How to make a longboard faster: Longboards have picked up the pace relatively fast. They are now as popular as skateboarding.
But even though longboarding might have picked up the pace in terms of popularity, the chances are that the one that you own is not capable of picking up the pace that you require.
Well, all hope is not lost. We have faced a similar situation where the speed of our board was not according to our expectations.
And we couldn’t spend more money on getting something that has a higher overall speed. That is where we learned how to make a longboard faster. And we were pretty much shocked by the results.
Methods to Follow to Make Your Longboard Faster
Many might think that it is impossible to make a board go faster. Well, that is not entirely true.
With the right tools and accessories, it is undoubtedly possible to bump up the max speed. And that bump can be a little in the margin or pretty substantial. Nevertheless, the methods that you need to follow for this process is as follows:
Method 1: Change the Wheels
There is a high chance that your board has reasonably small wheels. Well, smaller wheels have a smaller diameter, which means they will not be able to cover that much surface area. That will lead to a reasonably slower speed.
Additionally, the smaller the wheels, the more the bearing is going to spin. The more the bearing spins, the more the amount of friction.
And as you know, friction is the enemy of speed. It can drag your board backward, which will cause your board to advance at an exceptionally slow rate.
On that note, bigger wheels are better at running over small bumps. The obstacles that are generally on the road will not be able to slow you down. Also, they work exceptionally well on rough terrains.
However, there is one good thing about smaller wheels. They can pick up the momentum exceptionally fast. And this will result in having a better overall acceleration. But the acceleration on the bigger wheels is not that far off.
Nonetheless, the reduced amount of friction is what is going to play an important role in the case of increasing the overall speed.
Considering that, we would recommend checking if large wheels are available for your board or not. If you find a compatible set, replace the old wheels with them.
Now, many might get confused and think that bigger wheels are different from what most riders call taller wheels. But they are the same thing.
Wheels are round in shape. So, if they are tall, that means the overall diameter of the wheel is large. In other words, tall wheels and big wheels are the same things.
You can see here a top-selling longboard wheels list on Amazon.
Tips on Replacing the Wheels:
- Like any other parts, there are going to be massive variations in terms of overall quality. Do note that the ones that are of high-quality materials will have a good build quality.
- We would highly advise against getting something that is of low-quality urethane. Those are going to sag a lot. And sagging will lead to the board having low speeds.
- Do not opt for the ones that have a poor rebound. Those are not going to pick up speed that easily. And they will be exceptionally slow as well.
Here, we would recommend checking the core of the wheel. If the core is great in shape and built quality, it should have a good overall rebound rate.
- The softer the wheels are, the more they will squish on the terrain. And they are going to absorb a lot of energy while rolling, which is not that ideal for speed.
Considering that, you should pick up the ones with relatively harder wheels. Those will allow you to pick up momentum exceptionally fast.
- Usually, wheels are going to have a durometer rating. This is going to dictate the overall hardness level.
The higher the durometer, the less the amount of compression. And the less the amount of compression, the smoother the wheels will roll on the roads. With smooth-rolling, picking up speed will be easy.
You can see here a complete review of the Top 16 Best Longboard Wheels Review In 2021
Method 2: Loosen up the Axle Nut
While many of the riders might advise against playing with the nuts, sometimes, tinkering with them can improve the overall performance.
Usually, the manufacturers will ship the board with a higher amount of tightness to make the wheels stay in place during the shipping. But this tightness can lower the speed.
And there is a high chance that the axle nut of your board is too tight. You can check this one out but simply making the wheel roll while holding it in the air.
If it does not roll smoothly, the axle nut is too tight. In that case, we would highly recommend loosening up a bit.
Loosening up this nut will enable the wheels to spin at a normal rate. However, if you loosen up the nut to a significant amount, the wheel will simply fall off. So, you should stay extremely careful while trying to loosen up the nut.
Here, we would recommend untightening the bolt to an amount in which the wheels show a little bit of play from one side to another.
Remember, the play on the side to side should be exceptionally low. If the wheel moves from one side to another at a higher rate, it will eventually fall off on the road.
Method 3: Tighten up the Truck
After telling you to untighten something, you might be wondering why we are recommending tightening up something.
Well, the trucks on the boards can come loose over time. And if they do loosen up to a significant amount, there will be too many speed wobbles. The more the wobbling, the less the speed is going to be.
Considering that, we would recommend checking the overall tightness of the truck. If it seems too loose, tighten it up.
There is going to be less amount of turning on the truck with the right amount of tightening. And that will eventually help in the case of mitigating the wobbling.
When there is less wobbling, you will notice that the board is picking up speed exceptionally fast.
However, this may not work for all boards, as the truck might already have the right amount of tightening. So, if it does not work for you, implement the other methods.
Method 4: Clean up the Board
Did you know that the dust gathered up on the parts can lower the overall speed significantly? Yes! They certainly can!
After riding through the sidewalks and muddy terrains, dirt and dust can accumulate on the bearings and other parts. And this accumulation can increase the overall friction.
Now, you already know that friction is not a good thing for the moving parts. It makes them slow.
So, cleaning the parts up would be a great idea if the speed does not increase that much after following the methods discussed above. And the steps for doing so is as stated:
Step 1: Extract the Bearing from the inside
Cleaning up the parts is a relatively easy process. There is no need to get frightened. Nevertheless, the first thing that you need to do is to remove the wheels. Here, unscrew the nut and take it out. That will loosen up the wheels.
After taking the nut out, simply pull the wheel out. Do make sure that you are not taking the wheel out entirely off the axle. Then, make the wheels wiggle a bit. After wiggling for a certain amount, you will hear a pop. This will make the bearing lose.
Once you hear the pop, pull out the wheel entirely from the axle. You will notice that the bearing is still on the axle.
Then, flip the wheel around and put it back on the axle. It should be right next to the first bearing. Wiggle it a bit more, and you will hear a second pop. This will loosen up the second bearing.
Now, pull the wheel out again. Like before, the second bearing should stay on the axle. Follow this step for all of the four wheels. And in the end, you should end up with eight loosened-up bearings, which are going to remain on the axle.
Step 2: Clean the Eight Bearings
Once you take the bearings out, move onto the cleaning procedure. Start by clearing out the dirt and dust that are settled on the surface.
Take a clean cloth and gently wipe them away. Then, soak the fabric in some cleaning liquid. Clean the surface with that. That will get all of the embedded dirt and dust out.
After cleaning up the surface, move along to clean up the bearing shield. If you do not know what a bearing shield is, it is the rubber that closes up the bearing from both sides.
It acts as a sealing for the balls, and it prevents the balls from getting out of the inside. You will need a sharp and pointy object for this.
Now that the bearing shield is out from both sides, the balls inside should be visible. Get some paint thinner and dip the entire bearing inside it.
If paint thinner is not available, get some alcohol or acetone. Those are going to work just as well as a paint thinner.
Shake the bearing inside the liquid for a couple of minutes. It will clean up the inside of the bearing. You will notice that the liquid has turned dark. Dump the bearings out of the liquid and clean them thoroughly with a clean cloth.
Step 3: Lubricate
Now that the bearing is all clean, dry them up properly. Here, we would recommend using a paper sheet.
That will do a proper job of absorbing any of the excess liquid that is on the surface. After drying the bearings up, you need to get your hands on a good lubricating liquid.
Our pick here would be the Bones Speed Cream. It is a low viscosity lubricant. And as it is fully synthetic and has a unique formula, it can withstand high temperatures exceptionally well.
The lubricant will also do a great job in reducing friction and protecting the unit from rust and corrosion.
On that note, Prolong Super Lubricants PSL15000 is a great pick as well. The anti-friction metal technology it integrates will do a great job in terms of reducing the overall friction. Also, the lubricant can treat metal surfaces thoroughly.
Whatever you do, do not pick WD40 or anything equivalent to that! They are not going to protect the bearing or make them roll faster. Instead, they will just attract more dust and dirt, increasing the overall friction.
After picking a proper lubricant, spray it on the bearing. Here, you need to cover each of the sides. Make sure that you do not wipe up the liquid after spraying.
Let it sit for a while. Also, if it is not possible to spray the lubricant, simply dip the bearing into the liquid. That will work adequately in the case of coating the surface.
Ensure that each of the sides is properly coated with the lubricant. If you spray the lubricant, work on one side first and then flip the bearing around to work on the other one. Let the lubricant sit for a while.
Step 4: Mount the Bearing Back into the Axle
Once you are done cleaning and coating the bearings with lubricants, prepare to put them back in place. First, put the rubber sealing back on each of the sides.
Push them properly in place, or else dirt and dust will easily access the balls, which will not be ideal.
Then put the first bearing back into the axle. Put the wheel back into place and push it gently. You will hear a pop, which will indicate that the bearing is properly inside the wheel.
Take the wheel out and place the second bearing, then put it on the axle. By flipping the wheel around, push it into the axle and wait for the pop.
Follow the same process for four of the wheels. After that, you should be done with putting the wheels back into place.
And all that is left now is putting the nuts back into the place. Here, you need to ensure that you do not tighten up the nut too much because that will restrict the wheels from moving smoothly.
Repeat the tightening process for the rest of the three wheels. And once you are done with the tightening procedure, you should be capable of riding the board at a hopefully higher speed.
Method 5: Upgrade the Bearings
If cleaning and lubing up the bearings does not do the trick, there is a high chance you have low-performance bearings. That would be the case for the boards that come with low-quality units. And in that case, upgrading them is an option that you should consider.
However, the quality of the bearings is not the only factor here. Damages and wears are two of the other aspects where you would need to get them replaced.
A clear indicator of wear and damages is the squeaking sound that does not go away even after cleaning the units. Another sign of damage is the janky movements.
That being said, there are a plethora of these units out in the market. And not all of them will be the same. Some will be capable of offering higher overall performance, while most will perform pretty mediocre. But the good thing is that we have tested most of them. And these are the ones we would recommend:
This bearing is one of the top-selling units on the market. And the thing that makes this one stand out the most is the Nanoceramic grease.
This lubricant performs exceptionally well in increasing the overall smoothness. And with the rise of smoothness, speed should see a dramatic improvement.
Bones has been one of the reliable manufacturers for parts in the skateboard and longboard industry. And this offering from them is not an exception.
The non-contact nature of the unit is what makes these highly reliable. And these work by creating a significantly less amount of friction, which will increase the speed.
Another top-rated unit in the market is this offering. This pack is what most of the rider consider as a competition package.
These have the optimal amount of polishing. And the plastic reinforcement of the bearing is proper and can withstand higher revolutions pretty easily. Also, these can offer a friction-free performance.
The manufacturer Bones does not disappoint with its offering. And the case is the same with this package.
The special heat reduction technology of the units will offer stellar overall performance. And thanks to the ceramic design, these can attain an exceptionally higher amount of speed.
Pick any of these by considering the overall quality and performance that they are capable of offering. Replace the old bearing with these, and you should see a noteworthy speed increase.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6utRqFTKaDI
Tips on Choosing the Right Bearing:
- The most important aspects are the plastic cage, the curvature, and the rubber seals. These are what make an offering good and worthy of purchase.
- You will notice ABEC rating on some of the offerings. This rating is not correlated with the overall quality of the units at all.
- Usually, these are manufactured all over the world. But the ones from Germany, China, Thailand, and Switzerland are the most popular. And from our research, we have found that the ones from Germany and Switzerland are better than the rest.
- Check for built-in spacers. If there are no built-in spacers, the unit is simply not high in quality.
You can see here 6 Best Longboard Bearings Review In 2021
Method 6: Change the Riding Style
If you are not noticing any significant improvement in terms of speed after following all of the methods we mentioned above, work on your riding style.
Yes, you might be getting close to the highest speed record while riding downhill after following the methods, but that is not something we are focusing on here.
Now, you might be wondering what we actually mean by changing the overall riding style. Well, after going through these steps, you will have a clear idea of what we are trying to imply here:
Step 1: Learn How to Stop at Higher Speeds Properly
Most of the riders fear that they will not be able to stop when they reach a higher speed properly. This fear can psychologically prevent you from attaining a high speed, even when your longboard is highly capable of reaching exceptionally high speeds.
Here, first, you need to have proper gears. It is a confidence booster. And when you have higher confidence, the fear of not being able to stop when the speed is too high will not play that much of a role in slowing you down.
So, we would highly recommend picking up the right gears and wearing them while riding.
On that note, choosing the right gears is not the end of the story. You should also check the quality and the amount of protection they can offer. The higher the amount of protection, the better because you never know when an accident will occur.
Secondly, you need to work on slowing down after reaching a higher speed. By acquiring this skill properly, your confidence level will see a boost.
Also, you should invest time in learning how to properly get your board into a complete stop after reaching an exceptionally high speed.
Step 2: Acquire the Skill of Taming Speed Wobbles
We have mentioned before that the speed wobbles can deteriorate your overall speed significantly. However, there is a way of mitigating this problem.
And for that, you need to tighten the truck to an appropriate amount. After that, you should see an increase in speed and less amount of fluctuation in the entire ride.
Step 3: Learn the Right Aerodynamic Position
Aerodynamics plays an important role in the case of speed. Without getting into the proper aerodynamic position, there is going to be too much air resistance.
The air resistance and friction work in the same manner. Both of these will lower your overall speed. So, none of them is your friend here.
However, it is possible to lower the air resistance significantly. You need to get into the right riding position while riding the board. Many riders will refer to this position as tucking. No matter what the position is called, it is the same thing.
Get your chest down to your knee. Bend over and close the gap as much as possible. That will lower the number of air pockets.
Also, get your hands on the back and tuck them as close to your body. Once done right, it would be possible to reach up to 50 mph. And that speed is not something to take for granted.
Step 4: Lower the Twitching Rate
If you are not familiar with the term twitching, it simply refers to what most of us riders do, shifting from one side to another. This shifting can lower the speed significantly because it will make the wheels get out of the straight line.
Keeping the wheels straight will allow you to keep the speed consistent. However, do not go straight if there is an obstacle in front.
You will simply crash and get injured. Twitch only when you have to. And during other times, keep your board as straight as possible.
As you can see, learning how to make a longboard faster is not as tough as learning rocket science. The methods are pretty simple and easy to follow.
And hopefully, after going through all of them and following them appropriately, you will see a significant improvement in your speed.