Looking to get the low down on the best downhill longboards for beginners? Look no further.
Today’s article will guide you through the best options for downhill, learning to slide, and going fast on a longboard.
Check it out below.
Best Downhill Longboard Completes
The Landyachtz Evo is a complete almost 20 years old. It’s been around for so long because of how well it performs – both on and off the race circuit. And though race setups have advanced, the Evo remains one of the easiest boards to ride down hills.
The defining feature of the Evo is it’s drop-down standing platform and wedged and dewedged trucks – a lot of technical words I know. But this just allows the Evo to be super stable at speed and super easy to slide – this what made it a race-winning board 15 years ago.
The Evo comes in at 40inches in length and 10inches in width.
It comes with high-quality Bear trucks and Hawgs wheels.
It features Bear Spaceball bearings too.
The Evo should be your pick if you want an easy to ride beginner downhill board.
However, it is quite expensive, but you do get high-quality components with it.
The Santa Cruz Lion God Rasta is a deck built with cruising in mind, but it will be good for some mild downhill and freeride too.
The Rasta comes in at 40inches in length and 10inches in width.
It is a drop-through – which means the trucks are mounted on top and through the board.
This type of mounting style makes the board more stable, easier to ride, and easier to slide.
Drop-through boards are one of the best choices for downhill beginners.
In terms of components, the Rasta comes with high-quality Road rider trucks and wheels. The wheels might be a bit grippy for sliding initially, but they should become better once they break in a bit.
The Rasta isn’t too badly priced, and though it isn’t a strict downhill board it will be good enough for most beginners. I recommend it as you get decent quality components with it.
One of the more affordable options, the most valuable part on this complete is the stiff deck. The components aren’t great, but you do get what you pay for.
The Quest Zero 40 comes in at 40inches in length and 10inches in width, and it’s made with 7plys of Maple.
It won’t be the stiffest of boards – but should be good enough for most light riders.
If you’re a heavier rider you should consider a different option – it will flex under heavier riders.
The Zero 40 also comes with 7inch Aluminum trucks and 70mm tall wheels which have square lips (not the best for sliding).
These components aren’t of the best quality
Though the deck is drop-through (which means it will be stable and easy to slide), it’s held back by its construction and the components it comes with. But for only costing about $70, it’s very attractive for most people, that said, I’d recommend you don’t get this board if you have a bigger budget to spend.
If you do get it, I suggest you upgrade the components when you can.
Like the Quest above, this too is an affordable downhill complete.
Similarly, it doesn’t have the best components, but unlike the Quest above, the deck is slightly stiffer – it is made from 8plys of maple.
The Minority downhill board comes in at 40inches in length and 10inches in width.
It is made with 8plys of cold-pressed maple (it will be better for heavier riders and will be stiffer for all) and features a drop-down standing platform.
The drop-down makes it easier to slide and more stable at speed. But unlike the drop-through, it leaves you with a bit more control over your trucks.
The Minority also comes with cheap 7inch aluminum trucks and 70mm tall, 78a, square-lipped wheels. These trucks won’t be the most stable (because they’re cheap) and the wheels won’t be the best for sliding.
I wouldn’t recommend you get this board, but if you’re on a budget it’s better than nothing.
I recommend you upgrade the trucks as soon as you can.
Only costing about $100, the Magneto downhill board is easily the best budget option on my list. The components aren’t super great, but the deck is speed stiff and is a good option for going fast.
The Magneto downhill board comes in at 35 inches in length and 9inches in width. It is made of several plys of Canadian maple.
Unlike most of the other boards on my list, the Tesla is a pure top mount – this means the trucks are mounted directly underneath the board.
This gives you the most control over your trucks, but it doesn’t aid in the stability or make it easy to slide.
It is not the most beginner-friendly option on my list, but you can learn on it if you’re determined.
The components aren’t that good. The trucks are cheap 7inch aluminum trucks and the wheels cheap 70mm tall square lipped wheels. They won’t be stable or easy to slide.
The above said and done, if you’re on a budget the Magneto is your best option.
Just replace the components when you can and you’ll have a decent downhill complete.
The Globe Geminon is a lot more expensive than the budget options on my list, and though it comes from a decent quality brand, I believe it is a bit overpriced.
The Geminon comes in at 38inches in length and 10inches wide.
It has a unique construction – it is made with Olive wood and bamboo, an uncommon combination of wood amongst downhill boards.
It also comes with Slant 10inch trucks and 70mm tall 83a wheels.
The components are decent, and the complete will ride ok. But for the price, you should be able to do better – the complete costs around $200.
I’d say, you’d rather buy the Magneto above and upgrade it with high-quality parts than get this.
But for a complete that would work ok out the box, this is a good choice. It also looks quite good, so that does add to its attractiveness.
How to Pick a Downhill Longboard
Make sure the deck is stiff
Downhill decks need to be stiff and rigid.
This stiffness and rigidity ensures that you have maximum control of your trucks and over what they are doing when you go fast. It also ensures that you get accurate feedback on what’s happening on the road.
Boards that flex don’t allow you to stay in control very well. Because they flex, the trucks can sort of articulate and do what they want to do independent of your input.
This often leads to speed wobbles and a lot of twitching at speed.
In summary, you want a deck that is stiff for optimal control. Decks that are this stiff are made in specific ways.
Downhill decks made from maple will often have 8 or more plys.
The industry standard is about 9plys for most downhill decks. Some decks in the past have even been 11plys so that heavier riders can use them comfortably.
If you’re heavier, you typically need more plys to keep the board stiff.
Maple decks are usually desirable as they are often not too expensive.
Composite decks are the next common option.
They are great because composites allow you to make the deck super stiff with little material. They also sometimes last longer than maple decks and can withstand more abuse.
Most companies these days include one or two fiberglass sheets in their completes.
They usually aim for 7plys of maple with two sheets of fiberglass to keep a board stiff but relatively lightweight.
You’ll also find carbon and other composites being used. A mix of maple and composite is the most common combination.
Though composites mean lightweight decks, it also makes them more expensive.
Most composite decks cost $150+ alone, with some boards even costing about $250. Full maple decks are best for those on a budget.
Vertically laminated boards
Vertical laminated (best known as vert-lam), are boards where the plys are placed vertically instead of horizontally. This results in lightweight boards as less material needs to be used to achieve the stiffness required.
A famous brand that uses this technique is Loaded boards. Almost all their boards are vertically laminated.
So yeah, vert-lam boards are really common on the higher-end of the market. You’ll mostly find composites paired with bamboo when you look at vert lam boards.
You need high-quality trucks
Trucks are a key part of your setup. They dictate how you turn left or right and how stable you will be at higher speeds.
Low-quality trucks aren’t desirable at all for downhill. They don’t perform very well. They have poor construction, are made poorly, and use low-quality pivots and bushings.
When they turn, they don’t lean over very smoothly and they’re hard to keep in control. When it comes to going fast they are simply dangerous to have under your feet.
High-quality trucks are very desirable.
They usually cost about $50 and they are worth investing in. They are made very well so they are strong and won’t bend when you ride them.
They fit well together, have minimal slop, and come with relatively decent quality bushings and pivots. When you turn and lean, they do so smoothly and you have optimal control. High-quality trucks are worth investing in if you want to go fast safely.
Get aftermarket bushings (and pivots)
Bushings are the little things in your trucks that are made out of urethane. They control how you lean, turn, and ultimately how stable your board/truck is.
Bushings perform differently depending on how much you weigh.
If you weigh a lot, a set of bushings can feel soft and squishy.
If you weigh a little, the same set of bushings can feel very stiff. So because of this, the stock bushings that come in most trucks usually aren’t the best fit for everyone. You have to get aftermarket ones for your weight so your truck can perform optimally for you.
I recommend the Venom bushings brand for aftermarket bushings.
Pivots in most stock trucks aren’t very good. It’s usually a good idea to change them too.
Aftermarket pivots make a truck perform great. They can make the turning feel a bit quicker and smoother.
I recommend the Riptide sports brand for aftermarket pivots.
Wheels need to be of good quality too
You can’t just use any old wheel for downhill. You need to get wheels for this specific type of riding. Furthermore, you’ll have to pick between wheels for downhill stuff and for sliding.
For pure downhill
For pure downhill, you’re going to want a set of wheels that have a square lip. The square lip just means that the wheel won’t break traction into the slide very easily. This is desirable, especially when you’re skating on open roads and need the grip to skate around a hairpin safely.
However, the square lip does make the wheel harder to slide. It might not be the choice for you if you need to slide to slow down – foot braking might be the safer choice. When you do get more experience with sliding, controlling and sliding square lipped wheels becomes easier.
For sliding, a wheel with a round lip is desirable. It will break into the slide a lot easier and a lot smoother than a square-lipped wheel. If you’re learning to the slide, round lipped wheels are your best option.
What do you need?
You need slide gloves, a helmet, and some protective gear. The slide gloves will help you do hands down slides and will protect your hands when you fall. The helmet will protect your head from any brain damage when you knock it – just remember to pick up a certified helmet.
What do you think? Which board is your favorite?
If you’re still stuck on the fence, I recommend you pick up the Landyachtz Evo, I know it is a bit expensive, but it is by far the best option on the list.
If you’re on a budget, the Magneto Tesla is a decent option too – just upgrade the trucks and wheels when you can.