Electric Skateboard reviews and The history of the Electric Skateboard

This review is for electric skateboards – motorized skateboards and not electric scooters. Get this one thing straight an electric skateboard is not an electric scooter – motorized scooter or what not. It is whole different level of board culture. Scooters have a big stick in front of them to hold onto. Skateboards are freedom incarnate for those of us that love to flow.

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A top view of a custom Metro-board electric skateboard, the boards owner swapped the classic longboard with a sector nine. Sweet!!
Sector nine is a registered trademark of Sector Nine inc and has no affiliation with metro-board… We the people in the board culture swapped it.
Sector nine makes some sweet boards visit their site for other skateboard options.

My qualifications for these reviews is basically growing up around the California board culture. I have been riding skateboards since 1976. Being a Los Angeles Native it really is a part of this culture. I also have no endorsements or get any payment for this. It’s just a hobby and I teach Yoga in Los Angeles. If you want a review of your electric skateboard contact me through my Yoga center site Earth’s Power Yoga in Los Angeles. Shipping and all return shipping costs will be paid for by the manufacturer. I don’t accept monetary payment for the powerboard reviews on this site aside from the google ads which equals basically enough to cover expenses of renewing the site.

Some of the first motorized skateboards were basically lawn mower motors and chainsaw motors, technically engines attached to skateboards like this one. But they are kind of awkward in that having the motor on the back throws off the balance a lot. I remember these as far back as the late 1970′s.

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I have skated Marina Del Rey Skatepark. Big O, Skatercross and a few others. These boards are all great in their own ways and all have pros and cons.

Before I start I want to Thank Dan and Dave at E-glide for taking care of me when my Electoboard was down and Ilan Sabar at Metroboard for helping me Hotrod a custom board that was a piece of junk before being metrofied. Now it is a great board and worth all the time and effort.

 

As a general rule like most things you get what you pay for. Trade offs for strength are usually sacrificed for weight a really strong board that can go down stairs will weigh 60 pounds. Long range requires more cells in your battery and equal more weight. A really light and cheaper board usually has less power, range and top end speed. Freedom of a Radio Frequency wireless controller may sacrifice safety but at this point in 2014 I think they have worked that out. My bluetooth controller never has an issue. In the past when your throttle gets interference you can take a fall at relatively high speeds, 20 miles per hour plus. One time years back my friends Exkate controller started controlling my Exkate electric skateboard and that was not fun. I have heard some other stories. Skateboards at high speeds are dangerous. If you want a really safe sport, stick to Yoga or hiking as a Yoga teacher I can tell you Yoga really is one of the safest activities around.

Braking is usually really good on almost all the boards. One thing about regular skateboarding is there are no real brakes other than your feet. With Electric skateboard you have really good brakes. A major plus in my opinion.

The motors on these boards are pretty strong and last a long time its really the electronic brains that are hard to source/replace and usually the first to go bad. In my almost nine years experience with powerboarding what has always kept me from riding is the controller. If a company folds you could get the Curtis 1208 for $150 at best and you also need a controller programmer for a whopping $200. For that money you could just about buy a whole new board for a hundred more the throttles are usually 5k ohm potentiometers which are cheap pots available at most electronics stores but you have to know how wire stuff up to fix them. Or you can rebuild them, these guys at fsip motor controller rebuilders can do the job.
It may be wise to get a better charger. A typical issue is the charger goes bad and then the batteries fry then they fry the electronic circuit board motor controller. This has happened to me twice now in 9 years. I end up having to do a full over haul. New batteries, new controller and then I might as well just replace all the wiring at that point because the board is already apart. The lead acid batteries like to be charged constantly and they like to be in cooler weather. They also like to be replaced every two years.

The greatest thing electric boarding has helped me with is being able to practice switch stance for Kiteboarding and to help strengthen my legs for Earth’s Power Yoga in Los Angeles and the cost fuel ratio is between 1200 and 1500 miles per gallon in a fuel-electricity conversion comparison. Remember in most city’s the grid still burns fuel. The fuel is way off in some remote area usually. You can get solar chargers for these as well but they are costly and may not be practical unless you own your own home.

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My 2008 board added to the quiver was just regripped and is a metro-board electric skateboard. Metro-board motorized skateboard represents the latest in cutting edge power boarding motorized skateboard technology and “puts the skateboard back into powerboarding.” This is my personal statement not their slogan.
You see one of the drawbacks about electric skateboards in the past is most of them are extremely heavy and as a result felt like a riding platform and not a skateboard.
This just isn’t an issue with metroboard. Unlike the other boards out there I can easily kickturn the metroboard without strain. That makes for really easy city riding and you know it’s hard to put into words but it just feels right. Finally a powerboard that really rides and feels like a skateboard.

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Metro-board has a 450 watt continuous motor, 900 peak with plenty of power. That equals 1.2 horse power. bottom line The board goes faster than I need it to go and though they say 16 miles per hour top speed I have clocked 18.64 mph on level ground and over 25 mph on down hill runs because unlike the other boards this board allows you to coast, ( a major stealth advantage and saving/charging batteries ) The board has about the same torque as any other board but at less than half the weight. The board is user programmable in its power intensity and also very important, the owner is really friendly and easy to contact with questions. It uses a infrared wireless remote which is much safer in my opinion due to almost no possible interference on the road. Plus Ilan the owner is working on a Lithium Powered Electric Skateboard for the future editions.
light nickel metal hydride powered electric skateboard.
Today metroboard went head to head with an e-glide 44 and it was impressive. Less than half the weight but the same torque and almost same top end as the e-glide though. I do weigh a bit less than the other rider to be fair so technically the e-glide electric skateboard is about 1 mile per hour faster than the metro-board electric skateboard. The metroboard went faster off the line at its top power setting and was just about as fast on top end speed then a board weighing more than twice it weight. I was surprised. This is like putting Sugar Ray Leonard in the rink with Mike Tyson in his prime for twelve rounds and having it come to a marginal win based on points at the end of the bout.

To me the weight of a skateboard is critical because I use the board for commuting. The boards remote is very stable and well tuned and comes with lights both front and back and a horn. The only small drawback is at low speeds about 7 mph or less the boards braking curve works but is a bit slow to react, but truth is at lower speeds you can just use your foot to stop or in an emergency just hop off the board if necessary. Now this comment on the low end brakes may be just be a personal preference of mine to be honest it is a skateboard after all and your feet have been used to stop them for the past 50 years. At top speeds the brakes work very well which is when you really need the electric brakes.

Reaching customer service is essential in this arena. My rule is if I cant reach a real person when I call or if I leave a message and I don’t get a call back within a reasonable amount of time, I don’t buy the board.

 

Going to a mall and carrying a fifty pound board was hell for me and basically made me only ride for fun and that was not the only reason I got a powerboard.

With the Metro-board motorized skateboard I had no issue going to an outdoor mall and carrying the metro-board electric skateboard for blocks.

The metro-board so far is my favorite for daily use. It is very light, it has a turn radius of about twelve feet or three feet if you kickturn and I can actually carry it with relative ease. Oh yeah btw, another cool thing, Metro-board will build on your own custom deck.

I used a Madrid skateboard “Liquor Store” as a base deck and reshaped it a bit more like the explosion model then got the premium wheels as well because they absorb shock a lot better than standard wheels. The premium wheel really make a big difference because at higher speeds it rides a lot better and is even more stable with less vibration. Spend the extra money on premium wheels, you won’t be let down. This board is a full custom deck. Its a pool style bullet shape, a cross between a Dewey Webber long board for the tail and Early 1980′s Madrid Explosion Spoon shape for the nose with the nimh batteries that will take you about 12 miles per charge. The skateboard only weighs 22 lbs. or for you metric minds about ten kilos.
Metro-board.com board put through the paces
2-20-2010

So I figured I would give a quick update on the board now as it is going on it’s second year with me. The thing is a tank. So far I have not been stranded once! I have gone off of curbs a few times due to them coming at me too quick and choosing to just jump down them instead of bailing on the board. Though it is not recommended, in a pinch has survived. Tech support has been great and the new bag they offer comes in handy according to a friend of mine. I use a strap as a handle but I will review the bag once I use it. So overall I am very happy with the board for all of its intended uses.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

8-3-2008
Metroboard electric skateboard review continued
Tonight I took the metro-board.com’s electric skateboard on my trials run. It is a twelve mile one hour course with mainly flat city sidewalks and really smooth Los Angeles area streets. Metro-board.com’s board made the full run with no power loss at all. I think it would have gone some more distance but to be honest I was tired out. Full day surfing with the kids and then electric skateboarding. Long day.
The course is ideal for electric skateboarding and it will also remain undisclosed for now. Sorry guys but I promised my riding buddies I wouldn’t spill the beans on this one. Kinda brings you back to the old pool days. You might pay with skin if you show up with a friend that hasn’t been “made.” I put it up against my control which is an eglide with new batteries.

The course covers an average level street about most of the time, a slightly hilly park about one mile or so and of course a mall parking lot and some sidewalks. The terrain is all paved with about a 50 percent tarmack and 45 percent concrete riding surface with some tile maybe 5 percent and super smooth museum surface similar to an indoor super market.

The board handled the course really well it had excellent stability and great torque even at level five which is its default power level.
On the really steep section I did hear some clicks when I was trying to brake but I think the gradient was way above the standard six degrees (drive belt was a bit loose) as the manufacturer recommends re tightening after thirty days, so that was my fault, the ground clearance was a bit small for some of the sidewalk entrance areas but there is a built in skid plate that protects the drive belt so all went well. Much appreciated engineering design, well thought out.

I am a bit surprised at the board to be honest. A board this light could handle this course. I kept thinking ok when is it going to break…. When is it going to break?
But the thing just kept going. I have the 12 mile Nimh metroboard electric skateboard so it is the top of the line for now. But at any rate to keep up with the super stable e-glide.com board is just amazing, the thing ways half the weight!

Well done!!! I give the Metroboard motorized skateboard a full fledged Hang loose brada!!! Keep building em like this one. I cant wait till the Lihium electric skateboard version hits the market.

A cool video review of this board. I agree with this review so I figured I would post it here.

Jan 23 2011
Metroboard is finally due for an overhaul 2.5 years roughly and probably my fault it broke, not bad. I was coasting on a southbound hill and I realized I had left my board off. The board makes different sounds for different things. i.e. when it’s battery dies it makes a sound kind of like a dying R2 droid. When it is off and you are coasting it makes another sound so I knew it was off. I hit the on switch while coasting and it lurched forward a little and then turned off (don’t do this). I took a small spill but nothing major.

Nevertheless it is time to send it in. As part of my out in the open full disclosure policy, at this point the owner at metro-board.com knows well who I am due to this blog.
Regardless he has been very helpful to me with the board. Usually responds within a few hours to emails etc… Not all board companies did that before or after this blog. Generally I figure I get about 1.9 years average per board before you need something. This one went 2.5 years almost to the day. I think the batteries are still good but if I am sending it in I may as well do a full battery overhaul (keep your batteries before sending it out) I may get a few months out of them but it is not worth taking a chance getting stranded and double shipping these heavy parts around. I just replace them after two years to be safe if I am sending them in. I will send him the battery box and controller. I know the motor is still good. The motor on my first Gen X24 lasted for over eight years.

Here I am July 3rd 2014 still riding the Metroboard I bought way back when. Still using the same battery pack. Upgraded the controller once but just because I could with the newer bluetooth one. One of the main things with the batteries is always keeping them on a charge. They are six years old!! Still running!! Even I am impressed this is definitely a record for batteries.

P.S. Check out that 80′s old skool Burton snowboard nose popping up. ;-)

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E-glide Electric Skateboard Review

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Now this is a great company that has stood the test of time. The board is very similar to the exkate ex24 but a bit more reliable due to different electronics and a hard wired gun throttle-braking device. The “brain” or motor controller is similar to a 1208 series Curtis controller but E-glide uses a proprietary controller instead.

E-glides are super reliable so far. Great customer service and that really is major plus. Service and sustainability of the board is a key issue because these are not cheap once a company goes under your are left with an unusable board, you really cant push most of these boards because they are too high for one and way too heavy plus the motor usually has drag unless it is lit up with electrical power.

The board is controlled by a stable wired gun potentiometer. So it has a gradual accelerator with graduated braking. Top speed is 20 miles per hour and a range of about 12 miles, though I think I may have clocked way higher speeds on downhill runs.

0 to 20 mph hour is not a puffed up sales statement. These boards really have the amps and torque necessary to push you to 20 miles per hour in 4 seconds. Be sure to bend your knees point your front foot a bit forward, ground your back foot and be ready to lean forward then slowly hit the throttle if you want, but be careful. I have heard stories about people getting thrown off the boards etc..

The new rubber wheels E-glide offers soften the ride quite a bit which is big plus and you don’t have to worry about pebbles making you skid to a halt because the board just plows right over anything I have come across on the road.

One of the major drawbacks of the Exkate x24 was the wheels were very hard urethane and at higher speeds the road vibration was pretty bad. Not so much of an issue with the e-glide that has the new Goodyear rubber wheels.

Nice and smooth, so on this review I would say spend the extra money and buy the E-glide 42 Special with rubber wheels because the stock ones are pretty hard urethane. Also, consider the dc 36 if weight is an issue and distance is not.

E-glide 42 special is my top pick for the e-glides

Cons: really in this case the weight of the board is an issue for a commuter because it can be really cumbersome to carry it on a Subway or down an out door mall road like the Grove in Los Angeles or the Promenade in Santa Monica CA, in which you are not allowed to ride in. They have a prototype Lithium powered board but the reliability has not been confirmed over time yet so Dave at E-glide will not give the green light on it. This really is a plus in my opinion. Better to do it right or not at all seems to be E-glides motto and in the end reliability is key for safety and customer satisfaction. Good job.

To wrap it up.
Truth is I am torn between the e-glide for the super smooth stable ride and excellent braking all around and the Metro-board for its commuter friendly weight high torque motor and other safety features. If you found this electric skateboard review useful let me know.

 

The Exkate x24 (now “Altered” Skateboards) Electric Skateboard review.

My board is not working right now and I am a bit upset. They had some motor issues with the 600 series, I have heard that it is fixed with the new controllers. Again controllers have to be dependable and they come from who knows where. It probably isn’t Exkate’s fault to be honest these things happen with electronic boards but it is a real bummer when it is bright and sunny high season and your board is dead. When these boards are dead it is often just completely not operational. You can’t push the Exkate I have.

Call during business hours pacific standard time and you will have a better chance of getting someone on the line vs emailing the Altered electric skateboard company. Not sure what is up, but it took a while for me to get someone on the phone and I didn’t get return emails. Emails are faster and all around good business practice who knows maybe my email to them got lost in cyberspace.

Still exkate is a good electric skateboard when operational. I think they should extend the warranty on the 600 watt motors if they are burning up due to an over amped power curve. Just my humble opinion.

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First electric skateboard

The above Exkate first electric skateboard done properly with a lot of torque and a great top speed of about 20 miles per hour. I could not believe the power density of this board. It handled well and was really stable at top speed. It had a range of a realistic 10 miles every day riding and could pull me up signal hill in Long Beach. For those of you in the know it is very steep. They have done downhill skateboard and luge races on it for years. I would date this version of boards back to the early 1990′s. Basically large skateboar wheels and truck on a custom electric specific board with a wheel chair motor and hobbyist electric miniature boat controller. This is the basic DNA some of the first electric skateboards. I share this with you because it may help you in case your baby ever dies on you and you need to find parts. More on that below.

Cons
The only major draw back for me was the weight of the board and the durometer of the cherry bomb wheels. I have heard they may have fixed them on the latest models out August – September 2008. I think it weighs just over 50 pounds! So you really cant use it in a situation where you would end up carrying it in a mall for a long distance or something to that effect and a slightly large turn radius. I cant turn the on a residential street easily. Sometimes I would get off and have to scoot the board left or right with my foot and get back on to do a simple u turn. The wheels are hard urethane so you really feel the bumps. All in all a really fun board and I am grateful to Louie who started this great experience in board culture. Truth is I need to review one of the newer models because I think they may have worked out some of the kinks I mentioned.

Electroboard Electric Skateboard review

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The Electroboard. This thing was a beast!!! Really strong. Super heavy, great torque but now out of business. One of the major drawbacks of electric skateboarding is that you really shouldn’t beat the boards up because of the electronics and the weight can snap axles.

This didn’t apply as much to the Electroboard. The one I had came ready for off road 18 miles per hour riding! Jumping curbs, even going down stairs was o.k. It had dual posi traction via a worm gear and a car style rear end direct drive transmission. I beat this thing up for 3 years till it needed overhauling. It lasted me an extra 3 years thanks to another company that cares about their riders actually riding the boards consistently David at E-glide, a really great guy and board sport company.

The Electroboard
I’m not going to talk up the electroboard too much because it is no longer available and it had a major flaw. Service was almost non existent for long periods of time. When Electroboard was around to pick up the phone it was ok, but just not great because the board would sit for months in non operation as a result of very spotty attendance from the electroboard electric skateboard shop. The company folded and I was lucky enough to have met the guys at e-glide to help me keep it operational for a few more years. In the end, with these boards you really should try to get extra parts for them. An extra controller, gun and drive belts or gears if possible. Batteries are not an issue as voltman can get most Sealed Lead Acid Batteries and Battery Space can supply everything else.

The motors on these boards are pretty strong and last a long time its really the electronic brains are hard to source/replace and usually the first to go bad in my almost nine years experience with powerboarding. If a company folds you could get the Curtis 1208 for $150 at best and you also need a controller programmer for a whopping $200 and for that you could just about buy a whole new board for a hundred more the throttles are usually 5k ohm potentiometers which are cheap pots available at most electronics stores but you have to know how wire stuff up to fix them.
I will post the Freeride 600 electric skateboard review next for now I am hitting the surf!

Freeride Electric Skateboard Review

8-5-2008

Freeride
I got the 600 watt 36 volt model. Truth is the board is just not my style. It works fine but I am just not connecting with the board at this time. It may be the deck shape or the weight. Im going to reshape it more along the lines of an e-glide 42 special and swap in some lithium batteries and give it another go.
So I will update on this board later.

8-14-2008
Reshaped the Freeride, looks much cooler now, I will post picts soon. I still need to change the batteries though and tighten the trucks then give it another try.
All three babies in a row… The now Modified Exkate – The Metroboard and Freeride electric skateboard (reshaped). Aren’t they cute

 

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Freeride with long goofy nose

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now.

Happy Boarding,
Steven Earth Metz.

 

Customizing a board

 

 

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