Personal mobility was a big category at the World’s Fair Nano, with both attendees and demonstrators zipping around Pier 48 on a variety of powered, belt-driven skateboards. Here are the five exhibitors we saw, and the design/performance/price differences between each:
Price Range: $599 to $729
This is the entry-level brand out of all of the companies at the Fair. Sizewise, Riptide’s offerings most resemble unpowered skateboards, opting for a more compact form. Their base model, the R1, tops out at 18 m.p.h. and offers 7 miles of range; the R1 Elite, 20 m.p.h. with 8 miles of range. The boards feature handhold cutouts on either side, making them easy to carry.
Price range: $1,039 – $1,199
Boosted’s offerings top out at 22 miles per hour, can tackle San Francisco’s hellish 25% grade hills, and offer two battery options: The Standard will carry you 6-7 miles, while the Extended Range is good for 12 miles. The hand control can be set in four different modes, from Beginner (capping the speed at 11 m.p.h.) up to Pro (22 m.p.h.). The decks are bamboo, made by Loaded.
Inboard’s M1 tops out at 22 m.p.h., features a 7-mile range and can handle 18% of hill grade. The deck is a composite made from a wood (poplar) core, ABS sidewalls and a fiberglass top sheet. You can opt to control the board through the included handheld remote or via your smartphone, with an app that also enables you to monkey with the settings and check battery levels.
Price range: $1,449.99 – $2,159.99
Evolve offers several models, with the extremes being a base Bamboo One at the low end and their Carbon GT on the high end. The latter is made from carbon fiber to offset the weight of that model’s larger battery. Top speeds vary depending on your wheel and gear configuration; 18 m.p.h. on the low end and 26 m.p.h. at the high end. Ranges vary from 20 miles on the Bamboo One to 30 miles on the Carbon GT. Evolve’s products will tackle 20% to 25% grades depending on the model, and they even offer off-road versions.
Leiftech’s unique six-wheeled product features footholds and is billed as an “eSnowboard,” allowing you to “Shred your city just like a snowboard – slide, spin and even jump with comfort and confidence” (check out the video below, it certainly appears to ride differently that the other boards). It tops out at 23 m.p.h. and offers batteries with a 10- or 15-mile range. Because your feet are in a fixed position, the battery is mounted atop the board, which allows you to see the LED battery life indicators. The footrests can be adjusted to your stance width.