I've had a blast with my Ownboard W2 and am using it daily for my 15km round trip commute. There was a previous deal on Ozbargain for the W2 when it was on preorder for $597US. I've managed to coax the rep into repeating that deal exclusively for Ozbargain ($100 off).
TLDR: I think its the best budget board under $1000 on the market currently, offering similar/better performance than a $2500 Boosted Stealth or $2000 Evolve GTR.
Beginner Mode: 12.5mph (20 km/h)
Middle Mode: 18.75mph (30 km/h)
Proficient Mode: 26mph (42 km/h)
Range on full charging:
SAMSUNG 30Q 9.0Ah: 14-16 miles(22.5~25.5 km)
Max Load: 120 kg (265lbs)
Max Hill Climb gradient: 30%
Weight: 8.2 kg (18.5lbs)
Deck: Fiberglass Bamboo, 389.05 inches, Flex designed
Motor: 5045 Dual Belt Motor, 83x52 mm, with 80A highly elastic PU-Wheels
Pulley: Exchangeable pulleys (36T 3M) with automatic belt tension adjustment function
Battery: Safe & Powerful Li-ion Battery by Samsung (18650 3P10S)
Charger: Output: 42V, 3A ,Charging time: 2-3 hours
WHAT IS IN THE BOX?
1 x completely assembled eBoard
1 x remote with USB charging cable
1 x extra foam for you to do deck swap
1 x certificated charger
1 x DC port charger adapter (US, AU, or EU plug up to your location)
1 x T-tool
1 x rear LED light
1 x user manual
1 dash-proof rubbers
1 x extra black gripe tape
Pad up as I take you through my Eskate journey…
With the recent change in QLD electric rideable laws I thought long and hard about getting a electric scooter or skateboard.
The Ozbargain favourite Xiaomi M365 scooter was tempting but I ultimately went for an electric skateboard.
The key deciding factor for me was enhanced portability of the skateboard – meaning I could take it easily on buses/trains/stowed away in the staff locker/staff rooms. Its the size of a normal longboard (38 inches) and can be carried in one hand with the handle – although it is fairly heavy at ~8kg, but still much better than a scooter (12.5kg). Very easy to do even in peak hour, where as the scooter I imagine would be tough on a packed bus/train.
Range and top speed is actually better than the Xiaomi scooter - I've hit a top speed of 49km/hr with a range of 25-30km and climbs 20-25% gradient hills without a sweat compared to the M365 where kick pushes are required for all but the gentlest inclines. Fun factor for the skateboard also has the scooter beat – drive and acceleration feels stronger and more direct IMO.
Main con of the skateboard over the scooter is stability and ease of use. Going 25km+/hr on a skateboard takes some practice and is not as easy initially as a scooter. After a few hours of practice, its definitely achievable though. I have come from a skateboarding/in line skating background in my youth so perhaps it was slightly easier for me. The missus isn't game to ride on it, whereas the scooter is more noob friendly and IMO easier than riding a bike.
I'm riding it ~8km along the V1 Bikeway to the city fairly easily without breaking a sweat. It's also easy to just ride the 1 km to the bus stop in case of rain.
Definitely recommend giving it a thought for QLDers and hopefully in other states when the government laws catch up to the 21st century.
In no particular order, these are the reputable chinese board manufacturers that are recommended:
They're all fairly comparable and are similar enough that it's a matter of personal preference which brand you get.
I'd avoid the no name ebay and Amazon sellers that are flogging 2+ years old tech with unreliable batteries. You can get lighter Penny Boards in the 3-5kg range, but IMO they're more like toys than actual commuting options. Just too small to be stable going over bumps/debris that you would find on a normal commute. Might be ok for a skate park.
I've had the Ownboard W2 now for a month now and have done about 200km on it . I preordered it during the $100 off period, so got it for $597USD. At this price, in my opinion its the best budget board for most people.
Prior to the W2 I had the Ownboard W1s, a decent hub motor board which is fairly representative of the best and most reputable china boards out there. Smooth Hobbywing ESC, option of a Sanyo battery and a decently flexible bamboo deck. The differences between the W1s and other similar offerings from Meepo, Wowgo, Backfire were fairly minimal and largely down to personal preference. With the W1s, I could get up to a max speed of ~40km/hr with a range of 25-30km riding pretty aggressively with the Sanyo battery.
My main complaints with the W1s were ride comfort, acceleration and hill climb ability - all which are a night and day difference on the belt driven W2. In particular, ride comfort on the hub motor board was in my opinion its biggest weakness. We're not allowed to ride on main roads in QLD and are relegated to bike paths and foot paths. These are usually built with large concrete slabs which become uneven over time, with raised edges and lips. Most of my daily 15km round trip is done on this, rather than paved bitumen/asphalt. Riding more than 30-35km/hr on these surfaces results in nasty bumps and feelings of instability where the rear ends jumps and skips all over the place. As such, most of my commute is slowing down before a bump, bracing and then accelerating again. With the W2, the increased ride comfort means I can floor the accelerator pretty much the whole ride. I feel confident going 35-40km/hr+ over these same areas. This has increased my average speed of my commute by 5km/hr (25km/hr—>30km/hr), a huge increase.
I have made some small upgrades to the W2 since I got it to increase the ride comfort even further. I swapped out the trucks and wheels to Paris V2s and ABEC 11 97mm Reflys respectively. One of the bearings was also a bit squeaky out of the box, so I changed everything over to Zealous sealed bearings so I wouldn't need to worry about them ever again. I simply can't say enough about the improvement in ride comfort the W2 is over the W1s and probably any other hub motor board. I can floor it the whole ride and my feet aren't numb by the end of the commute. It inspires so much confidence and riding is so much more fun when you're not bracing and needing to be super vigilant over every minute bump/crack.
Acceleration, hill climbing ability and top speed is also very impressive and markedly better on the W2. It hits max speed much quicker and I'm going up hills 10km/hr faster where the previous hub motors really struggled.The top speed I've hit was 49km/hr on a flat, and I can achieve 46km/hr consistently when flooring it. Most importantly it feels super stable at these speeds, whereas the W1s was very harsh and wobbly (particularly the rear) and didn't inspire a lot of confidence. On the stock 83mm wheels, a member on the discord channel was getting 42-44km/hr. Brakes are also slightly stronger than the hub motor boards but I try not to do too much hard braking to avoid excessive wear on the belts.
Range is also surprisingly good with the Samsung 30Q 9AH 10s3p battery. I'm 60kg (65kg with backpack) and I can easily do 25km riding flat out (average speed 30km/hr) with ~10% left. Being a tad more conservative, 30km would be pretty achievable - the same as my W1s with the Sanyo battery.
What are some of the negatives/areas for improvement I hear you ask?
The battery enclosures are plastic instead of metal but feel pretty solid. I haven't had any scratches on it yet after 150km. Conversely, the motor and wheel pulleys are metal which is nice. They were previously plastic on the pre-production model.
The supposedly improved flex deck (bamboo and fibreglass instead of maple) is pretty similar to the W1s to be honest. Maybe a hair more flexy but not by much. They now have some padded foam grip tape (looks similar to the Exway X1 Pro) which doesn't do an awful lot. Still not a lot of concave on the deck. I'm never falling off the deck, but more concave is always better. Its not awful by any means but you're into some light assembly work you could buy the W2 Kit without the deck for $516 and put it on a loaded vanguard deck for better carving.
QA/QC: My board and also another person's board on the Eskate discord came with unequal truck axle shaft lengths on the rear. You probably wouldn't notice it if you stuck with the default green 83mm ABEC clone wheels, but it becomes important if you're planning to swap wheels. In order to avoid wheel rub on the belt drive cover with the larger 97mm wheels, you need to fit some some additional washers (spares come with the board). One side fits 2, the other side only fits 1. I learnt this the hard way as I initially put 2 washers on the shorter shaft length, which resulted in the nylon wheel nut only being engaged ~50% of the thread. This resulted in a catastrophic failure during one of my early rides where the rear drive wheel fell right off the shaft at 35km/hr. Fortunately I was wearing my full face helmet and pads so I escaped largely unhurt aside from some hip bruising! I managed to fix it with just putting one washer on the shorter axle length side and a new wheel nut. I also used some blue Loctite to be doubly sure if wouldn't come loose. With the one washer it engages the nylon threads of the nut ~90% of the way. I haven't had any issues since, but I still periodically check it before all my rides. I'm not sure if this is an isolated issue due to poor QA/QC or a design issue. If you intend to change to larger wheels, be aware of this!
Support: Support is hit and miss. Probably not too dissimilar to any other budget provider which isn't Boosted, Backfire or Exway (who charge a bit more). The belt drive system they've based it off is the tried and tested system from Boosted. The Esc is Hobby wing and the batteries they've also been using in their other boards - ie it's all been proven reliable. Most of the issues I've seen people having on the forums are wear and tear or water ingress from riding in the rain.
Waterproofing - Foam around the enclosures is not the highest quality (same as all the other China boards). You could buy thicker closed cell neoprene to put underneath the enclosures, or just use some black silicon sealant around the edges of the enclosure to enhance the water resistance. I was caught in a small shower during a ride and had no issues. This video here explains it very well ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOp739GFB1U&t=57s ). They used 0.3" thick closed cell neoprene.
Delivery time - 3 weeks from ordering to delivery. It took 1 week to ship from the warehouse and 2 weeks to deliver. Bear in mind I ordered during the pre-order period and it had to go from China. Not sure if there are any US stock in warehouses at the moment like they have for the W1s.
Belts and pulley are 3M (same as Boosted) instead of the more popular and widely available 5M that is used in the DIY scene.
TLDR: In my opinion, I think this is the best budget board under $1000 for most people, especially commuters.
Belt drive offers the best ride comfort short of pneumatic tyres. It really is a night and day difference that and a hub motor driven board. More comfort means more confidence to floor it over urban environments and less foot fatigue. I'm not the biggest carver, but carving is easier than on the W1s as I can keep the trucks looser due to the increased stability.
Adjustable belt tensioners means reduced belt wear
Amazing top speed (49km/hr), acceleration, hill climb all the while not sacrificing range or having appreciable voltage sag (looking at you Exway X1 Pro :P)
Smooth Hobbywing ESC not the binary cheaper LiYing ESC that plagues most Meepos and other budget boards.
Reliable board with dependable quality components from a generally reliable China board brand - Boosted clone belt drive motors, Samsung 30Q batteries, Hobbywing ESC.
Metal wheel and motor pulleys. ABEC compatible from the get go. Kegel wheel pulleys are also in the works for those preferring Orangatang Caguamas.
- QA/QC could be better - beware if you're planning to change to larger wheels.
I was initially the biggest sceptic but after using one I think it's definitely worthwhile getting a belt drive over a hub motor board. Fortunately /unfortunately, Ownboard is the only one offering it at the moment. If other manufacturer's are smart, this is definitely a trend they should jump on.
The ride comfort, top speed and acceleration cannot be understated. It will tide me over until one day I can justify the $4500-$5000 for importing a Kaly/Lacroix. In QLD, with them being illegal on the road, its a hard cost for me to justify. For footpaths and bikeways, the W2 is probably as fast as I would want to go.
Happy to answer any questions on electric skateboards should people have any :)
Definitely give it a thought :)