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Exway Atlas Review

The Exway Atlas Carbon gives us a peek into the future of consumer electric skateboards. It’s such a threat to the status quo that even the police couldn’t keep their hands off it.

In previous videos, I showed you that the Atlas was created because of bigotry from a self-aggrandizing brand, and that it outperforms competitors in stress tests even in its 2WD configuration.

But important questions remain: is the Exway Atlas Carbon overpriced? What are its flaws? And where do you get this seductive Premium Power tshirt?

Price

The long-awaited Exway Atlas turned out to be more expensive than many people expected – myself included! But considering its build quality, performance, and features – which I’ll go over in this video – is it overpriced?

If you read through online comments, there seem to be two main overpriced arguments.

The first is that if you spend just a few hundred dollars more than the 4WD Atlas Carbon, you can get something like a Lacroix Jaws or a MetroboardX. I’ve never tried those boards personally but I’ve heard great things about them. So if your budget is above $2500, those are certainly boards to take into consideration. But on the other hand, the 2WD Atlas Carbon is about $1000 less than the Lacroix and Metroboard.

The second argument about price is that the Atlas’s battery capacity of 518Wh is kind of small relative to its price.

  • Verreal RS 20Ah: $1.58/Wh
  • WowGo AT2: $2.18/Wh
  • Onsra Black Carve 2: $2.84/Wh
  • Exway Atlas 2WD: $3.09/Wh

When you divide the price by Watt-hours, even the cheapest option Atlas Carbon is more expensive than many of the competitors.

So for the Atlas Carbon to not be overpriced, it has to provide superior value in other areas.

But does it?

Electronics

Motors

The Atlas is available in either 2WD like most boards, or 4WD which is the unique selling point that Exway is pushing.

Because of the small size of the motors compared to some other boards, many people assumed that Exway’s small motors would under-perform. But they were wrong.

As shown in my previous video, the Atlas in 2WD outperformed the six other boards it was compared with in uphill stress tests. Be sure to watch that video if you haven’t for a premium experience.

As for 4WD, the acceleration is nuts. With Turbo enabled, going full throttle from a full stop requires practice. And the insane amount of power is not just in the low end torque. The board continues to pull very hard until you’re near the top speed.

  • 2WD Street: 43 km/h
  • 2WD All-Terrain: 48 km/h
  • 4WD Street: 46 km/h
  • 4WD All-Terrain: 51 km/h

The acceleration of course will vary according to your weight and other conditions, but for me at around 75 kg or 165 lb, staying balanced in full throttle with Turbo is not easy. I should also mention the brakes are extremely strong.

But the main benefit of 4WD is not the acceleration. 4WD is most suited for situations where you have limited traction. Exway has shown a great example of this. Here’s a prototype Atlas climbing a steep incline with a dusty and uneven surface. With 4WD, even if one pair of wheels lose traction, you still have another pair pulling you up.

4WD isn’t great for everything though. Carving in 4WD on a flat well-paved road to me felt weird. I would even describe it as slippery and a bit unpredictable.

But that’s only when you’re supplying the same amount of power to all four wheel. On the Atlas 4WD, you can easily customize the power for the front and back motors separately. In most cases, you would keep the front motors at low power or even disable them, and then crank the power back up only when you actually need 4WD.

Battery

Due to a short supply of 18650 battery cells affecting all industries that use them, the Atlas now uses the larger 21700 cells in a 12S3P instead of 4P arrangement. The overall battery capacity remains the same at 518Wh.

I’ve done a range test for each of the Atlas’s four stock configurations. I wrote about them in detail on my website, dkwan.com. In brief, the range in 2WD is about the same as any other board with a similar size battery and similar ride conditions.

  • Atlas 2WD All-Terrain: 518Wh, 31km
  • WowGo AT2: 504Wh, 33km
  • Ownboard Bamboo AT: 504Wh, 32km

For 4WD, I did definitely get less range, but like I said earlier, the power of the front and back motors can be configured separately. For everyday use, you can turn down the power on the front motors, or even switch into 2WD.

The battery is swappable, but it’s quite large and you’d have to remove 18 screws on the cover. So if you plan on swapping batteries, you’ll probably want to use a power tool to save time.

Speed Controllers

Exway Atlas in 4WD uses two ESCs (electronic speed controllers), one for each pair of motors. And each ESC is rated for 40 amps of continuous current. For comparison, most of the direct competitors use single ESCs rated for 30 amps. What this means is the Atlas is able to send more power to the motors compared to most of its direct competitors.

(Clarification: Atlas’s 40A ESC is a single ESC in 2WD mode.)

Aside from being more powerful, Exway’s proprietary ESCs allow the Atlas to have features that few or no other boards have. Going through all of the features in detail would take up too much time for this video, but I’ll briefly go through five of the important ones.

Standby. Of the 7 boards we tested in the previous video, only the Exway and WowGo have standby. Standby allows the board to be turned on or off using the remote so that you don’t have to constantly bend over to push a button on the board. Kieran hates that, and so do I.

Free Mode. This turns the brake control into reverse so that you can seamlessly move forward and backward without having to stop and click a button.

Drive system settings. Like Exway’s other boards, you can change the belt drive system to a different one, such as direct drive when it becomes available.

Custom power curves. You can set the acceleration and brake curves for each of the four speed modes. And on the 4WD Atlas, you can set the front and rear power curves separately.

Firmware updates. Like many other high tech consumer electronics, you can update the firmware on your board and remote over the air. Exway has provided updates in the past for things like improving battery indicator accuracy and reducing the effects of voltage sag.

Not only does the Atlas has some of the best electronics for a mass production electric skateboard, it also has some better skate components than its direct competitors.

Skate Parts

Trucks

Exway Atlas uses double kingpin trucks. If you’ve watched other videos from me, you know that I’m not a big fan of this type of truck – at least not for electric skateboards. I know some of you don’t feel the same, but many people do.

I’m happy to say that Exway’s double kingpin trucks are different. I don’t normally ride at top speeds, but I’ve gone up to 47 km/h on these and felt totally confident. I didn’t change the bushings, didn’t change the washers, and didn’t tighten the trucks.

These are the only double kingpin trucks I’ve used that can use eight longboard size barrel bushings with a cup washer on each of them. Others are stuck with using cone bushings or short bushings because they’re essentially copies of the Gullwing Sidewinder.

Even though the stock setup is great for me, some of you might decide to fine tune and use 3rd party bushings. These trucks give you more flexibility in using different types of bushings and washers than other double kingpin trucks.

Another benefit of Atlas’s trucks is that you can adjust the lower kingpin nut with a skate tool without taking apart the truck. Competitors: please copy Exway.

Wheels

The stock Exway Atlas comes with either all-terrain wheels only, or all-terrain and street wheels in the 2-in-1 package.

The all-terrain wheels are 160mm with pneumatic tires. And the urethane street wheels are 90 x 64mm, 78A. Personally I love the street wheels, but certain situations call for the all-terrain wheels.

For example, there’s a bike path that I used to love, but now it’s terrible. It’s falling apart and has pebbles everywhere, making the corners dangerously slippery with street wheels. But with all-terrain wheels, those pebbles are far less of an issue.

Exway also sells wheels with 175mm knobby tires for more extreme off-roading. And if you want to use your own tires, you can also buy just the hubs.

For third-party wheels, Exway has pulleys that support wheels from Orangatang, Boa, Boosted, Cloudwheel, and others that share the same wheel core designs. Exway is also making pulleys to support certain wheels from Seismic and Landyachtz, although those are probably more for the smaller boards.

Deck

The carbon fiber deck on the Atlas is 100 by 25.5 cm. It’s more on the longer side and feels pleasantly roomy for me. I’m about 182cm or 6 feet tall.

The deck uses foam grip tape for a bit of shock absorption and improved grip.

Like most other boards in this form factor, the trucks are drop-through mounted, and the standing area is slightly lower than the baseplates. These features add to the overall stability of the board.

The concave is relatively shallow making this deck more appropriate for long distance rides compared to, for example, a more aggressive concave on the Exway Flex. There’s also a slight W concave mainly in the middle which some people may like.

Accessories

The Atlas has a number of accessories designed for it that come in handy but you have to pay extra for them. I’ll quickly go over my thoughts on them.

I would get the handle. It’s much more comfortable than pulling the truck hanger or the motor guard.

If you have the 4WD Atlas, I would at least get a motor guard for the front, but the board might look nicer with one on each side.

I don’t have the sealed belt covers but they’re probably a good idea for places where stuff can easily get into the belt drive. I’m curious to see how well they keep stuff out and also how they affect maintenance.

The fenders work really well to protect you from splashes. They even have adjustable height to fit different size wheels. If you won’t be riding in wet conditions, then I don’t think these fenders are very necessary. They are convenient for mounting ShredLights though.

Save 10% on ShredLights at checkout by using this link!

Appearance

Exway Atlas has got to be one of the best looking electric skateboards with the best looking components. Just take a close look at the deck, the ESC covers, the baseplates, the trucks, the motor guards, the fenders, and even the tire treads. They’re all beautifully designed. They even have embossed labels on the pulleys, which is great for people with too many pulleys.

You know what this board doesn’t have? Obnoxious giant branding all over the board.

The way a board looks is so important. Look at any consumer electronic device that you own. Your Playstation, iPhone, camera, drone, rice cooker, water flosser, massager, whatever. They look more professionally made than most electric skateboards.

I’ve received multiple boards over $1000 that use zip ties. And why do most boards have terrible charge port covers? Most of them are built like somebody’s hobby project.

I don’t know what the boutique boards are like, but for boards around $2000 or less, I haven’t seen anything that comes close to the Atlas in build quality, even in its prototype form. From a distance, sure, they all look kind of similar. But once you look up close, you see a stark difference in the engineering and artistry.

But of course nothing’s perfect, and the Atlas has its share of flaws.

Shortcomings

This board is heavy and can be difficult to carry, especially the 4WD with street wheels. Because there are motors on both sides, you can’t just pick up the side with the motors like you would with 2WD.

I tried different ways to carry the board with street wheels, and in the end I find it’s best to just carry the board with both hands. Another option is to use an e-skate backpack if you have a couple minutes to pack. (Save $20 with my discount code!)

The remote could use a couple more buttons. Right now there’s a function for double click, triple click, quadruple click, and … 6 clicks – I don’t even know what to call that. I don’t think users would mind having one or two more buttons.

  • Click × 2: Cruise control
  • Click × 3: Reverse/Forward
  • Click × 4: Neutral steering (Tank Mode)
  • Click × 6: Top speed limit menu (for regional laws)

I’d also like to see an odometer on the display but Exway decided to put that in their mobile app.

The power indicator at low voltage can jump around quite a bit and be kind of confusing. And the percentage where the board stops accelerating seems to be different on every ride. I only ran into this issue because of doing multiple range tests. Normally I wouldn’t discharge the battery to that level but I think it’s still something that Exway could improve through a firmware update.

2WD or 4WD

If you’ve decided to get the Atlas, I hope I’ve given you enough info to choose between 2WD and 4WD. If you still have trouble choosing and price is not a factor, I’ll tell you what I prefer and my reasons.

4WD is an awesome concept and I love what Exway has done with it. But I live in a dense city where I have to frequently pick up the board and even carry it up and down stairs. So for me, lighter is better, and the 2WD Atlas already has more than enough power for my use cases.

However, if I were to live in a house in a US suburb – let’s say Fremont, California – I might prefer the 4WD. Unlike Shanghai, the Bay Area has lots of places that would be great for exploring on an all-terrain board. The 4WD might even come in handy.

Final Thoughts

The main reason I’m excited about the Atlas is because we finally have a mass production all-terrain board that has a build quality on par with the brand name consumer electronics we use everyday.

I know this sounds like a diss at all the other mass production e-skate brands, but too many of them have been taking the “chabuduo” approach.

Chabuduo is an ancient Chinese philosophy that means “good enough.”

Zip ties are an example of chabuduo.

Charge port covers that break or don’t stay in. “Aiya, chabuduo.”

Boards that are fucking ugly! “Chabuduo la! Meiguanxi!”

“Chabuduo” isn’t always a bad thing. In the startup world, “chabuduo” is known by other phrases like “minimum viable product,” “Pareto Principle,” “80/20 rule,” “Done is better than perfect.”

The “chabuduo” philosophy allows these companies to bring ideas to market really fast with low risk and high reward. And as a result, we end up with a bunch of boards that are just marginally better than the previous generation boards – because they’re good enough to sell, or “chabuduo.”

But if you think every Chinese company is like this, you’re wrong. I’ll give you two examples that are very popular here on YouTube: DJI and Insta360. Both make some of the best products in their respective industries, and both are Chinese companies headquartered in Shenzhen.

Even people who promote the idea that if a product is from China it must be bad use products from Chinese companies. Maybe they didn’t know they’re using Chinese products.

Another company, also from Shenzhen, that does not take the “chabuduo” approach in their products is Exway.

While most other mass production e-skate brands are doing the bare minimum to make better boards, Exway has implemented new features and created entirely new parts with every single new board they put out.

The Exway Atlas isn’t for those looking for the most range or the lowest price. It’s for those willing to spend a bit more for much higher quality. Innovative boards like this is what pushes the industry forward and is what the future of consumer electric skateboards should look like.

Anyway. Chabuduo le.

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Exway Atlas 4WD All‑Terrain Range Test

Recently I measured the range on my pre-production Exway Atlas in 4WD configuration with the stock all-terrain kit. I’ve already done range tests in the other stock configurations:

This test was performed with the original 518 Wh battery with 12S4P 18650 Samsung 30Q cells. Due to a shortage of 18650 cells, the Atlas has switched to using 21700 cells in 12S3P, and still 518 Wh. The performance of the new battery is expected to be similar.

Also, note that the front motors on my Atlas are the smaller prototype motors (less efficient), and the rear motors are the larger final motors (more efficient), and both sets were configured to their maximum power. Normally the power for the front motors should be reduced.

Remember, lots of things affect range so please read through the ride conditions. This post isn’t a full review. This is only covering my recent range test.

Conditions

I rode from 98% battery down to 13%. My unit has an issue with the BMS or something so it wouldn’t let me charge to 100%. At around 10% or so, I got a 4% low voltage warning. After clearing the warning, the battery indicator was back to 12%, and then 13%. The indicator percentage seems to fluctuate when the battery is near empty. (Exway tells me this is normal at low voltage.)

The mudguards protected my pants and shoes from the nasty water.

For this ride I was using speed mode 3 (out of 4) almost the entire time. Unlike my previous tests, I didn’t use full throttle very much this time. I went exploring and the places I ended up didn’t have many clear straightaways. The terrain I rode on this time wasn’t very smooth, but wasn’t too bumpy either. There were lots of dust and cracks. They are paths that I would generally avoid if using longboard wheels.

My weight was 79 kg since I was carrying a bit more stuff. The weather was 18 ºC (64 ºF) when I started and about 16 ºC (61 ºF) when I stopped.

Results

I measured the range using the Ride app and my GPS watch.

On the Ride app I got 24.6 km (15.3 miles), and on the watch 22.7 km (14.1 miles). Like I mentioned earlier, I stopped at 13%. I probably could have eked out another kilometer but I had to take a dump and I happened to be next to a mall.

This rear mudguard is positioned to protect the rider but not so much the ShredLight and anyone behind the board. It can be flipped around.

Exway’s website claims 27 km (16.8 miles) for 4WD all-terrain which isn’t too far off from what I got. If I had stayed at a more constant speed and picked a smoother route, I probably could have gotten their claimed range.

Also, the finalized Exway app is supposed to let you adjust the power for the front and rear motors separately. That may affect the range as well. For normal everyday use, I would set the power for the front motors very low, or even set the board to 2WD.

Exclusive Offer

If you plan on getting an Exway Atlas, don’t miss my special deal: $30 off, plus a pack of stickers, plus a $25 DFFECTIVE gift card! Using my offer also helps me earn a little commission.

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Exway Atlas 4WD 90mm Range Test

A wheel flew off during this range test LOL! I felt the back veer to one side, skidded a bit, couldn’t control the board and ran off. I didn’t even know a wheel had come off until I looked back at the board. Found all the pieces except for the nut and speedring.

It was my own fault. I looked through photos and saw that I didn’t tighten the wheel nut. See what happens when I don’t follow my own advice? Check all fasteners regularly!

Daniel carrying Exway Atlas with a handheld sling.
If you zoom in on the wheel at the far left, you can see that I didn’t tighten the nut.

Anyway, on with the range test stuff. Remember, lots of things affect range so please read through the ride conditions. This post isn’t a full review – it’s only covering my range test on the Exway Atlas 4WD with street wheels.

This test was performed with the original 518 Wh battery with 12S4P 18650 Samsung 30Q cells. Due to a shortage of 18650 cells, the Atlas has switched to using 21700 cells in 12S3P, and still 518 Wh. The performance of the new battery is expected to be similar.

Also, note that the front motors on my Atlas are the smaller prototype motors (less efficient), and the rear motors are the larger final motors (more efficient), and both sets were configured to their maximum power. Normally the power for the front motors should be reduced.

Conditions

Since this range test was interrupted by the wheel flying off, I had to do it in two parts. In the first part, I rode from 98% battery down to 28%, which was when the wheel came off. And then later that night I rode from 28% down to around 13% when the acceleration had dropped significantly.

The remote was showing 13% when I decided to stop the range test. After I let go of the throttle, the remote went to a warning screen showing 3% battery left. The power measurement seems to fluctuate more when the battery is low.

I tried to stay at around 30 km/h (19 mph) but often had to slow down for traffic and whatnot. I was also stopping here and there to take photos.

Exway Atlas remote showing 3 percent battery.

I was in speed mode 3 most of the time and only switched to mode 4 a couple times to test the acceleration and top speed at about 80% battery and again at about 50% battery. Got 47 km/h (29 mph) at 80% and 43 km/h (27 mph) at 50%.

Although the top speed dropped at 50% battery, I did not notice a difference in torque. I didn’t measure scientifically but staying on the board at full throttle from a standstill was still a challenge.

In mode 3, the top speed was about 35 km/h (22 mph), and at below 50% it dropped to about 30 km/h (19 mph). At 25% it was something like 25 km/h (16 mph) and the torque reduction was noticeable. Again these were top speeds at mode 3. The top speed was always higher in mode 4 but I didn’t want to measure that too much during a range test.

In the first part of the range test, my weight was 78 kg (172 lb). The weather was 20 ºC (68 ºF) when I started, and then dropped to 18 ºC (64 ºF) by the time the wheel came off. During the second part, my weight with an added jacket was 79 kg (174 lb) and the weather was 14 ºC (57 ºF).

Exway Atlas against a wall.

Results

For this ride, I measured the distance using the Ride app and my GPS watch for both parts. In the first part, I got 27.7 km on the Ride app and 26.17 km on the watch. In the second part, I got 6.2 km on Ride, and 5.74 on the watch.

So in total, the range results were 33.9 km (Ride) and 31.91 (watch). Let’s call that 33 km or 20.5 miles. That’s roughly 18% less range than the 40 km or 25 miles I got in 2WD with street wheels.

Next I’ll measure 4WD with the stock all-terrain wheels.

Exclusive Offer

If you plan on getting the Exway Atlas, check out my special deal: $30 off, plus a pack of stickers, plus a $25 DFFECTIVE gift card! Using my offer also helps me earn a little commission.

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Exway Atlas 2WD 90mm Range Test

I actually completed a range test on Exway Atlas 2WD with street wheels (90mm, 36T pulleys) two weeks ago. Just didn’t get around to writing about it so here goes.

Remember, lots of things affect range so please read through the ride conditions. This post isn’t a full review. This is only covering the range test.

This test was performed with the original 518 Wh battery with 12S4P 18650 Samsung 30Q cells. Due to a shortage of 18650 cells, the Atlas has switched to using 21700 cells in 12S3P, and still 518 Wh. The performance of the new battery is expected to be similar.

A rock briefly got stuck between the motor and motor guard, leaving a streak on the motor and pushing it inward a bit. I noticed the belt grinding while braking and stopped to readjust belt tension.

Conditions

I rode from 98% battery down to 8% when the board stopped accelerating. After a few minutes the indicator was back up to something like 12% if I remember correctly. I thought the smart battery wasn’t supposed to deviate that much. Oh well. I rode from 98% battery because my unit has an issue with the BMS or something so it wouldn’t let me charge to 100%.

For this test I was riding in speed mode 3 (out of 4) almost the entire time. I would expect less range in mode 4 and more range in mode 2. The acceleration and brake strengths were set to max in the app.

According to the Ride app, I hit a top speed of 47.8 km/h, or 29.7 mph, in mode 4. That might have been a fluke, or maybe I was on a downhill slope, because Exway claims 43 km/h as the top speed in 2WD street. I don’t remember the top speed of mode 3 but I think it was in the mid 30s km/h.

In my range tests I normally try to stay around 25 to 35 km/h. Not completely sure if that was what I did for this test since it was two weeks ago but probably.

My weight was 78 kg and the weather was 24º C (75º F).

Results

For this ride I measured the distance using the Ride app and my GPS watch. I couldn’t use Exway’s app because the beta app for setting gear ratio and wheel size for Atlas is only available on Android and I’m on iPhone.

On the Ride app I got 42.8 km (26.6 miles), and on my watch I got 39.5 km (24.5 miles). Exway’s website claims 54 km for 2WD with street wheels. Well I didn’t get very close to Exway’s number. For a 518 Wh battery I thought I would get more than around 40 km, but for me personally I’m fine with that result. I was tired by the end of the test anyway and was looking forward to recharge the board and myself.

By the way, just something I thought was kind of neat: the torque on 90mm wheels with 36T pulleys felt the same as the pneumatic 160mm with 56T. I didn’t measure scientifically or anything but just from feeling, they felt the same.

Anyway, next I’ll measure 4WD.

Exclusive Offer

If you plan on getting an Exway Atlas, check out my special deal: $30 off, plus a pack of stickers, plus a $25 DFFECTIVE gift card! Using my offer also helps me earn a little commission.

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Uphill stress tests: Exway, Evolve, Onsra, and more

Here are some additional info about the seven all-terrain electric skateboards we used in these tests.

Bibuff U2
5753 160Kv 1650W x2
15:60T 150mm
604Wh Samsung 35E 18650 12S4P
ESC 30A
Evolve Bamboo GTR
5065 150Kv? 1500W x2
15:66T 175mm (7-inch)
504Wh Samsung 35E 18650 10S4P
Exway Atlas 2WD
4240 stator (5265 equiv) 160Kv
2000W output
14:66T 160mm
518Wh Samsung 30Q 18650 12S4P
ESC 40A
Discount
Onsra Black Carve 2
6368 170Kv 2200W x2
15:66T 150mm
648Wh Samsung 50E 21700 12S3P
ESC 30A
Discount
Ownboard Carbon AT
6368 170Kv 1500W x2
15:66T 175mm
504Wh Sanyo GA 18650 10S4P
ESC 30A
Discount
Verreal RS
6368 170Kv 1500W x2
15:60T 150mm
720Wh Lishen 5000mAh 21700 10S4P
ESC 30A
WowGo AT2
6368 170Kv 1500W x2
15:66T 175mm
504Wh Sanyo GA 18650 10S4P
ESC 30A
Discount
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Exway Atlas 2WD All‑Terrain Range Test

Yesterday I measured the range on my pre-production Exway Atlas in 2WD configuration with the stock 160mm all-terrain wheels and 56T pulleys. Remember, lots of things affect range so please read through the ride conditions. This post isn’t a full review. This is only covering my recent range test.

This test was performed with the original 518 Wh battery with 12S4P 18650 Samsung 30Q cells. Due to a shortage of 18650 cells, the Atlas has switched to using 21700 cells in 12S3P, and still 518 Wh. The performance of the new battery is expected to be similar.

Exway Atlas on a wooden deck

Conditions

I rode from 98% battery down to 8%. My unit has an issue with the BMS or something so it wouldn’t let me charge to 100%. At 8% the board stopped letting me accelerate but I could still brake – this is normal on Exway boards.

For this test I was riding in speed mode 3 the entire time. (Mode 4 is the highest.) I would expect lower range in mode 4 and higher range in mode 2. The acceleration and brake strengths were set to max in the app.

Exway Atlas next to Long Museum

About half of my ride was in full throttle, which was limited to 34 km/h (21 mph) in mode 3. (Mode 4 gets me to 43 km/h or 27 mph.) The other half was in slower traffic with more stops and starts. I carved a bit but was mostly riding straight. The terrain was mostly flat asphalt roads with some gentle slopes on bridges.

My weight was about 74 kg and the weather was an unusually warm 24º C (75º F). Shanghai sometimes gets warm and humid right before a bout of rain.

Results

On Exway’s app, which measures speed and distance based on the numbers you enter for the wheel size and gearing, I got 32.2 km (20.0 miles). On the Ride app, I got 30.9 km (19.2 miles). Exway’s website claims 30 km for 2WD all-terrain but doesn’t state the ride conditions. I was a bit surprised but pleased to see that my numbers are close to their claim.

Again note that this range test was on the 160mm all-terrain wheels and 56T pulleys, which are what most buyers will use since those are the stock parts.

Atlas 2WD’s 2-in-1 combo includes 90mm urethane wheels with 36T pulleys, which Exway’s website claims would get up to 54 km (33.6 miles). Exway also sells separately wheels in 85mm and 80mm, and pulleys in 26T and 44T, so you can further fine tune the board’s performance.

Exclusive Offer

If you plan on getting an Exway Atlas, don’t miss my special deal: $30 off, plus a pack of stickers, plus a $25 DFFECTIVE gift card! Using my offer also helps me earn a little commission.

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Quick thoughts on Exway Atlas 2WD

I recently got the pre-production Exway Atlas back from Exway after they installed the bigger final motors and changed a couple other things. I wrote down some thoughts which I was going to post on Instagram, but if I write anything about Atlas there I’ll be asked a bunch of questions that I don’t know the answers to yet. So I’m posting here instead.


Atlas! I had a blast with 2WD and Turbo! This is the first board with double kingpin trucks and all-terrain wheels that I’m comfortable riding at over 40 km/h. Didn’t tighten the trucks or anything. At one point I hit a bump that would have caused a more violent wobble on another DKP AT board but instead Atlas just swayed a bit and straightened out.

This was 2WD with 160mm wheels and 56T pulleys, and the bigger final motors. Unweighted top speed shows 46 km/h on the remote and I topped out at 43 km/h. I was 77 kg during the ride.

Used up 60% of the battery and rode 21 km, so a depleted battery would have been about 35 km (100 * 21 / 60). I know that’s not the best way to estimate range – I’ll range test another time. 

First half of the ride was in mode 3, doing some carving. Second half was in mode 4 with Turbo and being a slight dick to cyclists and other motorists. Sorry but I had half a cup of coffee this morning and I’m not a coffee drinker. I wanted to see how fast I could go and how fast I could corner, so lots of hard brakes and hard acceleration (during second half of ride).

I generally don’t like DKP trucks for more aggressive rides but Atlas’s trucks are a surprising exception. And these pre-production trucks aren’t even CNC machined yet – the bushing seats look all lumpy – but I feel they perform well anyway.

For those who want DKP trucks for low speed carving, I think some people may feel like they need to change the bushings to softer ones or cones. No biggy, that’s really easy to do. For me the stock setup is just right.


Exclusive Offer

Get $215 off the Exway Atlas, plus a pack of stickers, plus a gift card!

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Additional thoughts on Meepo NLS Belt

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.

Range performance

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.

Competitive advantages

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.


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I have more reviews on my YouTube channel. Also check out my discounts page.

Categories
Reviews

WowGo AT2 Review

Sorry I took so long! Below is my review. If you missed it, here is my first impressions and product overview video (same one as before). And if you decide to get this board, check out my discounts page to get the best deal. Let’s just jump into it!

Deck

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.

Large, comfortable deck with 5mm foam grip tape on the WowGo AT2.

Trucks

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.

Fun carving on WowGo AT2.

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.

Wheels

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.

WowGo AT2’s 175mm wheel with alloy rim and pneumatic tire.

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.

Massive yet quiet 6368 motors.

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

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.

Waking the WowGo AT2 with the remote.

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.

Remote Design

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.

Speed

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.

Carving leisurely on the WowGo AT2.

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.

Brakes

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.

Portability

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.

Appearance

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.

WowGo AT2’s bottom side.

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.

Range

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Creating a shortcut.

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.

Categories
Reviews

WowGo AT2

Update: Here is my in-depth review!


The above video is my first impressions review. My in-depth review will be here on this page so check back later!

Hard to give an ETA at the moment as Shanghai is having an unusually long raining season so I don’t have many opportunities to ride. Should be this month though.

When you’re ready to choose a board, be sure to visit my discounts page.