Electric longboards are gaining some serious traction as a pastime all over the world. Commuters, adrenaline junkies, and even urban explorers are turning to electric longboards to optimize their enjoyment and improve their day to day lives.
It’s no secret why these new devices have become so popular; electric skateboards come with a number of benefits to help make skateboarding both more fun and efficient. Consumers who are considering an electric skateboard should first decide exactly what they want out of their board. Do they want an extremely powerful board? Or do they want the perfect electric skateboard for a price that best fits their budget?
With a range of options available, the first thing you will want to know about the E-skating revolution is; what exactly is the difference between an electric skateboard and an electric longboard? Finding the answers to this will let you make informed decisions about which electric skateboard will be right for you.
“Longboards can be as long as 59 inches, while the typical skateboard is around 36 inches”
The Difference Between Electric Skateboards and Electric Longboards
To begin with, it is important to understand the heritage of each board by looking at and comparing their non electric predecessors.
It should be no surprise that longboards are, of course, longer. They can be as long as 59 inches, while the typical skateboard is around 36 inches. But here’s where it gets confusing: longboards can also be as small as 28 inches long. If the length trips you up, just remember the key difference between the two is that longboards are flat and skateboards curve. So, if you see a flat, shorter board, it’s probably just a short longboard.
If you put a longboard and skateboard side by side, you’ll notice how flat the nose and tail of the longboard are. On a skateboard, you’ll see more of a curve on its nose and tail to make it easier to land tricks and flips.
For any new skaters out there, the deck is the base of your board and will have varying degrees of flex. The flex of your board refers to the stiffness of it. If your goal is to learn new tricks, you’ll want your board to be thinner with more flex, either soft or medium. This gives you some stability and a spring-like feel to make jumps easier to nail. If you’re looking to kick back with some mellow street cruising, look for a board with a softer flex for max comfort.
“Longboards utilise wide trucks that usually measure around 150 millimetres to 180 millimetres”
Trucks and Wheels
Both skateboards and longboards wheels are attached to their deck by a base which is called the truck. These trucks will look and operate differently for both boards. On a skateboard, the trucks are more rigid and narrow, making it easier to grind and land tricks of your choice. They’re also the same size as the maximum width of the skateboard’s deck.
Longboards have a more flexible truck to give you a smoother ride, which is perfect for long boarders who want to cruise for long distances or race downhill. Longboards also hold wider trucks that usually measure around 150mm to 180mm.
For faster and smoother rides, the wheels of a longboard are large and soft. Skateboards have smaller and harder wheels to make it easier to shred rails, ledges and gaps. If you plan to just cruise on your board, softer wheels give a smoother and more coordinated ride.
Things to Look for in Your Electric Skateboards
Before you take the plunge and buy an electric longboard, or electric skateboard of any kind, it is important to consider these questions:
- Where will I be riding to?
- How far will I be going?
- What kind of paths will I be riding on?
- Do I want to go really fast?
- Do I want to be able to do tricks?
- Are the paths straight or will they be really tight?
“Those who are considering an electric skateboard should first decide exactly what they want out of their board.”
The Benefits of Electric Longboards
Longboards, as suggested by their name, have a long deck. Usually, a board is considered a longboard if it is longer than 34” with a typical width of around 9”. Because of the extended length and width of a longboard deck, it makes for a very stable ride. You will have a much easier time balancing on a longboard and will enjoy a much more carefree experience because of it.
Another benefit that the length of a longboard creates is the comfort of the ride. Generally, longer decks will have a little bit of natural flex in them which helps to absorb some of the vibrations created when riding, especially over rougher terrain. The increased stability and absorption of the vibrations make electric longboards particularly great for beginner e-skaters. They’re easy to learn on so you’ll get the hang of it really quickly!
Longboards are versatile and cater for both beginners and experienced riders. In fact, longboards are much better suited for riders who want to ride fast and far. You want as much stability when riding at higher speeds to reduce the number of speed-wobbles that you might encounter. Speed-wobbles don’t discriminate and can strike an experienced rider just as easily as a beginner!
If you are planning on riding at high speeds, you’ll want to buy a deck that has the least amount of flex possible to avoid speed wobbles. The stiffer the board, the better stabilisation you will have at high speeds. For comfort, you want a flexy board for low speeds and a stiffer deck for stability at high speeds.
When it comes to electric skateboards, there are some extra components that are required to make them run such as motors, batteries and dual hub motors. All of these take up space on the deck. So, the longer the board, the more real estate you have available for installing more batteries or bigger motors and improving your board’s performance.
Typically, what you’ll find is that the highest performing boards on the market are electric longboards, purely because you can fit more on them.
But What About a Traditional Electric Skateboard?
Generally, any board less than 32” is regarded as a shortboard. The compact size of shortboards makes them a much more viable companion if you need to carry it every now and then, like on trains or going to the store. They also don’t take up much room when you need to store it at work or at home.
The downside to this is that sometimes, not always, but sometimes, you aren’t going to get the performance out of a shortboard that you would on a longboard. But that’s not always the reason you ride an electric skateboard.
Shorter boards usually have a kick tail on the deck, and this is one of the best reasons to buy an electric shortboard. The kicktail adds so much versatility to any board. It increases your manoeuvrability and allows you to tic-tac around corners by applying pressure to the kicktail, lifting up the front wheels and swivelling around. This makes turning, even in the tightest of situations just so easy.
Not only that, but you’ll also be able to use the kicktail to avoid any nasty cracks in the path, drop off curbs or ollie up onto ledges, depending on how good of a rider you are. If you’re an advanced skater, you’ll even be able to start doing some tricks like manuals, ollies and maybe even a kick flip!
So, to sum it all up, electric longboards are great for beginners and going on long, comfortable rides, while electric shortboards and penny boards are best for rides where you want to have a little more fun and maybe do some tricks along the way.
As always before you begin skating make sure to check local laws, read the owner’s manual and wear protective gear. Always be safe when riding your scooter, and ensure you have as much fun as possible!