So you want to get in on Freebording and learn to carve the asphalt like it’s fresh powder but don’t know where (or how) to get started. That’s okay—we’re here to help.
One of the best things about the sport is that the equipment is so customizable. You can truly make your ride your own by adjusting the trucks, wheels, Freebord composition, grip tape, bindings—just about everything about the Freebord. And that’s exactly what makes it a little hard to get into at first.
There are a number of things you should consider when buying your first Freebord.
Size of the Freebord
Freebords come in a variety of sizes ranging from 75 to 85 cm. If you want a Freebord that’s really responsive (maybe even a bit twitchy) smaller is better. Larger Freebords tend to be more stable and provide more foot room. Generally larger riders prefer larger Freebords, smaller riders, smaller Freebords. However, the opposite can be just as true.
In the end, the size of your Freebord should be determined by your riding style, not your body size. We recommend trying a variety of different sizes—if you can—before you buy in order to ensure you’re getting something you’re comfortable riding on.
Take a look at this Freebord Sizing Chart to get a better idea of what size Freebord you should start out with.
The majority of Freebords are manufactured from Maple plywood. It’s rugged, will last through some hard thrashing, and sturdy. However, it is a bit on the heavy side and is not as stiff or responsive as it could be. If you want a lighter, more responsive Freebord, you might consider a bamboo Freebord.
Bamboo Freebords are relatively new to the market. They have 3 ply Maple cores with two plies of bamboo on the outsides. They offer rigid construction that’s much lighter and more maneuverable than standard plywood Freebords. They’ll also last a lot longer—bamboo is the strongest natural material on earth relative to its weight. In other words, they’re great for grinding and aerial tricks.
Freebord Trucks, Wheels, and Bearings
Just like on a skateboard, the trucks, wheels, and bearings on your Freebord will determine how tight or loose your Freebord is, how fast it will go, and how much grip you’ll have on the asphalt.
The design of the Freebord truck has evolved to the third generation. These G3 trucks are the only models you’ll be able to find new (who wants to buy used replacement parts?) and feature advanced design and manufacturing spec’s that are truly top-tier. Not only are they built wider for more stability and strength, they’re designed to hold up to wear and tear. However, keep in mind that these trucks can be tightened or loosened to fit your riding style. The looser they are, the more play in your Freebord and the more control you will have. (It’s recommended that beginner Freebord riders keep their trucks tight until they learn the feel of the Freebord.)
While Freebord wheels come in a variety of sizes, it’s generally the composition that affects their performance. The basic Freebord wheel is a urethane-blend based wheel and is good for beginners and those who primarily use their Freebords for cruising. They tend to be slower and a bit “sticky” so hill bomber s and serious trick riders often upgrade to Slasher wheels. The Slasher wheels are a made of a custom blended plastic that’s designed to give you speed, grip, and durability all in one. These wheels are great for intermediate and advanced riders who want a little more control over their Freebord. In addition, they’ll hold up better and resist flat spotting.
Freebord bearings come in two models. The standard set of bearings will give you everything you really need—especially when you’re just learning. If you want more speed, however, switch them out for the Bones bearings. Bones bearings are nearly frictionless compared to the standard model and will have you ripping down hills as fast as possible. It should probably go without mentioning that Bones bearings are recommended for advanced riders.
Probably the easiest way to buy your first Freebord is to pick up a kit from BlackDiamondSports. Their kits come pre-customized according to your riding style and body size. If you want something that’s loose and responsive for the advanced rider you know you can become, something that’s tight and stable for the beginner in you, or something in between, these kits give you everything you need in a convenient all-in-one package. Not to mention they shave some serious cash off buying your Freebord piece by piece.