When you start longboarding the only thing you care about is being able to ride around without falling off.
But it won’t take you long until you’re ready for the next phase. You’ll want to start going so fast one wrong move would break you in two.
Even the best beginner longboards can reach some pretty unbelievable speeds. You just need to know a few tricks that will allow you to get there.
How To Go Fast On A Longboard
If you want to go fast on a longboard it’s important you choose the right one. The special features that come with each board will have the biggest impact on your speed. When you take your new longboard out of the equation there are still lots of little things you can play around with.
Here are the top three areas to focus on:
- Longboard wheels
- Longboard bearings
1 – Longboard wheels – Even if your board doesn’t come with the best longboard wheels you’ll be able to replace them should you want to go faster somewhere down the line. It’s actually not a good idea to focus on the wheels when you’re choosing the best board for your needs.
But there is no denying they’ll play a huge role in how fast you can go. If you’re into downhill riding larger wheels are great, whereas speedy cruiser wheels are always smaller. No matter what size of wheels you eventually decide to pick up focus on those with a large plastic core.
If you read the descriptions when looking for wheels you’ll know whether or not they’re built for speed. The best ones will have a very high rebound and they’ll keep the momentum going when you’re riding. When in doubt choose wheels that have set world speed records.
2 – Longboard bearings – We could say the exact same thing about the best longboard bearings. You don’t necessarily need to choose a longboard based on the bearings it comes with because they can be picked up separately. It’s also wise to be careful when looking for the best longboard.
Companies will usually try to use the ABEC rating system as a selling point, but a higher number doesn’t mean faster bearings. It’s not a number you should pay much attention to. Instead, there are a few much more important things to take into consideration:
Brand – Once you find a quality brand stick with them going forwards. You’ll realize they always use the best materials on the market, which could mean metals and even lubricants. Super fast bearings from the top brands cost a little more but the extra speed will be worth it.
Maintenance – You play a huge part in how well your bearings perform too. Maybe not in the beginning when they’re brand new, but you’ll need to ensure you keep them well maintained. Is this absolutely essential? Yeah, if you want to ensure your bearings perform at their max potential.
3 – Aerodynamics – If you want to maximize the amount of speed you pick up while flying down the road you’ll need to take aerodynamics into account. It’s especially true when you’re riding downhill and you’ll need to get into the tuck position as soon as possible. The tuck position is so popular because it helps you in two different ways.
Your center of gravity will be a lot lower and you’ll decrease the amount of air resistance. Do the exact opposite and it will help you slow down. Even when you’re cruising around the city at pretty high speeds your center of gravity and body positioning will give you an extra boost.
Other Ways To Increase Longboard Speed
We’ve talked about the most important things you’ll need to do should you wish to ride at breakneck speeds, but there are other ways to go faster. I’m sure you’ll find a couple of these useful, especially if you’re just starting out and looking for your first longboard:
- Choosing the right longboard
- Riding on the right surfaces
- Always wearing protective gear
1 – Choosing the right longboard – The fastest way to get from A to B is by traveling in a straight line. I know it sounds silly but it makes complete sense when you think about it. When you’re riding on a solid longboard with good flex and wide trucks you’ll always feel more stable.
If stability isn’t an issue you’ll be able to longboard in a straight line. The moment you lose balance it’s going to have a big impact on your speed. Plus you’re trying to ride a longboard as fast as possible, so losing your balance means you might end up losing some skin and bones.
The right amount of grip on your deck helps with more than just stability. If you feel like your foot won’t move no matter what you do it’s going to allow you to push with your other foot much harder. When the deck is lower to the ground it will automatically lower your center of gravity.
Let’s not waste time talking about every single thing under the sun. Just make sure the longboard you choose helps with:
- Kicking power
2 – Riding on the right surfaces – Would you choose the location where you ride based on how fast you’ll be able to go? If so, it’s obvious the surface you ride on will have an impact on your speed even when you have the best longboard in the world designed to break world records.
Here are a few I’m sure you’ll find yourself on at some point in time:
- Smooth surfaces
- Rough surfaces
Hills – If you want to hit maximum speed start riding down hills. It doesn’t really matter how rough or smooth the roads or dirt tracks are. When it’s steeper you’ll be able to go faster if all other things are equal.
Smooth surfaces – Once you take hills out of the equation you’ll be able to achieve the best speeds on smooth surfaces, which won’t surprise you in the slightest. But to get the most out of skate parks and pavements you’ll be best using harder wheels (80A+).
Rough surfaces – You can still move pretty fast on rough surfaces, but very rough ones are considerably worse. If you want to move as fast as possible you will need softer wheels (78A-). If they’re too hard you won’t be able to roll over obstacles like cracks and you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.
3 – Always wearing protective gear – Do you even own any longboard safety equipment? Do you want to own the best longboard helmet? Would you feel embarrassed wearing pads on your knees and elbows. Longboarding isn’t the right sport if you always want to look cool.
If you don’t wear gear like helmets and knee pads you’re going to end up with broken bones at the very least in your quest to maximize your speed. Even though they don’t have a glaringly obvious direct impact on your speed the extra peace of mind you’ll have pays dividends.
Board Adjustments To Help Improve Longboard Speed
Once you get to the stage where you’re trying to squeeze as much juice out of your longboard as possible it’s time to make some adjustments. Just make sure you don’t take these to the extreme or you’ll end up in trouble. Here are a couple of cool adjustments to test out:
- Loosen your axle nuts
- Tightening your trucks
Loosen your axle nuts – When your nuts are too tight the wheels won’t be able to spin freely. Try to spin your wheels when the longboard is in your hands and see how long they last. By loosening them up a bit the wheels will begin to spin faster, but stop before they become too loose.
Tightening your trucks – The impact might not offer the same boost in speed, but you can try tightening your trucks a bit after playing with your wheels. You want to prevent the board from wobbling around too much before you’ve built up a decent amount of speed.