If you’re a non-skater who’s looking to buy their first electric board, comparing and selecting a deck can be difficult. While electric skateboard decks are practically the same as a conventional skateboard or longboard decks, understanding the anatomy of electric skateboard decks can go a long way in helping you know what it is you’re looking for. That being said, I’ll talk about the anatomy of decks, the features to look out for and how they are implicated on electric skateboards.
First and foremost, you need to know that there are shortboard and longboard decks. The usual length of the longboard deck can be anywhere between 33 and 60 inches, which are obviously longer than traditional skateboards, which are between 27 and 32 inches. Depending on what you intend to use the electric board for and your physical frame, the ideal deck length for you will vary. If you’re bigger in size, you’ll want a longer deck, and if you’re smaller, you’ll want a shorter deck. Most electric skateboards are used for cruising and/or commuting, so you’ll want to strike a balance between deck weight and length.
Furthermore, you need to consider the distance between the front and rear wheels. These measurements are generally between 13 and 15 inches. The wider the length between wheelbase, the more stable the board. But on the downside, it also means the turning radius will also be larger. Having said that, you want a wheelbase that’s as narrow as you’re comfortable with so that you can maximise turning ability.
Next, you have to consider the shape of the board. There are two basic shapes of conventional boards – directional and symmetrical. Directional boards have a forward-facing side and a backwards-facing side, and their shape will make it clear which way you should face forward. One of Dot boards is a model meant for cruising – it is a directional board and it feels just like a conventional skateboard. Besides cruising, these boards are great for carving and downhill boarding. On the other hand, you can ride symmetrical boards both ways, making them ideal for freestyle and freeriding. Most electric boards, like Evolve, Boosted Boards and Dot boards are directional, as the motor can only propel the board in one direction.
Conventional skateboards feature a kicktail on both ends, allowing you to easily lift one end of the board so you can make quick turns, perform tricks, hop curbs and tail brake. Longboards, on the other hand, usually come with only one kicktail. Kick tails are essential on many freestyle boards, and they come in handy on cruiser boards as well. There are many electric boards that feature a tail, such as the Boosted Mini, Enertion Raptor 2, the DOT Compact board and Riptide boards.
Something that matters a lot when selecting an electric board is the range and speed it can go on one charge. You’ll have to consider what you intend on doing with your board. Will you be using it constantly for long-distance travels? You don’t want to buy an electric skateboard with low mileage when you intend on travelling larger distances. For some people, the range and speed don’t matter, whereas for others it’s all they care about. If you intend on going fast, make sure you wear safety gear. The range of your electric skateboard will depend on the battery, your weight, and the type of terrain you’re riding over.
Moreover, you need to consider the type of motor the electric board has. There are two basic types – hub and belt drive motors. Hub systems fall short in terms of acceleration, braking and hill-climbing, but they allow for less drag, are lighter, quieter and require less maintenance overall. Belt drive motors provide better acceleration, more torque and regenerative braking. However, they are more difficult to ride without the battery and require more maintenance.
Lastly, you need to consider whether the electric board you’re looking at is waterproof or water-resistant. Naturally, the weather is unpredictable, and you don’t want to get caught far away from home riding your electric board and get both yourself and the board wet from the rain. A waterproof or water-resistant electric board will have all of its enclosures sealed to protect its components who aren’t moisture-resistant. You should also avoid riding over puddles and other streams of water so that you don’t damage the motor, battery or other electric components.
When buying an electric skateboard, you should ask your retailer about the post-sales services. You should also consider buying an electric board that comes with a warranty, as electric boards are quite expensive so you want some kind of guarantee for your investment. Quality electric board brands will stand behind their product and have replacement parts readily available. These are things that speak to the quality of the board and the trust the brand put behind its product.