I know you’ve just always wanted to skate without having to push… But you don’t want to pay the price of a small car for it? Well, the Onan X3 Booster does the trick, and is one of the cheapest alternatives around!
Onan is pretty well known in China because the company has been making electric transport devices for a couple of years. That resulted in making the X-Boosters which range from the X1 to the X3. The X1 was their first type of electric booster, it was very popular. The new X3 is actually an upgrade from the X1, while the X2 is used more as a powerboard, with very high speeds.
The X3 comes in a variety of different colours, such as Sky Blue, Dark Black, Candy Green or Bright Orange. In the box, you get the back and front wheels (of course) with the wheel hub motors to power the device. It also comes with a charger, battery, remote and all the tools to mount it to your deck. Yes, you need your own wooden or plastic (or whatever you like) board. I used my own Globe cruiser board, but you can pick one up easily for around 40$. Like a regular skateboard, you screw the wheels on the back of the board and you are good to go.
With a full charge, you can ride up to 25 km (or about 15-17 miles) with the BP-20 battery – the biggest one – with top speeds up to 30km/h (18.6 mph). The remote has two different functions, low and high. I have to say, low is fast and high is light-speed-fast, or maybe it’s just me. You also get an indication on battery level of the board and remote.
After half an hour of installing the wheels on my deck, I finally had a chance to ride this thing, and oh boy what an experience.
- Pushing manually: First thing I tried, was manually pushing, because this is also possible when the board should be out of juice for example. Pushing manually is a little difficult. You get some friction from the back wheels and the front wheels don’t have the best bearings. Maybe if you change them out it would be better. One cool thing is that the board recharges (slowly) when pushing it. So if you’re out of juice, you can just push and maybe get enough charge to finish your trip.
- Start-up: The X3 has a slow startup (on the slow speed-mode). This means that when you press the throttle all the way down, the board drives slowly and gets faster after a couple of seconds. This is intentional and very safe in my opinion. If you pressed the throttle all the way down by accident and the board went full speed right away, you would fall off!
- Driving full-speed: As stated, there are two different modes: low and high. The low-mode is the one I tried the most, because it was pretty fast already. If you know that top speed is 30km/h, you know high-mode is very fast. I changed to high speed mode once while driving and almost fell off, because of the kick. So be careful with high speed.
- Responsiveness: The board reacts very well to what you tell it to do with the remote. It doesn’t have any latency and it’s pretty easy to use straight out of the box.
- Braking: This is a dangerous one, and you have to be VERY CAREFUL! The board brakes pretty fast. So when you’re driving and you press the brake all the way down, you’ll fly off the board, guaranteed! I tried it (last clip when testing it on the Youtube-video above) and could jump off. The trick is to brake slowly when driving. Don’t make any harsh changes on the remote while driving. For example pushing the throttle all the way up for a couple of seconds and then suddenly pushing it down. The board WILL STOP and you WILL FALL OFF! But you are, of course, responsible for the behaviour of the board.
- Turning: I had to loosen the trucks a little after my first drive, because they were pretty stiff. With the tool in the box it was pretty easy. This is common on every new skateboard and varies from driver to driver.
- Battery Pack: Didn’t get a chance to test the full range of the battery pack yet, but I’ll do that in the future! Didn’t see any loss in speed after 3KM yet.
- Safety: Be careful when riding, wear a helmet, because this is not a toy. Also if you tend to go downhill a lot, use the brakes and don’t go full speed. I wouldn’t recommend this board for downhill skating because the motors will overheat due to the recharging and it will start to brake. Also if you want to try full-speed, be prepared, because the board will have a pretty harsh kick when you push the throttle on high mode.
Overall I have to say that this is a good alternative for an electric skateboard. Yes, it’s not a Boosted Board, but it doesn’t cost as much. You can find a full test on the video above and everything about the product here.