On the 16th of September, 2017, Peter Conolly set the fastest skateboard speed ever achieved while in a standing position when he reached a speed of 91.17 miles per hour. To accomplish that kind of power though, Conolly wasn’t on a traditional skateboard, but a longboard. Of course, it’s not essential that you go that fast on a longboard. However, if you want to go that fast, you definitely need a high-quality longboard capable of carrying you to the bottom safely. Do Riviera longboards make the cut?
Whether you are using a longboard to dance, bomb hills, shred at the local park, or cruise to class — we are reviewing boards that work for all occasions. We found out if the Riviera Skateboard company is the little company that could or the little company that fell flat.
Riviera Skateboard Company
The Riviera Skateboard Company created and manufactured the longboards we will talk about today. The company, based in Irvine, California, has just one rule when it comes to skateboarding — “there are no rules when you pick up a skateboard.”
Riviera’s founders come from skating and surfing backgrounds, and they use what they learned to create the RIviera longboards we will talk about today.
Different Types of Longboards
First, while we could do an entire piece on the different types of longboards. However, we will try to keep it simple. There are several different types of longboards on the market today. Each different shape works to create a different type of ride.
For example, you don’t want to use a “pintail” type board to bomb a hill. Below, we outline some vocabulary words you may see a lot when you are shopping for a board.
- Drop through: a perfect cruising board with better stability than most of the other options
- Kicktail: best way to switch from regular skateboard to longboard — a similar shape with raised tail in back
- Pintail: wide in the center and very narrow at the ends like a leaf making it excellent for sharp turns
- Fishtail: like the pintail, except it has fins on one end instead of two points
- Cruising: made for nice cruises around town with exceptional stability because of extra-wide trucks
- Bamboo: very lightweight and flexible for tricks and incredible performance
- Blunt: great for beginners, added stability because of round and wide tail and nose (no super-sharp turns on this one)
- Freestyle (twin, freeride): designed for multi-directional skating with extra-wide sides and indented nose and tail
- Drop-down: lowered deck and nose which makes pushing easier for long cruises and added stability
Remember, You can use most boards for different types of riding. You aren’t stuck only cruising, for example, if you get a drop through type board. This list was to give you an overview of some of the words you will see when you are shopping around.
Wheels, trucks, and bearings
The other things that will affect the ride of the board are the wheels, trucks, and bearings used on there. Each of the Riviera longboards will have wheels listed as well as trucks and bearings.
The trucks are the T-shaped bits that go under the board and hold the wheels and bearings in place. The bearings are little balls that live inside the wheels and help them spin.
Depending on what type of wheels, trucks, and bearings the board has, the ride can change significantly. In case you need more information, you can find guides to longboard wheels, bearings, and trucks online.
The Different Types of Riviera Longboards
Next, we will quickly review what types of longboards you can get from the Riviera Skateboard company. The company has the Riviera longboards separated into different “series.”
Remember, longboards are easier to ride because they are so much longer and wider than regular skateboards. That extra room, along with larger wheels and trucks, and special cutouts on the board so the wheels won’t rub all allow riders to go much faster and turn much more sharply than they can on a regular board.
First, the Classic series is a group of Riviera longboards designed for those long and easy cruises. The designers used their background in surfing to create several bamboo boards.
Classic Series longboards will carry you easily through town, cross-stepping all the way if you want. The boards in this group range from 40 to 46 inches in length with widths from 9 to 10 inches.
There are no wheel cutouts on these boards, and a few are pintail shaped. So, on a few of these Riviera longboards, you can pull off those sharp turns, not so much on the others. These are cruisers, through and through. Each board comes equipped with Paris trucks and Divine Road Ripper or Coyote Alpha wheels size 70 millimeters. A combination that every skater seems pleased with.
Drop Through Series
Unlike the Classic Series, the boards in the Drop Through Series are all shaped pretty much the same. These drop through longboards range in size from 38 to 41.5 inches long, and they are all 9.5 inches wide. The distance between the wheels varies, and that’s important when it comes to the type of ride you want.
As we said, drop through boards like the ones in this category are super stable. So, as you can see from the video they work on those downhill runs. With those wheel cutouts, you can turn on a dime with no concerns about wheel rub.
These boards come complete with the same Paris trucks as the other series as well as Coyote Prowler wheels, size 72 millimeters.
Riviera longboards just released one board in the new Flexy Series called the Symbology Blue. This board is a “super-flexy” fiberglass hybrid stunner. The Symbology Blue is 34 inches long and 8.5 inches wide. This board has Paris trucks and Coyote Alpha wheels size 70 millimeters.
Top Shelf Series
Finally, we have the Riviera longboards that belong in the Top Shelf Series. Riviera makes the boards in this group with slightly better materials than the others. For example, one board is maple and glass instead of bamboo. You can find these boards ranging in size from 37 to 41 inches with widths of 8.75 to 9.5 inches.
The boards in this category are shaped like the drop through boards with wheel cutouts. A few of them have nose and tail kicks for easy tricks. These boards come complete with Paris Trucks and 72-millimeter Coyote Prowler wheels.
What Real Customers Have to Say About Riviera Longboards
Usually, when we do review pieces like this, it takes a long time to read through all of the reviews. However, in the case of Riviera longboards, the company is so small, there aren’t a ton of personal reviews online.
Riviera longboards seem to be popular overseas, as a ton of the reviews we found on YouTube are in foreign languages. Sadly, YouTube does not have a translator. However, here’s what we managed to pull together.
First, the few reviews we did find are overwhelmingly positive. We found several reviews that said things like, “sick,” and, “great board.”
Additionally, we found one review that stated the Riviera Cruiser deck they ordered was exactly what they hoped it would be. Another user said the trucks “feel amazing,” and the spring in the board is perfect for a semi-beginner.
Secondly, we found a really neat Yelp review that speaks volumes about the Riviera company. A mother in California found the address online. She didn’t realize that it wasn’t a retail store, but the factory where they build these boards.
She was going to leave, but the owners insisted that she stay. They took her son, the one looking for a longboard, into the back. There, he watched them build the board he wanted to his specifications. How cool is that?
The only negative reviews we could find about these boards concern the bearings. Apparently, the Pyscho Abec 5 bearings used in Riviera longboards are not ideal for some riders.
However, keep in mind that it’s not that difficult to change the bearings if you want to; there are all sorts of how-to guides online. On top of that, these boards are a little bit pricey compared to some others in our review below.
How much is this going to cost?
As far as how much a new Riviera longboard will cost you, that varies. However, we found that these boards when sold as “complete,” (including trucks, wheels, and grip tape), are $139 to $220 for the Top Shelf Series.
Compare Riviera Longboards to the Competition
Here’s where we get into the comparison shopping portion of the program. We will compare Riviera longboards to other major longboard manufacturers. Today, we are talking about boards from Playshion, Sector 9, and Ten Toes Board Emporium.
Playshion 39 Inch Drop Through
First up is the Playshion 39 Inch Drop Through cruiser. These longboards look like the Riviera drop through series boards with the wheel cutouts.
Advertised as a starter longboard, this is not a board for people who already have a decent skillset. However, if you are a beginner, and not interested in any tricks right away, this board may be for you.
- Will hold up to 250 pounds
- 8 ply maple flex hardwood deck
- 70 x 50-millimeter generic polyurethane wheels
- Price: $59 to $117
- Trucks: generic 7-inch aluminum trucks
- Abec-7 bearings
- Available with different graphic designs as well as wheel color selections
The Playshion boards come very highly-rated, as well. So, if you are a beginner and you want to save a few bucks, the Plashion boards are definitely some to take a closer look at.
Sector 9 Aperture Sidewinder Drop Through
Next up, the Sector 9 Aperture Sidewinder Drop Through longboard. Sector 9 is arguably one of the most popular longboard brands on the market, according to many reviews.
This 36-inch longboard with a width of 9-inches would work for beginners, of course. However, it also has the hardware required for serious enthusiasts ready to get down. The shape of the Sector 9 is like the Playshion; it looks like the Riviera longboards Drop Through series.
- Special Sector 9 deck made from 5 plies of bamboo
- Gullwing Sidewinder trucks
- Wheels: 69-millimeter 80A 9-balls
- Sector 9’s own Abec 5 bearings
- Price: $169 to $199
Considering the online popularity of the Sector 9, however, since the price points are so similar, we can’t find any reason why this board is a better idea than a selection from Riviera.
Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed Bamboo Longboard
Third, we reviewed the Ten Toes Board Emporium Zed longboard. Unlike the other two in the review, this board shape is more like a 44-inch pintail with a blunt rear. It looks quite like a surfboard.
That means that there are not any cutouts for wheels, so the Zed won’t have quite the turning radius as the other two. However, at this price point, maybe that won’t bother you all that much.
- Materials: bamboo and maple hybrid
- Generic aluminum trucks: reverse kingpin
- Wheels: generic 70 x 51-millimeter “rock finished” wheels
- Price: $59 to $76
- Bearings: Abec 7
Very much like the Playshion, you save money on these boards because they use the generic wheels and trucks. However, unlike cheap-o skateboards, the generic bits work on a longboard as they should.
Keep in mind, if you want to bomb hills and do all sorts of tricks, the Ten Toes may not be for you. However, a lot of people really like this board.
Pros and Cons of Riviera Longboards
First, the positive side of these Riviera Longboards. The company is right in California, first of all, and took the time to build that kid a board. Secondly, everyone raves about the wheels and trucks the company uses on its longboards.
In the few reviews we found, people are overwhelmingly happy with their board. Created with cruising and safety in mind, these boards are made to last and made to carry even the most seasoned skater.
On the negative side, of course, we have the bearings. A few of the professional reviews we found stated that the bearings are just too sluggish.
Additionally, as you can see from the comparison section, Riviera longboards are a bit pricier than a few of the other selections. And finally, we really wish that we could find more reviews on these boards.
Now Grab Some Safety Gear and Get Out There
There you have it, folks, everything we could find about Riviera Longboards. Listen, don’t get one of these boards, or try anything on it until you get some proper safety gear. At least, find yourself a decent helmet and, ideally, knee and elbow pads, as well. However, once you have all that gear, you are ready for anything.
Gather your friends, or not, and hit the streets on whatever board suits your needs the most. We hope you have a most excellent time shredding the park, streets, hills, campus, or neighborhood.
Do you have a Riviera Longboard or something comparable? Tell us about it in the comments.