Acton Blink Qu4tro (production version 02/03/18) – Huh?

This review was originally published on February 5th, 2018 and reflects my honest opinions at the time of publication. No part of this review has been redacted in any way. It has only been corrected for grammar and spelling.

Follow the discussion on Reddit here

If you want the TL;DR, see end of review

Today (02/03/18) was a rare, sunny, California “winter” day. At around noon, I answered my apartment door to welcome a friend, Marvin of Bay Area Eskate, who had graciously agreed to let me ride and test his brand new Acton Blink Qu4tro. I’d previously had experience riding this board. Acton themselves had previously invited me down to their Santa Clara headquarters to test the prototype version of the Qu4tro. I had many thoughts about the prototype board at the time, but I also believed that my concerns were related to the fact that the product was in prototype phase and not at all ready for public consumption. Now that the board is in production, I will be reviewing the board as is, assuming that Acton has put in the required QC and intended for this to be the final product.


Let’s start with the deck. The deck itself hasn’t changed much from the prototype, and I still harbor the same concerns as I did when I tried the prototype. It’s made up of three distinct pieces. The front and rear scaffolding, to which the suspension is attached, and the middle electronics housing, which… houses electronics. The deck is as durable and stiff as it was in the prototype. It is also as heavy and flat as it was in the prototype.

Because the deck is so incredibly heavy, it has more inertia than other boards. This translates into a whole host of problems, chief amongst them excessive inertia. This means that braking is a lot weaker due to forward inertia (though I suspect hub motors and the braking curve are also major contributors in this area) and carving is a lot harder due to difficulties experienced when trying to throw the deck around while fighting forward inertia (carving is also very hard because of the suspension and four wheel drivetrain; I’ll get to that later). The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the deck is also completely flat, with no curve at all. This makes it very hard for your foot to get a good grip on the surface for control. So, in addition to wrangling a heavy deck, you’re also constantly trying not to slide off. All this does not make for a very good deck, which generally is supposed to enable you to enjoy the ride, not inhibit you and be something you have to explicitly wrangle around. Plus this also makes the entire board heavy and is a bitch to carry.

Besides the rather unfortunate deck, the rest of the hardware is less grim. There are white front and red back lights as well as white side lights, all of which are controllable via the app. Though, as of the time of writing, there seems to be some bug that prevents the Android app from controlling the lights properly. It is worth mentioning that these are visibility lights, as they do not get bright enough to illuminate any meaningful distance of the road ahead of you. The trucks (not suspension!) and hub motors seem to be the same ones as the Blink S2. They work, though I do worry about some of the reports of hub motors falling off on the S2 and wonder if they could happen on the Qu4tro. I’ve included pictures of the hardware and innards for those interested below.


I suspect the suspension system will polarize a lot of people. The main problem here is physics.

Here’s the thing. Currently, the way a regular TKP (traditional kingpin) or RKP (reverse kingpin) truck is set up, there’s a pivot cup and a kingpin that forces the truck to only rotate in a sort of semi-circular fashion in one plane around the pivot point. In other words, the truck rotates around the axis determined by the pivot point and the kingpin keeps it in place. However, with Acton’s suspension trucks, in addition to the regular RKP single plane rotation, the suspension is further allowed to deform in infinite directions due to the nature of the design. See my beautifully drawn graphic for an example of what I mean:

Keep in mind that in a traditional suspension, you only want yourself to be suspended along one axis. If you need to be suspended along more than one axis, you add more *distinct* axis along which to be suspended. You almost never want yourself to be suspended in all possible axis, because then you’re really just jiggling around. That’s what’s happened with the suspension on the Qu4tro: You’re really just… jiggling, which prevents you from properly turning or carving with confidence at any reasonable speed. The suspension will deform and neutralize the majority of your turn. It’s honestly not great, and the default hard bushing Acton includes doesn’t make it any better.

Edit: Avenue, the makers of the original suspension trucks, have informed me that they have in no way licensed their suspension trucks for Acton, nor are they working with Acton on suspension trucks. Here is their statement:

[Statement Removed Due To Ongoing Legal Dispute]

I’d originally written a how-to and review on Avenue TKP suspension trucks modded onto my Carbon GT and quite enjoyed it, so please do not let this review scare you away from suspension trucks!


The biggest thing here is the lag on the remote. It’s just inconsistent enough during low end acceleration to get annoying. Sometimes, I would try to accelerate to a slow speed but end up just sitting there for a bit before the motors kicked in. I have no idea what the issue here is.

As far as I can tell, the outer shell design of the remote is left over from Acton’s original remote-as-carrying-handle idea. They’ve simply taken off the bits that make the idea work. This is unfortunate due to several reasons:

  1. The original tradeoff of the ungainly remote design would have been fine had the remote been able to act as a carrying handle. This is no longer the case. Since you can no longer clip the remote to the board, you would obviously try to put it in your pocket. The remote does not fit in your pocket.
  2. The design itself is not very ergonomic. The angled bits make the remote very weird to hold for people with larger hands. My hands are considered small and even I felt that holding it was a bit… strange.
  3. There’s no deadman switch. Even Evolve has seen the value of a remote with a deadman switch. This would have maybe been ok if the throttle was in a less easily triggered place, but nope, it’s very exposed.

There are other design considerations that have been overlooked. The board’s charge information is not glanceable from the remote. You either have to stare at the single blinking LED on the remote to sort of gauge your battery (similar to the battery flashes on the Yuneec E-GO) or fire up the Acton app and wait for it to connect to your board to get a more detailed reading. This is in contrast to every other high end board remote that shows either individual LEDs or a percentage readout on a display. I did not find a place to attach the strap either. These sort of things just feel like UX that could have been easily improved upon but were not.

It is worth mentioning though that even while riding through areas with heavy radio activity, the remote did not lose connection once. It also instantly connected with the board when turning both on, similar to the S and S2. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast I was able to turn both on and get going. It’s just unfortunate that the design is lacking.

Technical Testing

Testride Route: 

Rider specs: 125lb, 5’6″

As part of my reviews, I perform a series of measured, purely technical tests on review units. These tests are meant to push the units to the extreme that their electronics can handle and reveal any problems that may have not been revealed by simple riding tests. Technical tests are done under the most favorable conditions possible.


Acceleration on this thing on flat ground is no joke. On all modes, the Qu4tro accelerated to top speed beautifully and as expected. The curve is smooth and ramps up linearly on all modes. There’s almost no worry of being thrown off the back if you’re prepared. Acton nailed this regard. I will say that it’s not the fastest acceleration out there by hard numbers, but the Qu4tro manages to *feel* fast while accelerating due to even power delivery from the four wheel drivetrain, and that’s really no easy feat.

Acceleration on hills is another matter. On every single significant (+15%) hill I went up, I had power delivery issues even though the app said the board was at close to full battery. Every other small bump or turn I experienced going up hill meant loss of acceleration power. Every loss of power meant ramping back up from 0 again. This only got worse as the battery drained through the course of the day. At around 50%, the board basically refused to go up hills. After charging the board from 50% to 60%, I gave it back to Marvin. After riding for a short time on some relatively calm roads, he completely ran out of power. This should not have happened on the types of road we were on and in such a short time after charging. After we wrapped up our ride, he encouraged me to write about this issue as he was pretty disappointed.

Top Speed

My speedometer said 23MPH at 100% charge and 21MPH at around 70% charge. This is pretty normal behavior and technically satisfies Acton’s top speed claims.


Good news! Braking at 100% no longer seems to shut down the board! This is a great improvement from the prototype. Braking is also very smooth! This means you will not get thrown off, unlike a certain other “evolved” board we all know…

However, braking in all instances still leaves much to be desired, unfortunately. The curve goes something like this when you apply full brakes:

This is maybe not so problematic at slower speeds. It will ease you to a sort-of-stop in a decent amount of time. Where it does get problematic, however, is at higher speeds going downhill, when you need brakes the most. It takes way too long to get to 100% braking power. I even almost ran into the back of a stopped car once because the brakes took way too long ramping up. That sucks.

Stress Handling

I do acceleration and braking stress testing in a series of eight consecutive acceleration and braking sequences on flat ground. In a system where a lot of power is transferred to and from various parts of the system, this is an important test. Unlike the prototype, Pro mode here revealed no problems. It seems Acton has fixed the braking shutdown issue. Hard acceleration and braking seems to maintain consistency, and I did not get any cutouts.

Turning Radius

Due to the suspension, turning radius was mostly unsatisfactory. I’d borrowed a Boosted Board Dual+ from Last Mile SF to test the turning radius on a standard single kingpin truck, and the radius was better than the Qu4tro’s with both kinds of trucks tuned to the loosest they would go. The suspension on the Qu4tro would also try to bounce you back to neutral with every bump in the turn. This is definitely not desired behavior.

Drag Race

Carbon GT (5.2s) edged out the Qu4tro (5.6s) in the end. We had a couple boosted boards in the race at the beginning but there was no point having them in the end. We would have had a Raptor 2 as well except its FOCbox broke so it’s now in the shop… for the third time. We tried to equalize the external variables as much as possible.

Thanks Joseph from Bay Area Eskate for operating the DJI Spark! Sorry you couldn’t catch up to us in the end with the drone…


Ride & User Experience

In addition to my comments on the suspension system, I have some comments about the four wheel drive system. During any sort of harder turn or carve, if all four wheels rotate at the same speed even though their radius throughout the turn is different, the wheels will slip and you will start to slide. This is by nature of the four wheel drive system, but coupled with really slidey wheels, is a huge issue on the Qu4tro. It means you can’t really safely turn or carve at speed. To mitigate this, most modern four wheel drive systems, such as those in cars, have a differential system in place to handle the rotation speed differences necessary to reduce slip. I believe the Qu4tro especially really needs something like an active differential, though I can’t imagine the complexities that go into implementing something like that. It would really solve the slipping issue.

Putting aside wheel slipping, riding in a straight line is a blast. The zero to max power takeoff of the four wheel drive system is really something to experience. The only boards I’ve felt that really parallel the smoothness on takeoff of the Qu4tro is the dual hub drive Raptor 2 and a couple DIYs by /u/Spooky_Ghost.


What Acton has built here, then, is something that could have been much more, but is unfortunately marred by its own nature. I have very mixed feelings about this board, and I’m not the only one. Even the owner of this board told me he had mixed feelings. My personal opinion is that if you live somewhere with smooth, straight roads and lots of hills, this is probably an excellent board. On the other hand, this board seems to struggle climbing up hills at battery levels under 70%, which is supposed to be its claim to fame. The jiggly, ineffective suspension and heavy deck doesn’t help its case either.

My, what a dilemma.


Wanna be fast and torquey in a straight line in a hilly area and don’t mind the weight? This is your board.
Wanna carve effortlessly or live someplace with heavy traffic? Look elsewhere.

Special Thanks and Notes

This review would not have been possible without the kindness and help shown to me by the following people:
Marvin, Joseph, Tone, and everybody from Bay Area Eskate group (woo BAEskate!)
Last Mile SF

I try to write fair, unbiased reviews for fun, not profit. All equipment used is either borrowed or purchased. Hope you enjoyed reading!

Riptide R1 Prototype Preview (09/21/2017)

This review was originally published on February 5th, 2018 and reflects my honest opinions at the time of publication. No part of this review has been redacted in any way. It has only been corrected for grammar and spelling.

Follow the discussion on Reddit here

If you want the TL;DR, see end of review


Yesterday (09/30/17) I rolled myself down to the Embarcadero in San Francisco at 2PM to attend the Riptide Ridealong, which was an event that /u/spooky_ghost, someone who I frequently skate with, set up in conjunction with the Riptide folks. I’d been looking forward to this event, as I really wanted to try out the Riptide R1, which was one of the extremely few recent boards that list realistic specs and set seemingly realistic expectations.

During the ridealong, I was able to get a huge amount of unfiltered access to the board. I’d swapped boards with Eric, CEO of Riptide/Shredlights, so was able to ride the R1 about 4.5 miles through all types of terrain, especially significant hills and extremely rough roads. My deepest apologies to Eric, I hope you weren’t freaking out too much when us in the back disappeared… We headed to Last Mile SF as stated on the schedule after we lost you guys in front!


Please keep in mind that what I tested was a prototype and that this review should not be construed as condoning of condemning the final product.




This is a fun board. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s clear that Eric and co. know their target demographic, and know them well. The board itself has this stout, chubby build and look, which makes it really endearing and feel really sturdy. The deck length is about 31″ so it’s not really the most comfortable board for long rides (my legs were completely numb three miles into my long ride), but if you’re looking to bang up and down some waterside paths or a park path, it will do just fine. The dual motor setup is adequately powerful for something this small, and is actually quite torquey. Although it’s not going to beat anything else off the line, during my times riding I’ve actually been thrown off the back a couple of times due to the acceleration, though this is also in part due to another issue which I will highlight later. Throughout my ride, up and down hills, I was constantly worried that the board would not be able to make it up or brake properly going down, but those worries were unfounded as the board performed admirably even when the road got extremely potholey and rough.

I think it will be great having a board this small. You can take it anywhere, and I do mean anywhere, as it comes in under airline battery restrictions. I’m a frequent traveler, and while I don’t plan on bringing any boards with me anytime soon, I can imagine other people would want to. It’s easy to throw this board in a variety of places.

Throw it:

  • Under a strap on your backpack
  • In your carry on
  • In your trunk
  • Down a halfpipe
  • Down on the boardwalk
  • Up in NYC
  • Off a curb

Don’t throw it:

  • To the sharks
  • Off a bridge
  • On your junk

The options for where to throw this thing is endless.


Having a proper kicktail means that you can now do so much more due to the increased maneuverability. Turning a tight corner is now not a problem. If you’re strong and heavy enough, you can also try and do ollies, or hit up skate parks. Eric said that one of the goals for the bottom electronics enclosure was for it to be strong enough to take regular beatings, so I can imagine people more skilled than I pulling off proper tricks on this thing.


The remote is the same as the Meepo remote, that is to say it’s nothing special. It works. There’s a thumbwheel for acceleration and deceleration. Right under that is the switch for low/high power mode. At the bottom of the remote is the on/off switch. Holding the remote in your right hand, on the left surface you’ll find your battery indicator and forward/reverse button. It’s worth noting that the battery indicator here has three dots, while the indicator on the board itself has four bars. It’s an odd inconsistency, and made it confusing for me to gauge just how much power the board actually had at a given time. At one point, I saw one dot on the remote but two dots on the board, which made it really confusing for me to plan my route to the next destination. Eric did make it clear that they were using off the shelf parts, so I imagine there’s not that much leeway in what he gets to customize.

Another issue with the remote, and I think the biggest one, was responsiveness. There is extremely noticeable lag-time between action and response, which is not a good thing when you’re on a board like this. Since balancing is paramount on a smaller deck, you’re constantly shifting your weight to get the best footing for every situation. Because you’re doing so much work to keep yourself upright, you trust the board to help you. But in the case of the laggy remote, it becomes very hard to trust the remote to provide the correct amount of power at the correct time when it’s unpredictable when the remote will lag and when it won’t. I believe this inconsistent power delivery is the issue at the heart of why I got thrown off those couple of times, and Riptide does need to fix this as a high priority issue.

Technical Testing

Testride route: 

Rider specs: 125lb at 5’6″

As much as I was able to, I tried to do as scientific of tests as possible. I was only able to measure extremely limited measurements, but I’ll do my best to describe to you results of my tests as best I can. It is worth noting that I did these tests when the battery was at around 50-60%.


On normal mode, acceleration was slow and easy. Nothing to see here. On pro mode, acceleration was still nice, but there were some weird starting judders. It felt like grinding gears a bit. I’m not sure what it was, but it only manifested sometimes. It’s a little bit disturbing, especially when going uphill as you don’t feel that power delivery when the grinding happens, but I’ll chalk it up to prototype weirdness.

I did my 0 to full speed acceleration test eight times in quick succession. About three times out of those eight, I encountered different acceleration curves because the remote lagged when I gunned it from a full stop. This further highlights the remote/power delivery issue. I *really* hope they fix it.

Top Speed

My speedometer said 17. That’s close enough to their advertised 18mph top speed that I believe their claims. Maybe the board would have had just slightly enough power to hit 18 on full charge. Of course this isn’t the fastest board out there, but it’s quite fast for a small board.


Braking is pretty good. There doesn’t seem to be a perceivable different between normal mode braking and pro mode braking. Both bring you to a stop from top speed at a reasonable distance, and is gentle enough that you won’t get thrown off the board. It does not have a short braking distance though, so definitely keep that in mind in relation to your speed when navigating through areas with dense traffic.

One aspect of braking that I did not test was braking at 100% battery. Eric informed me that they do not yet have a solution for braking at 100% battery, but are working with their manufacturer to come up with one. I believe braking is one of the paramount issues to eskate safety today, so the fact that it was not part of the design from the get go worries me a bit. However, since I don’t have visibility into Riptide’s design process, I can’t comment very much on that. I just hope they are able to fix the issue in the final production boards because they really are risking injury to the rider.

Stress Handling

Stress handling tests involve continuously taking the board to full throttle immediately from a completely standstill, immediately braking, then immediately accelerating again in a loop. I did the cycle 10 times each on flat ground in a parking lot and 10 times on slightly sloped ground going down and up. I’m happy to report that the R1 exhibited no problems during any of these situations except for the issues I illustrated above.

Turning Radius

The R1 is capable of performing some sharp turns. There are wheel wells on the underside of the deck to facilitate really deep carves, which is great. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the bushings they used, which seemed rather stiff to me, but that’s not really an issue since bushing can be swapped out easily depending on personal preference. No problems here!

Drag Race

I didn’t get to race the R1 directly against a boosted board, but having ridden both V1 and V2 BBs, I think the R1 would pretty much match the capabilities. There’s no point pitting it against any higher powered boards because that’s not their market. Eric specifically stated that he imagined the R1 to be people’s secondary board for shorter rides where large boards are overkill, and I respect that. I will say however, having owned a Blink S, this is much better.

A Comment On Parts

One major thing to note is that Riptide is using off the shelf parts for almost all parts of this board. This means that Riptide is relying on the parts themselves to be tested and proven durable instead of the board as a whole, though I’m sure they’ve done durability tests on the board itself. This also means that you won’t be finding anything new here in terms of performance and hardware. While the deck may change the riding characteristics of the board, if you’re not new to the eboard industry and have tested many boards, this board will feel like the many that have come before. *This is not a bad thing*, and indeed may be a good thing for some. This means the board is predictable, and you’ll be able to find documentation and replacements for nearly all parts found on the board for cheap when your warranty runs out. This also means that many of you might call this board another “China Board” and while you are not wrong, I don’t think you’re entirely right either. Yes, there are many horrible mass production “boards” out there. However, there are some good or even great mass production boards that use some of the same parts. Does that mean that the great boards should be lumped in with the other bad ones that share the same parts? I don’t really think so.

I’m not trying to defend Riptide here. I too would rather see something that’s purpose designed and built with custom parts. That’s just not feasible for a small company, unfortunately, and I don’t blame Riptide for using resources at their disposal. At the end of the day, what they’re playing here is a mix and match game, and I think they’ve hit on a pretty great match.

That’s it

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments. I’ll try my best to answer!

Onan X2 Review- The booster to electrify your skateboard


The most popular thing to do in the electric skateboard world right now could probably be – swapping the deck of the Meepo Board.

Sometimes I wonder, if you already have a good longboard deck lying around, why not just buy a booster to convert it into an electric skateboard?
It’s a 15 minutes work and voila, an electric skateboard with your favorite deck!

So, for electric skateboard booster, there are actually quite a few of them in the market.
However, only 3 of them seems to matters.

1st and for most, people talk about how Mellow is great but super expensive.
2nd, people talk about how Landwheel is very ambitious but unreliable.
And last but not least we have the Onan.

Onan – Background

Onan is manufactured by Guangzhou WOW Electric Technology Co., Ltd.
A company founded in 2006.
They do Electric skateboard, Electric scooter, Electric Bikes etc.

On April 2016, Onan arrived at electric skateboard scene with their Onan X1 Booster.

Onan X1 is rather unexciting.
Not going fast enough for most of the people and not going far enough either.
It was, however, reliable and affordable. (Looking to buy one? Too bad it was discontinued.)

Onan X2 arrived at the market at Oct 2016.
It was made for people who demanded a powerful booster.
It has a top speed that, for me, are well into the ‘danger zone’ and it also has more torque compares to the X1.
This is the Booster that Onan sent me for review.

Onan X3 arrived at the market in April of 2017. It was meant for people who didn’t need to go that fast or to climb that steep. (Someone like me, actually), and doesn’t need the big 93mm wheels that Onan X2 has. It is $100 cheaper than X2.

To facilitate their sales and service, Onan has enlisted a few reseller such as Griffin Boards, Ivory Boards, Nuffboards and Flight Mode.

The wonderful part of this arrangement is, the reseller could and did work as an extra level of quality control, and also act as an intermediary between the manufacturer and the skaters – something that other China Eskate manufacturers could very well use, seeing that they are known to have their PR efforts backfire on them.

Onan and Mellow

Let’s address the elephant in the room.

Some people say that Onan is just a copycat of the Mellow Drive, for obvious reason.
They look similar, share the same color scheme and have similar features.

Mellow first made popular the concept of Electric Booster back on 12 May 2015 when they launched their Kickstarter project.
However, delays after delays, they only manage to ship the Mellow Drive around August 2017.

Meanwhile, Onan took the concept of the electric skateboard booster and designed the Onan X1. Without missing a beat, they started shipping Onan X1 in April 2016, more than a year earlier before the day Mellow Drive finally arrives.

Onan claims their design is not a copy of the Mellow Drive (of course it wasn’t, the designs of those boosters are very different).
Today, Onan also is very reluctant to be associated with the Mellow (probably for legal reasons), but I doubt their similarity with the much more recognizable Mellow is bothering them that much.

I mean, if it’s hurting them somehow, why don’t they just… you know.. don’t use blue and black?

Anyways, I believe no one will mistakenly buy a $600 Onan thinking it is a $1600 Mellow, so I don’t see any ethical problem just for being born from the same concept.

Competition benefits us all, after all.

Onan X2 Review

China Boards always comes with amazing specs with an amazing price.

Onan X2 is no exception, especially if you intend to compare it to the Mellow Drive:

  • Top Speed: 25mph (40kmh)
  • Range: 6mil (10km)
  • Weight: 9.9lbs (4.5kg)
  • Charge Time: 1.5-2.5 hrs
  • Features: Swappable battery, Flight compatible, 2 hub motors, waterproof, Regenerative braking, handles up to 25% slope.
  • Price: Around 600 USD

Riding Experience:

The great thing about electric skateboard booster is, you can slap it on any deck and it will automatically turn it into an electric skateboard.
But this is exactly the exhibit A for a case of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”.
There is a reason why Meepo-deck-swap is such a trend right now!

The absolute truth of electric skateboard is, the deck is one of the most important deciding factors of the riding experience, and a shitty deck is going to give you a shitty ride.

Allow me to share with you how I started playing around with the Onan X2.

Could not fit


I tried putting the X2 on my penny board.
I couldn’t get it to fit, the battery case is just too big to also fit in the front truck.
(A nickel board is the smallest deck it could fit, I think.)




So I got myself a second-hand regular skateboard and put X2 on.

Barely fits


And damn, the riding experience is HORRIBLE.
The wheelbase is so narrow that each acceleration and deceleration threaten to throw me off the board.

Every acceleration, the nose will lift and with every brake, the tail will lift, and I struggle to balance on it.

The stiff deck of the skateboard also makes poor road UNBEARABLE.
I was riding outside hospital carpark with poorly maintained asphalt and it’s so AGONIZING I feel like admitting myself into the hospital.

Obviously, it is totally unfair to Onan X2 if I don’t give it a serviceable deck for review.
I don’t have a good longboard deck lying around so I did what I could… I gutted my Meepo’s Deck and put on the Onan X2.

It’s not a Meepo. It’s an Onan X2.


Well, with a longboard deck, Onan X2 rides significantly more comfortable.
With the wider wheelbase, I no longer feel that the acceleration and deceleration were too jerky.
The rides were basically very similar to Meepo’s.
Vibration problem on cobblestone road also much reduced with a more flexible deck.
(Yes, as average as Meepo’s deck maybe, it is still better than a cheap skateboard deck that my friend probably bought from a supermarket.)

The take-home message here is – The Deck Matters!

Eventually, I get used to riding on the Onan X2 on that stiff cheap skateboard deck. On smooth roads, and after learning to position my body weight better, the rides become more relaxed.
Still, wouldn’t recommend it for beginner eskaters to put the X2 on a small deck. It’s just not as comfortable.

Acceleration and Deceleration

I felt like the acceleration and deceleration of Onan is a tiny bit joltier than other boards like Backfire and Meepo. Perhaps this is also due to how the remote was designed, more on that later.

However, with time, I actually find myself getting used to the acceleration and deceleration.
Still don’t like the remote though. Never will.

The brake will give a soft electrical buzz like “eeeeeeee” when you are applying it.
The harder you apply the brake, the louder the buzz.

I am not sure if the braking noise a side product of the regenerative braking or it was by design, but I love that the sound was there.
It gave me feedback on how hard I was braking, useful especially when braking downhill.

I feel that the brake of Onan X2 wasn’t that strong. The brake doesn’t lock the wheel but just increase the rolling resistance. I could not trust the brake to stop the board completely when riding downhill.
It could slow almost to a halt alright, just not completely stopping to a halt 100% of the time.

Onan X2 doesn’t brake downhill if it has a full battery, same as most of the board.


Onans X2 wheels versus penny boards wheels.

It’s kind of personal preference but I love big wheel more. (Probably because most of the road we have here are bad).

93mm wheel means water hose, small branches aren’t going to throw you off the board. A poor road is much more manageable with bigger wheels too.

The urethane on the motor wheel on Onan’s Booster is exchangeable, they even gave you a pair of them out of the box. Awesome.


Not a big fan of remotes that uses a dial to control the speed.

With this kind of remote, I feel like I am controlling the speed, not the acceleration.

Pushed the dial all the way up from standing still and the board tried to get me to the max speed at that very instance. Scary as hell.
Accidentally removed my finger from the dial -> the dial sprang back to center position -> the board decelerated significantly at that instance that it was also scary as hell.

I get very anxious with this remote. But no disconnection, no delay (unless the battery is low.)


The riding experience of Onan X2 could be good or could be bad, depending on what deck you married it to.
I would love a different remote and if the acceleration and deceleration are 10% gentler, but with a longer, let’s say 44 inches deck, the acceleration, and deceleration might be just right the way it is.

In short:

Riding experience of Onan X2 is basically decided by the deck that you put it on.
The jerkier acceleration and deceleration means beginner won’t like it as much, but one would get used to that.

Built Quality:

Onan X2 has a premium feel from the get-go.

The packaging is nice. The finishing is pristine.

The steel that they use for the motor unit & battery case is very heavy, giving it a sturdy and expensive feeling.
The trucks also look and feel strong and beefy.

Heavy in the hand.

Not bad, in fact, quite good!

Except the remote somehow breaks open for no reason, I don’t remember ever dropping it…


All the Onans can be fitted with 2 types of battery.

  1. X-BP10 battery pack with 90WH battery cell (making it flight compatible)
    the marketed range is 7.5-9 miles (12-15km)
  2. X-BP20 battery pack with 158.4WH,
    the marketed range is 15.5-17 miles (25-28km)

The range of Onan’s boosters really varies according to riding condition, but the consensus is the range was grossly inflated.

The one that I got was the larger, X-BP20 battery pack.
For me, I get it at around 8 miles (12.8km) before almost fully drained the battery.

The range may not be the best but considering that you can carry extra batteries with you ($139.99 per battery), this is forgivable.


I am not one that is comfortable to challenge 25mph(40kmh) on an electric skateboard, especially with the smaller deck I have.

The highest speed that I felt comfortable is around 20mph (30kmh) and I could reach there with Onan X2 with a lot of holding back. I weigh 75kg. (165lbs)

That speed 20mph (30kmh) however, is my friend Arne Bernheim’s max speed in his youtube review. However, he weighs 90kg+ (200lbs).

The top speed from the community varies between 20mph to 25mph (30-40kmh).
It definitely is fast enough for me.

Onan X2’s range and top speed amongst all boards. (Click to enlarge)


During normal riding, Onan X2 can handles most hill no problem.

However, when I did the stop and go test on a parking lot incline ramp as I did for Backfire Galaxy, it actually couldn’t do it.

[WPGP gif_id=”827″ width=”250″]

It could definitely climb through it if I maintain the speed, but Onan X2 can’t start it’s climb in the middle of the slope.

The torque seems to suffer most when the battery is low. When the battery is at its last bar, it can’t climb hill nearly as well.

I heard of worries that the motor might overheat after a long uphill climb.
So I found myself a small hill that has an over 10-minute climb, to test that out.

The motor wasn’t even warm to touch at the end of the test, so I don’t think it would cause any problem in real-world use.

Customer Service:

Onan’s customers’ service is quite good. Had heard praises of them, haven’t heard any complaints.

As I have mentioned, the presence of reseller also adds to the customer service.
It’s worth mentioning that one of their reseller Griffin-Boards is very active in Reddit and always shows up to answer questions and provide information.

You could definitely have peace of mind if you choose to buy from Onan themselves, or from one of their resellers.

Other Features:

The swappable battery is definitely the best ‘other features’ Onan has.
I am a bit surprised that it hasn’t become an industry standard.

If you plan to bring your eskate on the plane. The smaller battery pack X-BP10 is a 90WH battery, making it flight compatible. Even the larger X-BP20 battery pack is 158WH and is allowed by some of the airlines.
(See my guide on flying with electric skateboard here.)

Onan’s boosters were also graded to be waterproof.
I did not try to submerge the booster into the water but the way it was designed, it can definitely handle splashes no problem.
You don’t want to ride an electric skateboard in the rain anyways, skateboard wheels are very slippery when wet and you will probably damage your deck when the moisture seeps in.


The earlier version seems to have a problem where there were sparks when charging. It was said to be solved now. I did not encounter this problem.

As mentioned, the earlier version of Onan X2 also seems to have the problem of motor dying due to overheating when climbing hills that are too steep for too long. Haven’t heard of that problem for awhile. Again, I didn’t experience that problem.

As mentioned, Onan X2 also can’t brake downhill with a full battery. This is most definitely true.


Onan’s boosters is an easy recommendation for someone who already owns a good longboard deck and wants to convert it into an electric skateboard.
For most of the people who don’t exactly need high torque and high speed, Onan X3 is probably the way to go. By going from X2 to X3, you save $100 and shave 500gram off the total weight.

Go for X2 if you don’t want to sacrifices on speed and torque.

However, if you don’t have a good longboard deck sitting around, there is little reason to spend $600 on an electric skateboard booster when there are a lot of good ‘Completes Electric Skateboards’ in the market right now.

For a budget longboard, there are the Meepo Board, Backfire Galaxy.
For a budget shortboard, there are Torque Speedster and the Arc Aileron or you can back the Riptide.
For a budget penny board, there are the Meepo Penny, Arc Board and the Walnutt Spectra Mini.

But that is the point, isn’t it? Onan’s booster may not be the best choice for electric skateboard of any size, but it could be at any size at different times.

If you have a Sector 9 or a Loaded deck lying around that you want to make into an electric skateboard, and you want the board to go fast, and you don’t have $1500 to buy a Mellow, Onan X2 is kind of the only legit choice right now.

Onan official site
Onan as Griffin Board
Onan on Amazon
Onan on Alibaba

Kieran’s Meepo: The person, the board, the story.

There is not much publicity and promotion on the Meepo – a sub $300, super affordable electric skateboard with 5-star riding experience.

If you had heard about Meepo, it was either from Reddit or from Youtube.

I’m sure of it.

That is becuase those places are where Kieran, the man behind Meepo connects with fellow Eskaters.
Also that is where his customer rave about Meepo and how helpful Kieran has been when(if) they encounter problems on their Meepo.

I was offered an opportunity to interview Kieran, so I did and it has been a blast.

I now like Meepo so much that after the interview, I took the opportunity and got a deal from Kieran so that HQ’s reader can get something extra when purchasing a Meepo! (more on that at the end of the post.)

So today, I’m honored to introduce you both Kieran and the Meepo Board!


Working for an Electric Skateboard Company

Kieran is a 28-year-old Chinese gentleman graduated from the field of mechanical engineering.
As a skateboarder and a longboarder, he was first introduced to electric skateboard through a TED talk, delivered by none other than Sanjay Dastour from Boosted Board.

Kieran: “I remember he said ‘when you think about a vehicle, think about something new”, and I was inspired.”

So Kieran went and joined a major electric skateboard manufacturer and reseller in China.
It was awesome, at least part of it was; as the marketing manager, he gets to try out different electric skateboards from different brands.

But there is a problem. The company is not making a profit.

Kieran,the guy on the right. NOT the kid in blue. Don’t switcharoo me.

The problem, according to Kieran, lies in the quality of the board.

The way most Chinese manufacturers conduct their business is to push sales at all cost.
Boards with quality issues were knowingly sold to customers.
When those boards inevitably broke down, they were returned for refund and repair, which end up costing the company money.

That’s why there was no profit.

Kieran expressed his frustration to his boss, and guess what did his boss do?

He blamed the losses on the sales team.

Birth of Meepo:

Most Chinese electric skateboard manufacturers are not E-skaters, and their board’s performance annoyed Kieran when he was using them for his daily commute.

In April 2017, with the ease of access to all the parts and manufacturers, Kieran started building a board for himself to use.
He started from what he has and with some mix and matches, got a board that has the performance that he was satisfied with.

He showcased the board on Youtube to try to get the attention from retailers hoping for some B2B business opportunity.

Instead, what Kieran got was the interest of some viewers abroad.Some of the viewers expressed interest to buy the board, and after some back and forth, the first Kieran-made-electric skateboard was sold to a viewer from the US.

Some of the viewers expressed interest to buy the board, and after some back and forth, the first Kieran-made-electric skateboard was sold to a viewer from the US.

After proving that selling electric skateboard online can work, Kieran fired his boss and started his own electric skateboard company.

And hence, Meepo was born.

And yes, Meepo got its name from the DotA character with the same name.


Today, Meepo is a 3 person company with Kieran manning the helm, making all the product decisions.

The company is scrapping by, recording around 150 sales since its recent founding late June 2017.

With no marketing budget, word-of-mouth has been the primary way Meepo found new owners – which is rather effective as the riding experience, board’s quality, and Kieran’s pre & post-sale services have left his customer raving about Meepo all over Reddit.

In fact, that was how I got to know about Meepo too.

“All of Meepo’s buyers are from abroad. 70% of them from the USA, 15% from Europe and 15% from the others.” Kieran


Meepo’s Philosophy:

“Electric skateboard should be a commuting vehicle that is affordable to everyone. Electric Skateboard doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. It doesn’t have to be expensive to give great riding experience.” Kieran

When Kieran put together Meepo, the chief focus is the riding experience.
“I commute around 10km on my Meepo every day, and I need the experience to be good. Many people care a lot about the battery range, but what is the use of extended range if traveling on that E-skate is intolerable? It would just extend an unenjoyable experience.”

Sure enough, the theme of ‘focusing on riding experience’ came out again and again when we talked about how he put together Meepo.

Technical Approach:

“I think the Battery and the ESC are two of the most important component when putting together a board. 

When putting together the Meepo, the battery has been the one that gave me the most headache.

ESC is simpler, I chose a good one and the rest is just making sure my firmware is up to date.

I would like to play around with different motors but the truth is, with my size right now, there are limits on what I can do with the motor.”


“When putting together the Meepo, the battery has been the one that gave me the most headache.”

Battery 10S2p 36V 4.4Ah Samsung 18650 5c

“I have tried and change the battery I use for the board for around 6 times.

People may say Samsung or LG battery cells is good.
But using a good brand by itself isn’t enough.
I have to get Samsung cells in model 22P to get the best performance.

And When building the BMS, it is important to know how the ESC is programmed, what is the consistent current drain needed, and what is the max current the battery can provide in a stable manner.”

Kieran then went on to explain why he cares so much when picking the battery for Meepo.

“When I was riding other electric skateboards in the market, there were a few problems that bugged me.

For one, there was the issue where when braking with a full(or near full) battery, the board may turn off as the regenerative braking will be charging the battery over its max capacity.
It manifests as ‘the remote disconnected’ but it was actually due to the battery’s BMS cutting off the charge.

I have a stretch of downhill road in the beginning of my commute and I would be afraid every time going down it, frightened by the prospect that my board will power off.
I don’t want to work around it by not charging the board fully. Neither do I want to skate around to drain some battery before I go downhill.

I want the problem solved and that’s what I did by working with the battery supplier.
We worked together to tweak the BMS so that battery overcharging would not happen and the brake would not fail that easily.

To my knowledge, some of the big players in the market still haven’t solved this issue.

Another problem was when the battery was below 50%, some board will slow down ridiculously when going up a slope. That stinks and I’m sure my customer will not be happy if I sell them an Eskate that performs that way.

Again, I don’t want this problem to plague my Meepo and after some back and forth with the battery supplier, we solved the issue.

Now, every time I get a new batch of batteries, I will test them out in my everyday commute to make sure that they are good.”


“The fact is, the riding experience of Meepo is unlikely to be further improved by a pricier ESC.”

ESC is another component that was carefully picked for Meepo.

“ESC impacts the riding experience significantly. A good ESC can allow the rider to control the acceleration – whether they want it to be abrupt or to be gentle.

On the opposite side of things, ESC also controls the braking experience. With a good ESC, you can have a better control of the brakes. It will allow you to stay at any speed you want when going downhill.”

ESC can get expensive, there is really a point of diminishing returns where a pricier ESC does not improve the riding experience further, at least for Meepo.

So to assemble an affordable board, Kieran picked out a good quality ESC that can that can give the best riding experience while staying on budget.

“I would not say my ESC is the best, better VESC can cost up to $300 and that’s for a single motor!
The ESC I use is a good one shared by many major brands.
Look at it, it is beautiful, its has a symmetry look and has a simple design.
It can do everything I want it to do, smooth acceleration, smooth braking, smart turn on, regenerative braking etc.
The fact is, the riding experience of Meepo is unlikely to be further improved by a pricier ESC.”


“I chose a good motor that can provide enough torque for slope climbing.”

Kieran told me that there was the concern that this motor looks bulky and unsightly but at the end of the day, utility triumphs look, at least for Meepo.

“I want a motor that does not have heating issues. Many China Boards use motors that will overheat to 90-100°C. That damages the motors.
This motor that I used will stay at around 60°C going up hills which will be fine.”

“At the end of the day, when I was riding my Meepo, I will not be seeing how pretty the motor looks underneath my board.”

Substance over style indeed.


“There are some really bad roads where I live and I DON’T want to step down from my electric skateboard and walk. Small wheels might look prettier but I want to feel safe.

On choosing the wheel size:

“I have been thrown off my board before and it is not fun.
With 70mm wheel, a small pebble can throw you off your board.
With 90mm wheel, at least I can be confident that my wheels can safely roll over small bumps on road.
As anything smaller than half of the radius of the wheel I can confidently roll over, a 90mm wheel can handle a 1-2cm bump easily.
So I can relax and enjoy the scenery a bit instead of being stressed out by bad roads all the time.”

How about All Terrain wheels in the future?

“Many people have asked me about All Terrain setup. I am interested too and will be looking into it but it will take time and probably nothing will come of it in the near future.”


“The deck has to be stiff enough so that a heavy person won’t scrape the floor and flexible enough to accommodate a light person.”

“I am adamant to get a two-piece component housing at the front and tail of the board instead of a single full-length component housing at the center of the board.

This is because I want Meepo’s deck to be able to flex. It may not look as nice as a one piece design but the flexibility of the deck really improves the riding experience.”

Meepo uses a 8 ply deck (7ply Chinese Maple + 1 ply bamboo Deck).

“The deck has to be stiff enough so that a heavy person won’t scrape the floor and flexible enough to accommodate a light person.”

Is Meepo’s deck the best?
Kieran thinks that Boosted Board probably has the best deck on any E-skate right now but his Meepo wasn’t half bad either.

Hey, when you are making a sub $300 board, a compromise has to be made somewhere right?


Meepo was built with good quality components.

The early customer reviews reflected that.
There were a few accounts of component failure, a great way to test Kieran’s after-sale service, and he has passed with flying colors.

Another upside is how neat and tidy the component of the board was assembled.

“Kieran designed this board to be fixed by the user. All you need is the part from him and you can practically replace anything yourself. For example, I had to swap some motor connectors because the board would go backward instead of forward unless I pressed the change button direction. He messaged me on WhatsApp and gave me instructions on what to do so I got a first-hand look at the internals. Things were easy to disconnect and reconnect again. Everything is almost plug and play aside from if you want to change the motor wheels, you have to use Loctite for the screws and the adhesive glue to waterproof the board.”   /u/KingPrudien

A clarification has to be made though,
when we said Meepo is a good quality board, we didn’t mean that it has a refined look.

The board is put together using components that are widely available in the Chinese electric skateboard market.
The external designs are shared by many other Chinese electric skateboards that can be found all over Aliexpress.

Where Meepo differs. is with what lies inside and that reflects in how well the board performs.

At the end of the day, the board has a DIY origin and definitely has a scrappy look.

Let’s just say there is more than what meets the eye.


“E-skate is definitely the best portable vehicle among the likes of Segway, One wheel, and Hoverboards.
E-skate is just faster, lighter, more stable and simply cooler than any other portable vehicle on the list.”

In the future, Meepo will not deviate from its focus on quality and riding experience.

“As the ‘product manager’, there are thousand of ideas that I want to try with Meepo. But given the size of our business right now, there are only a few moves that actually make sense. First, we have to get more sales and then more options will open up.”

Kieran wishes to add a third, more premium board to the Meepo line up once the company has a healthier bottom line.

Something with a better riding experience, more range, and perhaps even better looking from the outside; the look still won’t be the priority, Kieran stated in a frank manner.

At the immediate future, however, the goal is to get more sales. Kieran remains hopeful, as the word-of-mouth from his existing customers has beginning to help sales.

But with a 3 person team, how well can Meepo be expected in handling massive orders?

“No worries, I have friends that run E-skate production factory. With 1 week notice, they can start the production and we can handle up to 1000 orders per month.”

And on the after-sale service front:

For now, Kieran is expected to handle all of the after-sale services. However, he is already in the process of bringing an extra person in to maintain their current top tier customer service. Kudos.

My thoughts:

I have yet to come across a negative review or complaint on Kieran and his Meepo boards.

At a sub $300 price, there is nothing that can compare to it.

The caveat is, Kieran was unable to get a better shipping deal from his shipping agent (monopoly) and hence the shipping fee for Meepo is ridiculously high.

Meepo’s shipping fee:

South East Asia$65.00

100 USD to ship to the US! More than one-third of the price of Meepo itself!

“Most of the people abandon cart when they saw the shipping price, it is ridiculously high but there is nothing I can do about it at the moment.”

Bulk ordering would significantly reduce the shipping fee.
So if anyone is interested in reselling or doing a mass drop for Meepo, well, let Kieran know.

At the end of the day, even after the shipping fee,
Kieran’s Meepo is still unmatched among the budget boards in both price and performance.

Considering the electric skateboard in the budget segment: We have Acton Blink Lite(<400$), Torque Speedster(<600$), Yuneec E-go(<500$), Spectra Mini(<400$) and Lou 1.0(<500$).

Meepo both out prices and out performs all of them, even after taking account of the shipping fee.
The after-sale service of Kieran is also unmatched by any boards on this list (other than DIYelectricskateboard’s Torque Speedster).

To go any cheaper, you will be considering China Boards, which I have talked about extensively in my previous post. And no, I don’t consider Meepo as a China Board, as it is not produced-en-masse (at least for the time being).

If you do consider Meepo as a China Board, just think of it as the best of what China Boards can offer – Unbeatable price with great quality and service.

Performance-wise, Meepo really does punch above its weight.

A bubble chart for all board’s range and top speed. Click to enlarge.

Click here to see the chart in Metric Unit instead.

As you can see from the chart, Meepo is performing as well as the likes of Inboard M1, Boosted Dual, and Blink S2. Boards that are easily 2-3x Meepo’s price.

Meepo is the best budget electric skateboard currently available PERIOD.

I will recommend Meepo as the first board to consider for anyone who is looking for a budget electric skateboard or a good electric skateboard in general, right before DIYelectricskateboard’s Torque Speedster.

I made a deal with Kieran:

The philosophy of Meepo aligns perfectly with what I have set up to do with Electric Skateboard HQ.

To promote electric skateboard as a mean of transportation for the masses.

It is a commuting vehicle for the masses.
Also it is an easy recommendation for its price and its value.

Not everyone can afford a Boosted Board but everyone can afford a Meepo.

I talked to Kieran for 2 hours + and I like him.
He is passionate about Eskate and clearly obsesses about putting together the best E-skate he can for the commoners like himself (and myself).

I want to help Kieran out, so we made a deal.

An exclusive deal for the readers of Eskate HQ.

I help promote Kieran’s Meepo from now until the end of August and in return, Kieran will give something back to my readers when they purchase a Meepo.

The Deal:

From now until the end of August, Kieran will give you one extra adapter charger and one extra remote when you buy a Meepo long board.
Just let him know I sent you his way with the promo code “EskateHQ” on the check out page.
(the free gifts will not be reflected in the cart, but he will make sure you get it, don’t worry.)

*P.S.: This is not a paid review and that isn’t an affiliate deal.

Update: Too bad the promotion has ended. But thanks to your support, the demand of Meepo has skyrocketed! Kieran now has to produce around 100 Meepo per day just to keep up with the demand! 
Kieran wishes to thank the readers of ElectricSkateboardHQ for your support.
If you have any problem or question with the Meepo, you can reach Kieran at [email protected], or you could just leave a comment below and I will relay it to him.

Some Link:
Meepo Boards Official site.
Kieran’s Youtube Channel.

Even if you are not interested in buying a Meepo, I hope you enjoy this kind of content =).
Leave a comment if there is another electric skateboard company that you think I should interview next.

“How about I give them an extra charger so that they can charge their board at multiple locations.” Kieran
“That’s a bit lame.. is there nothing else?” Me
“Err, how bout an extra remote?” Kieran
“Why would anyone need an extra remote?”Me
“It’s small, they might misplace it, I lost one before.” Kieran
“Can you give them both?” Me
“Er… I might be able to… hmm, Okay”

The China Boards: A Comprehensive guide on Chinese Electric Skateboards.

Note: There is an updated version on this topic, click here.

I think you’ll agree with me that there are tons of cheap electric skateboards with weird or no brand name. We saw them in electric skateboard Facebook groups, on Amazon, Craigslist, Aliexpress, and of course on Alibaba.

So what is the story behind these China Boards?

I have researched 8 of the most famous Chinese Electric Skateboards in the market right now, and I am going to tell you everything about them.

What exactly are the China Boards?

When we say “China Boards”, we don’t mean electric skateboards that are made in China.

If that is what we meant, China Board would have included Enertion Raptors 2, Walnutt Spectra, Actons and Louboards (although things can become a bit gray with some of them, more on that later.)

I also don’t consider the Meepo Board, which is gaining popularity by the days, as a China Board. Although Meepo was originated in China, it can be  seen more as a DIY-crafted board than a mass produced “China Board”.( I  really go more in-depth about Meepo and his founder Kieran in another post HERE.)

So  as you can see, that’s not quite what were referring to.

What we mean by “China Boards” is:
Electric Skateboard made in China that are built with no investment on their brand and hence are often cloned, rebranded,or sold without brand at all; they are often poor in quality and with minimal or no customer service.

China boards are already amongst us.

If you are out of the loop, you might not know there are a few ‘scandals’ in the esk8 circle – companies are and have been rebranding China Boards to sell at Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

They claim they need funding for the development and innovation of a product, but what they did was just sending factory their logo to stamp on an existing China Board.


And of course, there are also companies that simply rebrand Chinese Electric Skateboards and market them as their own creation.

I guess not every board’s origin story is considered cool.

Acton Blink Lites, Elwing-E1, Atom is E-Wheelin I4!

Acton has gotten itself a bad reputation by repeatedly lying about the shipping date. There are also people who accuse Acton of not designing its own board and being ‘just a middle man’.

Well, the accusation is not unfounded. Take a look at Acton’s ‘world lightest electric skateboard’ the Blink Lite and the E-Wheelin I4.

They are really similar, even using the same remote, aren’t they?

Even their specs are similar.

Well, Acton did add the LED to Blink Lite, I guess that’s what they mean when they claim that they engineered the board, right?

Elwing E-1 is reported to be originated as E-Wheelin too. They surely use the same remote.

Bolt is I-Wonder SK-A

Bolt is another “world smallest electric skateboard”, that launched an Indiegogo campaign back in May 2015.

It received $211,950 in funding.

With a closer examination, we can see that Bolt is probably a rebranded I-Wonder SK-A.

Lorenzo claimed he created Bolt.
I think what he meant was, he created Bolt from I-Wonder SK-A.

And I wonder where Bolt gets its marketing photo ideas from. (See what I did there?)

Haloboard, Tinboard(dead) are WINboard GT-M6

Haloboard is a very well loved Electric Skateboard; it ranked no.2 in Slant’s most recommended Electric Skateboard List. (Which I think is a shit lis,  as it ranked Mellow as no.1. I am not saying that Mellow is bad or anything, it is just that by the time that it ranked, Mellow wasn’t even available yet!)

However, I wonder if any of the buyers know that Haloboard is basically WINboard GT-M6 with 2 times the price.


It may not really matter that Haloboard is WINboard GT-M6; they are proven to be quality boards (‘China Boards’ are often but not always poor quality) and Halo Board provides customer service to their customer, in a way China based WINboard are unable to do, hence, this just might justify the premium.

But it does make me question the integrity of THIS statement:

By the way, the now dead Tinboard went to Indiegogo campaign with the exact WINboard GT-M6 too.

Remember me?

Tinboard is the worst example of how low a company can get when rebranding electric skateboard. They didn’t get consent from Winboard, lied about the spec of the board, and lied about the features of the board; they even made up a fake team.

I previously covered how Tinboard went about scamming people. It is quite amazing how much they lie.

Louboard is WINboard GT-M7

There is no WINboard GT-M7 on WINboard’s official site.
Did WINboard skip GT-M7 and go straight to GT-M8 from M6?

What is the real story?

Word in the street is, Louboard bought the exclusivity of WINboard GT-M7, added some design changes and went to Kickstarter with it.

Introducing Louboard. She is a sure thing!
Introducing WINboard GT-M7! He is surely similar to Lou!

I suppose we should give Lou the benefit of a doubt. They may very well have put in efforts and gave the board some upgrades. 

Too bad, we will never know.

Enough for the rebranding,
who exactly are the China Boards?

Ah, where are my manners? I haven’t introduced the players that I’ve been rambling about.

Chinese Electric Skateboard scene is a messy place, but there are a few of major players that are more recognizable.

These are the names that you will come across again and again when navigating the China Board market.

Koowheel/ Genesis Hellfire/ Magneto

Koowheel is a brand under Shenzhen JOMO Technology Co., Ltd.
The company has been in the electric mobility business for quite some time now. Besides electric skateboard, Koowheel also sells Hoverboards and Electric Scooters.

It has branches around the world. (China, US, Europe, Singapore?)

Koowheel D3M Electric Longboard is one of the most known China Board in the market.
It has been rebranded multiple times and was sold as Genesis Hellfire & Magneto and other brands.

For a long long time, Koowheel D3M is the first choice when it comes to cheap and powerful electric skateboard that one can buy on Amazon.

And the reason is obvious:

Koowheel’s specs are incredible!

It has 2 hub motors to handle most hills.
It has more speed than most people need.

And although the marketed range (25miles) are HUGELY exaggerated (10miles are what most people get), most people are good with 10 miles.

Plus, it is somewhat water resistant and has SWAPPABLE BATTERY!

The downside of Koowheel is the quality of the board.
It is very hit-or-miss. You can ride your Koowheel to the office every day of a year with no problem, or the board can fail you the second week you get it.

Remote disconnection, loose trucks, locked up wheels, battery problem, and various other issues have been noted.

Koowheel was said to have fixed most of their quality issues early 2017, but problems continue to pop up here and there.

The same story goes with the customer services.
Some customers received good help from Koowheel but more complaints about poor after-sale service.
A number of customers have had their board vanish after they sent it back to Koowheel for repair.


Koowheel D3M might have been a good buy years-ago.

However, with the choices that we have today in the Eskate market, you shouldn’t have to buy a $600 Koowheel anymore.

Koowheel official site
Koowheel on Amazon
Koowheel on Aliexpress


Benchwheel is produced by HangZhou Bench Technology Co.
It is a small company founded in 2013.
It claims to be in the market on e-transportation but for now, Benchwheel seems to be their only product.

Benchwheel has a strong presence in Amazon. Although the cheapest way for an international buyer to get it, is from their Alixpress shop.

Benchwheel is the typical “China Board”. Great price with quality issues.

It is the same stories: Bluetooth disconnections, weak trucks, poor built quality, and unreliable customer service.

There are Eskaters who got lucky and have had  ZERO problems with their Benchwheel.
For them, the performance at that price point makes it an awesome purchase.

On the flip side, more than a few people have had problems with their boards; got it repaired and still have the board broken down immediately during the next ride.

That would suck.

Benchwheel is more like a toy than a vehicle. Again, at this day and age, you don’t need to buy a Benchwheel.

I will advise against gambling on a Benchwheel.

Benchwheel official site
Benchwheel on Amazon
Benchwheel on Aliexpress


Backfire has been around for some time, since 2012 I suppose.
Backfire board is manufactured by Shanghai So-Fun or Helloskate.

Being one of the more successful China Boards, it has a lot of clones including Falcon, Luuov, Melon, Lectric, and those unbranded generic electric skateboard that we saw in Facebook groups.

The quality of the board is good enough, but the advertised range is super inflated.
As usual, don’t put too much expectation in the after sale service.

Backfire has been trying to get into the US market by setting up an office in Virginia.

It also has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its Backfire Gen2.
Which is again most likely to be a marketing trick to sell an already available board through “Kickstarter funding” as opposed to getting funding to develop a new board.

All that being said, the early impression of Backfire G2 has actually been very positive.
Good performing board, great specs, great riding feeling – all with a sub $500 price tag.

However, all this would mean nothing if the board has quality issues, something we will only know after the fact.
During my research on Backfire II, I noticed a lot of inconsistencies in the marketing copy throughout different sites. Not exactly helping my confidence in the board.

Backfire is a budget board with great specs. The downside is the unreliability of the customer service and the quality of the board.

It feels like I am repeating myself here.

Update: I have got in touched with a representative from Backfire team. I was informed that they have put on effort trying to upgrade their after-sale service.
They have set up a service center in Richmond, USA and Hamburger, Germany to take care of customer service in the US and Europe. Repairs and service do not need to be done in China anymore.
For international buyers, Backfire China will still be handling all the services.
This could really help,  i’ll be watching.

Backfire official site
Backfire G2 on Kickstarter
Backfire on Amazon (as Falcon) (Third Party)
Backfire on Aliexpress


Maxfind is a product of Shenzhen Maxfind Electronic Co, Ltd. One of the more famous Electric Skateboard brand that you can find in Alibaba.

They make a name for themselves with their first generation electric skateboard Max A and Max B.

It is a rather generic electric skateboard honestly.
Average in all aspect, speed, range,and weight.
It has 2 hub motors to provide enough torque and the inclusion of LED lights is a nice touch.

A sub $550 price tag makes Maxfind A&B the cheapest dual hub motors electric skateboard on the market for a long while, hence, the popularity.

Let’s just say the cheap price comes at the expense of the boards quality and after-sale service.

Amazon may have given this board mixed review but forum reviews on this board are mostly negative.
In fact, this board seems to have the poorest quality among all China Boards.

What can be worse?

Maxfind is currently running an Indiegogo campaign for their Max-C.
Max-C… A product that is already available, which you can buy on Amazon.

Can someone tell me the difference between Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign and Mass drop?

With all that being said, Max-C is an interesting board.
It is small, it is cheap, and it is IP65 waterproof. (If you can trust Maxfind).

I would expect quality issue from Max C too but for the price, Max C could be the electric skateboard toy that people buy, just to play around.

Maxfind official site
Maxfind on Amazon
Maxfind on Aliexpress
Maxfind on Indiegogo


ONAN is a brand by a group of companies including Guangzhou ONAN Electronics Co., LTD.

People accuse ONAN of being a copy of Mellow Drive, and I would have to agree.

But Mellow is too expensive for most of us anyway…

Everything you can be, I can be … similar.

So, what about this ONAN guy?

ONAN is probably the most bought electric skateboard drive train at this moment (as Mellow has just begun to ship).

It has been rebranded by a lot of resellers.
ONAN has been sold as Griffin Boards, Ivory Boards, Nuffboards, and Flight Mode.

Griffin Boards particularly have been doing a good job in communicating with customers – testing the ONANs before they commit into reselling, providing after-sale services, giving feedback to the manufacturer for issues and for improvements.

You can check out Griffin Board’s site if you are interested in the ONAN and are from the states.

Anyways, up to the time of this writing, ONAN has 3 different electric skateboard drive that you can buy.
ONAN X1, X2 and X3.

Onan X1 (launched in April 2016) is the entry level, beginner level drive train; cheap but slow.
Reviews show that it has been reliable, yet unexciting. It has now been discontinued by Onan as they feel that the performance couldn’t satisfy the market.

Onan X2 (launched in Oct 2016) is the most powerful out of the three. It has been ridden with issues early after release but Onan seems to have fixed them, and now X2 wouldn’t just die within 1 week of riding anymore.

Onan X3 (launched in April 2017) performed somewhere in between X1 and X3. So far, not much quality complaints have been heard.

X1/X2/X3 battery pack have two option:

  1. X-BP10 battery pack with 90WH battery cell (making it flight compatible)
    the marketed range is 7.5-9 miles (12-15km)
  2. X-BP20 battery pack with 158.4WH,
    the marketed range is 15.5-17 miles (25-28km)

While I wouldn’t say Onan is exemplary in the quality department, the after-sale service seems to be pretty good.
Onan has been doing a good job fulfilling their warranty promise and their reseller is doing an equally good, if not better. Good for them.

At the end of the day,
being $1000 cheaper than the Mellow Drive, while still having features such as swappable battery and being waterproof, Onan is undeniably attractive.

I especially like the fact that the drive train doesn’t need a big package box and can be shipped internationally easier and cheaper.

So, if you can find yourself a reliable reseller nearby and think that a drive train is a good idea, I wouldn’t deter you from getting an Onan.

Onan official site
Onan as Griffin Board
Onan on Amazon
Onan on Alibaba


Landwheel is produced by Shenzhen Landwheel Technology Co.,LTD.
I couldn’t get much information on the company as their website is broken – just like their product.

So let’s just be quick.

Have you ever thought about buying a $800 $600 drive train that is fast, waterproof that breaks down on the first use? No?

Then I guess Landwheel isn’t for you then.

The board has just been released this month (July) and there are already multiple complaints of broken motor.

And it is not uncommon for Landwheel to break down just after the first 10 minutes of riding.
Even if the motor survived, you will be dealing with broken screws, burnt battery, etc.

It’s just horrifying.

Landwheel is the worst example of Chinese electric skateboard- Not cheap yet not good!
Granted, Landwheel is still new at this point but I seriously don’t know how they should redeem themselves in the future.

Although the latest version of Landwheel V4 seems to bring more durability while actually being able to deliver the promised performance, there are still accounts of it breaking down here and there.

I would only start to consider Landwheel if most of them start lasting over 1 year without issues.

For now and in the near future, just do yourself a favor and stay away from Landwheel.

Landwheel official site
Landwheel on Alibaba


I-Wonder is a brand by Ningbo Wonder Power Tech Co ., Ltd.
They are a manufacturer for electric skateboard providing ODM and OEM service.

As I mentioned, Bolt is very likely manufactured by I-Wonder based on its SK-A.
I-Wonder SK-B also has been rebranded to Slick Revolution and Pure Energy boards.

Although I-Wonder’s main customer would be the resellers, they do sell individual boards on Alibaba.

Their products don’t have names but serial numbers.
SK-A, SK-B, SK-C, SK-D and of course SK-E.

Unlike your typical Chinese Electric Skateboards, I-Wonder builds good quality boards.
There weren’t many complaints on the boards, except that they don’t actually go as fast as advertised.

You won’t get much after-sale support from I-Wonder.
However, US based Pure Energy which sells rebranded I-Wonder actually provides good after-sales support for their customers.

If one is buying an I-Wonder, I think it is worth it, to pay the premium to have that after-sale service from the reseller.

I-Wonder official site
I-Wonder SK B on Amazon as Pure Energy
Pure Energy Electric Skateboards (I-Wonder Reseller)
I-Wonder on Alibaba


WINboard Intelligent Technology Company has been winning in Electric Skateboard business since 2015. They are mainly a manufacturer for hub motor electric skateboards.

WINboard uses quality parts.
As I mentioned, their WINboard GT-M6 has been rebranded into Haloboard and has been one of the best quality electric skateboards out there.

The upcoming Louboard was said to have bought the exclusive rights to produce WINboard GT-M7 as Lou boards, and from the marketing material it looks to be one hell of a board.

Too bad for us,
WINboard only sells to distributors and not individuals (so don’t expect after-sales service directly from them). So unless you are ordering in bulk, you probably couldn’t get a board directly from WINboard.

See, these are the products from WINboard and they all look good:

Let me know if you are making a bulk order on Winboard GT-M6, because Haloboard is seriously … too expensive.

WINboard official site
WINboard Alibaba
Haloboard Electric skateboards (WINboard GT-M6 rebrand)

Update Jan 2018: I’ve dropped the quality of Winboard from “Great” to “Fair” as some of the complaints on Winboard surfaced. The quality of Winboard seems to be inconsistent and it is usually up to the company using Winboard as OEM to ascertain the quality. Moreover, as they’re more focus on being an OEM, their customer service to individual buyers is quite bad.

So, Should I buy a China Board?

For those of us who are ‘international customer’, sometimes it is just easier to get a China Board than something like a Boosted board. Aliexpress, unlike Amazon, usually ships internationally.

If you actually find Chinese Electric Skateboard that calls to you, you still need to observe the first and here is the only principle for buying an electric skateboard:

Always go for a quality.
A poor quality board that breaks down after 1 week aren’t worth a dime.

Why does this matter?

The truth is, poor quality boards can’t be upgraded one piece at a time even if you are good at tinkering.
If the ESC blows, you may not find a good quality ESC that fits the space.
If the motor blows, you may have to stick with a small motor that will blow again because the motor mount wasn’t designed for larger motors.
(words from evoheyax)

You want a portable vehicle NOT a toy, right?

With that being said, I felt ONANs, I-Wonders, and WINboards are worth buying.

Where could I buy a China Board?

Amazon, Aliexpress, and from the Resellers of course.

Aliexpress is cheaper and often ships internationally.
Amazon is more familiar to most of us and has its own return policy to protect buyer.
The price is usually cheapest in Aliexpress, follow by from reseller’s site and the highest on Amazon.

Here is the summary list:

  1. Koowheel:
    1. Koowheel official site
    2. Koowheel on Amazon
    3. Koowheel on Aliexpress
  2. Benchwheel
    1. Benchwheel official site
    2. Benchwheel on Amazon
    3. Benchwheel on Aliexpress
  3. Backfire
    1. Backfire official site
    2. Backfire G2 on Kickstarter
    3. Backfire on Aliexpress
    4. Backfire on Amazon (as Falcon) (Third Party)
  4. Maxfind
    1. Maxfind official site
    2. Maxfind on Amazon
    3. Maxfind on Aliexpress
    4. Maxfind on Indiegogo
  5. Onan
    1. Onan official site
    2. Onan as Griffin Board
    3. Onan on Amazon
    4. Onan on Alibaba
  6. Landwheel
    1. Landwheel official site
    2. Landwheel on Alibaba
  7. I-Wonder
    1. I-Wonder official site
    2. I-Wonder SK B on Amazon as Pure Energy
    3. Pure Energy Electric Skateboards (I-Wonder Reseller)
    4. I-Wonder on Alibaba
  8. WINboard
    1. WINboard official site
    2. WINboard Alibaba
    3. Haloboard Electric skateboards (WINboard GT-M6 rebrand)

Don’t agree with what I said? Feel free to argue in the comments.

Or you can see how most electric skateboards compares in one big bubble plot on my comparison page.