Well, just look at that! Rad cruiser right? I’m currently in the habit of buying and testing cruisers and I asked around a bit what people consider great cruiser boards. Someone mentioned the Arbor Oso Foundation and without thinking I bought one.
The first time I stepped the Arbor Oso Foundation I fell in love, I gave it a gentle push and it brought a smile to my face. This is the cruiser I’ve been waiting for. So let’s review the Arbor Oso Foundation to see if this is a board for you. As always, my reviews are fair. I buy all the stuff I review and don’t get anything for free. I’ll try to make this as unbiased as possible.
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- Ultimate stability
- Quick acceleration and fast!
- Remains stable at high speeds
- Can be used to ride pools/bowls if you replace the bushings
- Both beginners and experienced riders will appreciate this board
- Rather heavy
- Can feel a bit sluggish when turning (loosen the trucks!)
- Extremely hard bushings, super lazy job from Arbor (seriously, you need to step up here).
I usually take a couple of quality photos before I even ride a new board but after 4 weeks of rain, it finally stopped. I immediately went out to ride this thing and was impressed by its speed and agility. More about that later, first let’s see what this board offers from just looking and touching it.
It’s big and heavy, that’s the first thing I noticed. Way bigger than any of my other cruisers and it looks great. I love how the top of the deck looks, the wooden patterns and the fine transparent grit grip.
The trucks are wide which means it must be a very stable board and great for beginners. It also doesn’t feel loose when I step on it.
The wheels are impressive, I love the amber color but they seem a bit small compared to my other cruisers. When riding this board this didn’t bother me at all.
Let’s go through all the parts one at a time. We’ll be looking at the deck, trucks, wheels, and bearings but first the specifications.
- Length: 31.5″
- Width: 10″
- 169mm wide Paris trucks
- Wheelbase: 14.5″
- Arbor Abec 5 bearings + spacers
- 1/8″ riser pads
- Concave: Radial – Depth: Medium
- Griptape: Clear, Spray-On
- Flex Level: Stiff
- Wheels: 78A – 61mm
- 7 Ply Maple | Premium Wood Topsheet
The first thing you notice is how wide the deck is. Compared to my other cruisers this board is huge! It really has that Old School vibe and should also provide a very stable ride in pools, but for that you have replace the crappy bushings. The size of the Oso Foundation makes it a bit heavier, but you don’t notice this when cruising.
Another benefit is that it offers a lot of room to move and place your feet. It’s ridiculously stable and placing your feet on the wrong part of the board doesn’t matter much. You have plenty of time to correct your stance and you’ll find that it’s surprisingly forgiving.
I needed some time to find the proper stance and learned that I like to place my feet near the front bolts and my back foot close to the tail, just in the pocket. In a more aggressive stance, I like to place my back foot near the rear of the tail, often when I encounter gravel, cracks, or a patch of grass.
Holy Kicktail Batman, this thing is huge! It’s almost like an old school deck but with a steeper tail. I was a bit skeptical at first but it’s great to set your foot there if you want to take a more aggressive stance. I don’t like the square shape to be honest but it’s because I’m used to popsicles that have a more rounded shape. Totally biased and I’m already over it.
Wheels – Arbor Easy Rider Bogart 61mm/78A
These wheels are fun to look at, my son said he thinks they look like amber and he nailed it. The transparent amber color is rather fascinating and you can see the bearings and spacers, pretty cool if you ask me. I’m not really used to transport wheels but I love it.
The wheels are 61mm/78A which are the same wheels you can find on the Arbor Pilsner. They hold up fine if you run into gravel or cracks. After riding it for a bit they seem to deal with rough surfaces just fine for though they are less grippy compared to other wheels.
I think the wheels are meant for cruising, carving pools, and ride around parks. They perform really well on smooth asphalt and pavements, and I had no issues plowing through gravel.
This board isn’t meant for long-distance cruising. It’s made for fun and short rides and dropping in on your occasional bowl. I personally would prefer harder wheels for bowl riding but it would be a waste of the cruising experience.
The previous Oso version came with 58mm 80A wheels and I really didn’t like those. I’m glad they changed the wheels, it makes this board a very stable and smooth cruiser.
Wide Trucks – Paris 169mm
Huge, wide trucks (169mm) that don’t go unnoticed. Paris Trucks are awesome, so much better than what you get on other completes! I love how bulky they look but with that sweet looking engraved Paris trucks logo. They are bulky but still manage to respond well to minor corrections.
I am impressed with the aggressive angle they can take on without becoming unstable. You can lean your whole body and they will just carry you (the width of the deck also helps). This is also beneficial when going downhill, I didn’t experience any speed wobbles but I haven’t tested this to the max.
The bushings are rather hard and need to be replaced because Arbor just slapped some trucks on this board with the crappiest bushings you can imagine. I tried to loosen the trucks to make sharper turns but they can’t go any looser. There is no solution to this, you have to replace the bushings to make this board a fun cruiser.
Usually, bearings from completes aren’t great, but these bearings are an exception. I don’t know where Arbor gets them but they are super quiet and super fast, at least for now. I recently tested another board which was kind of underwhelming, but these bearings are great.
I tested this board with Bones Swiss 6 bearings and OJ Super Juive wheels and it made a huge difference though, but perhaps that’s a bit of an unfair comparison. It will take more time to draw a conclusion but from what I can tell so far, the bearings are pretty okay for a complete setup.
I love the graphics. I like simple stuff that has a bit of that old school feeling but also modern. Note that the graphics change over time but the board is the same. The Arbor Oso Foundation comes in a single design. I usually don’t like it when green and blue are combined, but they pulled it off. It’s just a matter of taste (or the lack of it) but I really love that the designer was able to create a timeless graphic, kudos!
Because the Foundation is really hard to find these days, also check out the Arbor Oso Artist series. It’s the exact same board but with a different graphic and black grip tape.
Taking It for a Test Ride
It felt right from the moment I stepped on the board and pushed my foot to get some speed. This board is incredibly stable and can still turn pretty quickly. It’s quite a difference when I compare it to my Landyachtz Dinghy.
I do have to note that you need to loosen the trucks, they are very tight which makes the board Oso Foundation less responsive. With some minor tweaks, this board could be the ultimate cruiser.
Somehow the wheels look smaller and harder (61mm / 78A) than specified but this probably has to do with them being transparent. Even though the wheels are smaller (61mm) and a bit harder compared to my other cruiser than on my other cruisers, they go pretty fast.
So I guess you get great quality wheels and great bearings, this board keeps its speed for a long time and doesn’t require you to push all the time. However, if you encounter rough roads the wheels won’t be very forgiving. You really need to push hard to keep up to speed though I probably picked a spot with the worst tiles ever (over 30 years old).
Anyway, you can see it the video below around 0.44, that was just the worst. I wanted to pick up my board and walk because the wheels couldn’t handle it.
The bearings are pretty silent and the wheels do well on rough-ish terrain (except for the real rough stuff). I had no issues riding over cracks and damaged asphalt, just make sure you don’t lean forward but that goes for any cruiser.
When Not to Buy
I just can’t see anything wrong with this board. It’s beginner-friendly, great for heavy and tall riders and even kids will have a blast riding this board. It’s even pretty stable downhill though for bombing the hills I’d suggest getting a downhill board.
It’s a bit heavy though but not in a way that you can’t carry it around. Sure it won’t fit in your backpack and you won’t be able to do kickflips but that’s not the purpose of this board.
I guess the only reason not to buy this board is when you want a nimble, flexible, responsive board, or when it’s a bit over your budget. There is literally not a negative thing to say from a beginners perspective. I admit, it’s a bit bulky and on the heavy side, but that only makes it more stable.
So don’t buy this board when:
- You want to do flip tricks or dance
- You are looking for a flexy board
- Ride skate parks
Check out other mini cruisers I tested and reviewed if you are in doubt.
When to Buy
In my opinion, this board hits the sweet spot. Perfect for beginners and great for experienced riders. I do have to mention that beginners really should ride the trucks loose. You probably won’t be able to lift the board by pressing your foot on the tail and leaning backward to correct your direction.
Other than that this board allows you to carve and pump, is ridiculously stable, ignores gravel, and has no issues with cracks. Oh, and it just looks rad. It’s not very flexible but there aren’t many mini cruisers that have flex.
I think this board is also great for older skaters that want to ride again, cruising around hopping a few curbs and not doing anything really technical. The fact that this thing can ride bowls makes it even more appealing.
Go for it when:
- You want a quality cruiser that can also be used to ride parks and bowls
- Want something stable
- Need something portable and versatile
Upgrading Wheels, Bearings & Bushings
Since I have a lot of stuff lying around I wanted to see how this board rides when slapping some OJ super Juice Wheels on them and replacing the bearing with Zealous bearings. Oh my, this is even better! If you even think about replacing the wheels, consider OJ Super Juice (78A, 60mm).
You can have the ultimate cruiser which if you swap the wheels and perhaps the bearings. The standard bearings and wheels are okay but you can make this the best old school cruiser if you swap the wheels.
As for the bushings, I replaced them because the stock bushings are too hard. It just doesn’t carve like for example the Landyachtz Tugboat. I hate to admit it, but the Tugboat might be a better choice for those who want a more aggressive ride. Check out my Landyachtz Tugboat Review to learn more.
The Arbor Oso Foundation is my favorite cruiser for beginners. It doesn’t have many flaws, comes with great quality components, and can be used straight out of the box. Great wheels, really stable board and the bearings hold up fine.
This is a great cruiser for both beginners and experienced riders and it can even handle bowls if you replace the bushings. The design and old school feel really make this board something special and I like it so much that my Dinghy is currently collecting dust. If this board is a bit too bulky and you want something smaller, don’t forget to check out the Arbor Pilsner (Amazon).