Following the recent announcement on NLS Pro switching over to LingYi ESC, I figured that an updated review of the board would probably be helpful.
(Just to clarify things up, I did my NLS Pro review by upgrading the internal of NLS to NLS Pro, so I didn’t have the new shock-absorbing griptapes.)
Introduction to NLS Pro
As many already know, NLS Pro is the upgraded version of the original NLS which was priced at $599. It is a hundred bucks more expensive than the now-discontinued NLS, but it has a few important upgrades. The new NLS Pro has a much bigger battery and a new ESC. That means higher speed and smoother control.
It also gets a few upgrades on the parts among which includes upgrading the bushings used to macaroon bushing, change and rechange of ESC and use of a shock-absorbing layer of griptape which would help to make the ride even more comfortable. (I don’t have it)
So it’s ESC was changed twice
The first change to Hobbywing ESC was a celebrated move, but the recent announcement of yet another ESC change to the new iteration of LingYi ESC is a move that I took with mixed feelings. In my V3 review, I mentioned that LingYi ESC of the V3 came very close to Hobbywing ESC in terms of smoothness and was superior in braking, however, that 5% difference in smoothness does translate to an absolute refined experience vs a smooth ride with some grain to it.
While the brake is indeed improved with the switch to Ling Yi ESC, the complaint on Hobbywing’s ‘weak’ brakes is one that I heard from friends who tried mine NLS Pro but a view I do not share. After trying countless Hobbywing boards from the 1st gen Hobbywing in the likes of Wowgo 2s, Ownboard W1s, and coming to the 2nd gen AKA Turbo generation Hobbywing like the Backfire G2T, Wowgo 3 and NLS Pro; Hobbywing ESC on NLS Pro is amongst the strongest with no sacrifice on smoothness.
Although I see why those who are accustomed to strong brakes may find the brake on this Hobbywing ESC weak, I see that as nitpicking and am pretty sure most wouldn’t mind. But what to do, what’s done’s done.
It is important to point out that braking strength in LingYi ESC is adjustable. 1st brake mode offers the same tame brakes of the Hobbywing ESC.
2nd brake mode and above are smooth but significantly stronger. I personally would not go to mode 3 or 4 as I find them excessively strong for safe use.
Another interesting talking point after the change to LingYi ESC is that the 4th acceleration mode (AKA Pro mode) gives a more thrilling and punchy acceleration. I put both ESC on a side by side comparison and it was clear to me that punchier acceleration doesn’t equate to faster acceleration. New LingYi felt aggressive, but it wasn’t exactly faster. Hobbywing ESC in the old NLS Pro is smooth yet as fast as the new LingYi ESC on Pro mode, which becomes smooth only after the initial jerk. This is not to say that LingYi ESC wasn’t good, it’s just that the old Hobbywing ESC is freaking good.
To summarize, the ESC changes give NLS Pro yet another personality change. It converts NLS Pro from a calming comfortable ride to something more edgy and thrilling. Less boring, some had said. (For me? Boring is good.)
While the changes in control may make some happy and some sad, I’m pretty sure the addition of ‘push to turn on’ feature following the ESC change is going to be universally welcomed. ‘Push to turn on’ is a super underrated feature and I’m sure anyone who had tried that feature feels the same.
Aside from my disagreement on the change brought by the latest ESC change, NLS Pro is pretty awesome in any other aspects.
Having a bigger 100mm wheels and a very flexible deck reduced vibrations from rough roads as much as possible. Many hate hubs because of that thin urethane layer, big hub wheels in NLS Pro addressed that as much as any hub board could.
The most frequent complaint on the original NLS is the wobbliness, which I notice could be solved by changing to a harder and better bushing. With the NLS Pro, Meepo addressed the issue by upgrading to a better bushing that they named as Macroon. 100a Macroon bushing solved the wobbliness for me while still allows the NLS Pro to carve comfortably. This double tall Macroon bushing actually works better than my purple nipples on the shredder trucks (probably because nipples are not double tall bushing and shredder trucks were supposed to pair with double tall. =P). I’m no bushing expert, so I can’t explain why it works so well but it does work, NLS Pro now carves like a dream and still handles top speed like a champ.
Speaking of top speed, this board goes 32mph (51kmh). Crazy! I was able to hit that too! But honestly, 25mph (40kmh) is where my comfort zone ends and although NLS Pro is pretty stable even when pushed to the limit, no way I am staying there.
Wowgo 3 has been dubbed the best carving board of the mid-tier segment with its buttery smooth control and Paris truck set-up. With that said, to compare the smoothness and carving between Wowgo 3 and NLS Pro when it was with Hobbywing ESC is like splitting hair. I personally will take Hobbywing NLS Pro over Wowgo 3 as best carving board.
Just hear me out, Hobbywing NLS Pro is every bit as smooth while much more powerful than the Wowgo 3. It has faster acceleration and stronger brakes. Deck on NLS Pro is more flexible and to me felt better than the one on Wowgo 3. Wowgo 3’s Paris trucks theoretically should be better than the Shredder trucks with Macroon bushing, but honestly, I couldn’t tell. Again, it is like splitting hair. The real difference will be in the wheels size, 100mm wheels on the NLS Pro VS 90mm on Wowgo 3. Smaller wheels ride closer to the ground while with 100mms on NLS Pro I float abit higher.
However, now with LingYi’s NLS Pro, the 5% loss in smoothness after the switch to LingYi ESC lose the new NLS Pro that comparison due to that tiny setback in smoothness. It’s now have significantly better brakes, but on the question are “which one is most buttery smooth?” Wowgo 3 retook the crown.
When it comes to specs and number, Meepo NLS Pro is without a doubt, one of the best.
Using an 8AH pack of Samsung 40T in a 10s2p setting (288wh), the NLS hits 20miles (32km) range and that 32mph (51kmh) top speed for me. This number is pretty high up there compares to any boards and outside of those high premium boards, only Raptor 2 can best that numbers!
As always, Meepo might not win it all in terms of refinement and polish but it has without fail always having the top performance in its class.
So, what is the verdict for the NLS Pro with LingYi ESC?
At $699, the NLS Pro is amazing both on paper and in actual riding.
It outperformed its peers in both top speeds, acceleration, and range.
It has good strong brake and control that leans on the aggressive side.
It is very enjoyable in both aggressively ride or comfortable carve.
What more can you ask for?
(Me: I want that 5% of smoothness in acceleration back…)