Z-Flex is one of the oldest longboard companies. It started as the EZ-Ryder company in 1976. Z-Flex is a company known for its innovations and its involvement in the development and testing of urethane wheel designs.
With all the great products that Z-Flex has to offer, it is quite hard to pinpoint just one product that will indeed be the right fit for you. This is why I did some research to determine which Z-Flex product offers the most benefits for a rider like me; who loves the adrenaline rush of high-speed rides.
Z-Flex Pintail Longboard Complete Skateboard
When riders think of classic longboards, they often picture a pintail. These old-school longboards are shaped to mimic surfboards both in their design and their capabilities. The Z-Flex Pintail Longboard is one of the best examples of an excellent pintail longboard. This is Z-Flex’s offering for those who love bombing hills.
This is exactly what drew me to this longboard, the promise that I will enjoy my speed runs with the help of this pintail. I’ve been looking for a longboard that perform even when subjected to the rigors of downhill runs and none of the products that I previously considered measured up to my expectations. Upon cursory inspection, the Z-Flex Pintail seems good enough to satisfy my personal preferences for a downhill longboard.
Compared to the popular Atom Pintail Longboard, the Z-Flex has a more subdued design since the Atom uses bright graphics that are visually pleasing. The Z-Flex is a bit shorter at 38 inches compared to the Atom’s 39-inch board. When it comes to bearings, the Z-Flex uses ABEC-7 bearings that can be more precise and durable against the Atom’s ABEC-5 bearings.
Features and Benefits
Great Pintail Design
Pintails are classic when it comes to longboard design. They are shaped to mimic surfboards. Aside from its look, this pintail is designed to be able to slice through the air to give it that added boost of speed. Its aerodynamic design means that drag is reduced and riders can push this longboard to its limits.
Riding this pintail made me feel as if the wind just slides off my body without holding me back. Some of the boards that I’ve tried are too broad in their shape and feel as if they’re holding on to the wind. It is never good to feel yourself significantly slowing down even when going downhill.
The Z-Flex Pintail is an excellent longboard for those who want to bomb hills or cruise with friends. Speed is a crucial element when you want to ride as fast as possible down hills or “bomb” them and this pintail is guaranteed to provide you with the speed that you need.
Due to its decades-long existence as a longboard company, Z-Flex has had a lot of experience when it comes to deck construction. This is very evident when you look at the deck of their Pintail Longboard. The first thing that I noticed is that the deck is shorter.
Most decks are around 41 inches in length. The Z-Flex Pintail is a tad shorter at 38 inches. It may not sound like much but those 3 inches have so much impact on how this longboard handles. The length made it much easier for me to control this deck. More extended decks are harder to steer because they have wider turning radii.
A turning radius is the amount of space that you need to make a complete circle so the longer the vehicle is, the larger the turning radius. With the Z-Flex Pintail, that turning radius is reduced. I didn’t need to exert too much effort just to make extreme turns.
This is crucial when going downhill, especially if there are turns that you need to make at high speeds. When you’re riding an extended longboard and you make a quick turn, you will end up eating more space before you complete your turn. This can prove disastrous, especially if there’s an oncoming vehicle on the opposite lane.
One drawback with the short deck is that taller riders may have a difficult time riding it. I am not unusually tall so the short deck didn’t bother me as much. A friend of mine who’s almost a head taller tried this pintail and he was felt uncomfortable riding it.
His long legs were positioned too close to each other and it resulted in an awkward stance. The 9-inch width of the deck is also not enough for his large feet. In my case, there is still half an inch of allowance left for my feet when I stand on the Z-Flex pintail.
Another crucial part of a longboard, especially if you are after speed, is the type of bearings used. For this pintail, Z-Flex used ABEC-7 bearings. That is just a notch below the highest rated bearings. The bearings used in this pintail are high-precision bearings and they have tight tolerances.
These are required if you are after high speeds. When a board reaches high speeds, the wheels and bearings also turn at high speeds. This high-speed turning creates friction and pressure that the bearings must endure. If a bearing has a low tolerance, the ball bearings inside may end up cracking and breaking apart.
Riding at high speeds also means that there is a likelihood that you will end up rolling over small debris like pebbles or even cracks on the ground. Running over these will result in vibrations that the bearings must absorb.
Lesser bearings might not be able to handle these but ABEC-7 bearings are tough enough to take these vibrations without any additional damage. Of course, you can replace the bearings with an even higher ABEC-9 if you want to.
Bones bearings also produce great bearings even though they don’t use the ABEC ratings on their products. The good thing about Bones Bearings is they have speed lubricants in their bearings. These lubricants are quite helpful since they make the bearings turn even faster.
Such lubricants also lessen the friction on the bearings. Friction on bearings can slow down their turning and slow down your board as a result. Friction also means that the ball bearings rub against each other and heat up.
This can result in cracks in the ball bearings, which as I have mentioned, may damage the bearing and cause you to require replacements.
Z-Flex’s Pintail Longboards are equipped with 69MM 78A Z-Smooth Wheels. Most longboards I’ve tried are equipped with small wheels. While small wheels helped me accelerate faster, they have lower top speeds and they left me wanting.
It is frustrating to feel yourself starting to build up speed only to be left hanging because your wheels won’t allow you to go any faster. At 69mm, the wheels on this pintail are large enough to make riding enjoyable.
Although big wheels take time to accelerate, they have higher top speeds compared to smaller ones. It may just be a personal preference but I like it better when I start slow and still manage to attain speeds that make me feel alive.
Things to consider before buying a pintail longboard
Pintails, just like any other longboard type, come in different lengths. Before jumping the gun and getting that longboard that you’ve been eyeing, consider its length and the height of the user. The length of the longboard should be proportionate to the height of the rider. So, the taller the rider is, the longer the board should be.
Size of Wheels
This has been discussed in the other section but I feel there’s not enough emphasizing its importance. Smaller wheels mean faster acceleration but lower top speeds. Larger wheels mean a slower start but higher top speeds. Younger riders or those who are just starting on downhills will do better if they go for larger wheels.
The slow start will give them more time to get the hang of a hill before they hit full speeds. If you’ve been riding down the same hill for a time then smaller wheels will give you the chance to test your accuracy since it will let you accelerate faster. Smaller wheels are also ideal for those who ride downhill over short distances since they can hit high speeds before the hill ends.
High tolerance bearings
Bearings that can withstand high speeds are essential for pintails and downhill rides. Since you’re riding at high speeds, the bearings are spinning faster and there is more friction and heat build-up. High-tolerance bearings can take all the pressure associated with high-speed rides without taking too much damage.
Alternatives to Z-flex Longboard
1.Yocaher Punked Graphic Pintail Complete Longboard Skateboard
This pintail is ideal for beginners due to its teardrop-shaped deck. Unlike the Z-Flex Pintail, the Yocaher has hard and heavy-duty wheels.
These wheels are meant for riding on rougher surfaces like unpaved roads or uneven sidewalks. These wheels will also do well on rides that require a lot of turning or carving. Both pintails use the same ABEC-7 rated bearings.
This an excellent alternative pintail for those who are not after speed but precision. Riders like students who will use it for in-campus rides will do well with this pintail and should check it out.
Comparison to Z-Flex longboard:
?Uses 70mm wheels while the Z-Flex uses 69mm wheels.
?40 inches long compared to Z-Flex which is 39 inches.
?Uses smooth wheels while the Z-Flex uses hard wheels.
2.Flybar Skate Pintail Cruiser Longboard Skateboards
The Flybar Pintail Cruiser is an ideal longboard for those who like cruising and carving. This is an excellent alternative for those who use their board for commuting or as a means of transportation. Unlike the flat Z-Flex Pintail, this pintail features a concave. The concave makes steering this board easier.
With just a slight nudge of the feet on the raised sides of the deck, the rider can steer the longboard. This is why it is ideal for those who use it for commuting, especially if they need to navigate through a crowd. The maneuverability of this board will let them glide around people.
One feature that this pintail has and that is missing on the Z-Flex are the 12mm riser pads. The riser pads give more height to the board and help in preventing wheel bite.
This is quite helpful since riders can quickly get wheel bite when they move from street to sidewalk while riding. The grip tape of this deck is also useful since you can use it to have added traction and stay on top of your deck.
Comparison to Z-Flex longboard::
?Has a concave Canadian Maple board while the Z-Flex doesn’t have any concave.
?This board is ideal for commuting while the Z-Flex is made for bombing hills.
?Uses 70mm wheels while the Z-Flex uses 69mm wheels.
3.Atom Pin-Tail Longboard
If you love going on slow and relaxing rides then this is an excellent alternative for you. It has almost the same dimensions as the Z-Flex Pintail. However, unlike the Z-Flex that uses ABEC-7 bearings, this pintail uses ABEC-5 bearings.
The tolerance may be lower but it should be enough for relaxed rides. The wheels are also considerably larger compared to those of the Z-Flex which means that it is even slower to accelerate but can attain higher top speeds. Those who take long commutes will do well to check out this pintail.
Comparison to Z-Flex longboard:
?Uses 65mm wheels while the Z-Flex uses 69mm wheels.
?Uses ABEC-5 bearings meant for cruising while the Z-Flex uses ABEC-7 bearings meant for high-speed rides.
?Has 8.5-inch trucks while the Z-Flex uses 7-inch trucks.
I’ve tried many longboards before and all of them have fallen short of my expectations. Some are too unstable, which may lead to accidents during rides; others are not properly constructed and not as durable. The Z-Flex Pintail, on the other hand, has managed to exceed my expectations.
The deck is aerodynamic in design and enabled me to ride faster especially downhill. The wheels are the right size to let me accelerate at a safe rate while allowing me to reach higher top speeds.
Lastly, the ABEC-7 bearings have more than enough tolerance to withstand the punishment that my high-speed rides dish out. It has worked out as a really great board for me and may also be just what you are looking for!