Choosing a penny board
“Penny” literally means “little”, it is a smaller version of a longboard (cruiser shape) with a plastic board (also wooden) and a kicktail, metal trucks (underframe), and with big, silent rubber wheels like on a longboard. Penny skateboard is popular because of its size, transferability and speed on the city terrain. Plastic penny skateboard is a stylish fashion accessory, rediscovered hit from the 70s.
Pennyboards are very similar in dimensions, differences are mostly in colour designs, wheels, brands and price. We can say – higher the price, better the quality of the material, workmanship, above-standard graphic design (print, chrom), LED lights on the board or wheels.
Are penny boards suitable for beginners?
Is penny skateboard suitable for a beginner? Here, it is important to differentiate 2 factors: 1) What is suitable for a beginner, 2) What is suitable for a start, so it doesn’t cost too much.
Ad 1) For a beginner only the best and professional quality, there isn’t a reason to start riding skateboard for an affordable price.
Ad 2) If you don’t want to spend too much, a beginner can learn basics on affordable board.
In the end we can say that there are no special boards for beginners. In general, the longer the board, the more stable it is, and therefore more suitable for beginners.
Standard size of a penny board is 22” (56 cm), which is the full length. Penny skateboard is popular because it is small and at the same time very fast. It is nice to ride even if it’s so small. It is very compact, lightweight and easily transferable, you can put it into a backpack, a locker in school, you can easily travel with it. It is easy to carry in the hand and it is easily maintainable.
So, keep your focus on the wheel size, the bigger the wheel – the better. Bigger wheels can handle uneven surfaces like rocks, interstices, stones etc. Bigger wheels often mean higher price of the skateboard.
Soft wheels are often more comfortable, quieter, they handle uneven surfaces better, but are sensitive to sharp stones. Hard wheels (above 80A) are made for rougher rides, sliding, dancing etc.
Rider’s weight and cornering
The weight of the person riding the skateboard has a big impact on turning the penny board. The hardness and Bushing shape impact how you will enter the turn with a penny board. For better turns it is often enough to allow the Bushing, but sometimes it doesn’t help, so it is necessary to exchange Bushing for a softer one.
For skaters under 50kg, we recommend choosing a flat penny board, medium to highly turnable, and for skaters approx. above 50kg, we recommend choosing medium to highly turnable. Most of penny boards can carry up to 100kg, some of them up to 75/80kg.
Construction and shapes
- Deck is plastic and with a tail. Tail is a raised rear part of the board. You should pay attention to the quality because too hard or fragile board can easily break, too soft board will bend too much and will not be stable during the ride. Penny boards can carry from 80 to 100 kg. Pay attention to the shape of the board, some of them are straight, some are convex, some have openings, everybody prefers something else. Pay attention to the surface of the board, plastic penny boards mostly have anti-slippery grid in many shapes, but there are exceptions with griptapes.
- Trucks are metal underframes with a polyurethane casing – bushing. Bushing is polyurethane cylinder on the truck, which allows the board to turn, it impacts the stability of the ride. The quality of the truck and connection to the bushing impacts the quality of cornering and the stability of the ride. Some penny boards have harder bushing and the can turn less easily, more ability to turn ca be damaging, it depends what we use penny board for. Low weight rider (under 40kg) can have problems with a penny board that turns with more difficulty, so it is necessary to exchange the bushing for a softer one.
- Wheels with a bigger diameter (60mm) made from soft polyurethane rubber or PVC. Wheels and bearings significantly impact the riding ability. Bigger wheels accelerate more slowly but are faster and vice versa. Softer wheels are more comfortable and have more adhesion than the harder ones but are slightly slower and more susceptible to sharp objects (rocks). Hardness of the wheels is marked with a number and a letter, e.g. “87A”, smaller number means softer rubber and higher number means harder rubber, and the letter indicates the measurement scale. Shape of the wheel determines adhesion, angular edge provides more adhesion in a turn, and round edge slides more easily. Also important is the material composition of the rubber (polyurethane, PVC) and the core of the wheel, which determines the quality and the longevity of the wheel.
- Bearings are marked according the accuracy ABEC-1 – ABEC-15… (higher the number = more precision). More precise bearings should be faster. More important than precision is construction and material composition of the bearing, which is often not stated. Wheel bearing should be changed as soon as first problem arises as cleaning them doesn’t make a difference. When buying new wheel bearings, we follow brand references and what the bearings are made for, not just by ABEC value.