Should I buy a cheap cruiser board? (you guessed it… No!)
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and get yourself a fun little cruiser board to nip around on. You’ve tapped ‘cruiser board’ into the old Google search and found a ton of options. They all look pretty much the same right? Why would you spend £100+ when you could grab that super cheap board you’ve found on Amazon for less than half the cash? We’re here to tell you, and have spent 35 of our hard earned pounds on one of these cheap Osprey cruisers just to see what’s what, and will be comparing it to the Lush Nomad and Landyachtz Dinghy.
The first thing we noticed when receiving this board was its packaging. It's wrapped up in a plastic bag. Does a skateboard destined to spend its life on the streets really need to be wrapped up in plastic? we don't think so, which is why we ship all of our boards in environmentally freindly packaging.
The other key point here is that most damage to boards in transit comes from them being dropped on the nose or tail. we ship our boards with these parts protected to prevent this sort of damage. A plastic bag does nothing to protect your board from damage on its way to you. If the people packing this board up and sending it to you don't care enough to protect it properly then you can be sure they don't care much about how fun it is to skate!
So let's talk about the deck – it feels thin and cheap, there are visible imperfections in the ply, and these are just what we can see from the outside. Cheap wood is more likely to warp and crack, and will give you a dead and dull
feeling board in no time.
Compare that to a mini cruiser from Lush or Landyachts, and you’re getting high quality Canadian Maple which will feel lively, poppy, and energetic under foot. This cheap board might look like a
good deal, but 6 months down the line when its warped and floppy you’ll be
wishing you’d gone for something proper.
That brings us on to the shape. Look at it! The Osprey looks like an egg with a cardboard box stuck on the back, and the tail feels nasty. That narrow point at the end of the tail is a weak point right where the board needs to be strong.Take a look at it compared to the Dinghy and the Nomad and you can see the difference. A well-shaped board will hug your feet and feel good under them. The osprey feels like you’re standing on something designed by someone who doesn’t ride skateboards.
Probably because you are!
Lets move on to the parts these boards are built with, starting with the trucks. Your trucks are the heart and soul of your board, they control how it turns. Good trucks will leave you carving around with a grin on your face, and bad trucks will have you picking your board up to get round corners or relying heavily on your kick tail because they just don't turn!
The Lush and the Landyachtz boards
come specced with high end trucks From Sabre and Bear. These brands have been around for many years, and know how to make trucks that turn well, becuase they actually care about how much you enjoy skateboarding. They use high rebound urethane for thier bushings, and have solid pressed in kingpins to prevent any slop.
The Osprey on the other hand comes assembled with what we can only assume are the cheapest trucks they could find. These parts aren't just bad because they are cheap, the truck bushings, pivot cups, and kingpin slop will result in a board that literally does not turn properly. Sure you could improve them a little with new bushings, but they are fundamentally bad, and aren't going to give you that smooth carving feeling you want from your cruiser!
Wheels and Bearings
Unless you're totally missing the point, you are going to want your cruiser board to roll fast and smooth. This is acheived by having good quality wheels and bearings. High rebound wheels and well sealed bearings will allow your board to roll faster for longer, getting you further with every single push.
The Nomad and Dinghy come with Sabre and Bear bearings, which use labyrinth seals and built-in spacers to ensure that they keep running fast for as long as possible. By comparison the Osprey has a cheap metal sheilded bearing, which will do a much worse job of keeping out dirt and moisture as well as being harder to clean.
On to the wheels... You could be forgiven for thinking cruiser wheels are all pretty much the same. they feel sort soft and they're about the same size? If only things were so simple. Good quality wheels like the Cults and Hawgs on Lush and Landyachtz boards are made from high rebound urethane, and feature specially designed hard plastic cores. the high rebound of the urethane combined with its supportive core results in a wheel which, rolls, grips, and generally skates as well as possible. The wheels on the Osprey roll really slowly. This is hard for to us to quantify so you'll have to take our word for it, but you don't want to be pushing twice as often as your freinds just to keep up!
Hardware and assembly
Looking at the hardware we can see that the Osprey has been assembled badly. It’s bolt
heads already show signs of a tool having slipped in them, and they were done
up far too tight, driving the countersunk heads of the bolts deep into the
wood. This creates weak points where the board is likely to split and fail in
I’m sure it’s becoming clear now why we do not
recommend these cheap SSO’s (Skateboard Shaped Objects) and would instead
strongly urge you to pick a board from a proper manufacturer who have really
thought it through.
We could bang on all day about the reasons why but simply
put: you’ll just have more fun on a proper board. In our experience, Cruiser
boards that retail for under £100 are simply not good enough to learn to skate
or enjoy skateboarding on.
You might be thinking 'of course they are saying this, they want me to buy a more expensive board'... Trust me, It would be really easy for us to buy in a load of dirt cheap cruiser boards, slap a nice graphic on the bottom, and sell them for quick cash, but we don’t, because first and foremost we want you to enjoy skateboarding, and will never
sell a product that we wouldn’t skate ourselves, or let our friends, kids, or
anyone for that matter have to skate.
We are your friends, and friends don’t
let friends ride crap skateboards.