I consider Backfire to be among the Top 3 Chinese electric skateboard brands right now, and they are in the prime position to compete for the crown as the best entry-level electric longboard. With improving aftersales service and polish, the Backfire G2 Black, 2020 edition, could be a no brainer for anyone who is looking for a budget board.
Backfire G2 2020 Review – the Blackfire 20
The new Backfire G2 Black is a good representation and measure for what you can get with $419 in 2020.
- Deck Size: 38-inch x 9-inch (97cm x 23cm)
- Top Speed: 24mph (38km)
- Range: 11-12.5miles (18-20km)
- Battery Pack: 188Wh 10s2p (5.2Ah 42V)
- Weight: 17lbs/ 7.8kg
- Motor: 2 x 400W hub motors.
- Wheels: 96mm 78A
- Price: 399-419 USD
The Blackfire 20 uses a 38” (96.5cm) deck made out of fiberglass, bamboo, and maple. It has a tiny bit of flex, but when I was riding it, the board felt stiff.
I think we are just pampered by having reviewed too many much more expensive boards, with better decks. The deck only has a tiny concave, so small that it’s barely noticeable. There is not much camber to it either, mostly a flat profile.
Unlike their premium line-up, the G2 Black is not using Caliber II trucks, but instead it features Backfire’s own proprietary trucks. We will talk about how they ride shortly.
Continuing the tradition, the Backfire G2 uses 96mm wheels with 83A. Most beginners love larger wheels sizes, so going with 96mm is appropriate for the niche it’s trying to serve.
Larger wheels can roll over bigger stuff, hence safer. It also helps to dampen some of those road vibrations when riding on rough pavement.
Battery & Range
The Backfire G2 Black uses 5.2AH battery pack, with non-branded cells in 10s2p configuration. That’s 187.2WH, and it promises a modest range of 12.5 miles (20km), which we are able to hit. Most brand has moved away from using genuine Samsung 20R for their budget line-up, as generic battery are not only cheaper but has better numbers on paper. So far, there is no noticeable performance drop, but will this translate to worse battery longevity? I’m afraid is a questions that can only time would answer.
In the budget board war, Blackfire 20’s batteries are slightly larger than it’s peers. To be precise, the standard is 4.0AH, while the Blackfire has 5.2AH. Again, showing that going with generic battery cell do give you an edge at least on the numbers.
Motors & Top Speed
Backfire G2 Black 2020 uses a set of 400W hub motors and that yield a top speed of 24mph (38km/h). We managed to hit the marketed top-speed during our test, no surprise here.
In 2020, 400W hubs are considered standard for entry-level board, as they are functionally strong enough; However, you indeed can find entry-level boards with stronger hubs. For instance, both the Meepo and Wowgo have 540W, and Meepo brags about them quite abit.
ESC and Speed Control
Blackfire 20 uses the latest Hobbywing ESC, which has the updated remote, but in usual Backfire tradition only 2-speed modes. No smart turn-on here, which is disappointing.
The Hobbywing ESC is buttery smooth, but you already know that. Everyone except beginners will be using the higher ‘Sport’ mode, as it is just as smooth as the Eco mode. The brakes are sufficiently strong here; at this point I am confident in the braking strength of Hobbywing ESCs. In fact, in 2020, I found that only the most generic Hobbywing ESC has weak brakes.
Ride Feel and Board Control
While going with Hobbywing ESC means you won’t be wrong with the speed control, the entire riding experience obviously are more than just the electronics.
First, let’s again talk about the trucks.
The Backfire proprietary trucks pale in comparison to branded trucks and came in on the tighter side. After loosening them up a bit, we would say this truck veers towards being more stable than carve-y.
Next, the deck. The fiberglass, bamboo and maple deck has only a little flex to it, and hence, again, not extraordinary for carving but great for cruising at high speed. I would love if the deck has a little bit more concave to it, so I could more easily feel my foot position without having to look down.
Stiff decks + hub motors also means the board is not the most fun to carve in and doesn’t lend much in reducing road vibration. As the previous-gen Backfire G2 Black, just a solid B in handling road vibration.
With that said, you can cruise in high speed on this thing pretty comfortably.
I get the feeling that Blackfire 20 is designed for with stability as the first consideration, something that I suppose would be a priority for newcomers to this hobby.
As a reviewer, Backfire G2 2020 is a very boring board. It has no special strength to talk about, no unique personality to angle on, and there is also not any glaring weakness to talk about.
But, please don’t confuse boring with bad.
Indeed, the Backfire G2 Black is mediocre when you compare it to higher-priced boards that have a better ride feel and far better performance, but for $419, the Backfire G2 Black 2020 delivers what it needs to deliver and some more.
It has comfortable and safe speed control, an above-average performance at the entry-level price and a top tier build quality and polish. Also, while not rated to be waterproof, the electronic components are themselves sealed, which should give good water resistance. While it has some trouble with rough road surfaces, it will ride just as nice as any board on regular roads.
Good performance, pretty standard riding experience and top tier polish, Backfire G2 Black is undoubtedly a worthy contestant as the best entry-level electric longboard in current year and the year to come.
What’s more, while individual preference might mean everyone has a different pick as their best entry-level board, Backfire, at least at the time of this post, should come up on top when it comes to brands.
I hate to parrot their marketing pitch but, having a local warehouse in US and Europe is indeed a huge plus when it comes to delivery and aftersales service.
So yes, I do think the Backfire G2 2020 should be the standard that other entry-level boards would be compared to, and a safe pick for everyone.
If you are interested in buying a Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during checkout.
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