Like cars, motorcycles, and bikes, skateboards also have their competitive arena. The criteria consist of performance, style, comfort, safety, and durability. But from thousands of skateboards in the market, finding a good one can be overwhelming yet fulfilling.
If you are at the stage of choosing your first skateboard, perhaps, you’re going to ask first, “what makes a good skateboard?” There are tangibles, which consist of the physical parts. And others are intangibles related to overall performance.
Keep reading as we tackle these areas one by one.
Table of Contents
What Are Good Skateboards Made of?
As mentioned, choosing skateboards could mislead us to one that falls short of our criteria. Hence, take this list of green flags to identify the coolest skateboard models today.
1. The tangibles01 A quality deck
There is no better way to start identifying skateboards than with the deck, the part that bears our weight. Quality skateboard decks possess an appropriate shape, sufficient pop, and long-lasting durability.
Skateboards are not plain flat platforms. The perfect shape of a skateboard deck should be concave with an angled nose and tail. The U-like shape of this design helps riders ace tricks more comfortably.
Structure-wise, good skateboards use maple or bamboo veneers pressed firmly and attached together. These materials are the most acceptable wood for skateboards because of their exceptional pop, an essential when doing tricks.
Additionally, bamboo and maple are durable yet lightweight materials. So, these would make the skateboard more reliable and less tiring to ride.02 Responsive trucks
As we know, the trucks translate our movements on the skateboard into directions. Thus, we need a pair of these parts to maneuver the deck. So, what kinds of trucks make a skateboard good quality?
The first indicator of a good skateboard truck is a metal body. Some brands cut costs so much that they make plastic versions of this component, compromising many buyers.
The only way to avoid this problem is by checking the truck’s brands. Some popular, trusted names include Venture, Tensor, Independent, and Thunder.03 Quality wheels
Proper skateboard wheels lead to smooth, quality rides. What makes up decent skateboard wheels, then?
Most, if not all, skateboard wheels come from polyurethane, a highly tear-resistant material with high tensile strength. Besides PU, can some plastic skateboard wheels perform well? No. Using skateboards with cheap wheels made from low-grade materials imposes danger and sub-par skateboard rides.
Like skateboard deck sizes, wheels also come with figures for diameters and hardness levels. And all these numbers fit different skating styles.
Each of the parts discussed above has its integral components, too. Let’s get into them.01 Grip tape
Grip tape exists as layers of gritty sheets that cover the entire stepping surface of the skateboard.
These top layers of the deck are an element of balance for the skater. They grip against the outsole of the footwear. The effect? The rider obtains better control of the board. Plus, these gritty surfaces reduce the chances of the skateboarder falling off the deck.
Grip tape often comes with the skateboard upon purchase. Nevertheless, you can buy a separate sheet to replace the old one.02 Precise bearings
Perhaps, the wheel cores are the most vital parts of every smooth skateboard ride. Why? Because the bearings allow the wheels to roll without restraint.
While cleanliness plays a role in the bearing’s performance, we should recognize another aspect that distinguishes these parts, ABEC ratings.
As designed, higher ABEC ratings represent better speed and precision.
3. The intangible
As mentioned, the brand and price are not the sole requirements of a good skateboard. One invisible aspect can also dictate how the board will perform.* Setup
A mediocre set of skateboard components can be upgraded, given the proper setup. This setup entails adjustments on the trucks and tightening of the wheels.
So, how do we achieve a good skateboard setup? Do we need a professional skater to fix it?
More often than not, yes. But if we pay careful attention to how each skateboard component works and responds, we will be able to calibrate and know the ideal force for tightening parts like the trucks and wheels.
Nonetheless, all these things are part of the learning process. Thus, you need not worry if you haven’t mastered them yet.
In the meantime, for beginners and intermediate skaters, custom-made skateboards will be the best option. But of course, you will also have to pay for the professional skateboard price.
The Features That Make a Skateboard Bad
Now that we know what makes products like Cal 7 skateboards good, it’s time to identify what to avoid.
1. Untrusted brands
Customers receive the chance to leave their feedback on many e-commerce and social media platforms like Reddit. Using these sites, other buyers can begin to assess the product.
Eventually, good skateboard brands will emerge at the top because of positive and objective feedback from their customers. And that’s how most skateboard names became famous over the years.
Hence, when choosing a product, always know about the brand and how buyers perceive them. Picking a board from the worst skateboard brands could likely lead you to put your money to waste.
2. Damaged skateboards
Of course, damage and chips on the skateboard and its parts are clear signs that you shouldn’t buy it. What are these signs?
- Paint damage, indicated by cracks
- Unleveled wheels
- Surface inconsistencies
If you noticed other issues besides those listed, that skateboard you are eyeing might not be for you. You may want to call the seller’s attention to the problem to save other buyers.
3. Substandard skateboarding materials
We also expect design durability when buying skateboards. So, how can a new skateboard be flimsy fresh from its packaging?
We mentioned how maple and bamboo are common in nice skateboard decks, similar to how excellent metal is for the trucks and PU is for the wheels. Picking a skateboard made from outside of these materials could only be a waste of resources.
What materials to avoid? Plastic and pine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which skateboard is best for beginners?
We mentioned how a personalized and well-set skateboard impacts beginner skaters positively. But what makes up an ideal skateboard for this riding group? Complete skateboards and skateboard kits.
Complete skateboards are ready-to-ride. They come assembled with complementing parts. Minimal modifications might be necessary, but not at all times.
On the other hand, complete skateboard kits are slightly challenging but can help you learn and master your skateboard. These packages come complete with all complementing parts. All you should master is the assembly.
How much is a good skateboard?
Buying a cheap skateboard at Target for $60 could make you feel like you’ve saved a lot. But not until you spend more on repairs and maintenance. Add them up, and the figures would likely exceed or level the average cost of a decent skateboard.
A quality, ride-ready skateboard at Zumiez or other popular stores costs $100 on average. Add a bit more, and you get a better option.
Whether you choose a cheap or an average skateboard, you might still have to spend more. These expenses cover things every skateboarder needs, such as safety equipment and a pair of skating sneakers.
If we can be particular when choosing gadgets, how can we not exert the same effort when buying skateboards? While skateboards do not cost as much as electronics, we are spending money. Hence, we should make the most of it.
So, what makes a good skateboard? A quality deck with grip tape, metal trucks, PU wheels, precision bearings, and a professional setup. If you can obtain these, expect your skateboard rides to be fun, thrilling, and safe.
Remember the things to be careful about, such as manufacturing defects, unfamiliar brands, and materials of poor quality. By then, you’ll be able to avoid buyers’ regret.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.