Following the success of MeepoBoard, many Chinese companies took the same approach and began to offer their own brands of electric skateboards into the market.
These Chinese electric skateboard companies share a similar business model, that is, acting as ‘aggregators’ rather than manufacturers. They pick existing parts, available in the market, assemble a board, market it and sell it under their brand, and hopefully provides meaningful customer service.
As the time of writing, 4 of such companies stood out from the crowd: Meepo (the OG), Wowgo, Ownboard, and Verreal, which arrived slightly late to the party.
In essence, all of them are similar, yet each provides a slightly different flavor, and with each of them having very short iteration cycles, the race to be the budget board champion never truly ends.
Today, we will be reviewing the Verreal F1, the latest iteration offered by Verreal.
Introduction to Verreal
Shenzhen Verreal Technology Co.,Ltd is founded in November 2017 by Vic Duan and 3 other team members.
Verreal launched their first product, Verreal V1 in December 2017.
Following the budget electric skateboard formula laid out by MeepoBoard, Verreal managed to carve out a space for itself largely thanks to the very visible efforts of the founder, Vic, in the areas of pre and post-sales service.
Best remembered as a scrappy small company which tries its best to put out quality boards at the lowest possible price, Verreal operates with a small team. It currently has 12 team members, selling 3 similar products: – Verreal V1S, Verreal Mini and the Verreal F1 that we will be looking at today.
Verreal F1 Specs
The Verreal F1 is a very well rounded board.
- Top Speed: 23.6mph (38kmh)
- Range: 11mil (18km)
- Weight: 15.9lbs (7.2kg)
- Charge Time: 3 Hours
- Features: Swappable PU Sleeves, Regenerative Braking.
- Price: around 430 USD.
If you are looking for an amazing unboxing experience, well, look away.
While most of the budget brands have come a long way in improving their packaging and presentation, Verreal doesn’t even try. There aren’t much in the box, just the bare essentials. (No wall hangers, lights etc.)
The protection put in to prevent damage in delivery is just the bare minimum.
It does not use a double-box packaging method: the box it came in broke during the delivery, exposing the wheels to the outside. Inside the box, there are only protective foams surrounding the trucks, and some recycled card boxes to protect the deck.
Thankfully, in my case, the board didn’t sustain any damage during delivery.
To differentiate itself from other Chinese budget boards, Verreal F1 has added in its own special flavor with its deck choice.
Using a stiff 7-ply Maple deck with a micro-drop and a radial concave is a smart move.
Comparing it with other Chinese brands, the micro-drop deck felt rather cheap, using mixture of North China maple and Canadian maple.
With that said, it doesn’t have any negative impact on the riding experience.
In fact, as the micro-drop allows a slightly lower ride, it allows a more stable ride feel-
and the concave on the deck is just enough to help my feet stay on the board.
ESC & Remote
On its belly, Verreal is using a single enclosure set up.
The enclosure is made out of aluminum, which adds points in durability.
The single enclosure set up does make the board a bit tail heavy – not something you will notice during riding but definitely something you will feel when carrying the board.
Inside the enclosure, the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), which Verreal F1 uses is currently shared by the Meepo 30″, Ownboard and Wowgo. It’s known to provide one of the smoothest control – something we will talk about in depth later.
Verreal F1 opts for the industry standard 90mm wheels – which should get you over most bumps and allows for riding on less than perfect roads.
The PU sleeves on the hub motors are swappable, an important feature that most modern hub-drives have.
Verreal claims it has improved the elasticity and durability of the hub motor.
I can’t comment on the durability, just yet, but I didn’t notice any significant difference in softness between Verreal hubs and other hubs.
And while swappable PUs are a great feature to have, Verreal is selling each urethane sleeve at $45. With a hub motor priced at $70, you probably might just want to swap the entire hub motor out when you have used up the 2 spare urethane sleeves that come with the board.
(or maybe even swap out to a 97mm Meepo hub? Or Skullboard’s 105mm rubber wheels?).
Verreal F1 is using the same truck shared by… well, every Chinese budget board…
And there is nothing wrong with that.
They come with a soft green bushing which allows easier carve, something I really appreciate.
Summary of Build Quality
Understandably, you can’t meet the $428 price tag by without cutting some corners, and Verreal did the right thing by taking a knife to non-essential parts and not compromising the riding experience.
The result is a board that while it looks and feels low cost, still shows promise in performance and durability.
The poor packaging and finishing make it an unimpressive gift though.
Acceleration and Deceleration
There are 3 ride modes:
- Slow mode with a top speed of 12.4mph/20kmh
- Medium mode with a top speed of 18.6mph/ 30kmh
- Fast mode with a top speed of 23.6mph/ 38kmh
Let’s start by talking about the acceleration and deceleration.
As mentioned, Verreal F1 use the same Electronic Speed Controller(ESC) as the Wowgo, Ownboard, Harvoo, Meepo 30″.
By consensus, this ESC is touted as offering the smoothest control by ace-ing with precision, latency, and consistency in control.
Even better than Boosted some may say.
Many other ESCs allow speed changes to come like a gradual wave – when accelerating, you feel the power slowly flow into the board and you sort of have to time that.
Not this ESC, this ESC allows you to dial into the speed that you want, in a precise manner, without any delay. A feeling that is appreciated universally, as it results in smooth and predictable speed control
(Side notes: Accurate control without any assisted speed ramping also means that it won’t stop you from trying to make drastic acceleration or deceleration. Push the throttle to the max and the board will try its best to zap off, which some absolute beginner who has poor throttle coordination finds it very intimidating.
But once gotten used to Eskating, most love the control to be the way it is.)
The control certainly passed my newbie test – where I lend the board to a completely skateboard-naive person and they are able to learn to ride it within minutes.
On the 3 riding modes, all of the modes from Slow to Fast have the same acceleration and braking pattern, just with a different top speed cap.
Without the worry of jerky control, I just stay in Fast mode all the time. Why not?
Vibration & Stability
Stiff deck + hub motors, well, you know how it gonna be.
The improvement that Verreal have put into the hub motors was evidently not enough to battle the vibration I got from the rough roads I ride on. I feel every vibration from the road when going over rougher roads.
Installing a softer shock pad between the trucks and the deck might help.
Don’t get me wrong, the 90mm wheels do go over small bumps well and the size does help, but its just not enough.
On the other hand, stability is where the Verreal F1 shines.
The combination of the smooth control and the micro-drop deck with a concave really makes F1 one hella stable ride. The micro-drop concave deck essentially locks your foot in place while allowing a slightly lower ride. No worries about maneuvering at high speed.
Top speed all the way.
Verreal uses the same remote that most of us are familiar with. And it is a great remote.
It’s ergonomic and fits nicely in the hand.
The dial is springy and with a good amount of resistance for better control and it has a reasonable amount of travel.
It is a simple remote without many bells and whistles, and no disconnection. (unlike some premium brand. =P)
Summary of Riding Experience
The riding experience is superb.
The smoothness of the control, the soft bushing, the micro-drop deck makes riding on the Verreal board a comfortable experience.
I like to describe the ride as feeling like riding on a skiff. It felt quick and responsive to maneuver as opposed to some other boards that give a sturdy, powerful and surf like feel.
It is a ride feel that I personally do not prefer; yet still find it very enjoyable nonetheless.
It’s so objectively good that I just can’t not like it!
Verreal F1 gets an ‘A’ from me for riding experience.
(As long as I am riding it on a smooth pavement that’s it.)
Verreal F1 is on par in its capability with the other Chinese budget boards.
Meaning – good value for money if compared to boards from any other segments.
There are three battery options for the Verreal F1.
- 4.0AH, standard battery (144wh) -8.7miles/ 14km range
- 6.4AH Panasonic (230wh) – 13miles/ 21km range
- 8.4AH Sanyo (302wh) – 18.5miles/ 30km range
The board that I am reviewing has 4.0AH standard battery. and it can definitely achieve 14km range in mixed riding in high-speed mode.
As the marketed range correlates with the battery size, (watt hour/10 = expected range in km)
I have no doubt that the marketed ranges on the other battery options are also reasonable and not exaggerated.
Marketed top speed is 23.6mph/ 38kmh, and most of us hit 25mph/40kmh without any issue.
The stability and the smooth control makes Verreal F1 one of the few boards that I feel comfortable hitting and staying at top speed.
The dual 250W hub motors are pretty fair.
Allowing the Verreal to climb most hills.
It passed the standard stop and go test on a 15% incline.
Customer service is a big part of an eskate purchase, even for an affordable brand.
During the one year in which Verreal has been around, it has established a good reputation for its pre and post-sales service.
Vic Duan, himself, is the person who looks after the bulk of customer service, and he has been very responsive and helpful.
Is Verreal F1 the best affordable electric skateboard right now?
Well, no doubt it’s one of the best.
The smooth control combined with the stability of the micro-drop deck provides some of the best riding experiences any eskate can have.
Comparing the F1 with the Meepo V2P, which has 97mm wheels option/ better ‘Shredder’ trucks and a better quality deck, Verreal F1’s smoother ESC and better stability may make it the preferred choice for many people.
Not to mention Verreal F1 is almost just one deck difference away from the Wowgo 2s and Ownboard W1S.
So, it depends:
What’s for sure though is even for those who do not consider Verreal F1 to be the best budget board, they will have no trouble enjoying themselves riding on the F1.
Beside the refinement and the polish, there is no real deal breaker for the Verreal F1 –
making it an easy recommendation for anyone and everyone looking to buy an Eskate.
Good job Verreal!
Use coupon code ‘EskateHQ’ during check out to receive $45 off from on your Verreal purchase.
($55 off for now)
Visit Verreal @ https://verrealboards.com/
update 14th October 2018:
Verreal has improved the packaging and finishing. Here is some photo from the latest production model.