Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commute

Lightweight / Folding / Portable EVs - seats optional
Post Reply
crstophr   1 mW

1 mW
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 08 2009 8:27pm

Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commute

Post by crstophr » Mar 26 2015 2:26pm

Hey All,

I've been lurking and learning here for years. I built a 48v tandem, recumbent, electric tricycle a while back and it's been doing very well. My commute is about to change and I'm seriously looking for an electric vehicle of sorts so I can avoid my car most days. I'm in Alameda, CA and my commute is about 4.5miles to the Ferry terminal, then about 8 blocks through the city in SF to work. The ferrys don't allow electric bicycles but I suspect a well built electric skateboard would go relatively unnoticed.

I spent ages 13-17 on skateboards as a primary means of transportation around town. We did a lot of downhill and I used to be able to control my speed/brake with slides, etc and was medium decent at skateboarding in general for street riding (I sucked at pipes and ramps:) This was around 1987-1990

Now I'm 41.... and it's 25 years later. The familiar muscle memory seems to come back quickly when I get on a skateboard but I'm not sure how well that will translate into handling an electric skateboard at 20MPH. I'm physically in good shape and active. My main concern is really about the danger of a fall at 20MPH and how likely those are to happen.

Currently I'm looking at the diy-skateboards kits as I met the person running the site at a maker faire a while back. I'm very capable with tools and wiring so building just about any kit should be no problem.

I was hoping folks might chime in on a few questions...

Am I crazy to take on a 5 mile commute by skateboard at my (god help me for saying this) age?
How well do the larger wheels now (remember the last time I built a deck was 1989) handle rocks, bumps, and hazards in the road in general?
I'm inclined towards the dual motor/higher voltage kit but that's probably because I'm one of those MOAR POWER = GOOD kind of guys. Is this sensible for a commuter that I'll pick up to get on/off the ferry?
Any thoughts on kicktail (familiar from the 1980s era) vs non kicktail decks?
Any older(ish) folks riding these things regularly out there?
Any recommendations in general for any part of this? (deck, kits, motors, anything)

Thanks for any input you are willing to provide.

--Christopher

torqueboards   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2940
Joined: May 27 2013 10:02pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by torqueboards » Mar 26 2015 3:06pm

Electric Skateboard are definitely a lot easier to carry around in SF in and out of stores, buildings too. I couldn't imagine how many places I wouldn't be able to take my eBike in. Also having to lock it every time.

I'm sure your muscle memory would help. Eboarding of course isn't as taxing as actually kicking IMO.

I think I remember you Chris lol.

5 miles is fine. Austin on the forums was traveling 7 miles to the bus - there and back. 14 miles total.

Pneumatic wheels IMO I don't prefer. The board is bigger and it's a bit heavier. Riding isn't as precise as a rigid street board. 90mm wheels and you can almost ride over most things. Plus it's fun maneuvering around obstacles and potholes. The bounce from pneumatics at 20mph is a bit crazy and easy to fall off for myself. Maybe if I was strapped to the deck that would be another story.

I'm currently riding a non kicktail deck but I hate it. Kicktail is definitely needed and is a waste not to have it IMO.

I'm sure there are more older guys riding :)

Seems like you got it down.
DIYElectricSkateboard.com Electric Skateboard Kits

User avatar
beto_pty   1 kW

1 kW
Posts: 480
Joined: Dec 17 2013 8:20am
Location: Panama City, Republic of Panama

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by beto_pty » Mar 26 2015 3:18pm

Im 43 and do 64 kph on the destroyer...
ride 80 kms any average week before going to work...


You are still a yung pup...

Id eboard everywere during our dry season if our sidewalks were not so crappy... well actually not all of them are crappy,,, most dont exist...
Do or Do not. There is no try
PATY/neta http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=65384
MIni-motor Build http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=56839
Destroyer http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=58504
Adrianas Board http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=61171
Gargoyle http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=61569
Velociraptor: 6s 10.4ah, Ezrun150, 9.8 mm abec11s, Quanum, 5060NTM, 16/48 hdt5, Piggyback Charge

User avatar
psychotiller   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 949
Joined: Jan 01 2014 7:11pm
Location: Orange County, Ca USA
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by psychotiller » Mar 26 2015 3:34pm

I'm 45 and still ride my boards as much as I can get out. You'll be fine! As far as gear goes, I also prefer standard urethane over pnuematics, though I think if you choose stiffer decks bouncing is non existent. The riverbed I frequent @ close to 30mph is pretty rough cement and some dirt. Kick tails and urethane are hard to beat though.
www.psychotiller.com

builds:
XT Wheels/Custom Hub & mount on Randal 180's/Drop Throughhttp://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=59259
6" Pneumatic Tire Drop Down/Drop Through http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=60449
"Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons!"-Vizzini

agraham   10 W

10 W
Posts: 75
Joined: Feb 23 2015 8:57pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by agraham » Mar 26 2015 5:02pm

crstophr wrote:Am I crazy to take on a 5 mile commute by skateboard at my (god help me for saying this) age?
I just turned 40 on Saturday - still rollin. Not that interested in kick-pushing up any hills tho. :-)
crstophr wrote:How well do the larger wheels now (remember the last time I built a deck was 1989) handle rocks, bumps, and hazards in the road in general?
75mm wheels on my Boosted. I was worried about the expansion joints on the bridge but it's no problem. One inch lowered curbs are no problem as long as you're ready for them - do a little jump before the front wheels hit em. I would prefer even bigger wheels if I had my druthers, but not at the cost of being higher off the ground.
crstophr wrote:I'm inclined towards the dual motor/higher voltage kit but that's probably because I'm one of those MOAR POWER = GOOD kind of guys. Is this sensible for a commuter that I'll pick up to get on/off the ferry?
Even tho my Boosted is the most powerful dual motor one I still wish it had even more power. Gotta build my own now I guess. :-)
crstophr wrote:Any thoughts on kicktail (familiar from the 1980s era) vs non kicktail decks?
My Boosted uses a Loaded deck with no kicktail. It's good because when carrying it by the front trucks it's important that the board not drag on the ground. It's bad because when I can't turn hard enough I have to get off and kick the board around. Really wish I had a kicktail. If your motors are in the back under the kicktail then you can carry the board by the back trucks but the Boosted has them forward of the trucks and you can't hold it by the outrunners. Of course if the motors are under the kicktail they are at risk when you actually manual.
crstophr wrote:Any recommendations in general for any part of this? (deck, kits, motors, anything)
My dream board is my Boosted with the same weight, durability, splash resistance, battery simplicity, flexibility and aesthetics but:
25% more power
10% higher speed
200% more range
1 inch lower
slightly bigger wheels
hub motors
kicktail

Clearly I'm asking a lot but we'll see how close I can get.

Hightower   10 W

10 W
Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 14 2015 10:45am

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by Hightower » Mar 26 2015 10:47pm

Hi Crstophr, building a board is so much fun, but it's also a very "personal" experience. As in...my perfect board will be different than your perfect board.

With that said, to better build your perfect board you have to look at your max travel weight: Include work boots, backpack, suitcase, helmet, etc...
The heavier you are, the more torque is needed (100-200kv)

What's your terrain like? Flatland vs hills, smooth road vs knobby sidewalk? Generally larger wheels make for smoother ride and are slightly faster. **90mm have less issues with pulley sizings compared to 83mm**

The biggest contributor to efficiency is your voltage/motor combo. I would recommend 8s for your purposes, and a motor in the 200-300kv range with 2,000W-3,000W, but i'm definitely a MOOOOOOOAR POWAAAAA kind of guy. If you go dual, you probably don't need so many watts, but i'd make sure the torque is there for sure.

I'm also a single motor guy, but only because 2 motors means twice the battery draw/half the ride time...but maybe that line of thinking is flawed? I'm sure someone will chime in on this.

The next major contributor to your efficiency is your gearing. A gear ratio closer to 2 is fast and low torque and a ratio closer to 3 is higher torque low speed. This will differ from build to build. If you build with a torque focus, then a ratio (wheel pulley/drive pulley) of 2.25 to 2.50 is the sweetspot.

Check out my build over at http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 35&t=68073 .

I walk through my thought process as well as parts list.

Can't wait to see your build!

Barndom   10 W

10 W
Posts: 95
Joined: Jul 11 2013 6:24am
Location: Sweden

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by Barndom » Mar 30 2015 10:36am

crstophr wrote:... Now I'm 41.... and it's 25 years later. The familiar muscle memory seems to come back quickly when I get on a skateboard but I'm not sure how well that will translate into handling an electric skateboard at 20MPH. I'm physically in good shape and active. My main concern is really about the danger of a fall at 20MPH and how likely those are to happen. ..
You too old! Get a walker instead. :mrgreen:

Seriously, Im 40 and started three years ago. Have never skated before. Not particulary fit. I ride as often the circumstances permit. Never taken a real crash.

I've let several guys in the 70 years ols whith no previosly experince try my board, no problems.

I've sprain my foot a few times during other activities so I use to ride with boots to protect my feet better.

Riding ES keeps you young :D

crstophr   1 mW

1 mW
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 08 2009 8:27pm

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by crstophr » Mar 30 2015 2:30pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. I went for the diy-skateboards dual motor 4400W kit on a kicktail deck. I'll be using 5Ah 8S ( 2 4S batteries) and hoping this can get me the 9-10 miles I"ll need to commute. My commute is pretty much flat the entire way.

How are folks attaching all the electronics, ESCs, batts etc to the boards physically? For example do people drill holes and then through bolt them? It's funny but after all the reading this is my main question at the moment. What holds this stuff to the deck securely?

sami   1 W

1 W
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 07 2015 12:05am
Location: Australia

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by sami » Mar 30 2015 7:11pm

multiple options for mounting from custom enclosures, to tackle boxes, and Onloops wrap up hobo board :D

addicted2climbing   100 W

100 W
Posts: 214
Joined: Aug 25 2011 12:47pm

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by addicted2climbing » Mar 31 2015 1:22am

agraham wrote:
crstophr wrote:Am I crazy to take on a 5 mile commute by skateboard at my (god help me for saying this) age?
I just turned 40 on Saturday - still rollin. Not that interested in kick-pushing up any hills tho. :-)
crstophr wrote:How well do the larger wheels now (remember the last time I built a deck was 1989) handle rocks, bumps, and hazards in the road in general?
75mm wheels on my Boosted. I was worried about the expansion joints on the bridge but it's no problem. One inch lowered curbs are no problem as long as you're ready for them - do a little jump before the front wheels hit em. I would prefer even bigger wheels if I had my druthers, but not at the cost of being higher off the ground.
crstophr wrote:I'm inclined towards the dual motor/higher voltage kit but that's probably because I'm one of those MOAR POWER = GOOD kind of guys. Is this sensible for a commuter that I'll pick up to get on/off the ferry?
Even tho my Boosted is the most powerful dual motor one I still wish it had even more power. Gotta build my own now I guess. :-)
crstophr wrote:Any thoughts on kicktail (familiar from the 1980s era) vs non kicktail decks?
My Boosted uses a Loaded deck with no kicktail. It's good because when carrying it by the front trucks it's important that the board not drag on the ground. It's bad because when I can't turn hard enough I have to get off and kick the board around. Really wish I had a kicktail. If your motors are in the back under the kicktail then you can carry the board by the back trucks but the Boosted has them forward of the trucks and you can't hold it by the outrunners. Of course if the motors are under the kicktail they are at risk when you actually manual.
crstophr wrote:Any recommendations in general for any part of this? (deck, kits, motors, anything)
My dream board is my Boosted with the same weight, durability, splash resistance, battery simplicity, flexibility and aesthetics but:
25% more power
10% higher speed
200% more range
1 inch lower
slightly bigger wheels
hub motors
kicktail

Clearly I'm asking a lot but we'll see how close I can get.
Im building your dream board I think....

I work about 5 buildings away from loaded and today picked up a few boards to mod. I have a set of Hub motors, 2 vesc's and I just picked up my decks from Loaded today. I work 5 buildings away from loaded. For me kicktail is an absolute must after riding an E-go for the last 6 months. I bought a fully assembled Overland that I will likely ride as is for a bit and also a Tesserect deck that the hob motors will be going on. However, my first choice was the overland, but I was unsure I could fit everything between the trucks, but now I know I can so I may rethink things. Either way one will become electric and the other remain manual. Oh and I saw others on here talking about their age and I'm 43.

bite the bullet and build your own.

Marc

erwincoumans   100 W

100 W
Posts: 141
Joined: Apr 02 2015 11:25pm

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by erwincoumans » Apr 03 2015 11:02pm

I'm 45 and have been riding the original 2000W dual motor Boosted Board for about 6 months now and love it.
(no skate board experience before and not extremely fit)

So if you can afford a Boosted Board, you would have a worry-less ride. I made one fall in the beginning, and luckily I was wearing a bicycle helmet and knee/elbow/hand protectors.

Having said that, I am curious about the inner-working of the ESC and consider building a custom board based on the VESC mainly for tinkering. For a regular commute I would likely go for a ready-made board.

User avatar
Philosopher   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 42
Joined: Jul 06 2013 9:54pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by Philosopher » Apr 05 2015 12:24pm

I am also in my 40's and think this is what I need to do: build my own. I am still trying to frame my mind around how a good powered longboard should perform, and i have no idea about the cost of an above-average project.
I used to skate hard way back when the mantle of the earth was hardening. That was a loooong time ago.

What do y'all think I need to $budget to build my own? I want good torque/acceleration, 25ish MPH top speed, and long range ~ I'd like about 15-20 miles carrying a 200lb load on rough pavement and some good hills? I don't now if a strapped-foot mountain board or an open deck longboard would make a better commuter. OR is it better with longboards to NOT make them go so fast and far, thus making them lighter and more nimble, more in the spirit of a non-powered longboard? I am having a hard time trying to imagine navigating with a heavy setup: I've taken some harsh nose dives when front wheels hit cracks or pebbles.... I don't know how this would be multiplied with the bulk and weight of big-big batteries, etc, even with 90mm wheels.

In the next 48 hours I am going to purchase a standing kick scooter, one of those Brushless 1500w 48v lipo ones. (I have my cash and I'm just waiting for a final $$ quote from the importer.) I think I need to buy something already sorted out for transportation, then I'll have time/freedom to plan out a good project. I'd like to start building a longboard Sometime this Summer or Fall.

The standing scooter I want is similar to what I would like in a good longboard/mountain board: fast, fun, reliable transportation that will always leave me smiling. The one I intend to buy will be be about $1500, and I am hoping it will go about 35 mph with about a 25-30 mile range. Wheelies and some sweet jumps. I'll ride mostly pavement, but some off road trails too. I'll tear out the seat, tweak a few things, and upgrade the brakes with nicer mountain bike-style hydraulic discs. Later I will update the suspension. Since this is how I already ride scooters, I imagine I'd want to do something similar on a longboard... namely be rough on it and have lots of fun.

Oh well. I'm 100% in, sharing your excitement about this stuff, even though I am still steep on the learning curve.
Peace and grease,
-Phil
Even the softest of things can pass through a horse like invisible water.

torqueboards   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2940
Joined: May 27 2013 10:02pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by torqueboards » Apr 05 2015 12:51pm

IMO for commuting the best setup which I prefer is a street deck, kick tail as short as you can enjoy while it remaining stable. A rigid and sturdy deck.

If you have over 40% of your route hills go with a dual motor. If most is flat ground a single motor on 10S/12S should be enough.

Average cost seems to be about $1,000 to $1,250 USD sometimes more if you get quality components.

Your best bet for reaching 15 to 20 miles is to swap packs and/or ride with 12S and lower your power output from your ESC. I swap packs as additional packs and on-board charging will add more complications to your setup especially for a beginner. (2) 6S 5ah packs work well and should get about 10-12miles. You can swap multiple packs for added range and carry a pack in your backpack or workbag. A 7" or 8" tablet case from eBay works as a great cover for your battery packs. I simply just charge them in parallel when I get home. However, if you really wanted too some people add in 4 or 6 packs onboard which you can do too.

A longboard with kicktail, rigid deck. Depending on height 33" - 35" or 38". Wider stance is better for downhill and more comfortable.

Footstops work perfect and I enjoy them as an added accessory item. Flo footstops specifically.

A stand up scooter allows for more stability and higher top speeds because of being more stable. Your able to go more distance because of the added space for batteries.

However, it's harder to carry around the scooter and you can't necessarily bring it into stores as much. As for my electric longboard with a kicktail. I just kick it up and walk with it on the side of me.
DIYElectricSkateboard.com Electric Skateboard Kits

User avatar
Philosopher   100 mW

100 mW
Posts: 42
Joined: Jul 06 2013 9:54pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by Philosopher » Apr 05 2015 1:18pm

Torqueboards,
It certainly is hard to carry standing scooters around - my older 1000w 48v lipo one folds, but weighs about 70lbs.... I expect the 1500w one to weigh in around 80-85lbs. Not much carrying planned.
I try to carry a bike lock and have to treat it more like a heavy bicycle when I get places.

I guess a good powered longboard weighs a bit less? :D

-Phil
Even the softest of things can pass through a horse like invisible water.

User avatar
okp   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1153
Joined: Oct 26 2014 3:27pm
Location: Paris
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by okp » Apr 05 2015 1:56pm

philo : less than 8kg if you manage to get a light (1.6kg) deck

torqueboards   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2940
Joined: May 27 2013 10:02pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Struggling with choosing an electric longboard for commu

Post by torqueboards » Apr 05 2015 3:18pm

@Phil

I've wanted to use an eboard/escooter for commuting too but can't as it's not as convenient. :(
DIYElectricSkateboard.com Electric Skateboard Kits

Post Reply