ELECTRIC SKATEBOARDING, THE WHY. THE WHAT AND THE HOW!
ELECTRIC SKATEBOARDING, THE WHY. THE WHAT AND THE HOW!
In the latest of our blog post we look at ELECTRIC SKATEBOARDING, THE WHY. THE WHAT AND THE HOW!
We love electric skateboards, we have been selling them since 2010, and what was an obscure, fringe activity has come a long way. The boards that we were selling way back in 2010 were the Fiik range of boards. They were single motor, beefed up skateboards, mostly with SLA (SEALED LEAD ACID) batteries, not dissimilar from car batteries, they were heavy, belt driven, and heaven help you if you ran out of battery.
Our ‘Big Daddy’ tipped the scales at just over 25kg, I know, because it ran out of battery on a 600m roundtrip from the old shop at the corner of Brighton and WCH to Subway and I dragged it back the longest 300m of my life. They were slow, heavy, difficult to turn everything except for pedestrian heads, but for their time they were cutting edge.
Fast forward 12 years and the current crop of electric skateboards are almost unrecognisable when compared to their older, distant cousins but the same principles apply and given their ubiquitous nature we thought we would re-write our beginners guide.
Why do I need an electric skateboard?
Electric skateboards offer a affordable way to explore our urban environment. For such a ‘flat ’city like Perth they offer a real alternative to costly road or rail transport, and a way to navigate our city on your terms.
Travel ranges can start from as little as 10km for what is commonly referred to as a ‘last mile’ board, with idea being that you skate to the train station do a return trip to the city, and then skate the last mile home, all on a single charge. At the other end of the scale some boards can go as far as 50-80km on a single charge with the latest high-capacity batteries on newer board
But the most common reason to get a e-Board is just to unwind and relax with a group of friends in a skate group, in Perth there are several ride groups meeting weekly for a pleasurable skate with mates and a beer.
So, what is an Electric Skateboard or E-board?
At its most simple distillation It is a combination of a skateboard, a motor, a battery, an input or remote control and finally a brain, ESC (electronic speed controller) or motor controller that connects all the parts together and turn your desire to ‘’GO or ‘STOP’ into movement.
Types of E-BOARD
The boards usually fall in two types, Belt Driven and Hub or Direct Drive. Belt driven boards usually feature an externally mounted motor connected by belts and pulleys to a drive wheel like the EVOLVE range of boards. Hub Drive boards have a motor built inside the drive wheel, so have no external motors or belt, Like DOT boards. Direct drives are like Hub drives but feature a wheel bolted onto the end of the motor, like TRANZITE boards.
All types have their Pros and Cons.
|-Popular and common||-Can be noisy|
|-Easy to fix, and diagnose issues||-Belts pulley and cogs wear ou|
|-Can change gearing/amount of torque with different wheel/belt/cog combinations||-More maintenance required|
|-Usually lots of different wheel combinations|
Hub Drives & Direct Drive
|-Quieter than belt drives||-Older models can lack torque or ummpff|
|-More efficient so batteries can be smaller||-Can be a bit trickier to diagnose issues|
|-All connections are internal||-Motor sleeves can be a bit rough on older paths with hubs.|
|-Direct drives can offer more wheel choice||-Less wheel choice with hub models|
Things to consider before buying a board
Usually, people are so keen to get out a riding the last thing they think about is what happens if it goes wrong. There are some fixed rules you should follow before buying your first board.
- You get what you pay for. Cheaper boards will have cheaper components and are more likely to experience issues later down the track.
- Ask the question about support, spares, and repairs before you buy, not after.
- Do your research on brands and models, but look for brands that offer verified buyer reviews, remember that most reviewers on YouTube have a personal stake in getting you to watch, either through advert revenue, being paid by the brand to support this or not support a particular model.
- Join a skate group and ask people that have a particular board what they are like, again remembering that if someone has only ever had one board then that will always be the best board they have ridden
Ok I am in, what boards are available how do I get into an electric skateboard?
This is a question we get asked twenty times a day. Rather than bash brands we do not stock, it is probably important to talk about what we do stock and why we stock it.
We stock boards from three brands, Evolve, Dot and Tranzite, while each brand offers a different ride experience, they all feature one common thread, Australian owned brands which offer local warranty and repair support.
If you have looked at an electric skate video on YouTube or googled anything related to e-boards, like us, you have found you email inbox filled with assorted brands talking about why they offer the best board in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
On the downside we get 20-30 phone calls a day from people who are having issues with boards that stop functioning, remotes that do not work, batteries that have died usually just after a brand has gone into silent running mode or disappeared from the internet.
Safety gear and legislation
In December 2021 legislation was introduced to control the use of E-Ridables. The rules were bought in mostly because of the rise of E-Scooters, Skateboards and similar vehicles and feature some common-sense rules governing their use. The main snapshot of the changes includes speed limits, where they can and cannot be used and the use of safety gear.
but the gist is as follows on public paths, ways, and roads.
-Minimum age 16
-One person, one vehicle
-10kmph max speed on shared path
-25kmph max speed on public road
-Only can used on public roads with a speed limit at or below 50kmph
-Rated helmet always
-Lights front and rear at night
-Same phone use, alcohol and drug rule as other motor vehicles apply.
Here at Action Sports WA, we believe we have an excellent range of skateboards, to suit most riders regardless of their age and experience. On top of that we offer the ability to try demo boards. One thing to note though is that all our conversations start with questions about what you are looking for, what skating you may or may not have done in the past. Because there is not one board that works for all riders.