One of the rewards of writing this Blog is that I get to travel to various cities and countries around the world to report on the various tech as it is being unveiled.
At times, I am invited by a brand to the event but at times, I have to pay for my own expenses. Whenever possible, I try to find a hotel that is in close proximity to where the event is taking place, however, this is not always practical (or affordable). In that case, I tend to stay further away which means I have either walk or grab an Uber to the venue. At times, especially in really congested cities, getting around by car is more complicated than simply walking which I prefer as I enjoy taking in the new city and experiencing it in a way that isn’t possible from within a car.
Reaching the tech event venue or the tourist hot spots, is not always within walking distance, especially when I carry a camera equipment in my backpack and a couple of extra pounds everywhere else….
This is where I encountered the world of electric skateboards which are ideal personal transportation solutions.
But which electric skateboard do you buy?
With so many boards on the market, choosing one is not a simple decision. There are several factors to take into account before making this purchase and depending on your personal needs, and your budget, you will prioritize some factors over others to suit you.
Here are the 8 important factors to consider before purchasing an electric skateboard:
1.Range: If you are going to use the electric board as your daily commute to and from work, then make sure that the board you buy has the range your require before it needs to be charged again. If you are using the board occasionally or when traveling, it is still good to know the range that board can handle, so you know when you need to duck into the nearby cafe and charge while sipping on your coffee…or face walking back to the hotel.
2. Charging: Most people who board around, tend to carry their chargers with them at all times for those “just in case moments”. Unlike cell phone chargers, the electric board charges can be big, bulky, heavy. The charging time is also useful to know so that you can plan your journey based on the range (see above) AND on the time it takes to charge your board for the return leg of the journey.
3. Board Length: Longboards are great for stability and tend to absorb the road conditions better than the shorter boards. Short boards are…eh…shorter and tend to be more portable making them more convenient.
4. Weight: The board is the transport from A to B but that means that when you get to your destination, you need to physically carry your board with you. This might mean taking it up a flight of stairs or onto trains, around a shopping mall etc. You might also carry it in your backpack so taking note of the weight of the electric skateboard is important for that reason.
5. Top Speed: many boards tend to have a “beginner” and a “pro” mode which regulates the maximum speed that the board can achieve. If going super fast important, then look at the top speed. Some can go up to 22 mph which doesn’t sound fast until you find yourself standing on a plank and the world is swooooshing by you.
6. Slope: some boards are better at traveling uphill than others. Usually, this isn’t a big factor to worry too much about, unless you are planning on riding in a particularly hilly city.
7. Support: This is critical. Just like a car, there is a lifespan before you need to replace wheels, belt (if it has one), battery pack etc. Finding a company that has a good reputation for support and spares is important as you need to think long-term as these boards can be effective for years.
8. Other Technical Factors: Torque, the number of motors, wattage, gear ratios, hub motors, trucks, wheel types are items that the hardcore rider would want to investigate and compare too. If the board is your main form of transport, then you want to research more into these elements. If the board is for the occasional spin around a new city, then these are interesting but will not make-or-break the decision.
Some of the boards are purchasable in retail stores while others are strictly online. If you buy one, make sure you understand the refund policy. All decent brands will stand by their product and offer you a refund if you are not satisfied, but there are usually time limits, you have to pay for your own shipping and there is a re-stocking fee if you rode the board and they can’t just sell it to someone else. All these conditions are fair.
Most of the board designed today are built with safety and ease-of-use in mind. You don’t have to be a pro skateboarder to ride these boards, but obviously being able to keep some sort of balance is required. If you can ride a bike, then you can board.
If you are push-board-trick-skateboard-master then be aware that not all boards are able to be pushed. Some have serious resistance from the motors and/or belt. So be aware before you try that kickflip 360-ollie!