Street luge information – getting started

Continuing with our blog about street luge we have used the how stuff works website to assist us in putting together what follows which explains what is involved should you wish to make further research into this extreme sport.

The modern street luge sled closely resembles the sleds we see on the ice luge track in the winter. It’s made of aluminum or fiberglass and can vary in length depending on the size of the rider. Most luge sleds are 8 feet (2.4 meters) or shorter. Sleds may feature two or three axles that hold up to six wheels. Below are some examples which because they are generally made for a specific person do not come cheap.

With the simplicity of most street luges, it can be tempting to try to make your own board to save money. After all, this sport was started by DIY pioneers who modified their skateboards to reach a new level of thrills. Remember, though, that much of the danger of street luge comes when you wipe out, and the best-made boards are least likely to fall apart.

Alternatively new riders may want to consider starting with a basic long board, or buttboard, instead of a steel or fiberglass sled. Buttboards are similar to skateboards, but are generally about 4 feet (1.2 meters) in length. They’re also slightly wider so the rider has more space to fit on the board. Buttboards are made of wood, with steel bearings and hard plastic wheels. They’re heavier than a sled, but also slower and easier to learn on. These boards often cost just a fraction of the price of a street luge sled, making them the perfect choice for riders looking to give this sport a try without breaking the bank

TRS Streetluge Image

Depending on the style of your board, your feet may rest on a set of handles or foot rests. In this type of street luge, riders steer with their feet. Simpler boards may not have a footrest at all, with riders steering by shifting their weight. On this type of board, your feet will rest straight out in front of you on the board itself.

billboards Image

The wheels measure in diameter between 2.75 and 3.5 inches (70 and 90 millimeters) on average and are made of hard plastic, which is stronger than the softer rubber tyres.

Steel bearings connect the wheels to the axles. Newer ceramic bearings are much more durable than steel, but are also more expensive, which means that most recreational riders are still stuck on steel.

For a sport that allows riders to travel at such extreme speeds, it’s surprising how simple most street luge boards really are. These boards have no suspension systems, so riders are at the mercy of the terrain. You’ll feel every bump in the road as you speed downhill.

Red Bull Streets Of San Fransisco Big Air Competition Image

And wow that can be uncomfortable – note also in the photo above how this pilots brake pads are wearing very thin.

The 2 main governing bodies are the International Gravity Sports Association (IGSA) which is based in Southern California and sanctions events all around the world and the Gravity Sports International (GSI) which is based in  Berlin, New Hampshire. GSI is the sanctioning body for the Gravity Sports Race Series (GSRS) which includes Streetluge, Gravity Bike and Downhill Skateboarding.

Those who think that street luge isn’t extreme enough for their tastes may want to give powered street luge a try. Powered street luge boards are connected to gas or electric motors, allowing riders to push the limits of speed (and, as some say, sanity). These boards are often powered by modified motorcycle engines, and may feature a slightly larger body or frame to offer a bit of extra protection to the rider. This sport combines the thrill of street luge with the speed of auto racing and is considered a separate event within the street luge competitive circuit.

Hopefully we are starting to inspire you to give this different kind of luge a try out – eventually the idea is to be as good as these guys in the YouTube video from rclll

Now come on – is that not extreme enough for you.

3 Responses to “Street luge information – getting started”

  1. Fran
    2012 | 4 September at 17:23 #

    We just shot some edits in conjunction with the Paraylmpics in London.

    Below is some copy and links to an edit of Ollie Hancock, our one armed street luger.

    Thought this might be of interest to you guys, and possibly put it up through your site or facebook.

    There’s more to Para sport than just track and field.

    Just because you can’t walk or missing an arm doesn’t mean you can’t put down turns or stick tricks. To coincide with the Paralympics in London we hooked up with a few guys who share our creativity and love of action sports.

    Being inspirational and thought provoking they challenge our own pre-conceived ideas and hope to motivate both able-bodied and disabled people to broaden the horizons as to what freestyle means.

    Our second edit has our one armed street luger, Ollie Hancock tearing it up.
    Further edits will be available over the coming days via

    • lolajones
      2012 | 5 September at 18:40 #

      Thanks Fran, I am finding the Paralympics so incredibly inspirational that I’m delighted to be sent anything on it or a similar topic. I’ll take a look at your clip and will try do something tomorrow.


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