Finally, a truly lightweight and affordable electric skateboard that feels like a regular cruiser board!
With similar dimensions to the Wave, the Ripple is essentially a Wave Lite. Or, for Apple users, a Wave SE.
There are definitely a couple of things about this board that will make it a no-go for the e-skate hobbyists forever hungry for more range and power. But for those outside of the e-skate bubble, the portable and affordable Ripple may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Or maybe not.
Let’s go through every part of this board and my thoughts on it. And by the end, hopefully you’ll be able to decide for yourself if it’s right for you.
Let’s start with the appearance because that’s something that immediately stood out to me.
Unlike other electric skateboards, the Ripple looks like it belongs with my regular foot-powered boards.
In fact, the geometric artwork on the deck, as well as the cutouts on the grip tape, remind me of Loaded Boards.
For those who don’t know, Loaded is one of the more premium brands of longboards, with completes generally costing around $300 to $400.
The Ripple’s deck design looks more like a traditional cruiser than the techy look that e-skate brands, including Exway, usually go for.
And I’m definitely glad that it’s not another Boosted Mini style shortboard.
I’ll talk more about the appearance as I get into each of the components.
The Ripple’s maple deck is 780 mm long and 240 mm wide. Compared to the Exway Wave, the wheelbase is shorter by about 40 mm, making this board noticeably more nimble.
Ripple 780 × 240 mm 480 mm axles wheelbase 435 mm deck wheelbase Wave 765 × 235 mm 520 mm axles wheelbase 475 mm deck wheelbase (Imprecise measurements.)
Even though the wheelbase is shorter, the kicktail is quite a bit longer so the overall length is slightly longer than the Wave.
The concave is in a very gentle radial shape with a slight flare for each wheel.
Like the Wave, the tail has a replaceable translucent puck to protect the deck and light up at night when you brake.
The trucks are gravity cast versions of Exway’s 7” 45º Trist trucks. They handle just as well as the Wave’s trucks and use the same 90A bushings.
The rear truck for the hub motors looks much nicer than what we often see on hub motor boards. Instead of motors that are held onto a pseudo-truck with a bunch of screws, this is an actual truck with axles that stick into the hub motor wheels.
I also appreciate that the motor cables are tucked away and barely visible.
The stock setup works well, but I switched out the soft risers for harder and taller ones to allow the board to be even more nimble without getting wheelbite.
If you’re just starting out, I suggest you get used to the stock setup first which I would say is more stable than most regular boards that size, but more nimble than most electric skateboards.
Check out my video on how tight to set your bushings.
The Ripple’s wheels are 75 mm in diameter, which is slightly on the large side by longboard standards, but very small by e-skate standards. Most electric skateboard wheels are 85 mm and up, with 90 to 100 mm being the most common size for urethane wheels.
The back wheels are a pair of hub motors, which have their pros and cons.
As far as I know, of all e-skate drivetrains, hub motors have the least amount of resistance, making them perhaps the most appropriate drivetrain for a hybrid board.
Hub motors are also quiet compared to systems that involve gears.
The downside is that hub motors have only a small amount of urethane to dampen anything.
And you also don’t get to choose from a large selection of aftermarket wheels. While the urethane sleeves on the motors are replaceable, I don’t think there are different sizes and styles to choose from.
The wheels are black, which is fine, but I wish they had come in a different color. Black wheels are common on electric skateboards, but not very common on normal skateboards and longboards.
Exway uses orange wheels on some of their other boards, and I think that would have worked well on the Ripple. Just for fun, I changed the front wheels to these OJ wheels.
The battery for the Ripple is labeled as 99Wh. The major benefit of this size is that it’s compliant for boarding any passenger aircraft. And by “it,” I mean the battery, and not necessarily the board.
I’ve been on several flights with the LOU Board and Exway Wave, and ran into different issues with different airlines.
Some airlines classify an electric skateboard as a motor vehicle or, even worse, a Hoverboard. And some specifically don’t allow skateboards.
So now, whenever I travel with the Exway Wave, just to save myself some hassle at the airport, I remove the wheels in addition to the battery so that the board no longer looks like a skateboard or any kind of vehicle. And then I reassemble the board at the destination.
With the Ripple, because of the hub motors, it’s not as simple to take off the back wheels. Hopefully you won’t have to when you fly, but if you need to, it’s still doable. It’s just not as convenient as taking off the wheels on a belt drive Exway Wave.
99Wh is pretty small by e-skate standards, so you might be wondering how far you can even go with it.
Of course many things affect range, but if I were to cruise around on the Ripple like I would on larger boards, I estimate I would get around 8 or 9 km. But because this is a smaller and much more nimble board, especially with the way I have it set up, I ride it at a lower speed which also uses less energy.
On my range test, I got 11.5 km according to my GPS app, and about 13 km according to the Ripple’s remote.
I certainly wouldn’t go on a long group ride with it, but I can ride it to my studio and back, which is just 8 km roundtrip.
So for my most common use case on an electric skateboard, 99Wh is more than adequate, and anything more than that is just extra weight that I don’t want to carry.
Even with the Exway Wave, I normally use the 99Wh battery option just because its slimmer than the 180Wh option.
Of course 99Wh won’t be enough for everyone, but I just want to show that not everybody is eager to give up portability for more range.
The board comes with a puny 42W charger, which I think should charge the board from empty to full in about 2.5 to 3 hours.
I’ve never actually used it because I have the 170W fast charger for the Wave, which is compatible with the Ripple. With the fast charger, recharging 99Wh should take less than 45 minutes.
ESC & Remote
Now let’s get to the ESC and remote. This was a bit of a shocker.
For many years, Exway was one of the only brands to have a highly customized ESC with features that nobody else had.
Some of those features have made their way to Hobbywing and other ESCs, like standby mode and customizable performance, while other features remain exclusive to Exway.
For the Ripple, Exway chose not to use their own ESC, and not even a Hobbywing ESC. They went with the LY-FOC.
For those outside of the e-skate bubble, this is like Apple releasing a new computer with Windows instead of MacOS. Not even Unix, but Windows. It was really unexpected.
The LY-FOC has its own pros and cons.
There’s no Standby Mode, which means you can’t put the board to sleep and turn it back on with just the remote. However, you can turn on the board just by pushing it, and it’s quicker than waking the board up with the remote.
Another benefit of LY-FOC is that you can have the board stay still on a slope while other boards would slowly roll down even with brakes fully engaged.
And with the LY-FOC remote, you can change the brake strength without going through an app or digging into any system menu.
A downside of LY-FOC is that you can’t really fine-tune the speed and distance calculations the way you can with Exway and Hobbywing ESCs.
And there are no over-the-air software updates like with all of Exway’s other boards.
The most notable downside of the LY-FOC is something that fortunately doesn’t affect the Ripple.
Boards that use the LY-FOC tend to be a little jerky when you try to fine-tune your speed in the High and Pro modes. That was my biggest concern with the Ripple using the LY-FOC, but I didn’t encounter that problem. The acceleration and brakes feel as smooth and intuitive as any board using an Exway or Hobbywing ESC.
I asked Exway if they did anything special to make the jerkiness go away and they said they didn’t. So it might be because this is a lower power board, or maybe because it’s using hub motors. I really don’t know, but I’m just glad that the biggest problem with LY-FOC doesn’t exist on the Ripple.
The remote is the standard LY-FOC remote. Like many other e-skate remotes today, it has a control wheel, a couple buttons, and a display that shows you your speed, remaining battery, distance traveled, et cetera. The usual stuff.
And it charges with a Micro-USB cable. Does Lingyi just have a huge surplus of Micro-USB ports or something?
The Ripple comes with RGB lights built in.
Multiple effects are available and you can toggle through them using the remote.
I personally just keep them off because I feel like they make the board look too much like a toy. But many people like to add aftermarket RGB lights, and on the Ripple they’re already built in.
The board also comes with a pair of brake lights. They’re hidden under the tail but at night they’re more visible because of the translucent tail puck.
Who it’s for
Now let’s go over who I think this board is for and not for.
The Ripple is definitely not for any type of long distance ride because the battery is quite small.
It’s not for someone who’s looking for a comfortable ride because of the small wheel size and hub motors.
And it’s definitely not for off-roading or any kind of rough terrain.
The Ripple may be good for commuting to work or school, or between classes. That kind of depends on how far you have to ride, and what the terrain is like.
If there are a bunch of rough tiles, you’ll probably have to pick up the board. But if the roads are smooth, then it may be a fun commute and a mild workout at the same time.
If you already have a powerful long-range board where you ride with all the gear all the time like on a motorcycle, the Ripple may be good as a second board for those short casual rides.
When I ride the Ripple, I normally just put on gloves, and I keep the speed below 20 km/h.
The Ripple would be great if you want something as a last-mile vehicle. Like if you have to go to the bus station but the station’s too far to walk.
If you live in a crowded city where you have to pick up your board all the time, or your city or campus doesn’t allow skating, picking up a lightweight board feels so much better than lugging around a heavy board.
I can even stick the Ripple in my messenger bag, which is so much faster than packing it into any e-skate backpack.
And finally, the Ripple would be a great learning tool for someone who wants to ride regular skateboards and longboards.
On regular boards, you have to learn to balance, and push, and foot brake all at the same time. For many people, that’s an incredibly steep learning curve.
But with an electric skateboard, you can learn those things one at a time. You can learn to balance and start carving before you even learn to push and foot brake.
And because the agility of the Ripple is more similar to regular boards, it’s a better learning tool compared to most other electric skateboards which tend to be configured for higher speeds.
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Allow me to go on a bit of a rant.
For those of us inside the e-skate bubble, it’s easy to forget that we are a very small minority, and what we want are oftentimes very different from what the average consumer wants.
Skateboarding is so omnipresent in pop culture that everybody would be skating if it weren’t so dangerous. Electric skateboarding, however, does not have the same appeal at all.
The biggest advantage of the skateboard form factor – compared to bicycles, scooters, cars, et cetera – is its portability. The biggest disadvantage is its versatility.
I understand that e-skate brands and customers want solutions for that disadvantage, but the problem I see is that many other forms of transportation are already versatile in ways that skateboards just can’t compete.
People outside of the e-skate bubble won’t choose skateboards to travel fast and far. Bikes, scooters, EUCs, motorcycles, cars – they’re all better vehicles for that.
And yet power and range are the only key selling points that most e-skate brands can come up with these days. And those key selling points, I believe, make electric skateboards less appealing to the people outside of our bubble – outside of our echo chamber.
Think about it. What are the biggest objections about electric skateboards that you frequently hear from people who don’t ride electric skateboards?
Number one: they’re so heavy. Even the LOU Board, which is one of the lightest electric skateboards at just 4.4 kg, surprises people with how heavy it is compared to regular skateboards that size.
And number two: these seem dangerous, I could die. And they’re not wrong – electric skateboards are dangerous. That’s part of the appeal for some people.
They’re more dangerous and more heavy today than they were a few years ago. And we wonder why e-skating isn’t more popular.
I’m not saying that powerful long-range boards shouldn’t exist, but I feel like we’ve come to a point where we have many options for those types of boards, and very few quality options for affordable lightweight boards that would be more accessible and more appealing to the general masses.
It’s unfortunate that most people who bought an electric skateboard probably bought one for a couple hundred dollars from a random brand on Amazon. And they probably think the terrible handling and the jerky controls are what the e-skate experience is like.
So I’m glad that Exway is offering a better option for those who would never spend more than a few hundred dollars on an electric skateboard. And I’m glad that the Ripple looks and feels so similar to a regular cruiser, which I think would be more appealing to people outside of the bubble.
I’m not sure how the Ripple will compete with the flood of random low-cost boards on Amazon, which I think will be its main competitors. I don’t think it’ll be easy, but I hope the Ripple does well and gets more people into e-skating.