Introduction to Electric Skateboard Trucks for eskaters and DIYers

For anyone wanting to know more about skateboard and longboard trucks in general, Stoked Ride Shop has a very very comprehensive guide with excellent infographics that covers everything about trucks.

For those who are shopping for production boards, there are a few trucks that are very commonly used.

Generic Truck – Paris clone

They are easier to turn with but less stable at higher speeds.

Generic Trucks – Type A

More stable but harder to turn.

Generic Truck for Belt and AT

Most budget belt drive and AT boards comes with this set of trucks. They allow easy conversion to street wheels. However, they do not have much personality. For me, they are too turny for AT set-up but pretty okay when used with street wheels.

Besides the trucks above, some major Chinese brands had made their own trucks by cloning well-known trucks.

Meepo’s Shredder Trucks

Shredder Trucks are the clone of Bear Kodiak’s. However, unlike Bear Kodiak’s, Shredder Trucks are 200mm in length and takes super tall 20mm Macroon bushing. Nevertheless, Shredder Trucks are very comfortable to ride on, and Shredder’s back trucks are probably the best hub motors back truck that’s readily available.

Backfire’s Caliber II Clone

While Backfire uses genuine Caliber II trucks on its premium line-ups, it uses a 180mm Caliber II clone for less pricey boards. They look exactly like the genuine Caliber sans the logo and perform very well too.


Belt Drive

When it comes to building a DIY belt-drive, the most common truck used is the Caliber II trucks. This is not only because Caliber II is known for stability and that’s what eskates are usually big on; but also because the square hanger of the trucks makes mounting a motor mount easy. While you need to file the hanger of a Paris truck to stick the motor mount, there are plenty of readily available motor mounts that work well with the Caliber.

Hub Motor

For Hub drives, you have to find special trucks that allow you to slot in your trucks. Your best bet probably is going to be Chinese eskate vendors (like the Meepo, Backfire, Ownboard, and Wowgo) to buy the one they use on their production boards. Alternatively, you can go to or online market place such as TaoBao or Aliexpress to get one – but it is very difficult to check for quality going this route.


Typical Mountainboard Trucks from Mboards

For MountainBoards truck, there are a few common choices: Trumpa Trucks, Generic MountainBoard Trucks like the one from Mboards or DIYeboards, or go for trucks used by vendors such as the Lacroix HyperTrucks.

Double Kingpin Trucks

DIYing with a Double Kingpin truck used to be complicated, you either get a pair of Gullwing Sidewinder and try to get a motor mount on it or try to get your hands on a pair of Evolve Super Carve Trucks. But now, however, it is a lot easier to get eskate double kingpin trucks of various kinds.

You can get Direct Drive Double Kingpin Trucks from Elofty, or go to vendors such as Ownboard, Verreal and see if they would sell you the DKP trucks they use on their belt-driven board; or Backfire and Wowgo and see if they would sell you the one they use in their hub-driven board.

What is your favourite truck? Have you swapped out the truck of your eskate? Let us know in the comment below!

If you are buying any DIY part, do check out our “discount code” page as we might very well have an affiliate discount code for some of them!

Understanding Electric Skateboard Motors – How to choose?

While there are many types of motors (Outrunner, hub motors, direct drives), they operate on a similar basis, and once you understand one of them, you will know how each board compares and which motor to pick for your DIY build.

Outrunner Motors

Exway X1 Pro Riot

Every motor stats

Eskate manufacturer and motor manufacturers always throw around a few specs; they are the Sizes, Kv, and Watts.

For example, This is Flipsky motor


The 4 digits of the motor denote the size of the motor. For example, the motor sample on the photo goes by 6384. It means 63mm in diameter and 84mm in length. This usually means the outer dimensions of the motor can itself; however, minor variations may occur due to can design.

Logic may dictate that a larger can size usually means a more powerful motor. However, the strength of the motor can come from a variety of many factors, such as internal construction methodology, type and shape of magnets used, airgap between the stator and can, and size of the stator itself.

It is usually a good idea to ask the manufacturer for the size of the actual stator itself instead of the motor can as that number in combination with the motor size is a better indicator of how powerful a motor is.

KV ratings

KV is the number of revolution per minute (rpm) that a motor gives when 1 volt is applied to the motor. That is when we let the motor spin freely without load. This means that the higher KV, the faster the motor spins. However, all other factors being equal, a higher KV also means a lower torque output.

The usual KV ratings found in an electric skateboard outrunner motor will range from 140KV to 220KV. This is different for a hub motor; however, as hub motors don’t have pulleys and gear reductions to final speed and torque. As such, they are usually much lower KV (80-100KV) to maintain comparable torque.

  • Lower KV – higher torque, lower top speed
  • Higher KV – lower torque, higher top speed

For example, Enertion Raptor 2, which is known to be torquest hub motor, has 85Kv, while generally hub motors have 100Kv.


As we all learned from high school, power is measured in Watts. And Watts is calculated by Voltage x Ampere. If you have a high wattage motor, meaning it can handle a lot more voltage and/or ampere, and this in turns means it can be more torquey or go faster.

In an electric skateboard world, the power of a motor can differ by a considerable number. A simple hub motor can only have a power of 250W or 350W each, but will still work pretty nicely. On the other hand, Enertion’s R-Spec Ghost, which is the most powerful hub motor on the market, has a power of 1680W each. (and it gulps down battery like nobody’s business)

Outrunner motor tends to have a higher power. The motor in production belt-driven eskate usually ranges around 600W each (Wowgo 3X) and those with AT wheels around 1500W (Ownboard AT).

For DIY, you can get motors ranging from 1000W to 4000W.


Every motor has the maximum current it can pull. For example, 50A. You have to make sure the ESC max output is higher than the max current draw for the motor, by a small margin (5%). If the motor draws higher ampere than the ESC can provide, the ESC may be fried. Cutting it too close also hurts the longevity of the ESC.

So if your motors can draw 50A each (total 100A), make sure the ESC can support at least 5% above that, meaning 5% above 100A, meaning at least 105A. If you are using a VESC and can set the current limits, be sensible and make sure you don’t go over both the maximum motor current limits (this kills the motor) or the maximum limits of the VESC (this kills the VESC).


Every motor specs will tell you what is the voltage that the motor supports. Generally, however, the voltage of the motor doesn’t matter too much as they usually support a very wide range of voltage – somewhere between 3s to 12s (4.8V-43.2V). (If you don’t understand specs of the battery, check out my comprehensive guide on the battery)

Sensored VS Unsensored motor

Some motors come with the sensor cable; some don’t.

Sensored motor allows the motor to detect the position of the motor at all times, which translates into a smoother start-up. Unsensored motor, on the other hand, often is jerky when starting from a standstill and often requires a kick push to have a smooth start.

Nowadays, practically every production board you can buy comes with sensored motor. And there is no reason to get an unsensored motor. By the way, a sensored motor will still work as an unsensored motor if you choose not to plug the sensor cable in.

For DIY-er, you probably should know that sensor cables are not all the same. Some come with 6 pins head (as it includes a temperature sensor wire), some only 5. You might need to change the pinhead yourself if the sensor wire doesn’t match with your ESC.

5 pin sensored wire’s head on the left, 6 pin on the right

Where to get your motors:

There are a few places you can get your motors.

If you are buying any DIY part, do check out our “discount code” page as we might very well have affiliated discount code for some of them!

Understanding ESC & VESC in Electric Skateboard: How to choose?

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)

Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) is the brain of your electric skateboard. It tells your motor how hard to push or how strong to brake.

An ESC can cost somewhere around $60 to $100, and they are most definitely not created equal. Good ESC can handle bigger battery packs, as reflected by “Series” of battery they can handle and the Maximum Ampere it can handle.

Option on the Series – 6s, 7s or 10s.
Description of the product mentions it can handle burst current up to 120A or 50A continuous.

On the contrary, cheap ESC will fry if you try to hook a battery too big for it.

A good ESC is more powerful as it allows bigger ampere and/or voltage to pass through it. A poor ESC might bottleneck your built no matter how big of a motor or battery you hook it up with.

A good ESC is a set-up to give smooth control both in acceleration and brakings. Poor ESC might be unpredictable, inconsistent, or jerky.

The availability of unique features such as kick-to-turn-on, Bluetooth, and apps to read and adjust settings are all dependent on the ESC you get.

ESC and VESC can be either ‘single’ – which controls a single motor, or ‘dual,’ meaning one ESC controlling both motors. Of course, most of the boards now have dual ESC, as it is cheaper to have 1 ESC rather than 2. However, if you use 2 single ESCs to power 2 motors, and if one of your ESC goes bad, you still have a good one.

Which to get?

Any old-timer will tell you that there was a time where the ESC we use are mostly RC car ESC and wasn’t explicitly made for Eskate. This has long stopped being the case with the emergence of Chinese budget brands and the LingYi ESC and Hobbywing ESC that they made popular.

Both of these ESCs are made for eskate and perform a lot better in an eskate than RC car’s ESC. There is absolutely no reason to go for an RC car ESC if you are building an Eskate with ESC.

You can buy both LingYi ESC and Hobbywing ESC from eskate vendors such as MeepoBoard.

With that said, there is little sense to build a DIY if you are not aiming for something substantially more powerful (you could very well buy a production board for less effort and money), and this brings us to the VESC.

Other ESC worth looking into:

VESC (Vedder-ESC)

VESC® was a type of ESC specifically designed for electric vehicles like the Eskate. It was designed by Benjamin Vedder, an engineer from Sweden, and hence the name, Vedder ESC. While he is generous to make this an open-sourced project, he partnered up with Trampa, who patented the VESC trademark, which meant all other manufacturers had to remove “VESC” from their product names.

Traditionally, VESC was often the most expensive part of a build, but the price has come down a lot more recently, especially with the popularity of ‘Dual VESC.’ Now a Dual VESC can cost somewhere from $150 to $300.

Examples of VESC derivatives not named VESC:

  • Enertion’s FOCBOX line of ESCs
  • Flipsky’s FSESC line
  •’s Torque ESCs

Why is VESC so great?

VESC is excellent because it allows tons of customization. It allows you to control the torque of the board by adjusting the current output to the motor and current input from the battery. It allows you to customize the acceleration and braking curve so that the board behaves exactly as you want it to while braking and accelerating.

You can also set some limits to protect your ESC, motor, and battery such as:

  • limiting the currents to the motor. (overcurrent to the motor fries it.)
  • limits the temperature of the VESC. (going too hot may cook the VESC).
  • limiting the minimum voltage to drain the battery. (over-discharge degrades the battery.)

VESC is programmed using the VESC-tool. To learn more about programming a VESC, you can take a look at our walkthrough. (coming soon…)

VESC Options

Basically, nowadays, the VESC isn’t that expensive with the emergence of budget brands such as Flipsky, and serious DIY builds have no reason not to use VESCs.

Industry leaders in VESC have to be the Enertion’s FOCBOX and FOCBOX unity. It is pretty expensive but more refined than most other options. It also has a pretty long wait time. 2-3 months ETA from the order date.

Recently, however, Enertion Unity has received quite a bad rep for having faulty units and also for very delayed shipping time. So for those who don’t want to brace uncertainty until the issue cleared up, look for other options:

If waiting is not for you, Flipsky‘s VESC is another widely used and cheaper option with the added benefit of being in stock most of the time.

VESC comes with two main versions. Version 4 and the newer Version 6, which saw some improvement. VESC version 6 generally allows higher series and currents than the Version 4, but for regular street builds, any VESC of version 4 should suffice. However, keep in mind if you buy a VESC with the reference 4.12 design, running FOC mode may break the VESC easily.

Below are the most commonly use VESC:

1) Enertion FOCBOX Unity: $299

The industry leader in VESC. Arguably the most refined. Used in premium DIY brands such as Lacroix, Bio boards. Infamous for its long wait time. However, as mentioned, recent batches of FOCBOX Unity seems to be ridden with problems.

  • Support up to 12S
  • 160A Continuous System Current
  • 80A Continuous Motor Current
  • 300A Max System Current

2) Flipsky’s Dual FSECS 4.20: $179

Probably the most economic of all VESC. Suitable for most street builds.

  • Support up to 12S
  • 100A Continuous System Current
  • 50A Continuous Motor Current
  • 300A Max System Current

3) Flipsky’s Dual FSECS 6.6: $279

A Good alternative to FOCBOX Unity. Only a little bit cheaper, but always in stock.

  • Support up to 12S
  • 200A Continuous System Current
  • 100A Continuous Motor Current
  • 800A Max System Current

Other VESC worth looking into:

Do you know any other good VESC options that should have been added to the list? Or do you have any trouble with your ESC/VESC that you would like to warn other people about? Let us know in the comment below!

If you are buying any DIY part, do check out our “discount code” page as we might very well have affiliated discount code for some of them!

Beginner’s guide to electric skateboard decks

For the non-skater who just arrived in the eskate scene, you might feel lost in selecting and comparing decks.

An eskate deck is basically just a longboard deck (or a skateboard deck). It’s helpful to understand all the features of a longboard deck so that you know what you’re looking at.

In this guide, I will try to be as comprehensive as possible in explaining all the features of a longboard deck and how those features are implicated on an electric skateboard.

Anatomy of a deck:

When it comes to decks, there is a longboard deck and there is a shortboard deck. The typical length of a longboard deck ranges somewhere between 33″ and 60″. They are obviously longer than the traditional skateboard (27″-32″).

Wheel base

The wheelbase is the distance between your board’s inner mounting holes. This distance is what determines how far apart your front and back wheels will be. Wheelbases measurements are typically between 13″ and 15″.

The wider the wheelbase, the more stable the board will feel. However, the wider the wheelbase also means the larger the turning radius.
Generally speaking, you should pick a wheelbase that is as narrow as you are comfortable with in order to maximize the turning ability.

Directional vs Symmetry

In example: Raptor 2 and Boosted Stealth

Directional boards are meant to have a forward facing side (nose) and a backward facing side (tail). The deck shape will generally make it clear which way should be forward and vice versa.

Directional boards are great for downhill boarding, carving and cruising. Symmetrical boards have the same feel no matter which way the board is facing. In the longboard world it is often used in freestyle and free riding style.

Having a motor means Eskate are always directional in purpose (unless you don’t mind riding in reverse gear or riding motor mount forward) but you can of course use whatever deck you want.


In example: Riptide R2

When you look at a regular skateboard, you will see kick tails on both ends. Their purpose is to let you lift one end of the board off of the ground so you can hop curbs, make quick turns, tail brake and do tricks.

When it comes to longboards, directional boards can have kick tails on just one end and on symmetrical boards, kick tails on both ends. They are a necessity on many freestyle boards. They’re really handy on cruiser boards as well.

There are a few noteworthy commercial Eskate with kicktail – Enertion Raptor 2, Boosted Mini and shortboards such as Riptides and other Chinese budget shortboards.

PS: When doing a DIY build, a kicktail practically forces the motor to be front mounted (like how a Boosted does.) This limits the size of the motor you can use.

Wheel well/ cut out

Wheel wells and cutouts are there to prevent wheel bites. (When your wheel rubs the deck and throws you off the board.). They are important in eskate as we do use wheels that are a lot bigger than a traditional longboard.

A good design cut out allows your foot to be placed as near to the truck as possible. The closer your feet are to the trucks, the more responsive the control will feel.

Concave/ Shape

Flat skateboard decks give you extra room for your feet on the board. This is ideal for doing many tricks, as well as board walking.

In Eskate, flat deck is a pretty bad idea, you will find it difficult to find your footing.

Eg: Ownboard W1S, Wowgo 2s.

Convex boards have a deck that arches upwards, which is much different than other decks. This provide riders with a more instinctive foot placement, which is ideal for skaters who love downhill riding. They are more uncommon than most other boards.

It didn’t receive much love in Eskate world though.

Eg: Original Meepo v1.

The radial shape is the most common of all the deck shapes. It has a distinct U-shape curve. The level of deepness of the curve can vary between decks. All types of skaters prefer this deck shape because its concave gives you a lot better grip. This comes in handy for all kinds of skateboarding.

The progressive shape is basically a more intense adaptation of the radial concave. With this deck, you get an even more secure feel due to the wider base and rail walls.

Flat-cave, or tub concave, is when the rails are extended and angled from the deck. Flat-cave is much like a radial board but without the subtle curvature. You may be able to feel more energy shifts, but overall tub boards make for a more easygoing ride.

W-concave is similar to regular concave in many ways. It’s main function is to help keep your feet staying put on the board. It really gives you a lot of grip. It can be described as having two side-by-side concave sections. The W-concave feature can be a bit pricey. It comes on some pretty expensive boards.

Some says W-Concave gets in the way of kick pushing. Not something we need to worry about in an Eskate! Hurray!

Eg. Meepo V2.

Asymmetrical concave raises the deck rails up at different angles, ultimately giving the rider a boost of power through the heels. This is ideal for skaters who like to make a lot of turns or who do a lot of weaving in and out.

Board Flex

When it comes to different board flexes, there are many different levels of flex. Flex is dependent on materials used and amount of plies.
While more flex means better shock absorption, it can be unstable when riding at high speed, as the deck can become like a trampoline and throw you off the board.

The Loaded Vanguard deck used by the previous gen Boosted are known for it’s flex. The recent Meepo NLS also has one of the most flexible decks.

Meepo NLS with it’s crazy flex.

Stiff decks are great at maintaining stability at the highest speeds. However, will not do well on rough pavement, however. You will feel everything.

PS: In the DIY world, flex deck adds another layer of challenge as electronics, battery and component housing aren’t flexible.


Backfire Galaxy Deck, you can practically count the ply.

The thin layers of wood that are pressed tightly together to make the longboard deck is called the ply.

Instead of utilizing one piece of solid wood, many manufacturers opt for creating a super strong board by layering the wood in a cross-grain pattern. Most boards are not over 9-ply.
Typical skateboards are closer to 7-ply.

The ply number obviously affects the flex profile of a deck.


There is a curve running the length of your skateboard that determines the feel of the deck and the type of ride you get on it.

Longboard decks with a raised middle are known as camber longboards and when they have a dropped middle they are referred to as rocker longboards.

The angles are pretty subtle, but can still affect the level of flex of your deck.

While camber and flex seems to be in fashion, a rocker deck comes with some important benefit. The obvious advantage is lower ride height, giving a more stable ride.

Secondly, when accelerating and decelerating, rocker curve gives your foot something to push against, making speed changes more comfortable.

The notable eskate with rocker deck out there is the Meepo Classic, which realized all the advantages of a rocker deck and gives an addictive ride.

Meepo Classic


The most common type of truck mounting you will find is the top-mount. Top-mounts are screwed onto the bottom of the deck to ensure that the trucks stay positioned under your feet at all times. This is the most popular mount style because it allows the perfect amount of control and leverage for a variety of skating styles.

A drop mount combines the characteristics of a top mount and a drop -though. You cannot see the truck from the top of the deck because it’s positioned into the deck instead of through the deck. With a drop mount, you will get less leverage than a top mount, but more leverage than a full drop-through.

Drop-through mounts are different than a traditional top-mount because you do not screw the hardware through mounting holes in order to attach the trucks. Instead, you drop the trucks through cut-outs made in both the nose and tail and attach them on the sides. We are seeing more and more longboards and cruisers with drop-through truck mounts. This mounting style make the deck not as responsive as a traditional top-mount, but you will get more stability.

Drop deck is not a mount type, I’ve included it here as it’s best explained by the same graphic.

A dropped deck is when the deck literally drops down in the middle, which makes the nose and the tail raised. The extremity of the drop can vary between decks. Due to the low center of gravity, boards with a dropped deck get better overall control and stability.

A double drop is when drop-through truck mounting is used in conjunction with a dropped deck. It’s important to select the right sized wheel diameter to counteract how low your board is. In doing so, you will prevent rail bite, which is when your board comes into contact with and “bites” the ground. This can be a dangerous event that you should strive to avoid.

Deck Material

Of course there is a variety of choice when it comes to choosing material for the deck.

Maple is a material that is commonly used in many wood working projects due to its grain pattern. This makes it a go-to choice for skateboard decks. Maple wood is known for withstanding the test of time, meaning it’s very sturdy and reliable. It can endure even the roughest skateboard riding.

Maple decks

Bamboo is a popular material for many things due to its incredibly light weight and flexibility, which is specifically ideal for skateboards. Bamboo skateboards are a perfect choice for someone looking for a board for commuting and cruising. It’s light weight makes it a breeze to carry.

Bamboo Deck of Meepo NLS

Carbon Fiber
By far the most expensive material option for a skateboard would be carbon fiber. Carbon fiber boards are often used as professional boards. They are made to help you easily maneuver around turns, as well as quickly boost you speed. To help reduce some weight, these boards are designed with a foam core.

Eg: 121C Aileron

Styles of longboard Deck

As different ride styles require a different set of features, longboard deck can be classified accordingly.

I think Tactics Board shop did a very good job walking through those deck styles, so I will just link to them here.


Good for tricks, getting around, more versatile


  • Camber (bouncy, lively carve)
  • Thin
  • Lightweight
  • Syemmtrical
  • Twin Kicktail


  1. Loaded Tan Tien
  2. MFG Moonshine County Line


Riding a lot of hills and lots of sliding, blending other style like downhill.

Characteristics: (A lot of similarity to downhill)

  • Fairly Stiff (9ply/ composite fiber glass maple)
  • Symmetrical (For riding switch)
  • long-wheel base (20-30 inch)
  • Have foot pockets/ Drops


  1. Landyatchz Switchblade
  2. Rayne Vendetta
  3. Loaded Truncated Tesseract

How to Choose a Freeride Longboard Deck –


Main aims is to maximized speed and keep control.

Characteristic: (A lot of similarities with Freeride deck)

  • Stiff (Stable)
  • Long-wheelbase (25-30inches)
  • Good concave


  1. Sector 9 Downhill Division Series Longboards
  2. DB Robot special
  3. Rayne G-mack pro

Cruising/ Carving Longboard Deck

Easy to handle longboard to get you from point A to point B. Not designed with doing tricks or jumps in mind.


  • Flexible (Vibration dampening, lively carvy bouncy feel, increase responsiveness)
  • Camber


Mountain Board Deck

When you are going off-road, a good sturdy deck is needed.

Trampa deck is one of the most used deck for DIY off road build.

Made from re-enforced glass and plastic thermo composite, it is a strong deck that can stand up to abuse.

Some special decks

As Eskate became more popular, some decks that gear towards eskate has been made – in small scales.

Best example would be the HAYA deck, a DIY friendly integrated deck designed for builders.

It has 2 routed segment for battery array and Integrated cable routing built in. Helping the process of DIY build.

With companies like Loaded attempting to build Eskate specific deck (Motherboard is not, for now, a good attempt on that), there should eventually be a wider selection of deck which caters specifically to eskate.

I hope this helps!

For reference, here are some of the decks that are commonly used for builds and deck swap. Let me know if you think something else should be on this list!

Let’s Talk About Drive Trains – Belts, Hubs, Gears, Oh My!

5th Sep 18 -Some edit done. Special thanks to Q from Predator Board for some valuable input.

Are you team belt or team hubs?

Many of us have very strong opinions on the best drive train for electric skateboards. This article’s primary purpose is to help those who are new to the eskate world pick sides.


For the longest time, belt driven setups have been the prevalent option for electric skateboards. They’re efficient, easy to set up, and easy to maintain. From DIY to Boosted Boards, belt based drive trains are the standard choice.

Then the hub motors rolled around. They were uncomplicated, cheap, and readily available. Perfect for cheap yet effective boards.

By the end of 2017, however, something was gearing up to upset the power balance of the drive train universe.

Made famous by Jed Boards for its mind-blowing free roll ability and ear-drum blowing high-pitch noise, the gear drive started to garner a lot of attention. Enough attention to make many of us wonder if the future of electric skateboard does not belong to the hubs, but to the geared drive?

And what about direct drives? How do those affect the drive train space?

Belt Drives

The belt drive is the most traditional drivetrain. It connects a wheel to an outrunner motor with a system of belts and gear pulleys. As a tried and true drive train, it’s been the drive train of choice for eskate builders and is a staple of electric skateboard world. Boosted, Evolve, Metroboards are all based upon the belt drive.

Heck, the majority of DIY builders still go for belt drives!

While belt drive lovers typically swear by the belt drive train, many new eskaters are turned away from belt drives due to noise concerns, limited free-rolling ability, and the need for regular maintenance.

The belt drive system limits free rolling as there is a significant amount of resistance added due to the pulleys, which makes it harder to kick-push. Maintenance surrounding the belt drive such as belt changes due to wear or tear, belt-tensioning, and belt alignment might also scare away people who aren’t necessarily mechanically inclined.

That being said, there are still many good reasons for people to be loyal to belt drives.

Generally speaking, the belt drives deliver better torque than equally priced hub systems. They also allow the use of full longboard wheels as opposed to thin PU sleeved hub motors. This also allows for a wider selection of wheels to swap to and from. Plus, some people like to get creative with their setups and belt drives allow for more creativity in that department.

Hub Drives

From the ‘board of the year’ Raptor 2 to the relatively tame Inboard M1 to the budget champion MeepoBoards, hub motors can be found everywhere.

Hub motors came into the limelight when Jason Potter announced to the world that the Enertion Raptor 2 will be switching over to the hub motor drive.

‘The hub motor is the future’,
Jason Potter said in the video explaining the limitation of belt drive vs hub motor.

With its clean and simple implementation and relatively lower parts cost, it is easy to see why hub motors were adopted so readily by the eskate community. Aided by the fact that most of us are unwilling to deal with maintenance of any sort, hub motors have taken the low to mid-end market by storm. Their quiet, stealthy, and kick-push-able nature only aides in the appeal department.

However, hub motors are not without downsides.

Poorer ride comfort can be expected as for every hub motor, you lose a standard longboard wheel and the urethane that goes with it. The thinner urethane sleeve, the worse shock absorption is, and the worse the ride.

Hub motors also tend to not have as much torque or braking power at similar power input levels. With the exception of specialty designed hubs such as Hummies and Enertion hubs, drive trains with gear ratios fare much better in this department.

To add to that, hub motors generally have a much higher failure rate than belt drives due to how they are exposed to a greater magnitude of shock and heat versus their belt drive counterparts.

Gear Drives

Gear drives are a relatively new addition to the eskate world. The basic idea is that instead of a belt to drive the wheel pulley,  the motor pulley should directly drive the wheel pulley. This preserves the gear ratios and wheel choices available to a regular belt drive while reducing the drag that is typically introduced by the belt.

Sounds like a great solution right? Unfortunately, it does have drawbacks. Direct metal on metal contact from the gears raise concerns that they might wear down prematurely compared to other motor systems.

Low ground clearance also would be a problem.

very low clearance even with 90mm wheels.

Gear Drives hang just a centimeter off the ground. Versus their belt drive counterparts, gear drives are more prone to getting gnarred up against the ground and potentially snagging on hazards that the board would normally roll over.

Due to their low clearance, you’re pretty much forced to run overly large wheels to compensate. This makes gear drives pretty damn heavy and undesirable in some cases.

Noise is an issue as well, as gear based drivetrains make a lot more noise than their belt based counterparts. Helical gears attempt to solve this issue, but they don’t entirely and remain untested on a large scale.

It’s also very difficult to get your hands on a gear drive train. With Jed’s product still massively delayed, the only other companies currently offering gear drive eskates are Arc Boards.
It’s possible to obtain a gear drive train from small-scale producers such as E-toxx, and Kaly.NYC, but they usually cost an arm and a leg.

Direct Drives

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the term ‘Direct Drives’.

The proper definition for “Direct Drive” is a system where a full motor directly drives a full wheel. Although both hub motors and gear drives have both been marketed as “direct drives” before, they are not. As of right now, the only commercially available direct drive train is the Carvon.

So far, there were a lot of good things said about Carvon’s direct drive.

  • Allows the use of full urethane wheels.
  • Allows for easily swappable wheels.
  • Allows for free rolling and a quieter system.

While the direct drive seems to be a great drive train, there are still caveats. The motor sits right next to the wheel and is not shielded, so affects ground clearance and is very likely to be battered on bad roads. It typically requires heavy modification to the trucks and is not necessarily compatible with a lot of setups.

Not to mention Direct Drives are extremely heavy.

Unlike hub motors, they use a full wheel of urethane (versus a urethane sleeve). Couple this with motors of equal or larger size than a hub motor, and you have a drive system that is inherently heavier by nature. Another extremely heavy component in Direct drive is the steel axle. The V2 Carvon Drives used an 8mm axle (standard for belt drive and hub motor trucks) that was prone to snapping.
The new V4 drives use a 12mm axle to circumvent this problem. However, this adds a very significant amount of weight.

There have also been reports of significant lack of torque on Carvons. But the most important point is that this is still an extremely new and unproven technology.
Familiarity with this drive train has not reached the point where it might make sense to recommend it.

While different people have different priorities, I still believe that the future of electric skateboard lies in the gear and the direct drive. Hub might have its place for the price, ease of install and maintenance, but belt… with gear drive around, belt drive is probably is on its way out.

My opinion.