Propel is known for their off-roading electric skateboards, namely the Endeavor series which I previously covered on this channel. They’ve recently entered the 2-in-1 market with the Pivot series, and they gave me the option of trying out the more affordable Pivot S, or the higher performance Pivot GT.
I chose the Pivot S, and I’ll explain why.
I’ll also go over the differences between the two models, and what I like and dislike about them. By the end of the video, hopefully you’ll be able to see if either of them is right for you.
Let’s start this review by talking about the battery design, which is probably the Pivot’s biggest unique selling point aside from the low price.
Battery packs for electric skateboards are made up of individual cells connected together, usually with spot-welded nickel strips. Most of the time, this is ok, but spot weld joints in poorly assembled battery packs can break apart due to vibrations. And, as you can imagine, electric skateboards receive a lot of vibrations compared to most other types of vehicles.
On both the Pivot S and GT, the battery cells are instead mounted onto nickel strips fixed on a flexible circuit board, making this design free of any easily compromised spot weld joints. In addition, the cells are spaced apart for greater heat dissipation, and to prevent any rubbing that can eventually lead to a short circuit.
The entire pack is then protected in a plastic shell, which together with the flexible PCB help absorb vibrations before they reach the battery cells.
In other words, compared to many battery pack designs, this design is less likely to break from everyday use. Boards that use this battery design typically cost at least a few hundred dollars more than the Pivot S.
The Pivot S battery is 518Wh and made up of 4000mAh Lishen cells in a 12S3P arrangement. And the Pivot GT is 864Wh using 5000mAh Samsung cells in 12S4P.
So the GT battery has about 33% more weight, but also about 67% more energy.
According to Propel, using their 97 mm urethane wheels, the Pivot S should give a 75 kg rider about 44 km of range, and the GT about 87 km of range. I myself weigh about 75 kg with everything on me. And based on my previous experience on other boards, Propel’s estimates sound reasonable to me. Just remember that many things affect range, so your mileage may vary.
Propel calls their Pivot deck “BVR,” which stands for “bad vibe reduction.” It’s a carbon fiber and fiberglass composite and, according to Propel, gets an average of 15% more vibration dampening than a rigid carbon fiber deck. While I was riding it, I guess it did feel like 15% more dampening than zero dampening… I’ll let you do the math. It’s basically a stiff deck, but Propel did post an impressive video of their deck taking a beating without snapping.
Even though I couldn’t notice any dampening from the deck itself, I don’t have any complaints about its comfort. I personally don’t mind a stiff deck anyway, but the foam grip tape and flat platform do help make the ride easy on the feet.
In my opinion, though, the deck is way too wide, especially with the middle being completely flat. I found myself constantly checking my front foot’s position because I couldn’t feel any concave until I moved my foot way too far to the side. I might have to stick something underneath the grip tape to resolve that.
To be fair, I find most decks on 2-in-1 boards to be too wide and flat, but this deck is the widest I’ve seen. Some of you might prefer that though.
Both the Pivot S and GT use the same deck. The only difference is the color of the logo.
The Pivot S and GT both use the LY-FOC speed controller with the standard remote. Propel says they’re working on a remote with a color display that will be compatible.
The LY-FOC on the S is rated for 55A, and the GT is 70A. I’ve only tried the S model and it’s more than powerful enough for me. For context, most 2-in-1 boards from just a couple years ago used 30A ESCs, and to me they were already very powerful for street use.
For most people, I think the Pivot S would be more than powerful enough for street use, as well as off-roading and large hills.
Like most boards using LY-FOC, the control doesn’t feel as precise or natural as most boards I’ve tried that use other ESCs. Acceleration and brakes feel totally fine, but fine-tuning the speed can feel jerky at times.
For example, if I’m cruising at 21 km/h and want to gently increase my speed to 22, the board lurches forward a bit and brings me to 23 instead. If I try to slow down to 22, I’m brought down to 21 again.
I wouldn’t say that this issue is a deal-breaker, but it is a uniquely LY-FOC issue that I wish they’d fix.
Of course LY-FOC does have its own benefits like push-to-start and adjustable brake strengths on the remote.
The motors are a pair of DXW 6374, which are pretty standard today but also very big. They allow the board to go up to 60 km/h according to Propel. Please only attempt to hit that speed with the appropriate safety gear and road conditions.
The stock wheels on the Pivot S are 97 by 52 mm urethane wheels. The front wheels use the Abec clone core pattern, and the drive wheels have the pulleys built-in – as in you can’t take them apart. According to Propel, this is to make things easier for first-time owners. I guess some people have trouble sticking a pulley into a wheel? In any case, they said they’ll have separate pulleys and wheels in the future.
On the Pivot GT, the stock wheels are these fancy-looking machined alloy wheels with 155 mm pneumatic tires. They even have wheel weights attached for counterbalance.
For both the S and GT, you have the option of getting both sets of wheels when you place your order.
The pneumatic wheels are very nice, but I personally prefer the urethane wheels. I can’t properly articulate why – I just feel more connected with the board when the smaller wheels are installed. My guess is that it has to do with the board being slightly more responsive and closer to the ground.
The pneumatics are of course more comfortable and can roll over more stuff, but I definitely enjoy the 97s more. And just to be clear, this is how I feel about pneumatic and urethane wheels in general, not just Propel’s wheels.
The trucks are your standard Evolve clone double kingpins, but with slop stoppers. They feel pretty much like most other e-skate double kingpin trucks.
Both the Pivot S and GT have a brake light built-in.
A pair of 2000-lumen headlights are optional on both. Propel sent me a set but I ended up taking them off because they kept rattling. It wasn’t that noticeable with the pneumatic tires, but it was quite loud with the 97s. I did try to tighten them up but they very quickly started to rattle again. I suggest getting them only if you’ll be using pneumatic wheels.
The GT comes with a pull bar that’s very easy to install. If you’re getting the S with the 97 wheels only, the pull bar won’t be very useful for you because the motor mounts end up on the ground when you pull.
For the appearance, the Pivot is mostly good-looking, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Parts of the board look premium, like the finishing on the deck, the baseplate covers, and the GT’s alloy wheels. Other parts however look surprisingly basic and even cheap, like the ESC plate, the trucks, belt covers, and cable management.
Compared to its closest competitors, I would rank the appearance as somewhere in the middle. It’s far from the worst looking, but I’ve also seen much better.
The fit and finish is nowhere near the Propel Endeavor series, but the Pivot series is about half the price, after all.
Who it’s for
And price is likely where the Pivot S and GT stand out the most for the majority of customers – especially the Pivot S at its pre-sale price of $799.
The 12S3P battery on the S is smaller than most 2-in-1 boards’ batteries that you see today, but 518Wh should be enough for most people, especially if sticking with the 97 mm wheels. For myself, 20 km would already be enough, and the Pivot S would get me about twice that range.
The 50A power is plenty. The PCB battery is a plus for peace of mind. The brake light is a nice bonus. Everything else is pretty standard for this type of board. No frills, but no giant price tag either.
So basically, the Pivot S is a more affordable option for people who want an Evolve-style street board.
As for the Pivot GT, it’s also a great deal especially if you care about the PCB battery and alloy wheels. But once the pre-sale price ends, there will be quite a few direct competitors to consider.
Personally, I think the Pivot S is the better deal.
If you’d like to get either the Pivot S or GT, use my referral link and code for an extra discount.
I think it’s great that Propel has offered a more affordable board with a practical level of performance while other brands continue with their deck-swinging contest in this 2-in-1 category.
With that said, I’m so done with this category. And until there’s some significantly noteworthy innovation, I think this is the last time I’m covering a board that weighs over 10 kg.
Another brand recently asked me to cover their board that’s 11.8 kg, which is coincidentally exactly the same weight as the Pivot S. I told them I’ll cover it if they can make me a customized version that’s under 10 kg.
We’ll see if that happens!