on its symmetrical cutout deck.

The deck is extremely durable and holds up very well after months of daily use.

The longboard turns relatively well and takes curves smoothly – although turns are relatively wide in spite of the 50 degree trucks.

The wheels are soft for easy riding, and handles cracks better than other longboards. Soft wheels, however, mean better grip at the expense of more difficult sliding – something you might not expect from a freeride board.

Carving, however, is great on this board, which smoothly handles toe-side and heel-side turns.

The bearings are reported as being solid and faster than expected.

The board’s trucks are somewhat tight and don’t facilitate performing tricks even though the Playshion is advertised as a freestyle board.

Overall though, this inexpensive longboard performs and looks just as good as more expensive boards, and is well worth the money.  Riders highly recommend it as a good beginner or casual board for the money.

Yocaher Drop Through Professional Speed

  • 40″ x 10″ deck, 9-ply Canadian maple
  • Drop Through with concave
  • 70x52mm wheels, 78A durometer
  • Abec 7 bearings
  • 9.675″ HD7 Aluminum Alloy Heavy Duty Trucks, 180mm Hanger
  • Cutouts on the nose and tail

This longboard is officially build for downhill speed, with a lowered platform (drop through) for stability at speed, and a medium concave (i.e. rails raised higher than deck center) and low deck flex for better control in hard turns.

Indeed, many riders really like this inexpensive longboard for carving hard downhill, freeriding, and even bowl/park/street skating.  Being low and stable, it can be ridden up to a speed of 40 mph with no wobbling.

It’s also a good board for cruising due to its low gravity center and soft and grippy wheels, providing for a smooth ride.  However, the bearings could be better and should probably be replaced (or add spacers) to reduce the effort required for moving around on flat ground.

Some people also swap out the bushings and get good results.

The board is lightweight, and its quality is considered good for the price – including at a previous price point of $80.  It holds up well against much pricier models.

One caveat about this longboard is that, without adjustments, it’s quite hard to turn even at a 120º angle. One might argue this is in line with the board’s speed focus.  Swapping out the tighter trucks for better turning ones (e.g. Paris trucks) typically will solve the problem.

In general, this cheap Yocaher longboard is a quality product that serves well the purpose it was designed for.  It just needs a bit of adjusting to be a great board.

SCSK8 Natural Blank and Stained

  • 40” x 9” deck, 7-ply maple
  • Pintail
  • Abec 9 red bearings
  • 7” aluminum trucks

The SCSK8 Natural Blank longboard is a good looking, natural wood pintail cruising board.  Its deck is sturdy and reliable, with good concave and moderate flex. The bamboo layer on top makes it look like a premium board.

The natural wood is very paintable, with no particular coating so that you can decorate it to your liking.

The longboard is very lightweight at 7 lb.  The trucks and bushing are decent. The wheels are soft (like standard cruisers), perfect for carving (but not so good for sliding) and quite forgiving on rough terrain.

Riders have taken the board to speeds of 30-40 mph without wobbling, after changing the wheels and bearings (Reds) for improved speed and comfort. The stock bushings are also a bit stiff.  Some riders may find the deck a bit too high and choose to remove the risers.

Long time owners (2 years +) and intensive riders are happy with the longboard’s quality and performance, especially when compared with higher-end $150 boards.  Some call it exceptional.

You may feel turning is a bit stiffer on this longboard compared to other competing models – such as the Quest Super Cruiser (more expensive).  Loosening the trucks improves things a bit.

Overall, riders consider this SCSK8 longboard fantastic value for its low price right out of the box.  You have the option to upgrade the trucks and/or bearings for even better performance, and to make this cheap longboard more versatile for an all around use.

Volador 42” Freeride

  • 42” x 9” deck, 8-ply maple
  • Drop-through mount, camber concave
  • 7” aluminum RKP trucks, adjustable 50 or 45º, 180mm hangers
  • 51mm wheels 78A
  • Abec 9 chrome steel bearings

The Volador Freeride longboard is another cheap model with surprisingly good quality and performance for the price.  Lightweight for its size, it’s a very stable longboard, mostly due to its drop-through trucks.

The deck is springy but strong and can comfortably hold a 260 lb rider.  The grip tape is of great quality and doesn’t wear off. The board is very durable and still looks new after months of usage.

Even though riders agrees on its stability, the volador is agile for cutting corners, especially after loosening the trucks a bit (they are a bit stiff at first).  It’s good for skate park riding as well as cruising.

The wheels are durable, the bearings that come with the longboard are decent and easy to maintain thanks to the rubber shields. The board rides comfortably on bumpy ground.

Some riders have taken the Volador Freeride for lengthy cruises between towns.  They have been impressed by its smooth and stable riding and the lack of wheelbite issues.

This inexpensive longboard has a quality that matches up well again more expensive models such as Sector 9 longboards, or even shortboards such as Santa Cruz and Penny.

To conclude, the Volador is another longboard that is valued by riders as being worth more than its price, due to its solid build and quality parts.

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