Winboard Panther Review – A new benchmark for the mid-tier board.

Winboard Panther – Review

Foreword

After spending years in the OEM/ODM sphere, Winboard finally decides to join the action by launching their own line of products. This is no doubt going to be huge for us Eskate consumers as Winboard has been one of the biggest players in Eskate manufacturing with a long resume of working with brands such as LouBoard, and HaloBoard. It is also the manufacturer of the beautiful carbon fiber deck for the Predator Banshee – the same deck featured on the Lynx series.

On August 18th, Winboard is going to jump into the market with 2 lines of products, the shorterLynx, and the longer Panther. My buddy Drew has already reviewed the Lynx Challenge, this is my review of the Panther.

Let me start out by saying that I expect the Panther to be the benchmark for future mid-tier electric skateboards. And it’s not just because of the stunning graphics on the grip tape.

Introduction to WinBoard

Founded in 2015, Winboard has always been one of the top Eskate manufacturers specializing in carbon fiber materials and hub motors.

They have a variety of products available for purchase but their focus was never to sell directly to the consumer. For that reason, I have been very critical of buying their products as an individual buyer, due to the fact that you probably wouldn’t get any post-sale support.

And that’s why things got really interesting when Winboard set-up their retail branch, and it seems that they are really serious about it.

How serious?

  1. They set up a fully functional website for retail.
  2. They are launching two very competitive products simultaneously- the Lynx and the Panther, on August 18th 2018 – with a grand opening lucky draw to have a random 5% buyers get their boards for free. (and extend the original 6 months warranty to 1 years for free for all.)
  3. They opened 4 branches worldwide to support sales and customer services – in theUS, Australia, Czech Republic, and Spain. Repairs and service will be handled by the local distributor (in the US, it will be at Las Vegas)

A big manufacturer, going into retail themselves with a head full of steam, I wouldn’t want to compete against that.

Winboard Panther Review

“Wow”.

Is what everyone says when first shown this board.

A lot of effort was put into designing a new grip tape graphic for the Lynx and the Panther, and I am sure you will agree with me that it was money well spent.

Call me superficial but the gorgeous graphic really did make me like the board better.
I felt proud to be seen riding this around on this gorgeous board, but looks aside, does it have any substance to it?

Winboard Panther Specs

The Winboard Panther is a very well rounded board.

  • Top Speed: 25mph (40kmh)
  • Range: 20mil (32km)
  • Weight: 17.5lbs (8kg)
  • Charge Time: 3 Hours
  • Features: IP 65 Waterproof, swappable PU Sleeves, Regenerative Braking.
  • Price: 749 USD.

Build Quality

Looking past the beautiful grip tape, the board doesn’t have a particularly innovative design. Unlike the Lynx, which rocked a carbon fiber deck to house everything, the Panther has a typical setup – a maple deck with an enclosure underneath spanning the length of the board.

All in all, the board is very presentable- from the sturdy built to the small graphics on the wheels, it is not hard to see that the board came from an experienced manufacturer.

Deck

The Panther features a maple deck with a nice concave.

It’s not too aggressive. Just nice enough for me to feel where my feet are and make controlling the board more comfortable.

As usual, stiff decks help with stability at high speed while sacrificing the comfort of a flexy deck.
Considering that the Panther can go pretty fast, I think using a stiffer deck is a wise choice.

Still has some flex to it.

Wheels

The 90MM 76a wheels are big and soft.
90mm (and above) is the size that I like my wheels to be as I don’t have the smoothest roads where I live, and softer wheels help with rougher roads significantly.

The PU sleeves on the hub motor are swappable, an important feature that most modern hub-drives have.

Trucks

They look and felt sturdy. Closer inspection shows nothing wrong with them.
(No lopsided screw holes or anything like we found on our Lynx review unit)

Summary of Build Quality

The Panther looks and felt really solid.
Nothing I can complain about really. I couldn’t comment on the packaging as I was told that part wasn’t finalized yet.

By the looks of it, it is well worth it’s $749 price tag.

Riding Experience:

Acceleration and Deceleration

There are 4 ride modes:

  1. L mode with a top speed of 10mph/16kmh
  2. M mode with a top speed of 20mph/ 32kmh
  3. H mode with a top speed of 25mph/ 40kmh
  4. H+ mode with a top speed of 25mph/ 40kmh, but with crazy acceleration.

Let’s start by talking about the acceleration and deceleration. I have to say, it’s very well configured.

I heard that Winboard had programmed the board to smooth out speed changes in an effort to eliminate jolts, and that effort is noticeable.

When pushing the throttle hard, the board will flow easily into the acceleration, even in H+ mode.

When letting go of the throttle, either by choice or by accident, the board doesn’t experience a sudden loss of speed. The board will ease out that deceleration smoothly.
Even trying to kill myself by going from full-throttle top speed to full braking, the board tries to ease me into it.
(But I have to admit, I didn’t commit to testing the full-throttle top speed to full throttle braking that strictly, I still pull the throttle back a bit before committing to full braking, because a previous test on another board sent me flying and I’m too chicken to do that test properly now.)

I think this configuration helps a lot in making newer riders feel safe, knowing that accidental input is not going to throw them off.
Some may like a more raw and untamed board, but that’s clearly not what Winboard is trying to be.

So, back to the 4 riding modes:

The L-mode is very gentle on both starting and braking – it passed what I call a newbie test, where I give the board to someone who has never ridden an Eskate before and see if they complain about anything.

I did it twice and both times, both newbies felt comfortable on the Panther within 5 min – not zooming around per-se but at least moving tentatively and starting to learn to turn.

Once the training wheels can be taken off, the M-mode is where the majority will spend time for relaxing rides and cruises. The acceleration and braking are still gentle, but less boring speed-wise.

H mode is where the veterans of Eskate will reside. Strong braking, quick acceleration.

And that H+ mode? I think it was made for the top 5% of veteran eskaters. Waayyyy too fast for me.
Good for drag races, but I don’t see myself using that, ever.

Vibration & Stability

Vibrations are tolerable on the Panther, even with the stiffer deck. I am not entirely sure what to point to but vibration on the road felt muffled on the Panther, perhaps due to the soft riser or perhaps it’s the softer, large wheels?

At 17.5lbs(8kg) Panther is not light but that heaviness makes riding it feel stable. The sturdiness makes the Panther a very comfortable ride at high speed.

Remote Control

One of the best remotes I’ve ever used.

It’s ergonomic and fits nicely in the hand.

The dial is springy and with a good amount of resistance for better control and has a reasonable amount of travel.

The remote also has a screen that shows all the important information – Battery life of remote and board, current speed, ride modes and even an odometer!

There is also a cruise control mode available, press down the middle button and the board will maintain the same speed until you tell it otherwise.

Of course, no disconnection during testing. It’s a great remote.

Summary of Riding Experience

Oh I l love it, but it wasn’t perfect.

I set up my trucks to be on the tight side, to make it as stable as I could for speed, but even with it loose, I don’t see how the board could be as carvy and maneuverable as other eskates on the market.
Perhaps changing the trucks and bushing might help with that, but at the stock setting, the board doesn’t allow very tight carving.

Cruising on an open road at higher speeds is where the Panther truly shined.
Big carves on an open road, feeling stable on turns, reliable and comfortable control really helped to get the most enjoyability out of a nice cruise.

That stability and smooth control will also allow more conservative riders to expand their speed limit, and we all know eskating is more fun when it’s fast.

Capability

Panthers are amazing things.
The more I learn about them, the more they amaze me.

Panthers can run up to 50mph, and travel up to 20miles per day.
they can also leap up to 40 feet up! Crazy!

Ops! wrong Panther.

I got you, didn’t I?

The Winboard Panther, the skateboard, er..hem, are very capable as well.
About as good as a real panther in range per charge, with a very good top speed; leaping ability though wasn’t specified by Winboard so I’m not too sure about that.

Range

The Winboard Panther is shipping with either a

  • 9AH, Samsung 30Q 10S3P battery (324wh) or
  • 10.5AH Samsung 35E 10S3P battery (378wh).

Same price and you get to choose.
Please refer to your nearest DIY guy/gurl or my short battery guide if you can’t make sense of the differences.

Both batteries should perform the similarly with this set-up but I personally prefer Samsung 30Q because it was what I received 😛 — and because it has better continuous current output.

The advertised range for the Panther is 20miles(32km). Which is by no means an inflated estimate and you can tell by the size of the battery.

My personal range test, running on a flat surface on mostly M-mode lasted me a bit more than the advertised 20miles (32km) before the battery went dead.

Of course, if you go full throttle top speed all of the time, you will get much less than 20miles(32km) range.

Voltage sag: Top speed began to drop to 40 km/h by the half bar, and at 36 km/h by 25%. It is still capable of going at a ride-able speed until the very end which is good!
(my weight 165lbs/ 75kg)

Speed

Marketed top speed is 25mph(40kmh).

Like the case of Drew with the Winboard Lynx, we both have no problem passing that. I hit 28 mph (45kmh) with a speed tuck.

Winboard told me they made the decision to market it as 25mph (40kmh) as they would rather under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. This gets a brownie point from me!

Torque

I am not really worried about the torque that this board provides at all, and I can’t really find any hill that it can’t climb over.

My Standard stop and go test is on a 10% incline. No problem for the Panther. In fact, it’s not even breaking a sweat.

This is but a 10 percent hill.

Retested on a 15% climb, and it still didn’t break a sweat doing a stop and go.

Notably, though, the board couldn’t brake to a stop while braking downhill. It can slow to almost a crawl, just not to a complete stop. Only a few boards we have tested have been able to achieve this feat.

Customer Service

The best prediction of the future is the past, and Winboard, at least the retail branch, has no past history to base any prediction on.

However, things have been done to make Winboard a safe recommendation, even on day 1.

For instance, they have installed local distributors around the world to handle customer service and repairs.

On top of that, they didn’t get any random Joe to man their businesses. They manage to get Michael Espinosa from the Esk8squad to be their brand ambassador in the US and to help with servicing, and that alone would be enough to assure me on the post-sale support.

Other Features

The Panther isn’t packed with features per se. It’s a relatively simple board.

  1. It has swappable urethane on the hub motors, which is nice.
  2. IP 65 waterproof rating that I am not going to risk testing. The board looks quite sealed against water getting in, but water is never good for an eskate. Think of the motors, think of the deck.
  3. If you need head and tail lights, they do offer a 25% off coupon for Shredlights with purchase of the board.
    (It’s a pretty good deal, in contrast our “EskateHQ” discount code will just get you 10% off. Check out our atypical Shredlight review on a OneWheel here.)

Verdict

The Eskate community has seen more unicorns than Shrek in fairy tale so it is often unwise to get too hype on a pre-launch product.

I am aware that “Winboard the manufacturer” has had some ‘disharmony’ with its business partners. With that said, this new “Winboard retail” has done enough to gain my trust and alleviate much of my concern:

  1. They chose to skip the crowdfunding route which historically has been problematic for eskate projects.
  2. They skipped the pre-order wait and released a products that are available right away and should be arriving at doorsteps within a month.
  3. They planned out the way they would handle post-sale service, and they got a reputable eskater to be their ambassador.
  4. They are being honest with specs, not trying to exploit those who are not in-the-know.
  5. And from my dealings with the co-founder, she has a very anxious profile and cares a great deal about serving customers.

And, at the end of the day, the Winboard Panther is a great board. It looks elegant, it rides nicely and it’s powerful.

I have no doubt that this will be the benchmark of mid-priced electric skateboards in the future.

Click to enlarge

So, Winboard is trying to gain a reputation and consumer goodwill by selling their new products, the Lynx and the Panther, at below market price – leveraging the advantage they have as a big manufacturer.

They will launch on August 18th, 2018, and there will be a launch day promotion happening:

  1. One in 20 random customers will get their boards for free.
  2. Everyone get their warranty extended from 6 months to 1 year.

*Promotion only valid for customers who order on that day.

And of course, to top that up, use “EskateHQ” code during checkout to get an grip tape eraser, extra grip tape and Bones reds bearing.
(We know what our readers want. You’re welcome.)

Check out our review on Winboard Lynx

Lynx Infinity Review – By Samuel James

Click here to check out the Winboards

The WINboard Lynx Challenge Launch Review

“WINboard? Never heard of it” was what I told my editor when I was told I would be reviewing a new full-carbon fiber eskate a month ago. He quickly educated me that WINboard is a company that has been around for a while and actually has a history in the eskating game, helping to produce parts for boards like the Predator Banshee, Haloboard, and Louboard for a couple of years now.

“Alright, I am a sucker for carbon fiber, send it along.” was my response, and then a week or so later, I was greeted by this crazy little guy at my doorstep, I knew almost instantly that we would be friends.

EskateHQ readers, meet the Lynx Challenge. The faster, big-brother of a new lineup of eskates being released by WINboard this month.

The Looks:

The Lynx has perhaps the sexiest look of any eskate that I have had the pleasure of reviewing. The unibody carbon fibre deck is a sight to behold, and the stylized covers on the in-hub motors, along with the gorgeous grip tape has made this board stand out from the pack. I have even had reactions from non-skaters who are quick to call out what a sexy hunk of carbon fiber this board is.

(WINboard also sent me a gorgeous second option for grip-tape that featured a lot more purple. I am saving it for when I ruin my first roll.)

 

The short, rigid deck, set up on 90mm stealth-black wheels truly makes the Lynx look unlike any other board out there. And while this particular setup has its drawbacks, it is surprisingly rideable as a high-speed city commuter.

The full carbon fibre deck also makes this board very light, and extremely easy to bring on board the bus or train. I was able to commute to the train and then simply pop the board between my legs and stand over it, even in a packed rush-hour car load of people. The Lynx is an ideal size and weight for a city commuter who is always on the go.

The Remote:

The remote is light and feels very cheap in the hand, but allows for good control and has a ton of useful information right on the tiny screen. After riding the Lynx for a couple of week, my remote is not too broken up, but I have had the wrist strap slide right out of the little notch, which appears to not connect all the way through. These are all acceptable problems for a budget board to have, but would also be an easy fix for WINboard.

The coolest thing about the remote (besides the dope display) is the fact that it has a forward/reverse toggle. I may be newer to the eskate game, but I had a ton of fun shooting the board away from me and then shifting it into reverse and having it come running back. Kind of a stupid feature, I know, but still something that a potential buyer should know!

The Performance:

This board has some POWER. Two 1500 Watts is a lot of power, and bolting these two powerful hub motors onto a small, rigid deck really puts that power into perspective. I was able to take the board up to 27 mph (44 kph) pretty regularly over the time I spent testing it and it still felt solid as a rock. We are used to seeing companies over-promise when it comes to top speed and range on their boards, but in WINboard’s case, they have underestimated what their board is capable of by listing its top speed as 25 mph.

This power was difficult to manage at lower speeds however, as the board was a little jerky in starting and stopping. I have most of my riding experience with Boosted boards and One Wheels, so I know that I am a bit spoiled in regards to smooth acceleration and deceleration, but it took me a couple of days to really get used to (and brace for) the power that the Lynx puts out when you push on the throttle.

The remote has 4 riding modes that you can toggle on-the-fly:

My brand-new friends enjoyed learning the board on S and then would graduate to M after a couple of rides. My mode of choice was mode H which gave me access to all of the speed that the board had to offer, but calmed down the crazy accel and decel that the Lynx was capable of.

The H+ mode was like letting a rabid cat out of its cage. It “thrusted” very quickly from a stop or slow push and was a challenge to stay on under partial throttle or hard braking. More veteran eskaters might be able to handle it, but it has the same top speed as H, so why risk it? As a rider, flow is very important to me, and running my board in a mode that ruins that flow, just so I can have more power on-hand, is counter-productive.

It should be said that setting up this board for deep carves and tight turns is nearly impossible. Due to the nature of the 90mm wheels mounted over the short sop-mounted deck, it is very easy to get wheel-bite. WINboard has taken this into effect and shipped the board with a very rigid setup that does not bite, but after taking the board into my laboratory and attempting to replace the trucks and bushings to get some lean out of the damn thing, I found myself getting wheel-bite almost immediately.

(In the end, I ended up swapping out the bushings and front truck for a Paris 180mm, also adding some Shredlights (use discount code “EskateHQ” for 25% off!) to decrease some of our “Stealth” factor during night riding.)

I would recommend that inexperienced skateboard builders keep the board in its stock, not-turny, setup unless you are willing to dance with death every now and then and know how to avoid biting on hard turns (I still have not mastered this and ate total shit on a sidewalk in Boston at 1 AM….such is life as a skater).

The Stats:

For the price, this board’s stats are insane:

With a higher top speed and the same range as a Boosted Stealth for around half of the price, the Lynx is an amazing eskate for the money. Add to that the awesome form factor of the small size and light-weight, and you have one amazing deal. It is also worth noting that the board is IP65 waterproof (I took mine out in the rain a lot!) and perfectly shaped to keep the rider dry above-deck.

As with all untested brands, time will tell on the quality of the Lynx, but based on my couple of weeks riding, and beating the hell out of mine, it should stand the test of time. The board has all of the indicators of a manufacturer who cares about quality, from the redundant waterproofing measures on the battery wires, to the spacers used in the wheels.

The one concerning feature I noticed when taking my review copy apart was the fact that the front truck was not quite symmetrical. I found myself unable to get the provided skate tool around the mounting bolt on the underside of the front truck because it was closer to the center than the other bolts.

This indicates that the QA for the trucks might not be the best, and while we have had a recent spate of truck failures in the eskate community this concerning, but the rest of the board appeared rock-solid.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for an eskate that out-performs a boosted board at nearly half of the cost and can deal with slightly less-smooth starting and stopping, this is the board for you. The carbon fiber looks amazing, the speed and range are some of the best-in-class and its small enough to fit in a locker. I am honestly considering buying another so that I can teach more people how accessible and fun eskating is.

The entire Lynx line goes on sale from WINboardUSA on August 18th, and the boards will be on sale at launch for $829 with an extended 1-year warranty (if purchased on launch date)! Definitely worth a pickup if you need a fast, sexy little commuter. Be sure to use coupon code “EskateHQ” at checkout to get a free grip tape eraser, extra roll of grip tape and extra red bones bearings. Additionally, 5% of all orders on launch day will get their boards for free (I have no idea how this works, but it sounds really cool so I wanted to include it here.)

Wanna learn more about the other Winboards?

Lynx Infinity Review – By Samuel James

Winboard Panther Review

Click to enlarge

 

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.

Tinboard is a scam after all

Since I published my preview on Tinboard, I have received a lot of feedback saying the Tinboard campaign is a scam.

After that, as if swept by a storm, the IndieGoGo campaign of Tinboard has been deserted with all the backers pulled out. Tinboard has also taken down its website.

Here are what the Tinboard did to orchestrate the scam.

1. Fake team.

A team of stock photo models

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

thanks to u/JohnAwe for posting these screenshots on reddit.

Tinboard’s team member never existed. At least they are not the people they say they are.
The faces that Tinboard put on their website as their team members are all photos from stock photos.

So unless these people met in a photoshoot session and got together to create an electric skateboard, it is definitely a fake front.

2. It’s Winboard GT-M6

 

The specs are the same too.

Firstly, I think I owe everyone an apology as I should have known that they are the same board if I actually know WINboard’s products (which I don’t).

(In my defense, there are shit loads of electric skateboards on the market right now. Its just hard to keep up!)

WINboard also has released a statement through their accounts in eSk8 builders, claiming that Tinboard has used their boards, rebranded it without their permission and also condemn them for false marketing.


I guess when it’s too good to be true, it is too good to be true.