In late 2019, many brands, as if on cue, simultaneously came out with their own versions of an Evolve clone. First, we have Fabian’s Faboard Black Carve, followed by Ownboards Bamboo and Carbon AT, which was then followed by Verreal RS and several more by smaller brands.
Needless to say, the most notable among these Evolve contenders are the Ownboards, as they are a major Chinese brand, and hence we have high hopes for them to put out a quality product and be the Evolve killer. Obviously, Ownboard is not trying to hide their intentions in going after the Evolve crowd. Ownboard Bamboo and Carbon AT were made with every feature that the Evolve Bamboo and Carbon GTR have, including the ability to switch between AT set-up and street set-up, the use of double Kingpin trucks, double drop decks and belt motors. To top it off, Ownboard achieves all of these with the price of $999 which undercuts Evolve by half.
So, today, we are going to find out if the Ownboard Bamboo AT and the cloud wheel set-up (named Bamboo GT) have what it takes to be the Evolve Bamboo killer.
Right off the bat, let’s talk about the components used in the Ownboard Bamboo AT. Ownboard uses a broad, flexible deck made from Fiberglass, Bamboo and Canada Maple that has an aggressive concave. Unlike the Evolve, Ownboards deck features an aggressive drop in its double drop deck, allowing a lower ride height and therefore a far more stable ride, which is sorely needed in the Bamboo AT. Unfortunately, this also means the option of using normal street wheels is off the table, as even with the relatively large 120mm cloudwheels I still bottomed out pretty often.
Thankfully, the flexible plastic enclosure below the deck looks like it’s durable enough to endure the scratches.
The Double Kingpin trucks on the Ownboards are maneuverable to a fault and allow for a super-narrow turning radius. I honestly think Ownboard should use better and harder bushings for these trucks. I tightened them to the max and the wobbles were still bad, limiting my speed to below 22mph (36kmh) in the AT set-up. Even after switching to the smaller 120mm cloudwheels (GT set-up), going at 25mph (40kmh) still felt pretty sketchy to me.
Of course, any Evolve rider will tell you that Double Kingpins are not meant for high-speed, but with a bushing swap, Ownboard AT could achieve much higher stability. In fact, with harder bushings in the cloud wheels set-up, cruising comfortably near top speed would’ve been possible, thanks to the very low riding height.
On the topic of wheels, both the 6″ airless honeycomb wheels and the 120mm cloud can go off-road. Though you don’t get to play with the tire pressure like you do with pneumatic tires, the airless honeycomb felt on par with pneumatics when it comes to absorbing bumps on rough terrain. Even the freaking HUGE cloudwheels are big enough to render most obstacles harmless. However! Riding the cloudwheels off-road is definitely not something you should be doing often, as the wheels are soft and will damage easily on harsh terrain, and those wheels aren’t cheap. I tested them off road and I have to admit that I was nervous about my wheels the whole ride.
Many people ride fast and look to big wheels to stay safe from bumps and cracks. For them, my advice is to go with the GT cloudwheel set-up. Though the big AT wheels can roll through sticks or stones at high speed without issues, the wobbles are a big problem. On the other hand, riding on the smaller cloudwheels is a much more stable ride, and equally crack-and-bump proof!
ESC and Control
Next, let’s talk about the controls. Similar to the other Ownboards, the Bamboo uses a 10s Hobbywing ESC for this board, and for those who are familiar with Hobbywing ESC the controls need no further explanation- they are known for Intuitive, responsive control that’s perfectly smooth in both acceleration and braking.
Power and Performance
Before receiving the board, I was worried that the 10s ESC might not be able to deliver the required power and torque for an AT set-up. After my test, I am happy to report that this baby is plenty strong and has no issues on steep angles.
The two 6368, 170Kv, 1500W motors should definitely be powerful enough for most people. Those who dislike Hobbywing for its tame braking power are still going to be disappointed by this board’s brakes. They are not at the level where tight-brake lovers will enjoy it, even though the dual belt set-up did increase the braking strength. Comparing Hobbywing’s control to the Evolves, Ownboard Bamboo is smoother in acceleration but tamer when it comes to brakes. Which is better? That comes down to personal preference, just like the everlasting argument between Hobbywing ESC VS LingYi ESC.
Now, it’s numbers time.
The 504WH, 14AH Sanyo GA 10s4p battery pack is marketed to last for 19miles(30km) in AT set-up, and 26miles(42km) in the cloudwheels GT set-up. I am happy to report that my range test yielded results that exceed the marketed numbers for both AT and GT set-up. Perhaps the test is slightly conservative this time, as the speed wobbles kept me from going as fast as I usually go, but the numbers are still impressive. One thing to note though, voltage sag does set in at around 25% battery level and when that happens the board will have a delay when drawing power for acceleration. However, the acceleration curve does stay smooth and the power picks up eventually, so I think that’s forgivable. Fun fact, the Evolve Bamboo GTR has the exact size 504wh battery with Samsung 35E cells and promises similar range.
Marketed top speed for the AT is 24mph(38kmh) while for the GT it is 26mph(42kmh). Again, these numbers are similar to the Evolve GTR. While testing Ownboard’s range, I had no trouble exceeding the top speed in both AT and GT set-ups. The board even felt like it could have given me more speed, but it was too wobbly for me to really test the limits. If anyone has managed to get to the true the limit, please do tell in the comment section.
All in all, I think Ownboard has a winner here, and I especially love the GT set-up with the cloudwheels. There are just so many great things about the Ownboard Bamboo. Carving on it is super fun thanks to the Double Kingpin trucks, the flex deck, and the soft cloudwheels. And it’s relaxing and carefree, thanks to the safety that larger wheels provide and the smoothness of the Hobbywing control. It also has great range, great torque, and good top speed. It really is one of the best boards to come out last year.
With that said, I wish Ownboard went all the way and strived for perfection. My wish list for this board would be better bushings, no voltage sag, and tighter brakes. Sure, none of these are deal-breakers, but at least some of them could be easily fixed by Ownboard and probably should be!
VS Evolve GTR?
Is Ownboard Bamboo AT worth buying over the Evolve? The answer is Yes, especially if you don’t care about brand names. Evolve may have better style and use more well-known skate parts, but when it comes to value and price? Ownboard is a clear choice.
If you are interested in buying a Ownboard board, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during check out.
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