The same is true also when you are buying a readymade electric skateboard. You cannot drive a car smoothly unless you have at least some idea of its main parts. You need to know which one is the gear, accelerator, indicator, etc.
Similarly, you should have a basic idea about the elements of an electric skateboard before you start using it. Here is a complete breakdown of the parts of an electric skateboard.
The deck is the platform on which you would stand. A perfect deck is essential for a smooth ride. The factors that need to be considered are the deck size, shape, flex, and material. The board should be big enough to accommodate below it the motor, battery wheels, etc. Taking into consideration the space required by all these, a deck of 100 cm would be enough. There are many longboard shapes that you could use for an electric skateboard, like concave, camber, and ‘w’ concave. But, the most suitable form probably is the drop deck which has an effective foot platform, excellent performance, and a lower center of gravity.
Now, comes the flex of the board. Do you aim for speed or bounce? The flexible longboards might not perform nicely at high speed. Also, the attachment of all the parts of the electric board will have to be done very carefully. You should realize that the flex will put pressure on the components underneath and might even lead to cracks. (1)
Honestly, you will have to get into a few technical details to achieve bounce in an electric skateboard. On the other, speed is the biggest temptation with these electric ones. You can quickly reach it with a big longboard. The material of the longboard should be strong, durable, light, and putting less pressure on the parts underneath. You can opt for carbon fiber as it is light and sturdy.
Trucks form the central core of the electric skateboard. Efficient trucks are the first step towards an electric skateboard. It has various components like baseplate, hanger, axle, kingpin, washer, bushing, kingpin nut, etc. These parts add up to smooth functioning of the skateboard and can be adjusted for variations.
The trucks should be of suitable height, width, and weight. There are low trucks, mid trucks, and high trucks. The width of the truck should be less than that of the deck to attain balance. The biggest challenge is to lower the weight of the skateboard as the truck is the most substantial part of the skateboard. Each weighs around 300-400 g. Various companies are experimenting with different materials and also opting for hollow kingpins and axles.
The diameter of the wheels is an essential factor of the efficiency of an electric skateboard. The diameter suitable for the wheels of an electric skateboard ranges between 80 to 90 mm. Most of the times, wheels of the width of 83mm is the choice.
These wheels also have a hollow core for fitting in the screws and bolts. If you are fascinated with big wheels and want a wheel of greater diameter than the recommended range, you can go for it. But, then again, you have to do a little bit of research to modify the drivetrain to accommodate the bigger wheels and still maintain the same torque.
The fun thing about bigger wheels is they tend to make your electric skateboard faster, since they are designed for cruising. If you chose smaller wheels, you are compensating with speed.
Moreover, you also run the risk of the batteries and motor under the deck of getting damaged. Small wheels could decrease the distance between the ground and the parts below the deck, thus increasing the chance of damage.
Bearings may be small in size and might look insignificant. But, they play an equally important role in the speed and performance of the electric skateboard. Low quality, old or dirty bearings could affect your performance. Different types of bearings are suitable for different types of skateboards. The bearings should be quiet, long lasting, smooth with excellent weight-bearing capacity.
Many superior quality bearings are available in the market which is specially designed according to the requirements of a skateboard. Some have deeper grooves, removable rubber shields, micron coating, ceramic balls or packaged in ‘nitrogen filled shrink wrap’ to minimize oxidation. You should occasionally clean and maintain the bearings.
Generally, the choice of battery ranges from 24 to 48 volts. You can choose one between this range according to your budget. Commonly, the watt-hours offered to go up with the prices. It should be pointed out that the battery size and Wh rating are positively correlated.
If you choose a 6S battery (24 volts) of 6 cells, the width is 45 to 77mm, the length is 130 to 200mm, with each cell 9mm thick. The single 6S pack occupies more space than two 3S packages with a height of 28mm. If you feel you could configure it properly, two 3S packages are a better choice than one 6S pack. You should always keep in mind that you need to attach the battery below the deck. So, a slimmer set up leaves enough gap from the ground, decreasing the chance of damage. Again if you place the 2S batteries side-by-side, you will save space.
The motor is a significant part of an electric skateboard. It is better not to be too experimental with the motor of your electric skateboard. You should invest in a good engine as it will help you achieve an excellent performance of your skateboard. You could choose a motor of 200 kV to 300 kV. The two types of motor used for electric skateboards are hub motors and out-runner motors.
Hub motors are built directly into the wheels with less torque. They are affordable and can be maintained easily. Out-runner motors are expensive, complicated, energy-efficient with more torque. Hub motors are appropriate for small boards as they are built directly in the wheels. Out-runner motors use ‘a belt and pulley system’ enabling the use of different sized pulleys for the gear of the drive system. Choose an appropriate one for your skateboard.
These are a few integral parts that you should consider for a suitable electric skateboard. Remember that these parts do not function separately but together as a whole. So, all parts must be in proportion to each other to create a balance. However, you should understand that a lot of factors add up to a smooth ride. Your weight, posture, skill set, and the quality of parts used will play a significant role in your ride (2, 3).
If your budget is low, buy the cheaper versions from authorized dealers or genuine sources. Do not opt for fake products, as they are unsafe and sometimes even illegally manufactured. It is also important to assemble all parts correctly and ensure that they fit in tightly in case you are making it yourself. Once you are confident that your electric skateboard is the most suitable for you, go ahead to master the sport. A right amount of dedicated practice and you are ready to fly.
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Unlimited x Loader, Loaded Boards Announces Launch of Electric Skateboard Brand Unlimited x Loaded in Partnership with Unlimited Engineering, retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/loaded-boards-announces-launch-of-electric-skateboard-brand-unlimited-x-loaded-in-partnership-with-unlimited-engineering-300882732.html
Sean O’Kane, Electric Skateboard Startup Inboard is for sale and all employees have been laid off, retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/1/20943500/inboard-technology-electric-skateboard-scooters-layoffs-sale-liquidation
- Kim Zetter, Hackers Can Seize Control of Electric Skateboards and Toss Riders, retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2015/08/hackers-can-seize-control-of-electric-skateboards-and-toss-riders-boosted-revo/