Toy or Sports Shop Complete Vs Skate Shop Complete Skateboards
If you are reading this it’s highly likely that you are about to buy yourself or someone else their first skateboard. This is an exciting process but with so many options out there from shops with no interest in skateboarding, it can be a confusing one too. You may be wondering why you should invest in one of the complete skateboards sold by a skateboard shop when you may have found one in a sports shop or toy shop for half the price. Buy cheap, buy twice is the quick answer.
When buying someone their first board your inclination may well be to spend less money because you are not sure if they will enjoy skateboarding in the first place. However buying them a cheap, sub-standard skateboard is a sure-fire way to ensure they don’t. Learning to skateboard on one of those things can be incredibly frustrating and has discouraged many people off the bat. Let us expand on the differences between the cheap low-quality boards on the market and the complete skateboards we sell which have started many skateboarding journeys.
One of the main differences will be the quality of the skateboard deck itself. All of the completes we sell are built on a deck made of 7 ply Canadian Maple, this material and construction has been the industry standard for decades. This is for a good reason, maple is incredibly durable and can withstand the stress and pressure of skateboarding. It also offers a dynamic pop when the tail hits the ground, this aids new skateboarders when they are trying to master the ollie and every trick afterwards.
Cheap skateboards are made using inferior materials in order to reduce the price. This is very noticeable when you compare the deck construction. Decks used in toy shop completes are rarely made of maple, sometimes they use birch or a mix of low quality wood. You can see the thickness of the deck itself is greater, the wood is heavier and the edges are not finished in the same way. These boards will chip and crack as soon as you start to put them through their paces and that first ollie may even snap them in half.
You may also notice that the shapes of the decks themselves differ. The completes we stock use boards which are the same shape as decks we sell separately. All of our decks have concave and a defined nose and tail just like every board you will skate afterwards. Cheaper completes are often built on a very flat board with a terrible shape that you will not encounter in any real skateboard shop. Skating a shape like this makes learning very difficult, especially when tapping the tail comes into play.
One further gripe about the boards used in cheap completes would be about the griptape they use. Griptape is the sandpaper type adhesive tape you find on the top of skateboards. This grippy surface connects you with the board and makes it easier to manipulate. Griptape on cheap completes is of such poor quality that it wears out very easily, leaving you with a less than ideal slippery surface and will peel at the edges as the adhesive ages. The griptape on our complete skateboards is built to last.
Trucks are an incredibly important component of any skateboard, these axles are what make turning possible, they shouldn’t be an afterthought. Toy or sports shop completes use trucks which literally don’t turn properly, meaning that one of the main skills you need to learn is impossible. Their construction may mimic that of existing models from reputable companies but they certainly don’t function in the same way. We have had to explain this to many parents who have bought cheap completes to begin with and then come to us to help make their skateboard turn. There is no quick fix for this other than new trucks, one of the many reasons why it is worth buying a decent set-up in the first place.
On top of not functioning properly these trucks are also made of low quality materials, cheaper metals, and sometimes plastic which is even worse. Professional skateboard trucks are designed to take a beating, they remain strong after a torrent of abuse. Grinds and impact is what they are built for, but not on a cheap complete. We have seen so many broken trucks pass through our doors from customers who opted not to buy from a skateboard shop in the first place. All of the complete skateboards we sell have trucks which will turn properly straight away and survive their intended purpose.
Professional skateboard wheels are designed to slide and grip in equal measure. They are made of polyurethane which has a high rebound and will be durable. Years of perfecting urethane compounds means that the wheels on our completes today are better than they have ever been. Cheap skateboards once again scrimp on materials to shave the price. They often use wheels made of plastic or a much lower quality polyurethane mix. These wheels just don’t feel right to roll on and deteriorate very fast. They are prone to flatspots which means they won’t stay truly round for long and offer an uncomfortable ride, they certainly aren’t built for slides and other tricks.
Bearings should be fast and strong. All of our complete skateboards are equipped with quality bearings, and your wheels will be spinning from the first moment they hit the floor. This isn’t the case with cheaper completes, they use substandard bearings which often hardly spin at all which takes the joy of rolling out of the equation. That coupled with poor quality wheels is a disaster for someone trying to learn. Lower quality bearings are also more likely to break under pressure, the balls inside will often pop out.
We hope that rundown of the many differences helps you to make a better decision. We are backing the quality of all of the complete skateboards we sell and know they will give anyone starting out the learning experience they deserve. Knowing what we do, there is nothing worse for us than seeing a kid at the skatepark struggling because of their equipment, not a lack of balance and determination. Consider our range of Complete Skateboards and give anything which doesn’t come from a skate shop a wide berth. There are better options out there for people starting out which will help them fall in love with skateboarding like we did, and that’s what we try to keep in stock.