Retrospec’s longboard cruiser had been on my wishlist since Feb 2021. I decided to give it a try back in June 2021 and here i am with a review of Retrospec Zed board, after testing it for more than 3000 miles.

The board appeared to be attractive at first glance. It includes a 44-inch high-quality bamboo deck with eight layers of maple. It weighs roughly 9 pounds due to its larger size. Because of its size, it was bit of a challenge for me to carry it around town for cruising, but why carry it when you can just ride on it?

The thing I like best about this longboard is that it comes in a variety of colors and designs, which is great for picky people like me.

Let’s jump right into the review to learn everything there is to know about this longboard.

My Verdict

All of the great rides and thrilling experiences start with the basics. Considering its price, Retrospec has made a board with great aesthetics as well as a great riding experience. Here are few reasons, from my analysis, that make it a decent choice:

  • Great aesthetics
  • Superior grip on wheels enhanced by Anti-bite tech
  • Big sized wheel – makes it ideal for beginners looking for safety and standing upright.
  • Good quality trucks
  • 44 inches length make you feel like riding a surfboard

However, Being a reasonably affordable board, this also had some flaws:

  • Size of board is 44 inches, which makes the portability poor
  • Cruising might be a little hard due to big wheels
  • Higher center of gravity (good for beginners)
  • Mediocre bearings

After riding it from santiago avenue to everywhere inside the city, I can say for the price, this is definitely a decent board and worth buying.

The Design

It has a nice colorful board giving it nice aesthetics. It is made with bamboo and maple for finishing purposes that make it sturdy and swift.

The length of the longboard is 44 inches long, i also used Magneto Kicktail in similar length, which I think is quite long. Initially I find myself struggling around with this. There’s only one possible way of carrying it.

Well, moving over the skateboard’s curves and chopped corners are specifically engineered to promote balance, precision, and speed. Furthermore, its shape allows you to break through the wind with less effort and a tighter grip. 

Trucks

The board is equipped with highly sensitive 7-inch long Aluminum reverse kingpin trucks. They’re 7.5 inches wide in the back and 8 inches wide in the front, with thicker bushings.

After riding it for the very first time, I lost my balance and discovered that the trucks were loose. REMEMBER – Make sure to adjust the trucks the very first time it arrives. Otherwise you could get yourself into a serious injury. The trucks were loose in packaging, which is usually done on purpose so user could adjust it to their needs.

After fixing the trucks, the ride was smooth.

Wheels:

This longboard has large and wide shock-absorbing Polyurethane wheels. They have a PU grade of 85A and are extremely durable. It also includes a rock finish for more grip and a better ride.

Wider wheels have the disadvantage of producing more friction, which resulted in rolling at a low speed which required me to put more energy to push. Given this, I believe they’re a wonderful choice for newbies, as all they care about is being upright and safe. Anyone looking to cruise properly, however, will be disappointed because these wheels are just too huge.

Key Features

  • Board Build Quality: Strong and stable
  • Board Length: Quite Big.
  • Turn Response: Good – could be enhanced using better bearings.
  • Bearings: ABEC 7 bearing
  • Trucks : 50 Degrees 7-inch – need adjustment for first time (comes with toolkit)
  • Suitable for Beginners? Yes! – Bigger wheels and long board – provide more stability and security

Specifications

  • Brand: Backfire
  • Available variants: original, Hue, Streak, Panda and Galaxy
  • Package Weighs: 4.15 kgs
  • Material: ‎Fiberglass, Bamboo
  • Wheel Size: 65 mm
  • Deck size: 44 inches long and 9 inches wide

BEARINGS

The retrospec zed longboard cruiser comes with ABEC-7 bearings that are used to help with high-speed riding. These bearings are perfect for high speed and exceptional running accuracy and are up to the mark.

For the price, the bearing quality was okay. However, for better control during turns and curves, I replaced the bearings with high quality bearings. You may do the same if you want to have a better control.

Pros
  • A good choice for beginners
  • A larger size provides greater stability
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Lighter deck to carry around anywhere
Cons
  • Due to its heavyweight, it might be a challenge to carry this board
  • Mediocre quality bearings – considering the price they are okay
RETROSPEC Zed Longboard review images
Retrospec zed review test results
Retro spec zed longboard test result

Tips to Improve Experience

After using the board for quite some time, here are few of my tips that could improve your experience with this board:

  • Upgrade the bearings to have make the ride more smooth and have more control on turns.
  • MAKE SURE to adjust the trucks before Riding the first time as they came loose inside the box.
  • Upgrade the wheels if you want to do more intense cruising, as the wheels are big hence need more push to speed up.

Zed cruiser vs Pintail

A lot of the people get confused between cruiser and pintails and don’t know which one will suit best according to their style. Pintail vs cruisers has been a long debate as they have highly diverse designs and attributes, which would result in quite different riding styles. The same is the case with retrospec zed cruiser and pintail. 

Both of these longboards are from the same manufacturer and are composed of high-quality materials.

Cruiser
  • 44 inches long deck
  • Made of 8-ply bamboo and Canadian maple
  • 85A bushing
  • 70 x 50 mm PU wheels
Pintail
  • 41 inches long deck
  • Made up of a hybrid of bamboo and maple
  • 90A bushing
  • 70 x 51 mm PU wheels

Conclusion

So, if you’re a novice searching for a perfectly balanced longboard at a reasonable price, there’s rarely a better alternative than this that offers so much in this price range.

However, for professional skating, you might need to replace the trucks, bearings and wheels with higher quality components to have more control on the turns and curves during all those tricks.