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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King Louis Arrives

image1The new custom deck from Hecs Decks arrived (as ever, thank you Hector), with its very unusual and beautiful fish-scale wood pattern. I have called it King Louis.

Not sorted some trucks and wheels for it, but will probably go with some 70cm+ cruising wheels in dark blue, as the top and bottom wood has a slight blue tint to it, something like the Liam Morgan Blood Oranges may work well with it.

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As usual, the issue with really nice wood on the top of the deck is to grip it or not. Since trying clear grip-tape on the Hecs Fish, and hating it, I am left with spray-grip if I want to show off the wood pattern or some intricate cut-out grip-pattern; however, I don’t think a grip pattern aesthetically would work with the King Louis.

Re-gripped the Hec’s Fish

After ripping the (hated) clear grip-tape off the Hec’s Fish, I got up early with an idea and found our Christmas cookie-cutters, including a star-shaped one. I am actually pleased with how it all turned out, given it was an early morning JFDI – plenty of practical grip and it still shows off the wood and my tree design.

The cookie-cutter was not sharp enough to go through cleanly the grip-tape, but it was easy enough to make an indent and then cut the shapes out. The tricky bit is then measuring out lines and putting the shapes in a regular pattern.

 

Grip taped the Zenit

Finally got some real black grip-tape to use on the Zenit and, importantly, mirror the carbon-fibre underside. I say “real black” because most of the grip-tape I have found to date has actually been various shades of grey; which is annoying when it is universally sold as “black”.

 

Finally fond real black sold by the ever-excellent and helpful Skate Deluxe (Monster Grip Tape Heavy). It is heavy grip which a little too rough for my liking, but as ever is if form over function. Also being heavy grip it is more difficult to cut and trim, but the end result is not bad and confirms the single mirrored top and bottom design works well.

I will stay on the lookout for ‘real black’ lighter or medium grip-tape, but for now, it works.

Trucks on the Fish

 

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Put on some new slightly shorter 9″ Gullwing trucks on the Hecs Fish, alongside my favourite cruising wheels, Hawg Mini Monsters, and Oust Moc7 bearings. Shorter, for purely aesthetic reasons, given the deck is slightly narrower. The 50º Gullwings are well made and feel very similar to my usual Paris V2s.

The standard Gullwing bushings (90a) were too soft for my liking, so am trying out some Mindless 94a barrels (the blue ones) matched with some Bones Medium 91a hardcore cones (white/yellow).

 

 

Wood Burning Pattern

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So I decided to try my hand at wood burning patterns, using an electric wood burner/engraver and am really pleased with how it, the tree, turned out – the “HD” was already there, I added the tree,
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I used a basic stencil for the outline of the tree, matching the starting trunk width with the HD logo, and one of the leaf-shaped wood burner bits to do the leafs.
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The deck was then covered with clear grip-tape; which, although sold as ‘clear’ is really just opaque and lessens the impact of the burnt wood design. Less than ideal, but the small board needs grip, especially when it is wet out. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for practicality.
UPDATE 29/10/17: I hated the clear grip so much, I have taken it back off. It showed up foot dirt, and gave very little benefit in terms of showing the wood and pattern, that it seemed pointless. The board needs grip, so will think of a creative way to use black grip, without hiding completely the design.
Not particularly hard, but worth taking the time over as there is no erasing option.
The underside before being varnish sprayed.
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