Confused about the difference between a longboard, skateboard, and cruiser?
They’re all types of skateboards with different characteristics.
I want to emphasize that these terms are subjective. But I’ll do my best to describe each in a simple and concise way. If you want a quick answer, find it below.
The difference between a longboard, skateboard and cruiser comes down to deck shape, trucks, and wheels. Longboards usually are larger, have softer wheels, and can handle higher speeds. Skateboards have a traditional popsicle shape (best for tricks). And cruisers are a crossbreed of both.
If you’d rather watch a video explanation, check it below. If not, keep scrolling.
The main differences are in the deck shape, trucks, and wheels. First, let’s go over the different characteristics of…
There are quite a few differences when it comes to the decks of a longboard, skateboard, and cruiser.
Below are average longboard lengths/widths.
Longboard Lengths: 34″ – 46″
Longboard Widths: 8.5″ – 10″
The first thing you’ll notice is that longboards are larger.
Because longboards are longer, so are their wheelbases. A longer wheelbase makes riding more stable at higher speeds and carving not as snappy. Deck flex is another characteristic of longboards that you won’t find on skateboards. Not all longboards have flex though.
Below are average skateboard lengths/widths.
Skateboard Lengths: 31″ – 33″
Skateboard Widths: 7.25″ – 8.5″
When people reference ‘skateboards’ they’re usually referring to popsicle-shaped street boards. They have aggressive kicktail/nose because they’re made to do flip tricks.
Below are average cruiser lengths/widths.
Cruiser Lengths: 28″ – 34″
Cruiser Widths: 8″ – 10″
Cruiser skateboards are a crossbreed between popsicle-shapes and longboards. Their kicktail/nose are usually more subtle compared to popsicle-shapes. You can still do flip tricks on these, but it’s not ideal.
There are two common types of truck used on longboards, skateboards, and cruisers, which are…
- Reverse Kingpin Trucks (RKPs)
- Traditional Kingpin Trucks (TKPs)
Trucks on a longboard are typically reverse kingpins (One on the left in the above image). They’re inverted compared to traditional kingpins. RKPs are more stable at higher speeds.
TKPs are often found on skateboards and cruisers, but some cruisers have RKP trucks. They’re lower to the ground, lighter, and better for grinding since the kingpin is behind the hanger. They’re more agile because they have a higher baseplate angle.
Wheels on longboards and cruisers are usually softer and wider (78a-85a range) compared to skateboard wheels (95a-101a+). The softer the wheel, the better for cruising on the street because they absorb vibrations better.
If you roll over a rock with a softer wheel, it’ll absorb it better than a harder wheel.
Smaller and harder wheels are used on skateboards since you can easily do powerslides and they’re less forgiving if you get wheel bite after landing a trick.
Cruiser wheels are usually a crossbreed of a longboard and skateboard wheel. Smaller than a longboard wheel and softer than a skateboard wheel.
How To Choose?
Now that you have a rough idea of the differences, how do you choose?
Lets go over a few common scenarios.
Flip tricks, grinds, skateparks
If you want to mainly learn tricks, then you’re best off with a traditional skateboard.
Bomb hills, throw slides or larger setup
You’re most likely best off with a longboard if you want a larger setup. However, there are a few different categories of longboards. If you’re confused about which category is right for you, check out my beginner’s longboard guide.
Occasional flip tricks, cruise, portable
If that’s the case, then a cruiser is probably your best option. Maybe something like the Landyachtz Dinghy (one of my favorite cruisers).
You’ll want to know the basics, so you can pick a board that fits your riding style, but don’t get too hung up on the technicals.
Make a decision, because it’s all about getting outside, shredding, and having fun.