Electric Skateboards: 101 – Introduction
Electric skateboards are one of many innovative and convenient gadgets the 21st century has to offer. The improvements in technology allow for real results instead of prototypes with various bugs. This simply means the electric skateboards you may have seen or think about when hearing the name are much more sophisticated and practical for everyday use in all conditions. With new technologies arising so often many wonder what’s the real purpose for all the innovations and if they truly warrant any real value. A quick reminder is that when the first automobiles were introduced to the public many complained about the practicality, claiming that the use of a horse was more reasonable. The use of a horse avoided the problems of early cars such as noise, gas, constant repairs and the lack of speed in earlier interactions. Fast forward a century later and cars are not only much more convenient but a necessity to many. The immense improvements in the automobile industry, are also prevalent in all other technology industries such as cell phones, electric cars, displays etc. Consumer electric skateboards are still new to the public, but a vital reason to invest in such a product would significantly help the industry to improve and thrive in future years. In addition to the development of a promising industry, it uses simple technology allowing it to be easily built upon. A regular skateboard, longboard or penny board base is used to begin the board, then the motor, a drive train similar to an RC car, a simple computer and battery are the components to build an electric skateboard. The design of electric skateboards is intuitive unlike other devices, such as hoverboards which have a large learning curve, with some never being able to get a hang of it. The simple design allows the user to ride comfortable without the glares and comments from everyone whether their bad or good. Although the technology is somewhat new compared to other industries, it is well developed. A great example of this is the motors included with electric skateboards they provide enough power to not only pull you along from point a to point b but also up hills, over bumps and even have braking functions to slow you down on steep hills. The drivetrain is very simply meaning repairs are avoided and parts are quite durable. Most use a system similar to RC cars and the electric motor provides 100% instant torque for a fun fast exhilarating ride. Computers are also included to make sense of the inputs the user creates and allow the board to move. This is normally an easy input such as putting slightly more pressure in a certain place on the board to make it go forward or a wireless remote control which is more common. The batteries included with the board are also convenient. They hold a good charge to be used throughout the day and are sleek enough so people don’t know your riding something of the future and light enough for easy portability. If you already skateboard or if you don’t but like the idea of getting around on a practical board which can be stored easily, electric skateboards are a great choice. They offer the convenience needed for a simple task, in a familiar package. With the increase of electric skateboards, production, and the reliable builds you’ll want to say you had one first, before they get too popular.
Thinking of Buying? Let’s Dive Into What to Look For
When buying an electric skateboard, just like any new gadget, it’s important to do your research. Not only should the product you’re interested in be looked into but, it is also important to take into account what your uses will be for it. There are many things to take into account, although some will be listed not everything can be covered for each individuals situation.
The weight of the board is very important. If it is being used by a commuter who has to bring it into a busy train or bus a lighter board may be better suited. For users who use it for leisure activities such as long rides around an area or to and from a specific destination such as work, the weight may not be much of an issue. Remember that weight always plays a roll for example if the board runs out of battery will carrying it around cause strain or discomfort if so search for a lighter board. Lighter boards also may run faster because they are lightweight, but heavier boards may be more durable and have more power due to a heavy duty motor.
The range of the board is another important factor that must be taken into account. If the board is being used by the individual to take them from work and back, if the range is too small to not make the trip the board can be deemed as useless because you’ll have to carry it some of the ways. If the board is just being used around the neighborhood or small distances where you can get a charge it will not be much of a problem. Performance and build quality also have great importance in the decision of what board to get. Like many other industries of technology, there are basic products and high-quality products. The same occurs with electric skateboards some get the user from point A to point B and others provide a fun smooth ride which leaves the user wanting to ride it again and again.
The overall build quality matters when it comes to electric boards, the trucks, wheels and decks should be approached like a regular board. The same principals apply, higher quality trucks, wheels, and decks result in a smoother, faster, and more controlled ride. The motor and battery also should be evaluated remembering that some motors can offer a smoother ride and better batteries result in better acceleration. When making your purchase take into account part replaceability, compatibility, and warranty. All products experience wear and tear and because electric skateboards are so seamless and easy to use it is easy to forget about the wear until a part is damaged.
A board that uses too many specialized parts may cause problems when a part breaks, whether it be too expensive to replace or parts may be unattainable. Compatible parts are important for those who are interested in upgrades or just simply part replacements such as new wheels or trucks. If nothing is compatible with any other parts on the market, you will be left with a stock board which some are not fond of. Always check what the warranty covers and what it does not so there are no surprises if or when anything malfunctions or breaks.
Price is a huge part of the electric board journey especially with the wide variety of already high prices. So much different products are offered, which justifies the wide price range. Some boards are made from china and are a base model and others are made from dedicated companies who care about ride performance and build quality more than anything. A longer range, lighter weight, and stronger motor will be more expensive than a base design. When shopping for electric skateboards you get what you pay for.
Motor wattage and performance is more important than you think. The wattage does not tell the entire story of the motor performance. The performance also relies on gear ratios, a size of the gears and torque. Smaller and shorter gear ratios mean for faster acceleration, but the ride will not be as smooth. Longer gear ratios offer a gradual acceleration which is slower, but smoother in acceleration and deceleration. Different boards offer different specs and even completely different designs. The use of 2 motors vs 1 motor is often used and some are unsure of which is better for them. Traditionally one motor has been used which allow for the dynamic movement of the board. The free roll or neutral state is much more easily attained with the use of one motor. However, recently two motor systems have been introduced which provide increased performance and grip by powering all wheels instead of just one set. In addition to the amount of motors and performance of motors, is the kind of motor to take into account. In most cases, there are two different motors to choose from. Hub Motors and Gear Motors. Hub motors are much less performance suited. They use a system where the motor is attached to the wheel spinning it directly while the motor is stationary. This causes problems including slow acceleration, difficulty climbing hills and reduced stopping power. A gear motor system uses a drive shaft and gears which allow the board to get the most out of its energy at all speeds.
Controls are also very important when choosing the board. Although manufacturers are leaning towards intuitive hands-free controls, there are still numerous boards which use hand controls. Wireless hand controls are the more common method of electric board control. Depending on the individual this may or may not be more convenient. Although many people know what to look for in their purchase journey, they still make several mistakes which lead to an unhappy investment.
Common Mistakes when purchasing;
Here are some of the mistakes consumers make when buying their electric skateboard. The most common mistake made is underestimating size and weight of the product. Many believe they can deal with a moderately sized board and quickly realize what they thought was a moderate size is not that, but large and troublesome. A smaller board is better to purchase than a large board just for extra size. The portability is worth it with some small boards having the ability to be stored in a backpack and weigh less than five pounds. Although a portable size is great and very convenient, remember not all electric boards support all individuals. Some boards will simply run incorrectly if overloaded or worse, break. Always check that your board supports your weight before making the final purchase. Power is something we all want from our boards, but some choose less expensive boards which have less power. This can be a crucial mistake as boards that are too under-powered will be a waste of money. They will only be useful on long stretches of flat pavement and downhills. Make sure you understand what type of power you’ll be getting from your board before you get it. Durability is often taken for granted with electric boards. Although plastic boards are not bad, they are not the greatest either. Bamboo boards will leave the user much better off with the ability to flex and absorb the impact that would crack a plastic board. In addition, bamboo gives a more comfortable ride. Like a car, the wheels are the only place that touches the ground, which means it is important to get quality ones. Many boards come with cheap stock wheels that can easily break after a few lengthy rides, making the board unusable. Also, small wheels are not ideal unless you plan on riding your board only on smooth paved roads. Bigger wheels allow for smoother and more controlled rides. Noisey rides are one of the biggest complaints new electric skateboard owner has. This is a mistake that no matter how good the performance or how well it rides is, the loud noises that come from it will ruin the situation. Imagine riding it through a neighborhood while all the residents stare at you as if you were riding a U.F.O. That’s not what you want from your board, the quieter the better and since it’s electric, noise shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
The Best Electric Skateboard Review
The Koowheel Electric Skateboard provides a practical design and intuitive features making it great for consumer use. The longboard design is familiar to most with dimensions of 8.6″ X 326 X 5.1″, with a fantastic max weight of 285lbs and a product weight of 16.6lbs. A seven-layer Canadian maple wood deck is used which allows for versatility and durability in all conditions for long period of times. The wood allows for subtle flexes, better noise control and impact is absorbed easier. Many companies may not use grip tape for style purposes, but this board includes grip tape to improve performance and control. An intuitive control system is used for an easy operation. A small and subtle wireless remote is included for control. It simply uses a trigger system which goes back and forth to accelerate and decelerate. The integration of controls in one area allow for easy control in important situations such as busy intersections or crowded streets. The board is not waterproof at all, with a waterproof level of IPX4. We would strongly suggest not to ride in the rain or drive through any water. The battery last 4 – 10 miles on a full charge and occasionally more. The board can reach a max speed of 15mph, meaning it is better for short commutes. We have heard some who have reached speeds of over 20mph on a full charge! The board performs well for small commutes with the intuitive controls, moderate speed, and great breaks. The battery takes about 30 minutes to charge fully. And has quick change capability with only two screws to remove. This board is perfect for students who lives near campus. Customers who have experienced problems such as very short battery life and broken parts where they have communicated with the companies support team and alleviated the problems. Listed on Amazon at $549.99.
The Yuneec electric skateboard is a beautiful piece of technology with great innovations. The board weighs a total of 10kg and has dimensions of 40″ X 12.5″ X 8, including a controller, charger, and wrench. The deck is made from eight layers of composite wood which amount to 12mm. This allows for flexibility and increased durability. The two riding and speed modes allow for any user, whether beginner or intermediate to quickly and safely enjoy all the board has to offer. The 400-watt motor provides enough power for most activities. The kicktail shape of the deck grants the user greater control and stability especially when braking. The variable speed control earlier mentioned allows for a speed of 12.5 mph. The riding modes affect the acceleration because beginners may have a hard time controlling inertia with fast acceleration. In addition to the impressive riding, speed is the outstanding 18-mile range from a full charge. This allows for the board to be a practical way of communication for most situations. In addition to the strong motor and battery is the positive braking system, which allows for easy deceleration. durability is key and this board is made to last, a perfect example of this is the rubber gasket seals. The seals allow for use in less that ideal weather conditions prevent internals from being damaged. Toggles are included to change the board’s ride and tendencies. Slow vs fast and Eco vs Performance are the toggles which give the rider an immense amount of control. However, these systems don’t work perfectly a small puddle will likely cause the board to briefly stop working. This may be a safety precaution to wait for the water to dry or a small overload on the circuit which quickly shuts off the system, nonetheless, it is inconvenient. Although the motor is strong, it still struggles to start from a stop. Many have complained about whining and over revving with no action when starting from a stop this is a problem for some users. This board is not free of any issues but offers a wide variety of features and performance for everyday use. Listed on Amazon at $569.99.
The Maverix USA is a performance electric skateboard weighs a heavy 20kg and has dimensions of 46″ X 9″ X 8″, with a maximum weight capacity of 264lbs. This board is more for performance use and fun rather than practical everyday use. This is simply because of the large size and weight. For many, if this board dies it will be a hassle to carry it around. Most of the weight is due to its big motor and multiple batteries, but for those who like the sport of riding an electric skateboard this will not be a problem. The design of the product is much more bold with the grip tape covered with maverick graphics. The height allows for sharp turns and easy maneuverability while giving the batteries and motor enough ground clearance. This board can reach an outstanding speed of 16 mph on flat ground, which is plenty for most users. The remote allows for three speeds for different users and different situations. The batteries are able to deliver a 7-9 mile range, although this is not the smallest range it is just average compared to the other boards in the industry. In addition, a smooth ABS is used in order to stop safely and gradually. 600 watts definitely makes a difference in performance and this board will provide plenty of power for everyday use. The range may be an issue for practical use, especially if it is being used at full speed for the entirety of its charge. Listed on Amazon at $220.94.
The fantom board is small practical board used for daily use or recreational purposes. Weighing in at 9kg, with dimensions of 30″ X 10.5″ X 7″, this board can be easily stored with great portable features. The deck is built with 7-ply maple, a kick tail, and concave design for better control and durability. The belt drive system is smooth and quiet providing needed performance. Wheels are made of polyurethane, and are 80 X 50mm and provide soft and smooth riding. Patented T2 torsion trucks are used to allow for tighter turns and easy turning. The board includes great internals which works well and is practical. However, build quality lacks in this product. Many use this board simply for parts for either building their own electric skateboard or repairing one. The parts work well, but many have issues with the battery not charging, charging insufficiently or not powering device after little use. An abundance of other issues has also been reported such as automatic running without the use of the control and very quick discharging. Listed on Amazon at $247.00
The Hellfire uses a familiar style of a longboard with innovative electric technology. The dimensions are 35.5 X 8.6 X 5.1 and the board has a reasonable weight of 16.5 lbs. A max load of 264lbs can be pushed and the charge time is approximately 2.5 hr. range. The battery and motor allow for speeds of 20 mph and a range of 20 miles per charge depending on the riding mode in which it is set. This board runs great and has an amazing battery life. Unfortunately, the estimated distance can easily be shrunk when put into a sportier mode at higher speeds. Listed on Amazon at $549.00
The Maxfind is a lightweight electric skateboard that provides all the essentials to make your commute fun and efficient. The product weighs a light 5.5kg and dimensions of 13″ X 3″ X 27.5″. The sleek design coupled with the great performance is great for small commutes throughout a local area. The charge time is approximately 60 minutes which gives an approximate distance of 10 miles. A top speed of 18mph is achieved from the Samsung lithium-ion battery which is sufficient for most commutes. These stats will be affected by the user’s weight, which is limited to 100kg. The deck is made from an 8-ply maple, the trucks are aluminum, and wheels are polyurethane 83mm in diameter. The deck is not the most durable on the market but still is practical, aluminum trucks allow for lightweight and the large wheels perform well over bumps and nonpaved roads. There are two motors included and both are high performance, resulting in 360W of power. In addition to the board, a wireless remote is included, this has a charging time of approximately 30 minutes. This board performs really well and excels in some areas such as uphills and messy terrain. Some boards may ship with problems, but the customer service team is very helpful. Listed on Amazon at $599.00
The best electric skateboard is not as straightforward as some may think. There are several different factors that go into the design of each board and some may find each feature useful or not. It is important to remember that one size does not fit all with electric skateboards, the best board in your eyes may be different from your friend’s opinion. Again the emphasis on research is key. What does the company offer, what kind of battery is used, how is their customer service, do you like the name of the board, these and many more questions must be asked when evaluating what the best board for you is. Performance is something that most look out for, low-performance boards are not always the best in most peoples eyes, but performance boards may be too intimidating to most and not produce sufficient range. Range and battery charge time are also important, how long can the board be used without dying and how long must you wait before it is in commission again. Build quality is also important even if you have the fastest board and it can’t go over a bump without breaking it’s not worth your money or time to fix it. Finally, the price is something we all consider when buying our new gadgets it is important that the price warrants the board. If the board is overpriced but you see a board of the same specs or even better at a cheaper price, the higher price board is not worth it. In addition, lower price boards are usually not worth it and cheap. However, out of this list, there is one board who trumps the rest. The Yuneec E-GO2 is the best board on the list. This board mixes impressive range, great performance, sleek build, good build quality and stellar customer service into one. It is also beneficial that the build is very similar to regular long boards meaning different parts can be replaced to suit your needs. This board also includes several features included across the industry and delivers a smooth enjoyable ride experience. The 18-mile range and 12.5mph speed can easily replace a car or bike for short distances. Although the E-GO2 is the best on the list the other boards are great as well. Some perform better than the E-GO2 in range, others perform better in economy. The E-GO2 is the happy medium of electric skateboards that would be useful to anyone at any age.