The search for the best Downhill and Freeride longboards can be an extensive journey, as there are quite a few variables to look for when choosing the board that fits your style. Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of our favorite boards and setups to make this search far easier. Check out this guide to find the best Downhill and Freeride longboards for you.
When Longboarding was created in the 1950’s, it quickly garnished the nickname “sidewalk surfing.” Just like in surfing, you have your casual riders and your “extremists.” Downhill and Freeride skaters are the longboard equivalent to the surfers who take on big ocean swells, constantly looking for the next big thrill. The skills and techniques used in both Downhill and Freeride are interchangeable, however there are quite a few differences that separate them.
Downhill Vs Freeride
As made obvious in its name, Downhill longboarding is the action of riding your board down large hills at high speeds, often referred to as “bombing.” To the novice or average skater, this style of skating may seem very daunting. For the adrenaline junkies out there, Downhill skating is an ultimate thrill.
To maintain control and reduce speed wobbles, Downhill riders use high quality boards and components that are focused on stiffness and stability.
Similar to Downhill skating, Freeriders typically tend to bomb hills as well. However they are more focused on executing the biggest slides and fluid carving at higher speeds.
While Downhill riding is usually done on steep, mountainside roads, Freeriding is often performed on mild hills through neighborhoods and cities. The ideal Freeride board tends to have a bit more flex than a Downhill board, but still utilizes components for stability while performing fast slides and carves.
Prior to choosing the best Downhill and Freeride longboards, there’s a few things you should know. If you’re an experienced skater looking for a new thrill, then it might be time to take on that big hill you have had your eyes on for a while. If you’re new to skating, there’s a few things you should learn before you decide to make the move to Downhill and Freeride skating.
First off, to be ready to take on any hills, you have to have quite a bit of experience in maintaining your board at high speeds and sharp turns. Start off by practicing pushing to high speeds and making sharp carves left to right to maintain speed.
Next, start pushing your feet a bit harder during carves to execute a slide (pushing the board sideways). You’re ready to start taking on hills once you have these techniques down.
Just like in any other sport, mastering your technique is only part of the challenge. Without the right equipment, Downhill and Freeride skating can still be difficult. Bombing a hill is far more dangerous than commuting around town and you should always wear the proper safety equipment when riding.
A helmet is essential in this style of riding and, thankfully, there’s a variety of helmets to choose, from standard skateboarding helmets to full-face protection. For the people looking to push it to the next level, make sure you’re equipped with sliding gloves and knee pads to reduce the risk of injury.
Setting Up Your Downhill and Freeride Longboards
Choosing the best Downhill and freeride longboards may be intimidating at first. Downhill decks are often shaped quite differently than your average longboard. The ideal Downhill board will be stiff, have a slight concave and a directional shape. The stiffness is crucial for maintaining control at high speeds.
The concave keeps your feet snug and in place. A directional board helps with the aerodynamics to reach higher speeds. To maximize stability, agility and turning at high speeds your board should measure between 37″-43″ long.
A Downhill deck will typically lack kick-tails, as flip tricks aren’t the focus when riding. Most Downhill decks are typically top-mounted as it provides a more responsive ride and can still be stable with the right setup and rider positioning.
Like the axles and shocks of a race car, the trucks and bushings of Downhill and Freeride longboards are extremely important to maintain stability when riding at high speeds. The majority of Downhill boards are 9″-10″ wide, so a set of 180mm trucks will be ideal.
There’s a vast amount of science that has been done when it comes to choosing the right Downhill truck, but the basics are: a reverse kingpin, an angle between 42°-45° and a wheelbase between 28″-35″ .
Wheels & Bearings
Choosing the right wheels for your Downhill board is a bit more straightforward, you want a set of wheels that has enough grip but can still slide well. Downhill wheels typically are made of high quality urethane and have a diameter between 70-75mm.
Sharp-lipped wheels are the most popular shape for Downhill as they maintain grip yet are still easy to slide with. An offset core placement is great for sliding while maintaining wheel life. An 80a durometer also helps with wheel life while maintaining grip. Wheels between 50-60mm wide are recommended for optimal sliding ability.
Bearings aren’t nearly as important as choosing the right wheels, so we recommend an inexpensive set paired with a set of spacers.
If you’re looking for a less extreme ride and are interested in doing tricks while taking on less steep hills, then shop for a Freeride longboard. Freeride boards are typically symmetrical (can be ridden in either direction) which is ideal for doing large slides and spins.
Since you’re still bombing hills, these boards are still stiff for stability, yet offer a bit more flex than a Downhill board. Many Freeride boards feature a drop-down deck and deep concave for the ultimate fit for your feet and a low center of gravity for added stability.
Drop-through deck construction is popular as well as they provide a bit lighter of a platform. Freeride decks are typically between 38″-42″ and have a width between 8.5″-10.5″.
Since the main focus in Freeride skating is executing big slides and deep carves, you want to find a pair of trucks that are wide enough (180mm) and more responsive.
While the lower base-plate angle trucks (between 42°-48°) are ideal for maintaining stability at high speeds, trucks with a higher base-plate angle (between 48°-54°) are great for achieving the responsiveness needed for that fast, carving feel.
Wheels & Bearings
Another vastly different aspect when it comes to Downhill vs Freeride are your longboard wheels. Freeride wheels need less traction than a Downhill wheel and should be able to execute predictable slides. To achieve this, you want to buy a set of wheels with a 68-72mm diameter, a round lip profile and a center-set core placement.
This setup allows for easier, more predictable slides while maintaining wheel longevity. Wheel durometer depends on the size of the rider. Smaller riders should choose a durometer between 78-83a, while larger riders should go for a durometer of 81-86a. Just like with Downhill boards, bearings are much less important, as long as you have a good set of spacers installed.
5 Best Downhill Longboards
Landyachtz Evo Spectrum
It’s literally impossible to talk Downhill and Freeride longboards without mentioning the legendary Landyachtz Evo. The choice board for a variety of Downhill racing champions, this board offers amazing stability on a unique directional drop down, top mount platform.
Made of 9 plies of Canadian maple, flex is practically non-existent. The Evo features a wedged nose that is great for steering and a de-wedged tail for stability at higher speeds. The 2” drop down construction of the Evo is far more extreme than other boards and provides a very low ride for ultimate stability. This may take a bit longer to get used to, but is a riders dream once mastered.
Riders can choose between a 36” or 40” deck, depending on your height. Equipped with Bear Grizzly trucks, Hawgs wheels and Space Balls bearings, the Evo is ready to take on the most extreme hills right out of the box!
Bear Grizzly 852 181mm trucks
Biggie Hawgs 70mm 76a wheels
Space Balls Abec 7 bearings
|Length: 36” or 40”|
Wheelbase: 31.7″ or 32.3”
9 ply maple construction
Moonshine MFG Spirit
Built with the most extreme riders in mind, the Moonshine MFG Spirit is an nearly indestructible Downhillers dream! The 34” directional board features an amazing rocker/drop platform to fit a variety of stances. The shorter length makes it an ideal choice for smaller riders or anyone with smaller feet.
Made of a single ply, Vert-lam wood core, the Spirit delivers the stiffness necessary for Downhill while adding plenty of responsiveness. What makes this board even more unique is the 60d urethane used on the rails and truck mounts to make it highly durable and waterproof. Add on a variable wheelbase and you have a highly customizable board for any riding style.
Radial, Rocker concave
Arsenal 44° 165mm trucks
White Lightning Speed Grip 73mm 78a wheels
Wheelbase: Variable 22.5”-25.5”
Single ply vert-lam wood core
Zenit Mini Rocket
Similar to the Moonshine spirit mentioned before, the Zenit Mini Rocket breaks the rule of Downhill board being between 37-43” long, coming in at 33” long. Yet, despite it’s shorter size, the Mini Rocket was made to perform!
The deck is constructed of 5 plies of Canadian Maple, sandwiched between layers of Bi-axial Carbon Fiber and Tri-axial Fiberglass making it more than stiff enough for the gnarliest hills. Featuring a narrow 8.5” width, radial concave and micro drop, this board is the perfect fit for smaller riders or more experienced riders who are comfortable in a narrow stance.
The addition of a variable wheelbase allows you to customize the Mini Rocket to fit your riding style perfectly.
Mellow rocker, radial concave
Paris V3 50° 165mm trucks
Orangatang Cage 73mm 86a wheels
Zenit built-in bearings
5 plies Canadian Maple, Biaxial Carbon Fiber, Triaxial Fiberglass
DB Keystone V2
If you’re a serious rider, looking to take your Downhill game to the next level, then the DB Keystone V2 is the board for you! Built to shred and take a beating, the Keystone V2 is constructed of a bamboo core, tri-axial fiberglass reinforcement and carbon fiber stringers.
This seriously stiff board will withstand the highest speeds without losing stability. The radial micro-drop and concave have been toned down from the previous version, allowing for a more ergonomic ride. To top off the durability of the Keystone V2, DB has pressed urethane into the nose and tail for added shock absorption.
Finished with deep wheel wells, kick-tails and a variable wheelbase, the Keystone V2 is a versatile Downhill board made to last.
Radial rocker, mild concave
Caliber II 50° 184mm trucks
Orangatang Stimulus 70mm wheels
Bamboo, Triaxial fiberglass & Carbon X
Loaded Truncated Tesseract
No best Downhill and Freeride longboards list is complete without the fine tuned, race-driven machine known as the Loaded Truncated Tesseract. The Truncated Tesseract is the smallest board in Loadeds’ Tesseract family, yet delivers the same high performance build as it’s larger brethren.
The Truncated Tesseract loses it’s kick-tail in favor of a blunt, aerodynamic design made to take on the largest mountain roads at high speeds, while executing insane slides.
Constructed of the highest quality bamboo, fiberglass and cork, this board will maintain a lifetime of Downhill abuse while offering great stability and shock absorption. Featuring a symmetrical rocker and W concave, you can rest assured that your feet will sit snug as you take on the tightest turns and make slides a breeze.
Finished off with a variable wheelbase, this board can be fine tuned to any riding style. If you have the money to drop and are looking for an amazing investment for your Downhill arsenal, the Loaded Truncated Tesseract is the perfect addition.
Symmetrical rocker, W concave
Caliber 50° 184mm trucks
Orangatan For President 70mm wheels
Bamboo, Fiberglass, Cork
5 Best Freeride Longboards
If you’re new to the Freeride scene and looking for reliable Downhill and Freeride longboards at a great price, then check out the Mercer Phantom! The Phantom is a great middle of the road Freeride longboard that can easily hold its own against many more expensive boards.
The drop-down, drop-through construction is ideal for taking on mild hills and will keep your feet in place and prevent wheel bite when executing all the wild slides and spins of Freeriding. The 40” board is 9.25” wide, constructed of 7 plies of maple for durability and a touch of flex and has a menacing design meant to turn heads.
The Phantom comes pre-equipped with a great Freeride setup: 180mm, 50° reverse kingpin trucks sitting on a set of 70mm 80a Mercer wheels. While these components are great out of the box, we’d recommend upgrading them once you start moving into more advanced Freeride techniques.
Overall, the Mercer Phantom is an affordable, well balanced board for either riders new to Freeride or advanced riders looking for a fun board to add to their collection.
Compound 180mm reverse kingpin trucks
Mercer 70mm 80a wheels
7 ply maple construction
Globe Geminon Micro-drop Coconut
Have you ever had the thought: “Man it would be awesome if you could throw some trucks and wheels on a coconut and go Freeride!” No?? Well, Globe has decided to bring you the next best thing if you have, allow us to introduce you to the Globe Geminon Micro-Drop Coconut.
This unique board is constructed of Hard Rock Maple and coconut husks, making it a durable board that is naturally water and sun resistant and eco-friendly! The Geminon measures in at 37.5” long, 10” wide and features a micro-drop platform in a drop-through design. This low profile setup allows for maximum stability and high speeds.
Completed with Globes 180mm Slant reverse kingpin trucks with reversible 50/54 degree hangers and 70mm 83a Conical wheels, this coco… I mean longboard, is ready to shred your nearest hill!
Slight W concave
Slant 180mm reverse kingpin trucks
Conical 70mm 83a wheels
Coconut & Hard Rock maple construction
Sector 9 Canyon Catapult
Easily one of the most recognizable brands in the Longboard world, Sector 9 delivers another great Freeride board with it’s Canyon Catapult series.
Featuring an elliptical drop-down design, the Canyon Catapult has slightly sharper rails for more stability during Freeride. Combine that with a drop-through design and symmetrical shape and you have a reliable board ready to withstand high speeds, big slides and 180s.
The Canyon Catapult measures in at 38” long, 9.5” wide and is constructed of 8 ply maple for added durability. Another thing that makes Sector 9 great is that they complete their decks with their own high quality components.
Finished with 10” Gullwing Reverse trucks, 64mm 78a Omegas wheels and Abec 5 bearings with built in spacers, the Canyon Catapult is a Freeride machine that is versatile enough to cruise around town or take on the steepest hills.
|Elliptical drop-down mold|
Gullwing 10” reverse kingpin trucks
Sector 9 Omegas 64mm 78a wheels
8 ply Maple
Arbor Dropcruiser Flagship
Probably one of the most Eco-friendly of the Downhill and Freeride longboards brands in the market, Arbor delivers an amazing and sustainable Freeride board with its Drop-cruiser flagship model. With such a classy design this simplistic board is both reliable and a pleasure to look at.
The Drop-cruiser Flagship measures in at 38” long, 9.75” wide and is constructed of 9 ply Canadian Hard Rock Maple with a premium Palisander wood top & bottom finish ply, coming from sustainable sources of supply. This makes the board durable and stiff, perfect for your Freeride needs.
The double drop design maximizes stability when taking on steep hills and minimizes foot slip. Arbor completes the Drop-cruiser Flagship with a pair of 180mm Paris 50 degree reverse kingpin trucks and a set of Arbors Easyrider series 69mm 78a wheels.
This is the board for anyone who is environmentally conscious, yet looking for an amazing Freeride board that will stand out!
Paris 180mm reverse 50° trucks
Arbor Easyrider Series – Outlook 69mm 78a wheels
9 Ply Canadian Hardrock Maple with a Premium Palisander Wood Top & Bottom Finish Ply
Another board that checks all the boxes when it comes to finding the ultimate Downhill and Freeride longboards is the DB Paradigm. This 41” double-drop is made to withstand the most aggressive riders and is tuned for stability at high speeds.
The Paradigm features super comfy dropped pockets making sliding a breeze, as your feet will stay nice and snug on the deck. With its length, 9” width and 8 ply maple construction, the Paradigm is a great board for riders of all sizes.
DB completes the Paradigm with a pair of 180mm Atlas Ultralight trucks and a set of 69mm 78a Cloud Ride wheels, equipped with Abec 7 bearings. This setup is all you’ll need to enjoy long Freeride sessions on all types of hills.
Finished off with a gorgeous design and laser etched grip-tape, the Paradigm is the perfect weapon to add to your Freeride arsenal.
Mellow Elliptical W concave
Atlas 180mm Ultralight trucks
Cloud Ride 69mm 78a wheels
8 ply Maple construction
Now that you know what exactly makes the perfect Downhill and Freeride longboards, it’s time to get out there and put your skills (and courage) to the test! Whether you’re a novice rider looking to conquer that hill down the road or a seasoned rider looking for the right board to help you break your Downhill PR, this guide should help any adrenaline junky find the thrill they are looking for.
Have you ridden any of these boards, or have a favorite one that you love bombing hills with and think it should be added to this list? If you do, leave a comment below and share your experience!