Pantheon Pranayama Review: The Perfect Commuter?


Today I’m reviewing the Pantheon Pranayama longboard because it just might be the best commuter longboard out there.

The last few years has seen has explosion of demand for longboards, specifically for boards built primarily as commuters—that is, boards designed and built purposefully to get riders from one place to another as quickly, smoothly, and safely as possible.

These types of boards are accessible to new riders and, when made well, one of the most-used options in an experienced skater’s quiver.

Pantheon Pranayama review

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, on rough roads or smooth, on a trail or downtown, you won’t find a better longboard than the Pantheon Pranayama.

Exceptional Riding Experience

Pantheon-Pranayama-top-view

In the world of commuting and LDP (long-distance pushing), the Pranayama is the premier option anyone wanting a longboard for transportation, general cruising, or long-distance skating.

This double drop longboard is flawless. It can handle large wheels that make your ride as comfortable as possible by dampening vibrations, it is impossible to get wheelbite (with the stock complete), it’s portable and compact, and deceptively roomy. It’s also the only top-tier commuter board designed specifically for street trucks.

When you first unbox the Pranayama, 3 things may come to mind immediately:

  • “This board is beautiful.”
  • “Wow, look how low it is!”
  • “How am I going to fit on this little thing?”

Let’s go through each of these observations individually.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I would be surprised if anyone looked at this board and wasn’t impressed. Beyond the graphic—which may or may not appeal to you—the care and thoughtfulness put into this deck design is something any skater can appreciate.

Specs:

  • Deck: 31.375” long, 9.25” wide, 26” wheelbase
  • Bushings: Cone/Barrel 93a
  • Trucks: Paris 149mm Street Trucks
  • Wheels: 85mm Seismic Speed Vents or Orangatang Caguamas
  • Concave: Mild radial with 1.3” Crescent drop
  • Profile: slight mustache (camber/rocker)
  • Construction: 6 ply Maple, fiberglass top and bottom, walnut veneer

How The Pantheon Pranayama Rides

Pantheon Pranayama longboard

If you do an assessment of all double drops in the market today, none are as low as the Pranayama. The ride height is about 2.75” when using Seismic Speed Vents, which are arguably the best commuter wheels available. Why does this matter? A low ride height makes it easier to push.

Now, if you’re just cruising for a couple hundred yards, the benefit of a lower ride may not be noticed, at least not on most boards. However, ride at any notable distance and you quickly begin to notice how much easier a low ride is on your body.

On the Pranayama, that difference will be felt more immediately. It feels almost like hovering. Because the board can handle larger wheels, it will get you from point A to point B as fast as possible.

Size

Pantheon Pranayama bottom view

The size is deceptive. The deck barely clocks in at 31”, which is on the small side of longboards. There are skateboards longer than this thing. The standing platform is listed as 22.5”. And yet, when you ride on the Pranayama, it feels bigger than it is.

It’s almost hard to explain until you ride it. Pantheon’s signature crescent drops give more foot space at the toe and heel while also giving maximum proximity to the trucks. This makes for a maneuverable ride.

To fully feel the difference, go ride another double drop that’s a few inches longer—for example, the Zenit AB 2.0—and then come back to the Pranayama. The Zenit will feel cramped by comparison, even though it’s a longer deck.

Precision & Wheels

The precision with which Jeff, Pantheon’s owner, has created this deck is amazing. It will take all of 30 seconds on this board to realize that it was designed and built by a long-time skater.

There are small design decisions that went into making this board that make you wonder why every company doesn’t do this. One of the most obvious, and important, is at the nose and tail.

Pantheon Pranayama wheels

If you use larger wheels (80-85mm), it is impossible to chip the edge of the board. The wheels protrude beyond the board so if you lose control of the board and it runs into a curb, the deck won’t get damaged by a head on collision. The wheels will hit first and then bounce back. Brilliant. A lot of time and thought clearly went into this.

You also can’t get wheelbite on this deck. Now, beginners may not appreciate this at first but any rider who has accidentally kicked a wheel when feeling tired at the end of a ride knows how dangerous it can be.

Many longboards don’t match the width of their board to the width of their deck, meaning there is risk of kicking the wheel and sending you flying off the board. Lazy form has a cost. With the Pranayama, this is virtually impossible.

You’d have to almost try to kick the wheel, swinging your leg at an angle that is unnecessary while skating. Why doesn’t every longboard company design boards this way?

Pantheon Pranayama trucks close up

Trucks

One final point about the ride experience to be aware of is that the Pranayama is designed specifically for street trucks. This isn’t optional. If you want to ride reverse-kingpin (RKPs) trucks (which is more common on a longboard), buy a Pantheon Trip, or any other commuter board.

Compared to RKPs, street trucks will have more dive and less turn as you lean. It makes for a responsive ride that also feels less stable. Some people prefer the added stability that comes with RKPs, but that is far less of an issue on a double drop—especially one as low as the Pranayama. It is plenty stable for even a complete beginner and, with 6 plys of Maple, it feels stiff and secure.

In sum, the Pranayama is a fast, stable, lively, FUN board that makes any commute or cruiser more enjoyable. Pantheon created the ideal combination of efficiency and joy. One might call it the perfect longboard.

Pros

Pantheon Pranayama wheels against a curb

Protected deck: As stated above, large wheels prevent the nose and tail from getting hit. This assumes that you are using larger wheels, of course.

Low ride height: You won’t find an easier deck to push. This thing glides.

Deceptively large foot space: For its size, the standing platform feels larger than the specs say.

Size: It’s portable and easy to carry. I take the Pranayama on buses and planes, and carry it through grocery stores with ease.

Protection from wheelbite: you won’t kick the wheels of this deck unless you’re trying to.

Lively: This is just a fun board to ride. It’s responsive, maneuverable, and fast.

Cons (or Limitations)

Pantheon Pranayama riding

Bite: While wheelbite and damage to the nose/tail are impossible on the Pranayama, its low ride height does create a risk of the wheel rubbing against the rider’s foot on deep carves—if you have large feet.

This won’t knock you off your board unless you’re going fast and rub hard against your foot—so much that it brings the wheel to a complete stop—but it’s still something to be mindful of for anyone with large feet.

Risk of scraping the deck: If you encounter a lot of speedbumps or ramp-less curbs on your commute, the Pranayama will force you to step off the board and carefully get over those obstacles.

Because it’s so low, your chances of scraping the bottom of the deck on any notable protrusion is high. Of course, this is also true of every other double dropped board so it’s tough to call this a con.

How Does it Compare to its Peers?

There are a number of great double drop commuters on the market today. Companies like Zenit, Bustin, Rayne and Landyachtz have built quality boards that work well for general cruising and commuting. None have the overall quality and well-thought-out design of the Pranayama.

I could run through the limitations of other top commuters to highlight how the Pantheon has perfected the design of a double drop longboard.

For example, the Zenit AB 2.0 has a bit too much flex and is asymmetrical, which makes the standing platform feel cramped in the rear. The Zenit Maze is too small to be a serviceable LDP deck and rides more like a cruiser.

The Bustin Maestro can’t handle large wheels and risks stress cracks on the nose and tail (check our Bustin Maestro review).

The Bustin Sportster is heavy and not as maneuverable as you’d like in a commuter. Landyachtz boards haven’t eliminated the possibility of wheelbite—or they haven’t matched the right stiffness with size in the design to be as fast as the Pranayama. Rayne’s Demonseed is heavy and more of a freeride board than a purpose-built commuter. The list could go on.

This isn’t to say that these alternatives are bad. Not at all! They’re wonderful boards. But the Pranayama has taken all of those limitations and overcome them.

When To Buy

I’ll make it easy: if you want the best commuter longboard on the market, get a Pantheon Pranayama. You won’t find a better combination of function and fun. If you prefer RKP trucks, get the Pranayama’s twin, the Trip. As a commuter, LDP deck, and general cruiser, it is flawless.

When Not To Buy

First, know what you need. Obviously, if you want a board for dancing or doing tricks that bring your board off the ground, look elsewhere. That should go without saying.

Second, if you know you want RKP trucks, the Pranayama won’t be for you.

Finally, if you have a wider stance and need more standing space than a ~31” can give you, get a longer deck. Pantheon has solutions to this problem with the Quest and Nexus.

Verdict

Pantheon Pranayama longboard on a street

There aren’t many boards as widely loved or praised as the Pranayama. For good reason! Pantheon has created the perfect board for riders of all ages who want to put serious miles under their feet, need a stable and safe means of transportation, and/or want to have a relaxed, enjoyable cruise in any terrain.

If you are interested in getting into skating or want to get a top tier commuter, buy this board! There are cheaper options… kind of. You could spend a little less to get a cheaper double drop, but you end up hurting yourself in the long run.

As you gain experience, you start finding that most companies who sell double drops haven’t maximized their setups. Some use cheaper trucks—or trucks that are unnecessarily wide.

Others use smaller wheels, missing out on more comfort and a higher top speed. Some simply have designs that allow for wheelbite or damage to the nose and tail.

Eventually, you’ll likely spend enough updating those boards that you might as well have paid a little extra to get the best LDP, commuter-cruiser, double drop on the market: the Pantheon Pranayama.

This is probably the only board that gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Due to materials shortages and delays at the moment, Pantheon doesn’t always have a full supply of the Pranayama. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you can take advantage of their presales that tend to happen every couple of months.

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Michael

What started as a means of transportation to avoid sitting in traffic has since become a passion that I try to share with others. Having children hasn't slowed me down, it's only sped them up!

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