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Skateboards

Monday, 21 April 2008

If you aspire to be a ìsick ripperî (a really cool, good and consistent skater), you need to start with a good board. We dive into the doís and don'ts of this unique, popular world to help you start shredding some blacktop.

   BUYING TIPS

The Basics

  • Skateboards are available at a wide range of prices. Our skateboard expert recommends spending at least $50 so as not to compromise the integrity and overall safety of the board.

  • For serious riders, the components that matter most are the deck (board), trucks (wheel hardware), and wheels. Many pros buy these components separately.

  • The skateboard deck is usually made of wood and with molded concave which means a raised nose and tail to make the board function properly. Decks can come in a variety of lengths. A stiffer board provides more durability.

  • Grip tape is applied to the top of the deck for traction and grip.

  • Two trucks mount to the bottom of the deck for the wheels to attach to. Trucks allow the skateboard to turn and can be adjusted for different speeds and turning degrees.

  • The wheels are the most important part:

    • Look for urethane wheels, which are designed for resiliency, durability and traction.

    • Avoid plastic or PVC wheels (usually on department store boards) because they don’t have the same grip as urethane.

    • To tell what the wheels are made of, urethane wheels are duller than PVC and will have better bearings so they should spin better.

    • Bigger wheels go faster but it aren’t as good for flipping your board and doing other tricks.

    • The size is stamped on the side of the wheel. Average size is 55 mm but can range in size from 50-75 mm for different terrain and skating styles.

    • The durometer or hardness rating is stamped on the side of the wheel. Softer wheels are lower on the durometer and give you a smoother ride. Harder wheels give you a faster ride.

  • The wheel bearings are metal rings filled with tiny ball bearings that fit inside the wheel allowing them to turn. Bearings come in different quality grades that determine how fast or slow the wheel spins.

Other Considerations

  • If you’re gonna skate, plan on protecting you melon (head) with a good dome piece (helmet).

   TEST CRITERIA

We tried out four skateboards with the help of some local skater dudes to see which rides best. We tested:

  • Lunatic: $25
  • World Industries: $65
  • Mini-Logo: $100
  • Black Label Circle Flame: $100
  • Element (Fibrelight): $160

Ride Test

  • The least expensive Lunatic maybe a good choice for a beginner, but our serious boarders didn’t feel it had enough mojo.

  • One tester liked the Mini Logo for its strong wood and steady ride.

  • The Black Label was a comfortable ride and had a good shape.

  • The Fiberlight is a trick-friendly board and had good grip, a nice concave design and good shape.

   OUR TOP PICK

If you stick with the expert’s rule of spending at least $50, then any skateboard contenders will likely be fine. It comes down to personal preference and what kind of rider you are. If you’re a serious boarder, you’ll want to pay more attention to the components.

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