When we're talking to a customer in the shop about a pintail, drop through or cruising longboard, we often find ourselves explaining the difference between a cheaper setup and a more expensive setup.
To the untrained eye, there's often very little difference - especially when shopping online.
However, if you come into our shop, get a closer look and stand on a few different setups, it becomes obvious that you get a lot more bang for your buck with higher-priced setups.
There's a lot of differences - better quality wood and finish, faster urethane, faster wheels and bearings - but in our eyes, the most important is the trucks.
The trucks are what do all of your turning. They are the component that gives your board the carving feeling that, if you're anything like us, is the reason you're buying a longboard in the first place.
If you're going to buy a cheap longboard - skimp everywhere but on the trucks.
We'll say it again - don't skimp on the trucks!!!
We've taken three longboard truck brands from three stock pintail setups at different prices, and stripped them down to show you where your money is realy going.
The boards we have here are (L-R):
- Arbor 37" "Fish" Pintail with Paris Trucks - £170
- Lush Longboards 44" Mako Pintail with Sabre Trucks - £165
- Globe 44" "Rosewood" Pintail with Slant Trucks - £150
These are all pretty standard cruising pintails, with nice woodgrain finishes and a classy vibe. Boards like this are probably very much on your radar if you're looking for a nice pintail to cruise about on. You can read more about them in our Pintail Rundown.
For now though, let's focus on the trucks.
Firstly - these trucks do actually have a lot on common. They all have a turny geometry. The Sabres are 48 degrees, the Paris are 50 degrees, and the Globe are 50 degrees. In terms of geometry, all these trucks are well suited to the boards they come on.
All of them are "Reverse Kingpin" trucks. Any decent longboard really benefits from this style of truck - they are more stable at speed and they turn better than regular "Street" trucks. What's not to like!
Quality and Finish
Here's all three hangers laid out. We've picked some raw ones so you can really see the difference. L-R:
- Sabre Trucks Gravity Cast 356 Aluminium
- Slant Trucks Die cast from an unspecified Aluminium
- Paris Die Cast 380 Aluminim
What you can see straight away in this picture is that the Sabre and the Paris have a much nicer quality finish. It's smoother and more consistent.
What you can't see in this picture is that the Sabre and to a lesser extent the Paris will be cast from a much better metal, and that consistent finish indicates a more consistent metal pour.
Bottom line - the Sabre and the Paris are much tougher, stronger trucks. This doesn't really matter if all you're doing is cruising about, but start sliding or even just dropping off kerbs, and you'll start to bend those cheaper hangers.
Pivots and pivot cups
The metal hanger pivot and the pivot cup is where the magic happens on any truck.
If a truck has a smooth, consistently round pivot, it's going to do a much better job of turning.
Also, as anyone who has skated a cheaper set of trucks for a while will tell you, badly-finished pivots turning in substandard pivot cups makes your pivot cups wear out way faster.
Pivot cups are replaceable and cheap, but they can be difficult to source as each truck brand has their own fit. L-R we have:
- Sabre Trucks Hanger Pivot
- Paris Trucks Hanger Pivot
- Slant Trucks Hanger Pivot
The Sabre and the Paris are quite clearly better finished, smoother and rounder than the Slant.
And guess what?
That means a smoother, more flowing turn. And longer pivot cup life.
Looking at the pivot cups themselves, L-R:
- Paris Trucks Pivot Cup - Urethane
- Sabre Trucks Pivot Cup - Injection Moulded Urethane
- Slant Trucks Pivot Cup - Plastic
Urethane pivot cups is without a doubt what you need here.
Urethane lasts way longer, and is self-lubricating.
The Paris and the Sabre are both much better here.
Check out the extra material on the Sabre too - that means better cushioning for your feet and a smoother turn.
Trust us - this stuff really make a difference!!!
The heart of your trucks are the bushings. L-R again:
- Unbranded bushings from the Slant Truck
- Paris Trucks Stock Bushings
- Sabre Aftermarket Bushings
There's two things going on here.
The first you can see easily, which is that the more expensive Paris and Sabre have a lot more urethane to turn on.
This makes a world of difference.
More urethane means more return to centre, better board feel, and deeper turns.
What you can't see is the lower quality of the urethane quality on the Slant. They're just not as bouncy as the Sabre or even the Paris, which are poured from premium urethane.
That Sabre's come built up stock with super-high quality aftermarket bushings should speak volumes.
Also - check out the way the washers on the Paris and Sabre are tight-fitting to the bushing. This makes a massive difference to how well the bushing performs.
On the Slant trucks, the washer isn't really doing anything at all.
The Bottom Line
Simply put, you get what you pay for! Don't buy a cheaper complete and expect it to skate as good as a better specced one.
Hopefully this exercise really demonstrates the potential pitfalls of shopping for your skate gear online. It's easy to see two boards side by side on a website somewhere and not appreciate the difference that a slightly more expensive board makes.
If you can, do come into our shop and stand on a few boards before buying one!
If you can't make it in, then give us a call and we'll be happy to take you through the options that suit you best.
Remember, we offer a Sabre Bushing Pack Free with all orders over £100, so you can dial in your ride that little bit more!