There have been a lot of changes to the industry this year, and brands that have been with us forever are now just simply gone. This can make it harder to know what’s worth buying or which of the new brands you can trust.
Fortunately, when it comes to selecting a good downhill longboard there is a fair amount of performance overlap between downhill, freeriding, and commuting longboards. This translates into options, and honestly, some quite good ones.
We’re going to take a look at the most popular Downhill Longboard products on the market and give you the Pros & Cons of each. We’re also going to make sure you have access to the latest pricing information so that you can find the longboard setup that brings the benefits & value you need.
Best Longboards for Downhill
 Sector 9 Blue Wave Lookout
|• Rides on 10″ Gullwing Charger trucks, with X-Large 74mm 78A Sector 9 wheels with, PDP Abec 5 bearings|
• Durable and lightweight drop-through 5-ply Bamboo deck
• Downhill/Freeride capable setup out-of-box
|• Grip is a spray-on texture, not grip tape |
• Setup is balanced between downhill/freeriding
Length: 42” (107 cm)
Width: 9.6” (24.38 cm)
The Blue Wave Lookout from Sector 9 is a well-known and popular model, though most serious longboarders probably see it as a freeriding board as opposed to a downhill board.
This is mostly due to the hardware that comes fitted on the board, and would likely be swapped out by serious downhill enthusiasts anyway. The longboard’s trucks are actually high quality, meaning the board can be a serious downhill contender with minimal upgrading necessary.
The wheels on this board are nice and big – much larger than you see on most longboards, actually. This is a good thing in a downhill board, as larger diameter wheels translate into higher top speeds. The 78a durometer rating is a touch soft for serious downhill riding (closer to 90a is preferred for more speed, typically), but does lend itself well to the aspect of more comfortably freeriding and commuting. This is likely the point, as most longboarders want a board that is versatile, with the ability to perform well in a given category. Customizing a board entirely for one style might be pro-level, but it can render the board virtually unrideable in all other venues.
The balance here feels like an intentional part of the design, and the good overall performance is likely due to it.
One thing worth noting is the decision to use a spray-on grip texture in place of standard longboard grip tape on the contact surface of the deck. This is absolutely common with bamboo boards, as most longboarders appreciate the natural beauty of the bamboo coming through. This is why bamboo longboards are so popular with the surfing crowd, because spray-on grip is typically more gentle on bare feet than coarse grip tape.
This is a great longboard – we honestly had to reach to find any negatives at all. Even then, the negatives seem more like preferences that the manufacturer tried to anticipate even though you just can’t please all of the people, all of the time.
 Atom Longboards Blue Geo
|• 8-ply laminated maple|
• Deck drop through cut-outs are CNC machined
• Atom Area 51 Wheels – 70mm diameter x 51mm wide – 78a
• 80 grit silicon-carbide grip tape
• Rubber-shielded ABEC-9 bearings with high-speed lubricant
|• Heat transfer graphic |
• Maple is likely imported
• Trucks aren’t anything special
• More of a freeride/downhill balanced board out-of-the-box, though the deck is high quality enough to downhill with the proper hardware
Length: 40” (101.6 cm)
Width: 10” (25.4 cm)
Weight Ranges: 275 lbs. (124.74 kg)
The Atom Blue Geo is a popular longboard choice for beginner riders, who usually are attracted to the board’s low price and good reputation. Atom Longboards is arguably setting the standard for imports in the industry by consistently delivering high-quality decks on good-enough hardware – a combo that allows for a longboard that is more than suitable for beginners and casual riders alike.
Of course, more aggressive riders may find that certain components need upgrading as they push their boards closer to the limits than casual riders and commuters might. This is going to ring especially true when considering the potential for ~50 MPH top-speeds that downhill riders can experience.
A closer look at the deck itself reveals an intricately machined pair of drop-through slots, a masterfully chamfered edge (which helps protect the deck from chipping and delamination), and a subtle concave rocker contour that provides extra leverage and control to the rider.
It may be an import, but this is a case where the only thing that means is a lower price.
That was accomplished here the same way it has been accomplished with virtually every other longboard manufacturer (with the exception of premium brands that cost ~2x – 4x more) – by using industrial stock trucks, bearings, axles, etc. This doesn’t have to translate into safety or quality concerns, fortunately, as is the case with Atom’s entire lineup so far.
These items are absolutely OK if you’re casually freeriding, cruising, or commuting at normal speeds.
If you are looking to explore some moderate downhilling for the first time, we advise you to first double-check the tightness of everything from the wheel nuts and truck nuts to the deck screws. You’ll honestly need a few upgrades on any longboard in this price tier before doing any serious downhill riding, however, to ensure optimal stability at competitive speeds.
You can see a short video below that puts together a downhill longboard from a table of parts to a complete downhill-ready setup. Notice that instead of the wheel-bite eliminating cut-outs, how the professional-grade longboard deck is truncated with slightly contoured wheel-wells. This is one of the easiest ways to distinguish balanced boards from dedicated downhill-designed decks.
 Volador Sword
Best Beginner Option
|• Volador and Minority seem to be owned by the same company – both brands have earned a good reputation|
• Sturdy and durable drop-through 8-ply maple deck
• Big 70mm 80A polyurethane wheels fitted with ABEC-7 precision bearings
• 45°/50° adjustable trucks
|• Imported Maple Setup is balanced between downhill/carving|
• Volador seems to have been rebranded, and nobody knows why
Length: 43” (119 cm)
Width: 9” (24 cm)
Weight Ranges: 130 – 220 lbs. (59 kg – 100 kg)
Volador (now being sold as Minority) had managed to make an impression on the longboarding community as an import version of Landyachtz. This was due more to their wide variety of beautiful custom artwork that was available than superior performance, however. This might have been the motivation for rebranding into Minority, as we suspect they’ve done, but the company has been silent.
At this point, Volador and Minority both have been well reviewed online, though many reviews and comments are from a place of ignorance, not experience.
If you’d like to see a video review of a similar board from the same manufacturer, shot after 2 weeks of steady riding, check out this review from AdventureLife365 (the review starts at around 6:00).
[Bonus Budget Option] Minority Downhill – Leo
|• 40” drop deck provides good straight-line performance and stability|
• 8-ply maple will hold riders up to 220 lbs.
• Generous cutouts eliminate wheelbite
• ABEC-9 bearings are the highest grade of industrial-stock bearings
• 70 mm wheels are big and 78A is soft, meaning a smoother experience
• Very affordable, positively-reviewed starter board
|• The maple seems to be imported (not listed as Canadian)|
• Minority is apparently Volador, rebranded
• Not particularly well-suited for actual downhill riding without upgrades
Length: 40” (101.6 cm)
Width: 10” (25.4 cm)
Wheelbase: 37” (93.98 cm)
To begin, let’s start off by saying that if you are looking for a starter board for a rider ~200 lbs. or heavier, this is an excellent choice.
The 8-ply maple is more than up to the task, and is durable enough to withstand the abuse of new riders confronting their learning curve. The hardware, in general, could use upgrading – but it isn’t necessary for longboarders looking to casually cruise as they develop their skill.
There are a few things that more experienced riders will want to consider if they are looking at this model for downhill riding specifically. The bearings and wheels aren’t bad, but an inexpensive set of Orangatang bushings will work miracles in how stable the board feels (especially at downhill speeds). About the only other thing that would make a considerable difference to performance would be another inexpensive upgrade – ⅛” plastic risers to pad between the deck and baseplate. This will increase leverage, and in turn, responsiveness.
Another thing worth mentioning is that as far as we can tell, Minority is the brand formerly known as Volador. In many of the Minority product photos you can see “Volador” etched into the metal of the trucks. Volador’s designs (not their components) are often compared to Landyachtz, which is one of the premium longboarding brands. It’s hard to say what internal drama might have led to a rebranding, but we can’t find anything negative associated with it.
Best Downhill Accessory
Orangatang “Knuckle” Replacement Bushings
Ask any serious downhill longboarder what single upgrade will offer the most improvement to the way your board rides, and the answer will always be the same – bushings.
The bushings are the polyurethane “rubber-chunks” in the middle of all that metal, between the wheels, that makes up your trucks. Upgrading to an aftermarket set of bushings on your longboard is a very affordable and easy DIY project that brings disproportionate benefit and value compared to the price.
The most important consideration for setting up a downhill-capable longboard with new bushings is going to the shape. You can get bushings in the two standards – Cone or Nipple, or some manufacturers make other shapes that are meant to provide a more custom fit for your specific truck hardware.
If you already have Paris trucks, we recommend going with the Orangatang Nipple bushing:
Orangatang Nipples Longboard Bushings
These bushings have been tested and proven by some of downhill’s best longboarders, and are made to fit snugly inside Paris trucks. Longboarders trying these on other truck brands have reported excessive slop in the girth, resulting in uneven compression (stiffer turning on way than another).
If you’re riding on something other than Paris trucks, consider these Orangatang Knuckles bushings. These conical, or cone-shaped bushings, are designed to fit a larger base and compress consistently in a wider variety of truck/hanger setups:
Orangatang Knuckles Longboard Bushings
When selecting new bushings the other thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the durometer, or hardness, of the polyurethane formula. There are a lot of different scales and recommendations out there, so we’ll try to keep it simple:
- (<80a) Anything under 80a is going to be more flexible, moreso to riders over 190 lbs.
- (80a – 90a) Honestly 80a to 90a is kind of a medium area; might feel soft to heavy riders but firm to lighter riders
- (>90a) Durometers of 90a and above are considered “stiff” bushings, and are generally what you want for downhill riding, especially if you’re over 190 lbs.
What type of longboard is best for downhill?
- Generally speaking, the best downhill longboards will be on the shorter side and are ideally made from lightweight materials like bamboo and fiberglass composites. This is far from a requirement, however, and it is ultimately the hardware setup that determines a longboard’s downhill capabilities.
Choosing a longboard with quality trucks and bushings out-of-the-box goes a long way to ensuring an enjoyable and safe longboarding experience. Longboards for downhill riding can be either top or drop-mount, with the choice being between speed or stability, respectively.
Another thing to consider is the potential for wheel-bite. Beginning riders especially may want to consider boards featuring deck cut-outs that eliminate the risk of the deck biting the wheels while turning at high speed.
How do I choose a downhill longboard?
- The answer to this depends on a crucial decision. First, is this a downhill longboard that will be used exclusively for downhill riding? Will you be using this board as your commuter, cruiser, freerider, and also as your downhill board?
This makes a huge difference in setup. If you have a longboard you already like for cruising and commuting, or whatever, it may be preferential to keep it as is and invest in a second board for downhill only. This is due to the fact that the hardware setup contrasts one another, and the more you lean one way the more compromise the other.
If a second board is a luxury you do not have, then concentrate on getting the best of the big features you can out-of-the-box. The trucks and deck being the most vital on initial purchase, as the rest of the hardware like bearings and bushings can be replaced at a fraction of the up-front cost.
Is downhill longboarding dangerous?
- Downhill longboarding can be dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be.
Being a responsible longboarder and wearing the proper safety equipment for the conditions (and intentions) goes an incredibly long way towards keeping you safe.
When it comes to longboard safety, especially for downhill, we can’t tell you enough how important it is to choose a high-quality longboard helmet.
While it’s true that downhill longboarding can reach some pretty intense high speeds, knowing what you can and can’t handle helps make up for anything that the safety gear might not cover. Ride within your experience level and skill set, and never attempt something like downhill riding in an unfamiliar location or by yourself.
How fast can a downhill longboard go ?
- Most longboarders cruise at speeds ~ 6 MPH (9.7 kph), while a quality longboard will top out around 22 MPH (35.41 kph) out-of-the-box. The different hardware on longboards setup for downhill riding, however, can easily reach speeds over 50 MPH (80.5 kph).
Reaching these speeds requires a customized arrangement of hardware upgrades, including trucks, bushings, bearings, and wheels. Many of the longboards that are marketed as “downhill” include deck and wheel features that are seen in downhill setups, but almost all brands still benefit from aftermarket hardware in regards to downhill performance.
Well, everyone, that concludes our look at the best Downhill Longboards of 2020. We reviewed five of the top-selling longboards that are all capable of (or marketed for) downhill riding, and also answered a few of the questions that always come up when discussing downhill longboarding.
We hope you found the information here to be helpful, and maybe we even helped you find exactly what you were looking for!
Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!