When you look at the MaxFind Max 2, you may be struck by its appearance. This board looks more like a piece of stolen alien technology or a prototype government aircraft than it looks like a skateboard. The all-black diamond-cut fiberglass deck is sleek, sexy and utterly smooth to the touch, and the grip tape is…not there.
Instead of traditional grip tape, MaxFind has elected to have their board’s riding surface comprised of a synthetic PVC material.
After riding it for a couple of weeks, I am confident in its ability to hold you to the board for light cruising. I would not take this board into a downhill race or attempt to do any slides with just this material for grip, but for fair-weather commuting, it should do the job while avoiding scuffing your favorite pair of sneaks.
While we are looking at the exterior of this board, get a look at THESE:
To keep up with the prototype aircraft aesthetic, it appears that MaxFind have elected to bolt two jet turbines to the back of their latest board. I have to admit that even I was a little intimidated by these formidable hub motors. It is worth noting that this particular model runs 90mm wheels, and it seems that a good 80mm of them is taken up by these enormous cheese-grater vents.
This all makes sense when you take size of the dual 1000w motors into effect. Motors like this need to be kept cool, and in order to keep cool they need to breathe, and breathe, they do! I was able to find a (long) bike path and run this board at full speed for nearly 2 minutes at 21mph without experiencing a reduction in speed. (MaxFind advertises this board’s max speed as 23mph, but I found the top speed to be a bit lower with my 190-pound frame on it.)
The big vents in the wheels should not be a problem for water intrusion however, as the board is IP65 waterproof. I was concerned about water getting into the hub motors when I first got the board, but was assured that the motors are fully encased inside the wheels. This seems to be the case, as I have not had an issue with moisture yet, despite riding this board on several wet days and this awesome bit of footy released by the manufacturer:
(Note: I do not condone trying to empty your home pool with this board.)
While looking at the beefy motors, your eye might also be drawn to the equally beefy trucks. I have to admit that these cast trucks look GOOD. The stealth black, sharp angles and geometry reminiscent of Caliber make for a seriously impressive truck, and I haven’t managed to snap or even really dent mine yet, so it looks like they can really take some abuse!
MaxFind could really benefit from some in-house skater expertise though. When my review unit arrived in the mail, the trucks were tight and unresponsive. After a quick switch up of the stock bushings (dead and reboundless), I had the MaxFind turning a bit better. I hesitate to make this setup more carvy, as the 90mm wheels are definitely a risk for wheelbite, one of my biggest skateboarding demons. Luckily, the unique shape of the MaxFind deck gives you some wheel-wells to help avoid this particular problem.
This is probably a good spot to talk about the ride. Right off the bat, I noticed that this board feels like it is geared HIGH. For those of you that do not drive manual cars, this means that the board has less torque at lower speeds, and achieves a higher top speed. I vastly prefer this type of ride to boards that have jerky low-speed acceleration *cough* WinBoard *cough* as it allows for a much smoother takeoff, and a higher cruising speed.
Once you fix the trucks, this board carves well, and rides really smooth on the huge 90mm wheels. I found myself really enjoying light carving, even at higher speeds, though the lack of concave on the deck was a little unsettling. I chalk this more to my downhill background than anything, I know that people have been beach cruising on pin-tails for a long time and carving without concave since before I was born.
Speaking of board feeling, this board feels LIGHT! At 13.6 pounds, this bad boy comes in even lighter than its Meepo and Boosted counterparts. I loved having this board as my commuting buddy for a couple weeks, as it was exceedingly easy to jump on a bus, train, or up a flight of stairs without too much hassle. I will often not bring an eskate or EUC into the city when I am meeting up with Muggle (non-riding) friends, as I know that I will be schlepping whatever I rode around with me all day. This was not the case with the MaxFind, as it was easy enough to pop under my arm and walk around with.
NOTE: Before closing out this interview, I am compelled to note that the reports of support for MaxFind’s customers have been…sketchy to say the least. We have had multiple reports to EskateHQ of customers who have reached out to MaxFind about issues with their boards, only to be met radio silence. I did not have an issue with my board over the 3 weeks that I tested it, but the lack of support is something that should be taken into effect when making a purchase decision.
After spending years in the OEM/ODM sphere, Winboard finally decides to join the action by launching their own line of products. This is no doubt going to be huge for us Eskate consumers as Winboard has been one of the biggest players in Eskate manufacturing with a long resume of working with brands such as LouBoard, and HaloBoard. It is also the manufacturer of the beautiful carbon fiber deck for the Predator Banshee – the same deck featured on the Lynx series.
Let me start out by saying that I expect the Panther to be the benchmark for future mid-tier electric skateboards. And it’s not just because of the stunning graphics on the grip tape.
Introduction to WinBoard
Founded in 2015, Winboard has always been one of the top Eskate manufacturers specializing in carbon fiber materials and hub motors.
They have a variety of products available for purchase but their focus was never to sell directly to the consumer. For that reason, I have been very critical of buying their products as an individual buyer, due to the fact that you probably wouldn’t get any post-sale support.
And that’s why things got really interesting when Winboard set-up their retail branch, and it seems that they are really serious about it.
They set up a fully functional website for retail.
They are launching two very competitive products simultaneously- the Lynx and the Panther, on August 18th 2018 – with a grand opening lucky draw to have a random 5% buyers get their boards for free. (and extend the original 6 months warranty to 1 years for free for all.)
They opened 4 branches worldwide to support sales and customer services – in theUS, Australia, Czech Republic, and Spain. Repairs and service will be handled by the local distributor (in the US, it will be at Las Vegas)
A big manufacturer, going into retail themselves with a head full of steam, I wouldn’t want to compete against that.
Winboard Panther Review
Is what everyone says when first shown this board.
A lot of effort was put into designing a new grip tape graphic for the Lynx and the Panther, and I am sure you will agree with me that it was money well spent.
Call me superficial but the gorgeous graphic really did make me like the board better. I felt proud to be seen riding this around on this gorgeous board, but looks aside, does it have any substance to it?
Winboard Panther Specs
The Winboard Panther is a very well rounded board.
Top Speed: 25mph (40kmh)
Range: 20mil (32km)
Weight: 17.5lbs (8kg)
Charge Time: 3 Hours
Features: IP 65 Waterproof, swappable PU Sleeves, Regenerative Braking.
Price: 749 USD.
Looking past the beautiful grip tape, the board doesn’t have a particularly innovative design. Unlike the Lynx, which rocked a carbon fiber deck to house everything, the Panther has a typical setup – a maple deck with an enclosure underneath spanning the length of the board.
All in all, the board is very presentable- from the sturdy built to the small graphics on the wheels, it is not hard to see that the board came from an experienced manufacturer.
The Panther features a maple deck with a nice concave.
It’s not too aggressive. Just nice enough for me to feel where my feet are and make controlling the board more comfortable.
It is, of course, a stiff deck by design as the board is using a single board-length enclosure underneath.
As usual, stiff decks help with stability at high speed while sacrificing the comfort of a flexy deck. Considering that the Panther can go pretty fast, I think using a stiffer deck is a wise choice.
The 90MM 76a wheels are big and soft. 90mm (and above) is the size that I like my wheels to be as I don’t have the smoothest roads where I live, and softer wheels help with rougher roads significantly.
The PU sleeves on the hub motor are swappable, an important feature that most modern hub-drives have.
They look and felt sturdy. Closer inspection shows nothing wrong with them. (No lopsided screw holes or anything like we found on our Lynx review unit)
Summary of Build Quality
The Panther looks and felt really solid. Nothing I can complain about really. I couldn’t comment on the packaging as I was told that part wasn’t finalized yet.
By the looks of it, it is well worth it’s $749 price tag.
Acceleration and Deceleration
There are 4 ride modes:
L mode with a top speed of 10mph/16kmh
M mode with a top speed of 20mph/ 32kmh
H mode with a top speed of 25mph/ 40kmh
H+ mode with a top speed of 25mph/ 40kmh, but with crazy acceleration.
Let’s start by talking about the acceleration and deceleration. I have to say, it’s very well configured.
I heard that Winboard had programmed the board to smooth out speed changes in an effort to eliminate jolts, and that effort is noticeable.
When pushing the throttle hard, the board will flow easily into the acceleration, even in H+ mode.
When letting go of the throttle, either by choice or by accident, the board doesn’t experience a sudden loss of speed. The board will ease out that deceleration smoothly. Even trying to kill myself by going from full-throttle top speed to full braking, the board tries to ease me into it. (But I have to admit, I didn’t commit to testing the full-throttle top speed to full throttle braking that strictly, I still pull the throttle back a bit before committing to full braking, because a previous test on another board sent me flying and I’m too chicken to do that test properly now.)
I think this configuration helps a lot in making newer riders feel safe, knowing that accidental input is not going to throw them off. Some may like a more raw and untamed board, but that’s clearly not what Winboard is trying to be.
So, back to the 4 riding modes:
The L-mode is very gentle on both starting and braking – it passed what I call a newbie test, where I give the board to someone who has never ridden an Eskate before and see if they complain about anything.
I did it twice and both times, both newbies felt comfortable on the Panther within 5 min – not zooming around per-se but at least moving tentatively and starting to learn to turn.
Once the training wheels can be taken off, the M-mode is where the majority will spend time for relaxing rides and cruises. The acceleration and braking are still gentle, but less boring speed-wise.
H mode is where the veterans of Eskate will reside. Strong braking, quick acceleration.
And that H+ mode? I think it was made for the top 5% of veteran eskaters. Waayyyy too fast for me. Good for drag races, but I don’t see myself using that, ever.
Vibration & Stability
Vibrations are tolerable on the Panther, even with the stiffer deck. I am not entirely sure what to point to but vibration on the road felt muffled on the Panther, perhaps due to the soft riser or perhaps it’s the softer, large wheels?
At 17.5lbs(8kg) Panther is not light but that heaviness makes riding it feel stable. The sturdiness makes the Panther a very comfortable ride at high speed.
One of the best remotes I’ve ever used.
It’s ergonomic and fits nicely in the hand.
The dial is springy and with a good amount of resistance for better control and has a reasonable amount of travel.
The remote also has a screen that shows all the important information – Battery life of remote and board, current speed, ride modes and even an odometer!
There is also a cruise control mode available, press down the middle button and the board will maintain the same speed until you tell it otherwise.
Of course, no disconnection during testing. It’s a great remote.
Summary of Riding Experience
Oh I l love it, but it wasn’t perfect.
I set up my trucks to be on the tight side, to make it as stable as I could for speed, but even with it loose, I don’t see how the board could be as carvy and maneuverable as other eskates on the market. Perhaps changing the trucks and bushing might help with that, but at the stock setting, the board doesn’t allow very tight carving.
Cruising on an open road at higher speeds is where the Panther truly shined. Big carves on an open road, feeling stable on turns, reliable and comfortable control really helped to get the most enjoyability out of a nice cruise.
That stability and smooth control will also allow more conservative riders to expand their speed limit, and we all know eskating is more fun when it’s fast.
Panthers are amazing things. The more I learn about them, the more they amaze me.
Panthers can run up to 50mph, and travel up to 20miles per day. they can also leap up to 40 feet up! Crazy!
Ops! wrong Panther.
The Winboard Panther, the skateboard, er..hem, are very capable as well. About as good as a real panther in range per charge, with a very good top speed; leaping ability though wasn’t specified by Winboard so I’m not too sure about that.
The Winboard Panther is shipping with either a
9AH, Samsung 30Q 10S3P battery (324wh) or
10.5AH Samsung 35E 10S3P battery (378wh).
Same price and you get to choose. Please refer to your nearest DIY guy/gurl or my short battery guide if you can’t make sense of the differences.
Both batteries should perform the similarly with this set-up but I personally prefer Samsung 30Q because it was what I received 😛 — and because it has better continuous current output.
The advertised range for the Panther is 20miles(32km). Which is by no means an inflated estimate and you can tell by the size of the battery.
My personal range test, running on a flat surface on mostly M-mode lasted me a bit more than the advertised 20miles (32km) before the battery went dead.
Of course, if you go full throttle top speed all of the time, you will get much less than 20miles(32km) range.
Voltage sag: Top speed began to drop to 40 km/h by the half bar, and at 36 km/h by 25%. It is still capable of going at a ride-able speed until the very end which is good! (my weight 165lbs/ 75kg)
Winboard told me they made the decision to market it as 25mph (40kmh) as they would rather under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. This gets a brownie point from me!
I am not really worried about the torque that this board provides at all, and I can’t really find any hill that it can’t climb over.
My Standard stop and go test is on a 10% incline. No problem for the Panther. In fact, it’s not even breaking a sweat.
Retested on a 15% climb, and it still didn’t break a sweat doing a stop and go.
Notably, though, the board couldn’t brake to a stop while braking downhill. It can slow to almost a crawl, just not to a complete stop. Only a few boards we have tested have been able to achieve this feat.
The best prediction of the future is the past, and Winboard, at least the retail branch, has no past history to base any prediction on.
However, things have been done to make Winboard a safe recommendation, even on day 1.
For instance, they have installed local distributors around the world to handle customer service and repairs.
On top of that, they didn’t get any random Joe to man their businesses. They manage to get Michael Espinosa from the Esk8squad to be their brand ambassador in the US and to help with servicing, and that alone would be enough to assure me on the post-sale support.
The Panther isn’t packed with features per se. It’s a relatively simple board.
It has swappable urethane on the hub motors, which is nice.
IP 65 waterproof rating that I am not going to risk testing. The board looks quite sealed against water getting in, but water is never good for an eskate. Think of the motors, think of the deck.
The Eskate community has seen more unicorns than Shrek in fairy tale so it is often unwise to get too hype on a pre-launch product.
I am aware that “Winboard the manufacturer” has had some ‘disharmony’ with its business partners. With that said, this new “Winboard retail” has done enough to gain my trust and alleviate much of my concern:
They chose to skip the crowdfunding route which historically has been problematic for eskate projects.
They skipped the pre-order wait and released a products that are available right away and should be arriving at doorsteps within a month.
They planned out the way they would handle post-sale service, and they got a reputable eskater to be their ambassador.
They are being honest with specs, not trying to exploit those who are not in-the-know.
And from my dealings with the co-founder, she has a very anxious profile and cares a great deal about serving customers.
And, at the end of the day, the Winboard Panther is a great board. It looks elegant, it rides nicely and it’s powerful.
I have no doubt that this will be the benchmark of mid-priced electric skateboards in the future.
So, Winboard is trying to gain a reputation and consumer goodwill by selling their new products, the Lynx and the Panther, at below market price – leveraging the advantage they have as a big manufacturer.
They will launch on August 18th, 2018, and there will be a launch day promotion happening:
One in 20 random customers will get their boards for free.
Everyone get their warranty extended from 6 months to 1 year.
*Promotion only valid for customers who order on that day.
And of course, to top that up, use “EskateHQ” code during checkout to get an grip tape eraser, extra grip tape and Bones reds bearing. (We know what our readers want. You’re welcome.)
Last Tuesday (18th April 2018) Boosted sent a shockwave through the eskate world by announcing not one, not two, but 4 new products.
Boosted Stealth – $1599
Boosted Plus – $1399
Boosted Mini X – $999
Boosted Mini S – $749
A keen eye can tell that the Boosted Plus looks exactly like the old Boosted board and the Boosted Stealth is nothing more than a grayscale version of it, but there are definitely some changes from the old 2nd Gen Boosted to the Boosted Plus and the Boosted Board is still selling the old 2nd Gen Boosted Dual+ XR at $1399.
As a dedicated follower of the eskate scene, there is only a small chance that you have not read hundreds of articles on the new Boosted boards, so I will just briefly go through the changes Boosted made and then will talk about how the new Boosted lineup relates to other existing boards on the market.
As the Boosted Plus is going to be the new default Boosted Board, we will begin there.
Introducing the new Boosted Plus.
As you can see from the stat chart that they are exactly the same board, for the most part.
There are a few changes on the material used: a) Deck: Flexible Bamboo -> Super Flex Composite Deck b) Wheels: Orangatang 85mm -> Boosted Stratus 85mm c) Trucks: Composite Steel -> 190mm CNC Precision Machined
Are these changes upgrades or a move to streamline production to cut down cost? or perhaps a little of both? We can’t know how these changes impact riding experience at this point and we will be waiting for early adopter’s feedback to know for sure.
But in short, Boosted Plus is basically the old Gen 2 Boosted Board Dual+ with the extended battery.
Snap a photo of the Boosted Plus with a black and white filter and you get the Boosted Stealth.
Jokes aside, the Boosted Stealth gives you an extra 2mph (3kmh) higher top speed than the Boosted Plus. It also comes with 5 riding modes as compared to Plus’s 4 riding modes, and that’s about it.
The significance of the Boosted Plus and the Boosted Stealth
The Boosted Plus and Boosted Stealth are just refreshes of the old Boosted Boards.
Those who are going to buy Boosted Boards will still have the latest version of Boosted Board to buy and for those who have never considered Boosted Boards as an option, will still be able to buy the same overpriced fancy board with weak specs.
Basically, these 2 boards have not changed the buying decision for consumers however, the next 2 might…
Boosted Mini S
The Boosted Mini S is almost the same exact classic Boosted Board but in a smaller package. “Almost” because it uses a 1000W motor instead of the 2000W motor on the regular Boosted, and has a smaller air-travel friendly 99wh battery with a measly 7miles (11.3km) range.
From tester'[s early impression, the dual belt motor Boosted Mini has enough torque to meet most needs, but the main drawback is the Boosted Mini is as heavy as some its larger cousins at 15lbs(6.8kg)! Some airlines almost wouldn’t allow it as a standard carry-on just for that weight!
Frankly speaking, the Mini S is so bad on paper that it wouldn’t be competitive in the current market if it didn’t promise the refinement and brand name that comes with a Boosted product.
Boosted Mini X
The Boosted Mini X is the grayscale version of the Mini S. With $250 extra, you get a tiny bit higher top-speed and 2 times the range. It is also heavier at 16.8lbs (7.6kg) and like I said, some airlined won’t let you carry on anything with that weight – even if you manage to get the non-airline compatible 199wh battery on-board.
The significance of the Boosted Mini S & X
All of the sudden, we have two sub $1000 Boosted Boards that challenge the mid-range market.
Before this, those who are on a budget would have look elsewhere for a board. Now with the industry king Boosted offering its cheapest Mini S at $749, many will consider getting a Boosted Mini S instead.
I did a comparison of the Boosted Mini with some of the brands that I think worth considering, and to the relief of Boosted competitors, it wasn’t a clear-cut Boosted domination.
In fact, when compared, the recurring theme is that the Boosted Mini S is too weak in range and too heavy in weight to compare to boards of the same range, and at $999, the Boosted Mini X is up against boards that outperform it while also being on-par in quality and customer service.
For example, the Meepo 30″ at $399 is nearly half of the price of the Mini S yet outperforms it in range and top-speed. Of course, it definitely is not in the same league in terms of refinement and looks. To put it simply, they serve different needs. On the other hand, Riptide might be in real trouble as it’s lineup doesn’t differentiate themselves enough from the Mini S besides being a tad bit lighter.
The $999 price bracket is a crowded space and the Boosted Mini X will go head to head with the likes of Arc Aileron, Predator Banshee, Pulse Echo, Evolve One, and 29″ Metroboard Micro slim.
This time, to my surprise, Boosted Mini X doesn’t slack too much in specs, but the brand name itself doesn’t lend Boosted that much favor, as all of these boards are either made by well-loved brands, eg: Metroboard, Evolve and Arc or popular start-ups such as Predator and Pulse.
At the end of the day, the crowded mid-tier market definitely welcomes Boosted Mini X as one of the many good choices for an electric shortboard.
At the end of the day, the new line-up put forward by the Apple(r) of the electric skateboarding world is less impactful than the initial hubbub would have you believe.
3 out of 4 of the new lineup- the Boosted Plus, Stealth and Mini S continue to be products that charge above-average for their specs due to the refinement, brand name, and customer service the Boosted brand is famous for.
The Boosted Mini X however, landed right in the crowded mid-tier market and is actually competitive enough in specs that it should be considered by those who are otherwise jaded by the magic of the Boosted brand.
That’s something refreshing from the Boosted, isn’t it?
Long story short, I’ve been approached by Backfire to do a hands-on review on their new Backfire Galaxy, and this is it.
On the rare chance that you aren’t familiar with who Backfire or what Backfire Galaxy is, let me catch you up to speed.
Backfire – Background
Backfire is one of the most well-known Chinese electric skateboard brand. It is a brand by Shanghai So-Fun or Helloskate.
Backfire release their first Backfire Board at around 2013.
With good specs on a good price tag, Backfire Board was very popular both inside and outside China market. In fact, it has been cloned into multiple brands such as Falcon, Luuov, Melon and Lectric.
Considering the China Market and how many of its clones have been sold from Amazon and Aliexpress, Backfire might actually be the most sold electric skateboard on earth.
Backfire Galaxy or Backfire Gen 2
So at the end of June 2017, Backfire went to Kickstarter with its new Backfire Generation 2 or Backfire Galaxy.
It was a controversial move as many suspects that Backfire G2 was already available and ready to be purchased by that time, and the Kickstarter campaign was just a marketing ploy.
The Kickstarter campaign ends up being unsuccessful and the backers were converted into pre-orders. But it nevertheless got people’s attention.
So, is the $500 electric skateboard with an eccentric grip tape worth buying?
Backfire Galaxy Review
China Boards always comes with amazing specs with an amazing price.
Backfire Galaxy is no exception:
Top Speed: 25mph (40kmh)
Range: 18.5mil (30km)
Weight: 13.6lbs (6.2kg)
Charge Time: 3hrs
Features: 2 hub motors, waterproof, Regenerative braking, handles up to 25% slope.
Price: Around 500 USD
There are worries that boards with pretty specs sheet and even prettier price tag translate poorly into riding experience.
This is definitely NOT TRUE in the case of Backfire Galaxy.
The riding experience of Backfire Galaxy truly stands out from other budgets electric skateboard and one of the big reason is the deck.
Backfire Galaxy has a long and flexible 8 ply Canadian Maple deck that makes riding on it a very enjoyable experience.
To quote Preston from Press Reset(Youtube): “This board rides like a longboard. (and the other electric skateboard in this price range doesn’t)”, and riding on my Backfire Galaxy I feel what he meant.
The board felt low, stable and very easy to carve around in. Riding on it is just a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Acceleration and Deceleration
The acceleration and deceleration on Backfire Galaxy are very gentle in slow mode.
You can go 100% full throttle from a standstill and not be thrown off the board.
You can also apply 100% brakes when going around 12mph (20kmh) and almost not be thrown off the board. Backfire Galaxy will try to be gentle in braking even when you are reckless.
Braking on high speed, however, is another story. Somehow, when going at the speed of fast mode (>12mph or 20kmh), the braking becomes very dramatic. I tried applying slightly more brake when going around 20mph or 35kmh and was surprised when the brake bite more than I prepared for.
The braking jolt threw me off the board and gave me some road rashes.
I then never re-attempt that again.
80mm PU wheels on Backfire Galaxy handle bumps and cracks fairly decently. I really wish there were >90mm though.
Obstacles like water pipes that my 90mm wheels boards can roll through safely are not as safe for these 80mm wheels.
and I knew the cobblestone path would be that much less rattling if Backfire Galaxy’s awesome flexible deck is paired with bigger wheels.
Backfire use a 2.4GHz radio control remote controller. There were no disconnection and no delay for me.
It works like it should. Forward, reverse, fast mode slow mode.
The remote felt cheap, but no issue with it.
I love the riding on the Backfire Galaxy.
Backfire Galaxy looks like a good quality product and it rides like a good quality electric skateboard.
The finishing is done well, the trucks look beefy and confidence inspiring, the PU wheels well… looks like PU wheels. I couldn’t tell if the internals is from good quality parts, but from the outside, the quality of the board definitely felt good.
The only thing that is and felt cheap is the rather generic remote. But it works as it should, so all was forgiven.
Backfire Galaxy’s range and top speed amongst all boards. (Click to enlarge)
The range on Backfire Galaxy is CRAZY.
The marketed range is 18.6mi or 30km, surely an inflated stats right? Wrong! 8miles or 14km later I still have 3 out of 4 bars of battery left.
The board definitely can go 18 miles if you stay on slow mode.
The spec that I care least about is the top speed.
The highest speed that I felt comfortable riding on is around 20mph (30kmh) anyways and I reach there on fast mode easily with a lot of holding back.
The Backfire Galaxy can go 21mph (34kmh) according to Eskate community members that own Backfire and actually dare to throttle to the max. (Thanks, ArmanTamzarian)
I for one is content with slow mode and no injury. Thank you very much.
Backfire Galaxy advertised 20% hill climb. That is an 11.31 degrees upward slope.
To put that to test, I went to the multistorey car park of my condominium.
The incline ramp is around 14% or 7.8 degrees.
Riding the Backfire Galaxy over the ramp is of course not a challenge.
So what I did was to do a stop and go in the middle of the climb, and see if Backfire Galaxy can climb the slope from a standstill.
Answer: Yes it can, in slow mode nonetheless.
I think it is safe to say the Backfire Galaxy can handle most of the hill that you dare to climb. Because it actually gets scary beyond 15%
I couldn’t vouch for Backfire’s customer service.
However, it is safe to say that Backfire’s customer service is better than other no-name electric skateboards from China.
In fact, Backfire now have a service center in Hamburger Germany for Europe market and Richmond USA for USA market. Customers from Europe and USA can easily have their issue sorted out without needing to have their board sent to China. This is definitely a good step forward.
On the downside, there are issues that may shake your confidence in the board and the company.
The early batches of Backfire have problems with the battery. (serial number 730-770) Some of the battery can’t absorb the voltage immediately causing it to disconnect, some board couldn’t charge, some have spark on charging. The problem was said to be fixed and regular customers wouldn’t encounter it but I would still prefer an electric skateboard company to test their board super rigorously before attempting to put it on the market, considering it could be dangerous if something went wrong. (And things did go wrong, more on that later.)
Due to the battery issue, the delivery date of the board has been delayed up to 45 days for some of the buyers. The buyers also may or may not need to pay extra-import tax on top of that. Then there is also mixed message coming out from different reps from Backfire. Some rep told the customer that they can pay extra to get the board air-shipped to them right now, at the same time another told the same customer that they couldn’t do that.This result in some of the buyers to cancel their order in rage.
This confusion in communication and tax issue results in some of the buyers to cancel their order in rage.
[I spoke to Randy the CEO from Backfire, they are shipping every order by air now without extra pay. Kickstarter orders have been sent and all order numbers before #240. All orders from their website will be shipped on 15th Oct.]
On a more serious note, there was one experience rider Bahman Afsardir that has been seriously injured when going downhill. It was said that the brake suddenly stopped working. It was still not clear if it was caused by disconnection or battery overcharge.
At the end of the day, pre and post sales service of Backfire is at least present. If you have a problem with Backfire Galaxy after the purchase, Backfire will likely to be there to help you work through it.
You may not feel as if Backfire have your best interest in mind but they do at least try to fulfill their responsibility toward their customers.
Not much bells and whistle for Backfire Galaxy.
The urethane on the wheels can be changed, it is IP55 waterproof and that’s pretty much it. (Don’t ride on wet ground. The wheel is not meant to handle wet surface. I know because my buttock is still hurting.)
The board won’t brakes if you go downhill on a full battery. This is the problem that all electric skateboard with regenerative braking has. Including Backfire Galaxy. It won’t. Be careful. [Update: Backfire informed me that their new board with new battery & BMS has solved this issue. Validation from buyers are still needed to confirm this claim.]
Is Backfire Galaxy worth $500? Sure it does, the riding experience of Backfire Galaxy is so good it is on par with the premium board such as the Boosted board.
I would say Backfire Galaxy is the perfect board for someone that use it for leisure riding.
If you are going for a more dangerous speed, I would advise spending more for something premium such as the Enertion Raptor 2 for a better acceleration and deceleration control in high speed and for the peace of mind.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is always the Meepo Board – the current reigning champion of the budget electric skateboard.
Comparing to Meepo Board, Backfire Galaxy has a better deck (but too bad doesn’t have the handle) that made the riding experience better, and also have the changeable urethane for a motor wheel that Meepo doesn’t offer.
Meepo Board, on the other hand, has bigger wheels, is more modular (you can disassemble it for replacement or upgrade very easily) and is under $400 after tax and shipping (for most people) and has a more personable approach to customer service.
At the end of the day,
Backfire Galaxy offers great riding experience, awesome range with an affordable price tag. You will love the purchase once you are carving on the Backfire Galaxy – provided if you can get your hands on one.
Update 1: Backfire now is now rocking a smaller battery, It is said to have more stable voltage output. The new range is said to be around 9 miles or 14km. Update 2: Backfire is now launching an Indiegogo campaign from now until 30th November. Estimated time of delivery would be January 2018.
One wheel + has Adam Savage from mythbuster on it’s promotional video!
Not exactly a new face, One Wheel + is the new iteration of the One Wheel. Stabler, smoother and faster, this is going to be good.
All freaking terrain. Up hill, down hill, jungle track, raining, over flood, you need One Wheel’s big wheel to go somewhere even Evolve Carbon GT can’t bring you.
A single wheeled electric skateboard is probably never going to deliver the speed and portability that traditional electric skateboard offers, One Wheel + can’t reach half the speed of what traditional electric skateboard at it price can attain. Expensive at $1499, it also look less cool (it’s subjective though), with the look that belongs more to a circus than the street.
However, that freedom of terrain man! It can drop down from curb with no problem! Mind = blown!
The Walnut Spectra is still very stealthy, not much promotion has been done for the board beside it’s appearance in CES 2017.
The information that I gathered on this board:
This is an electric skateboard using weight sensing pedal to accelerate, brakes and turn. (similar to Zboard).
It is small and compact
It has a cool sci-fi look about it
It is perhaps from Hong Kong?
It is currently on alpha testing, finding it’s first 100th tester.
It is probably going to price at around $1000? (It says 40% off for alpha tester, saved more than $1000, simple match suggest that it will cost somewhere upward of $1000) (Are they going to be competitive at that price point?!)
Update (29th May 2017): Walnutt has been busy since I first written this post. They have built their website, and launched their IndieGoGo campaign, and I’ve backed one of their board – read The one reason that I chose Walnutt Spectra.