Onan X2 Review- The booster to electrify your skateboard

 

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

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

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

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

Onan – Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onan and Mellow

Let’s address the elephant in the room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competition benefits us all, after all.

Onan X2 Review

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

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

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

Riding Experience:

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

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

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

Could not fit

 

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

 

 

 

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

Barely fits

 

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

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

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

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

It’s not a Meepo. It’s an Onan X2.

 

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

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

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

Acceleration and Deceleration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wheels

Onans X2 wheels versus penny boards wheels.

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

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

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

Remote

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

In short:

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

Built Quality:

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

The packaging is nice. The finishing is pristine.

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

Heavy in the hand.

Not bad, in fact, quite good!

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

Range:

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

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

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

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

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

Speed:

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

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

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

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

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

Torque:

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

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

[WPGP gif_id=”827″ width=”250″]

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

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

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

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

Customer Service:

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

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

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

Other Features:

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

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

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

Issues:

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

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

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

Verdict:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.