I am looking to get another electric board to go with the Yuunec and wanted to share, less my thought process, more the state of the market; especially for those of us living outside the US.
First off, the market right now is almost all made up of start-up companies with little history, experience, and pedigree in manufacturing. The technology is generally not stable, not standardize and constantly evolving – it is the wild west and we all have to gamble to varying degrees with our hard earned, and not insignificant, cash.
Although electric boards are relatively simple in functionality – there is really not much to them, they are all just a deck, some trucks, wheels, motor, a battery, and controller – the reality is that the quality and functionality of the batteries, the motors, the controllers, especially the controllers, all vary massively. Some are OK, a few are actually good, a lot are crap and nearly all of them have reports of quickly developed, or “from bad batch”, faults. Add to this that most of the manufacturers are still talking only “pre-orders and hoping to ship sometime soon” and our choices seem to be choosing the
Some of the e-boards are OK, a few are actually good, a lot are crap and nearly all of them have reports of quickly developed faults. Add to this that most of the manufacturers are still talking only “pre-orders and hoping to ship sometime soon” and our choices seem to be very much choosing the lesser of evil/risk.
So if you don’t mind the Wild West, and are prepared to risk your money, I would categorize the available options as:
- Expensive boards, at £1000-3000, from some big marketing spend start-ups; who, on the upside, seem to at least understand skateboards and longboards, but are still spending more on their marketing than actually shipping to customers.
- Much cheaper, at £500-1000, direct-from-china start-ups; who see the manufacturing and sale opportunity, but rarely seem to understand the skateboard and longboard experience. Lots of variable quality, no real support and often the poor experience leaves you frustrated and wishing you had bought something else.
- Smaller start-ups with not much money (especially in marketing to take on the big start-ups), with older generation technology, trying to do their best but still charging £1000+. Not sure how many of these actually survive and, at best, you get a board, but it can not be repaired and, at worst, your order will never arrive and you lose the money.
- Kit parts – you can now buy relatively easily all the parts you would need to build your own, with some suppliers providing all the parts as complete kits to make it easier. In the end, it all comes down to how good you are technically, but it is not a bad option if you are competent, as faults are then much easier to rectify.
If you are prepared to risk, because that is the big overall point here, your hard-earned money on an electric board (accepting that it will be quickly obsolete and surpassed in a few months time) I would put five questions at the top of my decision making,:
- When it goes wrong (high probability it will), what am I going to do?
Return to the supplier in China, the online retailer, fix it myself with parts?
- What riding do I want to do?
What size deck, how flexible and, equally important and often overlooked, what wheels do I need? Is this for smooth concrete runs where thin urethane in-hub motors will be fine, or bad pavements needing full wheels or even off-road wheels for rough ground.
- What is the reputation of the e-board maker with the community?
Any board, cheap or expensive, will be dangerous at speed. Examples of controller disconnects or motor-biting at speed is not worth any cost saving; medical bills will always be more. It is worth noting the experience of others have had and not buying anything that is going to endanger you. failure to start or battery sag is not the big risk with a bad board, it is a failure at speed.
- How much range, speed and hill-climbing do I need?
Boards all differ on their power ability, it is important to read what users have said it is like in the real world and take with a pinch of salt what the advertising says – does anyone actually regulate these companies? it is not just about being dangerously fast, to slow or too weak to get up any hill will just not encourage you to use it and end up left in the basement. A dull bord is just as something that gives you no confidence.
- What is the control like?
The software and the remote-control unit. Some boards (bad boards in my view) are unprogressive in their control, being almost just off or on. Just as important as how progressive is the speed, is how progressive, ie. safe, is the braking. And this is an area that is not just the cheap boards, some of the premium brands have produced dreadful controllers.
More than anything, remember the boards now will become obsoletely very quickly and will retain very little second-hand value. How fast they are evolving, and their high rate of faults, makes these effectively very expensive short-term disposable purchases! Great fun, but it is still early days for these devices.