Back in 2018, we saw the first wave of budget electric skateboards. Retailing below $400, the typical budget electric skateboard back then was raw but serviceable.
In the past 3 years however, we have seen that their quality has improved, and the price slowly hiked. Today, most budget boards retail at around $450. There are a few exceptions, and the star of today’s review Apsuboard V3 is one of them.
The Apsuboard V3 takes the price war to an extreme, it retails at $319 with shipping included, undercutting all of its competitors. Although they aren’t among the biggest Chinese brands, Apsuboard has been around for a couple of years now and has always been a brand that focuses on value per dollar. They also do have some good products, for instance, we consider the $465 Apsuboard’s X1 to be the best budget belt drive on the market right now.
Apsuboard V3 Review
So, back to the V3. What corner did they cut to get to this price?
The answer is – a little bit of everything.
The Apsuboard V3 uses LingYi ESC as its speed controller. Those who had ridden a LingYi ESC board will find the control similar. It has 4 acceleration modes and 4 brakes mode that can be chosen independently from each other. However, Apsuboard perhaps is using an earlier generation of LingYi ESC as the controls do feel a little more raw than the current-gen ESCs, nothing too jarring but noticeably less refined.
Acceleration in the 1st and 2nd modes are beginner-friendly;
3rd mode is for the veteran and 4th mode for the thrill-seekers. With the adjustable brakes, beginners can start with soft brakes and gradually move up the strength. At maximum strength, brakes with LingYi ESC can be pretty tight. Last but not least, LingYi ESC comes with everyone’s favorite feature ‘kick to turn’ on. A very handy feature indeed.
I’ve suggested Apsuboard to make Hobbywing ESC available as an option to the base version of V3 (LingYi ESC), and they took that suggestion. Starting from now, for $20 extra and a total price of $339, the V3 will come with standard Hobbywing ESC. For those who don’t know, Hobbywing ESC would be silky smooth in both acceleration and braking and would be my recommendation for most beginners. The trade-off would be softer brakes and going without the kick-to-turn on feature.
With that said, I believe the Hobbywing version would be a better version.
Motors & Wheels & Decks
Enough about the ESC, next we move on to the hubs. The 250W 90mm hub motors are pretty weak when it comes to torque and acceleration and they can be noisy. Even a medium slope will be a challenge to overcome.
The front wheels aren’t the softest, and that, plus the hub motors and the stiff deck, makes the V3 an uncomfortable ride on rough roads. However, the deck does have a subtle concave to it, which is a plus point.
Other than that, the other parts on the V3 are pretty generic. A pair of generic trucks, generic enclosures, and one of the nicer generic remotes that features telemetry readings.
Riding the Apsuboard V3, I feel like I’m back in 2018, when every budget board was raw and purely functional. As mentioned, the controls on the V3 are only satisfactory, turning and carving with the generic trucks felt pretty average as well. This is somewhat subpar compared to major Chinese brands, which have all pretty much transitioned into using proprietary trucks for their budget line-up, and genuine brands for their more premium feel. What’s on par for the V3 is the battery. 10s2p 20R cells are still the standard in budget boards, and Apsuboard put them into the V3 too. They give it a 9 mile or 15km range. Since we’re talking about numbers, the top speed we got is a modest but adequate 23mph or 37kmh.
With all of that said, what is my opinion of the Apsuboard V3?
Remember in 2017, the first Meepo came out for $380 after shipping and everyone went crazy for it? The Apsuboard V3 is almost the exact same board, selling at an even lower price, but featuring a bit more polish! The only thing that changed compared to 2017 is that we have options now in the sub-$500 range, so those who weren’t about to compromise don’t need to.
Still, the beauty of a truly affordable board transcends time. For those of you who want the biggest value per price, or doesn’t mind an unrefined riding experience, you would be happy with the Apsuboard V3. It is certainly cheaper than all of the parts combined if bought individually, and the parts certainly come together to be a decent board. If I was building a board and concerned only with the price, I would probably build it the same way.
So, if $300 is your budget, or you just want a simple electric skateboard – the Apsuboard V3 is a great option. Think about it, a single VESC would cost you almost as much!