By Markus Palm.
In just over a year there has been a lot of affordable and good (read: reliable) electric skateboards coming from Chinese manufacturers. It more or less started with DIYboards and Meepo, but soon more companies followed.
One of these companies is Wowgo, who have made a name for themselves lately for their custom tuned ESC which is supposed to offer a superior riding experience compared to the competition due to a much smoother acceleration and braking curve.
Their current high-end offering is the Wowgo 2S, which also exists in a mini-version called… the mini. For me, it was a toss-up between the newly released Boosted Mini and the Wowgo 2S Mini. I went for the latter simply because it’s almost half the price at $439.
It took about two weeks for it to arrive, but for the first 10 days it was shown to be stuck in Germany. This is however normal as it is a way for companies to circumvent having their customers pay tax and import fees. The box it arrives in is a full-size box with extra foam inserts. It’s well protected for sure so damage during transit is unlikely.
Inside the box we find the board itself along with some accessories. There’s the Boosted-inspired remote with 3 speed modes, a user manual with information on how to use the board, a USB-powered rear red light, your standard skate-tool, the charger for the skateboard (42V 2A), some extra foam bits for deck-swaps and lastly a wall-hanger. An impressive amount of accessories considering the price, but fairly standard if compared to other Chinese brands. Nevertheless it is nice to see that you get some extra stuff with your board since a lot of larger manufacturers won’t even give you a skate-tool.
The skateboard itself is covered in plastic, and when we remove it we are greeted by the 28” wooden deck with an integrated kicktail. The kicktail is very subtle but will offer enough control to navigate tight turns. I actually really like this style of kicktail as it is useful but not in the way.
The deck is composed of 7 layers of maple and 1 layer of bamboo and feels very stiff. The grip-tape is split into two grits with a more coarse type in the back. The Wowgo logo and graphic has a nice colour to it almost creating the illusion that it shimmers.
The deck is pretty narrow and the wheels stick out a bit from underneath. Wheel-bite will therefore probably not be a problem. Speaking of the wheels, they have been upgraded to now have Zealous-bearings meaning that they will spin with less resistance than before. Wowgo claims that the effect is a 10 percent increase in range, but I have my doubts regarding the legitimacy of this statement.
Flipping the board over we see the dual metal enclosures that house the upgraded battery and the custom developed ESC (electronic speed controller) that Wowgo has been very praised for. It’s supposed to offer a much smoother riding experience without jitter. The ESC itself is made to be waterproof and offer a stronger and more reliable connection with the remote. The board however is only splash-proof and Wowgo doesn’t recommend riding in the rain at all.
The remote is heavily inspired by the one offered by Boosted Boards and has three distinct speed modes which are easy to switch between using the mode-button. The lights on the side light up in a brief animation to show you what mode you have selected.
Beginner-mode offers the slowest acceleration and limits the top speed to 20 km/h. The Eco-mode focuses on preserving battery but still offers a top speed of 30 km/h. Last but not least there’s the Fast-mode which maximizes acceleration and increases the top speed to 38 km/h.
You accelerate and break using the wheel on top of the remote, which springs back to its neutral position when released. Just under the wheel there’s a switch to toggle forward and reverse. The board can go equally fast in both directions, but for the sake of handling it is recommended to keep the motors as the back wheels.
The motors consists of two 250W hub-wheels, that means that the motors are integrated in the wheels. They have been pushed to their limits and are closer to 375-500W in power delivery. There’s enough torque in these motors to tackle hills of 25-30 degrees according to Wowgo. Wheel diameter is 90 mm on all four wheels and the PU-formula has been tweaked further to make sure the wheels last a long time.
The board I have right here is equipped with the standard samsung battery which has an estimated range of 16-19 km depending on rider weight. Wowgo offers two optional battery upgrades along with the standard battery if you want your board to have longer range. The slightly upgraded LG battery increases the range by 3-4 km for an additional $40 which is an upgrade I recommend most people do. The most powerful battery-option is the Sanyo 8.5 Ah battery which basically doubles the range of the standard battery.
I’m planning to test the Wowgo 2S Mini in the next few weeks to check if it holds up to the promises, but it looks very promising. The board certainly has a confidence to it and feels sturdy and very well made.
Although it weighs in at an almost exakt 7kg, it is easy to carry around due to its small size, so I can see myself bringing it to places where a full-size electric skateboard is too cumbersome.
To be continued…