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!

Origin:

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.

https://www.ted.com/talks/sanjay_dastoor_a_skateboard_with_a_boost

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.

Grow:

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

Approach:

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.”

Battery:

“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.”

ESC:

“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.”

Motor:

“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.

Wheels:

“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.”

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.”

“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?

Overall:

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.

Future:

“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:

Canada$135.00
USA$100.00
Europe$100.00
Australia$85.00
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.

https://youtu.be/yf4utC7P_hY

“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.

Disgusting!

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.

Look,

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.

Look,

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

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.

Bottomline?
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/Falcon/Luuov/Melon/Lectric

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

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.

But…
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

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.

Basically,
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

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

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

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.

Electric Skateboard Comparison Chart (June 2017)

Edit: Chart updated at 9/6/17 after a few error were pointed out by fellow Redditor.
Correction made: Arc Board range, Metroboard speed.
Marbel 2.0 charted.
Motor type included in the graph as suggested by /u/tm0587.
Any other error please do let me know in the comments, thank you!

There are so many electric skateboards out on the market right now, that it is very difficult to compare board to board even on a narrow dimension such as only the speed and range.
Thanks to the spreadsheet made public by /u/Eboarding, I made a few charts to help visualize the state of electric skateboard right now.

Electric skateboard comparison chart
Top speed VS range, in metric units. Click to enlarge.

Electric Skateboard comparison chart.
Top speed VS range, in freedom units. Click to enlarge.

 

 

There were only 3 things shown in the chart. The top speed of the board, the range of the board and the weight of the board. (Weight was shown as the size of the bubble.)
Sadly, I couldn’t include other factors into a single chart, such as the type of motor, is the battery exchangeable, is the board waterproof and other features.

Interesting things were shown by the chart:

Best value per dollar?

I was curious what electric skateboard give the best value per dollar performance wise.

So I used a simple formula (Top Speed+Range)/Price to plot another chart comparing boards.

Granted, this was a very crude way to measure performance not to mention the quality of the board and the features of the boards were not considered. Even if not completely useful, it is interesting.

PS: Comparing just top speed and price yield a similar graph.

Crude as it is, something interesting can be seen here:

  • It won’t surprise anyone that generic board such as Genesis Hellfire, LiftBoard were among best performers per dollar.
  • Yuneec E-go2 was well known for its cheap price and good range, so it is no surprise that it is one of the best value board on the chart.
  • The Mellow has high aspiration on quality and hence comes with a hefty price. Hence, it was expected to have the poorest performance/price ratio.
  • Arc board is the most premium small board of all, probably the best in quality too.
  • Walnutt Spectra Mini promised a lot for its price and size. That’s why I backed one. Let’s hope it doesn’t over promise and under deliver.

I hope the charts somewhat helps you to have an idea on the boards that are available right now, and help you make a buying decision.

By the way, Walnutt Spectra’s Indiegogo campaign is finishing in days and Raptor 2’s promo and free shipping might be ending soon.

I apologize if I get any specification wrong, and as the price of the board keeps changing, the chart might become obsolete with time.

Let me know in the comment if you too find the chart interesting.!

 

Below are the data that I used to make the graph.

BoardPrice (USD)Range (km)Speed (km/h)Weight (kg)Range (miles)Speed (mph)Weight (lbs) 
Evolve Bamboo Street114930 km35 km/h8.2 kg18.621.718.1Link
Evolve Carbon Street154940 km35 km/h8.5 kg24.921.718.7Link
Evolve One110035 km42 km/h7.4 kg21.726.116.3Link
Evolve Bamboo GT Street144935 km42 km/h7.9 kg21.726.117.4Link
Evolve Carbon GT Street199950 km42 km/h7.9 kg31.126.117.4Link
Boosted Single (2nd Gen) Ext.109923 km30 km/h6.4 kg14.318.614.1Link
Boosted Dual (2nd Gen) Ext.149919 km32 km/h7 kg11.819.915.4Link
Boosted Dual+ (2nd Gen) Ext.169919 km35 km/h7 kg11.821.715.4Link
Enertion Raptor 2151040 km45 km/h9 kg24.928.019.8Promo Link (200 AUD off)
Metroboard 33″ Slim109916 km38 km/h6.8 kg9.919.915.0Link
Metroboard 41″ Slim119964 km38 km/h10.3 kg39.819.922.7Link
Metroboard 41” Dual179942 km34 km/h10.8 kg26.121.123.8Link
ZBoard 2 Blue129926 km32 km/h7.7 kg16.219.917.0Link
ZBoard 2 Pearl149938 km32 km/h8.6 kg23.619.919.0Link
Inboard M1139916 km32 km/h7.5 kg9.919.916.5Promo Link ($100 off)
STARY89915 km30 km/h5.2 kg9.318.611.5Link
Yuneec E-Go 255030 km20 km/h6.3 kg18.612.413.9Amazon Link
Acton Blink Lite2998 km16 km/h3.5 kg5.09.97.7Promo Link (15% off)
Acton Blink S69911 km24 km/h4.5 kg6.814.99.9Promo Link (15% off)
Acton Blink S299922.5km29 km/h5.4 kg1418.015.5Promo Link (15% off)
Acton Blink QU4TRO169935 km37 km/h7.7 kg21.723.017.0Promo Link (15% off)
29” TORQUE Speedster59911 km35 km/h4.5 kg6.821.79.9Link
TORQUE Rocket Single119940 km48 km/h6.4 kg24.929.814.1Link
TORQUE Rocket FreeFlow139932 km48 km/h9 kg19.929.819.8Link
TORQUE Rocket Dual139927 km48 km/h7.3 kg16.829.816.1Link
Jed Dual Wheel Drive119920 km35 km/h6.4 kg12.421.714.1Link
Jed All Wheel Drive159935 km35 km/h7.9 kg21.721.717.4Link
Unik Single & Dual Motor168730 km40 km/h6 kg18.624.913.2Link
Arc Board65113 km25 km/h3.5 kg8.115.57.7Link
Arc Aileron97718 km35 km/h4.3 kg11.221.79.5Link
Epic Racer 500 pro109730 km35 km/h8.6 kg18.621.719.0Link
Epic Racer 3200 fly81910 km42 km/h7.5 kg6.226.116.5Link
Epic Racer 3200 pro91530 km42 km/h8.2 kg18.626.118.1Link
Epic Racer 2800 fly94410 km38 km/h6.9 kg6.223.615.2Link
Epic Racer 2800 pro106130 km38 km/h7.5 kg18.623.616.5Link
Epic Dominator 4000 fly13547 km42 km/h18.3 kg4.326.140.3Link
Ollin Freeride Dual Drive220064 km45 km/h10 kg39.828.022.0Link
Carvon R-EVO199935 km56 km/h8.2 kg21.734.818.1Link
Carvon EVO4299932 km64 km/h8.6 kg19.939.819.0Link
Fiik Mini4998 km15 km/h3.5 kg5.09.37.7Amazon Link
Paradox50010 km25 km/h4.5 kg6.215.59.9Amazon Link
E-wheelin i460010 km25 km/h4.3 kg6.215.59.5
KooWheel/Genesis Hellfire47932 km40 km/h7.9 kg19.924.917.4Amazon Link
Buffalo F1 Single49928 km30 km/h6.8 kg17.418.615.0Link
Buffalo F1 Dual69920 km38 km/h7.8 kg12.423.617.2Link
BenchWheel/Liftboard50020 km30 km/h7.9 kg12.418.617.4Amazon Link
Shia Backfire103520 km30 km/h6 kg12.418.613.2Amazon Link
Mellow Board159315 km40 km/h6 kg9.324.913.2Link
Mellow Board 4×4302325 km40 km/h10 kg15.524.922.0Link
Walnutt Spectra Mini32910.4 km20 km/h3.4 kg6.512.37.5Link
Walnutt Spectra Advanced53919.84 km25 km/h5 kg12.315.411.0Link
Walnutt Spectra Pro83919.84 km25 km/h5.4 kg12.315.412.0Link
Walnutt Spectra Silver119932 km35 km/h6.9 kg19.921.615.4Link

Chart with prettier graphic can be seen also at e-skateboarding.com

The one reason that I chose Walnutt Spectra

Since I first seen a video of an electric skateboard on Facebook back in 2015, I was hooked.

Can you blame me? Eskates are much cooler than hoverboard, Segway, bicycle or a scooter.  It’s the future of transportation, fitting perfectly with the urban commute.
Sadly, even though I had done lots of researches and wrote tons of reviews on electric skateboards, I had yet to come down from the fences to buy one (They are expensive to me!)

I felt that Eskates has not matured yet. The perfect board for the perfect price has not existed yet.
As a fellow Redditor said (and I Paraphrase): Boosted need to fix its battery, Evolve need to fix it’s remote, Mellow needs to be cheaper, Arc board should have hub motor and on top of that, every board should have a removable battery and be waterproof!

Luckily for us, competition in the eskates world seems only to intensify with time and a lot more choices have popped up. Since my preview of 2017 board at the start of this year, 2 more boards has been announced in Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Walnutt Spectra and Lou Board.

I decided to get either one of them, and I am losing sleep choosing between them.

But at last at the ending of their Kickstarter campaign, I made my decision and backed Walnutt Spectra Mini.

Walnutt Spectra Mini

4Models

I first got to know Walnutt Spectra when I was writing a post about Eskates in CES 2017.
Walnutt then started IndieGoGo campaign in May and was scheduled to ship as early as August (wow?).

I was primarily ogling at Spectra Mini for its price and its size.
It has decent Stats too. 17 inch, 7.5lbs, 12.4 mph speed with 6.5 miles range. 14% hill climb.
(That will be 43cm, 3.4kg, 20kmh, 10km range).

It cost me 299USD plus 35USD shipping to Malaysia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can find more individual electric skateboard stat chart here.

So, what does Spectra offers?

Spectra most unique feature would be its Posture Control: The board moves according to where you put your body weight on. Lean in to move forward, lean back to brake- which I was told to be a bad idea cause it is easier to lose my balance if I roll over a bump while leaning forward.

 

Nevermind, Spectra can connect to phone to use it as remote too.

 

At least when things go wrong, I have the option to jump off immediately. Spectra will brake itself. Can’t tell you how many time I have to chase after my penny board after an emergency exit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The board also packs those standard features that nowadays most eskates have such as:
– Regenerative Breaking (Which electric skateboard nowadays don’t have it?)
– Speed Modes (duh)
– Application to go along with it.
– Water/weather resistant (I’ll believe it when some 3rd party tested it)
– LED indicator (I actually agree it is nice to be seen at night)

 

The features above tells me that Walnutt Spectra is not going to be inferior compares to other small eskates like the Blink Lite, Arc Board, Bolt and Lou Board. However what gets me interested is the fact that this board has a software in it, and its firmware can be updated.

So is this going to be the first smart electric skateboard on the market? (Or would the software be dumb and gets in the way instead?) I was sufficiently intrigued to put money in to find out myself.

However, there was Lou Board, on the other hand, campaigning in Kickstarter with the similar price (299$). Equally as good stats wise, with a removable battery (Spectra’s could not), with better water protection, it is very difficult to decide between them.

Ultimately, it was THIS that made me chose Spectra.

Portability. (In gif is Spectra Pro, Spectra Mini is 2.4 inches shorter!)

Portability.

I measured:
17 inch or 43cm means Spectra Mini can fit into most backpacks.
I knew by experience that the primary reason I didn’t bring my penny board everywhere I went was that it was still too big to be carried easily in a backpack or most grocery bags.

If “the best camera is the one that’s with you”, the best eskates for me is the one that I will actually carry around.

So before I take the plunge and get myself my dream board Linky, I will just have to settle with my little Walnutt Spectra Mini first.

I hope I have better luck using it than  Caisey Neistat in his vlog.

Link to Walnutt Spectra IndieGoGo Campaign.
Link to Walnutt Official Webpage.
Link to Walnutt Facebook Page.

 

I have my worries about its ‘posture control’ and its small size. But this girl seems to be riding it smooth enough.

 

 

4 Very new electric skateboard from CES 2017 (2 of them don’t even have their webpage set up yet)

 

We get to see a lot of new electric skateboard in the CES 2017 along side some old faces like Zboard 2, One Wheel +, Elwing.

To my surprise, single-wheeled electric skateboard seems to be much popular than I was expected! Here are the list:

1. One Wheel +

25lbs/ 5-7miles/ 19mph
11kg/ 8-11km/ 30kph

One wheel + has Adam Savage from mythbuster on it’s promotional video!

Not exactly a new face, One Wheel + is the new iteration of the One Wheel.
Stabler, smoother and faster, this is going to be good.

All freaking terrain. Up hill, down hill, jungle track, raining, over flood, you need One Wheel’s big wheel to go somewhere even Evolve Carbon GT can’t bring you.

A single wheeled electric skateboard is probably never going to deliver the speed and portability that traditional electric skateboard offers, One Wheel + can’t reach half the speed of what traditional electric skateboard at it price can attain.
Expensive at $1499, it also look less cool (it’s subjective though), with the look that belongs more to a circus than the street.

However, that freedom of terrain man! It can drop down from curb with no problem! Mind = blown!

2. Jyro Roll

Specs that we know:
15miles(24km) in 2hour charge, going 15mph(24kmh).

Much like One Wheel +, Jyro Roll is a motorized single-wheel skateboard.

So I have 2 question: How will Jyro Roll going to be better than One Wheel +? and How will Jyro Roll better than our typical electric skateboard?

Not much information is out there to answer the questions, but I like seeing new faces nonetheless.

3. Geoblade

Another one wheel rid-able in CES!(seriously?)

What we know:
25 lbs, 20 miles range, 16 mph, removable battery
11kg, 32km range, 25kmh

Geoblade is the second try of Hoverboard Technologies in ridable market after the Hoverboard failed Kickstarter probably for being too pricy at $4000.

Geoblade is only going to cost you $1500.

In the mix of traditional electric skateboard and one wheeler like One Wheel, Jyro, Geoblade is different in the sense of, it suppose to makes the ride feel like hovering.

Of course I would never know for sure until I get to ride one.

It seems to have a higher learning curve than traditional electric skateboard too.

That being said, I love the futuristic look of Hoverboard/ Geoblade. All the customize-able LED lights and sleek design. Very cool, very cool.

4. Walnut Spectra

Finally, a ‘typical’ electric skateboard.

The Walnut Spectra is still very stealthy, not much promotion has been done for the board beside it’s appearance in CES 2017.

The information that I gathered on this board:

  1. This is an electric skateboard using weight sensing pedal to accelerate, brakes and turn. (similar to Zboard).
  2. It is small and compact
  3. It has a cool sci-fi look about it
  4. It is perhaps from Hong Kong?
  5. It is currently on alpha testing, finding it’s first 100th tester.
  6. It is probably going to price at around $1000? (It says 40% off for alpha tester, saved more than $1000, simple match suggest that it will cost somewhere upward of $1000) (Are they going to be competitive at that price point?!)

 

Update (29th May 2017): Walnutt has been busy since I first written this post. They have built their website, and launched their IndieGoGo campaign, and I’ve backed one of their board – read The one reason that I chose Walnutt Spectra.

Link to Walnutt Spectra IndieGoGo Campaign.
Link to Walnutt Official Webpage.
Link to Walnutt Facebook Page.

Seeing new electric skateboard bringing new technology into the field has always excited me.

Hopefully they will do well enough ato join the list of electric skateboard that will release in the near future!