Everyone who sticks with longboarding long enough gets the speed bug eventually... when things get really fast, equipment and longboard setup starts to make a big difference.
HOW TO CREATE THE BEST DOWNHILL/SPEED SETUP
As speed increases, your setup becomes about striking the balance between avoiding speed wobble, but keeping the deck responsive enough to get round corners. As you get used to the speed, you'll want less emphasis on stability and more emphasis on maneuverability.
Generally DH setups need to turn a lot less than Freeride or slide setups, so look for longer wheelbases, low-angle trucks, and solid foot position.
A longer wheelbase will add heaps of stability, but go too long and you will start to loose grip, and have trouble tracking lines through corners.
It's also important to make sure that you have enough grip from your wheels, but that the grip you do have is controllable and predictable to make sliding nice and simple.
Like Freeride Longboards, Downhill decks often benefit from some 3D concave to help lock your feet in. You might also want to consider a footstop to hold your front foot in place - especially on those high-speed toeside slides.
DH decks are almost always built as stiff as possible, as a stiff deck gives much more directional control as speed and helps keep the dreaded wobbles at bay.
- Longer wheelbasees and low deck height gives ultimate stability. If you want grip, go a little bit shorter!
- Nice low ride height (and therefore center of gravity) makes footbraking easier and slide initiation simpler
- Super-stiff deck allows great tracking in corners
- Look for aggressive concave to give you plenty of security with foot position
- Lower angle trucks keep things stable as you really start to push the speed up
PRO DOWNHILL TRUCK SETUP TIP:
Try "Split angles," that is to say, wedge your trucks so that the back truck turns less (is a different angle) to the front.
An idea taken from Slalom Racing, it makes the board more stable and planted at speed, improves hookup from slides, and gives a real "racecar" feel to your steering. And best of all - it's free to try with risers! Check out our Risers Selection for some serious tunability...
What wheels are good for Downhill Longboarding?
This is where you need some serious steamrollers on your board! Bigger wheels roll faster, but look for a bigger core to keep the wheel from deforming whlist sliding, and softer durometers with sharp lips for maximum grip. Check out our Longboard Wheel Guide for more info!