January 12, 2019

Reviews of 5 Most Popular Electric Skateboards in 2019

As an electric skateboard lover, are you always in the dilemma of not being able to choose a board which is both within your budget range and in high performance as you expected? This is true unless you meet these five most popular electric skateboards in 2018. They charm most eskaters with fairly good performance , yet do not scare them off with reasonable price. They are Teamgee H5, Meepo V2 Plus (Sanyo), Backfire G2s, Wowgo 2S and Ownboard W1S. Now lets have a further understanding of each long board and make a summary in terms of their hardware and specification for you to make a right choice.

 Teamgee H5

Teamgee H5

Teamgee’s popularity soared in mid-2018 with the successful crowd-funding of the H6 retro-style pintail cruiser. The H6 wasn’t just any old pintail cruiser though. Apart from it being a modern, electric take on a classic favorite, the H6 was also part of the new wave of slim-line designs that were starting to hit the marketplace.

”Slim-line” is Teamgee’s modus operandi, and every model since has adhered to the same basic design principles.

The new H5 or “Blade” sits somewhere in-between the H6 and Teamgee’s top-of-the-line H9.

The H5 definitely takes the award for being the best-looking board that I’ve tested so far. I seriously cannot fault it. Yes, it does look just like a regular longboard, perhaps even more so than the Exway X1. Truly! The reason being is that the Exway X1 is designed to look “premium” and “futuristic,” whereas the Teamgee H5 is simply designed to “blend in” and thus looks completely unassuming.

Unlike the Exway, however, the control panel of the H5 (integrated with the ESC heat sink) does not sit flush with the underside of the board. It protrudes a little, which seems like something Teamgee should work hard to rectify in future models.

The 90mm wheels (as supposed to the Exway’s 80mm) make the ride far more comfortable and cruisy than the Exway. The drop-through deck of the H5 is a nice way to counteract the bigger wheels by bringing the deck closer to the ground again. However, the H5 suffers from wheel-bite if you want to run loose, which if you want to get any sort of nimble feeling out of the board you kind of have to. A sharp turn or an aggressive carve on the H5 can indeed end in disaster (speaking from experience — nothing serious).

The remote interface is probably the best of the Binary-type ESC family. It trumps the standard remotes used by Meepo (up to V2) and others, as well as the WINboard remotes. A thumb wheel (without any sort of pointless thumb stick) will always be the preferable interface in my opinion, so Teamgee made a good call there. Sadly though that’s where the good points for the remote end. The remote is oddly shaped and feels like a TV remote in the hand, and although the built-in LED light is a nice gesture, it’s not bright enough to be of any real functional use.

The board accelerates gently and gradually enough, but the brakes are still a little jarring, even with the latest firmware. Being limited to only two speed modes and a top speed of only 19.2 mph (31 kph) can leave you feeling a little underwhelmed at times.

All-in-all the Teamgee H5 makes for a nice, casual cruiser, but its obvious flaws also need to be taken into consideration.

 

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  Meepo V2 Plus

Meepo V2 Plus (Sanyo)

The V2/V2 Plus ESC is a smaller and more refined design compared to the previous generation. It’s capable of a new, higher top speed of 25mph/40kph and comes paired with a revised and updated remote from the same original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

The ESC was further improved at the time of the V2 Plus’s release by fully enclosing the PCB inside of the enclosure, essentially making the ESC “double-enclosed.”

The new remote is the next iteration of the Winning/Nano clone remote that we’ve all become so familiar with. This version of the remote features a much better LED lighting system that double-functions as a battery level indicator and a speed mode indicator. This new generation remote also now features four speed modes (Beginner, Eco, Expert and Pro) as supposed to the previous generations three speed modes.

In addition, both trucks have been re-designed. The front truck has been engineered to be much stronger and is now closer to a Paris clone; departing from the previous Caliber II clone. The rear hanger length has also been changed so the width of the rear hub motors, end-to-end, matches that of the front wheels, providing a symmetrical footprint on the road.

Some smaller changes were also implemented when the V2/V2 Plus production run started to scale-up, such as a smaller logo, softer durometer wheels and several other minor tweaks that have now been mirrored across the entire Meepo range.

The only difference remaining that separates the V2 from the V2 Plus is the feature of easily replaceable urethane sleeves on the V2 Plus, which is not a feature on the non-Plus.

Both the V2 (non-Plus) board and multi-colored remote (that first came out with the V2 upon its launch) appear to be in the process of being phased out in favour of stocking only the V2 Plus with a matte black remote in foreseeable future.

Once upon a time getting a board at this price-point meant sacrificing a lot, be that having to accept a crappy deck, non-replaceable urethanes, a sub-par remote, laughable top speed, pitiful range or ride-crippling battery sag once you hit the 50% mark. With all of the improvements made from the original Meepo right through to the V2 Plus, now you’re not sacrificing much of anything at all! A deck swap might still be on the cards for some, but this hasn’t been “essential” since the 1.5. The new generation of Meepo boards arrive on your doorstep as complete and polished products right out of the box!

With that in mind, I find a board this feature-packed and spec-rich at such a low price-point hard to fault. Yes, there are still some grey areas regarding overall durability, reliability and longevity worth pointing out, but it all has to be taken into account in light of the budget price tag. If the durability, reliability and longevity question marks were to be put to rest with Boosted-level solutions, then you’d forgive Meepo for starting to charge something close Boosted-level prices. The price is lower here for a reason…

 

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backfire g2s

Backfire G2s

The previous Backfire 2 Galaxy Edition occupied an awkward space in the esk8 market. It came out around the time as the original Meepo. In spite of the Backfire 2 being made of more proprietary parts than the Meepo, both performed somewhat similarly at the end of the day. However, the Backfire 2 proved itself to be the better-finished and more bespoke of the two, which was reflected in its marginally higher price. Although the Backfire 2 found a home with those willing to pay a little more for a budget board with a bit more polish over the Meepo, ultimately some performance and quality issues held it back a little.

The new Backfire Galaxy 2s (G2s) aims improve in all the major areas that hindered the previous model. It may look the same, but under the covers the G2s is leagues ahead of its predecessor.

 

The Backfire 2, however, was a far better looking and well-polished board, but with the Meepo boasting similar performance for a cheaper price, I ended up going in that direction. Further, there were fairly wide spread reports of a “motor vibration” issue that seemed to plague the Backfire 2.

On a positive note, one of the major selling points for the Backfire 2 over the original Meepo was the Backfire 2’s vastly superior deck and the ability to swap out the rear urethane sleeves (which the original Meepo couldn’t do). But then Wowgo came along and then Ownboard, and then, and then, and then. All of these emerging brands share one, two or more, common, original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) between them, which enabled all of them improve rapidly. With several improved deck options, several battery options (with less sag) and now many boasting replaceable urethane sleeves too, Backfire needed to respond — and respond they did with the G2s.

The improvements to the G2s were enough to at least get me wanting to try the board. Improvements such as ditching the old Backfire 2 ESC and remote for the vastly popular and super-reliable Wowgo/Ownboard-type ESC and remote, improved battery pack with less sag and more range, a Genuine Caliber II front truck and a new 96mm wheel upgrade in the box.

The Backfire G2s is one of those boards where the idea of it is better than the reality. It certainly looks good! It’s well packaged and well presented. The improvements made to the G2s over its predecessor were necessary and sound improvements to make. Unfortunately, for me, the G2s just didn’t improve enough, particularly in relation to the price vs. performance ratio compared to a lot of its competition.

For my mind the G2s occupies the same space in the market the Backfire 2 Galaxy Edition did a year ago, that is for beginners wanting a budget board with a little more polish than a Meepo and are prepared to pay for it. The difference now is that Meepo (and all the Meepo-like boards) have improved a lot, where as the Backfire G2s has only improved a little…

Although a lot of work has gone into the board aesthetically and an exercise in trust-building has been implemented with the use of a Caliber II truck, reliable ESC/remote and decent battery cells, the board is ultimately uncomfortable and a bit of a let-down performance wise.

In my opinion the hype surrounding this board is somewhat unwarranted. The motor vibration issue that has been present since the Backfire 2 Galaxy Edition is still around and Backfire don’t seem overly keen to recognize it.

 Ownboard W1S

Ownboard W1S

Ownboard was founded in 2013 as an OEM company for hoverboards and ‘Segways’.

In 2015, they started to get into the electric skateboard business and were the manufacturer for many budget brands in the Chinese market.

When the Chinese budget board craze hit the international market, Ownboard and it’s 68-man-strong company decided to create their own budget brand.

With the advantage of being a big manufacturer, they not only manage to keep up with all the iterations and upgrades offered by competitors but even eek out advantages for themselves by using superior parts.

They are also one of the few companies that are able to ship to US buyers from the states themselves, an important consideration when shopping for a Chinese manufactured board (for those from the US anyway).

W1S uses the HobbyWing ESC and this ESC is known to have the smoothest control.

Some say it offers controls that are even smoother than the Boosted.

This electronic speed controller gives the Ownboard W1S a very precise, low latency, and consistent control, which makes for a comfortable ride.

The precision and lack of lag are what makes the HobbyWing ESC special.

You can have the board accelerate as fast as you want or as gentle as you want by controlling the throttle. The board will react instantly and precisely.

This makes speed changes less scary when riding at top speed.

Right out of the box, the Ownboard W1s carves like a dream with its turn-y trucks and soft bushing.

You can turn tighter and have a freer carve on the W1S as compared to the Wowgo 2s.

And as mentioned, Ownboard put extra thought into their design and put harder bushings on the back truck to reduce speed wobble.

On the flip side of the coin, however, the combination of turny trucks, with a narrow and flat deck means the W1S isn’t the most stable-feeling board.

The Ownboard W1s gives a well-rounded riding experience right out of the box.

You can ride it like you stole it.

Great speed control. Check.

Great maneuverability. Check.

Great Stability. Well, I won’t say great but it’s fair.

Fair in reducing vibration from the road.

If you are looking for a well-rounded eskate with comfortable control, the Ownboard W1s should be at the top of your list.

It almost just a deck swap away from being a perfect budget eboard.

Do some people prefer the Verreal F1, for its more agile ride and the stability of the dropped deck with good concave?

Certainly, but the Ownboard W1s have better ‘insulation’ from vibration and a nicer carvy feel.

Do some people prefer the Meepo V2’s better deck, trucks, and stronger yet harsher control? Certainly, but even more would swear by the smoothness of control that the W1S offers.

Some will prefer the caliber-clone truck on the Wowgo 2s that give less wobbles, but not me. I prefer a turny truck, the ceramic bearings upgrade is also a great plus.

In conclusion, as budget boards go, the Ownboard W1s sits pretty high on my list.

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 Wowgo 2S

Wowgo 2S

Wowgo came onto the scene right after the meteoric rise of MeepoBoard, a company which is also their geographical neighbor in ShenZhen.

Initially, there was a lot of animosity between the two company, as both were trying to capture the lucrative budget market.

This led to the Chinese electric skateboard arms race, with both companies having very short iteration cycles of upgrades, constantly fighting to be crowned the best budget electric skateboard.

Finally, after 3 iterations, Wowgo ultimately hit a home run with the Wowgo 2s, which even inspired a series of copycats of its own.
It was considered to be the best Chinese budget board for a very long time, some say it still is.

There are two very widely used Electronic Speed Controllers available in the Chinese eskate market.
The one used by Wowgo, Ownboard, and Verreal is the HobbyWing ESC.
The one used by Meepo V2P and the Yeeplay is the ‘LingYi’ ESC.

Wowgo 2s made the HobbyWing ESC famous, and with good reason.

HobbyWing’s ESC is known to be one of the smoothest available. Some say even smoother than the Boosted ESC.

This electric speed controller gives the Wowgo 2s very precise, low latency, and consistent control, which makes for a comfortable ride.

The precision and lack of lag are what makes HobbyWing ESC special.
You can have the board accelerate as fast as you want or as gentle as you want by controlling the throttle. The board will react instantly and precisely.

This also allows more confident speed change when riding near the top speed.

The trucks were way too tight straight out of the box, making this a board that can just go straight!

It took quite a while for me to get to a configuration where the trucks were loose enough to give me a comfortable carve without being wobbly.

Otherwise, the generic trucks perform as expected, stable, not the most turny.

It gave a fairly stable ride at top speed.

A truck upgrade would probably improve the riding experience significantly, especially making carving and turning more enjoyable.

I personally prefer the Paris-truck clone use by the doppelganger Ownboard W1S. The Paris-truck clone is more turny and more fun to carve around, relatively less stable of course.

I would love a broader deck with some concave too. I think that would definitely improve both the stability and carving experience.

With a less-flexy deck and a hub motor set up, the Wowgo 2s is only doing the minimum to combat vibration.

It’s not the worse, it’s just average.

Consider a wheel change, softer risers, and shoes with thicker soles if you are going to ride over rougher terrain.

The Wowgo 2S uses the standard Hobbywing remote that many many other Chinese eskate companies share. It has been tried and true as a great remote.

It’s ergonomic and fits nicely in the hand.

The dial is springy with a good amount of resistance for better control and it has a reasonable amount of travel.

It is a simple remote without many bells and whistles and of course, no disconnection issues so far.

The riding experience on the Wowgo 2s is pretty well-rounded.

On the flip side, the “cup-half-empty” way to describe riding the Wowgo 2s is that the experience is pretty bland.

The speed control is safe and comfortable, the trucks allow non-aggressive carving, even the design is safe albeit without too much personality.

That is precisely the reason why the Wowgo 2S has been so well loved.
It is comfortable and feels safe in a well-rounded way.

Retrospectively, the hype of Wowgo 2s during its arrival to the market is certainly justified.
Very smooth control, decent longboard parts makes it a very good choice for newcomers.
Seasoned eskater will either enjoy it as much or find it a very good base to tinker around with.

So, is the Wowgo 2s still the best affordable electric skateboard right now?

Well, maybe.

Although the initial advantage Wowgo 2s held has evaporated as competitors began to imitate its formula, Wowgo 2S certainly still is among the list of best budget boards to choose from.

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Ownboard W1S

Wowgo

2S

Backfire

G2s

Meepo

V2 Plus (Sanyo)

Teamgee

H5

Deck

6 plies / maple

2 plies / bamboo

8-ply maple

8-layer Canadian maple

all Canadian maple

11-layer (10 layers of maple and 1 layer of fiberglass)

ESC

HobbyWing ESC

HobbyWing Electronic Speed Controller

HobbyWing ESC

HobbyWing ESC

Binary-type ESC

Wheels

90mm 85a

90mm

96mm wheels are 83A

90mm

90mm 83A Flywheel clones

Trucks

paris-truck clones

generic truck

genuine Caliber II

Paris clone

generic/clone

Torque

dual 250W hub motors

dual 250W hub motors

80mm, 300W in-wheel hub motors

90mm hub motors are the typical 250W

90mm 380W hub motors

Top Speed

25mph/ 40kmh

23.5mph (38kmh)

23.5mph/38kph

25mph/40kph

19.2 mph (31 kph)

Range

12mil (18.5km)

12mil (18.5km)

12mi/20km

11mi/17.7km

8 miles (13 km)

Hills

25%-30%

25%-30%

Up to 25%

15.7%

15–18%

Weight

17.2lbs (7.8kg)

16.7lbs (7.6kg)

14.5lbs

(6.5kg)

17.8lbs

(8.1kg)

13.9 lbs

(6.3 kg)

Price

$417 USD

$419 USD

$529 USD

$419 USD

$499 USD


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