What Is A Penny Board?
Penny board is a plastic skateboard. Some people also call it a short/mini cruiser or a banana board (you know because it shapes like a banana).
This thing started way back in the early 1990s. Stereo Skateboards’ ad campaigns like California Dreamin’ and Leisure in New York featuring pros riding vinyl plastic skateboards (penny boards) created a huge appeal in the skateboarding communities at the time.
Penny boards’ hype caught on with more innovative designs of brightly colored photos giving riders a feeling of that cool, laid-back, Bohemian mood. This is truly a phenomenon. As of now, penny boards are among the most popular consumer items throughout the U.S.
But Why A Penny Board?
First of all, it’s cheap. Well, most of them are. You’ll typically pay around $20 or more for a decent penny board. Some more unique models like those featuring Star Wars characters may cost over $100.
Second, it’s super lightweight. Compared to longboards, penny boards are definitely much lighter. A regular skateboard may weigh around 7 to 8 lbs on average. A penny board, on the other hand, is somewhere around 3 to 4 lbs. Personally, we love carrying it around because it’s just so darn light.
Also, it’s a great introduction to this amazing sport for young kids and teenagers. When you are just starting out, you usually have no idea whether boarding is suitable for you. So, investing too much too soon may cause regrets later on.
That’s why a low-cost penny board is a good way to get your feet into the water a bit. It’s like a sample in a way. You can play with it to see if you like and want to get serious about the sport. If not, you can give it to someone else and not feel bad about the money you spent.
One last but equally important point is that penny boards are just great for cruising like any regular or bigger-sized cruiser boards. We generally don’t recommend doing tricks on penny boards. You might get hurt because the construction is not designed for such heavy uses.
What Is The Best Penny Board Brand?
Believe it or not, you already know the answer. It’s right in the name of the board. Exactly, Penny! Penny Australia is one of the market leaders in the penny board category right now.
The firm was founded in 2010. As of now, they have pretty much cornered the segment in the U.S. Every kid in America is riding one or two Penny boards. Truth be told, they dominate this industry. You can totally trust their quality penny boards and service.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Retrospec, Eneeko, Skatro, and Playshion. These are very well-known brands with thousands of happy customers. So, remember these names if you’re looking for the best penny board brands. They are our go-to choices.
If you have any other brands in mind that are missing here, let us know! We’ll be happy to check them out!
Now, we’re moving to some technical stuff that we’re sure you geeky riders out there have been waiting for. Let’s put the penny board deck under our microscope first!
Penny boards’ decks are usually shorter than most types of boards on the market right now. They are usually around 22”. Actually, penny boards are the shortest type. Regular cruiser boards, for example, are around 25” to over 36”. And longboards are way over 36”.
The deck comes in a variety of shapes. If you like the banana shape, you can get a penny board that has that exact design. Most penny boards today have flat noses and slightly elevated tails. You’ll also find drop-through decks, but these are quite rare.
The surface of the deck has these little Xs. They call it the waffle top design. A great thing about penny boards’ decks is that they are coated with spray-on grip. So, you don’t have to deal with applying or replacing grip tape. The deck is still very grippy.
As we said earlier, the material they use to make penny boards, including their decks, is plastic. That makes the overall board super lightweight and portable.
Although the deck itself is made from plastic, the trucks on penny boards are made from metal; specifically, lightweight aluminum. The main purpose of the trucks is to connect the wheels and the deck. Also, they support your weight.
With strong metal base support, you don’t have to worry about weight issues. There are many components that make up the trucks like baseplate, bushings, hanger, kingpin, etc. We won’t go into much details about these.
You can loosen the kingpin a bit so the trucks become loosen for smoother turnings. Similarly, you can tighten the kingpin so the trucks become much tighter, providing you with a straight and stable ride.
Wheels & Bearings
Most penny boards’ wheels are around 54 – 59 mm in diameter. These measurements are around the average range in wheel size. They make it great for beginners and younger riders to get used to boarding on skate streets, bowls, or skate parks.
Most wheels have a durometer of around 78A to 90A. The durometer of a wheel measures its hardness. Most manufacturers use the A scale as opposed to the B scale. For example, a 78A wheel is softer than a 90A wheel.
Soft wheels will give you much more grip on rough surfaces, cracks, or pebbles. Hard wheels are less grippy and tend to roll faster. That’s why hard wheels are more suitable for pro riders. And softer wheels on penny boards are perfect for beginners and casual riders.
Finally, we have the bearings, or the metal rings that fit inside the wheels to connect them to the axle. You’ll typically find ABEC bearing ratings from ABEC 1 to ABEC 9+. The higher the number, the faster and smoother the rolling. For penny boards, ABEC 7 is very good.
So, that’s it for today’s post! Putting it all together, we’ll conclude that a penny board is a perfect cruiser for anyone who’s looking for a cheap, lightweight, and reliable board. Check out Penny Australia, Retrospec, or Skatro if you’re interested. Thanks for tuning in today. We’ll see you next time!