Before I begin, I must disclose that I’ve had a long history with the EL1.
Hoyt St. first sent an EL1 to me all the way back in May of 2019. At first, they didn’t want me to write a review on it because they wanted to slowly ramp up production and had kinks to work out. Instead, Hoyt simply wanted me to test it really hard and see what I could do with it, then report back my opinions. I was happy to do this, and the conversation back and forth has been constant since then.
Today’s date is June 5th, 2020. It’s been a whole year plus some since I first stepped on the EL1. Hoyt has finally given me the OK to write my review. And I have some thoughts.
It’s All In The Details
The Hoyt EL1 is an unconventional package indeed. From the moment you open the box, the attention to detail is apparent. For example, each EL1 comes with a carrying bag. This isn’t your run of the mill carrying bag mind you. Not only did Hoyt custom design this bag specifically for the EL1, they also had the forethought to make the bag a part of the packaging as a replacement for your typical environmentally unfriendly styrofoam.
Inside the carrying/shipping bag, the remote control and charger is tucked away in their own specially designed pouches. Everything has a place, even the simple, well written, color printed instruction manual. Who even prints instruction manuals in color these days? Hoyt does apparently.
The details don’t stop at packaging. Everything about the board screams attention to detail. From the risk of death warning labels, to the slightly dimpled power indicator lights on the nose, to the tastefully engraved “Handcrafted In Oregon” and “Bamboo Revolution” badges on the underside of the enclosure sandwich which meets the topside to create one single flowing shape.
If it sounds a bit like I’m fangirling already, that’s because I am. I really like the design and shape of the board. I think it’s beautiful. I mean just look at those self tensioning motors mounts!
But all the detail in the world won’t make a difference if the end product is no good right?
What’s my definition of “good skating”? Well, for starters, the board must be comfortable. I don’t just mean the deck, although that does play a big part in it. I mean the wholistic experience. From the geometry in the concave of the deck to the ridefeel of the narrower contact patch and hardness of the wheel, the EL1 as a complete package is simply primed for good skating.
The non-flex, dropdown deck has just the right curves for you to brace against under hard acceleration and braking. The Caliber trucks lend themself to fairly precise carving and nuanced control. The Zoobomb wheels, while not the best urethane I’ve ever ridden, do a fine job of gripping the road and sliding out when you need them to. It’s clear that Hoyt put a major emphasis on designing something that skated well.
But the skate setup isn’t the only thing good here. In electric skateboarding we care about the electronics right? Why else would we be here?
Well I’m here to report that the electronics are great as well.
The EL1 (and indeed Hoyt’s entire future lineup) is built on VESC tech. The VESC, or Vedder Electronic Speed Controller, is a super capable, super powerful, open source speed controller design made specifically for applications such as electric skateboards, drones, scooters, robotics, and the like.
Why is this important? Well this means that the hardware in the Hoyt is endlessly configurable and extensible. Want telemetry logging? Stick a Bluetooth module in there. Want more powerful acceleration or braking or a different throttle curve? Just tune it.
Another advantage of the VESC is that it has been vetted in countless test cases by countless people in countless environments. Run within its hardware limits, it’s rock solid and dependable, and Hoyt has certainly harnessed its power well.
The particular VESC revision that Hoyt is running in their boards is the 4.12 hardware revision. This doesn’t really mean much to the end user, but for those who care, it means a couple things. First, it does really well at 10S (42V) but not so well at 12S (50.4V). Second, it doesn’t do well running in FOC (Field Oriented Control) mode, a motor control method that, while more refined in feeling, is more demanding for the controller than the alternative: BLDC (BrushLess Direct Current) control. Hoyt knows this, and so optimized their setup to play to the 4.12 hardware’s strengths. The result is great dependability.
Besides the controllers, the motors are also high quality and built to last. Hoyt sources their motors custom from KDE, a US based motor design and manufacturing firm specializing in military grade motors. These motors are built to withstand way higher than normal operating temperatures while performing at a high level, and I think it’s a testament to its engineering that I’ve never heard of anybody having issues with the motors specifically.
As an aside, this board is so reliable that it’s the one I lend out to experienced riders who ask me to borrow a board simply because I know they won’t break it even if they ride it hard. It’s also simply a great ride but you know. I digress.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the EL1 is the modularity aspect of its battery pack design.
When Hoyt first launched the EL1, they had gone where no other manufacturer had really gone before, and the EL1 battery packs are, in my opinion, the cleanest solution I’ve seen to the problem of battery modularity. With the main goal being the flyability of the board, Hoyt had specially designed 10S1P battery packs featuring individual BMS and battery level indicators. These battery packs slotted neatly into the belly of the board and connected to the main power rail using blade connectors. In my opinion, this is an incredibly clean, wire-free, and foolproof method for managing modular battery packs.
In an interesting turn of events however, Hoyt has recently decided to abandon the blade connector design for a more traditional XT60 connector for their battery packs. Hoyt tells me that they made this decision due to a small number of users reporting that the blade connectors were wearing out under intense stress and vibration. Although I’m sad to see the blade connectors go, I understand the reliability standpoint. The new XT60 design is more flexible while still retaining modularity. What’s more, it opens up the possibility of easily building your own battery packs.
The EL1 also allows the usual wheel and drivetrain gearing changes that usually comes with a belt driven board, and since you have direct access to the VESC’s settings with the EL1, I would even say that these choices combined with some settings adjustments are even more effective here. Hoyt is even going to offer 5″ pneumatic tire options as well as non-modular battery packs for increased range.
I will say that while it’s not the fastest board on the market topping out at 24mph-ish real world, Hoyt’s investment in engineering has certainly shone through in the end product.
Torque is great. I weigh around 125lb and live in San Francisco, one of the hilliest cities in the world. From my time spent with this board, I can report that this board has more than enough torque to get me up any hill. I’ve gladly let my friends try the EL1, and they all say the same thing. Plenty of power and good braking. Plus, I actually think it is “fast enough.”
And here we get to the only thing that reeeeaaally gets me about the EL1.
There’s no two ways about it: I think it’s lacking for a $2,000+ board. Realistically riding, I can get maybe 8-10 miles in the city, 12 if I really stretch it. If you’re on flatter ground with less stop and go traffic, that figure will improve, but honestly not by that much. Hoyt’s own range calculator suggests as much about the lacking range, so you should really understand your riding conditions before buying this board.
“But Sof,” you say, “what about flyability?” And that’s a fair question. After all, I did say that Hoyt had designed these packs with flight in mind. To that question I would reply that while the EL1 is indeed flyable, I wouldn’t buy it for a travel board.
There are other great options for travel boards (Unlimited x Loaded kit on a shortboard, Exway Wave) that are lighter and less cumbersome if that is really your main focus. I think the EL1 should be considered more a prosumer board that just happens to be flyable more than anything else, and in that sense, I think maintaining flyability was probably a misstep. You end up with range that doesn’t satisfy the prosumer and a pricepoint that doesn’t really jive with the more casual consumer.
While Hoyt is, as mentioned above, offering a single Samsung 40T 10S3P pack, I haven’t tested it for range. Theoretically, the 40T pack will provide just over 60% more capacity than the original three 10S1P modular 25R packs the board ships with, so extrapolating linearly I may get up to 13-16 of realistic, hard riding miles on a charge with the 40T pack. But I’m a believer of not buying products based on promised future upgrades, even when I have full faith the manufacturer will deliver on their promise, so I’ll make my conclusions when Hoyt starts shipping the 40T packs.
What About The Remote?
Yes, let’s talk about the remote.
The Hoyt Puck is arguably one of the more interesting, if not the most interesting, remotes in eskate. Inspired by slide pucks common in the world of downhill longboarding, the round, curved design is certainly unique and maybe even polarizing to some. When it was first introduced, many wondered just how well this remote would work in practice.
Honestly, I’ve grown to really like it. Despite its strange appearance, it’s comfortable to hold in the hand. I think it’s the first eskate remote to really take into consideration left handedness, with all buttons just as accessible when in left handed mode as in right handed mode. Hoyt offers weight options for the thumbwheel so you can adjust it to your preference as well.
Beyond ergonomics, in typical Hoyt fashion, the remote has proven to be absolutely rock solid in terms of performance and reliability. Ask anybody in the DIY community what remote they would recommend if you wanted a consistently reliable remote, and I’ll bet maybe 90% of them would say the Hoyt Puck. The Puck’s reliability is so well known, in fact, that other premium eskate manufacturers are offering the Hoyt Puck for their boards. Case in point: Lacroix’s customized Hoyt Pucks.
The only minor annoyance I have with the Puck is that there’s no board battery indicator on the remote itself. However, I’m ok with that actually when the Puck is paired with the EL1, as the EL1 features a sleek battery gauge right on the nose of the deck.
Hoyt says you should try the Puck before you knock it, and I really agree. It’s an ergonomic remote with a proven history of reliability. Plus it’s CNC’d out of Bamboo with an aluminum thumbwheel, comes in a variety of stains, and customizable with engravings. What other manufacturer would do this for individual remotes?
And that’s not all. A couple months ago, I got the message from Hoyt asking me to send in my EL1 for the blade connector to XT60 conversion. What surprised me was how painless the entire process was. There were no costs involved and the turnaround was fast. I’m told by various customers that they’ve had similar experiences with Hoyt and the services they provide.
I would also like to commend Hoyt for doing this blanket recall. I have many friends in the business of building and selling hardware, and they all tell me that one of their greatest fears is issuing a recall. In addition to the complexity of communicating with the customer and processing the hardware that comes in, Hoyt is taking on a huge financial loss for what seemed to me like a relatively minor issue. However, I think this just further speaks to the character of the company and the people who run it. In the end, they didn’t really have to do this. But they did, and I think that’s pretty awesome.
Hoyt even offers a free tune up service for customers for the first year after purchase. I mean come on! The deference that Hoyt shows to the customer is what really sets them apart in this industry, and I hope as they continue to grow as they maintain their level of service.
So what do I think about the EL1?
I think if you appreciate rideability, details, durability, and good engineering, you will like this board. I think if you are prioritizing miles per dollar, you should look elsewhere. I think the EL1 is, in the end, a tantalizing niche offering.
But most of all, I think the EL1 is a stepping stone platform for Hoyt’s future. With the EL1, Hoyt’s basically done a year long engineering verification on their platform, figuring out all the kinks and feeling out their style. I’ve been privy to their roadmap after the EL1, and Hoyt’s definitely gearing up to make a huge splash.
And when they do, I’ll be there to cheer for them.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve finally updated our best electric skateboards list after having it sitting idle for months. And in this update, we will be recommending boards according to the price point they are in – since you know, most of us shop with a budget in mind. We are pretty sure that we have considered all viable product (or at least most of it), and all the best options have made it to this recommendation list..
As what’s right for you often comes down to preference, we’ve included a few options for each price segment – each of them better than the others on a certain aspect. And hence the numbering on this list doesn’t necessarily means the ranking of those boards or implying that one board is better than the others (unless we explicitly said so, heh).
Of course, if you are interested in buying any electric skateboard, be sure to check out our Discount Page for additional discounts.
For those who are new to ESHQ, we’ve been reviewing electric skateboard for three years now. Just look around, I’m sure there is enough proof that we are pretty well informed.
When it comes to budget electric skateboards, your options are to look from the Chinese vendors, especially from the Big 4 – Meepo, Backfire, Wowgo, and Ownboard.
Nobody does affordable better than these Chinese brands, and for the past year, the Chinese brands have collectively proved that top product doesn’t have to cost top dollar. In fact, they releases some of the best electric skateboards in the past year.
Budget Longboards: (Below $499)
If you consider post-sale service something important, going with a budget brand with a good track record is pretty important. Countless new budget brands have sprung up and closed down as this market segment is crowded as hell. Taking that into consideration, and after reviewing dozens of budget electric skateboards from Meepo, Backfire, Ownboard, Wowgo, Teamgee, Verreal, Yeeplay, Apsuboard. Below is our recommended list:
Thanks to the recent price drop, the once $999 Exway X1 now became THE best budget board options. Unlike other Chinese brand on this list Exway places a lot more emphasis on the design, polish, and user experience – and that sets it further apart from other budget brands.
While X1’s range may be weak in comparison to mid-tier boards where it used to belong; its specs is competitive in the budget segment. And outside of the numbers, Exway X1 simply does everything better.
And while the numbers are merely competitive, the other aspect of the X1 blows the competition out of the water. It uses great skate parts like the seismic truck and bushing. Great electronic parts like the customised Hobbywing ESC with a companion mobile app that allows further customisation on control. Exway great design, top-tier polish, Apple like user experience and top tier customer service also put the brand ahead of the competition. Take powering on the board as example, imagine turning on the remote and having your Exway X1 automatically power on without you needing to bend over and fish for the power button, not even needing you to push it to turn on! That only happens on the Exway and that is just one amongst the many way Exway is better in designing for refined user experience.
The X1 also has a very important features that other boards lacks- it’s IP55 waterproof. Some people even use water spray to clean it! (which we wouldn’t recommend, water may rust the bearing.)
Downside? Some people think 80mm wheels are too small, especially for a hub board on rough pavement, especially for a board with stiff deck.
With that said, Exway X1 is like an NBA player who was now a bit older and decides to play in the CBA; and is very clearly, the head and shoulder above the budget longboard league right now.
The first generation Apsuboard X1 was a pretty mediocre mid-tier belt board. While it has a big battery, the imperfection in it’s control ruined the riding experience for me. And oh boy, did things get much better since.
Apsuboard X1 has since then made the ESC change to Hobbywing ESC, bringing perfect smoothness to its control. It then drop the price to $449 while retaining the big 288wh 10s4p battery – this spec simply slaughters the competition.
Outside of the numbers, X1 uses familiar part. Flexible deck with good subtle concave. Generic trucks that works okay, standard generic wheels. This all amount to decent but average riding experience.
Simply put, Apsuboard X1 has an amazing value for its price. It may lack the polish that the major Chinese brands has, but you can’t get a better value hub board with this price much less a belt-driven board which traditionally costs more. And while Apsuboard is a small brand, it’s a brand that we have know well and have enough confident in to recommend.
And now, we come back to the familiar faces – MeepoBoard.
Meepo has always been the best selling budget brand since its inception in 2017 and it hold on to that status in all the subsequent years.
Meepo V3 is now the board that inherited that crown. Always emphasizing on power, Meepo now has the most powerful hub motors (because Enertion has gone bye-bye.), and this shows in torque and acceleration. The downside of a big motor is thinner urethane layer over the hub motor and hence rougher ride on a bad road (but there is always the option to upgrade to 100mm motor and wheels yourselves.)
While Meepo, with its LingYi ESC, is always said to be slightly less smooth in control than Hobbywing ESC use in some other boards, the difference is now negligible, especially after their new ‘Flux ESC’ update. The use of LingYi ESC allows them to have ‘push-to-turn-on’ features that boards with Hobbywing ESC couldn’t have.
Generally, for anyone who wants a budget hub board that are strong and pretty well polished, they should join the Meepo club.
For those who desire comfort above all, Backfire G2 Black is the way to go.
Backfire G2 Black is a ride where you can turn your brain off. Using Hobbywing ESC, it is as smooth as can be. Big 96mm wheels are especially nice for those who want safety in wheel size and want to worry less about road bumps and cracks. The trucks are very turny, but this wasn’t a big issue as you can always a) tighten the truck b) change bushing. Anyways, the top speed of G2 Black wasn’t too crazy either so stability usually won’t be an issue.
If you want a smooth and relaxing ride, Backfire G2 Black is your best choice amongst budget longboard segments.
Note: If you are considering buying a Wowgo 2s or an Ownboard W1S, then go for Backfire G2 Black instead. These three boards have identical specs and ride feel, but being the newest, Backfire G2 Black is slightly better in every aspect.
Remember back in 2018? When budget board just became and thing and thousand of brand such as the Meepo, Wowgo, Ownboard, AEboard, Teemo, Yeeplay etc offered their first budget boards? Those boards were often assembled together with generic parts available on market and costs somewhere around $380? Apsuboard V3 is a board reminiscing of that era – using generic trucks, enclosure, popular flex deck with handle, a 144wh Samsung 20R battery in 10s2p configuration and the LingYi ESC.
(Hobbywing ESC now available for $20 more!)
Well, you might ask: “if Apsuboard V3 is a package from the yesteryears, how did it made the best electric skateboards list then?” Good question my friend, the reason is that, it is selling for only $299.
For an electric longboard, Apsuboard V3 without a doubt, the cheapest board worth buying. If you are really tight on the budget and have to spend as little as possible, this is it. If you ever thought of going to Aliexpress or buying some no name brand off Amazon, don’t – get Apsuboard V3 instead. At least it is from a known brand that won’t rip you off and is actually a decent product and not a toy.
Meepo Mini 2 uses a similar deck as the Boosted Mini, a short deck with an aggressive dish-like concave that allows excellent responsive control of the board. Unlike the Boosted Mini, however, Meepo Mini 2 uses a Shredder truck with a wide 200mm hanger, which makes it very stable even at its top speed.
It had very recently changed from using Hobbywing ESC to latest LingYi ESC (Meepo Esc 5.0). I personally think this is an appropriate change as this brings on the push-to-turn on features. It is always a great feature to have, but especially so for those who plan to make multiple short trips on the shortboard. Controls are almost as smooth as the Hobbywing but with tighter brakes, which reception on it is pretty polarised.
With that said, all this comes together and makes the Mini 2 the best option amongst budget shortboards and the first consideration for anyone looking to buy a budget shortboard.
Note: When buying a Chinese brand, you will usually come across 2 ESC choices. Hobbywing ESC and LingYi ESC. Hobbywing ESC has no push-to-start but have the smoothes acceleration and braking possible. Many however, complaints that the brakes are too smooth or soft and could be dangerous when you REALLY NEED TO STOP. LingYi ESC on the other hand, has slowly been catching up on the control smoothness. With each iteration, they get smoother and smoother. (And Meepo, being THE heavy weight budget brand, always gets the latest iteration much earlier than other brands.). Braking on LingYi ESC can be adjusted, but its overall much tighter and stronger than that of the Hobbywing ESC. LingYi ESC also always come with the push-to-turn-on feature, a useful feature indeed. When you got used to the feature, the need to bend down to reach for the power button underneath the board may feel ‘disgusting’. Heh.
Sleek Design – Drop through deck – Single hub – Waterproof – Super affordable
Teamgee H8 is the cheapest entry level board in the budget shortboard segment, it will only set you back $300.
It only has a single hub, so it will not be the fastest or stronger. The range on H8 is nothing to brag about either. With that said, for anyone who is new to eskating and want something that can’t hurt you physically and economically, H8 is that cute puppy.
Furthermore, a drop through deck with lower riding height is exactly the type of set-up a beginner should go with. So, instead of buying a no name electric shortboard from Alibaba, going with Teamgee H8 would be the better way to go.
Best Lower Mid-tier Electric Skateboards: ($499-$700)
There was a time when no vendor would sell an eskate at this price range as nobody would dare to dish out this much money at an unknown brand, and no premium brand would care to take a profit cut to sell a product at this price.
This changed in 2019.
As Chinese budget brands proved themselves to be reliable, those who are looking for an upgrade are happy to pay a slightly higher price to the Meepo, Backfire, Wowgo and Ownboard for something better.
In one short year, we have seen more than a few big releases such as Meepo NLS, Backfire G2T, Wowgo 3, Ownboard W2 then Backfire G3. Then there are smaller brands such as the Lycaon GR, Enskates, ThePeakboard etc. After major price cut, Bustin’s Hybrid boards also joined the fray.
The new Once a no-man land, the mid-tier segment is now flooded with choices, and most of them are good. And for those who are anal about price per performance ratio, I would argue that the best electric skateboards for them falls within this price segment.
Lower Mid-tier Longboards: ($499-$700)
While smaller brands like the Lycaon might look impressive on paper, major Chinese brands are generally still better. Outside of the specs sheets, they use better parts and have more reliable customer service, and you won’t have to worry of them suddenly going out of business.
So below are our choices after considering both boards from small brands such as Lycaon, Enskate, ThePeak, and boards from major brands including Meepo, Backfire, Wowgo, Ownboard, Exway, and Bustin Hybrid boards.
(I’m gonna emphasis that the number in the list are sorted by price and not ranking, they are all good, and each is best for different use case)
Note: To those who are still asking about Yuneec and Koowheel, are you guys from 2016?
Looking for a hub board that rides like Boosted? Get a Wowgo 3.
Looking for a hub board that carves like a dream? Get a Wowgo 3.
Wowgo’s first major hit, the Wowgo 2s was endlessly compared to the Boosted board, and I’m guessing that’s the reason Wowgo chose to double down on that angle with Wowgo 3. Flexible deck, Paris trucks, and super smooth customised Hobbywing ESC makes Wowgo 3 deliciously smooth both in control and in carving.
With the riding experience so overwhelmingly good, one might even overlook the fact that Wowgo 3 is also scary powerful and has an acceleration that rivals any board in the mid-tier category. What’s crazier? It recently got a $100 price cut to make it an unbelievable deal considering the price-performance ratio.
If you are not sure about your preference but want something better than a budget board?
Get Wowgo 3. Everybody loves Wowgo 3.
Stiffer maple decks, Caliber II trucks combine with the predictability of a customised Hobbywing ESC make Backfire G2T a very stable board that is easy to ride fast on.
The ability to swap between 83mm and 96mm wheels is an understated perk. I think smaller wheels are more fun to ride on when the roads are smooth as you will be riding lower, riding stabler, and the board felt more responsive. And when the streets aren’t that nice, 96mm wheels give safety and comfort with its size.
On top of that, Backfire is pretty generous in the G2T package and includes the canon LED on it, which makes getting Shredlights an option rather than a must. Overall, the Backfire G2T is pretty all rounded; and an exceptionally good choice for those who are not quite sure on what they want.
Note: Turbo modes on the G2T sucks for its 30second time span and jarring transition out from the mode. But there is a simple workaround: don’t use it.
After establishing itself as a premium brand, Exway has been expanding to the mid and budget segment by slashing the price of their older models (Exway X1) and introducing new affordable line-up (Exway Flex). The best thing about it? They are bringing their renowned attention to details, product polish and great customer service together with them.
Using a flexy deck, proprietary Trist Truck and the best version of Hobbywing ESC, the Flexway, gives the smoothest possible control and a buttery smooth ride that trumps even the Boosted. It would have given Boosted the final killer-blow if it hasn’t already fallen months before Flexway’s releases. Flexway, however, is going to hurt other Boosted-like boards (Wowgo 3 and Wowgo 3x) a lot, like a really lot.
Why? Exway Flex stood head and shoulder above all the competitors. Flex has better polish, has a smartphone app, is IP55 waterproof, has the smart turn on (board automatically turn on with the remote), has better customer service track records, has a more complete accessories options (wheels/ pulleys), has the ability to swap between hubs and belts, etc.
It has received lots of hype, and after reviewing the board ourselves, we know the hype is 100% justified.
Belt-driven electric skateboards tend to cost a bit more to make as compared to hub motors, and Ownboard W2 is made well for the price it’s asking.
All other belt-driven eskate at this price range use an old version of LingYi ESC in-order to make sufficient torque possible, but that causes the board to be significantly less smooth in control. Ownboard W2 instead goes with Hobbywing ESC that allows the silky smooth acceleration and braking that we all know and love.
However, this choice is not without major sacrifices. Going with a weaker 1st Gen Hobbywing ESC means Ownboard W2 fails to capitalise on the natural strength of a belt-driven set-up – it has neither a strong torque nor brakes. W2 also seems a little bit out of place in the low-mid tier segment when it comes to the parts in it. Yes, it has ceramic bearings that are more water-resistant and might roll better. However, it is still using generic Paris clone trucks, generic bushings, generic Hobbywing remotes, and the board looks like it can use a lot more polish.
With all that said, W2 is still the best belt board at the $500 mark – sandwiched between cheaper Apsuboard X1 and better but pricier Exway Flex riot.
Meepo NLS Pro is an upgrade and replacement over the original NLS – AKA, the board that started the whole low mid-tier boom.
Unlike the other boards from the list, which mainly aim for refinement and minor performance upgrade, NLS Pro pushes the enveloped in a few ways. First, it is a speed demon and has a top speed unmatched by any board of this category (32mph/ 51kmh). It uses the same hub as Meepo V3 (but 100mm), and as mentioned, is the most powerful hub motor on the production board market right now. Second, it uses giant 100mm wheels that are practically semi-AT. NLS Pro also uses a flexible deck that is slightly better in quality compared to the competitors.
Putting it all together, the NLS Pro is very powerful, reasonably smooth (even more so after ‘Flux’ ESC upgrade), very comfortable in both carving (Flex deck and Shredder Trucks), sufficiently stable for me to test the top speed (the new Macroon bushing are great) and practical in most terrain (big 100mm wheels).
For those who likes power but still want something that are smooth and carves fun, NLS Pro is it.
Note: It might be a little bit confusing as NLS Pro (and Meepo Mini 2 ER) change the ESC they use from Hobbywing to LingYi ESC mid-year. This move makes the brake stronger, brought back the push-to-turn-on features. And with November “Flux ESC” update, it should not be any less smooth than Hobbywing ESC now.
Backfire Mini has lots of things going for it. It has a beautiful, sleek, stealthy, unibody carbon fiber deck that allows the board to be light. It rides very agile and is super powerful, in fact a little bit too powerful for its size. Not to worry, that power is smoothly controlled with the new 12s Hobbywing ESC.
Backfire Mini is also one of the most flight friendly boards as it allows us to swap out the 175Wh battery to a smaller and flight-compatible 99Wh battery – by removing just eight screws on the deck.
Sadly, this beautiful board isn’t without its flaws. Backfire Mini’s most notable shortcomings would be its vulnerability to water. Its electronic compartment with top access can very quickly turn into a water bucket when it rains. Backfire Mini is also relatively weak in range when compared to boards at this price, as some of your money had evidently went into the design and the material cost.
Unlike the base version of Meepo Mini 2, Mini 2 ER is a beast.
Forgoing the Hobbywing ESC, Mini 2 ER uses LingYi ESC for extra power, torque, and push-to-turn-on-features and stronger brakes. And with the ‘Flux’ update on the ESC, control smoothness should be almost equal to the Hobbywing ESC.
Mini 2 ER is NLS PRO with 90mm wheels and shorter deck. They use the same internal and have the same beastly performance. Of course, it is worth repeating that Meepo Mini 2 and 2 ER rides very stable thanks to the wide 200mm Shredder trucks. While some longboard felt sketchy going past 26mph/41kmh, Meepo Mini 2 ER stays pretty stable beyond that.
It is heavy; it is stable, and it is wide – Meepo Mini 2 ER rides like a longboard, as opposed to an agile shortboard. Don’t buy this if you are looking for portability, though; the thing is heavy.
And finally, at this price segment is also where our first all-terrain board makes an appearance. A few company actually tried their hand in developing budget AT board, but little of them are actually good enough.
We will continue to be on the look out for other choices, but for now, your only option for budget All-Terrain will be …
Meepo City Rider is the most affordable board with giant wheels out there. For $679 you get an AT set-up that’s comfortable to ride.
City Rider is, however, strictly speaking, a semi-AT board. As the name suggested, it used should be confined to roads instead of difficult terrain such as sands/ trails, etc. This is for two reasons: 1) Airless AT means the board will bob and bounce rather badly when riding on uneven terrain, and throw you off the board. 2) The hub motors may get dirt stuck on it, requiring maintenance work.
With that in mind, if you are looking for a big-wheeled board for your exceptionally poor city roads, Meepo City Rider is awesome. The board has very recently switch from Hobbywing ESC to the LingYi ESC and now is with tighter brakes (and push to start feature). Unlike most AT that likes to go with double kingpin trucks, City Rider went with Shredder Trucks with extended length making it super stable in top speed while still plenty good in turning.
Best Higher Mid-tier Electric Skateboards: ($700-$1000)
Now, let’s look at the best electric skateboards between $700 and $1,000.
Interestingly, just three years ago, $700 used to mean ‘budget board.’
Now, the higher mid-tier price range gives you boards that are very well rounded. Of course, each of the board in this list is here because they excel in something that others don’t.
This price point also give us a few good AT options.
Higher Mid-tier Longboards: ($700-$1000)
Most of the major Chinese brands that have products in this price range make this list. Why? Because they are all pretty great. My guess is, as they are expanding to the premium market segment, a lot more effort was put into making sure the higher priced boards are truly good.
If you are the type of person who wants no compromise in product polish, customer service, or just simply couldn’t decide between belt-drive or hub-drive – Exway X1 Pro and Pro Riot is the board for you.
Exway X1 Pro and Pro Riots have their drive train set up modularly so that you can switch between hub set-up and belt set-up conveniently. Exway X1 Pro is probably the more popular amongst the two, as the hub set-up is more consistent with the overall theme of stealth, sleek, and light. The belt-drive Pro Riot has the added benefit of powerful torque and acceleration that bested the Boosted, and the option to use your favourite wheels be it the Orangatang or Abec Flywheel (need to buy the pulley).
While Exway is always pricier, it is for a good reason. It has a refined control, which can be further tailored to your preference with the companion app. The whole user experience with an Exway product is also outstanding, akin to that of the Apple’s: Smart turn on, magnetic charging port, different control slider and ride modes… the list goes on.
Backfire G3 and G3 Plus are basically a slight variation of the same product.
(G3 Plus has a bigger battery, use carbon fiber deck and slightly stronger motor).
What doesn’t change is that both of them will be the best hub motor longboard in this price segment, as they do everything quite well. They give comfortable ride and has specs that matches their price.
Some may say their brakes can be stronger, and they underperforms in range test (if riding aggressively), but for the majority of the riders with appropriate expectation (on the range), G3 and G3 Plus is undoubtedly the best hub board in this price segment.
Note: Personally, I think G3 Plus is the way to go. Extra 85mm sets of wheels, bigger battery, and carbon fiber deck for $200 extra? Worth it.
We said Wowgo 3 is one of the best mid-tier longboards that are available right now, and Wowgo 3x is everything that, but with belt drive – and belt drive means even stronger torque and even smoother ride (thanks to having more thane by using 4 real wheels).
Flexible deck, Paris Truck, smooth Hobbywing ESC means Wowgo 3x is both buttery smooth and awesome for carving. The 12S customised Hobbywing ESC is thrillingly powerful for the hub-driven Wowgo 3 and even more so for the belt-driven Wowgo 3x. 259wh battery pack promise a range of 14miles or 22.5km, equals to that of the Boosted Stealth, making a direct comparison between the two irresistible.
I know this is an overused cliche but… Wowgo 3 and 3x are the Boosted killer that we’ve been waiting for. For anyone looking for a riding experience very similar to the Boosted, Wowgo 3x is the one for you.
Considering the riding experience, performance, polish, price and popularity of the Wowgo 3x, I would consider it the product of the year for 2019 and the best electric skateboard coming out of 2019.
Double Drop Deck – Heavy duty – Powerful – Big 100mm wheels
If your idea of best electric skateboard is the one with the most power, Meepo AWD Pro will sit high on your list. With Enertion Raptor 2 out of the picture, Meepo AWD Pro is now the most powerful hub board out there. With four powerful hub motors, there are no hills too steep and no riders too heavy for the AWD Pro.
Meepo AWD Pro has the highest top speed of all boards outside of the premium boutique boards and it uses a double-drop deck that’s on the stiffer side make sure the board is enough stable for its speed.
Besides having insane torque and crazy top speed, Meepo AWD Pro is an experience similar to the regular V3. It has a similar range using two sets of 10s1p Samsung 40T cells. It uses giant 100mm wheels just like the NLS Pro, making it practically semi-AT.
So, if you need the torque or have lots of hills to climb, Meepo AWD Pro is your only option as Enertion Raptor 2.1 is now off the table, and Acton Qu4tro is un-recommendable.
Finally, this is where you can get the most affordable Boosted. There are, however, limited selections of shortboards from other brands. We have the Riptide R1X, which I don’t recommend – and nothing else. My guess is – most of the company had strategically avoid putting out boards that are in direct competition with the Boosted and that’s probably the right business move.
Note (March 2020): Boosted has gone under. Yes, you heard it right. So, you probably wouldn’t be able to and also shouldn’t get a Boosted at the moment.
While Boosted was never a great buy in the sense of performance per dollar, it is still the best selling electric skateboard brand. Brand name, product polish, design, and customer service is what you are paying for when buying a Boosted.
If you want a shortboard that’s a bit lighter and air-travel friendly, go for the Mini S. If you want something sturdier, has more power and don’t mind the weight? Mini X it is.
And finally, at this price segment is also where the true all-terrain board makes appearance.
As everything affordable, we look to the Chinese brands to find the best value per dollar, and after considering everything from Backfire, Ownboard, and Wowgo. Below are the recommended boards sorted by price.
They are comfortable to ride on with thick 120mm cloud wheels, double kingpin, and smooth Hobbywing ESC. It is also versatile as it is agile enough for both city commute and light off-road usage.
With good ride feel and great performance, the only nitpick that I have on the Bamboo GT is it lacks in refinement. This I mean by – a little better polish? A higher-quality bushing? A slightly tighter brakes? Oh! And the cloud wheels, as comfortable as they are, might not be as durable as a regular thane wheel.
I will put it this way, Ownboard Bamboo GT is 9/10 boards as it does everything 9/10, almost perfect; leaving you to ponder on the what-ifs.
For those who are new to the eskate world, these are probably the only boards that they heard of, namely Boosted and Evolve. Inboard M1 too, started at this price range before they went under. Enertion Raptor 2 was here before they sort of went under. The weakest specced single drive Trampa Orrsom falls in this price range too (but falls out of recommendation list.) Other than that, you can get some premium boutique brands such as Hoyt St and some decent AT boards for this price.
Instead of splitting boards by category, I’m going to introduce them by brands as few of the boards here allow switch between streets and AT.
Ownboard Bamboo AT/GT and Carbon AT/GT are obviously ‘inspired’ by Evolve Bamboo and Carbon series. That, however, doesn’t stop them from being really good.
Using a Hobbywing ESC, the Ownboards are as smooth as can be, more so than their Evolve counterparts. The ride feels with its own double kingpin trucks are as carvy as it can be – perhaps too much so – a drawback that can be mitigated by changing the bushings.
Like the Evolve, the Ownboards also allow the wheels to convert between the street and AT.
All in all, successfully imitating a proven concept of an Evolve AT series while only asking less than half of its price is precisely why Ownboard Bamboo/Carbon AT are the best belt-driven AT boards for most of us right now.
Backfire Ranger X1 was the best all-terrain hub board when it was first released, and the Ranger X2 saw improved performance and hence inherited the throne.
With the 12S Hobbywing ESC and 12s3p battery configuration, Backfire is both smooth in control and powerful in torque. It’s double kingpin trucks are also amongst the nicest outside of Evolve’s Supercarve trucks.
Even though the Ranger X2 now has thicker wheels, airless wheels still don’t work as good as pneumatic or even honeycomb when it comes to shock absorption. With that said, for those who want an AT board with hub motors (for a reduced need of maintenance and waterproof ability perhaps?), Ranger X2 is the clear winner.
Note (March 2020): Boosted has gone under. Yes, you heard it right. So, you probably wouldn’t be able to and also shouldn’t get a Boosted at the moment.
You either know you are going to buy a Boosted, or you know you won’t. Numbers and words are unlikely to convince you otherwise. As everyone already knows, Boosted was never about performance per dollar. It’s brand name, design, polish and reliability are the main selling point. At 2020, you can’t even argue that Boosted has a superior riding experience – competition had definitely caught up; what you can argue is that, Boosted is going to age better than the competition, last longer than competing products and kept its resell value better.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. If you want the functionality of a Boosted but don’t quite care about the brand name? Get two Wowgo 3x. One for yourself and one for your friend. Share the love.
However, if you want the most reliable board on the market right now, Boosted is still it.
There are a few plus points for someone to go for an Evolve board. 1) Brand name; 2) Swappable between AT & Street wheels; 3) Reliable customer service 4) Double Kingpin Trucks that allows sharp turn and fun carves; 5) You live in Australia (where the boards are made).
Evolve used to be the go-to brand when it comes to pure performance. That advantage had long disappeared since the rise of the Chinese brands. Evolve also used to be known for the Double Kingpin trucks and the ability to switch between AT/Street wheels. This advantage was too, gone after a slew of Chinese boards starts to offer one or both of these features. Just to name a few off the top of my head, we have the Ownboard AT/GT, Backfire Ranger X, Verreal RS, and other lesser-known brands like the Vestar and OneWow.
At the end of the day, Evolve still stands for its reputable brand name, reliable customer service, and large groups of die-hard fans. Oh, and they also have a $999 shortboard call the Stoke.
If price is not a factor, the best electric skateboard obviously are those with meteoric price. However, ranking the board in this segment is pretty impossible, as there is just no way to compare boards at this price. When a board is selling at this price, what’s great about them usually aren’t about the number but about their design. These boards are the small scale boutique brands, or DIY based vendors that aim to craft the fiercest monster money can buy.
P.S.: If you want to get a taste of these boards without shelling out the money, try going on FriendWithA to rent one! ($10 off with our affiliate link).
If you want a high quality 2 in 1 board made in the USA, the Metroboard is it.
Metroboard is one of the oldest brands of Eskate and has been making high quality premium electric skateboards for a while now. Their latest flagship MetroboardX is not only pushing up the price, it’s also doubling down on the quality, using many parts that were made specially for it.
Of course, it also has beefy specs, as all board in this price segment usually do.
The Lacroix is the most expensive electric skateboard on the market right now and the Nazare Lonestar is most likely the most powerful board with the beefiest battery in production right now.
Personally, I think Lacroix is tailored for those who are blessed with a wide and endless roads as those roads allow one to take a long cruise in high speed. Lacroix is a very stable ride but wasn’t easiest to turn (or maybe its just not made for my weight) so it probably wasn’t the board for everyone. (But those who have it swear by it!)
I stand corrected, the Bioboards are the most expensive electric skateboard money can buy right now. Bioboards are made in Sweden, and they aim to offer the highest performance possible.
Let’s go through some numbers, their flagship – Bioboard’s Thorium X4 is an all-wheel-drive with four gear drive. Powered by 12s6p Samsung 30Q battery. It has a top speed of 48mph (77kmh) and a range of 37miles (60km)…