Rodney Mullen and Marc Johnson originally formed Enjoi Skateboards, one of the most innovative skateboarding brands. With the help of other professional skateboarders, they created the infamous “A-Team”, a group of skateboarders representing Enjoi. They have seen many changes over the years and have said goodbye to many great members of the Enjoi team. However, the one consistent trait is that they have continued to stand behind their signature panda boards, which are unique to other skateboarding brands. This is an all-around good brand providing quality boards great for beginners, which makes them a great skateboarding brand.
Proper skateboard wheels are made out of polyurethane with minimal additives. Toy skateboard wheels can be made of plastic or a low quality poly mix which leads to poor performance in the best case and even outright dangerous situations with cracked wheels in the worst case. This is a case where brand recognition and reputation can come into play.
Bearings are rated by the ABEC scale (1-9), which has nothing to do with skateboarding. Manufacturers know skaters believe higher ABEC ratings mean faster bearings. They do not, and you won’t find high-quality bearings on off-the-shelf skateboards. Most of these completes are slow. Make a bearing upgrade a top priority. Good bearings can make almost any skateboard fast. This article by longtime pro Anthony Pappalardo gives an insider’s perspective on bearings.
There really isn’t a best brand….I prefer boards that are made in America by small companies or for small companies by mid sized companies. but that’s my general preference Watson and PS Stix also makes boards for a lot of companies (mostly outside the USA from what I understand) I have a couple of Welcome Jordon Sanchez decks (pressed by PS Stix) on my spare board shelf that I can wait to skate.
Without good grip tape, skaters have a tough time staying on top of their board. The main complaints about poor grip tape tend to be that it was never very grippy or lost its grip really quickly. Once again, we recommend trusting in name brands with years of experience supporting skateboarders. Unfortunately, if you are buying a pre-made complete skateboard, you probably won't have access to the brand name of the grip.