JayKay E-trucks Review – Tantalizing Future

Oh man… where do I begin with the JayKay e-trucks?

I guess the best place to start would be to explain what they are. The JayKay e-truck is a reverse kingpin longboard truck that has a bunch of electronics stuffed inside the baseplate and hanger. The truck links with a ring shaped remote with a thumbwheel and tiny display from which you can control acceleration and braking easily. JayKay sells these trucks in 2wd and 4wd options, though they recommend the 4wd option.

What this means is you can turn any deck into an electric skateboard with absolutely zero (0) modification. This, in turn, means total freedom of choice and ride. I love it. This is totally the fut– well let me back up to the beginning.

lol jk

I remember where I was when I first heard about JayKay. The year was 2017, the month was March, and I was sitting at home, reading a curious thread on the electric-skateboard.builders forum about an eskate Kickstarter from a company based out of Germany, JayKay Sports. The thread was mean. The people in it were tearing the Kickstarter apart and claiming that the trucks were “Grade A+ bull shit”.

I’ll admit, I was highly skeptical as well. Everything inside a truck? 7 mile range? Super tiny remote? Charging via USB-C? Zero-resistance hub motor with zero cogging? Sounds like somebody just took all the pipe dreams of an eskater and chucked them in one place! So I closed out of the thread and forgot all about it.

Until 2020.

I was vacationing in Taipei, Taiwan with my boyfriend and linked up with the Taiwan eskate group, Esk8 4Ever. It’s always fun to find like minded people when you travel, and the Esk8 4Ever peeps were definitely fun. At some point during our visit, we met up at a board shop (one of the best ever, possibly in the world, I might add. Amgreat Integration. Definitely visit.) and one of the chaps, Cheng Li-Wei, asked if we wanted to see something very curious that he’d just received from Germany. Of course we were interested, and thus was my first time seeing the JayKay e-trucks in person.

“Wow. It’s really real. It’s not vaporware,” I remember thinking. The next thing that blew me away was the remote. So small and unassuming! How the heck did they manage to fit a display and Type C charging onto a ring that small? Then I rode the thing. What the heck there’s actually a decent amount of torque? What the heck zero resistance in the motors? What the heck zero cogging? What the heck’s going on?

I think it’s safe to say I was immediately and totally infatuated. Flexible enough to mount anywhere? Unobtrusive enough to be virtually unnoticeable? It’s like a cruiser’s wet dream! I immediately hit up my editor Paxson to see if he could get us a review unit to put through the test.

This is where a damper gets put on my hopes and dreams. It turns out that JayKay was generally unwilling to send out review units even though we only wanted to borrow them. We had to buy our own unit. Ok sure, no problem, we’re willing to buy review units in the name of the truth. So we bought a 4wd kit.

But then the wait began. What made the wait worse was that JayKay was not super communicative. Nevertheless, we persevered, and four months (almost to the day) later, an unassuming box arrived in my mailroom.

All it had on the outside was a shipping label, but that was enough. I read the return address. “JayKay”. Suddenly I was a kid again.

A Masterclass In Miniaturization

I was unreasonably excited opening the box. I had absolutely no idea what all would come in the box, but I wasn’t disappointed. The JayKay 4wd kit contains two trucks, one remote, a three port (2 x Type C PD, 1 x Type C QC3) charger, two magnetic Type C cables, one regular Type C cable (all of them braided), and a cool skate tool.

I think the most striking thing about the e-trucks is just how unassuming everything is. There’s no fancy design at all. The wheels it ships with are plain white. 90mm, with just the tiniest amount of sans serif text on the side. The hangers themselves are completely matte smooth with “JayKay” embossed on the front. The baseplate barely hints at the USB Type C PD charging port and LED headlight it contains. You’d be forgiven if you just wrote it off as a regular truck.

But what you don’t see is the masterclass in component miniaturization that is taking place inside each truck. A dual motor speed controller, encased in its own faraday cage, runs along the length of the truck, which also doubles as its heatsink. Four Samsung 40T 21700 cells take up most of the space inside, directly wired into the four layer pcb of the speed controller for minimal power losses due to resistance in longer wires. The motor controller actively switches between drawing in 4S1P or 2S2P configuration from the battery in order to optimize reduction of internal losses.

All this tech in the truck then communicates via powerline using a system of pogo pins in the pivot cup to the components in the baseplate that handles wireless connection, lights, charging, etc. It honestly confounds me how much tech and new ideas they’ve managed to pack in there.

Drivetrain Madness

The motors themselves are no joke either. A totally new design that JayKay’s motor engineer spent five years researching and developing for his PhD, it’s a total outlier in the current-day motor game.

The first thing you’ll notice is that these hubs have almost no rolling resistance and no cogging. It’s exactly as if you’re riding a regular skate wheel. This is due to the ironless stator and air-gapped windings JayKay has developed versus the typical iron-filled, slotted stators used nowadays with most common outrunner motors.

I will say, at 160kv and 90mOhm winding resistance, this isn’t the most efficient motor out there, but I think the real world results speak for themselves for JayKay better than the pure numbers.

Because of this novel motor design, there are no motor factories that can make this type of motor. So JayKay has to build each motor in-house, with tooling that they also built in-house, essentially hand winding each motor. It’s not exactly a fast process, and it shows in their delivery rate. Having heard Li-Wei’s story and having experienced quite a long wait time myself despite JayKay knowing I was a reviewer, I can confirm that you won’t exactly get your trucks fast, though they eventually did deliver.

UX Curiosity

I think it’s worth talking in depth about JayKay’s UX with their e-trucks as it’s certainly one of the more… unique things about the whole experience.

JayKay has opted to go all in on energy saving. They have to. Cause in comparison to basically anything else, the battery packs in these trucks are absolutely tiny. So in order to make the batteries last as long as possible on a charge, JayKay has implemented a bunch of energy saving quirks into their software.

For example, you must push off every time after you stop to turn the trucks on. This means no standing takeoffs on any sort of incline or flat ground. And if you let the remote sit without throttling for more than 2 minutes, you must click the thumbwheel to turn it on again. Also, there’s no “forward” direction. Whichever way you push off will become forwards. All this becomes second nature when you get used to it of course, but for the first while of usage, I kept on forgetting that I had to click and push after stopping at every stoplight.

JayKay has also opted to include other interesting features as well. For example, there’s an LED headlight and taillight integrated into each baseplate. It’s not really very bright so I feel like it’s a bit of a battery waster (I keep them turned off) but they’re there nevertheless.

Another interesting “feature” is that the battery is user swappable by just popping off a motor. I think this is more of a you can do it feature vs a definitely intended feature, but it’s there. I haven’t tried it. Yet another interesting feature is a wireless charging coil in the baseplate that can also do reverse wireless charging for devices, though JayKay tells me this will be for V2 and is not currently present in V1. It’s worth noting the instruction manual also mentions an app but JayKay tells me it’s also not out yet.

The One Ring

Of course, having only mentioned it only briefly so far, I must talk about the remote.

JayKay’s ring remote is a huge departure from the norm, and honestly I’m a fan.

It’s super small and wraps around your finger, just like a ring. There’s a spring-loaded section that grips your finger lightly so it doesn’t slip around too much and can adjust to various finger thicknesses. A bright, OLED display shows information like speed, battery level, power mode, and current charge, though I think it doesn’t update at a very high frequency because the speed indicator doesn’t change very fast.

I haven’t had any cutouts or disconnects on this remote, and I live in a fairly wirelessly dense area. That’s encouraging to me. The remote also has a signal strength indicator, though I don’t know if it takes into account interference. I haven’t been able to take it to any of the places where I can regularly get less capable remotes to cut out (mostly due to range) but so far my tests have shown that it’s doing fairly OK.

I suppose the most important thing that I must mention about this remote is the general user experience. In an effort to save power consumption, JayKay is very aggressive with its standby timer. This means that the remote and board goes into standby fairly often as the standby timer on the board is somewhere around half a minute and two minutes with the remote.

I’m not gonna lie, the standby timers catch me unawares quite a lot. A general flow of my interactions is as follows:

  1. Reach a stop at a stoplight.
  2. Stand for a couple minutes.
  3. The board goes into standby.
  4. The remote goes into standby soon after.
  5. I push off when the light turns green… but forget to click the remote so there’s no immediate power.

I don’t think this is really a usability issue, just a gotta-adjust issue. I understand where they’re coming from with the very eager auto-standby’s, I just have to get used to clicking the remote when I take off is all.

It’s worth mentioning that clicking the wheel while the remote is on doesn’t do anything. All menu actions are hidden behind a long click, so rest assured you won’t accidentally change anything if you click while the remote is not on standby mode.


Now we must talk about power.

I would say that there is… enough? Look, you’re not getting this thing to go 30mph and rocket up hills. I think you should think of this more like an assist rather than a full eskate, as that’s clearly the direction they’ve gone in here. The whole point is to cruise, maybe kick a bit, and cruise some more. If you wanna have just a tiny bit more fun, you can certainly turn up the power mode to “huge muscle” and go full throttle, but I don’t think it’s very different from “big muscle” or even “small muscle” mode during regular riding. It only matters for hills and stuff.

During range tests, I was able to squeeze more than expected range out of them. I tend to average around 5 miles or so at a cruising speed, which is honestly more than I expected. This includes going up and down higher grade hills and starting/stopping, which tends to kill batteries faster. For reference, I’m around 130-135lb.

One of the longer range tests I did. We stopped for clam chowder!

Which brings me to torque. It certainly has it (I tested the 4wd kit) and I can go up hills just fine (though not fast), but I encountered some interesting behavior.

The JayKays are set up so that if you step off while the board is rolling, the board will brake. It’s a great idea, but in some instances, I’ve had that feature slightly backfire on me. When going uphill and going over an extreme pothole, the truck going over the pothole will slightly brake then resume powering. It’s a bit jarring as it feels like a momentary loss in power, and makes me wish there was a way to turn off the auto braking. Regularly though, it doesn’t happen when just cruising, and I think the extremely pot-holey hills I’ve got here are the exception, not the norm.

Also sometimes, if I take off hard from almost a dead stop, I can feel the trucks start powering slightly out of sync at first. Not always, but sometimes. What usually happens in these instances is one of them will start powering, then a fraction of a second later, the other one will kick in. It’s not really a big deal, just a quirk that I’ve found, but certainly something to keep in mind when bracing for harder takeoffs.

There’s also the issue of overheating. A couple times going up steep, extended stretches of hills, the remote starts warning me that the trucks were overheating. This isn’t something completely unexpected as most times when I’ve felt the trucks after riding they were almost always hot, but just another limitation to consider before purchasing. I can just about manage in San Francisco and there really aren’t a whole lot of places hillier than it is here, but if you’re in one of those places, I’d recommend you think hard about what you’re looking for in these trucks.

Konnichiwa Wildhearts

Honestly, it’s so refreshing to take a break from reviewing “yet another” eskate. The JayKay e-trucks may not go very far or very fast, but they’re something special. Cutting edge yet distinctly old school feeling at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it.

I don’t wanna be in love with the future, yet I am. And I love it.

A Note From Paxson (The Editor):
If you liked this review and are interested in buying the JayKay e-trucks yourselves, please support us by using our affiliated link here.

Exway Wave Review – Bye Mini

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I’ve written about many Exway boards in the past. In fact, I’ve just written about the Exway Flex, which you can find here, and I have also written previous reviews of the X1 and X1 Pro. By this point, my general impressions of Exway boards are basically the same, so it’ll be useless for me to keep rehashing the same thing.

I do have a few things I do want to talk about though, so let’s run through them.


If you haven’t guessed from the pictures and title, yes this is a shortboard, and that means several things. If you’re thinking about buying this board, you already know about the tradeoffs inherent to a shortboard.

The ridefeel will be way different than a longboard. Due to the differences in wheelbase and deck construction compared to a longboard, the Wave feels very direct and nimble. The deck has a nice bowl shaped concave that really keeps you locked in and help your feet place properly, and the kicktail is just long enough to be useful while not getting in the way. The Trist trucks really come alive with the new shortened wheelbase, and I had no problems feeling confident on the thing.

Due to the increased squirreliness of the Wave, Exway has limited the top speed to around 22mph. I personally think that’s plenty fast on a shortboard. Again, you’re really not buying this thing to go racing. Power delivery remains the same as other Exway boards; that is to say it’s smooth and handles just fine.

Swappability and Battery

Exway has done quite a few innovations here I think. It’s apparent they’ve thought about how everything goes together.

The elephant in the room is the swappable battery pack design. Exway has gone for a slide and click design for their 10S2P Sony VTC6 “smart” battery packs. The main concern with swappable packs in general is and has always been the latching mechanism. You either go too risky (see Mellow’s battery pack falling out debacle) or too annoying (Ride Unlimited’s design that requires screws). I think Exway has hit upon a fairly good mechanism here. Depressing the (very firm) latch allows the battery to slide out sideways along a rail instead of the same direction as gravity and vibration. The battery connectors themselves are recessed and fit tightly when pressed together. There’s a hidden USB charge port that’s usable when the battery is off the board. Exway has also promised a flight ready 10S1P pack variant. Overall I’m liking this setup.

Range testing the Wave produces fairly favorable results. Of course we know that manufacturer range estimates aren’t going to be what you get on a day to day basis, but I got around 7.5 miles (12 km) of hard riding (full throttle, hard takeoffs and brakes) in a hilly area weighing around 125lb (57kg), so I think if you’re just cruising in a flatter area 10 miles (16 km) or so is not an unrealistic figure to expect. It goes without saying that the test was performed will all settings turned all the way up. This makes it the longest range shortboard I’ve tested.


The Wave has a surprising amount of amenities for a shortboard. Exway has seen fit to add an integrated RGB tail light standard. This will be a big plus for night riders. By default the tail light comes on red when braking and show increasingly rainbow patterns when accelerating, but you can also adjust light patterns in the app to have it be uh, more tame, or turn it off completely if you’re a boring Debbie Downer.

What’s more, Exway has taken a page out of Boosted’s Mini X playbook by using a semi-transparent tail puck so the tail light can shine through and light it up. The effect is pretty striking and you won’t be out $230 just for some tail lights and a transparent tail puck.

Exway also included a front light on the review units, but the front light is a $30 add-on regularly. It’s a shame it isn’t a standard add-on, it would have really completed the whole look I think. The front light is fairly bright and similarly integrated, with a double click on the remote to turn it on and off. Both the front and tail light intensities can be adjusted in the Exway app as well.

Of course, the Wave has the other usual Exway amenities as well. Remote on/off, smart battery preservation, cushioned griptape, etc. As with the Flex, Exway has chosen not to use the magnetic charge port that’s present (and seemingly becoming a bigger pain than it’s worth) on the X1 and X1 Pro.

Riding The Wave

The Wave is a good board. As a person who doesn’t normally ride or enjoy shortboards, I have to say I’m pretty happy with it. With the Wave, I think Exway has hit two out of three major market segments. They have a general consumer board in the Flex and a short range travel-able board with the Wave. It remains to be seen how the all terrain board pans out, but I have no doubt they’ll succeed with that one as well.

Indeed, what worries me isn’t Exway’s technology prowess. It’s their logistical prowess and customer support. Over the last few months, I’ve seen Exway struggle to deliver the Flex to consumers. Only now, two months since the projected ship date, are delivery reports starting to trickle in. I’d love to see Exway step up their delivery game with the Wave deliveries and communicate more with customers moving forward.

Anyways, pending delivery, I wholeheartedly recommend the Wave for shortboard enthusiasts. Of course, I’d like to spend more time with the Wave, but so far so good.

If you are interested in buying an Exway, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during check out.
It will help you get a small monetary discount (-$20) and helps us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

Hoyt St. EL1 Review – Beauty in the Details

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Before I begin, I must disclose that I’ve had a long history with the EL1.

Hoyt St. first sent an EL1 to me all the way back in May of 2019. At first, they didn’t want me to write a review on it because they wanted to slowly ramp up production and had kinks to work out. Instead, Hoyt simply wanted me to test it really hard and see what I could do with it, then report back my opinions. I was happy to do this, and the conversation back and forth has been constant since then.

Today’s date is June 5th, 2020. It’s been a whole year plus some since I first stepped on the EL1. Hoyt has finally given me the OK to write my review. And I have some thoughts.

It’s All In The Details

The Hoyt EL1 is an unconventional package indeed. From the moment you open the box, the attention to detail is apparent. For example, each EL1 comes with a carrying bag. This isn’t your run of the mill carrying bag mind you. Not only did Hoyt custom design this bag specifically for the EL1, they also had the forethought to make the bag a part of the packaging as a replacement for your typical environmentally unfriendly styrofoam.

Inside the carrying/shipping bag, the remote control and charger is tucked away in their own specially designed pouches. Everything has a place, even the simple, well written, color printed instruction manual. Who even prints instruction manuals in color these days? Hoyt does apparently.

The details don’t stop at packaging. Everything about the board screams attention to detail. From the risk of death warning labels, to the slightly dimpled power indicator lights on the nose, to the tastefully engraved “Handcrafted In Oregon” and “Bamboo Revolution” badges on the underside of the enclosure sandwich which meets the topside to create one single flowing shape.

If it sounds a bit like I’m fangirling already, that’s because I am. I really like the design and shape of the board. I think it’s beautiful. I mean just look at those self tensioning motors mounts!

But all the detail in the world won’t make a difference if the end product is no good right?

Good Skating

What’s my definition of “good skating”? Well, for starters, the board must be comfortable. I don’t just mean the deck, although that does play a big part in it. I mean the wholistic experience. From the geometry in the concave of the deck to the ridefeel of the narrower contact patch and hardness of the wheel, the EL1 as a complete package is simply primed for good skating.

The non-flex, dropdown deck has just the right curves for you to brace against under hard acceleration and braking. The Caliber trucks lend themself to fairly precise carving and nuanced control. The Zoobomb wheels, while not the best urethane I’ve ever ridden, do a fine job of gripping the road and sliding out when you need them to. It’s clear that Hoyt put a major emphasis on designing something that skated well.

But the skate setup isn’t the only thing good here. In electric skateboarding we care about the electronics right? Why else would we be here?

Designed Dependability

Well I’m here to report that the electronics are great as well.

The EL1 (and indeed Hoyt’s entire future lineup) is built on VESC tech. The VESC, or Vedder Electronic Speed Controller, is a super capable, super powerful, open source speed controller design made specifically for applications such as electric skateboards, drones, scooters, robotics, and the like.

Why is this important? Well this means that the hardware in the Hoyt is endlessly configurable and extensible. Want telemetry logging? Stick a Bluetooth module in there. Want more powerful acceleration or braking or a different throttle curve? Just tune it.

Another advantage of the VESC is that it has been vetted in countless test cases by countless people in countless environments. Run within its hardware limits, it’s rock solid and dependable, and Hoyt has certainly harnessed its power well.

The particular VESC revision that Hoyt is running in their boards is the 4.12 hardware revision. This doesn’t really mean much to the end user, but for those who care, it means a couple things. First, it does really well at 10S (42V) but not so well at 12S (50.4V). Second, it doesn’t do well running in FOC (Field Oriented Control) mode, a motor control method that, while more refined in feeling, is more demanding for the controller than the alternative: BLDC (BrushLess Direct Current) control. Hoyt knows this, and so optimized their setup to play to the 4.12 hardware’s strengths. The result is great dependability.

Besides the controllers, the motors are also high quality and built to last. Hoyt sources their motors custom from KDE, a US based motor design and manufacturing firm specializing in military grade motors. These motors are built to withstand way higher than normal operating temperatures while performing at a high level, and I think it’s a testament to its engineering that I’ve never heard of anybody having issues with the motors specifically.

As an aside, this board is so reliable that it’s the one I lend out to experienced riders who ask me to borrow a board simply because I know they won’t break it even if they ride it hard. It’s also simply a great ride but you know. I digress.


Perhaps the most interesting thing about the EL1 is the modularity aspect of its battery pack design.

When Hoyt first launched the EL1, they had gone where no other manufacturer had really gone before, and the EL1 battery packs are, in my opinion, the cleanest solution I’ve seen to the problem of battery modularity. With the main goal being the flyability of the board, Hoyt had specially designed 10S1P battery packs featuring individual BMS and battery level indicators. These battery packs slotted neatly into the belly of the board and connected to the main power rail using blade connectors. In my opinion, this is an incredibly clean, wire-free, and foolproof method for managing modular battery packs.

In an interesting turn of events however, Hoyt has recently decided to abandon the blade connector design for a more traditional XT60 connector for their battery packs. Hoyt tells me that they made this decision due to a small number of users reporting that the blade connectors were wearing out under intense stress and vibration. Although I’m sad to see the blade connectors go, I understand the reliability standpoint. The new XT60 design is more flexible while still retaining modularity. What’s more, it opens up the possibility of easily building your own battery packs.

The EL1 also allows the usual wheel and drivetrain gearing changes that usually comes with a belt driven board, and since you have direct access to the VESC’s settings with the EL1, I would even say that these choices combined with some settings adjustments are even more effective here. Hoyt is even going to offer 5″ pneumatic tire options as well as non-modular battery packs for increased range.


I will say that while it’s not the fastest board on the market topping out at 24mph-ish real world, Hoyt’s investment in engineering has certainly shone through in the end product.

Torque is great. I weigh around 125lb and live in San Francisco, one of the hilliest cities in the world. From my time spent with this board, I can report that this board has more than enough torque to get me up any hill. I’ve gladly let my friends try the EL1, and they all say the same thing. Plenty of power and good braking. Plus, I actually think it is “fast enough.”

And here we get to the only thing that reeeeaaally gets me about the EL1.

The range.

There’s no two ways about it: I think it’s lacking for a $2,000+ board. Realistically riding, I can get maybe 8-10 miles in the city, 12 if I really stretch it. If you’re on flatter ground with less stop and go traffic, that figure will improve, but honestly not by that much. Hoyt’s own range calculator suggests as much about the lacking range, so you should really understand your riding conditions before buying this board.

“But Sof,” you say, “what about flyability?” And that’s a fair question. After all, I did say that Hoyt had designed these packs with flight in mind. To that question I would reply that while the EL1 is indeed flyable, I wouldn’t buy it for a travel board.

There are other great options for travel boards (Unlimited x Loaded kit on a shortboard, Exway Wave) that are lighter and less cumbersome if that is really your main focus. I think the EL1 should be considered more a prosumer board that just happens to be flyable more than anything else, and in that sense, I think maintaining flyability was probably a misstep. You end up with range that doesn’t satisfy the prosumer and a pricepoint that doesn’t really jive with the more casual consumer.

While Hoyt is, as mentioned above, offering a single Samsung 40T 10S3P pack, I haven’t tested it for range. Theoretically, the 40T pack will provide just over 60% more capacity than the original three 10S1P modular 25R packs the board ships with, so extrapolating linearly I may get up to 13-16 of realistic, hard riding miles on a charge with the 40T pack. But I’m a believer of not buying products based on promised future upgrades, even when I have full faith the manufacturer will deliver on their promise, so I’ll make my conclusions when Hoyt starts shipping the 40T packs.

What About The Remote?

Yes, let’s talk about the remote.

The Hoyt Puck is arguably one of the more interesting, if not the most interesting, remotes in eskate. Inspired by slide pucks common in the world of downhill longboarding, the round, curved design is certainly unique and maybe even polarizing to some. When it was first introduced, many wondered just how well this remote would work in practice.

Honestly, I’ve grown to really like it. Despite its strange appearance, it’s comfortable to hold in the hand. I think it’s the first eskate remote to really take into consideration left handedness, with all buttons just as accessible when in left handed mode as in right handed mode. Hoyt offers weight options for the thumbwheel so you can adjust it to your preference as well.

Beyond ergonomics, in typical Hoyt fashion, the remote has proven to be absolutely rock solid in terms of performance and reliability. Ask anybody in the DIY community what remote they would recommend if you wanted a consistently reliable remote, and I’ll bet maybe 90% of them would say the Hoyt Puck. The Puck’s reliability is so well known, in fact, that other premium eskate manufacturers are offering the Hoyt Puck for their boards. Case in point: Lacroix’s customized Hoyt Pucks.

The only minor annoyance I have with the Puck is that there’s no board battery indicator on the remote itself. However, I’m ok with that actually when the Puck is paired with the EL1, as the EL1 features a sleek battery gauge right on the nose of the deck.

Hoyt says you should try the Puck before you knock it, and I really agree. It’s an ergonomic remote with a proven history of reliability. Plus it’s CNC’d out of Bamboo with an aluminum thumbwheel, comes in a variety of stains, and customizable with engravings. What other manufacturer would do this for individual remotes?

In Good Company

I want to take a moment to talk about Hoyt the company. Being a small operation, they can be uniquely personal about the products and services they offer. For example, in addition to the remote customizations, Hoyt offers a range of customization options for the EL1 itself from artwork directly applied on the deck to different wood stains to unique veneers to bespoke whole-deck laser map engravings. You can even get glass frit gripping on your deck: a high class upgrade to the usual boring grip tape offerings.

And that’s not all. A couple months ago, I got the message from Hoyt asking me to send in my EL1 for the blade connector to XT60 conversion. What surprised me was how painless the entire process was. There were no costs involved and the turnaround was fast. I’m told by various customers that they’ve had similar experiences with Hoyt and the services they provide.

I would also like to commend Hoyt for doing this blanket recall. I have many friends in the business of building and selling hardware, and they all tell me that one of their greatest fears is issuing a recall. In addition to the complexity of communicating with the customer and processing the hardware that comes in, Hoyt is taking on a huge financial loss for what seemed to me like a relatively minor issue. However, I think this just further speaks to the character of the company and the people who run it. In the end, they didn’t really have to do this. But they did, and I think that’s pretty awesome.

Hoyt even offers a free tune up service for customers for the first year after purchase. I mean come on! The deference that Hoyt shows to the customer is what really sets them apart in this industry, and I hope as they continue to grow as they maintain their level of service.

Wrapping Up

So what do I think about the EL1?

I think if you appreciate rideability, details, durability, and good engineering, you will like this board. I think if you are prioritizing miles per dollar, you should look elsewhere. I think the EL1 is, in the end, a tantalizing niche offering.

But most of all, I think the EL1 is a stepping stone platform for Hoyt’s future. With the EL1, Hoyt’s basically done a year long engineering verification on their platform, figuring out all the kinks and feeling out their style. I’ve been privy to their roadmap after the EL1, and Hoyt’s definitely gearing up to make a huge splash.

And when they do, I’ll be there to cheer for them.

Exway Flex Review: The People’s Board

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As a reviewer, I ride and test a lot of boards. From the cheapest of boards built to make a quick buck to the most expensive of premium boards with enough power to knock your socks off. I’ve also built and fixed many-a-board: ones that have enough torque to spin the wheels throttling from a standstill no sweat, ones that can theoretically reach 70MPH. I’m no stranger to eskates of all different kinds, and I’ve seen this market grow and evolve in countless surprising ways.

In my time, I’ve found that there are highlights and lowlights of each and every board. As a reviewer, my job is to explain all of these points to you so you may make an educated purchasing decision. Every single board has a price to value ratio, and I make recommendations based on that ratio.

The ideal ratio would hew closely to 1:1: Good value at good price. Many boards have gotten close, and a couple have hit the mark, with most falling short, with OK value at OK price or bad value at bad price. However, one thing I have never said is “this is the board you should buy” for any category.

Until now.

If you’re looking for a board under $1000 USD, at $650 to $700 the Exway Flex is the board you should buy without question. Let me tell you why.


Yes, we all know this is a missed opportunity. Let’s digress from that and look at the product itself.

The Flex is a budget board. Which normally would mean low grade components and subpar build quality. This is absolutely not the case here. The Flex is actually a premium board disguised as a budget board.

Let’s start with the deck. True to the Flex’s name, the deck is fairly flexy, yet retains good rebound and not too much torsion. There are extreme wheel flairs which mean you can install fairly large wheels, probably over 100mm, however the flairs may be polarizing for some if you don’t like that kind of thing. I personally liked bracing against them on acceleration and so did most people who tried it, but there were a couple people who couldn’t get super comfortable with the flairs.

PC: Scott Dred

Key to the drivetrain is Exway’s new truck, called Tryst. Previously, Exway had used customized versions of Seismic’s Aeon truck, which were and still are one of my favorite trucks. Now, Exway has designed their own truck, no doubt for cost saving and ease of manufacturing. However, that’s not to say these forged and CNC’d trucks aren’t a force to be reckoned with. Beyond retaining a responsive, accurate ridefeel, they support standard bushings, which opens up a whole new world of tuneability beyond Seismic’s offerings. That being said, the bushings that the Flex came with have great rebound, and paired with Exway’s precision cup washers (sold separately, but seriously, you gotta try precision washers, from Exway, Array, or otherwise), offer a precise, stable carve that I really enjoyed.

Paired with Exway’s second generation urethane and cushy griptape, the Flex honestly just rides awesomely. I have no qualms recommending this board just based on ridefeel alone. But that’s not all.

Best Bang For Buck Electronics

Just because the Flex is a “budget board” by Exway’s own admission, doesn’t mean they’ve cut corners on the electronics in the board. I think it’s actually quite the opposite. It sort of feels like Exway is willing to let this board have razer thin margins while maintaining quality of life features typically found only in boards above the Flex’s price bracket, just to get people on this board and talking about the Exway brand. Not a bad strategy as far as I’m concerned, and I believe it’ll work out well for them.

To the surprise of nobody, the Flex uses the same ESC as its previous boards, thereby retaining all the previous smarts. Remote on/off makes sure you never press a power button on your board again. Telemetry right on the remote paired with the bright OLED display offers up a clear view of essential statistics like remaining battery and current speed. App integration and Exway’s constant and responsive firmware updates ensure your board is infinitely adjustable and always up to date. There was an issue with brakes being too soft when the Flex’s battery dropped below 20% as well as slightly too aggressive at lower speeds, but Exway quickly released an update to fix the issue. A testament to their responsiveness. If I really had to nitpick, I could only really complain about the lack of USB-C charging port on the remote and maybe an odometer? Other than that I’m pretty content.

As far as battery technology, to my knowledge, this is the first board to ship with Sony’s VTC6 cells. They’re high discharge cells, which means you can pull a lot of current from the pack (more torque) compared to a similarly configured pack built from a cell like the Samsung 30Q, which most more powerful production boards tend to use. Sony VTC6s also have similar capacity per cell compared to the 30Q, so the overall capacity of the pack is similar to one made from 30Qs. During range tests, I consistently got 13ish miles of hard riding (full throttle 98% of the time, lots of hills, hard start/stops). I weigh around 130lb, add about 7-8lb of gear to that and you’ll get my riding weight. I think that’s really good for a 12S2P in San Francisco.

Sample Ride: burned 58% riding 7.3 miles on hilly terrain full throttle almost all the time

Exway’s calls their 12S2P battery pack a “smart battery”. This apparently means the pack can set optimum settings for itself, such as discharging to half charge automatically when just sitting not being used. I haven’t had a chance to test this but I mostly trust Exway with their claims. The pack also has a capacity indicator now so you can sort of gauge how much battery you’ve got left. It’s also swappable, though you do need to unscrew 6 screws, so really only “swappable” in the sense that you can swap, but it’s a bit of a hassle.

One thing to note about the battery pack is that it doesn’t retain the magnetic charging port that can be found on the X1 and X1 Pro. While I loved those convenient charging ports, Exway says this is to improve reliability as those magnetic charging ports had a higher failure rate than they would like. That being said, this means you could buy an off the shelf fast charger, though I believe there is a charging current limit as my 6A charger kept getting rejected by the BMS.

Speaking of swappable, let’s talk about drivetrain. In a really smart usability and no doubt financial move, Exway retained the hot swappable drivetrain. This means lower manufacturing cost for Exway, and more possibilities for the end user. Exway has two drivetrains available to Flex riders: belt drives called Riot V2, and hub motors. Swapping is as simple as removing the kingpin nut, unplugging the connectors, and swapping the trucks. No need to make the same dumdum mistake I made and remove the entire back truck and accidentally stretching the grip tape by trying. Just remember to toggle the drivetrain settings in the app. Easy Peasy.

Yes, I Know,

The similarities to the Boosted Dual+ aesthetics do not go unnoticed. However, I think the similarities are only on the surface. Upon actually riding the two boards, I think you’ll find that they are actually two totally different animals. The Boosted is more of a mellow, cruisy feel, whereas the Flex is a more direct, powerful feel. When I did drag races between the Boosted Stealth and the Flex, they had comparable torque off the line but the Flex had the advantage in top speed and ultimately won every heat. You would think that that’s contrary to how I said each board rode, but I think that just goes to show how much the rest of the hardware on each board influences the feel.

But the Flex had the top end every time

Marginal performance differences aside, I honestly feel that after Exway launches the Flex, there will be no point in spending the extra money on a Boosted Board anymore. The Flex goes longer on a charge, has more features, is lighter, and is way cheaper than Boosted’s top of the line offerings. Boosted’s aftersales service quality has dropped quite a lot since their heyday as has been reported by many frustrated users all over the internet, and even though Exway’s aftersales service is based in China, it’s actually been reported and observed to be quite good. So if you’re looking for the best balance between a commuter, go-faster, and fun carver, why consider anything else?

Why indeed

If you are interested in buying an Exway, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during check out.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and helps us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

Unlimited x Loaded Icarus Race Complete – Modular Greatness

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Throwback To Yesteryear

When I last reviewed the Unlimited kit, Unlimited had just started shipping to their Kickstarter backers, the software was still in the early stages, and there were still some issues left to be worked out. Even then, however, Unlimited had the foundations of a good hub drivetrain. The only gripes I really had at the time were related to the software and the urethane quality. Everything else was fairly solid.

That’s why I was so happy when I saw that Unlimited had partnered up with Loaded, maker of some of the world’s most popular skate decks, parent company of Orangatang, maker of some of the world’s most popular wheels and bushings, and worldwide distributor of Paris trucks. From a business perspective, they now officially function as one entity. Unlimited providing the drivetrain, and Loaded providing the rest of the skate hardware. This is exciting in many ways. Finally, a nice, proven drivetrain comes with nice, proven skate hardware.

When Loaded reached out and asked me to review their new collaboration product, of course I said yes. So… how is it you ask

As it turns out, pretty nice.

Quality Hardware Is The First Key

The problem with a lot of eskate completes is that in order to keep the price low, most of them will skimp on parts that “work” and so are deemed “good enough”. This usually means low quality trucks, urethane, and bushings. The result is suffering ride quality and handling. This has been a big sticking point for me in past reviews, and in my opinion, is the difference between “motorized four wheel platform” and “electronic skateboard”.

I’m happy to report that this complete does not suffer from such issues. Loaded had sent me the Icarus Race Complete for this review, which they say is “furious fast fun”, and I can certainly attest to it being fast and fun. The deck feels great under the feet, although a bit too stiff for me in terms of flex. Loaded sent me the Flex 1 version instead of the Flex 2 which would be tailored more to my weight. That being said, I could still pump and carve fairly well if I really put my whole weight into it. The complete ships with Flex 1, but here’s what Loaded has to say about that:

Loaded uses the flex 1 Icarus as standard equipment on the Unlimited completes to enhance stability at higher speeds. That said, keep in mind that you can always create your own custom electric complete by purchasing a deck and trucks of your choice from loadedboards.com and an Unlimited kit from unlimitedxloadedusa.com. They’ll ship to you separately, and you can assemble the complete yourself using a standard skate tool.

The wheels, Caguamas cast with Otang’s trademark Happy Thane, provide great grip and rebound. I like these wheels a lot. What’s notable here is that Happy Thane is now used on the hub motors as well, greatly improving the ride from the previous sleeve thane that Unlimited used. Double barrel Nipples bushings were used on the race complete that I received, which, while fairly stiff, complements the other hardware configuration well. You won’t be getting speed wobbles anytime soon from this setup.

Good hardware working together is really key for a good skate setup, and that’s exactly what’s happened here. I’m as pleased as two peas in a pod.

Quality Electronics Is The Second Key

As I mentioned before, Unlimited’s software was a bit buggy the last time I tested the drivetrain. Bugs such as not remembering my settings on the remote and weird motor vibrations behavior when I pressed the cruise control button sort of put me on edge about the other potential bugs that may be present in critical areas, such as driving the motors themselves. Mind you, I never encountered such major issues, but the possibility of issues happening was always in the back of my mind.

This time around, those issues seem to have been fixed. Everything seems to work much smoother, there were no more weird behaviors, settings seem to save properly, and general motor control felt more refined. Both the cruise control button (marked “A”) and the Nitro button (marked “B”) worked seemingly as intended and had no unexpected behaviors. One thing to keep in mind is that the Unlimited drivetrain is unsensored. This means that you must kick off to start instead of simply throttling from a standstill. You don’t have to kick particularly hard, but this might be strange for people who are not familiar with kicking off on a board.

Unlimited and Mellow (another company producing a similar bolt on drivetrain) both told me separately that they did this for “beginner safety” when I asked a while ago, but honestly I think it’s this way for a more practical reason. I think it’s because less things can go wrong. Adding sensors means adding three sensors and a temperature sensor in the motor, and six sensor wires in the main motor cable. More parts increase the chances of things going wrong as well as parts costs, so they just didn’t do it. If you really don’t like having to kick off, this might be a dealbreaker. However, I will say I didn’t really have any problems and I really heavily prefer having sensors.

Aside from the software, the rest of the setup is really ingenious. I really like the modular approach Unlimited took for building their drivetrain. The Unlimited drivetrain itself can mount on any board, and the hub motors on any truck. The hub motors use a friction fit mounting system that’s proven to be fairly reliable so far. Unlimited includes instructions and a torque wrench in the box, and warns that you should always use the torque wrench to tighten the hub motors whenever switching trucks, as the motors do have to be torqued down really hard for them to not slip.

Each battery module that comes with the Unlimited kit is 10S1P with its own BMS. They’re capable of charging at up to 3A, and are linked parallel when more than one battery module is used at a time. The custom MESC ESCs are modular as well and linked by CANbus for a truly LEGO-like system. This is definitely the most flexible modular system for eskate I’ve seen yet, and as an added bonus they’re IP65 rated and airline compliant.

The remote is small and ergonomic, fitting into my smaller hand nicely. It sports an OLED display that clearly shows convenient statistics such as ride mode, current speed, and battery level. There’re a set of menus you can access that allow you to change some basic settings such as ride mode and displayed units. I think a lot of eskate manufacturers don’t focus on the remote enough, and I’m glad Unlimited has taken the remote into consideration.

A note about the firmware I was running though, Loaded informed me when they sent me the review unit that my unit would be running a pre-release firmware. Current retail units are running a soft locked version of the firmware with a lower top speed. This is due to an issue Unlimited had found with their software at the highest speeds. My unit with the pre-release firmware has the top speed unlocked, so I tested it with this in mind. At the time of review, this pre-release firmware is said to be released “soon”.

Now that we’ve got the good stuff out of the way

Let’s talk about some not so good stuff. I think this is mostly on the drivetrain side, as the actual skate hardware is solid. There are some parts of the Unlimited software that still feels just a little bit underbaked. For example, when you plug the board into charge, the drivetrain turns on to light up the battery indicator which is a big bright Unlimited logo on each battery that also acts as the on/off button. That’s totally fine and actually pretty convenient as it allows you to check your battery from the remote as well. What’s not so fine is the fact that on a couple occasions after charging up to full and unplugging the charger, the drivetrain didn’t actually turn off automatically after some time as one would expect. The first time this happened, I didn’t realize that it was staying on and left it overnight, resulting in a 20% drain in the battery.

The accompanying app is also buggy. I had some trouble attempting to connect the drivetrain with the app. However, this may be due to the fact that I’m running a pre-release firmware. Once I got connected however, it was mostly smooth sailing. Also NB: The standard “Pro” speed mode does not actually allow for max acceleration of braking. To unlock it you have to use the app and unlock it in the custom User mode.

There are other very minor issues I have as well, mostly involving the copy displayed in the remote menus and settings. Inconsistent capitalization, punctuation, etc. Again, not major, just details that would really increase the level of polish if improved upon.

All in all,

I think this is a great piece of kit. Fairly minor issues aside, Loaded and Unlimited have a winner. This setup has enough old school skate DNA to satisfy the skaters while having enough get up and go to appease eskaters as well. That’s not an easy balance to strike, but I’m glad somebody’s been able to pull it off.

Visit Loaded x Unlimited by clicking here.