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MetroboardX Review – Best Dual Kingpin Board?

If there’s one electric skateboard out there that’s more likely to turn heads than any other, it’s got to be the MetroboardX. With its distinctive red anodized trucks and drop-dead gorgeous carbon fiber deck, you wouldn’t be the first to wonder what it’s really like to ride one – and if it’s really worth the $2699 price tag.

Coming off the Evolve Carbon GT, I’ve been riding the MetroboardX since August 26, 2019 and have put 2355 miles on my Metroboard X as of this writing. (I use SportsTracker to log my rides.)

Since 2004, a quiet little company called Metroboard has kept a loyal fanbase building single-order and small-batch custom electric skateboards. My first electric skateboard was a Metroboard that I bought in April of 2015. Here’s a photo of my (then) brand-new Metroboard Stealth (right) next to Metroboard’s first board the Metro Shortboard:

Metroboard Shortboard and Stealth

The Era of Evolve

The Metroboard Stealth was a fun board, but it had its limitations (namely traversing Seattle’s war-torn streets). When Evolve introduced its Gen2 series with All Terrain wheels, I was a convert. The double-kingpin trucks had the carving feel that I couldn’t get with the Metroboard’s traditional kingpin setup, and the AT wheels made the commute from West Seattle to Downtown a lot more enjoyable.

Evolve Carbon Gen2

I still rode the heck out of my Metroboard, but mostly on smooth trails. I even got a new deck for it. One thing was certain about the Metroboard – it always worked. Until one day my basement flooded and she was consigned to Davy Jones’s locker. (R.I.P.)

Metroboard Stealth with different deck

I’ll admit to using some of the insurance money to buy one of the first 50 Evolve Carbon GTs to arrive in the US in June 2016.

Evolve Carbon GT

Unlike my steadfast Metroboard, the Evolve Carbon GT had plenty of problems. I still own that board, and it’s on its third ESC (motor controller), 3rd set of motors, 4th set of motor brackets (finally settled on SkateKastle) and 2nd (this time custom) battery. 

The Gen2 Carbon was a great board with far fewer problems than the GT. Unfortunately, LiPo batteries are prone to combustion.

One day, my beloved Evolve Gen2 caught fire just 2 blocks into my ride. 

Evolve Carbon Gen2 on fire

Evolve replaced it with a brand new Carbon GT along with words: “Don’t mention it.” That was a super cool thing of Evolve to do, and they bought my silence to this day. I only “mention it” now in the interest of full disclosure, and as a way to explain what happened to my Gen2 and how I came to own 2 Carbon GTs.

Coupled with Evolve’s unreliable and fragile remote, I never thought Evolve’s quality was anywhere near that of Metroboard’s. But the double-kingpin trucks and that smooth carving action was what drew me to Evolve in the first place. 

Enter the MetroboardX

When the MetroboardX dropped in mid-2019 I had been living in Southern California for about 3 years and was pretty active in the SoCal skate crowd – showing up regularly to group rides hosted by Evolve and really feeling like part of the family. When the MetroboardX finally arrived, I knew what it represented. A lot of people at the time (and still today) called it “an Evolve clone.” But I saw it for what it truly was. It was an answer to Evolve’s cheap, unreliable boards. 

Metroboard X with Lights on

MetroboardX vs Evolve GTR

The MetroboardX offers everything the Evolve Carbon GT rider would want – but it offered more. More speed, more range, more power, more deck, and more importantly: more reliability. Not to mention more customization through an open-source app. And all packed in a stunningly beautiful carbon fiber deck that is clearly designed from the ground up.

Model

MetroboardX

Evovle GTR

Image

Price

$ 2599

$ 1699

Battery Size

576 Wh

504 Wh

Range

30 miles | Street Wheels

20 miles | AT Wheels

31 miles | Street Wheels

19 miles | AT Wheels

Top Speed

28 - 36 mph | AT Wheels

31 mph | Street Wheels

26 mph | AT Wheels

21 mph | Street Wheels

Motors

2 x 6374 | Belt

2 x 5065 | Belt

Weight

29 lbs (13 kg)

25 lbs (11 kg)

Max Load

300 lbs (136 kg)

220 lbs (100 kg)

Recharge Time

3.5 hours

4 - 5 hours

Warranty

12 months

12 months

Wheel Sizes (Stock)

107mm, 190mm

97mm, 177mm

Special Feautres

Built in Trucks, Belt Tensioner, Smart Reverse Mode 

Air Travel Battery

Pros

High Quality Board, Top Custumer Service, Made in US

Great Design, Air Travel friendly

Cons

High Price

Unreliable Remote, Some Riders report Wheel Lock-Ups

Website

The MetroboardX deck offers several distinct advantages over the Evolve Carbon series decks. For one thing, it’s bigger. I have found that one of the factors that contributes to numb foot is a small deck. That was one of my complaints about the Evolve Carbon GT deck from day one – it feels too small. And I’m only 5’8” and 160lbs. Obviously, moving helps prevent numb foot. Bending hips, knees, getting low. Moving on the MetroboardX is a lot easier. And it’s built to carry riders up to 300 pounds. If you study the Metroboard deck structural design, you can see it’s designed to take a lot of weight and a lot of force.

The MetroboardX also features more robust hardware, from 10mm axles to custom precision CNC-machined high-strength aluminum, as opposed to Evolve’s forged trucks and motor brackets which are easily bent or cracked. 

Everything about the X boasts higher quality than the Evolve. But the budget-conscious consumer might be looking at the Metroboard and wondering why pay that much? Evolve is a big company, with global support and distributors – so is it really worth it?

On the Fence.

I didn’t buy the MetroboardX when it first came out. I was torn. It looked amazing. Money was tight. I could hardly justify another board. Besides, everyone in the Evolve community was buzzing over the next product drop, due any month. Everyone was wondering what the new board was going to be… The company (Jeff) was keeping a lid on things, as usual. A few internal people and ambassadors knew some details and leaked some bits about interchangeable batteries, waterproofing, an app… 

So, I was biding my time. Other players were starting to make waves in the Electric Skateboard scene with impressive specs and performance. Mid 2019 was seeing things really shake up in the esk8 world. Evolve had always pushed the envelope and could even be forgiven (arguably) if its reliability was questionable. But could it stay competitive?

When the Evolve GTR series dropped, I was pretty thoroughly disappointed. The Evolve GTR was little more than an iterative improvement without any significant or truly noteworthy innovation on specification. For an owner of 2 Evolve Carbon GTs, the GTR offered very little incentive to upgrade. (I had skipped the GTX in the hopes that whatever came after would be worth it.) The GTR offered a new waterproof enclosure, better battery performance, and the ability to swap batteries. No bump in speed or range, but they did manage to address the battery sag issue. But was it a reason to upgrade from the GT? Not from my vantage.

It’s not too difficult to explain why this was such a disappointment. Those of us who helped build Evolve’s reputation and participated in their World Cup and SoCal activities, were hoping that Evolve would choose to stay the best and push the envelope. We wanted something on par with emerging high-end boards. Instead, they chose to be average. For the masses.

Sure enough, the GTR era shows only marginal improvement in quality. Unsurprisingly, they continue to have fragile remotes, reports of cut-outs, and boards delivered dead-on-arrival. Evolve will argue that failures are overblown, disproportional, and overrepresented on Social Media. But I know better. I’ve owned 3 Evolves. Only one of them still works (rebuilt from aftermarket parts).

How I got my dream board.

By July 2019, I knew I wanted a Metroboard X. Being an independent web developer (sole proprietor of Thermal Exposure), I reached out to Ilan at Metroboard for a heavy discount on a brand new Metroboard in exchange for work on the website.

Metroboard Website

At the time, MetroboardX came in two varieties. You could get 110kv motors that offered lower top speed (on par with Evolve) while offering roughly twice the range. The other option (which was of more interest to me) was for the 130kv motors which offered an advertised top speed of 31mph. Keep in mind, I’ve been e-skating for 4 years, so I’m well past the learning stage and pretty confident.

The speed and power was what I was craving – but not at a loss for maneuverability. Double Kingpin Trucks are fun as hell, and once you get used to them, it’s hard to enjoy anything less adroit. I’ve ridden both Lacroix and Kaly, and they are phenomenal boards – but I’ve never ridden a Lacroix that wasn’t tuned way too tight for my preference. Kaly also makes one of the finest and fastest boards you can buy, but you’re limited to only pneumatic wheels, and I will always prefer urethane.

First Impressions

There’s no denying the first impression I had on opening the box was being surprised by how big and heavy the MetroboardX was. The X is a beast. By comparison, the Evolve feels light and more like a toy. The 6374 motors are noticeably more beefy than the Evolve 5065s.

Evolve Carbon GT vs MetroboardX

My MetroboardX arrived with 200mm All Terrain wheels pre-installed. The first thing I did was take those off and put the street wheels on.

This gave me an opportunity to experience Metroboard’s automatic belt tensioning system. Anyone who rides an Evolve can tell you what a pain it can be to get your belt tension the same on both motors. 

The guys at Metroboard obviously spent some time considering this problem, and their solution is fairly simple. A set of tensioning springs provide the exact right amount of belt tension when doing your wheel swaps. Then you bolt the motors down to keep them locked in place. The springs are not applying tension to the belts as you ride. The automatic belt tensioning system is simply there to facilitate wheel swaps. And it works like dream.

MetroboardX’s belt tensioning system

The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.

― Albert Einstein

Remote and Responsiveness

The remote VX1 remote feels really good in the hand. The left button toggles the lights – which are very bright and very stunning. Be forewarned: when riding in a group, the folks riding behind you might actually be annoyed by the rear lights which are bright AF. The lights actually subtly pulse in brightness. I expect Metroboard will update the firmware so the rear lights function as actual brake lights and not be at full brightness the entire time.

Metroboard X Remote

One thing that took getting used to was having Reverse. When the MetroboardX comes to a stop, it will go in reverse if you keep holding the throttle backwards. So, let go of the thumbwheel when you come to a stop and put one foot on the ground.

I will say that the design of the VX1 is much safer and smarter than Evolve’s 2-trigger style remote. With the Metroboard, you won’t send yourself into a Superman pose after accidentally bumping the brake trigger or send your board into traffic when you accidentally bump the accelerator trigger. (I still have this habit of keeping one foot on the board whenever I’m stopped for this reason.)

The response from the remote is instant, and the throttle curve gives you a relatively gently start and smooth acceleration, followed by a kick in the pants at the midway point. This is quite a bit safer than the Evolve which has an aggressive start that can buck the rider. Note that there’s no speed mode to select on the remote. Max speed can be limited through the Xmatic app (available for iPhone and Android) if you wanted to start out slow and sacrifice top speed for more range.

Metroboard’s VESC – MESC

To be entirely honest, I never even messed with any of that. The MetroboardX’s performance out-of-the-box was… how shall I describe it? Ideal.

Wheel Options

The Abec11 107mm wheels that come standard with the MetroboardX are one of the best wheel options for eskate. The 74A duro provides excellent grip and one of the softest rides available in urethane. If you’re leaning towards Evolve, just beware they charge $159.99 extra for a set of Abec11 107mm wheels in 74A.

Different Wheels from Metroboard

I am not a fan of pneumatic wheels, so I didn’t spend that much time on the 190mm roadies. I did ride with them a few times, but I found the ride felt too high for my tastes, and the valve stem generates noticeable wheel wobble at high speeds. (Something familiar to me from riding Evolve.) That can easily be fixed with stick-on wheel weights (3g opposite the valve stem), but I never cared enough to bother. I spent the majority of my first 2000 miles on the 107s, thoroughly enjoying every mile.

If you are favoring the MetroboardX because you want the option for AT wheels, then I highly recommend the 155mm wheels. As I’ve mentioned, I never really cared for AT wheels. Until these. 

Metroboard’s Handle, Belt Covers, Battery Indicator

The 155mm provide excellent range, 34mph top speed (with 52T gears), and excellent torque/speed balance. These are the perfect wheels for less-than-perfect roads and even off-roading on hard-pack dirt.

Problems?

In all this time, the only issue I had was with a short in one of my motor wires which was causing some strange issues. Ilan got on a video chat with me and helped me diagnose the problem and I was able to fix it myself. The only other issue with the MetroboardX is that the LCD battery indicator screen stopped working once I moved to the desert and started riding rougher roads once again. I replaced it with a $12 part from Amazon, and it’s still working. Ilan says this is not uncommon and that they are working to find a more robust meter. In the end, I wound up ruggedizing my meter by applying some thin adhesive foam to both sides of the PCB to absorb shock from road vibrations as best I can. Fingers crossed, it’s still working.

LCD Battery Indicator

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that wheel clearance with the 107mm wheels is not all that great. Transitioning over uneven surfaces (say, a 1.5-inch street-to-driveway joint) can result in the motor brackets bottoming out. I suppose you can think of this as an integrated bash-guard system, since this protects the motors. So, just don’t expect to keep your board in pristine condition if you ride street. It is a skateboard after all. Ride it like you stole it.

Truck’s Bashguard System

Some Hopefully Helpful Conclusions

The MetroboardX is a top-quality board. Made from top-shelf components through partnerships with industry leaders, the X doesn’t skimp anywhere. On reliability alone, the MetroboardX makes an excellent board for commuting. Plus 1 for the integrated lights which greatly improve visibility in traffic. Compared to ShredLights or other external lighting alternatives, integrated lights controlled with the press of a button on the remote is huge.

Metroboard’s Lights

The X is big and heavy, so it’s not ideal for trips to the corner market. The rear handle makes it easy to tow, so you can get around with it. You just don’t want to have to tow it or underarm it for very long. On the other hand, my Evolve now feels quite light and does go with me on store runs.

I was not a fan of the original grip. That was one of the first things to go. I like customizing my boards, so I don’t see that as a problem so much as an opportunity.

Custom Griptape

Being able to change wheels is a huge deal. Street wheels provides the greatest range and the aggressiveness that I enjoy out of my rides. Recently (as of this writing), I put a few hundred miles on the 120mm Cloudwheels, which are a lot of fun. But at the moment I’m back to the 155s since my street gears are finally in need of replacing. The glass-infused formula that Metroboard uses in their gears certainly has longevity over the Evolve gears by a factor of 3 or 4 (500 miles vs 2000 on a set).

One complaint I had about the MetroboardX at the outset was that it felt rumbly. Inside the deck, there’s actually quite a bit of empty space, and this results in a loud “hollow” kind of rumble that is not pleasant. My solution was to apply a layer of neoprene under the lid and that fixed the problem entirely.

Riptide Bushings are highly-recommended (sold on the Metro-board website). The stock bushings that come with the X were too stiff for my weight and not super responsive. The Riptides provide excellent rebound and definitely improve the overall fun-factor.

Belt covers? On or Off?

I learned from riding Evolve boards that belt covers tend to be traps for dirt and debris. If anything gets trapped inside the belt cover, it has a harder time of getting ejected. Small rocks that get trapped in your belts or gears are harder to spot and even harder to remove with belt covers on. Tiny rocks can make a clicking sound, shred your belts, and cause belts to slip.

Belt Covers On

Also, with the belt covers on, I found the X seemed louder (or maybe just higher pitched). My thinking is it was some resonant effect, but removing the belt covers certainly seemed to quiet the ride. For about the first 2000 miles I ran my X without the covers. Recently, I put them back on for some photo opportunities and to test (once again) if belt covers really do trap more dirt and make it louder. I did discover that applying Loctite to the screws that hold the belt covers on reduced the resonant effect and apparent loudness. However, I was definitely capturing more small stones and actually damaged one of my belts during a recent ride. Thus, I conclude belt covers are best left off, unless you’re showing off and taking pictures.

Belt Covers Off

“But for that money, why not buy a Lacroix or a Kaly.NYC?”

If all you care about is straight-line speed and only care about AT wheels, you might want to buy a Lacroix or Kaly. But before you do, I advise combing through their facebook groups and looking at all the X-Rays their riders post from the Emergency room. If you buy any electric skateboard, expect to fall. If you buy a Kaly or a Lacroix, expect to fall hard. I certainly would not recommend either of those boards to anyone new. The X on the other hand, makes an excellent starter board if you’ve got the money to spend.

Model

MetroboardX

Lacroix Jaws

Kaly NYC XL2.0

Image

Price

$ 2599

$ 2499

$ 2850

Battery Size

576 Wh

706 Wh

700 Wh

Range

30 miles | Street Wheels

20 miles | AT Wheels

22 miles | AT Wheels

24 miles | AT Wheels

Top Speed

28 - 36 mph | AT Wheels

31 mph | Street Wheels

38 mph | AT Wheels

38 mph | AT Wheels

Motors

2 x 6374 | Belt

2 x 6374 | Belt

2 x Gear

Weight

29 lbs (13 kg)

29 lbs (13 kg)

No info

Max Load

300 lbs (136 kg)

350 lbs (160 kg)

No info

Recharge Time

3.5 hours

1 - 2 hours

2 hours

Warranty

12 months

3 months

No info

Wheel Sizes (Stock)

107mm, 190mm

203mm

203mm

Special Feautres

Built in Lights, Belt Tensioner, Smart Reverse Mode 

Great Deck

Gear Drive

Pros

High Quality Board, Top Custumer Service, Made in US

Premium Board, Top Custumer Service, Made in Canada

Premium Board, Top Custumer Service, Made in US, Gear Drive

Cons

High Price

High Price

High Price

Website

Say what you will, the folks at Metroboard actually do care quite a lot about safety. It’s one of the reasons they provide options to limit the speed of the X, and it’s certainly the rationale behind choosing top quality components. The other rationale for choosing higher quality parts is that it saves significantly on support costs. That ends up having a net benefit for the customer in terms of both safety and total cost of ownership. In terms of quality, I’d put Metroboard on par with Lacroix. (Kaly still has a ways to go in terms of customer service, IMHO.)

Kaly.NYC vs Metroboard X

The MetroboardX can certainly keep up with those boards on group rides. I’ve been to a few of them, so I know well that the X can hang. That said, both Lacroix and Kaly.NYC will smash the MetroboardX on straight-line speed, undeniably. 

But the X can out-maneuver both. I’d liken it to a jet fighter compared to a couple of long-range bombers. The X can literally run circles around Lacroix and Kaly. Both the Lacroix and Kaly offer longer range, but at a huge cost in weight and maneuverability.

Top speed with the 107s is about 33mph. With 120mm Cloudwheels or 155mm Pneumatics, top speed is 34mph. Top Speed with 200mm wheels and 52 tooth gears is 38mph (I have not tested this setup).

Lacroix Prototipo, Kaly NYC, West Coast Standard and Metroboard X

Finally, you simply can’t get that traditional longboard feel on a Kaly or a Lacroix. You can get a different feeling, and that feeling might be for you. In balancing speed, torque and agility in something that still feels like a longboard, the X completely nails it. 

“But for that money, you can build a much better board.”

Some folks say they can build a better board for cheaper. To those people, I say go right ahead! My hat is off to you.

One of the reasons Metroboard orders their parts in small batches and makes small runs is that it affords them the opportunity to make improvements, adjust to dynamic market conditions, and shift suppliers if they aren’t meeting Metroboard’s standards. Metroboard not only customizes its parts with suppliers, but also has priority support with those suppliers to sort out any quality issues that might appear in their typical “off the shelf” runs. Metroboard has enough leverage to lean hard on suppliers and has been known to change suppliers if they don’t address their concerns.

But let’s be honest. If you’re even considering the DIY route, then the MetroboardX is not for you. DIY is tricky, time-consuming, risky, and unrefined. If you want to build the board of your dreams, more power to you! But if you want to buy the board of your dreams, then buy a MetroboardX. 

Metroboard’s Frontlights

One thing you certainly won’t get the DIY route is a 1-year warranty and 5-star support. The MetroboardX is the perfect board for the kind of person who understands that you get what you pay for and doesn’t mind spending extra for peace-of-mind — knowing that this board will outlast many others and provide thousands of miles of trouble-free riding with more range, speed, and configuration options than any other board on the market. 

3 thoughts on “MetroboardX Review – Best Dual Kingpin Board?”

  1. Alex 🙂 Excellent, excellent review! I’ve watched all your videos and now with the addition of this review, you answered all my questions. Thanks for taking the time to put it together! (Also thanks Daniel for hosting it).

    Reply
  2. Hey, great review. I also saw your youtube video. I think after all comparisons between Metro X and Lacroix, I will go with the X. Three month warranty for the Lacroix bothers me.

    Reply

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