Ok, first of all, why would you want to put longboard wheels on a skateboard? Do you just want to cruise a bit without having the discomfort of small hard wheels? Is it a budget thing, are you just curious if it works, or am I missing something? Whatever your reason is, we’ll get to the bottom of this!
In order to save you the entire read, here’s my conclusion after trying various setups myself and testing by swapping around components:
You can put longboard wheels on a skateboard but they can’t be bigger than 70mm. You need to attach 1/2“ riser pads and 1 1/2″ bolts to keep enough clearance or else you get wheel bite. Your trucks should be tight and harder bushings are recommended depending on your weight.
Here are the tools and hardware you need to make this work:
- Four longboard wheels not bigger than 70mm (ideally between 63mm and 66mm)
- Two riser pads size 1/2″, the brand doesn’t really matter
- Eight 1 1/2″ bolts
- A skate tool or any tools you have to make this work.
I’m going to try a couple of different wheels to see what works best. Let’s move on and put this question into practice;
Slapping Longboard Wheels on a Skateboard
I grabbed a set of old longboard wheels, and to be honest they used to be part of a mini-cruiser. In theory, they fit, but the clearance is a real issue. This is very obvious when you look at the pictures, there are a number of problems which I’ll explain later on.
The biggest issue here is that the wheels are in close proximity to your deck, and there’s isn’t much clearance. When you turn and carve, you’re going to be in a world of trouble. One of the wheels will block at some point when you take a turn and you know that won’t end well.
Wheel bite is not always a problem but in cases like this, you need to find a way to prevent it. So here’s a before picture, notice the extremely long bolts? It’s because I need to attach riser pads. The most important thing you can see here that there’s an issue with the lack of clearance.
I used a lot of force to see if the board hits the wheels and it comes really close. You can see from the close up that this isn’t safe. We need more clearance in order to ride the streets safely so I’m going to grab a couple of risers to fix this.
Adding Riser Pads
Let’s find out and see if the wheel bit is still an issue once we attach riser pads. You’ll need the biggest available 1/2“ riser pads should do the trick. You also need eight 1 1/2″ bolts to attach them. Shorter bolts won’t fit all the way through your trucks and riser pads. This stuff is pretty cheap so if you’re on a budget you can build your own little cruiser.
Now there should be some safe distance between the wheels and board. The Tensor trucks on this board have never been used and they are pretty tight, which is a good thing.
The bushings are still brand new which adds to the resistance. Softer bushings and loose trucks will be a problem. If you really want to attach longboard wheels to a skateboard you need to tighten your trucks.
This looks promising, keep in mind that these trucks haven’t been used before so they won’t budge much when you lean on your board. In fact, they are covered with cobwebs if you look closely.
This also means the bushings are still ‘fresh’ and they are very stiff and need to be used to become flexible. Once the bushings break-in, you probably need to tighten the nut on the kingpin on both trucks. Don’t do this prior, you’ll ruin your bushings!
Even though bushings seem trivial they are vital to this experiment. I found out about a couple of facts that even surprised me, check out my bushings guide here.
Anyway, let’s see the results. I moved the orange arrow on the picture to the left so you can see there is more clearance when adding risers, just compare the images and see for yourself.
I put all my weight in this and grunted a bit while doing so. This means it’s pretty safe and it should work. The clearance is about the same as my regular skateboard using shock pads and 58mm wheels. I guess there are no issues here so far, so we have a winner right? Using risers should be the answer to the question.
Well, sort of. There are a couple of issues here that have to do with compatibility and performance. I’ll get into that in a few moments. One thing that really is an issue here is the quality of wheels. I’m not naming and shaming here but don’t buy these wheels!
I can, however, recommend some excellent cruiser wheels I tested. They cruise as smooth as butter and even look great.
Risers and Center of Gravity
So I guess we solved the question and even though it works, there are some caveats to this approach. There’s an issue with the center of gravity for one, and another issue is slapping stuff together that really isn’t meant to go together. In this test the results are unsatisfying so I’m continuing this till we get something that performs (scroll down).
Proper balance and riding a skateboard comfortably is really important and you’ll notice when parts don’t go well together. The higher your wheelbase, the less balance.
This isn’t an issue for an experienced rider but you can just feel the setup isn’t meant to be. If you are a new skater this will be a bit challenging. However, if you can ride this abomination, you can ride anything.
Go for it if you don’t have anything else, or save some money for quality parts. Quality gear isn’t trivial, it really has an impact on performance, safety, and fun.
So How Does This Thing Ride?
I took it out for a spin and it’s a bit of an uncomfortable ride. Tight trucks and stiff bushings make it unresponsive and the bushings need to be replaced. The worst part? These wheels are downright awful.
They look fun and all but they suck big time. They’re so sticky and I need to push hard to get this board up to ‘speed’. If you look closely you can see how much they deform when I put pressure on the board.
It’s really not a big deal if you look past the limitations. You can ride it but this combination doesn’t really make for an enjoyable ride. This setup behaves odd and I wouldn’t go there as a beginner. There are perfect tailored boards that can do what you want; cruise and hop a few curbs.
I recently got myself a Landyachtz Dinghy and if you want a to cruise and hop a few curbs, this board solves your (or at least my) problem. Truth be told, I had to get used to it because I’m a ‘classic’ popsicle skateboarder, but it only took me a couple of minutes to get to know the basics of this board.
It’s crazy fast (hence the learning curve), stable and when you replace the bearings, it’s even better.
I don’t feel awkward carrying it around this board is very portable. It’s perfect for commuting and I often leave my bike at home and just grab my mini cruiser. Here’s what I love about this board, and it just looks so good!
Now before you think this is the solution to your problem, there is a bit of a learning curve. When you’re totally new to riding a skateboard this will take some time to get accustomed to this board.
It’s very responsive and you need to slowly work your way up. Think of it as a challenge, if you can ride a Dinghy, you can ride any board. I would say you need to put in a bit more effort compared to longboards, but as long as you wear a helmet and don’t do anything crazy you’ll be cruising the streets in no time.
Trying Other Wheels
Because I’m not happy with the end result I’m going to add two other sets of wheels. I grabbed the HAWGS 63mm 78A from my Dinghy and Ricta Clouds 56mm 92A. The A is the indicator of hardness (durometer).
As you can see the HAWGS gives much more clearance and I feel much more comfortable riding them. Almost as smooth as butter but not as smooth as my Dinghy. It’s safe to say that these wheels do a great job and offer a really smooth ride. If you want to hop a few curbs you should stay focused.
These wheels are a bit too bouncy which makes the board harder to control when you land. This isn’t a problem for experienced riders but beginners should be more careful.
Now it’s time to add to Ricta Clouds, these are filmer wheels and great for cruising and doing a few basic tricks. Limit the tricks as these wheels are a bit too soft for that. Filmer wheels are meant for…filming.
I actually enjoy riding them and they are great for commuting short distances. If you only ride around campus, for example, you should consider these wheels. Still, my favorites are the HAWGS, they really are made for cruising, have an acceptable diameter, and won’t cause wheel bit given you add riser pads.
Here are the setups compared on top of each other. Both decks ride great and didn’t have any real issues on curbs and street. The Ricta’s don’t roll as well compared to the HAWGS so if you want the most comfortable ride, go with HAWGS.
Ricta’s allow for a bit more playful riding style, so if that’s what you’re after go for it. You also don’t need risers, a pair of shock pads won’t hurt though.
So Why do Different Types of Wheels Matter?
There is a lot of science behind skateboard wheels and we’ve come a long way since the first clay and steel wheels. Cheaper wheels often consist of a bad mix of inferior plastics (polyurethane) that just don’t go well together.
A couple of companies have perfected this mix but it took them years of research. Sure you pay a premium for some wheels but they will last way longer. Some don’t even flat spot when you slide them.
Hardness is also a big factor. For cruising, you want soft wheels that can ride almost any terrain and won’t block when you hit a small crack in the pavement or just a piece of wood or tiny rocks.
Bigger wheels also deal better with objects than smaller wheels, the attack angle is just way better.
Bearings and Performance
One other thing I should mention is bearings. Low-quality bearings make your wheels perform worse and they easily break. Good bearings will cost you about 50 bucks but with proper maintenance, they can last over a year.
Try to clean them two to four times a year and apply some silicone lube when they’re cleaned. It’s a bit of chore but you’ll thank yourself when you’re cruising the streets.
Don’t Have Proper Tools?
Skate tools make your life much easier. If you want to swap wheels, replace bushings remove bearings or rethread the axles get one. It’s a bit bulky but it does the job perfectly. There are cheaper versions available but they have a habit of breaking after using them a few times.
The one I use is called the Reflex Utilitool. What I like about it is that the screwdriver has a good grip compared to the cheaper tools and an axle re-threader. So when you can’t get your nuts back on your axle, just use the re-threader and you should be able to put it back on.
Time to Wrap Things Up
Yes, you can slap a couple of longboard wheels on a regular skateboard, but it has its limitations. The parts don’t always go well together (in the first case) and riding it can feel awkward. You need to rise your trucks to avoid wheel bite, make sure your trucks are tight, and bushings shouldn’t be too soft.
If you want to pull this off you need wheels no bigger than 63-66mm and riser pads. Go with the Hawgs or anything comparable for the comfiest ride. Go with Ricta’s if you do short commutes and want a more playful ride.
Don’t go with mediocre wheels. It means you need to make a lot of compromises that take away from the experience, check out the best wheels I tested first. Cruising should be about fun and there’s no fun in being paranoid because of unreliable components.
Cracks are everywhere, rocks and even twigs can make you end up in the ER, so make sure to at least wear a helmet.
If you have the parts you can make build a cheap cruiser that’s great to ride. If you have the budget I recommend getting something that actually is built for cruising. You won’t regret it. This concludes my test and I hoped you liked it. At least I had a little fun, but those Hawgs or going back on my cruiser right now.