Why an Off Road Skateboard?
Whether you are looking at an Eskate for commuting or fun, consider an all terrain board. It’s not all about tearing up a dirt track and plowing through tall grass (all though you can do that). It’s about having the ability to do that if you want/need to. When the sidewalk gets crowded, you can just ride up on the grass or down the curb.
Even when street riding you will come to areas that a normal skateboard just won’t cut it. Gravel, grass, hard packed sand, dirt, and rocks… no problem for all terrain skateboards.
Where Can You Test Drive an Off Road Skateboard?
The sport is growing fast, more and more retailers are carrying Esk8 boards and all terrain skateboards. With so many companies making electric skateboards now, no retailer can carry all the options. Some retailers carry demo boards, but rarely more then one or two brands. Most of these retailers can be found around beach towns.
Best bet is to research online as much as possible. Read reviews on sites like offroadskateboarder.com, and pick a brand with a good reputation, warranty, and easily available repair parts. You may need to take the leap and buy a board you have never tried, thankfully some major brands offer guarantees and warranties.
Where Can You Use an Off Road Skateboard?
Depending on what terrain your board is capable of conquering you have some options. All Cities and States have different laws restricting where you can ride your Esk8 board.
Many trails I ride on have signs stating “No Motorized Vehicles”. Although an electric skateboard is clearly motorized, I don’t feel this is the spirit of the rule. After all I doubt an electric bike would be would be given a 2nd glance. My rule is, If a bike is allowed then a Skateboard is too. Obviously embrace this rule at your own risk.
I have never been ticketed or even stopped. Remember to “Look and act like a responsible person”, wear pads and a helmet, respect others space, and use your best judgment.
Usually I ride at times and places where there are not a lot of people. However, this is mainly because I don’t love the attention that these eye-catching skateboards draw.
Where to Ride
- State and City Parks – These can get crowded during peak times. If your comfortable with that, by all means, but I prefer to hit these spots mid week/early morning or late afternoon.
- Hiking / Biking Trails – You will probably find biking trails to be a bit more accessible for an electric skateboard. The terrain on hiking trails can quickly lead to carrying the skateboard more then you would like. Bike friendly trails are often easier to maneuver with fewer interruptions on the trail.
- Bike Paths – Basically a wide side walk. These are great for long slow carving and usually wide enough to pass other people. In my area I find the paths on busier roads surrounding communities and in and around suburban neighborhoods.
- Your Backyard – Depending on the size and grading in your yard this can be a fun place for tooling around on an all terrain board. 1/2 acre of grass is enough to play around.
- Grassy Fields – Find a good grass field with some hills and you can have ride for days with out getting board (or going anywhere)
- BMX Tracks – Do a search for BMX tracks in your area. These courses area a blast to ride off road skateboards on.
- The Street – Last but not least the all terrain boards are still a ton of fun on the street or anywhere you would ride a regular skateboard.
Commuting on an All Terrain Skateboard
Is commuting on an off road skateboard possible? It depends greatly on the board and what type of commute (city streets, bus, suburban). Many all terrain electric skateboards can be big and heavy, and are not well suited for commuting and cities. If you plan on commuting on an electric skateboard defiantly pick a sleek lighter style board. As technology progresses you will likely see more lighter Esk8 boards with all terrain options.
Is Electric Skateboarding Exercise?
It is if your doing it right! When I first got an electric skateboard a friend told me “You’re gonna get fat!” Well as it turns out you can be quite active on an electric skateboard. Carving and playing around in small areas will get your heart beating for sure. Riding over bumpy terrain will have you using your legs a lot to keep balanced developing your slow twitch muscle fibers (endurance).
I have found electric skateboarding uses some core and back muscles that are under used. You may even be a little sore after your first couple of days using an all terrain board. Will it replace a normal exercise routine? Probably not, but it is way better for you then sitting on the couch watching TV.
The tech behind electric skateboards is getting better everyday. I expect in the next 2 years to see many more electric skateboards offering off road or all terrain options. Currently most boards are 1 or 2 wheel drive, but there are many 4 wheel drive skateboards coming to the market soon. Examples include the Carvon EVO 4WD and the JED ALL-WHEEL DRIVE.
As with most things, you get what you pay for. I find that most all terrain skateboards fall into 1 of 3 categories.
Low Price (Less then $1000)– The lower end off road skateboards often have Lead Acid batteries making them MUCH heavier. These boards have a short overall range and as the battery life goes down so does the skateboards performance. Generally all of the parts are cheaper and the lower end boards will need more maintenance. You are unlikely to get a warranty or any real customer service. The end result is you may decide to upgrade to a better board pretty quickly.
If you are no prepared to spend $1k+ you can still dip your toes into all terrain skateboarding for less then $650.
Middle Price ($1000 – $2500) – This is the sweet spot for a quality all around board. These are generally very good quality boards and likely a good fit for the majority of off road skateboarders. Companies who make these are focused on using the best parts and engineering. As you might expect after dropping that kind of money, most come with a warranty and customer service should you need it. Also, repair parts are pretty accessible.
High Price ($2500++) – If you are looking at a board in the price range it’s probably because you have experience off road boarding. These all terrain skateboards are definitely not for most people as they are very powerful and have a highly specific use… Mountain boarding.
More Then Just a Skateboard
I use my electric off road skateboards for much more then just skateboarding on trails
. Heres a few other ideas.
- Pull kids in a bike trailer
- Sit down and use it as an electric Sled
- Commute to work – Save money and the environment
- Pick up groceries – Use the bike trailer to pull a whole load
- Incorporate it into a halloween costume
- Tailgating fun
Remember it’s not just about your skill and comfort level, you also have to worry about every person and car around you as well as equipment malfunction. At a minimum everyone riding an electric skateboard off road or not should wear a helmet.
I also like to wear wrist guards and sometimes elbow and knee pads if I know I’m going the get a little crazy. Flying down a dirt trail at 20+ miles an hour is not the safest hobby, so be smart and protect yourself.
Another safety concern with an off road skateboard is the risk YOU pose to other people. If your riding on hiking trails there will be blind spots. Remember to slow down around turns and blind hills so you don’t end up crashing into a family out for an evening stroll.