I bet it’s very easy for Backfire to design this board. To get the Zealot V, open up Adobe Photoshop and paste the 40-inch Zealot X, select all, and resize it down to 33 inches and voila, you get the Zealot V.
Jokes aside, today we’ll be reviewing the Backfire Zealot V which is a pretty weird board and safe to say it’s one of my least favorite Backfire boards. But to be fair, the Zealot V does have its ups and downs.
Backfire Zealot V Specs:
|42V 6Ah or 216Wh battery Samsung 30Q 18650
|10s Hobbywing ESC
|26 mph (42 kph)
|11-12.5 miles (18-20 km)
|33” (83.8 cm) ABS, Glass Fiber, And Maple Composite
|1500W Dual 750W belt drive
|16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
Deck- 33” (83.8 cm) ABS, Glass Fiber, And Maple Composite:
The Zealot V boasts a 33” deck made of ABS, glass fiber, and maple composite. While it’s pretty stiff with minimal flex, we were a bit disappointed to find it considerably flat without much concave, which is kind of a bummer for us because we like decks with more concave to it as it helps with foot placement, making it easier to control the board.
But hey, the deck does look pretty sweet. It’s got those sleek icy blue lights along the length of the deck, which always turns heads. And at $599, it’s the cheapest eskate out there if you’re looking for one with deck lights like this.
ESC and Remote – 10s Hobbywing ESC with Backfire remote:
Moving onto the ESC, the Zealot V is equipped with a 10s Hobbywing ESC, offering 4-speed modes which, as always, are smooth and intuitive. This Hobbywing Esc is paired with a standard Backfire remote, and while it’s not the Halo remote from the Zealot X and S2, it’s still comfy and easy to use.
Battery – 42V 6Ah or 216Wh battery Samsung 30Q 18650 cells:
Powered by a 42V 6Ah or 216Wh battery with Samsung 30Q 18650 cells, the Zealot V is marketed at a range of 11-12.5 miles (18-20 km). These cells are pretty popular in eskates as they have high energy density and discharge rates.
But when putting it to the test, with a 155 lbs (70 kg) rider, we only managed to hit 7.5 miles (12 km) which isn’t super impressive to be honest, especially for a board in this price range. We usually expect at least a 10-mile (16 km) kind of range with hard riding on boards over $400.
The lack of range is, unfortunately, the price to pay for using belt motors as they’re not as efficient as hub motors, meaning they drain the battery pretty quickly. But they do make up for it with a smoother ride as belt drive motors tend to dampen out road vibrations better.
Motor – Dual 750W belt motors 1500W:
The Backfire Zealot V runs on two 750W belt motors, totaling 1500W. It’s a decent number but not what you would call a game-changer as compared to the Zealot X’s beefier twin 1500W motors, the Zealot V’s power is a bit more on the modest side.
As for the speed, the Zealot V cruises up to a top speed of 26 mph (42 kph). Again, this is pretty standard and nothing extraordinary, so it’s not surprising that we hit that top speed in our test.
Although not the most powerful board on the block, for a 33” board, it’s certainly enough and most definitely capable of getting you up any incline.
Truck and Wheels – 7-inch 50-degree reverse kingpin trucks:
Moving on to the trucks and wheels, the Zealot V is equipped with 7-inch 50-degree reverse kingpin trucks which are similar to the 8-inch trucks you’d find on the Zealot S2. However, unlike the forged trucks on the Zealot X, the Zealot V uses cast trucks, which is to be expected for an eskate in this price range.
Next, despite being a smaller board, the Zealot V went with 96mm wheels. . These are 96mm by 55mm wheels with an 80A durometer. This helps to get the board over most cracks and bumps so you aren’t limited to riding only on sidewalks. This is as opposed to Exway Ripple which is super-duper portable and nimble but has 75mm wheels that are a bit difficult to be ridden on rougher pavement.
Lastly, The Backfire Zealot V weighs at a portable (7.6 kg) which is lighter than most electric longboards and cruisers, and roughly on par with many shortboards.
At first glance, for $599 the Backfire Zealot V’s specs are pretty underwhelming.
However, factoring in the lights as a $150 add-on, the pricing seems more reasonable. Don’t ask me if the lights truly cost $150, we only know Meepo marked up the lightless Meepo Envy to the green-lighted Meepo Aurora by $150. But once you subtract $150 from the price tag, the Zealot V begins to look on par with other belt-driven eskates. For example, it has specs nearly identical to the $449 Wowgo 3E, which is our top pick for the best affordable belt-driven electric skateboard.
In short, if you like the lights for as much as $150, the Zealot V has good specs. 10s2p with Samsung 30Q, dual 750W belt motors is reasonably good.
Riding Experience on the Backfire Zealot V:
The Backfire Zealot V was designed to be portable and nimble, and it accomplished that very well. Turning tight corners and navigating amongst other road users is a breeze.
When you’re not riding the board, its smaller form factor makes it convenient to carry around. At 16.8 lbs (7.6 kg), it’s not the lightest among the lighter boards in town. But it does feel significantly easier to carry around because of the even weight distribution and, again, the smaller form factor.
Despite its smaller size, the Zealot V did well in maintaining stability at high speeds. While hitting the 26 mph top speed still feels sketchy on a shorter board like this, we think even new riders will be comfortable riding around at 18.5 mph (30 km). The smooth speed control of the Hobbywing ESC obviously helped. Acceleration and braking are perfectly smooth and intuitive, as they always are with Hobbywing ESC.
While these are all great things about the Backfire Zealot V, one big question remains: why didn’t they go with a deck with a kicktail? A more typical shortboard or cruiser deck would have kept the size of the deck down, kept the weight light, and added versatility. You would also be able to have a similar width in your stance as on a shortboard, you can place your back foot on top of the trucks, whereas with Zealot V you can’t.
Some of us at ESHQ do like the design; however, if you are not using the kicktail, not having it means no chance of accidental wheelies. It is also often more portable than a deck with a kicktail, as the board lies flat in car trunks and takes up less space. One team member also appreciated that the board could be pulled by its truck, unlike boards with kicktails that will drag along the floor if you were to pull it around.
Other than that, the power on the Zealot V is good, more than enough, considering the small size. Road vibration is still uncomfortable despite going with big 96mm wheels on a belt drive due to the stiff deck.
The Verdict – should you get the Backfire Zealot V?
It’s nimble, portable, well-built, and looks really good. The board offers perfect speed control, sufficient power, and a pretty good balance between responsiveness and stability. It’s a pretty board, built well, but at $599, it’s not as affordable as boards that skip the lights.
For many people, the Zealot V might seem stuck in a weird middle ground, but that also means for some, it’s the perfect board with just the right amount of everything.
It’s ideal for those who want a nimble and portable board but aren’t looking for a shortboard with a kicktail.
It’s for those who appreciate the ride profile of a typical longboard, but don’t need one that’s 40 inches.
And it’s for those in search of the most affordable board with built-in deck lights.
I don’t fall into these groups; hence it’s not my favorite Backfire board, but I still have to give kudos to Backfire for trying something new with the Zealot V.
If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive $20 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!