In the wild and turbulent year of 2020, many of us found drastic changes in our life. Some of us spent time away from work. We stayed distant from family. We avoided public transportation. We found new hobbies during quarantine. But regardless of how our lives changed, we now all find ourselves looking for our first (or second) electric skateboard to bring convenience and enjoyment into our lives for the future! An electric skateboard allows you to travel freely, void of expensive transport and demoralizing traffic. The effortless sensation of surfing through streets is an addicting one, and possibly the sensation that brought you to this article! In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the best electric skateboards for various categories and needs. We will look at all the latest releases and top electric skateboard companies, and help you find the best possible option for your need to shred the streets electric style!
Best Budget Hub
Backfire G2 Black
Best Budget Belt-Driven
Best Bang for your Buck
Best Budget All-Terrain
WowGo AT 2
$15 off using "ESKBD"
Best "Made in US"
In addition to our lineup of boards, I will also be covering a basic yet important FAQ for any first time buyers of electric skateboards. I hope this will give you an edge in your purchase decision and allow you to ride your new board safely and to it’s full potential!
Author’s note: While I, Terminal X, am the writer of this article, It’s important to note that I am only one of several opinions and inputs that went into this final listing of electric skateboards. For example, some competing models in various categories may not be worth their much higher price. In other scenarios, the brands ignored multiple emails from us, which doesn’t bode well for a customer needing support. For reasons like these and many others, we chose to highlight certain boards as the “best” overall instead of others. Daniel, the guy behind this website, gave a lot of input, formatted and edited this Article.
Backfire G2 Black (2020)
Best Budget Hub Board
Backfire has been making reliable and quality electric skateboards for many years. Their budget-friendly G2 Black is a top choice for anyone looking to get into electric skateboarding. The G2 Black is a perfect combination of quality and price, starting at just $429.
|Extremely attractive price||Rougher ride with hub motors|
|Fast shipping||Not the best torque|
|Decent customer service||Can’t swap wheels|
|Quiet and stealthy motors|
Despite a thrilling 24mph top speed, the G2 Black can still achieve 11 – 12 miles of range. The G2 Black also uses a reliable and smooth Hobbywing electronic and remote system. The ESC (electronic speed controller, or brain of the board) is sealed for increased water resistance.
The remote uses a springy thumb wheel with precise control. This ensures a buttery smooth ride, as well as reliable brakes. The remote also has a digital display to show the rider range, speed, and an odometer, as well as speed modes and other important messages.
The long 38-inch deck is flexy for comfort, and the longboard deck is helpful for stability when riding at high speeds. There is a slight concave shape in the deck for your feet to slightly lock into the board for stability. The 96mm hub motors are extremely quiet. With hub motors, you can easily kick push if you happen to run out of juice. However, it’s important to note the difference between the G2 hub motors and the belt motors you might find elsewhere on different Backfire boards. While the top speeds tend to even out and be the same (depending on other stats), hub motors are almost always slower off the line. Belt motors tend to have more torque and will accelerate faster.
This also means that belt motors would achieve faster speeds going up hills. However, hub motor boards such as the G2 still achieve their top speed just fine and can keep up with equal belt motors after a few hundred feet. Belt motors also allow you to use different types of wheels, which are softer than the hub motor cans when it comes to riding comfort. However, these larger 96mm wheels on the G2 help with absorbing bumps and cracks in the road, including sidewalk cracks. The wheels and motors are replaceable for easy and affordable maintenance.
Backfire is well known for outperforming other Chinese manufacturers in customer service. They have support centers all over the world, including in the United States. Backfire offers shipping from different warehouses, including in the USA, which is a huge perk in the world of electric skateboards. Boards from China routinely take one or two months, but Backfire promises 2-5 business days for their American customers. In Europe, their German location guarantees a similar 3-7 business days for shipping. They usually respond quickly and with solid English. With more than one warehouse for warranties (which is for six months), you can expect a reasonable turnaround time for any repairs on your Backfire Board.
Best Budget Belt Drive
As we discussed earlier, there are some notable differences between the hub motor setup on an electric skateboard and the belt motor drive. Thankfully, belt motor boards have recently plummeted in price, and many have risen in both quality, power, and features. 2020 saw many companies release belt motor boards at a budget price. And while many of them are of decent value, one stands out to us above the rest. Enter the incredible Backfire Zealot, coming in with twin 750-watt belt motors, a top speed of 28mph, and an eye-catching promo price of only $700!
|Wheel swap possible||Requires a bit more maintenance than hubs|
|Big battery for a budget board||Turbo mode, while fast, eats up battery quickly|
|Powerful belt motors for a budget board|
|Decent customer service|
The Backfire Zealot was designed to be the king of budget belt motor boards (a market that didn’t exist until recently). It brings all the advantages of belt motors, with interchangeable wheels and powerful acceleration.
Backfire even partnered with Cloudwheels for those who want to float more effortlessly over cracks and bumps in the road. However, Backfire didn’t neglect the other features that make an electric skateboard great. In addition to the high top speed, they also utilize a large 311wh battery (aka it’s big, especially for the price). This battery consists of a 12s2p structure of 21700 cells. The battery can discharge 60a, which allows for more explosive power at high speeds and overcoming hills. The battery’s management system also protects the battery from overcharging and extends the life cycle by only allowing the battery to charge to 90%. This small but important feature should increase the life of your board and keep its most important aspect well protected for years to come.
Like its little brother, the Zealot also utilizes the Hobbywing ESC. They highlight the importance of the motor controller’s newer high voltage ability for more powerful motors (which you’ll get on the Zealot), and the world renowned smooth acceleration and braking that comes with Hobbywing. With power comes great responsibility, and the Zealot responsibly gives you precise control over acceleration and braking with its R3 wireless remote. The OLED display shows you important information like speed, range, your trip odometer, and any warning messages (like a low battery). It also contains the ability for Backfire’s “Turbo Mode”, which gives you an extra 20% acceleration! However, note that while you can use Turbo Mode all the time, it does chew through a good portion of your battery, so keep an eye on your juice and have a charge spot nearby. The remote also allows you to enact a form of cruise control and turn the lights on and off that are built into the battery enclosure (which gives off a slick Tron vibe).
The Backfire Zealot deck may not seem like anything special, but it has a deep concave which is great for locking a rider’s feet in during high speed stretches. They offer two deck variants, a more flexible (comfortable) bamboo, and a stiffer (more stable) composite deck. However, they add fiberglass to the decks to ensure a strong foundation for your ride.
The default 96mm wheels are 78a which means a softer ride and more grip on the streets. 96mm is larger than average for longboard wheels, and they should help you ride over basic bumps and cracks. As mentioned before however, Backfire allows you to swap out the wheels and provides different pulley variants in the box so that the wheels you choose will work with the belt motors. All the benefits of Backfire’s customer service and local warehouses apply to the Zealot, and they even offer discounted sea shipping for those that don’t mind the wait.
|Top Speed||28.5 mph (46 km/h)|
|Range||17.5 miles (28 km)|
|Battery Size||311 Wh|
|Link to Website||backfireboards.com/zealot|
|Link to our Review||Backfire Zealot Review|
Best Budget All Terrain
2020 certainly unveiled many new boards with “all terrain” wheels and belt motors. And to be fair, most of them do have a similar appearance and style to a certain well known brand. However, while many of these budget all terrain boards have specs that line up with each other, the WowGo AT2 electric skateboard goes a cut above the rest with a few unique features.
|Powerful belt motors for a budget board||AT Wheels wobble a bit|
|Smooth controls||Meh customer support|
|Many wheel options, including pneumatic ATs||Belt motors could be stronger|
|Smart Turn-On feature||Double kingpin trucks take time to get used to|
|Big battery for a budget board||Heavy|
Wowgo advertises their AT2 board as both powerful and comfortable, and it’s primary features do lend themselves to those claims. Starting with the motors, Wowgo utilizes 6368 belt motors. The increased torque of belt motors will give the rider far more torque to power up hills and through rough terrain.
They use a continental 5M belt which allows for more strength and grip in the wheel pulleys. These 1500 watt motors (note: that’s likely peak watts, not continuous, meaning that you won’t get that much power from them after the initial burst of acceleration) are paired to Hobbywing’s latest ESC, which you’ll notice most of our 2020 picks use. With 4 speed modes, you’ll be able to tailor your speed and braking power to your riding experience. The Wowgo AT2 uses a buttery smooth OLED screen remote to see your speed, battery life, odometer, and other important information right at your fingertips.
In addition to power, Wowgo also levels up the AT2’s comfort. Wowgo decided to go with pneumatic 175mm all terrain wheels instead of urethane or airless tires for an improved ride in poor terrain and more comfort. However, you will need to be aware of ideal inflation, tire balancing, and the small risk of flat tires. If large or pneumatics aren’t your thing, Wowgo also offers 105mm and 120mm Cloudwheels for a more nimble ride. Like many budget all terrain boards, Wowo utilizes double kingpin trucks for extremely tight turning radii. The AT2’s deck is a combination of fiberglass, bamboo, and Canadian maple, which allows for some stability with plenty of flex. You’ll have a more comfortable ride with this setup.
Paired to the deck is a flexible enclosure containing a fairly large battery. Wowgo highlights the enclosure’s heat dissipation ability and notes that the 14ah batterv is both powerful in discharge and resists voltage sag well. While Wowgo claims that the AT2 is water resistant rated IP55, they don’t recommend riding during rainy days. Wowgo offers a 9 month warranty against manufacturing defects. However, it’s worth remembering that any damage from harsh riding conditions, accidents, or just worn out parts may not be covered. This is especially important with an all terrain board. In addition, Wowgo’s support is based in China, so be sure to add many photos and videos of your warranty claim. You should also use simple sentences and repeat yourself a few times in your email. Finally, be patient with response times, as they are in a different time zone.
|Top Speed||25 mph (40 km/h)|
|Range||22 miles (35 km)|
|Battery Size||504 Wh|
|Price||$1099 (AT or Cloudwheels)|
$1219 (AT and Cloudwheels)
|Link to Website||wowgoboard.com/AT-2|
Best Bang for your Buck
With a plethora of electric skateboards being created in China, sometimes it can be hard for one board to stand out. With many of the companies sharing specs and suppliers, it makes the lineup even more difficult to decipher. However, occasionally a manufacturer puts together the perfect combination of parts and design to create a personal electric vehicle that hits almost all the right points for almost all riders. For Verreal, 2020 is their year to brag, because their amazing Verreal RS makes our Best Allrounder pick.
|Best value for the price||Long shipping times|
|Tons of wheel options||Stock bushings are not the best|
|Massive battery options||Heavy and cumbersome|
|Lots of customization options from Verreal|
From powerful belt motors, to a massive battery option unique to Verreal, a deck meant to fit most rider’s preferences, and a price value ratio that is unmatched in the community, the RS checks off almost all boxes for how an electric skateboard should perform.
When you first pull up the link to purchase the Verreal RS, the first thing you’ll notice are all the custom options you can put together for your board. This is a bold move logistically, but tantalizing for the customer. The Verreal RS deck is a classic Canadian Maple and bamboo mix that will give the rider solid stability with enough flex to create a comfortable ride. Riders will enjoy the “w” shape setup to allow the feet to feel locked in at top speed.
The Hobbywing ESC also comes standard on the RS. It’s renowned buttery smooth acceleration and braking will keep the rider in control at all times. The OLED remote has a classic and responsive thumb wheel control that allows for precise control of the powerful board. In addition, the Hobbywing ESC connects you to two very powerful 1500watt 170kv 6368 belt motors (translation: they’re big). Depending on the wheel size you pick, you can expect a top speed of 25 – 27mph.
Finally, the Verreal RS comes stock with double kingpin trucks, which are a hotly debated topic in the world of electric skateboards. While they certainly provide tight turning and maneuvering, they weren’t originally built for speed. Therefore, high octane riding can seem dubious on longboard trucks meant for slow carving. However, with the right bushing setup (we recommend Riptide), double kingpin trucks can be extremely stable and still retain their addicting ability to turn on a dime and shred the pavement! I was once a double kingpin truck critic myself. However, after attaching the correct setup of Riptide bushings, I feel more stable than ever at top speed.
From this point onwards, the Verreal RS deploys their top notch customization options. Starting with wheels, they currently offer 85mm grey urethane, 97mm urethane pink glow wheels (which look pretty cool I can’t deny), and 105mm/120mm Cloudwheels. Additionally, Verreal also wants to offer pneumatic 7-inch wheels in the near future, which would make the RS even more appealing to a lot of people. Naturally, with rough streets the larger cloud wheels would be a quick pick, but bear in mind that you’ll lose torque and range with larger wheels.
In addition to wheel options, Verreal headlines the electric skateboard world with a plethora of battery options. The base 12ah Samsung 30q and 14ah Samsung 35e 10s4p batteries aren’t awful, but they’re commonly found in other competing boards, and don’t create the wow factor that Verreal comes in swinging with next. Buyers can select massive 16ah and 19.2ah batteries (the latter lovingly referred to as the “Tesla” battery) to pair with their Verreal RS. The Tesla battery configuration drops a hefty 691wh battery pack into the board, creating massive range possibilities (which are of course varied depending on many factors). And you get all that under $1000! Therefore it’s just fair to say that the Verreal RS is the BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK right now!
But it’s not only butterfly and roses, the RS also has some minor flaws, such as poor used nuts and bolts, stock bushings, and water sealings. But this can be fixed with a bit of effort. For more info check out our “Verreal RS Review – All you need to know“. Finally, Verreal offers 7-14 day shipping on their website, which is a reasonable expectation when flying big batteries internationally. As with all Chinese electric skateboard companies, it’s wise to have some patience with warranty issues. You should supply plenty of photos and videos, use basic sentence structure (there’s a good chance your issue is being fed through an online translator), and repeat yourself a few times in your support email to ensure that your point is understood.
|Top Speed||27 mph (43 km/h)|
|Range||22 miles (35 km)|
|Battery Size||432 – 691 Wh|
|Price||$699 – $1119|
|Link to Website||verrealboards.com|
|Link to our Review||Verreal RS Review|
Best Short Board
Exway has been on the scene for a couple years now. Based in China, they’ve been pushing the bounds of what’s possible in a budget electric skateboard. With exclusive Hobbywing technology, they are now going further with technology and software than even some premium brands. For Exway, it’s all about the details Exway’s Wave is bringing further improvements to the short board niche and thus is our pick for 2020.
|Powerful technology built into the board||More expensive than competing short boards|
|Swappable motors and batteries are awesome!||Range is mediocre, especially for avid riders|
|Built-in Front and tail light||Shorter decks are less stable at high speeds|
|Quality parts and software are front and center|
|Portable, light, and agile|
With all short electric skateboards, it starts with the deck. Exway added a deep concave into the deck for good foot placement, as well as the classic kicktail. This allows for mobility and stability at high speeds. Being a smaller board also means that the Wave is lighter, at only 14lbs, making it easy to run errands with and commute to work and school.
Another popular feature of the Wave (and many Exway boards) is the swappable drivetrain. Many of the boards featured in the article either have hub motors or belt motors, which have pros and cons. However, the Wave can actually swap out its hub motors for belt motors in just a few minutes. It’s a separate add-on for purchase, but customers who see the need for both motor setups can have it on their short board. The Wave tops out at 23mph, which is plenty fast for a short board.
Motors aren’t the only swappable thing on the Wave. The battery has an easy quick release that allows for battery swaps in mere seconds. Yeah, it’s pretty handy. The 216Wh batteries will get customers 10-15 miles on a charge, and can be charged in just a bit over an hour with the fast charger option.
Exway utilizes Hobbywing in their boards and has an exclusive deal that gives them new technology to use on the Wave. The OLED remote comes with a turbo mode, and can also power the board on and off (which is rare with electric skateboards oddly enough). The remote shows you some basic information about the board, but the Exway app shows the user all sorts of handy stuff, and even allows you to make software tweaks to the board realtime. Software updates, acceleration and braking curve, and battery health are all available in the app. You can change your wheel size in the app to improve range calculation accuracy.
Finally Exway goes a step further with quality and details in their electric skateboards. The Wave comes with built in rear red lights and front white lights that work off of the board’s battery and ESC. The Exway Trist Trucks are custom and CNC for strong reliable riding. The ESC is hidden inside the rear truck base but still allows heat dissipation. The battery cells can be placed in a hibernation mode that allows the Wave batteries to stay healthy during long periods of storage (seriously, who thinks of that??)
Exway offers solid support and decent English for being a Chinese company. The Wave comes with a 12 month warranty. However, bear in mind that shipping replacement parts internationally can take a long time, so it’s best to be patient. The Exway Wave starts at just $699, and Exway offers several bundles and combinations of batteries, parts, and motors for customers to choose from.
|Top Speed||23 mph (38 km/h)|
|Range||15 miles (24 km)|
|Battery Size||216 Wh|
|Price||$649 – $1097|
|Link to Website||exwayboard.com/wave|
|Discount Code||Pay $15 less using “ESKBD“|
Best Made in the US
In 2020, it’s clear that most electric skateboards found on the streets are made in China. With the budget board driving sales and quickly increasing in quality, it’s hard to argue with some of the Chinese products. However, there is one company that has been designing and building electric skateboards in the USA since 2004! Metroboard specializes in a high end performance electric skateboard known as the Metroboard X (no relation to the author) with several configurations. Because of the impressive quality, top notch power, and renowned service, we’re giving the MetroboardX our 2020 pick for the best electric skateboard made in the USA.
|10 years track record||Expensive|
|Excellent customer support||Big and heavy|
|Superb build quality|
|Genius belt tensioning system|
|1 year warranty|
Firstly, the look of the MetroboardX is killer. The sleek 47” black carbon fiber deck stretches out into blood red trucks and motor mounts. The one inch drop carved into the deck allows for more stability by locking the rider’s feet into the board. The thick CNC aluminum trucks stretch out to massive 190mm pneumatic wheels (more on that later). With built in lights and an onboard battery level display, the MetroboardX immediately gives off high end vibes. The board comes with the immediate options of 190mm pneumatic wheels or 107mm Abec11 street wheels (or both). They also have 155mm AT wheels for those who want a little more range out of their big wheels.
For the basic specs, Metroboard pulls few punches. The X comes to play with dual brushless 6374 belt motors and a large 36V 16AH battery using LG MH1 cells to reduce voltage sag. With the smaller wheels and appropriate pulleys, the rider can expect a top speed of 31mph. With the larger wheels, the MetroboardX can top out between 28mph and a blistering 36mph (again, with the right 52 tooth wheel pulleys). As for distance, the range isn’t a problem for this electric skateboard. Riders can get between 20 to 30 miles of range depending on their wheel preference (and other factors). Metroboard doesn’t hesitate to put their rider in the front of the pack and keep them going further than ever.
In addition to the smoldering appearance and beastly specs, the attention to detail on the MetroboardX adds so much incredible value that it needs to be mentioned. Metroboard utilizes a VESC style ESC with FOC motor controller that ensures a smooth and responsive experience, while still delivering far more power than other budget ESCs could handle. The electric skateboard also has front, rear, and underbody lights, including rear red lights that flash while braking (a nice touch).
The X also has a smartphone app to see important information in realtime and even make adjustments to the settings of the board! The battery gauge and power switch are built into the top of the deck, and the charging port is also located on top. Finally, the American board comes with automatic belt tensioning, a welcome add-on to the belt motor system. This means that changing belts or wheels will be much simpler and faster for riders. While basic, the remote Metroboard uses is reliable and has basic battery life range indicators. Metroboard also allows riders to customize their board with various options for wheels (like Cloudwheels), bushings, brighter front lights, and faster chargers.
As an American company, Metroboard sources only the best parts for your electric skateboard. Their support is obviously stateside, and they pack a 7 day guarantee and 1 year warranty for the purchase, which is far more generous than most electric skateboard companies. However, the premium product and support will certainly cost you, as the MetroboardX starts at $2424.
|Top Speed||36 mph (58 km/h)|
|Range||30 miles (48 km)|
|Battery Size||576 Wh|
|Link to Website||metro-board.com|
|Link to our Review||MetroboardX Review|
In the word of electric skateboards, few names bear as much weight as Lacroix. The Canadian brand stormed onto the scene a few years ago with the show stopping Prototipo, and have been dominating the high end premium market ever since. Lacroix spares no expense on their products and service, delivering superior range and speed to their riders.
|Insane power and speed||Expensive|
|Insane range||Big and heavy|
|Excellent customer support||Shipping can take a while|
|Extreme quality in all the parts||Only 90 days warranty|
|Lots of customization options|
While a handful of one-man shop DIY builders and smaller brands have created similarly specked boards, none have topped the scope and value created by the Lacroix team. For the jaw dropping power and quality, Lacroix’s electric skateboards make our top pick for 2020 best premium board.
Lacroix deploys five powerful boards for their customers, which are aptly named Jaws, Nazaré, Nazaré Lonestar, Nazaré Supersport, and Lonestar Supersport. For simplicity, we’ll go over the features of the Jaws (the cheapest, starting at $2599USD), followed by the differences in the more powerful models.
Named after the mythical surfing wave, the Lacroix Jaws comes crashing onto the scene with nearly overbearing power. The rider can have an aggressive stance on the massive 42”x16” deck made of Canadian Maple and fiberglass. The deck has concave feet pockets for stability at high speeds, and Lacroix offers a stiffer version for heavier riders. The Canadian company also offers custom “Hypertrucks” for the board to help minimize (but not prevent) speed wobbles, as well as ceramic bearings, added oil slick for the trucks, and titanium axles. Clearly, Lacroix is sparing no expense in creating the absolute perfect board. 7.5 inch pneumatic tires will effortlessly grace the board over any terrain (but be aware of flat tires, Lacroix ships a spare for a reason).
The Jaws comes equipped with a thick 706wh 12s4p battery that is rated between 16-22 miles for a 200lb rider. The battery is built into a custom flexible enclosure, and charges with a lightning 8amp charger. Dual 6374 belt motors power the rider to a top speed even Lacroix won’t talk about (yeah, it’s that fast; please be careful).
To control the beastly Jaws, Lacroix uses their in-house new ESC known as Stormcore. It’s considered the most powerful and tweakable ESC in the world, and it’s compatible with Bluetooth so the rider can view their electric skateboard specs on their smartphone. The high tech Stormcore controller is paired with the DIY revered Hoyt St. Puck remote. It’s incredibly reliable and has the best connection technology in a remote for electric skateboards. The unusual design is actually very ergonomic (the author was a skeptic himself, but now owns one and swears by Hoyt St.)
Lacroix also sells two more powerful (and to be honest, more popular) versions of their electric skateboard. The Nazare packs a bigger 882wh 12s5p battery for an increased range of 21-28 miles. The Nazare also uses stronger 6389 motors to thrust the rider into unspeakable levels of speed. In addition to their custom Hypertrucks as default, Lacroix even offers powerful lights built into the trucks for the Nazare. Nazare riders can also pick custom titanium motors pulleys with different teeth. However, all these added perks add up, and customers can pick up a Nazare for an exasperating $3,349.
Next up, we come to the legendary Nazare Lonestar, Lacroix’s most premium product. On top of what the Jaws and Nazare contain, the Lonestar adds a record 2152wh battery made of Samsung INR-21700-50e cells. This monstrosity can get 50-60 miles, and requires a 12a charger. However, the Lonestar has one of the biggest price tags of all time, at a jaw dropping $3,999.
Finally, we come to the grand finale of all Lacroix electric skateboards. In November 2020, Lacroix announced their “Supersport” lineup. Built with racing in mind (as well as exploring and everything else Lacroix boards excel at), the Supersport combines their most powerful Stormcore 100D motor controller, as well as a hilariously massive 18S8P Samsung 50E battery pack. The pack is 2582Wh, which is the largest in any production board at this time. Riders can expect anywhere between 50 and 100 miles on a single charge.
The Supersport can also be upgraded with gear drive motors, which means riders don’t need to worry about belts, while still allowing wheel options and powerful torque (and high speed). In case it wasn’t obvious, the Supersport compromises on nothing. It strives to be the fastest, most torque, longest range electric skateboard in production. The only downside? The maxed out Supersport will run a customer a cool $6,000!
Lacroix offers steller personal and professional support straight from their Montreal headquarters. Every part and product goes through intense testing, and Lacroix only selects the toughest materials to go on their boards. They offer a 90 manufacturer’s warranty, followed by another 60 day “free labor repair service”. Lacroix will utilize Skype to walk the customer through fixing and installing the replacement part. However, note that Lacroix doesn’t offer returns or refunds, even after placing an order. Their expensive and premium products don’t serve tire kickers well, and one should be absolutely sure that Lacroix is the right choice for them.
|Top Speed||45+ mph (73+ km/h)|
|Range||22 – 100 miles (52 – 160 km)|
|Battery Size||706 – 2582 Wh|
|Price||$2499 – 6000+|
|Link to Website||lacroixboards.com|
|Link to our Reviews||Lacroix Jaws Review|
Lacroix Nazaré Lonestar
Build Kit Boards Duo
For those who have scrolled through the article thus far and haven’t found the perfect fit for their electric skateboard needs, worry not. Many ditch the prebuilt production boards and go the path of DIY, building their board with custom parts that meet their exact needs (and budget). However, DIY can certainly be daunting. The different batteries and ESCs and motors are overwhelming. Soldering and wiring can be tedious. A DIY failure is especially heartbreaking because there is no official support to turn to if your board has problems (have fun googling VESC errors at 3 am instead of riding with the gang!). Thankfully, there is a happy medium between being stuck with a prebuilt board you don’t like and the DIY world you don’t have time for. Electric skateboard kits are the perfect combination of flexibility, choice, customization, and a solid finished product you can rely on.
|Lots of customization options for customers||Can feel daunting for folk new to PEV|
|Powerful belt motors||A bit more pricey than other kits|
|Quality parts used||Battery isn’t the largest for the price|
|Great USA support|
Kits come complete with motors, ESC, and batteries all on one finished setup. There’s no soldering or electrical work required. The customer simply drills a few holes in the deck of their choice (or pick a deck from the kit company) and uses the included screws to mount the kit. Then he can power on the board and remote, and ride off into the sunset. Kits all use different motors. Those with belt or direct drive motors can take advantage of different wheel types to further customize the ride.
While there aren’t as many electric skateboard kits as there are prebuilts, the customization options allow riders to make infinite variations. Build Kit Boards (BKB) utilizes powerful belt motors and a hefty battery paired to a VESC (a powerful and custom motor controller that is popular with DIY board makers) to achieve an amazing kit for customers. Because of the great specs, next level customization, extra options, and USA based customer support, BKB makes our 2020 pick for best electric skateboard kit with their Duo setup.
The BKB Duo startsrelatively simple. The rear trucks, belt motors, rear wheels, and ESC/battery enclosure all come put together, ready for you to mount. It also provides the front trucks and wheels to complete your riding setup. And that’s it! BKB even provides the tools and instructions in your package.
The dual 6354 belt motors are 3000watts each, which is a healthy amount of torque and speed. Customers can expect a top speed of 28mph, but can change up pulleys (provided by BKB of course) to get a wicked 40mph if they choose! The Duo kit allows for hundreds of different wheel types, and BKB offers standard 97mm wheels, Cloudwheels, and even 6 inch pneumatics for all terrain shredding. The Duo kit can be packaged with extra pulleys for different wheels too (such as some the customer might already have at home). These wheels can all be easily swapped out on the go in a few minutes.
BKB packs in a healthy 324wh Samsung battery for some serious mileage. Depending on several conditions, a rider can expect up to 20 miles, or 10-14 miles with the larger pneumatics. This is all built into the enclosure, there’s no wiring or engineering degree required here. Also built into the enclosure is the VESC based motor controller (the brain of the board, if you will). It’s ready to go out of the box, but the customer can utilize the VESC software available on PC to customize the exact ride and feel they are looking for. Looking to stomp on the acceleration and rocket to top speed instantly? VESC has you covered. Looking for a buttery smooth ride that would keep Grandma safe on the BKB? No problem, VESC can make the board perfect for a casual cruise. The acceleration and braking curve are 100% changeable. BKB uses the perfect VESC software that has been tested and contains no bugs. There’s no software update needed. It’s ready to roll!
Another perk of the BKB using VESC is that there are multiple smartphone apps available to pair with the board. One can track real time data, ride progress, and battery voltage. Some apps can even tweak your board on the go! The VESC is paired to the popular VX1 remote, which is basic but simple and easy to use (and very reliable). The thumb wheel style remote shows connectivity as well as a good estimate on range left through small lights.
BKB offers a few deck options (large and small) in case you don’t have one ready to use. The larger deck has a good concave and special flex that returns to center quickly instead of leaving the rider bouncing at 40mph! If you’re unsure of the deck you want to use, it would be a good idea to go with a BKB option, and switch to a different deck once you’ve found it. That’s the beauty of the kit. Simply unscrew it from the old deck, and mount it to the new one, creating a new electric skateboard!
In addition to decks, BKB offers a few optional add-ons for the Duo. Belt guards, extra pulleys (for different wheels, more torque, or more speed), spare belts, and even a rapid charger are all possible extras for the kit. It truly provides the customization that DIY folks love, while making it easy and accessible for novice riders. The best part? BKB is based in Pennsylvania, USA for quality customer support. They offer a 100 day warranty for manufacturer defects, and afterwards customers can receive spare parts at cost if anything goes wrong.
|Top Speed||20 – 40 mph (32 – 64 km/h)|
|Range||10 – 20 miles (16 – 32 km)|
|Battery Size||324 Wh|
|Price||$900 – 1300|
|Link to Website||buildkitboards.com|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to ride an electric skateboard?
In countries and states, electric skateboards are incredibly new, and thus tend to be a grey area. A few countries such as Germany and Greece have outlawed electric skateboards explicitly. Other places such as France have legalized them and mandated that they follow bicycle laws and speed limits of 25km/h. It’s best to research your country and city before buying an electric skateboard to avoid any fines. For example, my (Terminal X) state of Michigan legalized electric skateboards in 2018, provided we stay on streets of 25mph, utilize bike lanes, and follow proper traffic laws. It’s something I’m incredibly proud of!
How far can electric skateboards go?
Ah yes, the number one question I receive when riding my board. The range is dependent on far more than just the battery pack (or claimed range by the company). Weight, aggressive riding, slope, weather, wheels all play a factor into calculating range. Basic boards can get an average rider a cruising range of 7-9 miles. Some boards in this article can take the rider on a proper 50 mile expedition!
Hub or Belt Motor – which is better?
This question is also popular with beginners. Belt motors are popular for providing more torque (aka when you accelerate, you accelerate faster off the line) and can propel riders up hills much easier. Belt motors can also change to different types of wheels with accompanied pulleys. However, belts do require a bit more maintenance. Belts break over time (albeit a long time if tensioned properly), and the pulleys can get rocks and dirt inside that need a quick scrub. Making sure the belts are the proper tension also takes a bit of practice. Belt motors are also louder than hubs, which can be a problem if you’re riding in an area that outlaws electric skateboards.
Hub motors are electromagnets built into the rear wheel of the board itself. There’s no belts or pulleys. There’s almost no maintenance or cleaning required. Simply accelerate on the remote and the wheel spins. However, torque on hub motors are fairly weak compared to belt motors, and riders will find themselves going slower up hills compared to their belt motor companions. In addition, because the hub motor is sealed into the wheel, it’s impossible to change out the wheels on a hub motor board. Because of this, hub motors tend to be a bit less comfortable of a ride, especially on rougher roads. That said, some hub motor boards can go faster than belt motor boards! If a hub motor dies or stops working, most riders purchase a spare one from the company, which can be expensive.
Can you take electric skateboards on planes?
This answer varies depending on the airline. Some airlines forbid batteries over 99wh or 160wh, which limits the types of boards that can be brought. Some riders get lucky and are never asked about it. Others are stopped right at security and have to leave it. It’s best to check with the airline first before you fly, as well as your country’s airport security (such as the TSA). It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll need to remove the battery and carry it with you, and check the rest of the electric skateboard with your luggage. A good travel bag for the long board would be a good idea.
How much do electric skateboards weigh?
It depends! Small electric skateboards are only a few pounds and can be easily carried in one arm. Other monster boards such as the LaCroix need to be moved like a wheelbarrow due to their immense weight.
What is the fastest electric skateboard?
This argument goes back and forth pretty often. The fastest boards are usually built exclusively for racing, such as the Stooge boards. However, they’re not meant for commuting. The fastest consumer electric skateboards can go 40mph+, but it’s not recommended to hit these speeds without years of experience, quiet streets, and full body protection. Remember, there’s no seat belt! If you fall, you will be crashing at 40mph with no airbag. Pad up!
Are electric skateboards waterproof?
In a short answer, no. Most electric skateboards go through heavy water resistance. Enclosures and motors can be sealed, but nothing is perfect. In general, water damage isn’t covered by a warranty, and electronics and water don’t usually go well together. By definition, waterproof means that the board could be used underwater, and there isn’t one that could do that (yet).
Are electric skateboards safe?
With reasonable precaution, a bit of practice, and proper protection, electric skateboards are very safe! Having brakes to control your ride when going downhill is an amazing perk, and learning to ride safely will keep you protected in most situations. Of course, a good helmet and pads are essential, and it’s recommended that riders learn how to foot brake. A good rule is to ride in such a way that you could safely come to a stop should your board stop working. Be safe!
Do electric skateboards have brakes?
Yes they do, and they’re awesome! Riders can use the remote provided to speed up or slow down their ride as needed, including coming to a complete stop. Some boards have customization options for braking strength.
How do electric skateboards work?
To summarize, electric skateboards have three parts; a motor controller, a battery, and a motor (or two). The motor controller pairs with a rider’s remote to tell the motors to engage, and the battery provides the juice to move the board. The remote is bluetooth connected and provides instant control for the rider. To turn, riders can use their legs and body weight to turn the board just like you would a normal longboard.
Can Electric Skateboards go uphill?
Absolutely! It would be lame if they couldn’t. However, note that severely sharp hills (25 degree grade or higher) will be a struggle for some boards, and it will be slow going. Hills also eat up batteries faster than flat terrain, so it’s important to factor hills into calculating battery life for a trip.
Are electric skateboards worth it?
They’re 100% worth it. The effortless surfing feeling that glides a rider wherever they want to go is an addicting feeling. The precise control and power at the fingertips is hard to top! Fair warning, once the electric skateboard gets rolling and your journey begins, you might be sore from the constant smile on your face.