Backfire Ranger X5 Review – The easiest all-terrain board

Today, we will be reviewing the Backfire Ranger X5, which came out in April 2024. 

As more brands make all-terrain electric longboards with belt and gear drives in recent years, the once very popular hub-driven Backfire Ranger series seems to have been somewhat forgotten. Following the trend of belt-drive everything, Backfire released the Hammer Sledge last year, but it seems they aren’t ready to give up on the hub-driven variant just yet. Instead, this year, they released this Ranger X5, which is one of the prettiest-looking AT boards out there.

Backfire didn’t take too much risk with the design of Ranger X5, however. There’s some upgrades in parts and polish and  a $200 price bump, but the Ranger X5 is essentially the ‘facelifted’ Ranger X3, as the specs are almost the same.

Backfire Ranger X5 Specs:

Battery50.4V 12S3P Samsung 40T 518Wh 90A
Controller12s Hobbywing ESC
Top Speed26 Mph (42 Kph)
Range21 Miles (35 km)
DeckABS, Fibreglass and Maple Composite Deck
Motor1500W*2 Dual hub motors
Net Weight28lbs (12.8kg)

Deck – Multi-Layer Composite Deck

Starting with the deck, the Backfire Ranger X5 uses a double-drop composite deck made from ABS, glass fiber, and maple. Despite featuring ambient lighting along the deck, the X5 continues to live up to the reputation of the Ranger series for having a flexible and comfortable deck.

It is a 40” deck, longer than most longboard and similar in size to mountainboards such as the Acedeck Nyx Z3.

There is also a red accent stripe running along the edge of the deck, so even when the LED light isn’t turned on, the board maintains its black-and-red look.

ESC and Remote – 12s Hobbywing ESC:

As for the ESC, there seems to be no change from the X3; it was equipped with a 12s Hobbywing ESC. What sets it apart though, is the X5 comes with the stunning Halo remote, which was first seen with the Backfire Zealot X.

In case you didn’t know, the Halo remote is really neat. It has a large display, fingerprint unlock, and a reverse switch. The remote is also long, nice to hold, and allows access to ride profile customization.

It’s heavy, feels high-end, and, well, drains the battery faster than a standard remote. But you will agree that it is a small price to pay for the features you get.

Battery – 12s3p Samsung 40T battery:

Another feature that doesn’t change with the X3 and X5 is that both boards use a 12s3p Samsung 40T battery, totaling 518Wh, and has a marketed range of 21miles (35km).

Motor – Dual 1500W Hub Motors, Trucks and Wheels:

Powering the Ranger X5 are dual 1500W hub motors. From what we can tell, these are identical to hub motors from the X3. 

While belt and gear systems are capable of more torque, which by definition are more thrilling, the hub system has at least three advantages: 

  1. it uses less power and hence gives a better range for the same juice; 
  2. it requires less maintenance and 
  3. it’s a lot quieter.

You won’t have to worry as much about sand, sticks, and leaves becoming stuck in the motor systems when off-roading if you use a hub system.

The same stress-free design applies to the 165mm airless rubber tires, too. Without a doubt, riding on different terrain calls for different tyre pressures, and pneumatic tyres offer more comfort. But in exchange for the marginally better ride, you pay with having to manage tire pressure and risking the chance of a tire puncture in the middle of an off-road trail run. It happens more than you’d think.

The top speed on this puppy is a modest 26mph (42km/h), which we have no problem hitting.

Sadly, the double kingpin trucks—which connect to the hubs and wheels—are die-cast rather than forged. It seems to be the same truck as the one on the X3, and we’ve heard good things about it.

LED Lights:

Backfire definitely put extra effort into the light system. The LED system can be switched between multiple modes with a double-click of the power button, including solid, breathing, flashing, and off. The Ranger X5 also has extra white lights that turn red when the brakes are used in addition to the ambient LED deck. The ambient LEDs on the X5 turn on to show that it is charging when you plug it in. Of course, this is an optional feature, but it’s a nice touch.

Add-ons available for the Backfire Ranger X5:

Also, there are lots of add-ons that you can buy, like a spoiler, pull bar, and mudguards – we heard they’re useful. We don’t have those add-ons, but if you want to see how the Ranger X5 looks in its final form, check out EV Tech Steven’s reviews. Caution: his footage is too pretty, and you might be lured into buying the board and every single add-on.

The board weighs 28 lbs or 12.8 kg, which is not that heavy for an all-terrain board.

Specs Summary of the Backfire Ranger X5:

With a price tag of $1,299, the Backfire Ranger X5 doesn’t pack the biggest battery or the strongest motor. For instance, even the $1,199 Evolve Hadean Carbon AT has a slightly bigger 12s4p battery, and Evolve is not exactly known as a value brand either.

It’s clear that Backfire wants to establish the X5 as the best hub-driven all-terrain board available. A board that surpasses the likes of the Maxfind FF AT, Tynee Explorer, or Meepo City Rider 3 in terms of versatility, power, beauty, and build, and after testing the board, it is indeed better than these competitors.

Read our review of the Meepo City Rider 3 here (click)

Read our review of the Tynee Explorer here (click)

Riding Experience of the Backfire Ranger X5:

It has to be said that hub-driven all-terrain boards are an underrated breed. The worst part about hub systems is usually the road vibration and relatively harsh ride. While these are big problems when it comes to street setup, they are practically negated when the board has big 165mm wheels with a flexible deck.

The Ranger X5 is also rather good at handling lesser torque, which is another concern with the hub arrangement. These dual 1500W hub drives are sufficient to climb any steep uphill we encountered, even though the Ranger X5 was not as torquey as, say, the Acedecks all-terrains with their strong gear-drive and large gear reduction. The Ranger X5 feels 70% more powerful while in turbo mode than the Acedeck Nomad N3 and the Nyx Z3, which is more than most people would need!

Let’s just put it this way: for a rider who doesn’t insist on having the strongest torque, the Ranger X5 is the most ‘hakuna matata’ off-road board that can go through grass, water, and sand. It can get dirty without you having to worry about things getting caught in the motor system. It can ride over questionable surfaces without the worry of a punctured tire. 

It can still practically traverse any terrain that a traditional belt or gear system could and does equally well-dampening road vibration.

Ranger X5 is a little bit higher off the ground, which is not our favorite ride profile but means better ground clearance for off-road situations. And it is still pretty stable at top speed. We could stay at top speed with no speed wobble once we slightly tighten the trucks, but the highlight of the board is definitely its responsiveness. For a long AT board, the Ranger X5 is very easy to turn, thanks to the double kingpin trucks. I’d say responsiveness and maneuverability are what separates the Ranger X5 from budget all-terrain boards like the Meepo City Rider 3 and Tynee Explorer. Carving on the Ranger X5 is a lot more enjoyable and a lot more fun to ride.

And I don’t know if I still need to say this, but the speed control is perfect as Hobbywing ESC tends to be. Perfectly smooth acceleration and braking across all speed modes. No surprise here.

Verdict – Should you buy the Backfire Ranger X5:

It’s kinda funny that while the Ranger X5 is a great ride, what sets it apart is outside of the riding experience. It is a handsome-looking board with lights that call for attention. It has a stress-free ownership experience that can’t be said the same for many better and pricier boards. 

I think for many casual riders who want a board with big wheels, getting the Ranger X5 makes a lot of sense. And I’d even extend the recommendation to the Ranger X3. Although we haven’t tried the $1,099 Ranger X3, its similarity to the X5 makes us pretty confident that it’s too a great option, a better board even, for those who don’t see the value in paying extra for the X5 for its polished and the looks.

If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive $5 off during checkout.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and help us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

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