Let me guess, you were probably looking for a budget electric skateboard when you found the Backfire G2 Galaxy, 2020 version (the one with the Sony VCT6 Battery). If so, you might have wondered: what’s the difference between this Backfire G2 Galaxy, with a promotional price of $469, and the $60 cheaper Backfire G2 Black? And how does this compare to what we consider the defacto best budget board of 2020 – the Wowgo Knight, which also is priced at $469?
Well, to be clear about the comparison, let’s first look at the specs of the Backfire G2 Galaxy 2020.
Backfire G2 Galaxy 2020 review
The Backfire G2 Galaxy uses an 8-Layer Canadian Maple deck, identical to the one on the G2 Black. It only has a mild flex and a mild concave, again similar to the G2 Black.
Trucks, motors and wheels
The trucks are the same Backfire proprietary trucks; the motors are the same 400W dual hub motors, and the wheels are the same big 96mm wheels with 78A durometer. Even the weight of the board is the same, at 17lbs (7.8kg).
What’s different for the Backfire G2 Galaxy is the battery and the ESC.
Batteries & Range
The G2 Galaxy uses a Sony VTC6 battery in the 10s2p configuration. This gives a size of 6Ah and 216wh, which also means that the G2 Galaxy has one of the largest batteries you can find amongst entry-level boards selling below $500. Backfire gives the G2 Galaxy a marketed range of 15miles (24km), and we managed to hit that with our range test.
Electronic Speed Controller & Top Speed
Besides having a bigger battery, the only other difference is that the G2 Galaxy has a better, Customized, Hobbywing Electronic Speed Controller. This allows the G2 Galaxy to have a turbo mode and a higher top speed of 26mph (42kmh). We were able to hit this too, barely.
Now, that we have gone through the ingredients, let’s talk about how the food tasted.
Riding Experience of Backfire G2 Galaxy 2020
Riding the G2 Galaxy is very similar to riding the G2 Black. This means smooth acceleration and smooth braking, thanks to the Hobbywing ESC.
The G2 Galaxy has a 3rd Turbo mode which can be activated by pressing the Turbo button. With the turbo mode, you get an even stronger acceleration that’s still as smooth as it can be. This turbo mode has no time-out or cooldown period so it’s essentially just the third mode for the board.
Besides the upgrade in torque and the extra turbo mode, the other aspects of the G2 Galaxy are exactly the same as the G2 Black; so those who have already seen our review of the G2 Black will find me repeating myself here.
Unlike their premium line-up, the G2 Galaxy and G2 Black are both NOT using Caliber II trucks, but instead, they feature Backfire’s own proprietary trucks. They pale in comparison to branded trucks and came in on the tighter side. After loosening them up a bit, we would still say this truck veers towards being more stable than carve-y. It’s not extraordinary for carving, but great for cruising at high speed.
Combining these trucks with the stiff deck, these two are more geared towards stability, something that I suppose would be a priority for newcomers to this hobby.
With that said, combining the stiff deck with the dual hubs can also be a recipe for an uncomfortable ride on rough roads. Thank goodness it has big, 96mm, wheels or it could’ve been worse.
So, what do we think about the Backfire Galaxy G2 2020, especially when compared to the G2 Black and the Wowgo Knight?
Well… This is what we think:
The Wowgo Knight has better trucks and an important, awesome feature in smart-power-on – where the board turns on automatically when you power on the remote. This makes us like the Wowgo Knight more.
The Backfire G2 Galaxy has a bigger battery, and this gives you 3 extra miles (5km) of range compared to the Wowgo Knight. Also, when it comes to post-sales service, I would say Backfire has a slight edge in that aspect.
So, when should you consider Backfire G2 Black? Well, if the extra range, speed, and torque of the G2 Galaxy is of no use to you, why pay extra for it?
There’s your answer, hope this helps!
If you are interested in buying a Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during checkout. It will help you get a small monetary discount 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!
I consider Backfire to be among the Top 3 Chinese electric skateboard brands right now, and they are in the prime position to compete for the crown as the best entry-level electric longboard. With improving aftersales service and polish, the Backfire G2 Black, 2020 edition, could be a no brainer for anyone who is looking for a budget board.
Backfire G2 2020 Review – the Blackfire 20
The new Backfire G2 Black is a good representation and measure for what you can get with $419 in 2020.
DeckSize: 38-inch x 9-inch (97cm x 23cm)
Top Speed: 24mph (38km)
Range: 11-12.5miles (18-20km)
Battery Pack: 188Wh 10s2p (5.2Ah 42V)
Weight: 17lbs/ 7.8kg
Motor: 2 x 400W hub motors.
Wheels: 96mm 78A
Price: 399-419 USD
The Blackfire 20 uses a 38” (96.5cm) deck made out of fiberglass, bamboo, and maple. It has a tiny bit of flex, but when I was riding it, the board felt stiff.
I think we are just pampered by having reviewed too many much more expensive boards, with better decks. The deck only has a tiny concave, so small that it’s barely noticeable. There is not much camber to it either, mostly a flat profile.
Unlike their premium line-up, the G2 Black is not using Caliber II trucks, but instead it features Backfire’s own proprietary trucks. We will talk about how they ride shortly.
Continuing the tradition, the Backfire G2 uses 96mm wheels with 83A. Most beginners love larger wheels sizes, so going with 96mm is appropriate for the niche it’s trying to serve.
Larger wheels can roll over bigger stuff, hence safer. It also helps to dampen some of those road vibrations when riding on rough pavement.
Battery & Range
The Backfire G2 Black uses 5.2AH battery pack, with non-branded cells in 10s2p configuration. That’s 187.2WH, and it promises a modest range of 12.5 miles (20km), which we are able to hit. Most brand has moved away from using genuine Samsung 20R for their budget line-up, as generic battery are not only cheaper but has better numbers on paper. So far, there is no noticeable performance drop, but will this translate to worse battery longevity? I’m afraid is a questions that can only time would answer.
In the budget board war, Blackfire 20’s batteries are slightly larger than it’s peers. To be precise, the standard is 4.0AH, while the Blackfire has 5.2AH. Again, showing that going with generic battery cell do give you an edge at least on the numbers.
Motors & Top Speed
Backfire G2 Black 2020 uses a set of 400W hub motors and that yield a top speed of 24mph (38km/h). We managed to hit the marketed top-speed during our test, no surprise here.
In 2020, 400W hubs are considered standard for entry-level board, as they are functionally strong enough; However, you indeed can find entry-level boards with stronger hubs. For instance, both the Meepo and Wowgo have 540W, and Meepo brags about them quite abit.
ESC and Speed Control
Blackfire 20 uses the latest Hobbywing ESC, which has the updated remote, but in usual Backfire tradition only 2-speed modes. No smart turn-on here, which is disappointing.
The Hobbywing ESC is buttery smooth, but you already know that. Everyone except beginners will be using the higher ‘Sport’ mode, as it is just as smooth as the Eco mode. The brakes are sufficiently strong here; at this point I am confident in the braking strength of Hobbywing ESCs. In fact, in 2020, I found that only the most generic Hobbywing ESC has weak brakes.
Ride Feel and Board Control
While going with Hobbywing ESC means you won’t be wrong with the speed control, the entire riding experience obviously are more than just the electronics.
First, let’s again talk about the trucks.
The Backfire proprietary trucks pale in comparison to branded trucks and came in on the tighter side. After loosening them up a bit, we would say this truck veers towards being more stable than carve-y.
Next, the deck. The fiberglass, bamboo and maple deck has only a little flex to it, and hence, again, not extraordinary for carving but great for cruising at high speed. I would love if the deck has a little bit more concave to it, so I could more easily feel my foot position without having to look down.
Stiff decks + hub motors also means the board is not the most fun to carve in and doesn’t lend much in reducing road vibration. As the previous-gen Backfire G2 Black, just a solid B in handling road vibration.
With that said, you can cruise in high speed on this thing pretty comfortably.
I get the feeling that Blackfire 20 is designed for with stability as the first consideration, something that I suppose would be a priority for newcomers to this hobby.
As a reviewer, Backfire G2 2020 is a very boring board. It has no special strength to talk about, no unique personality to angle on, and there is also not any glaring weakness to talk about.
But, please don’t confuse boring with bad.
Indeed, the Backfire G2 Black is mediocre when you compare it to higher-priced boards that have a better ride feel and far better performance, but for $419, the Backfire G2 Black 2020 delivers what it needs to deliver and some more.
It has comfortable and safe speed control, an above-average performance at the entry-level price and a top tier build quality and polish. Also, while not rated to be waterproof, the electronic components are themselves sealed, which should give good water resistance. While it has some trouble with rough road surfaces, it will ride just as nice as any board on regular roads.
Good performance, pretty standard riding experience and top tier polish, Backfire G2 Black is undoubtedly a worthy contestant as the best entry-level electric longboard in current year and the year to come.
What’s more, while individual preference might mean everyone has a different pick as their best entry-level board, Backfire, at least at the time of this post, should come up on top when it comes to brands. I hate to parrot their marketing pitch but, having a local warehouse in US and Europe is indeed a huge plus when it comes to delivery and aftersales service.
So yes, I do think the Backfire G2 2020 should be the standard that other entry-level boards would be compared to, and a safe pick for everyone.
If you are interested in buying a Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during checkout. It will help you get a small monetary discount 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!
Backfire decided to start their 2020 conquest with a belt drive release: the Backfire Zealot. I guess we all sense that belt-drive is coming back to fashion and now every major Chinese brand has a belt board, well every brand except Meepo, which I bet will soon join the movement too. By the way, I think Zealot is a pretty appropriate name for a belt board seeing those who like belts are often very fanatical about it. =P
The board is now pre-selling at $699 and is due to ship on 30th April 2020. Its official retail price will be $899 but seeing that competition is pretty tough in this product segment (Exway Flex & Wowgo 3x), I seriously doubt that it will ever be sold at full price.
So what about the board?
First things first, here are the specs:
Looking at the product photo it is very easy to see that Backfire Zealot is practically a “belt-driven Backfire G3” so much of what Zealot will be can be known by referring to Backfire G3 (click to read review) .
Breaking it down:
Backfire Zealot has the usual good things going for it. A good top speed (28.5mph/ 46kmh), a flexible bamboo deck with an aggressive concave that has proven to be very comfortable.
Then, there is the Caliber II Front truck. The back truck that mounts the motor is unfortunately not from Caliber but is Backfire’s proprietary truck. No worry though, Backfire’s proprietary trucks are usually pretty good.
(Edited at 22th May 2021: The motor has been updated) Backfire Zealot is using 2 x 5255 5250 motors. These are slightly smaller than 5255 that are pretty standard in production boards and are seen in the likes of Exway or Wowgo 3x. They are rated as 650W 750W each and are from Hobbywing., so I assume they are the same set as the pair on Wowgo 3X, which had proven to perform well.
Going with belt-drive also means we can be very flexible with wheel choice. The stock wheels are 96mm 78A with ABEC core. And soon they will be 105mm Cloudwheels option available. (It will be the updated Discovery core, for those who are following the latest eskate news.)
(Eskate historian here: Did you know, despite Backfire’s focus on hub motor all these years, their first board was a belt-drive?)
Things that I’m not optimistic about:
The things that I’m really worried about will be the range. Backfire Zealot has a marketed range of 22miles (30km). This is very likely inflated to some extent seeing that the Backfire G3 Plus with a more efficient hub setup and a bigger battery was only making 15 miles (24km) in our range test – That was only 60% of the marketed range. I’m pretty pessimistic about the range for Zealot.
Even trying to get a theoretical estimate of the range is difficult as the disclosed battery specs are pretty confusing. For instance, I really like to know what cells Zealot is using as the numbers don’t quite add up.
4000mah per cell
This should bring us to a 346wh pack and not 311wh given by Backfire. Oh well, maybe just a typo somewhere. I wish I know what cell they use though.
For reference, Backfire G3 Plus is using 12s2p setting with 4000mah 21700 cells (Samsung 40T) and gives a 346wh pack.
So would it beat the current top choices?
Regardless of the nitpicks, Backfire Zealot is pretty promising. All the parts should come together to give a great riding experience and the promised new smartphone app is just the icing on the cake.
In short, I’m pretty excited for the Zealot and would like to see if it can snatch away the throne of the “Best mid-tier belt board” from Exway Flex.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve finally updated our best electric skateboards list after having it sitting idle for months. And in this update, we will be recommending boards according to the price point they are in – since you know, most of us shop with a budget in mind. We are pretty sure that we have considered all viable product (or at least most of it), and all the best options have made it to this recommendation list..
As what’s right for you often comes down to preference, we’ve included a few options for each price segment – each of them better than the others on a certain aspect. And hence the numbering on this list doesn’t necessarily means the ranking of those boards or implying that one board is better than the others (unless we explicitly said so, heh). Of course, if you are interested in buying any electric skateboard, be sure to check out our Discount Page for additional discounts.
For those who are new to ESHQ, we’ve been reviewing electric skateboard for three years now. Just look around, I’m sure there is enough proof that we are pretty well informed.
When it comes to budget electric skateboards, your options are to look from the Chinese vendors, especially from the Big 4 – Meepo, Backfire, Wowgo, and Ownboard.
Nobody does affordable better than these Chinese brands, and for the past year, the Chinese brands have collectively proved that top product doesn’t have to cost top dollar. In fact, they releases some of the best electric skateboards in the past year.
Budget Longboards: (Below $499)
If you consider post-sale service something important, going with a budget brand with a good track record is pretty important. Countless new budget brands have sprung up and closed down as this market segment is crowded as hell. Taking that into consideration, and after reviewing dozens of budget electric skateboards from Meepo, Backfire, Ownboard, Wowgo, Teamgee, Verreal, Yeeplay, Apsuboard. Below is our recommended list:
Thanks to the recent price drop, the once $999 Exway X1 now became THE best budget board options. Unlike other Chinese brand on this list Exway places a lot more emphasis on the design, polish, and user experience – and that sets it further apart from other budget brands.
While X1’s range may be weak in comparison to mid-tier boards where it used to belong; its specs is competitive in the budget segment. And outside of the numbers, Exway X1 simply does everything better.
And while the numbers are merely competitive, the other aspect of the X1 blows the competition out of the water. It uses great skate parts like the seismic truck and bushing. Great electronic parts like the customised Hobbywing ESC with a companion mobile app that allows further customisation on control. Exway great design, top-tier polish, Apple like user experience and top tier customer service also put the brand ahead of the competition. Take powering on the board as example, imagine turning on the remote and having your Exway X1 automatically power on without you needing to bend over and fish for the power button, not even needing you to push it to turn on! That only happens on the Exway and that is just one amongst the many way Exway is better in designing for refined user experience.
The X1 also has a very important features that other boards lacks- it’s IP55 waterproof. Some people even use water spray to clean it! (which we wouldn’t recommend, water may rust the bearing.)
Downside? Some people think 80mm wheels are too small, especially for a hub board on rough pavement, especially for a board with stiff deck.
With that said, Exway X1 is like an NBA player who was now a bit older and decides to play in the CBA; and is very clearly, the head and shoulder above the budget longboard league right now.
The first generation Apsuboard X1 was a pretty mediocre mid-tier belt board. While it has a big battery, the imperfection in it’s control ruined the riding experience for me. And oh boy, did things get much better since.
Apsuboard X1 has since then made the ESC change to Hobbywing ESC, bringing perfect smoothness to its control. It then drop the price to $449 while retaining the big 288wh 10s4p battery – this spec simply slaughters the competition.
Outside of the numbers, X1 uses familiar part. Flexible deck with good subtle concave. Generic trucks that works okay, standard generic wheels. This all amount to decent but average riding experience.
Simply put, Apsuboard X1 has an amazing value for its price. It may lack the polish that the major Chinese brands has, but you can’t get a better value hub board with this price much less a belt-driven board which traditionally costs more. And while Apsuboard is a small brand, it’s a brand that we have know well and have enough confident in to recommend.
And now, we come back to the familiar faces – MeepoBoard. Meepo has always been the best selling budget brand since its inception in 2017 and it hold on to that status in all the subsequent years.
Meepo V3 is now the board that inherited that crown. Always emphasizing on power, Meepo now has the most powerful hub motors (because Enertion has gone bye-bye.), and this shows in torque and acceleration. The downside of a big motor is thinner urethane layer over the hub motor and hence rougher ride on a bad road (but there is always the option to upgrade to 100mm motor and wheels yourselves.)
While Meepo, with its LingYi ESC, is always said to be slightly less smooth in control than Hobbywing ESC use in some other boards, the difference is now negligible, especially after their new ‘Flux ESC’ update. The use of LingYi ESC allows them to have ‘push-to-turn-on’ features that boards with Hobbywing ESC couldn’t have.
Generally, for anyone who wants a budget hub board that are strong and pretty well polished, they should join the Meepo club.
For those who desire comfort above all, Backfire G2 Black is the way to go.
Backfire G2 Black is a ride where you can turn your brain off. Using Hobbywing ESC, it is as smooth as can be. Big 96mm wheels are especially nice for those who want safety in wheel size and want to worry less about road bumps and cracks. The trucks are very turny, but this wasn’t a big issue as you can always a) tighten the truck b) change bushing. Anyways, the top speed of G2 Black wasn’t too crazy either so stability usually won’t be an issue.
If you want a smooth and relaxing ride, Backfire G2 Black is your best choice amongst budget longboard segments.
Note: If you are considering buying a Wowgo 2s or an Ownboard W1S, then go for Backfire G2 Black instead. These three boards have identical specs and ride feel, but being the newest, Backfire G2 Black is slightly better in every aspect.
Remember back in 2018? When budget board just became and thing and thousand of brand such as the Meepo, Wowgo, Ownboard, AEboard, Teemo, Yeeplay etc offered their first budget boards? Those boards were often assembled together with generic parts available on market and costs somewhere around $380? Apsuboard V3 is a board reminiscing of that era – using generic trucks, enclosure, popular flex deck with handle, a 144wh Samsung 20R battery in 10s2p configuration and the LingYi ESC. (Hobbywing ESC now available for $20 more!)
Well, you might ask: “if Apsuboard V3 is a package from the yesteryears, how did it made the best electric skateboards list then?” Good question my friend, the reason is that, it is selling for only $299.
For an electric longboard, Apsuboard V3 without a doubt, the cheapest board worth buying. If you are really tight on the budget and have to spend as little as possible, this is it. If you ever thought of going to Aliexpress or buying some no name brand off Amazon, don’t – get Apsuboard V3 instead. At least it is from a known brand that won’t rip you off and is actually a decent product and not a toy.
Meepo Mini 2 uses a similar deck as the Boosted Mini, a short deck with an aggressive dish-like concave that allows excellent responsive control of the board. Unlike the Boosted Mini, however, Meepo Mini 2 uses a Shredder truck with a wide 200mm hanger, which makes it very stable even at its top speed.
It had very recently changed from using Hobbywing ESC to latest LingYi ESC (Meepo Esc 5.0). I personally think this is an appropriate change as this brings on the push-to-turn on features. It is always a great feature to have, but especially so for those who plan to make multiple short trips on the shortboard. Controls are almost as smooth as the Hobbywing but with tighter brakes, which reception on it is pretty polarised.
With that said, all this comes together and makes the Mini 2 the best option amongst budget shortboards and the first consideration for anyone looking to buy a budget shortboard.
Note: When buying a Chinese brand, you will usually come across 2 ESC choices. Hobbywing ESC and LingYi ESC. Hobbywing ESC has no push-to-start but have the smoothes acceleration and braking possible. Many however, complaints that the brakes are too smooth or soft and could be dangerous when you REALLY NEED TO STOP. LingYi ESC on the other hand, has slowly been catching up on the control smoothness. With each iteration, they get smoother and smoother. (And Meepo, being THE heavy weight budget brand, always gets the latest iteration much earlier than other brands.). Braking on LingYi ESC can be adjusted, but its overall much tighter and stronger than that of the Hobbywing ESC. LingYi ESC also always come with the push-to-turn-on feature, a useful feature indeed. When you got used to the feature, the need to bend down to reach for the power button underneath the board may feel ‘disgusting’. Heh.
Sleek Design – Drop through deck – Single hub – Waterproof – Super affordable
Teamgee H8 is the cheapest entry level board in the budget shortboard segment, it will only set you back $300.
It only has a single hub, so it will not be the fastest or stronger. The range on H8 is nothing to brag about either. With that said, for anyone who is new to eskating and want something that can’t hurt you physically and economically, H8 is that cute puppy.
Furthermore, a drop through deck with lower riding height is exactly the type of set-up a beginner should go with. So, instead of buying a no name electric shortboard from Alibaba, going with Teamgee H8 would be the better way to go.
Best Lower Mid-tier Electric Skateboards: ($499-$700)
There was a time when no vendor would sell an eskate at this price range as nobody would dare to dish out this much money at an unknown brand, and no premium brand would care to take a profit cut to sell a product at this price.
This changed in 2019.
As Chinese budget brands proved themselves to be reliable, those who are looking for an upgrade are happy to pay a slightly higher price to the Meepo, Backfire, Wowgo and Ownboard for something better.
In one short year, we have seen more than a few big releases such as Meepo NLS, Backfire G2T, Wowgo 3, Ownboard W2 then Backfire G3. Then there are smaller brands such as the Lycaon GR, Enskates, ThePeakboard etc. After major price cut, Bustin’s Hybrid boards also joined the fray.
The new Once a no-man land, the mid-tier segment is now flooded with choices, and most of them are good. And for those who are anal about price per performance ratio, I would argue that the best electric skateboards for them falls within this price segment.
Lower Mid-tier Longboards: ($499-$700)
While smaller brands like the Lycaon might look impressive on paper, major Chinese brands are generally still better. Outside of the specs sheets, they use better parts and have more reliable customer service, and you won’t have to worry of them suddenly going out of business.
So below are our choices after considering both boards from small brands such as Lycaon, Enskate, ThePeak, and boards from major brands including Meepo, Backfire, Wowgo, Ownboard, Exway, and Bustin Hybrid boards.
(I’m gonna emphasis that the number in the list are sorted by price and not ranking, they are all good, and each is best for different use case)
Note: To those who are still asking about Yuneec and Koowheel, are you guys from 2016?
Looking for a hub board that rides like Boosted? Get a Wowgo 3. Looking for a hub board that carves like a dream? Get a Wowgo 3.
Wowgo’s first major hit, the Wowgo 2s was endlessly compared to the Boosted board, and I’m guessing that’s the reason Wowgo chose to double down on that angle with Wowgo 3. Flexible deck, Paris trucks, and super smooth customised Hobbywing ESC makes Wowgo 3 deliciously smooth both in control and in carving.
With the riding experience so overwhelmingly good, one might even overlook the fact that Wowgo 3 is also scary powerful and has an acceleration that rivals any board in the mid-tier category. What’s crazier? It recently got a $100 price cut to make it an unbelievable deal considering the price-performance ratio.
If you are not sure about your preference but want something better than a budget board? Get Wowgo 3. Everybody loves Wowgo 3.
Stiffer maple decks, Caliber II trucks combine with the predictability of a customised Hobbywing ESC make Backfire G2T a very stable board that is easy to ride fast on.
The ability to swap between 83mm and 96mm wheels is an understated perk. I think smaller wheels are more fun to ride on when the roads are smooth as you will be riding lower, riding stabler, and the board felt more responsive. And when the streets aren’t that nice, 96mm wheels give safety and comfort with its size.
On top of that, Backfire is pretty generous in the G2T package and includes the canon LED on it, which makes getting Shredlights an option rather than a must. Overall, the Backfire G2T is pretty all rounded; and an exceptionally good choice for those who are not quite sure on what they want.
Note: Turbo modes on the G2T sucks for its 30second time span and jarring transition out from the mode. But there is a simple workaround: don’t use it.
After establishing itself as a premium brand, Exway has been expanding to the mid and budget segment by slashing the price of their older models (Exway X1) and introducing new affordable line-up (Exway Flex). The best thing about it? They are bringing their renowned attention to details, product polish and great customer service together with them.
Using a flexy deck, proprietary Trist Truck and the best version of Hobbywing ESC, the Flexway, gives the smoothest possible control and a buttery smooth ride that trumps even the Boosted. It would have given Boosted the final killer-blow if it hasn’t already fallen months before Flexway’s releases. Flexway, however, is going to hurt other Boosted-like boards (Wowgo 3 and Wowgo 3x) a lot, like a really lot.
Why? Exway Flex stood head and shoulder above all the competitors. Flex has better polish, has a smartphone app, is IP55 waterproof, has the smart turn on (board automatically turn on with the remote), has better customer service track records, has a more complete accessories options (wheels/ pulleys), has the ability to swap between hubs and belts, etc.
It has received lots of hype, and after reviewing the board ourselves, we know the hype is 100% justified.
Belt-driven electric skateboards tend to cost a bit more to make as compared to hub motors, and Ownboard W2 is made well for the price it’s asking.
All other belt-driven eskate at this price range use an old version of LingYi ESC in-order to make sufficient torque possible, but that causes the board to be significantly less smooth in control. Ownboard W2 instead goes with Hobbywing ESC that allows the silky smooth acceleration and braking that we all know and love.
However, this choice is not without major sacrifices. Going with a weaker 1st Gen Hobbywing ESC means Ownboard W2 fails to capitalise on the natural strength of a belt-driven set-up – it has neither a strong torque nor brakes. W2 also seems a little bit out of place in the low-mid tier segment when it comes to the parts in it. Yes, it has ceramic bearings that are more water-resistant and might roll better. However, it is still using generic Paris clone trucks, generic bushings, generic Hobbywing remotes, and the board looks like it can use a lot more polish.
With all that said, W2 is still the best belt board at the $500 mark – sandwiched between cheaper Apsuboard X1 and better but pricier Exway Flex riot.
Meepo NLS Pro is an upgrade and replacement over the original NLS – AKA, the board that started the whole low mid-tier boom.
Unlike the other boards from the list, which mainly aim for refinement and minor performance upgrade, NLS Pro pushes the enveloped in a few ways. First, it is a speed demon and has a top speed unmatched by any board of this category (32mph/ 51kmh). It uses the same hub as Meepo V3 (but 100mm), and as mentioned, is the most powerful hub motor on the production board market right now. Second, it uses giant 100mm wheels that are practically semi-AT. NLS Pro also uses a flexible deck that is slightly better in quality compared to the competitors.
Putting it all together, the NLS Pro is very powerful, reasonably smooth (even more so after ‘Flux’ ESC upgrade), very comfortable in both carving (Flex deck and Shredder Trucks), sufficiently stable for me to test the top speed (the new Macroon bushing are great) and practical in most terrain (big 100mm wheels).
For those who likes power but still want something that are smooth and carves fun, NLS Pro is it.
Note: It might be a little bit confusing as NLS Pro (and Meepo Mini 2 ER) change the ESC they use from Hobbywing to LingYi ESC mid-year. This move makes the brake stronger, brought back the push-to-turn-on features. And with November “Flux ESC” update, it should not be any less smooth than Hobbywing ESC now.
Backfire Mini has lots of things going for it. It has a beautiful, sleek, stealthy, unibody carbon fiber deck that allows the board to be light. It rides very agile and is super powerful, in fact a little bit too powerful for its size. Not to worry, that power is smoothly controlled with the new 12s Hobbywing ESC.
Backfire Mini is also one of the most flight friendly boards as it allows us to swap out the 175Wh battery to a smaller and flight-compatible 99Wh battery – by removing just eight screws on the deck.
Sadly, this beautiful board isn’t without its flaws. Backfire Mini’s most notable shortcomings would be its vulnerability to water. Its electronic compartment with top access can very quickly turn into a water bucket when it rains. Backfire Mini is also relatively weak in range when compared to boards at this price, as some of your money had evidently went into the design and the material cost.
Unlike the base version of Meepo Mini 2, Mini 2 ER is a beast.
Forgoing the Hobbywing ESC, Mini 2 ER uses LingYi ESC for extra power, torque, and push-to-turn-on-features and stronger brakes. And with the ‘Flux’ update on the ESC, control smoothness should be almost equal to the Hobbywing ESC.
Mini 2 ER is NLS PRO with 90mm wheels and shorter deck. They use the same internal and have the same beastly performance. Of course, it is worth repeating that Meepo Mini 2 and 2 ER rides very stable thanks to the wide 200mm Shredder trucks. While some longboard felt sketchy going past 26mph/41kmh, Meepo Mini 2 ER stays pretty stable beyond that.
It is heavy; it is stable, and it is wide – Meepo Mini 2 ER rides like a longboard, as opposed to an agile shortboard. Don’t buy this if you are looking for portability, though; the thing is heavy.
And finally, at this price segment is also where our first all-terrain board makes an appearance. A few company actually tried their hand in developing budget AT board, but little of them are actually good enough.
We will continue to be on the look out for other choices, but for now, your only option for budget All-Terrain will be …
Meepo City Rider is the most affordable board with giant wheels out there. For $679 you get an AT set-up that’s comfortable to ride.
City Rider is, however, strictly speaking, a semi-AT board. As the name suggested, it used should be confined to roads instead of difficult terrain such as sands/ trails, etc. This is for two reasons: 1) Airless AT means the board will bob and bounce rather badly when riding on uneven terrain, and throw you off the board. 2) The hub motors may get dirt stuck on it, requiring maintenance work.
With that in mind, if you are looking for a big-wheeled board for your exceptionally poor city roads, Meepo City Rider is awesome. The board has very recently switch from Hobbywing ESC to the LingYi ESC and now is with tighter brakes (and push to start feature). Unlike most AT that likes to go with double kingpin trucks, City Rider went with Shredder Trucks with extended length making it super stable in top speed while still plenty good in turning.
Best Higher Mid-tier Electric Skateboards: ($700-$1000)
Now, let’s look at the best electric skateboards between $700 and $1,000. Interestingly, just three years ago, $700 used to mean ‘budget board.’
Now, the higher mid-tier price range gives you boards that are very well rounded. Of course, each of the board in this list is here because they excel in something that others don’t.
This price point also give us a few good AT options.
Higher Mid-tier Longboards: ($700-$1000)
Most of the major Chinese brands that have products in this price range make this list. Why? Because they are all pretty great. My guess is, as they are expanding to the premium market segment, a lot more effort was put into making sure the higher priced boards are truly good.
If you are the type of person who wants no compromise in product polish, customer service, or just simply couldn’t decide between belt-drive or hub-drive – Exway X1 Pro and Pro Riot is the board for you.
Exway X1 Pro and Pro Riots have their drive train set up modularly so that you can switch between hub set-up and belt set-up conveniently. Exway X1 Pro is probably the more popular amongst the two, as the hub set-up is more consistent with the overall theme of stealth, sleek, and light. The belt-drive Pro Riot has the added benefit of powerful torque and acceleration that bested the Boosted, and the option to use your favourite wheels be it the Orangatang or Abec Flywheel (need to buy the pulley).
While Exway is always pricier, it is for a good reason. It has a refined control, which can be further tailored to your preference with the companion app. The whole user experience with an Exway product is also outstanding, akin to that of the Apple’s: Smart turn on, magnetic charging port, different control slider and ride modes… the list goes on.
Backfire G3 and G3 Plus are basically a slight variation of the same product.
(G3 Plus has a bigger battery, use carbon fiber deck and slightly stronger motor).
What doesn’t change is that both of them will be the best hub motor longboard in this price segment, as they do everything quite well. They give comfortable ride and has specs that matches their price.
Some may say their brakes can be stronger, and they underperforms in range test (if riding aggressively), but for the majority of the riders with appropriate expectation (on the range), G3 and G3 Plus is undoubtedly the best hub board in this price segment.
Note: Personally, I think G3 Plus is the way to go. Extra 85mm sets of wheels, bigger battery, and carbon fiber deck for $200 extra? Worth it.
We said Wowgo 3 is one of the best mid-tier longboards that are available right now, and Wowgo 3x is everything that, but with belt drive – and belt drive means even stronger torque and even smoother ride (thanks to having more thane by using 4 real wheels).
Flexible deck, Paris Truck, smooth Hobbywing ESC means Wowgo 3x is both buttery smooth and awesome for carving. The 12S customised Hobbywing ESC is thrillingly powerful for the hub-driven Wowgo 3 and even more so for the belt-driven Wowgo 3x. 259wh battery pack promise a range of 14miles or 22.5km, equals to that of the Boosted Stealth, making a direct comparison between the two irresistible.
I know this is an overused cliche but… Wowgo 3 and 3x are the Boosted killer that we’ve been waiting for. For anyone looking for a riding experience very similar to the Boosted, Wowgo 3x is the one for you.
Considering the riding experience, performance, polish, price and popularity of the Wowgo 3x, I would consider it the product of the year for 2019 and the best electric skateboard coming out of 2019.
Double Drop Deck – Heavy duty – Powerful – Big 100mm wheels
If your idea of best electric skateboard is the one with the most power, Meepo AWD Pro will sit high on your list. With Enertion Raptor 2 out of the picture, Meepo AWD Pro is now the most powerful hub board out there. With four powerful hub motors, there are no hills too steep and no riders too heavy for the AWD Pro.
Meepo AWD Pro has the highest top speed of all boards outside of the premium boutique boards and it uses a double-drop deck that’s on the stiffer side make sure the board is enough stable for its speed.
Besides having insane torque and crazy top speed, Meepo AWD Pro is an experience similar to the regular V3. It has a similar range using two sets of 10s1p Samsung 40T cells. It uses giant 100mm wheels just like the NLS Pro, making it practically semi-AT.
So, if you need the torque or have lots of hills to climb, Meepo AWD Pro is your only option as Enertion Raptor 2.1 is now off the table, and Acton Qu4tro is un-recommendable.
Finally, this is where you can get the most affordable Boosted. There are, however, limited selections of shortboards from other brands. We have the Riptide R1X, which I don’t recommend – and nothing else. My guess is – most of the company had strategically avoid putting out boards that are in direct competition with the Boosted and that’s probably the right business move.
Note (March 2020): Boosted has gone under. Yes, you heard it right. So, you probably wouldn’t be able to and also shouldn’t get a Boosted at the moment.
While Boosted was never a great buy in the sense of performance per dollar, it is still the best selling electric skateboard brand. Brand name, product polish, design, and customer service is what you are paying for when buying a Boosted.
If you want a shortboard that’s a bit lighter and air-travel friendly, go for the Mini S. If you want something sturdier, has more power and don’t mind the weight? Mini X it is.
And finally, at this price segment is also where the true all-terrain board makes appearance.
As everything affordable, we look to the Chinese brands to find the best value per dollar, and after considering everything from Backfire, Ownboard, and Wowgo. Below are the recommended boards sorted by price.
They are comfortable to ride on with thick 120mm cloud wheels, double kingpin, and smooth Hobbywing ESC. It is also versatile as it is agile enough for both city commute and light off-road usage.
With good ride feel and great performance, the only nitpick that I have on the Bamboo GT is it lacks in refinement. This I mean by – a little better polish? A higher-quality bushing? A slightly tighter brakes? Oh! And the cloud wheels, as comfortable as they are, might not be as durable as a regular thane wheel.
I will put it this way, Ownboard Bamboo GT is 9/10 boards as it does everything 9/10, almost perfect; leaving you to ponder on the what-ifs.
For those who are new to the eskate world, these are probably the only boards that they heard of, namely Boosted and Evolve. Inboard M1 too, started at this price range before they went under. Enertion Raptor 2 was here before they sort of went under. The weakest specced single drive Trampa Orrsom falls in this price range too (but falls out of recommendation list.) Other than that, you can get some premium boutique brands such as Hoyt St and some decent AT boards for this price.
Instead of splitting boards by category, I’m going to introduce them by brands as few of the boards here allow switch between streets and AT.
Ownboard Bamboo AT/GT and Carbon AT/GT are obviously ‘inspired’ by Evolve Bamboo and Carbon series. That, however, doesn’t stop them from being really good.
Using a Hobbywing ESC, the Ownboards are as smooth as can be, more so than their Evolve counterparts. The ride feels with its own double kingpin trucks are as carvy as it can be – perhaps too much so – a drawback that can be mitigated by changing the bushings.
Like the Evolve, the Ownboards also allow the wheels to convert between the street and AT.
All in all, successfully imitating a proven concept of an Evolve AT series while only asking less than half of its price is precisely why Ownboard Bamboo/Carbon AT are the best belt-driven AT boards for most of us right now.
Backfire Ranger X1 was the best all-terrain hub board when it was first released, and the Ranger X2 saw improved performance and hence inherited the throne.
With the 12S Hobbywing ESC and 12s3p battery configuration, Backfire is both smooth in control and powerful in torque. It’s double kingpin trucks are also amongst the nicest outside of Evolve’s Supercarve trucks.
Even though the Ranger X2 now has thicker wheels, airless wheels still don’t work as good as pneumatic or even honeycomb when it comes to shock absorption. With that said, for those who want an AT board with hub motors (for a reduced need of maintenance and waterproof ability perhaps?), Ranger X2 is the clear winner.
Note (March 2020): Boosted has gone under. Yes, you heard it right. So, you probably wouldn’t be able to and also shouldn’t get a Boosted at the moment.
You either know you are going to buy a Boosted, or you know you won’t. Numbers and words are unlikely to convince you otherwise. As everyone already knows, Boosted was never about performance per dollar. It’s brand name, design, polish and reliability are the main selling point. At 2020, you can’t even argue that Boosted has a superior riding experience – competition had definitely caught up; what you can argue is that, Boosted is going to age better than the competition, last longer than competing products and kept its resell value better.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. If you want the functionality of a Boosted but don’t quite care about the brand name? Get two Wowgo 3x. One for yourself and one for your friend. Share the love. However, if you want the most reliable board on the market right now, Boosted is still it.
There are a few plus points for someone to go for an Evolve board. 1) Brand name; 2) Swappable between AT & Street wheels; 3) Reliable customer service 4) Double Kingpin Trucks that allows sharp turn and fun carves; 5) You live in Australia (where the boards are made).
Evolve used to be the go-to brand when it comes to pure performance. That advantage had long disappeared since the rise of the Chinese brands. Evolve also used to be known for the Double Kingpin trucks and the ability to switch between AT/Street wheels. This advantage was too, gone after a slew of Chinese boards starts to offer one or both of these features. Just to name a few off the top of my head, we have the Ownboard AT/GT, Backfire Ranger X, Verreal RS, and other lesser-known brands like the Vestar and OneWow.
At the end of the day, Evolve still stands for its reputable brand name, reliable customer service, and large groups of die-hard fans. Oh, and they also have a $999 shortboard call the Stoke.
If price is not a factor, the best electric skateboard obviously are those with meteoric price. However, ranking the board in this segment is pretty impossible, as there is just no way to compare boards at this price. When a board is selling at this price, what’s great about them usually aren’t about the number but about their design. These boards are the small scale boutique brands, or DIY based vendors that aim to craft the fiercest monster money can buy.
P.S.: If you want to get a taste of these boards without shelling out the money, try going on FriendWithA to rent one! ($10 off with our affiliate link).
If you want a high quality 2 in 1 board made in the USA, the Metroboard is it.
Metroboard is one of the oldest brands of Eskate and has been making high quality premium electric skateboards for a while now. Their latest flagship MetroboardX is not only pushing up the price, it’s also doubling down on the quality, using many parts that were made specially for it.
Of course, it also has beefy specs, as all board in this price segment usually do.
The Lacroix is the most expensive electric skateboard on the market right now and the Nazare Lonestar is most likely the most powerful board with the beefiest battery in production right now.
Personally, I think Lacroix is tailored for those who are blessed with a wide and endless roads as those roads allow one to take a long cruise in high speed. Lacroix is a very stable ride but wasn’t easiest to turn (or maybe its just not made for my weight) so it probably wasn’t the board for everyone. (But those who have it swear by it!)
I stand corrected, the Bioboards are the most expensive electric skateboard money can buy right now. Bioboards are made in Sweden, and they aim to offer the highest performance possible.
Let’s go through some numbers, their flagship – Bioboard’s Thorium X4 is an all-wheel-drive with four gear drive. Powered by 12s6p Samsung 30Q battery. It has a top speed of 48mph (77kmh) and a range of 37miles (60km)…
Backfire is on a roll. They have released tons of new boards in just a few short months. Let’s recall, there were the Ranger X2, Backfire Mini, Backfire G3 Plus and now the G3.
Backfire G3, is sandwiched between the all-new G3 Plus and the well-known and more affordable G2T. And as the middle sibling of the group, it is, of course, the most forgotten board in the lineup. However, even just by glancing through the specs on paper and before stepping onto the board, it is apparent that the G3 deserves some attention.
G3 vs G3 Plus
The difference between Backfire G3 and G3 Plus is pretty easy to layout.
G3 vs G3 Plus
Price: The $200 difference. $799 vs $999
Battery: 260wh (Samsung 30T Sunpower) vs 346wh (Samsung 40T)
Range: 18.5miles vs 25miles (30km vs 40km)
Deck: Bamboo Fiberglass deck vs Carbon Fiber deck
Motors: 2x450W vs 2x600W
Weight: 17.6lbs vs 16lbs (8kg vs 7.3kg)
Package: G3 Plus comes with an extra set of 85mm wheels.
Testing them back to back, the only perceptible difference is actually just the range. I didn’t notice the difference in power even though G3 Plus has a stronger motor. I didn’t notice a significant difference in ride quality even though G3 Plus has a carbon fiber deck. But! I know I like the looks of the G3 Plus better.
I did the range test on G3 by exclusively riding on the Turbo mode, and max throttle during every acceleration and leave the LED light blinking through the way. The result? the battery died at about 10.5 miles (17 km).
I think that an average rider could be able to achieve the marketed range of 28.5miles(30km) if the rider chooses to ride on Standard mode as G3 comes with a 12s2p 260WH pack and the Samsung 30T are pretty good cell.
update: It’s now Sunpower Li-ion cell for the G3.
Rules of thumb: Expected range in km = WH divided by 10. and hence the 260WH =26km = 16miles.
Note: My review unit did have a minor where the board let the rider ride it to complete zero, where the board powered off abruptly leaving me with no brakes. It isn’t troubling as at near-zero battery, the max speed would only be around 12.5miles (20kmh). If that happens to your board, just be careful not to accelerate downhill with near-zero battery.
My top speed test again reveals the maximum speed a hair slower than the marketed number. Similar to the G3 Plus, the top speed of the G3 while reviewing was 27mph(44kmh) reading from the remote. As you can see, Strava was a little more lenient and showed 28mph(45.4kmh) as the top speed, so it is close. Again, while the G3 has a pair of 450W motors smaller than G3 Plus 600W, they have the same top speed and the difference in getting there is, too, practically unnoticeable.
Top speed also doesn’t suffer much even when the battery got low, similar to the G3 Plus, G3 maintained a speed of around 22mph(36kmh) even at a 25% battery level.
Backfire G3 uses the same customized 12s Hobbywing ESC found in the G3 Plus so eskaters who are familiar with Hobbywing ride feel should know what to expect from the G3.
For those who are new to Backfire’s version of customized Hobbywing ESC, you just need to know that it is deliciously good – perfectly smooth control both in acceleration and braking, intuitive, responsive.
Turbo mode is now without time limit and cooldown and essentially acted as the third and highest speed mode. And the acceleration in Turbo modes is pretty satisfyingly fast. Standard modes are pretty standard and economic or beginner mode has one of the gentlest controls designed to that help the first-timers get used to eskate.
Braking on the G3 behaves the way Backfire usually set it up to behave – smooth, with moderate strength in Turbo mode (and downright weak in standard and economic mode). Those who rode Hobbywing ESC board exclusively will find the setting satisfying, while those who converted from LingYi ESC or other boards with stronger brake will proclaim that it is dangerously weak. Well.. you can’t please everyone.
Carving is super fun thanks to the flexy bamboo fiberglass deck with good concave and Caliber II trucks that feel reliable and has nice rebounds. High Speed cruising on the Caliber II trucks feels comfortable.
Riding on poor roads feels all right thanks to the flexy deck and big 96mm wheels with soft thane. You will be surprised at what these sets of big wheels can rollover.
The LED lights below the deck turn on when you are in Turbo mode. The flashing board lights can be annoying, but it does help you to be seen. Unlike the Backfire G2T, G3 (and also G3 Plus) still doesn’t come with the canon LED light, so again, I put Shredlights on it.
Boards at this price segment are usually pretty complete and good overall and the Backfire G3 did live up to its price tag. There is little to dislike about the G3, be it the performance, the ride feels, or the aesthetic.
Backfire G3, similar to the G3 Plus, is a comfortable, relaxing ride that maybe isn’t too exciting, but I’m pretty confident that everyone who had tried it if will love it, or will at least like it.
With that said, what is the better deal between G3 and G3 Plus? Ultimately, that’s for your wallet to decide. While they ride the same, G3 Plus has carbon fiber deck, bigger battery, extra set of wheels, and cooler look (to me). But on the other hand, the cheaper Backfire G3 is practically the same board with less range and why pay more if you don’t need the stamina?
If you are interested in buying a Backfire board, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and uses code: “ESKATEHQ” during check out. It will help you get a small monetary discount 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!