Longboarders are constantly searching for methods to help their boards go quicker. In this complete guide to gaining speed on your longboard, we’ll go over the most common reasons you’re slowing down and how you can fix those problems.
Finding the Right Wheels
In auto racing, the car’s tires play an integral role in how fast the vehicle can go. That’s why whenever a car does a pit stop for fuel, most crews put on new tires to help it reach maximum speed. Your longboard isn’t much different from race cars because its wheels dictate how your ride should go.
Smaller wheels make sense when you’re learning how to ride your longboard because they keep you in a safe area regarding speed. But once you feel comfortable on your board and want to gain speed, larger wheels are the answer.
Larger wheels cover more ground with the same amount of spinning as smaller ones. Smaller wheels may accelerate faster because they can build momentum quickly. But if you go over minor bumps or cruise over other obstructions, you will run into complications with small wheels.
Finding the right size wheel for the perfect speed may take some trial and error. The primary goal when shopping for the right wheel is that it’s large enough to handle tough terrain without producing wheelbite. The last thing you want is your wheels locking up when you’re increasing your speed, so pay close attention to the wheels’ core and durometer.
Durometer & Wheel Cores
The durometer represents your wheels’ hardness. You’ll find this figure next to the letter “A.” Softer wheels are around 75A, whereas harder wheels are around 82A or above. Soft wheels provide a better grip when going over bumps in the road, but they will slow you down. Harder wheels make the most sense if your endgame is gaining speed. However, you don’t want them to be too stiff, or else it will feel like you’re going over a series of potholes.
Small wheels have more compression than their larger counterparts; therefore, they move quickly on flat surfaces and slower on uneven terrain. Skateboarders can get by with smaller wheels because they mostly work on smooth surfaces. Longboarders hover above all sorts of terrain, requiring larger wheel cores to handle anything thrown your way.
The sweet spot for the optimum wheel core is larger, medium-hard wheels and small-to-medium cores for increasing speed. These wheels have the urethane to go fast and size to stay safe on rough roads.
Loosen the Axles
Whenever you screw on something tight, your objective is to ensure there is no give to it. Yet, tightened axles are deterrent for gaining speed on your longboard. Slightly loosening the nuts may restore proper wheel rotation. Untighten the bolts just enough to allow for some side-to-side movement. That said, don’t loosen them enough that they come off the axle entirely.
Conversely, consider strengthening your trucks if your wheels are turning properly, but you’re having difficulties getting your longboard to go faster due to speed hiccups. This should reduce turning and minimize the wavering until the board reaches greater speeds.
If adjusting your trucks doesn’t quite make your longboard become faster, you should focus on their bearings.
Clean Your Bearings
If your wheels fail to spin after you release the axle bolts, you might have to wash and grease your bearings. Anytime you go on wet pavement, muck, or debris, dirt quickly builds in your bearings, causing friction and making it feel like you’re riding with bricks attached to your board.
Cleaning your bearings is reasonably straightforward if you understand how to do it, but it could be tricky the first time you do it. Fortunately, we broke down how to clean your bearings in a comprehensive guide, so you should be in good shape, even if it is your first time.
Upgrade Your Bearings
Suppose you’ve polished and lubricated your bearings, but your longboard still seems sluggish. In that case, you might need to upgrade to a new set, especially if you use limited bearings that come standard with your ordinary longboard.
It is crucial to remember that free twirling your longboard wheels with no weight on them does not indicate how quickly your longboard will move in action. Thus, you cannot rely on this test to determine if you need to replace your bearings. Frequent squeaky noises are a red flag that your current bearings are approaching their expiration date.
Choosing replacement bearings differs based on who you ask, so you’ll likely hear five different answers from five people. Nevertheless, you should look for these qualities:
- The best bearings have built-in spacers.
- The most critical characteristics of new bearings are their removable rubber seals and curvature.
- You can trust bearings made in Germany and Switzerland.
If you follow those hints that lead you down the road to your ideal bearings, you should increase your speed exponentially.
Improving as a Rider
Assuming you did everything mentioned above and it still feels like you’re riding through quicksand, the problem may be the operator. Your skills as a rider may be the culprit for your diminishing speeds. A good craftsperson should never blame their tools, nor should an experienced longboarder.
Something you can do as a rider to start flying like the wind is improve your stance. Practicing a solid tucking position will add speed as you’re bombing hills. Additionally, the fear of wiping out as you accelerate may be slipping into your subconscious, causing you to slow down instinctively. Learning to stop at high speeds gives you more confidence, so approaching top speeds won’t be as frightening.
Finally, using the best protective equipment can also be a confidence booster. Knowing that there is gear that will cushion any fall may eliminate most of your doubts. But you don’t want to act recklessly and rely on the equipment always to save you.
This complete guide to gaining speed on your longboard provides steps you can take to start zooming on your longboard. Gaining top speed makes downhill longboarding a blast, and you can find the best downhill longboards for sale at The Longboard Store. We provide excellent brand-certified longboards, trucks, wheels, and other accessories to give you the best ride of your life. If you order a complete board from us, we’ll handle the shipping charges, so browse our collection of various complete longboards today.