E-board Myths

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(myth – “a widely held but false belief or idea”).

I see a lot of people looking, who are new to e-boards, many who are also new to skateboarding or conventional longboarding – which is great, the more that get to enjoy it, the better the community and the industry will get. Come on in. Consequently, I thought it worth getting some of the re-occurring myths busted to help new folk – so my starter for 5:

  1. E-boards have brakes and can stop – any abrupt stopping capability would be highly dangerous, the good ones have an ability to progressively slow you down, that’s it. You need technique and riding skill, as well as finger control.
  2. It is safe and legal to ride through city traffic (like some no-helmet reckless social-celebrity fuckwit in NY) – in most cities, it is not legal and certainly not safe (god-forbid no helmet).
  3. E-boards are good for long commutes – they are actually a PITA: slower, more stressful, more dangerous and certainly less robust than any cycle. Get one for fun, and the occasional commute, but really just fun.
  4. You can ride happily in the wet – a few e-boards have water-resistant ratings on some parts, but that does now include things like the bearings, which will rust quick. More importantly, you significantly lose grip both on the road and deck in the wet – 20mph with minimal grip..? I can show my accident photos as to why it is not worth it.
  5. They are consumer ready items, just buy and go – this is still early days in the market evolution. Based on the community and personal experience, more e-boards turn up with faults or quickly develop faults, than not; hence, be ready and think how you are going to things fixed. Equally, they all need a basic set-up and importantly set-up for your weight and riding, which may mean changing the bushings. I am still amazed that e-boards don’t ship with a range of different duro bushings and some instructions as to why they are important and how to change.

Disclaimer – sure, these are just my opinions, nothing more. I am happy if you disagree, just not on the no-helmet riding bit – just don’t do it folks. Brain damage is not cool.

 

Checking before riding

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Thought it worth getting down on virtual paper what I check before riding, as I was asked a few days ago by someone who had just taken up skateboarding.

When I take any of the boards (conventional or electric) out of the under-stairs cupboard, I always do the same quick 30-second check with a T-tool in hand.

At the end of the day, the last thing I want when traveling at 10, 20mph or more is anything jamming, disconnecting, losing grip or breaking.

What I do:

  1. Check the grip-tape is not coming off.
    (turn over the deck)
  2. Trucks are screwed tight to the deck – no wobble or any movement.
  3. Bushings are not deformed or cracked.
  4. Kingpin nuts are not too loose or tight (at their optimum)
  5. Wheels not torn or cut (and about to shred).
  6. Wheel nuts not too tight or loose.
  7. Wheels bearings run smooth and quiet (each wheel) and not rusted.

As said, usually no more than 30 seconds.

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Dual-motor Boosted.
For the E-Boards, I then spend a few extra minutes on:
  1. Battery status – remote controller and board.
  2. Ensuring all exposed electrical connectors are tightly connected.
  3. All compartments (battery and controller) are tight to the deck.
  4. The motors tight and aligned (we run belt drives).
  5. No belt wear or damage – anything, and I will change them.
  6. Remote control wheel/trigger moving freely (not switched on).
    I then switch on the board and put on the ground (I am not stood on it) to give it some resistance.
  7. Remote pair the board and handset and quick forward and back.

That’s it, done; only takes a couple of minutes. Happy to know if I have missed anything you do.

 

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

 

Interesting Gear: Waterbourne Surf Adaptor

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Spotted the interesting Waterborne Skateboards ‘Surf’ (truck) adaptor.

What I like about this idea is that, unlike some of the other surf and carve trucks, it has some form of progressive resistance from the bushing. It looks crude with the single bushing, and with some potential risky stress and fracture points, but worth a try and  I will order one (hey no freebies on this blog, LOL – just my hard earned money being spent).

skateboard-surf-adapter-articulation

 

Braille Skateboard Review Video

Patrick Dumas Video Footage

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).

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

 

 

Truck bushing how tight?

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A common question I see on various forums, and talking to new boarders, is “how tight should I run my trucks?“, which is really how tight should the kingpin nut be in compressing the bushings and holding the hanger in place.

The thing to understand is that the bushings on a conventional truck have to do a very complex job of reacting to multi-dimensional forces and keeping you out of hospital. Importantly, there is an optimum for the nut tightness and bushing compression. Too slack and the hanger will move unpredictably and reduce control, especially with speed wobbles; however, too tight and the bushing will deform and not work properly with poor progression, even damage. Meaning there is an optimum for tightness and over tightening does not help, it can actually make things more dangerous. Better stability and control does not come from overtightening tightening the kingpin nut, it comes from using a different bushing shape and durometer. Similarly, if a board won’t turn well, requiring too much brute force, loosening the nut more also does not work; use a different shape or software durometer.

Below is an excellent video from New Zealand skater Crunchie, which shows how to tighten on the bushings.

E-boards, trucks & bushings

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Red 93a Paris bushing

With rain outside (yet again), I changed the bushings on the Boosted Dual. The stock bushings are apparently 86a durometer, which in theory are too soft for me at 85kg (187lb). I say “in theory” because they don’t feel like 86a, they feel much firmer; however, they are easy to change, so why not. I had some spare Paris made barrels, so put in 93a boardside and 90a roadside. I may step up to 94a+93a, but will try the 93a+90a combination first.

UPDATE: After trying it (I am 85kg), I moved up to the 94a+93a combination and have settled on that.

I used Paris bushings for now (the 94a’s I have are DohDoh), as they are what I had spare, but any good make would work. I see a lot of e-boarders using Orantang Nipples, but there is no reason any good make will not work: Venom, Riptide, Mindless, Bones etc.

I like to run the e-boards like conventional downhill boards, based on the premise that both need to be stable at speed: two barrels and firm, rather than my usual barrel+cone cruising set-up on the conventional push boards. In simple terms, barrels have more surface area over cones and will hold their shape more.

 

 

With e-boards and their high-speeds, my preference would be to not run bushings at all and use spring trucks, like the Trampas or Seismic G5s. A polyurethane bushing has a complex job to do, given all the multi-dimensional forces it has to react against. Their dominance of the truck world comes from skateboarding, where they are cheap and make truck manufacturing easy; but skateboarding is not e-boarding, especially at speed. For now, however, I will live with the Boosted and Yuneec running conventional longboard trucks, but if there is ever an upgrade option, or I replace one of the boards with a Nottingham made Trampa or some exotic derivative, I will do it and go for springs.

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Finally, I see a lot of people jumping into e-boarding having not ridden push boards before, not a problem if people take it easy to learn e-boarding and build up the speed carefully. One thing, however, that does become apparent, with those who have not push boarded before, is that lack of awareness of how important bushings are and the need to use ones with a durometer that matches the rider and type of riding. Given how inexpensive and simple they are to change, there is a need to get greater awareness in the community and new riders using what is right for them; especially, given the job of a bushing is to keep you out of a hospital and enjoying the ride.

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Riptide bushings (note – there is no color standard, all manufacturers use different colors for their various durometer ratings).

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