Meepo now includes Import Tax

meepo v1.5

The very well regarded, and competitively priced, Meepo v1.5 hub-motor e-board is now priced with shipping and import tax (duty and VAT) to the EU, as well as the US.  This is great news as not only is it a good spec board for less than £500 (I have tested the v1 and v1.5 looks even better), but their customer support is very well regarded and, importantly, you can purchase individual components or it all as a kit. This makes fixing issues, although from China, much easier than other similar £500 options.

tax faq
Meepo FAQ

Cost (at time of writing) is £302.52 for the std battery and £446.92 for the more powerful Sanyo model. Cost is the same for either the short 30″ or my preference, the longer 38″.

meepo short

Links:

UK Law & E-Boards

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I have been doing some digging into what is the current situation with UK law and using our e-boards on public roads and pavements.
First off, it is important to note that I am not a lawyer, nor transport official, just an enthusiast with a vested interest, so please take this as nothing more than my interpretation and comments.
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I have seen a number of people comment on various forums that the situation is a “grey area” or “unclear”. Personally, I don’t think it is unclear, I think is very clear – it may wrong, based on antiquated laws and little understanding, but it is still clear and unfortunately illegal for us to be on the public road or pavement.
With the exception of cycles (with pedals) where there is specific classification, it looks very strongly that our e-boards are classified as “motorized transport” on public roads and therefore, subject to UK road law. Plus, unless you are on an OneWheel, as e-boards have four wheels, they are classified as cars and not motorcycles or mopeds. This means they need to meet safety, registration and licensing laws.
Ref: Department of Transport, Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986. 
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So unless you can get your e-board through an MOT, with insurance, seat-belts, working brakes, lights etc., we are illegal on public roads; great on emissions, but still illegal. The situation is no better it seems with regards to riding on pavements; as under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 (yes, 1835!) it’s is an offense to ride a vehicle (and we are on motorized vehicles) on the public pavement.
At some point, the UK, even Europe, may do something to classify e-boards (and e-scooters) separately, like bikes and e-bikes, but there seems to be no sign that will happen in the near future or more – sadly, and frustratingly, we will be illegal on all public roads and pavements for many years to come. If you want this stupid and antiquated situation to change – write to your MP, join a (responsible) action group etc.
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Not wishing to incriminate myself, if I was (I stress “if I was“) to consider taking my e-boards out in the UK, in an emergency situation or after a moment of illness induced memory loss, I would choose to not antagonize the authorities and keep my riding to empty back-roads (not weaving ‘NY-Casey-style’ through city traffic!) or slowly on relatively empty pavements. It would wise to even be careful with cycle lanes and paths, which are generally still public roads or pavements.
My personal experience with law-enforcement in the UK has been nothing but good. A few police officers have shown interest and just asked general questions on the technology and how you control an e-board; but then at the time I had been both riding safely and respectfully of the environment and people around me. I do fear, however, that over time the situation will change for the worse and the authorities (as with aerial-drones now getting increasing banned in public places), after some high-profile dangerous incidents, will be forced to publically enforce the laws. All it will take is one or two serious injuries, the videos on YouTube and we will all be left with only our home driveways and group-hiring of privately owned racetracks. Want to know when e-board prices will drop? This is when there will be a flood of pristine second-hand e-boards on the market, but sadly nowhere to use them.
Why do I write all this – well, besides protesting responsibly and making our views known to those in power, we need to learn a lesson from what is happening to flying drones in the UK. Please, please, ride responsibly, not just for your own safety, and those around you, but because right now we have a special time in the UK and we could lose it very quickly.

Interesting Gear: Ridge EL1

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Ridge, the Liverpool (UK) based company have brought out a small, almost a penny board 27″ deck, in-hub motor e-board called the EL1, that weighs only 3.5kg. The main thing, however, besides the obvious European support is that it is only £350. My first thought was “toy”, but reading the Esk8 review on their site, it needs to be taken seriously as a small high portable fun deck.

Esk8 Sweeden also did a good video review:  youtube review

Video review of small e-boards

 

State of the E-Board Market 2

SB HQ crowdfunding

The excellent folks at Electric Skateboarding HQ (down under in Australia), have done a really interesting update on the list of crowdfunding (Kickstarter & Indiegogo) business trying to get e-boards to market.

http://www.electricskateboardhq.com/audit-electric-skateboard-crowdfunding-2017/

Their review covers 27 companies with 34 products that have tried, or are trying, to get into full production and some level of longevity. Throw in at least 15 other other companies currently selling direct, plus a few others I am not aware of, and you probably have over 50 companies currently selling or offering to sell e-boards. A situation which I can not see is sustainable, now or even in the near future – right now, it is very much ‘buyer beware‘.

I would also add that of the 34 products listed, nearly all of them are offering very similar products – there is a distinct lack of innovation in this list, just lots of companies (probably individuals), trying to get to market with the same ideas and Chinese made parts. Many parts that you can already get direct from existing Chinese manufacturers or in existing products.

I apologize if I sound overly cynical, but I hear of lots of people every day getting ripped-off, still waiting for their e-boards or getting a poor quality product and no support. I am not saying do not buy early (this is not investing, this is just pre-ordering) from the crowdfunding sites, just understand the considerable risks and weight it up against what you can buy already, some of it with a proven track record and some semblance of after-sales support (for me the most important aspect of any e-board).

crowdfunding etc

Have a look at their site, it is well worth a read: Electric Skateboard HQ

 

 

First Impressions of the Curfboard

 

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So finally got some time out on the new Curfboard this weekend with its unique carving front truck (the rear truck is a standard RKP design).

As mentioned when it first arrived, the whole board is well made; the 33″ (84cm) deck with a 62cm wheelbase is nice, with a good level of flex for me as an 85kg rider, the trucks feel quality and the 70mm wheels, which feel around 82a, are well finished with no obvious crack/splinter faults.

Link to Curfboard Ad Video

Curfboard video of the front trucks working

I had a couple of questions on Reddit Longboard forum, one “was it a gimmick?” and two, “does it feel divey?“. The first is “no” and the second is “yes”. I don’t feel it is a gimmick at all, it is different from a conventional longboard and, for me, very enjoyable to use in the right situation, and that is a key point I will come back to. “Divey” because there is no rebound to work with, no force to exert against to make the movement more progressive; there are no bushings to push down against (except on the rear truck). I get why not, and the principal involved; I may get used to it more, but I miss that opposing force to give a more progressive feel. It carves well, in the right situation, and pumps well, but I still miss some progressive movement in the trucks.

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The key here as mentioned before is “in the right situation” – this front truck, for me, is in its element on a gentle to moderate hill, where you want to carve; with an advantage over some of my other caving boards, in that it does not need much road width – it can carve tight. On that gentle long, but narrow road, this is a near perfect weapon.

I would, however, not fast downhill on this; speed wobbles for me came quick and its short quick carving does not slow the experience down nor dampen the wobbles. I will choose my hills very carefully when out on the Curfboard. I did not try any sliding nor am encouraged to do so, but this might be my inexperience and sliding capability.

Another aspect I would recommend being careful of is just pushing off – if the front foot weight, and your balance, is not perfectly balanced, the board will dive immediately. First time out and, every now and then, this caught me out – this is a truck that you very much need to build your confidence on carefully. Consequently, unlike some of my rock solid boards like the Zenit AB, this is a board I would not take to casually, half-sleep, cruise around town. I know the local roads and paths I will use this on and look forward to it, but only those. Sadly I don’t have a smooth pump track near me, as I suspect this would also be its natural home but will search one out just for the experience.

Finally, coming back to the lack of resistance progression, I can’t help feeling that there could be a future development of this truck to add an element of progressive resistance, and if so, I will be at the front of the queue.

Nicely made Curfboard.

More Information:

 

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Curfboard Arrives

 

Amazingly quick, the new Curfboard arrived from Germany with its new-fangled unique (to Curfboard) front carving truck.

It is just the front truck that is different, the rear is a nonormalKP truck. The front ruck for carving just swings on the two pivots and does not use bushings, it is all down to the pressure applied on the angle.

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All the parts look well made, the deck, trucks, wheels etc. Sadly, I can only comment on how it looks and feels in my kitchen and hallway as it arrived in a storm and I have yet to actually get a chance to get out on it.

The deck has a high flex in it and covered with clear grip-tape, which I will replace quickly – just my personal dislike for clear grip-cover (it is never actually ‘clear’ and gets ugly with dirt). The 70mm wheels are standard longboard wheels, which seem similar to my 82a Hawg Mini Monsters.