Congratulations on deciding that the Hub Motor is the best route for you! Now, let us start getting into delicious details to make you confident on why it’s the best fit for you.
Best Hub Motor Electric Skateboards
Why Hub Motors?
Overall, any electric skateboard equipped with Hub motors will provide you the following benefits:
They are cheap
The best part is the price tags for Hub-style drivetrain electric skateboards. Why is that? They are easier and a lot faster to produce, there are no additional steps such as tensioning belts, adjusting motors, extra bolts, and washers. It is a simple install of the hub motors, sliding over the hub-sleeve and you are good to go. Which means, less complicated parts, less time to manufacture needed, lower sales price.
Starting at a low price of $389 for the Meepo V3, to mid-range budgets of $649 for the Backfire G3. Both options are serious contenders for higher-end boards ranging in the thousands.
They are quiet and stealthy
You will love just how silent these machines are when rolling down the road. A great benefit is the element of surprise, these machines are quiet. Since there are no belts propelling the motors, there are no high-pitched motors screaming from beneath your feet. Hubs are an ideal choice if you would rather be more discreet while riding in your neighborhood or while joining bicyclists at your local bike path.
They are efficient!
If that is not convincing enough, let us talk about their efficiency. Unless you are buying a $4000 skateboard, majority of the time, you will have a small battery to play with. But the benefit of these Hub motors is the range you can get. 10s2p, the most common arrangement of battery cells for Hub and Belt drivetrains-alike. When compared side-to-side, there is always a clear winner. Manufacturers will provide approximations when advertising their products, most will claim over 20 miles in range. But these estimates are under the best conditions possible. Flat smooth roads, no wind, no baggage, and a light-weight rider smooth-rolling under 15 mph. It is almost false advertising if you ask me. No one will slow roll these things once you get it down.
To get a little more in depth around the world of batteries, in a standard 10s2p arrangement with high-quality cells like that of Samsung’s 21700-50e batteries, you are looking at around 260-300 Watt-hours of power. Now, like how a gasoline car range works, you get a certain amount of mileage per gallon (MPG) of gasoline. In the world of electric skateboards, they share commonalities. In this example, I will be referring to the Exway Flex, which has a 12s2p 259 watt-hour battery with an estimated range of 20 miles. In this case, the Exway Flex battery will be outputting roughly 13 watt-hours per mile, or (MPGe) if referring to an electric vehicle. This of course, will be determined by its rider, environment, and riding style.
But the most promising details to get from this is that Hub motors are the most likely to get that estimate range depending on what ride mode you are currently on. Since belt-drive motors take more power and provide faster acceleration, they demand more power. Hubs on the other hand, although comparable to speeds, do not have the same moving parts as belt-drives with the motor gears and energy lost due to belt friction when accelerating providing you with more efficiency that the belt-drive motors can’t provide.
They are easy to maintain!
How often am I going to be getting my hands dirty? ALL THE TIME! Not really, it is minimal to non-existent. The greatest aspect of a Hub motor drive is that there is little to no maintenance. Sure, you will have to figure out what bushings you will need for your weight and your style of riding, and if your hub sleeves start chipping away urethane, you’ll have to replace those as well.
Figuring out the bushings is easy, and most are color-coded with a weight range, some riders like them lighter for a looser ride, others like them tighter, for more restrictive turns for better speed stabilization. Mainly for those downhill speed runs. But once those bushings are figured out, you are set. The one time you will have to get “down and dirty”, is when replacing your hub sleeves (the urethane that covers your back hub motors). Typically, hub sleeves last a few hundred miles if you ride every day in rough terrain. But if you are an average rider who uses your ride to get from class to class, you might never have to do this.
Replacing the urethane hub sleeves is 3 simple steps for all brands. Removing the bolts, replacing the sleeve, and re-adding the bolts, and you are done. Simple. Being that Hub motors do not offer a lot of customization when it comes to wheel selection, you do have the option for thicker urethane wheels. By default, most come in 90 or 97mm variations, but most manufacturers, and third-party vendors, offer 100mm+ selections for smoother rides. Nearly all brands have a do-it-yourself video online to guide you on replacing your hub sleeves. If the eSK8 community is known for anything, it is for how helpfully everyone is towards new riders.
How to choose an Electric Skateboard with Hub Motor?
So now that you know what to expect from an electric skateboard with the hub drivetrain, let us get into some more details to look for when making your decision!
How do you intend to use it?
Many “esk8er’s” use their board for fun, enjoying a weekend out by the beach, being a tourist in your own city. Others use it to get from classes on campus, and others, like myself, use it as your main mode of transportation. First, why do you want an electric skateboard? Will it make the dreadful walk through campus faster, and more enjoyable? An excuse to quickly skate by that classmate you just do not like? Or are you after that need for speed thrill and are looking to get into the competitive aspect of electric skateboarding? The meaning behind the board is endless, and ultimately, it is to have fun. The reason why you want a skateboard will determine your budget, so let us get into that.
We already made it clear that hub driven electric skateboards are vastly cheaper than motor-driven skateboards. But how cheap? Some can be as cheap as $100 from an overseas vendor with little to no support or reputation, and we tend to avoid these at all costs as these are usually no-name companies looking for a quick buck. The sweet spot for affordable, reputable brands lays between $300 to $700. Brands from Backfire, Meepo, Exway, and Maxfind offer affordable and reliable options to choose from for those who are beginners in this sport.
How reputable is the brand?
Always do your own research, and I am here to make it easier for you. The brands I have mentioned earlier, are brands I have personally used before, and that was not a decision made easy in a sea of options. The number one thing I always look for when purchasing a new gadget is brand reputation. Imagine purchasing a Ferrari just cause it looks awesome, and it does, and the next thing you learn, is that they use cheap parts, or don’t bother helping you when you experience an issue. These are things to look out for when making your decision.
Range and Battery Life
So, let us get into what we can expect from the range of what board you choose. On the product page, you will see estimates, like 20/25/30 miles of range, and most of the time, these are estimated under the best possible conditions (i.e. flat roads, eco mode, light rider, no hills, etc.), so take them with a grain of salt. Most boards use a 10s2p-esk like configuration. In this case, 10s2p means 2 rows of 10 batteries averaging around 150 – 300 watt-hours. And the more rows, the more range you will get. Also, not all, but most brands state what brand of battery they use. This will be something to look out for, but not a big concern. Your range is mostly determined by your weight, environment and speed mode.
If you are hauling 30 pounds of books with you throughout campus, your board will use more energy to push you around and will ultimately diminish your battery faster. Typically, Speed Mode 1 on all boards are meant for beginners, some will even call their 1st speed mode “Beginner” (Thanks Boosted). And each speed mode outputs different amounts of power, so quick lesson, the lower the speed mode, the less power you pull, the more range you will get, and vice versa. Other things to look out for, weather, no one thinks about this, but it does affect the performance as well as the range of your battery. So, if it is cold, do not expect your battery to deliver that estimate range. If you are from Southern California, this is nothing you would ever have worry about.
Expectations for Customer Service
My biggest concern when shopping for anything is customer service. Like the famous Vince Lombardi once said, “It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one“. This 100% applies when it comes to electric skateboards. So please, always do your research, ask questions, reach out to their customer service team before your purchase to see how their response time is. However unfortunate, we have all been ghosted at some point in our lives like that special someone in school who just wanted you as a friend. So, let us not keep that train rolling with our fancy electric skateboards.
Make it a habit to review videos on YouTube, see if the brand has a forum on Reddit, ask questions in any eSK8 Facebook group you are in. This community will guide you in the right direction.
The good thing, customer service is great for a lot of the boards I am about to mention!
Best Hub Motor Electric Skateboards
Backfire G2 Black – Best Budget Pick
$429 If this is not an appealing price, I do not know what is! Plus, with an all-black design combined with those quiet hub motors, you will be silent as the night. Coming from Backfire, a US-based company, you are getting top-notch customer service with a budget skateboard. The fan favorite G2 Black comes with all the bells and whistles, with the new 2020 Generation 2 (G2), they have made an upgrade to this beast without comprising price.
The deck has widened and lengthened, and stiffer than their other models which will give you more confidence at higher speeds! It is partnered with their Hobbywing LCD remote that gives you all the information you need right from the controller, speed, range, and battery life so there is no stopping short to check what juice you have left.
Backfire equipped their G2 Black with an ABS plastic sealed lithium battery with an approximate 11-mile range, most of them used ride off-road, and water is sometimes unavoidable, so knowing the battery is sealed with ABS plastic, makes this water and dust resistant.
At $429, Backfire is not holding back with their 18650 Lithium-Ion battery packing 11 miles of range on a single charge in a 10s2p li-ion pack configuration. Combined with the Hobbywing 10s ESC (Electronic Speed Controller), you will not have sudden stops and sudden acceleration without you controlling it, experience smooth acceleration and braking.
And for power? Backfire packed in two 400-watt hub motors, that is 800-Watts of combined power! Offering 10% more torque, 20% less noise, and 5% more energy efficient than its previous predecessor.
Backfire added 96mm urethane wheels to the Backfire G2 Black providing a smooth quality ride while still being maneuverable, and comfortable. With 44 5-star reviews, the Backfire G2 is a go-to for beginners at the most affordable price! Check out our comprehensive Review on the Backfire G2 Black for more info.
Meepo Mini 2 – Best Shortboard
Let us get down with the best shortboard on our list. The Meepo Mini 2! At a starting price of $389, this is the perfect budget and the perfect everyday commuter for students with huge campuses. Let us get into why this Mini Board, can be considered a giant.
With a Top Speed of 28 mph and a range of 11 miles with the SR (Standard Range) or 20 with the ER (Extended Range), this ‘mini’ giant will keep you rolling. This Mini isn’t rocking mini specs. Powered with 2 540-Watt hub motors, this guy will get you to that top speed in no time, tied with an estimated 30% hill climb grade makes for a monster of aboard.
Coming in at only 23 pounds, this thing is portable as it is fun. With a weight capacity of around 300lbs, everyone can enjoy it. Equipped with their most recent M4 battery, this Mini, is the one to beat.
Backfire G3 Plus – Great Mid-Range
Now, If you want to talk about the best mid-range, Backfire is synonymous with quality, currently on sale for $1,099 (usually $1,149), this is the go to for power on demand for a mid-range electric skateboard. Rocking what they claim as the world’s “first flexible carbon fiber deck”, this deck is not cracking anytime soon, and with that deep concave deck design, your feet will thank you!
Using quality 21700 40T battery cells from Samsung gives the G3 Plus’s two 600-Watt motors that ultra-high power it demands. Now, this beast has something most skateboards in its class don’t, a USB charging port if you are ever caught with a low battery on your skateboards remote, and get this, it will even charge your cell phone! And do not forget, the entire battery enclosure is tight and water-resistant for those days you get caught in the rain.
Backfire provides you with both 85mm and 96mm replaceable Hub sleeves to find what is good for you. Choose 85mm for faster acceleration and quality slides or slip on the 96 for smoother long-distance rides for days you just need to get out!
If you got the dough, get ready to hit the floor! This is one mid-range board you simply can not put aside. And you simply can not forget, they come with a special mode if you have that need for speed, and they call it Turbo! Giving you 20% extra power during acceleration, better hold on! Check out our in-depth Backfire G3 Plus Review for more info.
Backfire Ranger X2 – Best Hub Motor All Terrain Pick
If you got that need to get off the traditional roads and really want to get “down and dirty”, lets put our attention to the Backfire Ranger X2, and if it seems were biased towards Backfire, it is because their products can’t be replicated, Backfire checks off every box.
Currently, $1,199 with a $150 Off Code: NEWX2150, this Hub powered all-terrain behemoth will get you where you need to be regardless of your terrain. Packing 2 1200-watt hour ultra-high motors, nothing about this board has been overlooked. Using the same quality Samsung battery cells in a 12S formation, you get the performance and the range. Estimated to give you anyone between 15-18 miles in range, with a 22mph max speed, you’ll be leaving your off-road competition literally in your dust with its speed, and it’s 6.5′ rubber wheels that are fully sealed to prevent water, dust, and other foreign material to run your ride.
Using Backfire’s exclusive R2x wireless remote with OLED display, the X2 comes equipped with cruise control, eco, sport, and of course turbo mode. This is the one I would recommend!
Maxfind FF Plus – Alternative All-Terrain
If you prefer All-terrain, but Backfire just is not convincing enough for you, let’s dive in this next contender for All-Terrain. The Maxfind – FF Plus. Coming in at a $949 price tag, this is a perfect competitor to Backfire’s X2. With an insane Top Speed of 25mph, and two 1200-Watt hub motors, Maxfind is not holding back!
With the option to add not 1, but two additional batteries. Maxfind gives its customers the option to TRIPLE their battery range to 33 miles with their easy swap battery system, to keep you riding more and replacing less. You will be riding for hours while your buddies are left behind charging.
Equipped with Double Kingpin trucks, if you are a fan of surfing, this is the right skateboard for you! You will be carving the mean street in no time with those trucks and 165mm wheels. Maxfind will make you stand out wherever you decide to carve.
Best Hub Motor Electric Skateboard Kits
Unlimited X Loaded Kits
If you decide the choices above are not for you, you always have the option to make your own board! There are plenty of conversion kits on the market and these are the ones that stand out to us!
With Loaded, you know what you get with each conversation kit offered. To start this offer, they have 3 main kits, Solo, Cruiser, and Race, and within each you get different that come with skate deck, so we’ll stick with the basics in this case if you decide you would rather look around for your own custom skate deck.
1 Motor, 1 Battery
1 Motor, 2 Batteries
2 Motors, 2 Batteries
7 miles (11 km)
13 miles (21 km)
13 miles (21 km)
23 mph (37 km/h)
23 mph (37 km/h)
26 mph (42 km/h)
1 x 840 Watt
1 x 840 Watt
2 x 840 Watt
4.4 lbs (2 kg)
6.6 lbs (3 kg)
9 lbs (4 kg)
Hill Climb Ability
At a competitive price of $749, Loaded gives you all the bells and whistles to make putting your own board together as easy and seamless as possible. And just because now you are putting it together yourself, does not mean compromising on performance.
Without enough performance to shoot you 7 miles in range with a top speed of 23mph, you will find plenty of ways to make the most out of the Loaded Solo Kit. And if you want to go further with customization, there is a tunable app that lets you tune your acceleration, deceleration, and max speed to meet your exact preferences.
More power means more forking over my dough. Starting at $949, the cruiser kit works great on any board when you want more speed and torque. With a Top Speed of 23 mph and a range of 13 miles, the cruiser kit will keep you rolling with power for longer rides with its two included batteries. The cruiser kit comes with the following:
If you need that extra juice, all-electric skateboards come with regenerative braking, in simple terms, as you start slowing down, the kinetic energy created in the motors will translate to new power loaded into your battery. This goes for electric cars as well! We are not that different!
If you are looking for the quicker take off from a complete stand-still, the cruiser kit will have the acceleration and power to get you up to that 23mph top speed.
Starting at $1,199. This is the kit to look for if you are looking for Loaded’s pinnacle offering. Included in its box is two motors, two batteries, you will need to be careful! With a Top Speed at 26mph and a range of 13 miles, the Race Kit is well deserved of the name.
With the entire kit, it will be capable of 20% incline hills with the power behind the motors. Also, if you ever decide to travel and do not want to walk or pay cab fares? This is also airline friendly!
For those coasting down the beach, the remote does feature a cruise control function, and if you love the Backfires Turbo Mode, Loaded made sure to include a similar feature, and they call it Nitro! Giving you that extra speed boost while at full throttle in whatever mode you are in. For further info check out our Review on the Unlimited X Loaded Kit here.
Maxfind M5 Drive Kit
The crème de la’ crème in our opinions for pre-assembled DIY kits, Maxfinds M5 Kit. With an unbeatable starting price of $569, the price alone justifies this purchase compared to its competitors.
With a top speed of a 26mph, matching that of Loadeds Race Kit, and two 750-Watt motors, and a steep 30% incline hill climb, it is hard to believe Maxfind is not the instant go-to. Packed alongside a 270-day warranty guarantee.
If you decide to grab extra batteries for longer rides, Maxfind designed its battery to be hot-swappable within 10 seconds to keep you riding longer. If you are curious about the Maxfind M5 Drive Kit, check out our comprehensive Review here.
Our final thoughts
If you are considering a hub style electric skateboard as your first step into this great sport, we could not agree more! The hub drivetrain is the go-to for quiet, stealthy, and fast rides! Starting a new sport without the inconvenience of changing out damaged or re-tensioning belts, replacing pulleys or dealing with purchasing additional accessories like motor guards, buying extra belts or wheels is a great way to see if this is the right sport for you. We believe Hub is where it’s at for those looking to get started.
Even if you are a seasoned rider, a Hub driven skateboard will be the perfect addition for those quick rides around town. We stand behind the options we choose above, and we hope to see you around zooming by!