2017 is the year of electric skateboard crowdfunding. Around 34 products were crowdfunded in either Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
However, there is a saying – Back an Eskate crowdfunding campaign only if you believe in Unicorn.
The pessimism is warranted as crowdfunding campaigns for electric skateboards have always been ridden with problems. For starters, delays are the rule rather than the exception while overstating the performance is just too common. As if that is not bad enough, there were outright scams! Anyone remembers Tinboard?
Here are the most common problems in Eskate crowd fundings.
Delays are the rules rather than the exception when it comes to eskate crowdfunding. 20 out of 30 boards had their delivery delayed for more than 1 month. That is 66%! And if you counted out 4 of those boards which were existing products (Ivory, Nuff, Maxfind C, Backfire G2), the statistic of delays would be 19 out of 26 boards, 73%! If you are not willing to wait an extra 6 months, don’t back an eskate crowdfunding campaign.
Offenders: Most of the campaigns.
Overstating the performance
Eskate crowdfunding campaign is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
The price is too good, you think. This must be due to an early bird discount, you think.
But more likely it is because the board is just a POS and the marketed specs straight-up lies.
Influencers may be influenced or did not give the board a rigorous test. Even if they did, what’s stopping the company to produce something weaker than the prototypes?
Electric skateboards are very difficult to ship mainly due to the batteries they carry.
A lot of campaigners underestimated the difficulty when it comes to getting their products to the customer’s doorstep. There are delivery companies that failed to deliver, or outright refuse to deliver the electric skateboards, which in turns leads to an unexpected increase in both the delivery cost and the duration it takes.
Be extra wary if you are not from the States because international delivery are often problematics.
Besides underestimating the complexity of delivering the board, many campaigners underestimated the import tax or shipping cost. They either end up requiring the backers to shell out extra or leave the backer in shock when their custom inform them to pay a significant amount to have their board to have clearance.
Offenders: Acton Blinks, Walnutt Spectra ($19), Backfire G2 (Initially asked for it, then decided not to), Leafboard.
Did not deliver
Some campaigner straight up never delivers. Sometimes, some backer receives their boards while others did not. This might also be something to do with the delivery company.
Offenders: Longrunner, Leafboard, Kuickwheel (went missing before delivery).
Poor post-sale service
Nothing is going to stop a new company to just disappear after delivering the boards. They delivered the board as promised, and now there are nowhere to be found.
Luckily, not all of the offenders went MIA. Most just straight-up suck in post-sales service.
Spec changes are not always bad, but it is often unexpected. How do you feel if the board doesn’t come with the deck that you ordered? Or if the range was sacrificed in favor of more stable voltage output?
Design changes often come with good reason, but it might not be “your” reason.
Offenders: Acton Blink, Backfire G2.
The board that we chose to back is most often state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line new tech that came with an unbelievable price.
However, after waiting 4 months for the due date we were hit by another 3 months of delay. By the time the board reaches our hand, it has lost its edge in specs and pricing to the latest set of new boards in the market.
New boards are always better, and this industry moves fast.
Notable board coming out from Crowdfunding
With all that said. There are actually a few great electric skateboards that came out of 2017 crowdfunding campaigns.
Mellow only took almost 2 years and multiple design changes to finally deliver. Costing somewhere around $1800, Mellow is super pricey, but those who have it absolutely love it.
2 years back, Mellow is state of the art. By the time it delivers on 2017, the competition definitely has caught up.
In particular, Onan took the concept of the electric booster and ran with it. By the time Mellow was released, Onan was already in its third iteration. My review of Onan X2 is here.
Though as pessimistic as I may sound, the proud owners of Mellows are mostly very satisfied with their purchase. Why wouldn’t they, Mellow is powerful, packed with useful features and most important of all, of great quality.
For those who are flying with their boards, Mellow is also considered the best travel board ever, as you can just remove the battery and introduce it as your XXL power bank.
Arc Aileron is one of the few crowdfunding projects that delivers somewhat on time. It also marks the second time Arc team has successfully delivered Kickstarter project, both times with flying colors. (After their first project, Arc Board)
Arc Aileron made it on my list for being the best portable shortboard available. It only weighs 9.5lbs(4.3kg).
Equipped with VESC, the acceleration and deceleration on Arc Aileron are very smooth. It uses small 70mm wheels, so in exchange for a responsive and agile feel, the board has problems handling rough roads.
By the way, Arc team has just teased about their new project, Arc Finix.
Nothing much has been revealed about Finix yet but if they choose to go to Kickstarter with it again, I definitely feel safe recommending it.
It is an electric skateboard with a foldable deck. It also has a swappable <99wh battery. The combination of these 2 features makes Linky the most portable travel board on my list. Well, I just mentioned others say Mellow is the best travel board but well, I guess everyone has their own favorite. (Read: I am poor)
Anyways I digress. Linky is still new and not much user feedback has surfaced, so the quality and riding experiences are still largely unknown. Linky nonetheless brought a new concept to the electric skateboard market and wasn’t that the whole purpose of crowdfunding? To support innovation?
Leafboard was a Kickstarter darling when it launch. Cute size, good price and crazy powerful (marketing specs).
Well, not many people are still expecting Leafboard to deliver after they stop responding to Kickstarter comments and shut off their webpage. They were, however, still somewhat active in their Facebook group with updates now and then, and, finally, to most of our surprise, Leafboard delivered in September 2017.
Too bad the woes didn’t stop there. It starts with complaints of backer getting hit by surprised import charges. Then there were complaints of how the boards under-performs and felt cheap in quality. Well…What a shame.
Turns out Louboards are not a real deal. After a few months of delay, backers who received the boards were largely unimpressed.
The final product under-performs it’s marketing specs and break easily. There were also multiple complaints about SoFlow’s customer services.
Turns out a misogynistic company wasn’t that trustworthy after all. (Much like a misogynistic politician.)
Acton Blink Series
For Acton, the first clue of troubles was when the Indiegogo campaign ends with a 2651% funding. How are they going to produce that many boards?
Initially, I was one of those who applauded Acton for setting a new standard for affordable high performing electric skateboards. Their Indiegogo pricing for Blink S, S2 and Qu4tro all undercuts the competitions in value for price.
Then the Acton starts to announce delays, that was to be expected. What was not cool was how Acton straight up lie about the delivery dates.
It frustrated the backers when Acton told them that they are shipping the very next month -failed to do so, then proceed to give the same promised for the following month and then repeats.
International backers have it worse as they have to wait another few extra months (like 3 months) for the board to finally arrive. To add insult to injury, at one point Acton’s site listed Blink S as having ready stock for purchase while their international backers still waiting to receive their board.
Blink S and S2 are meant to be the best affordable boards. However, it took so long for Acton to deliver that, by the time they were out, better budget options like the Meepo and Backfire G2 were already roaming the streets.
It is even more disappointing if you consider that Acton already had a Kickstarter experience (which they somewhat screw up too) under their belt. Speaking of not learning from experience.
Backing a crowdfunding campaign can be a very tricky ordeal. Considering the risk mentioned above, most of the time, it is not worth the risk. However, a successful crowdfunding campaign usually has a few characteristic.
The company/ team had done it successfully before. Arc, Enertion
The founders are reputable in the Eskate community Enertion, Riptide
The product already somewhat exist. Backfire G2, All those Onan clones
update 4th May 2019:
Winboard Panther is out, Backfire G2T is in.
Updated Budget Longboard Section.
update 21st August:
WINboard Panther and Lynx.
Backfire G2s and Ranger X1.
update 1st June 18:
Added Boosted Mini.
Updated Gen 2 Meepo.
Update Arc Aileron V2.
Update 2nd April 18:
Removed Spectra Series from portable board recommendation after reviewing them myself.
Most Anticipated Penny/Nickel Board list is empty for now.
update 24th February 18:Add in UnikBoards, Kaly.NYC and DIYeboards AT kits are valid choices in for the all-terrain needs.update 9th January 18:
Mentions Metroboard Micro Slim in place of Metroboard shortboard as consensus is Micro Slim> Shortboard.
Winboard & community feedback -Winboard GT-M8 2.0 not for sale anymore.
Backfire G2 back on the menu as feedbacks are their customer service doesn't suck anymore.
There are a lot of “Best Electric Skateboard” posts out there, most of them, however, are more sensational than helpful to someone who is looking to purchase an Electric Skateboard.
Sure, Enertion Raptor 2 might be the best electric skateboard in consensus right now, but it would be insane for me to simply recommend it to anyone who emails me, without first understanding what they want out of their Eskate.
“Hey, I great blog! I just want to ask…” “Enertion Raptor 2. Say no more.”
Among the hundreds of electric skateboard that I’ve researched/ tried on, there is often one or a few electric skateboards that fit best for certain people.
This is that list.
And of course, the list will be updated when a better option comes around and old boards fell out of favors.
So let’s get to it. The best board for those who are looking for the …
1) Best Penny/ Nickel board
To a lot of people, an electric skateboard is mainly a means to commute, and among these people, some value portability above everything else. There is no use to ride to a mall and ends up carrying a 20lbs longboard for the next 2 hours you are there.
There are portable options for both longboard and shortboard too, but for those who are looking for penny/nickel size board, these are the boards that are best in their categories.
With 28″ Meepo Campus discontinued and being replaced by 32″ Meepo Campus 2, there isn’t really any small budget electric skateboard that I can recommend on the market. If there is any board that you feel fit this category, please let me know in the comment section so I can check it out!
These are the other boards that were considered but weren’t picked:
Bolt, Louboard, Winboard GT M8 Mini, Maxfind C
Acton Blink Lite is now known as Blink Go, it is a small, cheap, single hub motor Eskate. There was simply no reason to pick Acton Blink Lite over Meepo Campus as, for the similar price, the Campus has better performance and Meepo are way more reliable than Acton.
However, now that the Campus is discontinued, it left the $200 Acton Blink Go the only board
I still wouldn’t dare to recommend an Acton because of their poor reputation on how they take care of their customers.
There was a time when there is not much option in the electric shortboards market.
Not anymore, there are a lot of new players joining the shortboards niche and it is a red ocean out there.
Best in general:
There are so many good shortboards in the market that it is difficult to pick a best in general. So I will cheat a bit by subcategories them into different motor drive – Belt, Geared, and Hub and pick the best amongst them.
WINboard Lynx ($699-829) -Hub drive
At this point in time, still relatively unknown, Lynx is a treasure to be discovered.
One of the first product put out by Eskate manufacturing giant WINboard, it has all the benefit of a China Board – Great price for performance; while not suffering from the lack of finesse in control, build and design that is characteristic of Chinese electric skateboard aggregator company.
And that unibody carbon fiber design that is shared by the Predator Banshee? Gorgeous.
Light, powerful, refined, there isn’t much of the Lynx that I can pick on. Well, perhaps the lack-of kick tail might be the deal breaker for some.
With their customer support now properly set up, I wouldn’t hold back to say Lynxes are the best electric shortboard available right now.
Boosted Mini X is the exception from the high price, high polish but low-performance stereotype that we know Boosted for.
At 20mph(32kmh) top speed and 14miles(22.5km) range, the Boosted are just slightly behind its competitor in specs, something that the quality, polish and brand name definitely more than made up for. Comparing to it’s weaker brother Mini S($749), Mini X has better value/dollar ratio as it has 2 times the range for just $250 extra and should be the first consideration.
The only downside of the Boosted Mini X would be the weight. At 16.8 lbs(7.6kg), it was really heavy, especially for a shortboard.
If weight is not an issue for you, (then why not buy a longboard?!), Boosted Mini X should be among your first consideration when shopping for an electric shortboard.
Arc Aileron V2 ($1249 + $80 FedEx international shipping)
– Geared Drive
Arc Aileron V2 is one of my favorite electric shortboards!
The board from reliable Arc team nailed almost every aspect that makes a good electric skateboard from quality to performance. The big 90mm wheels (which is compatible to 107mm wheels upgrade!), a light 12.1lbs(5.5kg) weight, and geared motor that free-rolls like dream, Arc Aileron is the perfect board for a lot of people.
Its only weakness should be the torque. As always, a single drive has its limitation.
At one point, Pulse Echo was considered best shortboard on the market right. It is fast (25mph/40kmh), it has a decent range (12mil/ 19km) and has all the important features such as VESC, swappable battery, swappable PU sleeves and water resistance.
However, it seems like the board was never ready for purchase. Early reviews have been positive for this boards, but it is still undergoing refinement and improvement. The lack of availability really makes it a difficult board to recommend.
Pulse founder is from the Eskate community so there is a lot of faith in the product and company.
Eric Birkemeier’s Riptide R1 and R1 Elite aredual belt-motors electric shortboard. They are powerful, fast and light in weight.
It rides pretty well too.
However, priced @ $599 and $729, the Riptide R1 are the victims of a new Boosted Mini series. It’s hard to see anyone pick the R1 over Boosted for $150 and a few pounds lighter. The quality, customer service, and comfort of the Boosted brand make going the Boosted way a more logical and common choice.
The long-standing concern of battery quality and recent woes of quality concern wasn’t helping too.
Metroboard has been around for a long time and is known to build quality belt motor boards.
Unless you are in love with the design, there is little reason to go with the heavy 29″ Metroboard Micro Slim today. The other boards I mentioned were either faster, lighter or cheaper or in some case just better overall.
When I first came to the eskate scene, Acton’s board is a company I like. They have boards in every tier and always edge out the competition in pricing.
As more and more good budget eskate came to the market, Acton no longer has the edge in pricing. On top of that, the bad reputation of Acton for their customer services and board quality makes me uncomfortable in recommending any of their board.
While there are a lot of “this is the best board I have ever ridden” video, there is, even more, posts of “My Blink S2 broke…”
Only a few have received Huger Classic after a 2 months delay in their Indiegogo shipping.
So being a new brand (that I have no confidence in), I would not start recommending it before the review comes in. Even if it is all it promised, at $449, Riptide R1 would still be an all-around better purchase.
Exway X1 has been around for a while, and it has largely flown under the radar.
In a world that China Boards are frown upon for being raw, unrefined with poor customer care. Exway X1 is none of that.
With the performance, ride feel, control, quality and service that rivals that of the Boosted, while asking only for two-thirds of the price. Is EXWAY X1 THE BOOSTED KILLER? (Oh my gawd what did I just said, I sound like the rest of them now!)
Backfire G2T has made alot of noises this year, and rightfully so.
It has a perfectly smooth control thanks to the Hobbywing ESC. It has a powerful torque when the Turbo mode is activated. It uses great Samsung 30Q batteries which provide range while eliminating voltage sag. It uses Caliber II trucks that delivers stable and comfortable rides. It comes with both 83mm and 96mm wheels which allows the board to be versatile in any road type.
I define a budget board as a board that are asking for less than $500. With the rise of Chinese brands, we are spoiled with choices and for that, I have made a separate list introducing and comparing boards in this price range.
*Marketed as a longboard, the Linky is only 31.4inch(80cm) in length, it is more like a shortboard actually.* *credit to Armin from Discord community who spotted this*
I think it goes without saying that the only electric skateboard that can be folded and put into a backpack is the most portable electric longboard.
After few months of delays, Linky was finally delivered to fellow Indiegogo backer in December 2017. Too bad there wasn’t review out to know how well the board rides.
It is 12.1lbs(5.5kg) in weight only, and can be folded into a 15.8inch(40cm) package that can be easily stored in backpacks. Linky is also packed with features – phone app, swappable battery, LED lights and is waterproof.
It is the most special electric skateboard I have researched on so far.
For your information, there are a lot of fold-able decks in the China Market, an attempt to copy Linky’s design. A friend who tried out those board reported that those counterfeits were very very heavy, definitely not on par with Linky in the portability sense.
Note: In the more DIY side, many Eskate makers offers custom all-terrain builts, famously with Trampa boards. You can check out UnikBoards or get in touch with Kaly.nyc for that. These makers tend to provide top of the line service and quality.
Carvon Evo and Revo 4WD have booked their place as the champions of high-speed electric skateboards. After months of delay in their Kickstarter delivery date, they are estimated to shipin February 2018.
The Carvon Evo and REVO 4WD are too rocking a different kind of direct drives and have most of the same benefit such as power efficient and allow the use of standard longboard wheel.
Best on-hand review for Carvon Evo from an early backer can be found here.
(This time, I am not going to list down all the electric longboard that were considered because there is just too many of them!)