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 it myself and testing and swapping around components:
You can put longboard wheels on a skateboard but they can’t be bigger than 70mm. You’ll 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
- 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.
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 an 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 which has to do with compatibility and performance. I’ll get into that in a few moments. One thing that really is an issue here are the wheels. I’m not naming and shaming here but don’t buy these wheels! So let’s dive into the caveats.
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.
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 I ‘m thinking of swapping out my bearings to get even more out of it but I’m loving it. 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.
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 go well together (in my case) and riding it just feels awkward. You need to rise your trucks to avoid wheel bite, make sure your trucks are tight, and bushings shouldn’t be too soft.
This means you need to make a lot of compromises that take away from the experience. Cruising should be about fun and not being paranoid an unreliable setup. Cracks are everywhere, rocks and even twigs can make you end up in the ER, so make sure to at least wear a helmet.
It’s just my opinion, even though I tested it I probably could have bought a few parts that go well together but what’s the point in that. You might as well get something that actually is built for cruising.