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Electric longboards are built for traveling and cruising unlike with its predecessor, the skateboard, which is used for doing tricks. Every part is made to provide a smooth ride. Longboards also cost a bit higher than the normal boards. To this day, the uses of longboards are not just for adventure looking persons but for any sorts of people ranging from students to adult commuting for work. The popularity of electric longboards can never be set aside.
The concept of longboarding came from surfing. It is believed that surfers in Hawaii made the first longboards. During the when the waves are low, surfers look for another pastime with the same feel as if surfing the ocean. So they designed a board that is smaller than a surfboard using some plywood and then they put wheels on it. Then they set it out on the streets and sidewalks. Thus, sidewalk surfing was born.
Longboards VS. Skateboards
Skateboarding is already a sport before longboarding appears. It is an underground sport because the government banned it. But skateboarding is already accepted widely while longboarding where just cherished by the people who have seen it as self-expression. They just made their own longboards and put wheels from the scraps of roller skates.Companies just realize the need to produce longboards when the teenagers who played with skateboards become older and bigger. Since they were attached to the sports and the boards could not cater to their growing physical body, they started to make their DIY skateboards which are bigger and longer that is enough for them to ride. Later on, businesses create longboards that suits the need of the growing target market. The production of longboards was clearly noted in the 90’s.
The Difference Between Longboards and Skateboards
So what is the difference between the longboards and the skateboards? Generally, the longboards are longer than the skateboards even the skateboards nowadays varies in sizes. Skateboards sizes range from 28-32 inches while the longboards is 32-45 inches. They differ because of the usage of each kind. Mostly, longboard are used in carving because it is more stable.
But the evolution of skateboards and longboards become very closely involved with each other. As the skateboards advanced and so as the longboards. The young riders just use the metal wheels of roller skates for their boards at first. Of course, they found out that this idea is not so safe that even their parents are restricting them to use it. But if there is a will, there is a way. This young generation changed the wheels into clays which is much safer than the metal wheels. And continuously improved when the urethane wheels were introduced. The urethane wheels made the sport came back gain on its feet but the growth is still slow.
Though the sport is alive again, it was unnoticed by the public. It only came into the limelight when a celebrity boarders brought it to media by exposing their activities and showing off their tricks in the public. Also, just the same case with the surfer, the snowboarders, during the warm seasons changed their sports to longboarding. They add to the number of the growing users of the longboards. As the numbers grow continuously, longboarders become popular at any place. And you can find them anywhere.
Uses and Riding Styles of Longboards
If skateboards are used to make most of the tricks in the streets, longboards focus more on fun riding. Longboards uses are cruising, carving, slalom, downhill, dance, freeriding, technical hard wheel sliding and more. Nowadays, it is mainly used for transportation.There are different styles of longboarding.
- Cruising and carving are the most popular. Those are the riding styles that are so easy to learn and master. A rider going downtown maybe using a combination of cruising and carving styles. Cruising as a normal meaning to is travel somewhere. With the use of a longboard, it could be pushing with your one foot while the other foot is riding and when get the balance or the right amount of speed that you need you can let both of your foot on the board angled somewhat perpendicular or a little bit of 30 degrees to keep a balance. If you already had your balance, then the next trick that you can do is the carving. It is called basic turning so that the board can be managed properly while moving forward. It is used to avoid the obstacles in the way.
- When we talk of avoiding obstacles, another style is slalom. In the street, these obstacles may include any pedestrian that as you pass you need to weave in and out to avoid crashing onto them. A technique to maintain speed and to propel the rider is called pumping. You need to flex your weight into the board and carve the board. As you change direction, you need to float and from it, the weight from the upper part of the body will be transferred to your legs and feet that will put into your carving by pressing the board to let the weight become an energy to propel the board.
- Freeriding and downhill riding are styles used down the hill. Downhill is much an extreme longboarding style and is usually performed by skilled longboarders while the freeriding is a relaxed form of riding downhill. Downhill is also called speedboarding because it could involve riding as fast as you can on a rough downward slope without crashing. In freeriding, it permits the rider to do its own style of combining the tricks and do anything that he pleases. Both freeriding and downhill styles need proper gear and boards. Though we are into exhilarating adventure activities but we need to care for our safety.
Innovation of Longboards with Motor
Riding longboards are really good for commuting. Well, you are blessed if your place is just on a flat area and going downhill. What if the situation is just the “to” and not your “fro”? Maybe you always find yourself enjoying the ride going out of your place but exhausting yourself going home by pushing on a steep hill or at an angled pavement. So you need something to push you up. And the thought already started very early.In 1975, an electric skateboard was launched. It is not really electric because it doesn’t run using a battery but it is powered by gasoline. They call it Motoboard. So the first electric longboards were also powered by gasoline. But the government banned them because the motor is very noisy and there is also an exhaust that adds more to the pollution the same as the vehicles.
It was not until 1990 that Louie Finkle has developed a new type of skateboard which is a wireless motorized skateboard. But the problem of this type is that it is very expensive. You cannot commonly see it in the street. People just love it so they did think of a way how to make it more affordable. In 2004-2006, there are people who shared their ideas together to innovate Finkle’s device. So electric motor and batteries become popular with the skateboards and longboards. And as the technology allows continuous development of batteries, electric motors and batteries drop in prices. Many of them are now available at cheaper prices with force and efficiency.
DIY Longboards with Motors
The Longboard Main Components
First thing first, the longboard main components — board, wheels and flat sheet plate bar. Don’t also forget the small pieces like washers, bolt, nut, screws, pulley, belts, etc. For the electronics, we have the battery, battery balance charger discharger, adapters, sensors, motor, transmitter and receiver with batteries, connectors, splitter, battery voltage monitor meter, etc. You need to keep the electronic safe so you need housing for it. What you need in your housing: sleeved sheets, gutter guard, flat head machine screws, rod coupling nuts, steel wing nut, etc. Also, there are lots of miscellaneous items such as socket wrench set, adjustable wrench, electric screwdriver, drill press, drill bits, pencil, paper, tape, pen, measuring tool, angle grinder, bench grinder, eye/ear protection, breathing mask, etc.
The Stuff and Materials
Not all of the materials will be on hand in the day that you plan to make one. Some are just in the hardware stores and supermarkets but most of the parts were specialized that some of the nearest stores are on the other regions where can be accessed only on the internet. Additional cost, especially the shipping prices, can be so disappointing. Remember, patience is what you will need. Sometimes you still need to wait for several days for it to arrive. But the worst scenario will be the parts that you need is out of stock. Well, this is very possible because most of them are in demand and many are switching to electronic boards.
So you’ve got the stuff and materials, now it is time for you to move on with the process of building. There are lots of internets websites that can teach you not just the basic but even the step by step process of doing it. But you need to educate yourself first on the terminologies that these guys are using especially on the electronics side. If not, they can be confusing as to what parts they mean. Some have even forums for the tutorial and tells each other their experiences, suggestions, problems encountered and the solutions. Yes, you are not building alone. Other have already done that, other are half-way finishing their item and some are starters just like you. There is just one piece of advice search first before buying any materials. The one that might have purchased may not be the one needed in your project.
Determine what you want from your electric long board. Some people want to have a slow speed on cruising but are also powerful when going uphill. Others want to go at a high speed to play with the adrenaline rush. Other want a sturdy one that can carry additional loads yet can still perform at a high speed. So what do you want? Do you want speed, power or range? Will you be using your electric board for fun and sports or you just need something sleeker to use as a daily transportation? Everything will depend on you. Make more researches to know the best motor, trucks, and batteries for you.
Some Famous Brands Samples
If you are about DIY electric longboards, then you can just consider buying in the market. This is the best option especially if you have the means and you can afford it and cut the time spent for that DIY electric longboard that you are not sure if it will work or not.The market is all about commerce who will promise you that their brands are the best in the world. But how will you know? Brands of electric longboards will not have all the quality and characteristics that you may be looking for. So choose just some features. It will never be packaged in one box for you.
There are some brands which already achieved the trust of the generation of today. For example. Boosted, E-Go, Benchwheel, etc.
Boosted is one of the most popular brands in the world. From the start until now, Boosted is continuously improving the designs. The things that stand out from this company are the features and specifications of their boards. Their batteries are really powerful, built to travel up to 22 miles per hour and energized your uphill way. Their boards also have microprocessors and sensors that you can connect into your gadgets to improve the performance settings of the ride. The deck of the boards is really flexible and strong. Their boards are also easy to be carried because of a well-designed layout of the components of the board. This is important if you’ll going to transport the board every day. Most riders that owned a Boosted board will agree that the best feature of the Boosted board is the control system. Boosted electric longboards offer the smoothest speeding up and slowing down compared to any other electric boards.
Next in line is E-Go. E-go is a part of a multinational company which is manufacturing electric propulsion system for aircraft. They thought that the same electronics can be used to power up a board. Their boards are very thin though it is made of several layers of maple. The company says that the case for their battery is flexible that it can go in the same direction when the board flexes. The E-go has some disadvantages because of the battery which is only 440 W so the motor has a difficulty when going up a steep hill. The board comes with a remote control. It is very small and wireless. E-go electric longboards are a bit slow compared with others. The top speed is only about 13 miles per hour. The problem with this board is their break. When you really need it to be very slowly it won’t, especially if you are downhill. E-go also uses USB charges which is almost the same as the ones that we use on the phones but it charges slowly also. The impressing part is not on the board but on the support of this company to its customers. They always address concerns at a fast pace.
Another example is the Benchwheel. This company is a manufacturer from China. So we can expect lower cost and affordability of the items. If you are a beginner, then you will not spend a lot of money to own one with a quality. The deck has a bamboo but layered with other materials. It is still yet good for commuting and carving. It does not have a flex like of the Boosted electric longboard. But it has a grip tape that makes your shoes stick to the board. The electronics are inside the metal box except for the motor. The metal box protects the electronics so you will not worry about scratching it when you go over a bump. One of the problem is the wheels, it is so hard that is why it produces a bumpy ride. Though it is heavier than other electric longboard, it is easy to carry because of the design. The company uses a Samsung battery pack with two motors in it. Since the two motors are operating at the same time, you can notice its noise. The speed of this is amazingly higher than with E-go. The top speed is 20 miles per hour. It can also boost you up on a hill. It has a remote with a whole where you can put your thumb through. Another problem of this board is it doesn’t last long. After some months, parts start to degrade or wear down.
These are some brands but there is still a lot more in the market to choose from that will satisfy your needs and wants.
On safety measures, a responsible electric longboarder will see to it that he is doing it up to his limit. Also, wearing the right gears and helmet for the ride is indeed a need. If you are a beginner, never ride a longboard without reading anything about it. Try the basic and the easiest styles first before venturing to the tricks being made by your long boarder idol. Why? Because according to a study, there are lots of risk in electric longboarding compared with the skateboarding. Longboarding does not just confine themselves to a park for tricks but they ride in open roads where there are many obstacles like pedestrians, moving cars and lamp post. They also ride downhill in a fast pace and weave at obstacles. A common incident is becoming outbalance to avoid colliding with things.Another consideration, look for the trustworthy electric longboard. There is some news recently that some longboards just spew smoke while being used. Maybe the materials that were used did not meet the quality standards or maybe the board is already worn out. If parts are not in good condition and we ride on it, it will surely cause us some trouble and may even lead to a very serious health concern.
The Choice is Yours
There are lots of brands in the market fighting for your attention. Choosing will not be easy. Actually, when you look at it, mostly they look just the same with each other. The best thing to do is set your preferences beforehand and then search in the net and ask in forums. The opinions might be different but at least you can get additional ideas on what to choose.Brands in the market are doing their best to give you a quality product. You cannot say that a specific brand is not good or that brand is excellent. Everything will have its own strengths and weaknesses. You just need to match it with what you need and what is just right for you.
So when you are going for a short trip downtown, grab your electric longboard. You need not worry about getting into a traffic jam, having a blinking signal for the fuel gas, looking for a parking area, bringing locks or exerting manpower for pedaling and pushing. Commuting will be very easy with the right electric longboard and gears.