After you’ve learned some of the basic beginner skateboard tricks, you might be surprised how quickly you can progress to learning new grinds and slides. Typically, boardslides and 50-50s are the first rail tricks learned. Once you know how to lock in and balance those tricks, tons of new, more advanced tricks become possible. Yes, there will still be a pretty steep learning curve, as with any new trick, but practice will pay off.
In terms of practicing, if you’re fortunate enough to live near a great skatepark with a good flat bar, you’ll have a perfect training ground. But skateparks can be crowded. Flat bars at parks tend to be pretty long, too, and sometimes tall. A shorter, lower flat bar is more conducive to learning additional grinds.
So, if your driveway is smooth enough or if you have a suitable parking lot or other space with flat ground nearby, get your own flat bar. A good flat bar for skateboarding is one of the best investments in terms of being able to learn new grinds and slides on your own and at your own pace. But not every grind rail is equal. They vary in terms of length, height, quality, and make. Some are square and some are round, and that makes a difference when grinding.
If you don’t know where to start. Here are our top three skateboarding flat bars!
Best Skateboarding Flat Bars
Element Flat Bar
Element’s long been a big name in the skateboarding game, and its flat bar is grind ready and tons of fun. Since this is a square grind rail, it’s perfect for noseslides, tailslides, and other slides using either end of the board. A square rail is also a bit easier to lock in for certain grinds such as 50-50s and 5 Os. The rail is four inches wide, giving enough room for your skateboard’s trucks to get a good lock.
At six feet in length, this flat rail is the perfect length for learning new slides and grinds. It can be tough to hold on and keep your balance on a long rail, but six feet still lets you lock in pull off a good grind or slide before running out of rail. Since this rail is also lightweight, it’s portable, and that’s important. Flat bars aren’t made to be stationary; bring them to your friend’s driveway, to a nearby parking lot, or even to some skateparks. Some of its features include:
- Adjustable height. 10” and 13” settings
- Light weight. 28 lbs.
- 6’ long and 4” wide
- Great flat bar for both beginner and more advanced skaters
Nitro Circus Mini Grind Rail
This mini flat bar is small, as its name implies, but it’s the perfect grind rail for learning new tricks and also for younger and beginning skaters. It’s just not very easy learning new tricks on a flat bar that’s tall or long. Most flat bars aren’t this short or low to the ground, but that’s where this flat bar excels! Even a slightly tall flat bar can be intimidating for learning new tricks. One that’s close to the ground minimizes impact and requires less speed for pulling off grinds and slides.
This flat bar was designed for younger skaters in mind, as it has a user weight limit of 195 pounds. But older skaters might still find it useful (and fun!), especially when learning new or more advanced tricks. The rail skates a little bit like a parking block, except its zinc-plated surface slides better than most parking blocks. It’s a mini rail that still provides tons of fun! Here are some of its specs:
- Zinc-plated surface for smooth grinds and slides
- PE end caps and PVC feet to add traction and stability
- Recommended for ages 8 and up. Weight limit is 195 lbs.
- Rail measures 35 – 3/8” in length and is 6” high
Imperial & Co. Round Bar Grind Rail
Imperial’s round flat bar is just what you need for learning more grinds and slides. Even if you’re an advanced skater, the great thing about flat bars is that they apply to all skill levels. There’s always more grinds and slides to learn, and when you start doing flip-in and flip-out tricks, the combinations are practically infinite. Since this round rail has adjustable heights, it makes for easily switching up the difficulty level or learning how to put more pop into your grinds.
A good round rail also simulates most handrails. Round rails can be a little tougher to balance on for some grinds and slides, but you’ll want to be comfortable on both round rails and square rails. Since this rail has 1/4” metal feet with rubber pads underneath, it’s designed to stay in place while you slide. This skateboarding flat bar even comes with wax, which is just what’s needed if the rail ever starts to stick while sliding. Features include:
- Wax included for better sliding
- Easy and fast three-step adjustable height, with 10.5″, 12″, 14″ settings
- No tools needed, just use the pinlock to adjust height
- Flat bar measures 6 feet in length with 2.5” diameter rail
- Thick 1/4″ metal feet with triangle reinforcements and rubber pads to keep bases sturdy
Should I get a round flat bar or a square flat bar?
Grind rails come in either round or square options in terms of the rail’s shape. Which is best? Either, really.
Round rails can be a little bit tougher to lock in on, as some grinds like 50-50s and nosegrinds might take a little extra precision in order to get a proper lock. Slides like noseslides and tailslides can also be a little more difficult on a round rail. Then again, smith grinds, feeble grinds, and some other tricks are typically a little easier on a round rail. Both round and square rails are great. But if you get one, try and skate the other type when you can too. This way you won’t get overly comfortable on round or square rails.
How much wax should I put on my flat bar?
Many flat bars come with a coat of paint on the rail that acts as a friction reducer during grinds and slides. This means that you probably won’t have to put any wax on your flat bar, and that it will slide like a dream.
Still, typically that paint eventually chips and wears away after being subjected to repeated grinds. But, it’s really no issue. Running a piece of wax over the length of the rail two or three times is usually enough to make a sticky rail start sliding again. Just be sure to apply wax incrementally, as no one likes to skate an overly waxed rail, which can be unnecessarily difficult and dangerous to skate.
Which are the best tricks to learn first on a flat bar?
A backside boardslide is probably the trick that most skaters learn first when just learning how to skate a flat bar. In terms of grinds and slides, it’s one of the “safest” tricks, in that it’s relatively easy to balance and to position the rail between the two trucks.
Frontside 50-50s are another good beginner trick to learn. It’ll take some precision to land the two trucks over the rail, but the familiar motion of standing up straight while maintaining balance makes this trick a good go-to when starting out.
Like any skateboarding tricks, learning one trick leads to learning another. The learning process is cumulative. Once you’ve got a few basic rail tricks down, you’re ready for some harder ones. Once you have a great flat bar, all that you need to practice is readily available, and learning grinds and slides becomes that much easier.