Whenever I make a review video without writing a script or even notes, I end up forgetting to mention a bunch of stuff. So watch my review of the Meepo NLS Belt first, and then read my additional thoughts below.
Also watch my unboxing video if you want a closer look at the board. Ok, my additional thoughts:
Speed, brakes, and jerkiness
The NLS Belt’s top speed of 36 km/h (22.5 mph) is somewhat low compared to its peers, which top out at around 38 to 45 km/h. I don’t think it’s a big issue though since most people ride at around 20 to 30 km/h according to surveys I’ve seen. Besides, you can put on bigger wheels to bring up that top speed (while sacrificing a bit of torque).
The torque is supposed to be great but honestly I can’t feel a difference from other $700 boards. Keyword is feel. Maybe there would be a notable difference if I were to compare two boards side by side, but judging by feeling, I think the difference is likely negligible.
I did feel jerkiness on take-off from a complete stop in the 4th (top) speed mode, but I’m really not sure if that’s a high low-end torque or just a poorly configured acceleration curve. Think about a car. Even in first gear on a high powered car, you should be able to ease into the throttle without any jerk.
The same goes for brakes. You should be able to ease into it, but on the 4th brake mode the brakes engage a bit too abruptly. That doesn’t mean that it’s too strong. There’s a difference between jerky control and strong acceleration/brakes. Again, think of a car. Even with very strong brakes on a car, you can ease into it.
With that said, compared to the older Lingyi ESCs that I’ve tried, the jerkiness is now consistent and predictable. As long as the behavior is consistent and predictable, the rider can easily adapt to it.
The review video shows my second range test and I got 22 to 24 km depending on which device you look at: 22 on Max’s phone, 23 on my phone’s Ride app, 24 on the Meepo remote. Max and I both rode the board and we were 74 kg (me) and 78 kg, but mostly I was the one riding. Weather was 23 ºC.
On my first range test, which I did on my own, I got 23 to 27 km: 24 on Ride app, 23 on GPS watch, 27 on Meepo remote. I was 77 kg (carried more stuff) and the weather was 28 ºC.
In both cases, the Meepo remote showed the highest number so I have a feeling it’s not that accurate. There is a way to recalibrate the calculation but it’s convoluted and I can’t remember how. It’s not like a Hobbywing remote where you just enter the wheel size and gear ratio.
Both range test results seem a little low to me for a 288Wh battery but there are so many variables that can affect range that I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. Over time, more people will share their range results on social media so you can keep an eye on that if you care about range that much.
Normally boards around the same price have their own unique selling points that attract different types of people. Exway Flex has the smart battery, firmware upgrades, etc. Backfire Zealot has the Turbo button, ambient lights, etc. Meepo NLS Belt has … Boosted parts?
Like I said in the video, the main competitive advantage of the NLS Belt is probably the battery made up of Samsung 40T cells. (Well WowGo Knight’s “Plus” battery uses 40T also.) It justifies the price of the NLS Belt, but it’s a tough sell. Terms like “21700” and “Samsung 40T” mean absolutely nothing to most people.
The 3A charger is another advantage actually, as some competitors include chargers around 2A and sell faster chargers for an extra $100. (Backfire Zealot’s charger is 2.5A though.) But again, tough sell since most people don’t think about charge time or know what 3A means.
So should someone with a $700 budget choose the NLS Belt over the competition because of the higher discharge battery and faster charger? Some people would, I guess.
If you found my reviews helpful and would like to purchase this board, please consider using my affiliate link https://dkwan.com/go/meepo/ to get an automatic discount at checkout. This helps me earn a little commission and keep doing what I do. I’ll also send you stickers!
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Winners will be announced on the Daniel Kwan Extras channel on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe and turn on notifications! Further details below.
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You must complete the participation steps before the end of September 12, 2020, Pacific Time.
The prizes are an Exway Wave Riot (value $749.00), ShredLights Night Ops Pack (value $174.99), ATSA Everyday Backpack (value $199.99), and Boa Wheels Hatchlings Wheels and Black Belly Ceramic Bearings (value $80.00 + $80.00). 1 winner will be selected for each sponsor’s prize or prizes, so in total 4 winners.
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The WowGo AT2 uses a large, comfortable, drop-through deck with a shallow concave and is slightly drop-down. It’s 98 cm long and 23 cm wide. For comparison, the Evolve Bamboo GTR is 96 × 24 cm, and the Ownboard Bamboo is 98 × 24 cm. I thought it was the same deck as Ownboard’s but I guess not. WowGo says the shape is different but they look the same to me except for the width.
The deck is somewhat flexy and uses 5 mm foam grip tape in hexagonal pieces. This deck design, in combination with the pneumatic tires, should allow you to ride for a long time before your feet get numb. In other words it’s very comfortable.
Like most other production all-terrain boards, the WowGo AT2 uses double kingpin trucks.
If you’ve seen my reviews of other boards with DKP trucks, you know that I both love and hate them. To me they are basically surfskate trucks, meaning they’re great fun for tight carves but far from ideal for high speeds. Use them for high speeds if you want but please wear appropriate protective gear.
I also don’t like how tight you have to set the board side bushings for the board to be rideable – they have to be tightened to the point where they’re deformed no matter what durometer you use, which means they’ll wear out and lose their intended performance more quickly.
But DKP trucks do make large boards like this one very maneuverable. I think it’s overkill if you’re not into the surfskate type of carving though. I do like that type of carving but not so much for everyday use.
Personally I feel that the bushings WowGo chose for the AT2 are actually pretty decent. Unlike some other boards with DKP trucks, I was able to configure this one to my liking quite easily. Might have been luck though. (I’m around 69 kg, by the way.)
I’d like to make a video about how to set DKP trucks. The process is not very intuitive and it’s different from RKP.
The WowGo AT2 can be purchased with 175mm pneumatic wheels or 120mm Cloudwheels, or both.
The pneumatic wheels are great and, as far as I know, WowGo was technically the first to have a production board around $1000 to use them. Ownboard now uses them as well and so will others later this year. WowGo and Ownboard’s pneumatic wheels use the same tires but different rims.
Compared to airless tires, which are what all $1000 AT boards previously used, these pneumatic wheels are way more comfortable and have better grip. And like all tubed tires, you can adjust the amount of air pressure according to the situation – more air for smooth roads, less air for rough terrain.
The alloy rims look quite nice. The spokes look very much like those on Trampa’s Superstar and Megastar Hubs.
The plastic caps for the air valves on all four wheels broke after two rides. Not a big deal – they’re non-essential and cheap to replace, but just thought it’s amusing that they all broke so quickly. They probably broke when I tipped the board on its side.
My only issue with these wheels is that I can feel them vibrate at around 27 km/h and up. I don’t have a lot of experience with tubed tires so I don’t know how common this is, but I know that the valve affects wheel balance. People add weights to balance the wheels so I might have to do that. Hopefully my friend who has the board does it so I won’t have to. 😉
I have not yet tried this board with the 120mm Cloudwheels, but I’ve tried the Ownboard Bamboo GT which is a very similar board and it rides awesome with Cloudwheels. I’m pretty sure the WowGo AT2 with Cloudwheels would be the same.
Which set of wheels should you choose? Cloudwheels if you prioritize range or like to feel the road, pneumatics if you prioritize comfort or off-roading. Since I don’t really need 175mm pneumatic wheels in Shanghai, I’ll probably switch to the Cloudwheels and use this as a long range board on group rides.
Battery and Motors
The battery is 504 Wh using Sanyo GA (NCR18650GA) cells in a 10S4P arrangement. Same specs as the original WowGo AT and Ownboard’s AT boards.
The belt drive motors are 6368, 1500W each. Probably the same motors as Ownboard, but not sure. Visually they are huge compared to the motors on boards like Evolve GTR, Backfire Zealot, Onsra Black Carve Belt, and Exway’s Riot kits. My understanding is that bigger motors are generally able to produce more torque and are less likely to overheat.
Despite being belt drive, these motors are very quiet.
ESC and Remote
The speed controller (ESC) is a customized Hobbywing which has standby mode! Hobbywing’s ESCs and remotes are known for providing the user a smooth and accurate throttle and brake control for boards under $2000.
Standby mode allows you to turn the board on or off using just the remote. (Technically it’s putting the board into a low power standby mode, like the sleep mode on your laptop.) It is awesome! You don’t know how much this affects user experience until you’ve used a board that has standby.
This is especially great for a board using a Hobbywing ESC because normally Hobbywing has this annoying safety feature where the brakes engage if you turn off the remote but leave the board on. That makes the board more difficult to move around until you turn off the board as well. No such problem anymore because of standby since turning off the remote now turns off the board as well.
Another useful thing about standby mode is that the trip meter (odometer for the current ride session) on the remote display doesn’t reset when you turn off the board using the remote. I don’t know how important this is for most people but it’s a big plus for me since I like to know how far I’ve ridden. On most boards, if I go for a long ride, the trip meter resets whenever I take a long break because I turn off the board or the board turns itself off, so I have to use another device to measure range. On the WowGo AT2, the meter just continues where it left off.
You can still reset the trip meter by turning off standby mode, which is done by pressing the power button on the board.
Standby mode also turns itself off if the board is unused for 3 days so you don’t need to worry about it continually drawing power for long term storage.
I also find that the board turns on (or wakes from standby) more quickly than Exway’s boards. Another seemingly minor thing that improves the user experience.
Custom Drive Ratios
Another new feature is the revamped drive ratio setup. This lets you get accurate speed and distance measurements on the remote’s telemetry display.
Previously, most (but not all) Hobbywing ESCs that let you configure the drive ratio only let you choose from a few presets. For example, the Backfire remote lets you choose from 3 preset wheel sizes.
The WowGo AT2 lets you choose any wheel size from 80 mm up to 200 mm, and any drive ratio from 1.0 to 18.0. This means you can customize your WowGo AT2 with just about any wheel size and gear ratio (within the board’s generous size constraints of course) and have accurate data shown on your remote display. There are other boards with this feature but WowGo AT2 is the first one I’ve seen that gives you such a large range of numbers to choose from.
Aside from those new features, the remote is otherwise the same WowGo remote that has been around since the WowGo 3 came out. Visually it looks like a bulky Exway remote.
It has a single multipurpose button for turning the board on or off, changing speed modes, toggling between forward and reverse, and pairing with the board.
The telemetry display shows the board and remote’s battery indicators, your current speed, current speed mode, an odometer for the current trip, and an odometer the board’s total mileage. The charging port is USB Type-C.
The throttle and brake share a single control wheel, like Boosted’s and Hobbywing’s remotes. Like all Hobbywing-made remotes, it is not as responsive as Boosted’s and have greater dead zones, but it is still one of the more ergonomic and intuitively designed remotes.
The board’s battery indicator on the remote display feels very inaccurate, or at least not intuitive. It uses 5 bars and you’d think that each one represents 20%, but I think 4 bars means 75%, 3 bars means 50%, 2 bars means 25%, and 1 bar means 10%.
So when you check the indicator and see 3 out of 5 bars, it could mean you have as little as 26% battery left, and not the 60% you’d expect. This is a poor design problem on many Hobbywing-made remotes.
According to WowGo’s website, the AT2 in stock configuration can travel at speeds up to 40 km/h. I don’t know which set of wheels that’s using, but since this is a belt drive board, the top speed is something you can tweak on your own by changing gears and wheels if that’s important to you.
In any case, I personally would not ride that fast on this board as it uses double kingpin trucks. I’m sure you can ride that fast and feel stable, but once you hit an unexpected bump, things can go bad real quick so I don’t recommend it. Again, wear the appropriate safety gear for the situation.
For me at 69 kg, or a little over 70 kg with everything on me, the torque is plenty strong with the pneumatic wheels. Those wheels and the Cloudwheels each come with their own sets of pulleys – 66:15 for the pneumatics and 40:15 for the Cloudwheels. Again, as this board uses belt drive, torque is something you can customize on your own if that’s important to you, but the stock setup is more than adequate for me.
The brakes are great, for the most part. I feel like the brake strength is not as intuitive as I would like at low speeds – sometimes it feels fine, sometimes it’s weaker than I expect. I suspect it’s designed to ease off on the brakes as you come close to a complete stop or something, but I wish it wouldn’t baby the user like that. I’m not sure. I’d like to get my friend’s second opinion on this. This is a relatively minor issue though because it’s only at very low speeds.
At higher speeds the brakes are strong. And like with any board that uses a Hobbywing ESC and remote, you get fine control over how strongly you want to brake without having to change any brake settings.
I’m generally happy with the way the AT2 brakes. The brakes are noticeably stronger than on the Ownboard Bamboo/Carbon AT (unless that has been updated).
I have not tried the Cloudwheels on the AT2 yet so I don’t know what braking is like with that setup.
The WowGo AT2 with its 175mm pneumatic wheels weighs 13.5 kg, which is similar to other all-terrain boards – maybe a bit on the heavy side. It feels quite heavy when carrying by hand up and down stairs. When not riding the board, you would mostly pull it by the front truck instead of carry it.
You can pull this board by the front truck without the motors scraping the ground, at least when using the pneumatic wheels. With the Cloudwheels you’d probably need to pull the rear truck instead, which would feel heavier because of the motors.
You can have the board stand vertically on its motor mounts to lean it against the wall. I mention this because certain boards with DKP trucks can’t stand up vertically.
Basically, the AT2 is about as portable as any other all-terrain board.
In photos, this board looks a lot like the Ownboard Bamboo, which looks like a cross between the Evolve Carbon GTR and Evolve Bamboo GTR.
In person, the hexagon foam grip tape pieces actually look really nice (except for the WowGo logo in the middle) – much nicer than the 2-D hexagon outlines printed on Ownboard’s grip tape.
Although WowGo’s battery enclosure looks just like Ownboard’s from a distance, up close it looks much more refined.
But it can’t be denied that WowGo’s AT2 design looks very unoriginal, and I don’t think WowGo understands how much the board’s appearance impacts how people feel about it. Even if the AT2 has better specs and features than its closest competitors, I’m sure many people’s first impression is either “it’s another copy of Evolve so it’s inferior” which is incorrect, or “it’s exactly the same as the Ownboard” which is also incorrect.
The weather has been awful lately (too wet or too hot) for doing range tests but I managed to get one done recently. I got about 33 km with the 175 mm wheels. Note that I was around 72 kg with my gear on and mostly riding at 15-25 km/h. (I was riding with others.) I would expect less range at higher speeds, and more range with the Cloudwheels.
A lot of things affect range: weight, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, acceleration, speed, etc. Check this page to find out how to get a very rough range estimate based on your weight, battery specs, and wheel type. Note that 175mm wheels are quite large so expect the efficiency to be lower.
The performance differences between the WowGo AT2 and its closest competitors (such as the similar boards from Ownboard and Evolve) are minor in my opinion – even negligible. I wouldn’t choose one over another based on that.
The standby mode doesn’t sound like an important feature, but it really is as it immensely improves the day to day user experience. Bending down and feeling for the power button, and then holding that button for a couple seconds to turn the board on or off, multiple times per day, is disgusting. Being able to turn the board on and off using just the remote is super convenient and to me that is the biggest differentiator aside from price.
I don’t know what WowGo’s customer service is like these days but I imagine that is the one area where Evolve has a substantial advantage in most of the major markets. Is that advantage worth the price difference? You’ll have to decide that for yourself.
The WowGo AT2 is the AT board I prefer to use right now and is, in my personal opinion, the best AT board under $2000 at this time. With the pneumatic wheels, standby mode, and flexible drive ratio configuration, it raises the bar and sets a new benchmark for AT boards around the $1000 price point.
If you found this review helpful and would like to get this board, check my discounts page for the best deal.
The lights I’ve attached to the board are ShredLights, sold separately.
As with most products I review, this one was sent to me from the manufacturer to create an honest review with no obligation to give a positive review.
In my previous post, I wrote that I paused the free stickers offer. I’ve now decided to resume sending out free stickers, but I added a notice to the request form warning people that they might not receive them, and that I can’t send to certain countries right now.
While some people did not receive my stickers, others did, so I’d like to keep sending them so that at least some people get them. Besides, what else am I going to do with all these stickers I ordered?
I would still like to change my freebie offer to something else though, something that doesn’t involve shipping. If you have a good idea, please let me know!
For many months, I have been sending out stickers to people who have supported me and my YouTube channel in some way. Unfortunately, I think most people have not been receiving my stickers lately so I’m pausing this activity.
I just came back from the post office to mail out a batch of stickers. I was informed by the clerk that several countries can’t receive international mail right now. He named a few countries but wasn’t sure if there are more.
Please help me think of something else I can offer as a thank you to my supporters! If you have a great idea, let me know.
Those of you who requested stickers this month before I disabled the request form, I will still send out your stickers in August as planned. But again I don’t know if they will arrive or not.