Categories
Reviews

WowGo Pioneer 4 & X4 Review

The WowGo Pioneers 4 and X4 are hub drive and belt drive versions of the same electric skateboard and an upgrade from WowGo’s 3 and 3X.

Highlights

  • Comfortable yet well-concaved flexy deck
  • Grippy wide urethane wheels
  • Upgraded specs from their well-made 3 and 3X

Lowlights

  • No unique selling point whatsoever

Watch the full review. If you decide to get it, feel free to use referral code DKWAN at checkout for a discount. Using the referral code also helps support the channel in making more reviews.

Categories
Reviews

WowGo Mini 2 Review

WowGo has really stepped up their brand image this past year. The Mini 2 is in my opinion not just the most attractive board that WowGo has released so far, but one of the best looking short electric skateboards available today.

Let’s start off this review with the skate parts.

Skate parts

The deck on the WowGo Mini 2 is 75cm long and 28cm across at its widest point. This is a short deck so of course it is stiffy. It’s made of 8 layers of Canadian maple and has relatively deep concave. The kicktail is 17 cm, long enough for all the practical use cases. And it comes with a replaceable tail puck to protect the board.

The shape and graphic design of this deck are quite nice, but I’ll talk more about that later.

WowGo has made new trucks for the Mini 2, which they call the Bat Truck. These trucks are rakeless, have beveled bushing seats, and use 45-degree baseplates.

The stock bushings are all barrels with a durometer of 95A. And there’s a snug cup washer on each of them.

The Mini 2 uses hub motors and offers two wheel options: 90mm urethane wheels and 105mm Cloudwheels. When purchasing the board, you can choose either one or both.

If you want more ride comfort, choose the Cloudwheels.

The Mini 2 also includes appropriate riser pads for each set of wheels so that you don’t get wheelbite.

Electronics

The battery is 180Wh made up of Sinowatt 18650 cells in a 10S2P arrangement. 180Wh is a pretty standard capacity for board like this.

The charger output is 2A so it should charge the Mini 2’s 5Ah battery from empty to full in about 3 hours.

According to one of my henchmen who range-tested this board, he got about 21 km according to both his phone and the remote. He was 75kg and rode on mostly flat surfaces at around 25 km/h with 90mm wheels in 19 ºC weather. This was back in October. I’ve had this board for a while.

21 km is quite good for those specs and ride conditions. I’m not sure if that was a fluke or if this board is just really efficient.

In any case, remember that many variables can drastically affect the range of electric vehicles, especially small ones. Check out the range estimator on my website to get a rough estimate of what range you might get.

The Mini 2’s speed controller, remote, and motors are all made by Hobbywing.

The remote is the same minimalist remote that WowGo uses for all of their boards. It has a single control wheel for both acceleration and braking, a single multipurpose button, and a small telemetry display that tells you things like how fast you’re going, how much battery you have left, et cetera.

Like all boards today that use Hobbywing, the Mini 2 has the standby feature so you can turn the board on and off using just the remote. You don’t have to bend down to press the power button on the board.

Like WowGo’s other boards, the Mini 2 has four speed modes: 1, 2, 3, and Turbo.

Turbo mode is noticeably more powerful than the other three modes. It’s even comparable to the performance of many electric longboards.

WowGo claims a top speed of 40 km/h on 90mm wheels, but that could depend on a variety of things, such as your weight. Max reached a top speed of 35 km/h, which in my opinion is plenty fast for a short electric skateboard.

The board does experience some performance sag in both the acceleration and top speed as the battery level goes down. It’s not extreme, but it is noticeable.

The brakes are adequately strong and easy to control. No problem there.

Portability

The Mini 2 weighs only 7 kg with the 90mm wheels. That makes it one of the lightest electric skateboards by today’s standards.

Like I mentioned earlier, the priority of a board like this is portability. The small size and relative low weight of the Mini 2 makes it great for people like me who live in a dense city and need to frequently pick up the board.

If you’re a student and need to put this board in your locker or under your desk and carry it to different classrooms, the Mini 2 may be a great option for that as well.

Appearance

Spec-wise, there’s not really anything in particular that makes the Mini 2 stand out.

But what did catch my attention is that it’s a really good looking short board. In my opinion, it’s the best looking board that WowGo has made so far. I would even say it’s one of the best looking electric short boards that you can buy today from any brand.

This new design style and packaging from WowGo does makes me think of another brand. Leave a comment if you know who I’m talking about.

If the Mini 2 had no branding on it, I would not have thought that it came from WowGo. WowGo’s previous boards had round edges and looked more – let’s just say less premium. But everything about the Mini 2 looks really nice. The single enclosure, the shape of the deck and the tail puck, the graphic design.

And I’m making a big deal about the look because in this category, where many of the boards have roughly the same performance and ride feel, it’s how the board looks that makes it stand out.

Surprisingly, even the user manual and stickers look well designed. And WowGo’s revamped website looks way more professional than before. The copywriting is still pretty bad – things were obviously translated from Chinese to English. But the photos and graphics look fantastic.

If you’re familiar with WowGo from a few years ago, and you look at WowGo today, you can see a total glow up in the brand. Well done, WowGo.

Aftersale

The Mini 2 comes with a 6-month warranty. If something is defective during that time, you can contact WowGo through email or Facebook. And if necessary, they can also help you troubleshoot the board through a video call.

Who is it for

The WowGo Mini 2 is a hub motor short board that weighs only 7 kg, so naturally it’s made for people who want an electric skateboard that is both portable and convenient. Like I said earlier, it’d be great for people like me who live in crowded cities and also for students who bring their boards onto campus.

It’s also for people who prefer the short cruiser form factor and those like having a kicktail.

If what you’re after is high speed or power or range, short boards are generally more lacking in those areas compared to larger boards that can hold larger batteries.

Again, the main selling points of this board are its portability and convenience. But what makes it stand out is that it’s a really good looking board.

Final thoughts

As you subscribers know, I broke my ankle from a longboarding accident in November but I’ve actually had this board for several months.

So I have ridden it myself before my accident and I can say that I personally like it for all the reasons that I mentioned earlier.

Its main competitor, I think, is the Exway Wave. Their specs are really similar, but the Exway has a number of extra features – most notably the quick swappable battery and the optional travel-safe battery that can be taken on airplanes. The WowGo Mini 2 does not have those features, but it is about $200 less expensive than even the base model Exway Wave. That’s quite a difference.

Anyway, I think the Mini 2 is a great board. If you’re thinking about getting it, you can use my referral discount code DKWAN to save some money and also help out my channel at the same time.

Categories
Reviews

WowGo 2S Pro Review

Watch the video for my review of the budget-friendly WowGo 2S Pro electric skateboard. I’m just sharing additional info regarding the range test in this post.

I did the test at night because lately the temperature outside has been too hot and muggy during the day (like 30+ ºC, humidity 90%). And because I did the test at night with lower visibility, I was riding more slowly so the range I got is probably a little better than what I’d normally get.

I was riding at mostly 20 to 30 km/h. I forgot to weigh myself but was probably around 75 to 77 kg. The temperature outside was 28 ºC.

I got 21.8 km on both my GPS watch and WowGo’s remote. I stopped measuring sometime after I got the 10% low voltage warning on the remote but before the board stopped responding, so I’m calling that 5%.

The battery is 225 Wh and 95% of that is 214, so the efficiency came out to about 10 km/Wh. Now that I’m a few kilograms heavier than before, 10 km/Wh is a little better than what I normally get. But again my lower than normal speed likely had something to do with it. Well supposedly the 12S battery helped too but I’m not sure how much difference that made compared to 10S.

Anyway, like I said in the video, I think this is a good board for only $430. And as usual I have a referral code you can use if you’d like to buy.

Categories
Reviews

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
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.