Downhill longboards are not for the timid. These boards are designed to bomb hills at extraordinary speeds. Downhill longboards are characterized by a stiffer flex that keeps the boards stable at a higher MPH. Downhill boards also usually feature a drop-through truck mounting systems or drop-down decks that create a lower center of gravity to avoid those nasty speed wobbles. Downhill longboards typically also have wheel cut-outs to prevent wheel bite and a steeper concave to cradle your foot. Most downhill shapes come paired with slide wheels that allow you to check your speed and slow down quicker. Downhill longboards are for expert riders or riders who want to take their longboarding to the next level.
Freeride longboards are basically the slightly less intense versions of downhill longboards. They contain most of the same features, but have a softer bend so you don't have to ride them as aggressively to get them to flex. Freeride longboards allow you to flow more naturally than downhill boards without giving up stability and performance. Freeride longboards are constructed to be just as fun going from place to place as they are charging a huge hill.
Carver longboards are made for pure longboarding pleasure. You don't have to stare death in the face to have a blast on one of these boards. They are soft, flexy, whimsical, creative, and fun. These boards are made for beginner riders all the way up to the experienced boarder who just wants to groove. Carver longboards usually look like vintage surfboards. They typically feature a flat deck with a cambered flex that allows you to flow deeply through your turns. Carver longboards are mostly combined with soft, gummy wheels for more grip and a smoother overall ride. Whether you're cruising around your college campus or slicing down the strand, carver longboards keep the stoke alive.
Top mount is the most mounting setup. The deck is mounted above the trucks so the center of gravity is higher, making the top mount slightly less, stable but a little more agile. Top mount longboards are the most versatile.
On drop-though models, the trucks are mounted through the board...so to speak. This, essentially, lowers everything by the thickness of the board, increasing board stability. Drop-through boards are great commuters. A lot of freeride and downhill setups are drop-throughs.
Longboard trucks differ from traditional skateboard trucks in that they have reversed or inverted kingpins. This offers a more side-to-side movement for better stability and control. Just like regular skate trucks, longboard trucks can be adjusted. Tightening the kingpin nut makes a stiffer ride with better stability at high speeds, while loosening it makes for a more flowy vibe.
Longboard wheels are typically more square-lipped than regular skateboard wheels, providing better contact and more traction. Longboard wheels are also typically softer and more rubbery.