Apsuboard X1 Review- Belt and Battery

excerpt: Apsuboard X1 strikes an impression first for being belt driven board and second, for rocking a big 10s4p battery pack. Is the total package any good though?

Foreword and Introductions

Guess what, 2019 is the year of $599 electric skateboards.
More and more companies are moving into the mid-tier segment, in case you haven’t paid attention, these are the $599 boards that has been released in this past 6 months: Meepo NLS, Backfire G2T, Ownboard W2(pricier), Wowgo 3s, The Peak and of course, our star today Apsuboard.

At first glance, Apsuboard X1 looks like a typical budget board with the typical generic looking deck with handle cut out. The unique part of X1 would be the belt drive and the big 10s4p (8.0AH) battery, and I am eager to find out how much of a plus point are they.

The Apsuboard X1 Review

This the specs of The Apsuboard X1:

  • Top Speed: 29mph (46kmh)
  • Range: 12.5mil (20km)
  • Weight: 15.4lbs (7kg)
  • Charge Time: 3.5hrs
  • Features: 2 belt motors, regenerative braking, handles up to 30% slope, remote with telemetry.
  • Price: 599USD 518.99USD with shipping included.

Build Quality

Packaging

The bigger the battery, the less sophisticated the packaging it seems.
You can be sure that Apsuboard doesn’t invest in unboxing experience, the board is well protected with a foam pad, and that’s about it. It is as we have learned to expect from new Chinese brands.

Deck

Apsuboard X1 uses 7-layers Maple + 1-layers bamboo deck. From the photo, I was expecting it to be the same generic deck as the Wowgo 2s or Ownboard W1S; I was proven wrong. As you may recall, I hate those generic deck for being completely flat. This deck that X1 uses has a subtle concave to it, helping my feet to feel comfortable. It also has as good a flex as the Wowgo/Ownboard deck.

Good deck, I am pretty happy with it.

Component Enclosures and ESC

Flipping the deck onto it’s back, we see the typical 2 enclosure set up. Apsuboard X1 uses aluminum enclosure, which should be able to withstand more abuse than it’s aluminum counterpart.

There is a USB port on the enclosure, in case you fancy using your 15lbs board as a power bank. Or more practically, as an emergency power source to charge your remote.

It is pretty awesome to know that they manage to pack 40 battery into such a small footprint.

Inside the enclosure lies the newest version of LingYi ESC, we will talk about its performance a-bit later.

Wheels

The Apsuboard X1 uses 90mm 80A wheels with an abec core. I wouldn’t say they are mind-blowingly good, but they are good enough.

There will be more on how the wheels impact the riding experience later.

Trucks

Apsuboard X1 uses a pair of generic Chinese generic truck that can be found in most budget boards. They are okay., they don’t break, and are not the most maneuverable but hey, they are pretty stable.

Capability

Range

When a company claims a range of 17miles(27km), you can be sure that I am going to put that claim to test.

The Apsuboard X1 is rocking a 10s4p 288wh battery pack with 20R cell. On paper, 288wh can get you 28km or slightly over 17miles of range on a hub motor. (using the formula of 10 wh = 1km of range).
With that being said, we all know that Belt drives, use up battery fast. I would ballpark it to last around 20km (12.5miles).

Sure enough the board lasted 19.8km(12.4miles) before completely stopped.

The board has pretty negligible sag though, it still goes up to 21mph(34km) at the very last few minutes. It pushes well up to the last half miles, slows downs just a few minutes before it stops.

*I weigh around 154lbs (70kg) and was riding in a mostly flat area in a warm climate. 

Speed and Torque

According to Strava, I did manage to go over the marketed top speed and hit 29.5mph/47.5kmh. When the battery wasn’t full, the top speed (according to the remote) is around 26.7mph(43kmh).

The X1 uses two 1000W Motor, and being a belt drive, it has no issue climbing hill. It certainly accelerates fast, even at the higher speed reaching the top speed quickly and with ease. At no point will you feel that the board couldn’t push you as fast as you intend. The top speed felt more like an electronic setting than the physical limit.

The board is pretty stable for high-speed riding, riding at 25mph (40kmh) is not too scary, which is good. We will discuss this more later.

Riding Experience:

Acceleration and Deceleration

As expected from the recent generation of LingYi ESC, Apsuboard X1 allows you to change the acceleration and braking mode separately. Both have 4 different strengths to choose from.

Does this version of LingYi ESC manage to be up to par with the smooth acceleration that we came to expect from Hobbywing ESC, unfortunately, no.

Actually, the acceleration is almost perfect. Strength is consistent, delivery is smooth with no latency. You can hardly tell that apart, with the industry standard set by the Hobbywing.

The braking however… is not good.

The braking on Apsuboard X1 has a very strange curvature. It starts very very weak but if you pull the throttle all the way back, the brake will suddenly bite down after a split second of delay.

This is less apparent in high speed (thankfully) but was very apparent in lower speed. The workaround is to use the lowest braking strength, where the “bite down” stage of braking is weaker, hence the braking jolt wasn’t as bad.

I hope this little drawing help to illustrate what I meant

I would say this is a big Achilles heel of the board and a dealbreaker for most, Apsuboard please fix.

Stability & Maneuverability

Apsuboard X1 strikes a good middle point of stability and maneuverability.

The generic truck is not too tight, but at the same time is not too turn-y, so speed wobble wasn’t a big issue with X1. The deck has enough flex to be comfortable and ease vibration but not too much to bounce you off the deck.

Vibration

Belt drive’s had a distinct advantage over the hub wheels in the smoothness of rides, as they have 2 real longboard wheel in place of 2 stiff hub motors.
Even with the generic 90mm 80A wheel that X1 is using, the board handle vibration better than any hub driven board could.

The use of a flexible deck further improve on the experience.

In short, this board scores an A in vibration handling.

Remote

I guess this is the new remote for LingYi ESC now.

Pretty nifty, there is telemetry showing the speed, the odometer, and of course the batteries.

The remote itself is comfortable in hands and the throttle is smooth with good travel. Cruise control is available too!

Acceleration and deceleration each have 4 different strength:

For acceleration:

  • Slow mode/ Beginner : 10 MPH (16 km/h) max
  • Medium mode /Expert : 20MPH (32 km/h) max
  • Fast mode (Soft) : 29 MPH (46 km/h) max
  • Fast mode(Powerful):29MPH (46 km/h) max

For braking: (Pull the brake to full and press speed setting button)

  • Slow mode/ Beginner : Use this
  • Medium mode /Expert : Don’t use this
  • Fast mode (Soft) : Don’t use this
  • Fast mode(Powerful): Don’t use this

No disconnection.

Customer Service

Apsuboard is very new. I can’t find any data on their aptitude for customer service. Judging from the front that they’ve presented, their customer service should be as good as most new Chinese brands. (Meaning: Serviceable.)

Verdict

So, the TL;DR version of this review:

Apsuboard X1, for a $599 belt drive has only one glaring weak point: The brakes.

While the range is no way near as good as marketed but still pretty good considering the price and being a belt-drive.
Apsuboard X1 did realize the advantage of using a belt drive by offering torquey acceleration and comfortable vibration handling. Generally, the riding experience while not unique, was fair.

For most, the deal breaker would be the board’s behavior on braking. You can live with that but most probably wouldn’t want to.

Click here to checkout Apsuboard here.
Update: It’s now $518.99!

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