Today, we will be reviewing the Propel X4S, a heavy-duty all-terrain electric skateboard by Propel EV.
Propel EV is not a new company; it’s one that was previously named Cycleagle and has been making prototype all-terrain electric skateboards for more than 5 years now. From what I know, they have a solid founding team, and what I have heard about them from others is not much different from what they write about themselves on their own website.
Propel EV makes heavy-duty all-terrain electric skateboards, or put simply, Baja-clones. They are trying to break into the market with the Propel X4S which is selling for $2650 now with 2 batteries. While this is a hefty price, Propel X4s is still more than $1000 cheaper when compared to a Bajaboard; and if it can sing “everything you can be I can be better” to the Bajaboard, then it deserves some serious attention.
So, is Propel X4s a good enough heavy duty all terrain machine? Let’s find out.
Propel X4S Specs and Built
Let’s talk about build details and specs. What are we really getting for Propel X4S nearly 3 grand price tag?
- Carbon Fiber Deck: 46.4 inches (1180mm) long & 22 inches (560mm) wide
- Electronic Speed Controller: Customized LingYi ESC
- Belt Motors: four 1500W, size 6374
- Top Speed: 27mph (45kmh).
- Battery: 10s6p Samsung 35E (came with 2)
- Range: 17 miles (27km) x 2 batteries
- Wheels: 10-inch pneumatic tires
- Suspension System: Vertical Shock Absorption
- Weight: 60lb/27kg
- Price: $2650 (extra battery included)
I have to emphasize that this board is HUGE.
It weighs 60lb (27kg), and its carbon fiber deck is 46.4 inches (1180mm) long and 22 inches (560mm) wide. If you’re driving a hatchback (I am), this board might not fit in your trunk (it almost doesn’t!).
It also has a gorgeous carbon fiber deck with a very aggressive concave to give you better control.
For the monster wheels, it uses giant 10-inch pneumatic tires. You can rollover just about anything! Propel X4S will let you traverse nearly any terrain.
Next, let’s focus on the suspension system.
For the Propel, or any Baja clone, the ultimate battle is obviously their ability to handle shocks and bumps from very rough terrain.
Propel X4S’ suspension has been built to handle vertical shock absorption.
The vertical shock absorption can be adjusted if desired. All you have to do is adjust the spring load on the coils. These coils will control how much vertical bounce you have on the deck.
Think of it as a replacement for the deck flexibility in any regular longboard deck.
SPOILER ALERT: this kind of suspension system is really awesome! We can officially state that there is ZERO vibration, no matter how crazy the terrain is!
There is another set of springs that controls the turning of the board.
These springs are the ones below the board which can be easily tightened and compressed.
Like the bushings on a truck hanger, the more you tighten these springs, the stiffer your board will be.
Having tight springs on the Propel X4S means less turning radius for you, but will surely make the ride feel more solid at top speed.
If you loosen the turning springs, your ride will be more carvey. Depending on what you prefer, adjust the springs according to your weight and particular needs.
It’s advised to adjust them a couple turns down from stock, but ultimately this is a matter of rider preference.
4 WD & huge Battery
The Propel wants to equip you with enough power to cross through the harshest terrain.
The X4S uses four 1500W belt motors with the size of 6374, combined with the 10s6p Samsung 35E battery. This power gives the board enough torque to pick up the steepest incline I can find on a mountain trail at a top speed of 27mph (45kmh).
The standard price of $2650 comes with 2 battery packs, and each will last you 17 miles (27km) in range.
In our range test, we managed to get 2 more miles out of each battery, putting the total range of both packs at 37 miles(60km). Pretty solid!
Electronic Speed Control (ESC)
Last but not least, the electronic speed controller of this board uses a Customized LingYi ESC.
Well, good to see a familiar part in a machine that’s anything but familiar to us, and the only part that we have criticism for.
First, on the remote. Propel uses the generic LingYi ESC remote with telemetry on it – that generic LingYi Remote that has mislabelled the speed-mode button as “reverse” button, but everyone was so used to it at this point that it no longer bothers us.
While the remote is 100% in functionality—comfortable in hand and doesn’t disconnect; given the price though, we expected something classier to match the rest of this polished board.
Obviously, this was just a small disappointment that Propel EV could easily fix in the future. Next, let’s talk about the riding experience and speed control with LingYi ESC.
Riding Experience – Speed control
The Ling Yi ESC has its usual 4 acceleration modes and 4 brakes modes, independent of each other.
After reviewing a few boards that feature LingYi ESCs, we noticed that this speed controller’s ‘roughness’ increases as the board includes bigger motors.
A LingYi ESC will maneuver with near-perfect smoothness in both acceleration and deceleration for your usual dual hub electric skateboard; but since Propel X4s has more and bigger motors, the board speed control is 3rd and 4th speed modes are anything but silky smooth. There is a rawness in it, those who like it describe it as punchy and powerful; those who don’t like it will describe it as jerky. With that said, it honestly isn’t a big deal. Smoothness comes second to power for boards that specialize in all-terrain uses, and the 1st and 2nd-speed modes are gentle enough for even the very beginners.
Initially, I was a little bit bothered by the rawness of the control, you see, I knew LingYi ESC was always gonna be raw and punchy on the Pro-mode, and I for one never ride LingYi on Pro mode, I usually stick to 3rd speed mode (High mode). However, with the Propel X4s I was forced to ride on Pro mode, or so I thought, as I was climbing pretty steep inclines on mud and rock trails, and I thought I need all the power I could get.
Then, somewhere in the middle of the ride, I realized that to have enough power to climb a 30% incline, from a standstill, staying on 2nd speed mode (medium speed mode) would be more than enough for Propel X4s. The same is true for braking while going downhill. 2nd braking mode is strong enough to slowly brakes to a complete stop. That’s a game-changer for me!
Now, when I am running on a challenging trail, I would just put on Medium speed mode. Control smoothness is no longer a problem! With the power of 4 wheel drives, Propel X4s can climb up an incline, merely using the 2nd-speed mode, from a standstill, and doesn’t even feel like it’s trying. It’s an amazing feeling!
Turning and Carving
Stepping on the board, you will immediately feel its height off the ground. The deck is wide, and the concave locks your feet in place.
Turning on the board is easy and feels tight. Propel X4s actually turns easier for me than Trampa or Lacroix. I can carve on it, better than when I was on Trampa or Lacroix, but obviously still a lot less fun than carving on a regular skate truck. Interestingly, despite looking completely different than a regular longboard, a heavy-duty all-terrain board like the Propel actually rides and controls exactly the same as a regular eskate.
Returning to the center is great as well, and that adds to stability on high speed, not that it was a concern in the first place. Heavy board tends to feel stable for me, and Propel X4s was 3 time heavier than a regular eskate..
The suspension system works really well, as expected.
10-inch pneumatic wheels plus vertical suspension system work together and took away all the vibration you can feel from the road. The feeling is very similar to riding in a car. You won’t feel any gravel, and you can’t tell how poorly the road was paved. When you run into a bump or hole, the entire platform absorbs the shock and bounces up and down. You won’t feel the shock, but you would still need to be careful not to be bumped off the deck, especially when you hit something with just one of the wheels and the board tilts a little bit.
When encountering obstacles like curbs, you can just ride over them without second thoughts. The clearance of the board is also designed to be high enough without having curbs bumping the bottom of the deck.
When running on off-road trails, a heavy-duty all-terrain board such as this will truly shine. The different between this, and the other all-terrain board be it Evolve, Trampa or Ecomobl ET, is that with this, you stop avoiding obstacles. The board can and will roll over anything, and will climb anything.
As the shock absorbers in each wheel are independent of each other, all 4 wheels will still be in contact with the ground (or try their best) even when riding on uneven terrain.
As mentioned, even with just the 2nd speed mode, you can start from a complete stop when riding up a steep hill. Going down the hill, the super-strong brakes will allow the board to stop completely. The board can do anything, and the only limit will be your ability to stay on the board and not falling off. By the way, Propel team, if you are reading this, please build in foot bindings, please.
With that said, on a regular road, you can throttle up and let your mind wander. Nothing on the road can threaten you. Even a reckless driver would have their eyeballs stuck on this extraordinary monster under your feet.
(Disclaimer: Please do still pay attention to your safety while riding, you might still hit a dog or something.)
All build, specs, and perks considered, should you get a Propel X4S?
I guess at this point, you already know the answer.
If you are in the market for a heavy-duty all-terrain vehicle, the Propel X4s is going to be great for you. It has everything that you need to help you enjoy yourselves on mountain trails; it’s well built by a legit company and has a good price. However, if you’re looking for a regular longboard ride for flat surface roads, then Propel X4s is obviously a little too much.
The experience would be like choosing to drive a tank just because the road has some potholes along the way. The thing is 60lb after all!
If you are interested in buying a Propel, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during checkout.
It will help you get a 3% off and helps us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!