Loaded Tesseract Review: The Ultimate Freeride & Downhill Longboard

Loaded Tesseract review

Quite a few longboarders have long being dreaming of owning a Loaded Tesseract, and that’s for a reason. Like other longboards in the Loaded lineup, the Tesseract is an astonishing board engineered specifically for speed and high-performance technical riding.

So what makes the Tesseract stand out among the top freeride and downhill boards out there? The 3 versions of the Tesseract, while they vary in size and number of kicks, all share the same key features:

  • Loaded’s super lightweight, durable, stiff construction based on an advanced combination of bamboo, fiberglass, and cork.
  • A rockered profile and medium concave specially designed to provide the right amount of comfort and secure feel when riding fast and sliding.
  • Technical wheel flares and deck contour which also participate in overall foot lock-in for technical speed riding.
  • Large concaved kicktails (longer versions) that combine with the adjustable wheelbase to allow for serious flatland freestyle tricks and even some dancing.
  • Cork material bottom layer that dampens shocks, absorbs water, and adds a lot of durability to the Tesseract.

In the rest of this article, I take a close-up look at the different versions of the Tesseract, the board’s innovative shape and construction, its outstanding riding experience, and the choices of setup that exist for each riding style.

The 3 versions of the Tesseract

The Tesseract comes in 3 versions, a full-sized 39″ version, a 36″ mid-sized version, and a 33″ version. All 3 versions have the same 24.5-26″ wheelbase (adjustable depending on which holes you use).

Basalt Tesseract

Loaded Tesseract Basalt review

The Basalt is the full-sized, 39″ x 9.5″, dual-kick version of the Tesseract. Even though it looks big, it’s quite responsive and very trickable due to its big kicks, small wheelbase (relative to its size), and amazingly light weight (again for its size). See the Basalt complete on Amazon.

Thus, this version of the Tesseract is the most freestyle-friendly of all three. It’s easy to perform quick snappy speed checks on big hills. The large 7.25″ concaved kicktails also provide enough pop and leverage for some high ollies and strong technical manuals and shuv-its.

The large comfortable standing plaform is also very suitable for cross-stepping and dancing tricks.

The Basalt, as its name suggests, uses basalt fiber (based on lava) as a replacement for fiberglass. Basalt has great strength to weight and a much more damp feel then fiberglass. It also has better wear characteristics, which helps reduce razor-tail.

As a result, the Basalt Tesseract boast more dampness, stiffness, and lightweight – priority features in freestyle, freeride, and dance boards. It’s also stronger for hardcore kick and flip tricks. The Basalt offers both a freeride and freestyle setup and a technical freestyle setup (see later section).

Cantellated Tesseract

Loaded Cantellated Tesseract

At 36″ x 9.5″, the Cantellated Tesseract is the mid-sized version for faster downhill rides. Besides size, the main difference with the Basalt is that the Cantellated has a single kicktail. See the Cantellated complete on Amazon.

The Cantellated is mainly designed for high speed, but the wide kick, shorter length, and lower weight still allow for some serious ollies and technical manuals and a lot of flip tricks – even though the lack of nose kick makes it harder to perform nose tricks.

The Cantellated comes with a proposed downhill setup or a freeride/freestyle setup (see last section).

Truncated Tesseract

Loaded Truncated Tesseract

The Truncated is the “short and stubby”, 33″ x 9.5″, with no kicks. It’s the most lightweight, compact, and race-inspired board designed for riding big mountain road at very high speed, performing slides to for cornering and speed control.

The Truncated comes with a recommended pure downhill setup or a freeride setup. While this version is not meant for tricks, it’s an amazing board for technical downhill, bundling all the great Tesseract freeride features (see next section) bundled in this small 33″ package.

You can see an advanced setup for the Truncated with premium forged trucks here on Amazon, or if you prefer a custom setup, get the standalone deck.

Tesseract deck features

Loaded’s hybrid construction

The Tesseract deck is built using Loaded’s signature hybrid construction approach. This snowboard-inspired construction involves several plies of vertically laminated bamboo core glued together using high-performance epoxy and precision pressed into the convex and concave parts that make up the special-looking shape.

These bamboo cores are then sandwiched between thin triaxial fiberglass layers – or basalt fiber depending on the Tesseract version. The result is a very stiff and strong yet surprisingly lightweight deck that offers great stability at high speed.

While other Loaded boards such as the Icarus (see my full review) are built using the same approach, each board has a different amount of flex based on what it’s designed for. The Icarus, for example, has quite a bit of flex as it’s primarily meant for carving and commuting.

The Tesseract does have a very slight amount of flex to help dampen vibrations when riding fast and on rougher roads while still focusing on stability and smoothness at speed.

Cork bottom layer

Loaded Tesseract cork bottom layer

Another key feature of Loaded’s advanced deck layup is the bottom cork layer, again similar to the Icarus, which provides vibration damping, better waterproofing, and added strength.

The cork bottom makes the Tesseract more resistant to damage from the deck dropping and hard-hitting obstacles while performing hardcore freestyle tricks. Cork is made of small granular pieces which helps keep the cracks and dings from spreading throughout the deck like in normal boards.

As a result, most Tesseract riders agree the board is very durable and shows few signs of wear and tear even after 6 months of hard daily riding aside from some scratching – the cork does get scratched relatively easily.

Again, the cork bottom dampens vibrations, making the ride on the Tesseract ride very smooth.

Concave, rocker, and wheel wells

Loaded Tesseract concave & wheels well flares

One of the Tesseract’s main strengths is its carefully-designed combination of rocker, concave, and wheel flares.

The W concave is well-engineered as it’s very present in the middle of the board and fades out somewhat toward the truck mount points. The slight 0.33″ rocker adds to the concave in creating a nice secure grip for your feet when riding, without overly locking them in.

The third component of that special lock-in feel when riding fast on the Tesseract is the big flared wheel wells. These create a special form in the board’s contour that adds comfort and cupping for your feet while providing a very helpful reference point for positioning them at speed without having to look down,

The rocker + concave + wheel flares combination is another signature feature of Loaded’s more advanced technical board – it’s also used on other models like the Icarus to achieve a high-performance carving experience.

Kicks and wheelbase

The kicks on the Basalt (2 kicks) and the Cantellated (single kick) are quite large (7.25″) and wide, with their own small concave helping secure your foot on the tail especially when going fast.

On flat ground, the tails are ample and angled enough to give you very good leverage and provide a nice experience for freestyle tricks, combined with the board’s very light weight and coarse griptape.

The adaptable wheelbase (24.5″ to 26″) also lets you set up the board to be more trickable vs more stable, a great feature if you like to alternate trick sessions and fast freeride/downhill ones.

Freeriding & downhill on the Tesseract

tesseract review freeriding

As I mentioned earlier, the Tesseract is clearly designed for freeride and speed. The concave, even though not as obvious and aggressive as on other freeride boards, is very effective in securing your feet when riding fast, providing good support under your foot arches for better toe and heel grip.

The raised wheel flares also give you a lot of comfort when going fast and when sliding, locking your feet in during powerful slides.

The Tesseract, particularly the Cantellated and the Truncated, also makes a very worthy downhill/racing board thanks to the progressive concave which helps with tucking as it doesn’t get in the way of your feet when they are parallel to the deck.

As mentioned, the flared wheel contours also provide reference points for the feet which are very helpful when riding downhill. The tesseract’s rockered shape also makes the board slightly lower to the ground and hence more stable at speed. The rocker cups your feet into a comfortable and secure position when riding fast and doing speed checks.

Freestyle on the Tesseract

Tesseract review freestyling

Besides freeriding and speed, the Tesseract is built with freestyling in mind. First, the kicks (again, only on the Basalt and Cantellated) are large enough for some serious pop and kicks, and the concave on them help with a lot for things like manuals and other advanced kick and flip tricks.

Second, as I mentioned before the wheelbase on the Tesseract can be shortened by 1.5″ by setting up the trucks on the inside mount holes, thus adding a lot of leverage to the kicks for hardcore street and dancing tricks.

Finally, the deck shape itself is designed to be freestyle-friendly – and that’s the reason for the relatively mellow W concave compared to other freeride boards. The Tesseract’s foot lock-in capability is partly taken on by the wheel flares. The mild concave + flared contour combine nicely when doing fliptricks, shuv-its, and manuals, with the concave not being too aggressive on your feet when landing.

On the Basalt, the 39″ deck also gives you enough walking space to add some nice board walking, cross-stepping dancing maneuvers to your freestyle trickery, making that longer version of Tesseract even more versatile.

Which setup for the Tesseract

As always, Loaded has a couple recommended setups for each version of the tesseract, which give you an idea of the sort of trucks and wheels to run with each board version.

All Loaded’s recommended setups by default come with lower-angle 43º Paris v2 180mm trucks that match the Tesseract’s deck width and speed focus on speed – for more about why low angle trucks are good for speed, see this post on freeride trucks.

The 39″ Basalt version offers a mixed freeride + freestyle config that includes mid-sized 70mm Orangatang Stimulus wheels (86A durometer) for both speed and flatland tricks.

The Basalt’s technical freestyle setup, on the other hand, comes with smaller, lighter, hard wheels – 62mm Orangatang Skiffs – for advanced flatland tricks.

The 36″ Cantellated has a downhill-oriented recommended setup with very large, fast, and grippy wheels, the 80mm Kegels 80A duro, with a focus on good stability at high speed. An alternative mixed freeride/freestyle setup offers 69mm Kilmers (83a) for a combination of downhill sliding and flatland tricks.

And finally, the 33″ Truncated offers the same fast downhill setup as the Cantellated with the 80mm Kegels, as well as an alternative pure freeride config with 73mm 80A Orangatang Cages which provide a nice balance of grip and slide for such style.

To avoid wheelbite, consider adding risers (e.g. 1/8″) between the deck and the 43º trucks (which run lower to the ground) when using 70mm or larger wheels. If you choose 50º trucks instead (e.g. for the Cantellated), consider using angled riders. An alternative to adding risers is to use harder bushings than the stock ones.

Parting thoughts

Everyone who’s ridden the Tesseract agrees it excels in several categories, including freeride and downhill, which are its main focus, but also freestyle and dancing.

Many riders choose the Tesseract for it’s freestyle ability. It’s extremely durable and wears very slowly due to its advanced constuction, including in the face of constant grinds, manuals, and ollies.

Riders consistently praise the riding experience on the Tesseract because of the nice and secure locked-in feel and stable smoothness at speed, and the pop and freedom of movement they get when doing tricks.

Priced at around $340 with the recommended complete setups, the Tesseract remains by most accounts one of the best freeride and freestyle boards on the market after all these years.

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Photo credits:
Featured photo: “Tesseract attack” by Christian Rosillo – permission: Loaded Boards
Photo: “Kalil toeside drift” by Riley Irvine – permission: Loaded Boards
Photo: “Kick Flip Squared” by Christian Rosillo, rider: Jong Bin Jo -permission: Loaded Boards

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About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

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