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Cruisers and carvers at Blue Tomato

Cruising and Carving: Flatland fun

Looking to liven up your trip to school, the shops or the nearest burger joint? Get yourself a cruiser or carving board. Let your creativity flow and enjoy the freedom to slide, grind and carve your way to work.
  1. The right size deck for your cruiser or carver
    1. The right flex for your deck
    2. The kicktail question
  2. Cruiser trucks
  3. Cruiser wheels
    1. Finding the right size wheels
    2. The right wheel hardness for cruising and carvingg
    3. Cruiser and Carver bearings

The right size deck for your cruiser or carver

Boards between 28” and 46” are a good choice for a cruiser deck. You can even go a bit shorter if you want to but, to start off with, something in this range is your best bet.

If you really want a shorter deck – between 28” to 32” –, unless you’re particularly small, you’ll want to be a pretty decent rider already to make it worthwhile.

If you don’t feel like messing about with all these numbers, just head straight for the golden mean. Decks between 32” and 42” are easy to control and will suit any rider. Most cruiser longboards around are in this size range.

If you’re just down for some relaxed sidewalk surfing or are looking to improve your boardwalking skills, a longer deck might make sense for you. If you don’t mind carrying around the extra weight of a longer carving board then go right ahead.

Cruising and carving longboard shape

The right flex for your deck

Cruising deck for men and women

Flex is something you should give a bit of thought to when choosing your longboard deck. More flex helps for longer rides by absorbing the shocks of rougher terrain and will also help lower your centre of gravity, making it a bit easier to balance and taking some of the strain off your knees and ankles. Flex is also a question of taste – some like it softer, others love the added stability of a stiffer deck.

Longboard manufacturers also offer boards with barely any flex, which improves power transmission through your turns. These boards also help to reduce shock when riding over uneven terrain.

Many manufacturers offer longboard models with a range of different flexibilities. We want to make it easy for you to find the right flex for your body weight as it will give you a bit of added suspension and let you ride a little lower than on a board that’s too stiff.

If you want more direct response to your flexing and leaning, go for a stiffer board. Stiffer longboards are often used for downhill riding and are, for many riders, the ideal choice.

The kicktail question

A kicktail lets you make quick turns, pop ollies onto and off the sidewalk and ride curbs and rails. The answer to the kicktail question comes down to personal preference once again, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. If you like your longboards a bit more playful get involved. But don’t worry if you aren’t a fan of aggressive kicktail manoeuvres; there are plenty of options out there that you’re bound to love. A lack of a kicktail also means more stability – especially important for those new to longboarding – because the distance between the trucks is usually a bit larger.

Carving and cruiser longboard with kicktail

Cruiser trucks

Longboard cruiser with standard trucks like on skateboards

When it comes to longboard trucks, width is important. Ideally truck width should correspond to the width of your longboard deck. There are two widths to choose from:

  • 150 mm
  • 180 mm
If you ride a narrower deck less than 8.5” wide, go for the 150 mm trucks. For decks 8.5” or wider, 180mm trucks are better.

The position of the kingpin plays a huge role in the way your longboard rides. Reverse kingpin trucks make your board easier to control than standard trucks. This kind of construction is ideal for board walking and downhill longboarding as it really lends itself to carving. Most riders go for reverse kingpin trucks, although the difference isn’t enormous.

Standard trucks, which are most commonly seen on skateboards, are best for cruisers with kicktails as they give you a much more exact response when you use the tail.

Cruiser Wheels

Cruising and carving wheels in differents sizes

Two factors should influence your choice of wheels:

  • Diameter
  • Hardness

Finding the right wheels

In general, longer decks work better with larger wheels and shorter boards work better with smaller wheels. Of course, the other way round also works, but you forfeit some of that riding comfort. If you do decide to ride a small deck with large wheels, be sure they don’t contact the underside of the deck and cause wheel bite. At best it will slow you down, at worst it will stop your board dead and launch you straight into an ambulance.

For longboard decks of 40” or more, look for wheels between 70 and 75 mm. You can also go smaller if you want to improve your acceleration, but larger wheels are capable of higher speeds in the long run.

For mid-length longboard decks – between 34” and 40” – try wheels between 68 and 70 mm. Smaller wheels are easier to push, but larger ones are the right choice if you’re looking for speed.

Short decks of 34” or less are best suited to 60 to 67 mm wheels. Small longboards need small wheels so they’re easy to control, rather than handling like a lorry.

Body weight
less than 60 78a – 80a
60 – 80 80a – 83a
more than 80 83a – 86a

Wheel hardness for cruising and carving

The right wheel hardness corresponds to your weight and personal preference. Soft wheels are generally the preferred choice for cruisers and carving longboards as they roll nice and smooth and absorb any bumps and cracks.

If you’re too heavy for your wheels, the board will quickly lose speed and you’ll push yourself to death. If you’re too light, your wheels won’t generate enough grip.

Just remember:

The heavier you are, the harder your wheels should be.“

Cruiser and Carver bearings

Bearings for cruisers and carving boards for men and women

Bearings keep your longboard wheels turning without too much wear and tear. So long as you keep your bearings nice and clean and free of water, dirt and grit, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

For those on smaller budgets, Bones Reds are ideal for any longboard. So long as you keep them free of grit and water, they’ll last a lifetime. If you do use them in really awful conditions, just clean them or replace them. There’s a reason the brand has been a market leader since 1983. If you have a little more to spend, why not splash out on some more durable, longer lasting bearings.