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Cheap Skateboards – Are They Safe and Economical?

My kids are driving me nuts – they all want skateboards and not having a money tree at the bottom of the garden is big problem so my question is “Are Cheap Skateboards OK to Buy and Ride?”

Skateboarding is very popular and there are loads of cheaper skateboards out there. Some just look cheap, but some have trusted brand names, or even pro-skateboarder endorsements. So, how do you tell if a relatively cheaper skateboard that you’ve found at your local store, sports shop or even eBay is a good skateboard or not?

From experience, it usually depends on how serious you are about your skateboarding. If you want to casually skate every once is a while, then some of these cheaper skateboards might work out just fine. However, it might be a false economy if you end up taking it more seriously, as you will almost certainly have to buy a second, pro-grade skateboard. In addition to this, you won’t be able to blame your lack of progress on the board, (bad workman and tools comes to mind!) electric skateboard spares

Quality does make a huge difference. But how do you know if the cheaper skateboard you’re looking at is garbage or not? Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Wheels – Take a look at the wheels on the skateboard. Are they plastic? If so, throw the board away and keep walking – plastic wheels will give you a horrible skateboarding experience. Skateboard wheels should be made of urethane. Plastic wheels won’t grip the ground, and you will slide out of control, conversely rubber wheels will rip apart. As with a car the wheels are the footprint, and the only point of contact with the ground, so you want to ensure that these are of good quality.
  • Bearings – Make sure the wheels spin freely. If the bearings are stamped with any information, see if there is an ABEC rating. If there is, then they should be OK. If the wheels don’t spin freely, or there’s any grinding sound, then you will just end up replacing you skateboard bearings sooner rather than later if you buy this skateboard.
  • Trucks – or the “axles” of the skateboard. These should be made of a fairly sturdy metal. There should be rubber bushes inside the trucks – make sure they are rubber and not plastic. Try standing on the skateboard and leaning toe edge and heel edge . The board should flex a little each way, but not too much.
  • Deck – If you are inexperienced then this can be a difficult part to check. Basically, you want to make sure the deck is made from layers of wood pressed together, and that the edges are rounded and well treated. The graphics on the bottom can look cheaply painted on – that’s not a problem! Look at the edges of the deck and make sure that it looks like the board is made from several layers (called “laminates”). You can also stand on the skateboard, put both feet near the middle, and gently bounce up and down (and I mean gently – if the board is garbage and cracks, you don’t want to have to buy it because you broke it!). The board should flex under your weight, but not too much.
  • Price – Now this is the tricky one. If the cheaper skateboards you are looking at is under £15 or $30 US I would keep looking because quality skateboards are made from quality materials, and it’s almost impossible to imagine a complete skateboard being made for less than that and there’s a great chance you’ll soon be replacing parts. However, if you’re OK with that, then one of these cheap skateboards might be OK for you.

 

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