Backfire Ranger X5 Review – The easiest all-terrain board

Today, we will be reviewing the Backfire Ranger X5, which came out in April 2024. 

As more brands make all-terrain electric longboards with belt and gear drives in recent years, the once very popular hub-driven Backfire Ranger series seems to have been somewhat forgotten. Following the trend of belt-drive everything, Backfire released the Hammer Sledge last year, but it seems they aren’t ready to give up on the hub-driven variant just yet. Instead, this year, they released this Ranger X5, which is one of the prettiest-looking AT boards out there.

Backfire didn’t take too much risk with the design of Ranger X5, however. There’s some upgrades in parts and polish and  a $200 price bump, but the Ranger X5 is essentially the ‘facelifted’ Ranger X3, as the specs are almost the same.

Backfire Ranger X5 Specs:

Price$1299
Battery50.4V 12S3P Samsung 40T 518Wh 90A
Controller12s Hobbywing ESC
Top Speed26 Mph (42 Kph)
Range21 Miles (35 km)
DeckABS, Fibreglass and Maple Composite Deck
Motor1500W*2 Dual hub motors
Net Weight28lbs (12.8kg)

Deck – Multi-Layer Composite Deck

Starting with the deck, the Backfire Ranger X5 uses a double-drop composite deck made from ABS, glass fiber, and maple. Despite featuring ambient lighting along the deck, the X5 continues to live up to the reputation of the Ranger series for having a flexible and comfortable deck.

It is a 40” deck, longer than most longboard and similar in size to mountainboards such as the Acedeck Nyx Z3.

There is also a red accent stripe running along the edge of the deck, so even when the LED light isn’t turned on, the board maintains its black-and-red look.

ESC and Remote – 12s Hobbywing ESC:

As for the ESC, there seems to be no change from the X3; it was equipped with a 12s Hobbywing ESC. What sets it apart though, is the X5 comes with the stunning Halo remote, which was first seen with the Backfire Zealot X.

In case you didn’t know, the Halo remote is really neat. It has a large display, fingerprint unlock, and a reverse switch. The remote is also long, nice to hold, and allows access to ride profile customization.

It’s heavy, feels high-end, and, well, drains the battery faster than a standard remote. But you will agree that it is a small price to pay for the features you get.

Battery – 12s3p Samsung 40T battery:

Another feature that doesn’t change with the X3 and X5 is that both boards use a 12s3p Samsung 40T battery, totaling 518Wh, and has a marketed range of 21miles (35km).

Motor – Dual 1500W Hub Motors, Trucks and Wheels:

Powering the Ranger X5 are dual 1500W hub motors. From what we can tell, these are identical to hub motors from the X3. 

While belt and gear systems are capable of more torque, which by definition are more thrilling, the hub system has at least three advantages: 

  1. it uses less power and hence gives a better range for the same juice; 
  2. it requires less maintenance and 
  3. it’s a lot quieter.

You won’t have to worry as much about sand, sticks, and leaves becoming stuck in the motor systems when off-roading if you use a hub system.

The same stress-free design applies to the 165mm airless rubber tires, too. Without a doubt, riding on different terrain calls for different tyre pressures, and pneumatic tyres offer more comfort. But in exchange for the marginally better ride, you pay with having to manage tire pressure and risking the chance of a tire puncture in the middle of an off-road trail run. It happens more than you’d think.

The top speed on this puppy is a modest 26mph (42km/h), which we have no problem hitting.

Sadly, the double kingpin trucks—which connect to the hubs and wheels—are die-cast rather than forged. It seems to be the same truck as the one on the X3, and we’ve heard good things about it.

LED Lights:

Backfire definitely put extra effort into the light system. The LED system can be switched between multiple modes with a double-click of the power button, including solid, breathing, flashing, and off. The Ranger X5 also has extra white lights that turn red when the brakes are used in addition to the ambient LED deck. The ambient LEDs on the X5 turn on to show that it is charging when you plug it in. Of course, this is an optional feature, but it’s a nice touch.

Add-ons available for the Backfire Ranger X5:

Also, there are lots of add-ons that you can buy, like a spoiler, pull bar, and mudguards – we heard they’re useful. We don’t have those add-ons, but if you want to see how the Ranger X5 looks in its final form, check out EV Tech Steven’s reviews. Caution: his footage is too pretty, and you might be lured into buying the board and every single add-on.

The board weighs 28 lbs or 12.8 kg, which is not that heavy for an all-terrain board.

Specs Summary of the Backfire Ranger X5:

With a price tag of $1,299, the Backfire Ranger X5 doesn’t pack the biggest battery or the strongest motor. For instance, even the $1,199 Evolve Hadean Carbon AT has a slightly bigger 12s4p battery, and Evolve is not exactly known as a value brand either.

It’s clear that Backfire wants to establish the X5 as the best hub-driven all-terrain board available. A board that surpasses the likes of the Maxfind FF AT, Tynee Explorer, or Meepo City Rider 3 in terms of versatility, power, beauty, and build, and after testing the board, it is indeed better than these competitors.

Read our review of the Meepo City Rider 3 here (click)

Read our review of the Tynee Explorer here (click)

Riding Experience of the Backfire Ranger X5:

It has to be said that hub-driven all-terrain boards are an underrated breed. The worst part about hub systems is usually the road vibration and relatively harsh ride. While these are big problems when it comes to street setup, they are practically negated when the board has big 165mm wheels with a flexible deck.

The Ranger X5 is also rather good at handling lesser torque, which is another concern with the hub arrangement. These dual 1500W hub drives are sufficient to climb any steep uphill we encountered, even though the Ranger X5 was not as torquey as, say, the Acedecks all-terrains with their strong gear-drive and large gear reduction. The Ranger X5 feels 70% more powerful while in turbo mode than the Acedeck Nomad N3 and the Nyx Z3, which is more than most people would need!

Let’s just put it this way: for a rider who doesn’t insist on having the strongest torque, the Ranger X5 is the most ‘hakuna matata’ off-road board that can go through grass, water, and sand. It can get dirty without you having to worry about things getting caught in the motor system. It can ride over questionable surfaces without the worry of a punctured tire. 

It can still practically traverse any terrain that a traditional belt or gear system could and does equally well-dampening road vibration.

Ranger X5 is a little bit higher off the ground, which is not our favorite ride profile but means better ground clearance for off-road situations. And it is still pretty stable at top speed. We could stay at top speed with no speed wobble once we slightly tighten the trucks, but the highlight of the board is definitely its responsiveness. For a long AT board, the Ranger X5 is very easy to turn, thanks to the double kingpin trucks. I’d say responsiveness and maneuverability are what separates the Ranger X5 from budget all-terrain boards like the Meepo City Rider 3 and Tynee Explorer. Carving on the Ranger X5 is a lot more enjoyable and a lot more fun to ride.

And I don’t know if I still need to say this, but the speed control is perfect as Hobbywing ESC tends to be. Perfectly smooth acceleration and braking across all speed modes. No surprise here.

Verdict – Should you buy the Backfire Ranger X5:

It’s kinda funny that while the Ranger X5 is a great ride, what sets it apart is outside of the riding experience. It is a handsome-looking board with lights that call for attention. It has a stress-free ownership experience that can’t be said the same for many better and pricier boards. 

I think for many casual riders who want a board with big wheels, getting the Ranger X5 makes a lot of sense. And I’d even extend the recommendation to the Ranger X3. Although we haven’t tried the $1,099 Ranger X3, its similarity to the X5 makes us pretty confident that it’s too a great option, a better board even, for those who don’t see the value in paying extra for the X5 for its polished and the looks.

If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive $5 off during checkout.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and help us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

Backfire Zealot V Review – This is a weird board.

I bet it’s very easy for Backfire to design this board. To get the Zealot V, open up Adobe Photoshop and paste the 40-inch Zealot X, select all, and resize it down to 33 inches and voila, you get the Zealot V.

Jokes aside, today we’ll be reviewing the Backfire Zealot V which is a pretty weird board and safe to say it’s one of my least favorite Backfire boards. But to be fair, the Zealot V does have its ups and downs.

Backfire Zealot V Specs:

Price$599
Battery42V 6Ah or 216Wh battery Samsung 30Q 18650
Controller10s Hobbywing ESC
Top Speed26 mph (42 kph)
Range11-12.5 miles (18-20 km)
Deck33” (83.8 cm) ABS, Glass Fiber, And Maple Composite
Motor1500W Dual 750W belt drive
Net Weight16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)

Deck- 33” (83.8 cm) ABS, Glass Fiber, And Maple Composite:

The Zealot V boasts a 33” deck made of ABS, glass fiber, and maple composite. While it’s pretty stiff with minimal flex, we were a bit disappointed to find it considerably flat without much concave, which is kind of a bummer for us because we like decks with more concave to it as it helps with foot placement, making it easier to control the board.

But hey, the deck does look pretty sweet. It’s got those sleek icy blue lights along the length of the deck, which always turns heads. And at $599, it’s the cheapest eskate out there if you’re looking for one with deck lights like this.

Check out our review of Backfire Zealot X and Backfire Zealot S2, two other Backfire with board lights.

ESC and Remote – 10s Hobbywing ESC with Backfire remote:

Moving onto the ESC, the Zealot V is equipped with a 10s Hobbywing ESC, offering 4-speed modes which, as always, are smooth and intuitive. This Hobbywing Esc is paired with a standard Backfire remote, and while it’s not the Halo remote from the Zealot X and S2, it’s still comfy and easy to use.

Battery – 42V 6Ah or 216Wh battery Samsung 30Q 18650 cells:

Powered by a 42V 6Ah or 216Wh battery with Samsung 30Q 18650 cells, the Zealot V is marketed at a range of 11-12.5 miles (18-20 km). These cells are pretty popular in eskates as they have high energy density and discharge rates.

But when putting it to the test, with a 155 lbs (70 kg) rider, we only managed to hit 7.5 miles (12 km) which isn’t super impressive to be honest, especially for a board in this price range. We usually expect at least a 10-mile (16 km) kind of range with hard riding on boards over $400. 

The lack of range is, unfortunately, the price to pay for using belt motors as they’re not as efficient as hub motors, meaning they drain the battery pretty quickly. But they do make up for it with a smoother ride as belt drive motors tend to dampen out road vibrations better.

Motor – Dual 750W belt motors 1500W:

The Backfire Zealot V runs on two 750W belt motors, totaling 1500W. It’s a decent number but not what you would call a game-changer as compared to the Zealot X’s beefier twin 1500W motors, the Zealot V’s power is a bit more on the modest side.

As for the speed, the Zealot V cruises up to a top speed of 26 mph (42 kph). Again, this is pretty standard and nothing extraordinary, so it’s not surprising that we hit that top speed in our test.

Although not the most powerful board on the block, for a 33” board, it’s certainly enough and most definitely capable of getting you up any incline.

Truck and Wheels – 7-inch 50-degree reverse kingpin trucks:

Moving on to the trucks and wheels, the Zealot V is equipped with 7-inch 50-degree reverse kingpin trucks which are similar to the 8-inch trucks you’d find on the Zealot S2. However, unlike the forged trucks on the Zealot X, the Zealot V uses cast trucks, which is to be expected for an eskate in this price range.

Next, despite being a smaller board, the Zealot V went with 96mm wheels. . These are 96mm by 55mm wheels with an 80A durometer. This helps to get the board over most cracks and bumps so you aren’t limited to riding only on sidewalks. This is as opposed to Exway Ripple which is super-duper portable and nimble but has 75mm wheels that are a bit difficult to be ridden on rougher pavement.

Read our review of Exway Ripple here.

Lastly, The Backfire Zealot V weighs at a portable (7.6 kg) which is lighter than most electric longboards and cruisers, and roughly on par with many shortboards.

Specs Summary:

At first glance, for $599 the Backfire Zealot V’s specs are pretty underwhelming. 

However, factoring in the lights as a $150 add-on, the pricing seems more reasonable. Don’t ask me if the lights truly cost $150, we only know Meepo marked up the lightless Meepo Envy to the green-lighted Meepo Aurora by $150. But once you subtract $150 from the price tag, the Zealot V begins to look on par with other belt-driven eskates. For example, it has specs nearly identical to the $449 Wowgo 3E, which is our top pick for the best affordable belt-driven electric skateboard.

Read our review of Wowgo 3E here.

In short, if you like the lights for as much as $150, the Zealot V has good specs. 10s2p with Samsung 30Q, dual 750W belt motors is reasonably good.

Riding Experience on the Backfire Zealot V:

The Backfire Zealot V was designed to be portable and nimble, and it accomplished that very well. Turning tight corners and navigating amongst other road users is a breeze.

When you’re not riding the board, its smaller form factor makes it convenient to carry around. At 16.8 lbs (7.6 kg), it’s not the lightest among the lighter boards in town. But it does feel significantly easier to carry around because of the even weight distribution and, again, the smaller form factor.

Despite its smaller size, the Zealot V did well in maintaining  stability at high speeds. While hitting the 26 mph top speed still feels sketchy on a shorter board like this, we think even new riders will be comfortable riding around at 18.5 mph (30 km). The smooth speed control of the Hobbywing ESC obviously helped. Acceleration and braking are perfectly smooth and intuitive, as they always are with Hobbywing ESC.

While these are all great things about the Backfire Zealot V, one big question remains: why didn’t they go with a deck with a kicktail? A more typical shortboard or cruiser deck would have kept the size of the deck down, kept the weight light, and added versatility. You would also be able to have a similar width in your stance as on a shortboard, you can place your back foot on top of the trucks, whereas with Zealot V you can’t.

Some of us at ESHQ do like the design; however, if you are not using the kicktail, not having it means no chance of accidental wheelies. It is also often more portable than a deck with a kicktail, as the board lies flat in car trunks and takes up less space. One team member also appreciated that the board could be pulled by its truck, unlike boards with kicktails that will drag along the floor if you were to pull it around.

Other than that, the power on the Zealot V is good, more than enough, considering the small size. Road vibration is still uncomfortable despite going with big 96mm wheels on a belt drive due to the stiff deck. 

The Verdict – should you get the Backfire Zealot V?

It’s nimble, portable, well-built, and looks really good. The board offers perfect speed control, sufficient power, and a pretty good balance between responsiveness and stability. It’s a pretty board, built well, but at $599, it’s not as affordable as boards that skip the lights.

For many people, the Zealot V might seem stuck in a weird middle ground, but that also means for some, it’s the perfect board with just the right amount of everything.

It’s ideal for those who want a nimble and portable board but aren’t looking for a shortboard with a kicktail.

It’s for those who appreciate the ride profile of a typical longboard, but don’t need one that’s 40 inches.

And it’s for those in search of the most affordable board with built-in deck lights.

I don’t fall into these groups; hence it’s not my favorite Backfire board, but I still have to give kudos to Backfire for trying something new with the Zealot V.

If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive $20 off during checkout.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and help us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

Backfire Zealot S2 Review: A Premium Electric Skateboard Under $1000

In our previous post, we reviewed the impressive Backfire Zealot X, a $1200 belt-driven electric skateboard that excelled in power, aesthetics, build quality, and riding enjoyment. Today, we’re taking a closer look at its more affordable sibling, the $849 Backfire Zealot S2. If you haven’t read our review of the Backfire Zealot X yet, we recommend checking it out first.

Main Differences Between Zealot S2 and Zealot X

The two boards share many similarities, but three key differences make the Zealot S2 $400 cheaper.

SpecificationZealot XZealot S2
Price$1,199$849
Deck38″ x 10.6″ Composite Deck – Glass Fiber, Maple. Stiff, minimal concaveSimilar
ESC14s Hobbywing ESC; smart turn-onSimilar
RemoteHalo Remote, OLED display, 4-speed modesSimilar
BatterySamsung 50S 14S2P, 504Wh, 50.4VSamsung 40T 14S2P, 403.2Wh
Motors1500W x2 – Belt Motors875W x2 – Belt Motors
Marketed Range34 miles / 55 km30 miles / 48 km
Marketed Top Speed31 mph or 50 km/h30 mph or 48 km/h
Trucks8.5″ Forged Truck (10.6 inch / 270 mm CNC Precision Forging)8″ Cast Trucks
Wheels96MM / 80A Street wheelsSimilar
Other FeaturesIce Blue Board Light, Smartphone AppSimilar, but with Purple LED lights

1. Battery Size and Range

First, the Zealot S2 has a slightly smaller battery, using Samsung 40T cells instead of the Zealot X’s Samsung 50S, resulting in a 403.2Wh battery compared to the Zealot X’s 504Wh. Fortunately, the Zealot S2 maintains the 14s2p configuration, giving it an advantage in power and torque over other boards in this price range, which typically use 12s configurations.

The Zealot S2 boasts an advertised range of 30 miles or 48km, and our 155lb 70kg rider achieved 23 miles or 37km while riding at high speeds. Surprisingly, this is slightly better than the range we got on the Zealot X. With a heavier 220 lbs 100kg rider, the Zealot X managed only 20 miles or 32 km. This highlights the impact of rider weight on mileage and, perhaps, the smaller motors on the Zealot S2 limit how fast one can drain the battery.

2. Motor Power

That brings us to the second difference, the motors: the Backfire Zealot S2 uses a pair of 875W 5255 motors, while the Zealot X features 1500W 6358 motors. Even with smaller 875W motors, the Backfire Zealot S2 never feels underpowered.

We reached a top speed of 30.5mph or 49km/h in turbo mode, practically identical to the Zealot X. The only difference is that the Zealot X accelerates rapidly from the start, while the Zealot S2’s acceleration isn’t as aggressive. For some context, the Zealot S2’s power and torque are slightly behind the Meepo Voyager X and neck and neck to the Exway Flex Pro.

You can read our reviews on Meepo Voyager X (here), and Exway Flex Pro (here).

3. Trucks

The third distinction lies in the trucks. The Zealot S2 utilizes a pair of cast trucks, while the Zealot X has forged trucks, which, unsurprisingly, perform better besides being more durable. When we reviewed the Zealot X, we were impressed by how good the trucks are. The Zealot X turns easily like a double kingpin truck while still amazingly stable at top speeds. In comparison, the Zealot S2’s 8″ reverse kingpin trucks felt slightly tighter and less responsive, sacrificing a bit of carving fun in favor of stability.

However, this is not to say that these trucks were bad. They are still very good; it just goes to show how exceptional the trucks on the Zealot X are.

Shared Features with the Zealot X

Apart from these differences, the Backfire Zealot S2 shares all the fantastic features and outstanding build quality of the Zealot X. This means the Zealot S2 boasts cool elements like the LED light strips along the deck, this time in purple; the premium-feeling halo remote, and the included Kegel pulley for easy wheel swaps.

The ESC remains the 14s Hobbywing ESC, which is well-known for being smooth, intuitive, and powerful in both acceleration and braking.

Shared Drawbacks with the Zealot X

However, the similarities between the two boards also extend to certain drawbacks. For instance, the Zealot S2 shares the same deck as the Zealot X, which is a 39-inch composite deck made of ABS, glass fiber, and maple.

The deck is stiff and mostly flat, featuring only a subtle concave at the edges. Consequently, it can be challenging to gauge foot placement without looking down or readjusting during the ride. The stiff deck also doesn’t provide much comfort when riding on rough terrain.

we have some rough road here

Thankfully, as a belt-driven board with sizable 96mm wheels, the ride isn’t too uncomfortable on rough roads, but there is room for improvement. Upgrading to larger wheels would enhance the board’s vibration-dampening capabilities, as well as increase top speed and ground clearance – rather important, as the motor mounts currently sit quite close to the ground.

By the way, we tested Backfire’s 120mm wheels and were pretty impressed. They provided excellent vibration absorption and maintained a solid grip even on wet roads.

Comparison with Competitors

So, how does the Backfire Zealot S2 fare in comparison to its competitors?

Priced at $849, the Zealot S2 is likely to be compared with the $899 Exway Flex Pro and the $999 Meepo Voyager. Among these, the Zealot S2 holds its ground quite well. Although it offers slightly less exhilarating acceleration and a lower top speed than the Meepo Voyager, the Zealot S2 and Flex Pro both surpass the Meepo in terms of smooth speed control. Moreover, the Backfire and Exway boards boast a more premium feel in their build and design.

On the flip side, we find the Zealot S2’s deck to be the least appealing among the three, as it’s too flat for foot comfort and too stiff for enjoyable carving. In contrast, the Flex Pro features the most flexible deck with a comfortable concave, enhancing carving fun at the expense of high-speed stability. Meanwhile, the Voyager’s deck strikes a balance between the two, offering slightly more flex than the Zealot’s deck and a comfortable concave.

In terms of battery capacity, the Zealot S2’s 403Wh battery outperforms the 345Wh battery in the Exway Flex Pro but falls short of the Meepo Voyager’s 544.3Wh.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Backfire might argue that the Zealot S2 has better spec than the Exway Flex Pro Belt and offers a more enjoyable riding experience than the Meepo Voyager – and, indeed, there is truth to that claim.

Conclusion

If you’re seeking a stylish, sub-$1000 electric skateboard with a premium appearance, solid specs, and stability at high speeds, the Backfire Zealot S2 could be an ideal choice.

It may not be the perfect fit for those who prefer a more flexible deck with a pronounced concave, but this minor shortcoming is easy to overlook when everything else is near perfection. Undoubtedly, the Backfire Zealot S2 will be a popular pick for the best electric skateboard under $1000.

If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive 5% off during checkout.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and help us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

Backfire Zealot X Review: A Premium Electric Skateboard

In March 2023, Backfire introduced two new premium electric skateboards to their lineup: the 849 Backfire Zealot S2. These boards are the latest additions to the wildly successful Zealot series. Today, we’ll be reviewing the Backfire Zealot X, which is poised to become the best premium electric longboard on the market.

Aesthetics: Stunning Design and Eye-catching Features

While the ideal electric skateboard may vary from person to person, one thing everyone can agree on is the stunning design of the Backfire Zealot X.

From the high-quality aluminum remote that exudes luxury to the CNC forged trucks, not to mention the eye-catching LED board lights and the glowing T-emblem on the front that every reviewer can’t wait to showcase, this board is undoubtedly a showstopper.

Performance: Impressive Specs and Top-notch Components

Let’s dive into the specs and see what the Backfire Zealot X has to offer:

Backfire Zealot X – Build and Specs

  • Price: $1,199
  • Deck: 38” x 10.6” Composite Deck – Glass Fiber, Maple. Stiff, minimal concave
  • ESC: 14s Hobbywing ESC; smart turn-on
  • Remote: Halo Remote, OLED display, 4-speed modes
  • Battery: Samsung 50S 14S2P, 504Wh, 50.4V
  • Motors: 1500W x2 – Belt Motors
  • Marketed Range: 34 miles / 55 km
  • Marketed Top Speed: 31 mph or 50 km/h
  • Trucks: 8.5″ Forged Truck (10.6 inch / 270 mm CNC Precision Forging) 
  • Wheels: 96MM / 80A Street wheels
  • Other Features:
    • Ice Blue Board Light
    • Smartphone App

Battery and Range

The Zealot X is equipped with 14S2P Samsung 50S, high-quality 21000 cells, providing the board with a substantial 504 Wh capacity.

The board boasts an advertised range of 34 miles or 55 km, and our 220 lbs (100kg) riders achieved 20 miles or 32 km while riding fast. This is pretty reasonable and on par with the real-world range of other 500Wh belt-driven boards, such as the Meepo Voyager X.

Motors and Top Speed

To ensure optimal power, Backfire has equipped the Zealot X with a pair of 6358 motors; each rated at 1500W. The claimed top speed is 31 mph (50 km/h), which we were able to reach in turbo mode.

As expected, an $1199 board should boast an even higher top speed; however, many riders, including ourselves, may not have access to roads suitable for such extreme speeds anyway.

Wheels and Customization

These powerful motors drive four sets of 96mm 80A wheels.

Backfire Zealot X 96mm wheels

Notably, Backfire has thoughtfully included a Kegel pulley in the package, allowing you to easily swap into Backfire’s 120mm wheels or experiment with other wheel options.

Riding Experience: Power, Speed, and Stability

As you can see, the specs are impressive but not extraordinary, given the price. After all, premium boards come with solid specs; what sets the exceptional ones apart is the riding experience, and the Zealot X certainly delivers an amazing experience, especially when it comes to power.

Trucks and Handling

The Backfire Zealot X is a board designed for fast riding, ideally on a long stretch of smooth road. That’s not to say it can only go in a straight line. No, the Backfire Zealot X features trucks that strike a perfect balance between easy turning and stability.

There’s nothing we can nitpick about these trucks; they enable smooth carving and tight turns and, through some sorcery, remain incredibly stable at high speeds.

Acceleration and ESC

The power of the Backfire Zealot X is truly remarkable. It accelerates more forcefully than any other board at this price point. Compared to another powerful board like the Meepo Voyager X, the Zealot X maintains robust acceleration up to its top speed, while the Meepo Voyager X’s acceleration tapers off after an initial burst. Importantly, the thrill of rapid acceleration doesn’t come at the expense of smooth control, as the Hobbywing ESC remains incredibly smooth and intuitive, even in the fastest turbo mode.

We’re all about unbiased comparisons, so here’s our review of Meepo Voyager X.

Deck and Comfort

The 39-inch composite deck, made of ABS, glass fiber, and maple, is quite stiff, which contributes to stability at high speeds but makes for less enjoyable relaxed carving. We also aren’t fans of the deck’s flatness; the deck has a slight concave at the edges, not where you would place your feet.

This means that it’s difficult to gauge where our feet are without looking, often requiring us to glance down or readjust our footing during the ride. A more pronounced concave would definitely be an improvement here.

Vibration Dampening and Wheel Upgrades

The second notable weakness of the Zealot X is its limited ability to dampen vibrations from rough roads. While the belt drive and four sizable 96mm wheels do provide some vibration dampening, the deck plays a crucial role in this aspect. Unfortunately, the stiff deck of the Zealot X doesn’t do much to counteract road vibrations.

Naturally, switching to larger wheels can help alleviate this issue.

Upgrading to 120mm MO wheels will improve the ride quality and also increase the top speed. Additionally, the larger wheels will also increase ground clearance, which the Zealot X could benefit from as the motor mounts are hanging really close to the ground.

Backfire Zealot X riding shot
Look at the motor mount, so close to the ground.

Final Verdict: A Top Choice for High-speed Enthusiasts

Despite our reservations about the flat deck and our general preference for more flexible decks, the Backfire Zealot X remains one of the top choices for boards slightly above $1000, and the clear top pick for those who love the thrill of high-speed riding. It also sets a new standard for aesthetics, from the stunning Halo Remote to the head-turning lighting along the board’s edge.

Backfire Zealot X Halo REmote

However, maintaining the pristine white color of the enclosure may prove to be a challenge.

All in all, the Backfire Zealot X will likely be the benchmark against which all premium electric longboards will be compared for at least the next few years.

If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive 5% off during checkout.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and help us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!

Backfire Era 2 Review – Most portable

Backfire, one of the most reputable electric skateboard brands, had been struggling to stand out in the entry-level eskate market for a few years now. The Backfire G2 Black, though competent, was overshadowed by the likes of Wowgo 2s Max and Meepo V4s in both ride experience and performance.

So, at the end of 2022, Backfire tried again and released the Backfire Era 2—a $399 entry-level eskate that plays a different game. Instead of trying to compete in power and range, Era 2 was designed to focus on portability, making it a better fit for the urban commute or as a last-mile option.

Backfire Era 2 Build and Specs

  • Deck: Premium Canadian Maple and Fiberglass
  • Electronic Speed Controller: 10s Hobbywing ESC
  • Battery: 42V 180Wh Li-Polymer Battery
  • Marketed Range: 9 miles / 15 km
  • Motors: Dual 400W In-Hub Motors
  • Marketed Top Speed: 23 mph / 38 km/h
  • Trucks: 50° 8-inch Backfire Proprietary Trucks
  • Wheels: 90 mm Urethane Wheels
Backfire Era 2

As usual, let’s start with the build and specs. The highlight of the board is undoubtedly the slim and thin build. The deck looks high quality with a stealthy design. It really looks good and going without an electronic enclosure at the bottom of the deck allows maximum ground clearance. 

However, this design also comes with a tradeoff which is a very stiff deck. In fact, the 38” maple and fiberglass deck has zero flex in it which impacts the ride experience. Let’s talk about that later!

Lighter Than a Shortboard

On another note, the Backfire Era 2 deck does have a mild concave which secures your feet in place. We also noticed that instead of the usual 9.5-inch width, Backfire slimmed down the deck to make it 8.85 inches wide, further reducing its footprint.

Thanks partly to that, the board is very lightweight at 16 lbs or 7.25kg. This is even lighter compared to some shortboards like the Tynee Mini 2.

Interested to learn more about Tynee Mini 2? Check out our review here.

Inside the deck is a 5.0ah, 180 wh LiPo battery pack that’s hidden underneath the grip tape. This provides the board with a moderate range claim of 9 miles or 15km. During our test, our 150 lbs rider managed to get 7 miles or 12 km when riding fast. This is nowhere impressive and is considered low range on today’s standard but hey, let’s not forget that this is a $399 board with a sleek design.

Better With 10s Hobbywing ESC

As for the ESC, Backfire Era 2 uses a 10s Hobbywing ESC with a smart turn-on feature which we really appreciate. Perhaps, Backfire decided to go for 10s ESC and battery to save some cost since the motor they went with wasn’t going to be able to capitalize on the 12s system anyways. The remote offers only 2-speed modes which are ECO and SPEED. It also comes with one turbo mode.

Backfire Era 2

Speaking of motors, Backfire ERA 2 uses dual 400w hub motors which are good enough for daily rides but don’t scream power. Even the ‘turbo mode’, is honestly just a fancy name for 4th and highest-speed mode. Overall, the power is just modest. 

Want to explore other eskates under $500? We got you! Check out our list here.

During our top speed test, we managed to hit exactly what Backfire advertised, which is 23 mph and 38 km/h. As we all know, that’s about the standard top speed for entry-level eskates.

The board also comes with standard 90MM Urethane wheels which aren’t particularly interesting. Although, they’re still a decent pair of wheels made of good quality and high rebound Urethane. 

Last but not the least, Backfire ERA 2 went with the brand’s proprietary 50-degree trucks which are 8 inches in length. 

Backfire Era 2

So, that pretty much wraps up the specs of the board. 

As you can see, the Backfire ERA 2 did not try to outperform any board in specs. Does this also mean the board rides poorly? Let’s get on the road and put Era 2 to the test!

Backfire Era 2 Riding Experience

As is the case with all Backfire boards, the acceleration of the Backfire ERA 2 is very smooth. Going with 10s instead of 12s Hobbywing ESC also goes to show that power is not a priority here. The acceleration and braking are equally gentle and smooth.

For context, most really strong hub boards use 500w motors. So, while wattage alone doesn’t tell a full story, the ERA 2 felt a little bit underwhelming in terms of power when compared to other boards that we tested like Meepo V4s and Wowgo 2s Max.

Great for Beginners and Urban Commuters

With that said, I can imagine beginners and casual riders preferring Backfire Era 2 exactly for its tameness and reduced risk of hurting themselves on a board that’s too strong for them.

Backfire Era 2

The next important thing to consider is the ride feel, which brings us back to the deck. The concave is nice and it secures our feet in place. But as expected, the stiff deck suffers when we ride through rough road conditions. Since the deck is thinner in width than normal eskates, we felt very strong vibrations when cruising through poorly paved roads. 

Cloudwheel Donuts for Extra Cushion

As we have guessed, this is the kind of board made for a sidewalk. So, if you have to ride on a poorly paved road, we highly recommend upgrading the wheels to 105MM Cloudwheel Donuts. It’s the only way the ride can be bearable. 

To check if Cloudwheel Donuts are more your style, read our review here.

On smooth roads, however, Backfire ERA 2 not only rides smoothly but is also pretty fun to carve. Personally, if you’re not upgrading to Cloudwheels, we won’t recommend riding the board any more than 5 miles (8km) as your feet will probably be burning by that time.

Backfire Era 2

The trucks are stable enough to support 23 mph of top speed and are pretty responsive when it comes to doing turns. Obviously, swapping to branded trucks like the Paris or Caliber II will make the board both more responsive and fun to carve. At $399, we really have no complaints about the board’s trucks.

Backfire Era 2 VERDICT – The Best for Urban Commute

To summarize, the Backfire Era 2 gave a decent riding experience on top of the sleek and polished look. Compared to other entry-level electric skateboards, the Era 2 is certainly not better in performance or even in ride feel. 

It does have the advantage of being easier to carry around. Backfire will even give you a free carrying bag to emphasize portability. And, it’s prettier, at least in our eyes.

Backfire Era 2

It’s not often that we see Backfire sacrifice specs for looks but the tradeoff makes perfect sense to us. If you are looking for a last-mile commute to and from bus or train stations, portability and looks trump power and top speed. 

Power and top speed are useless anyway when riding on city sidewalks or inside the campus. Why let yourself be burdened by the extra weight of a bigger battery when you don’t need the range, right?

In short, if you are looking for a simple, portable, nice-looking board from a reputable brand at a very good price, Backfire Era 2 is a very very good deal. Just don’t expect to win any drag race or keep up in group rides.

If you are interested in buying the Backfire, be sure to check out our affiliate discount link here and use code: “ESKATEHQ” to receive 5% off during checkout.
It will help you get a small monetary discount and help us out too. On top of that, you’ll be tagged as an Electric Skateboard HQ customer and probably be treated better. Cheers!