I surfed the web for several weeks before choosing my board and I wanted to share my experience with my choice and provide some basic tips for choosing a board. As I write this article, I finished my build and I drive it for a few days now. My benchmark leads me to try various boards that have comforted my choice and that also allows me to make recommendations to the end of this article.
First, I focused my research on 5 elements:
– the lightness of the complete board to avoid having a too heavy setup
– the ease of adapting supports for motors
– the ease of adapting pulleys on wheel hubs easily
– adjustable and stable at higher speeds channel trucks
– possibility to customize / upgrade the board
I started with the trucks, I wanted to have trucks whose profile was simple (square preferably) to be able to design the motor mounts. My choice turned to Trampa’s Vertigo trucks because they had the simplest geometric profiles, and the fact that they are square also makes it possible to limit the rotation of the supports around the truck. I ended buying a complete board from Trampa in order to limit shipping cost by buying parts from different suppliers. I am very happy with my choice so far: the board is not so heavy compared to MBS boards and what was available from Canada, I am really happy with my motor mount design, and the tires/hubs looks very good.
In order to facilitate your research, here are some tips I found useful:
The rule is pretty simple: shorter boards for small people, longer boards for tall people. An 80cm deck is perfect for a child but if you’re a six-feet tall adult you’ll probably be better off with a deck of 100cm in length. Longer decks are more stable than shorter decks so getting the right size deck will making learning easier.
The other consideration for decks is the materials used and the ply number. You might want a higher performance deck than a regular skateboard and that means choosing one that is made of more than just wood. Such decks will have a Reverse Cap Construction like a snowboard or be made from composite, carbon fiber or Kevlar. If you want a strong and lightweight build, it might be worth spending a bit more money getting a mountainboard with one of these decks rather than having to upgrade a wooden deck after a couple of months.
The two main different truck types you are likely to find on a mountainboard are skateboard trucks and channel trucks.
Skateboard trucks are like regular trucks used on skateboards and longboards but are bigger and have longer axles for the bigger wheels. Skate trucks are cheaper and generally are used on smaller board and/or cheap builds. The downside is that skateboard truck tends to wobble at a higher speed and become unstable. If you are on a cheap budget and don’t plan to have a fast build, you might start with a bundle including skateboard trucks but I would recommend to pay a bit more and have channel trucks.
Channel Trucks consist of a channel-shaped axle which is bolted horizontally into a hanger, and springs and dampers which control the amount movement the truck can make. Channel trucks are probably the most widely used trucks because of their stability and adjustability. At higher speed, Channel trucks are much more stable than skateboard trucks, and also you have more control possibilities to dial in your turning resistance just the way you like it. They are more expensive but it totally worth it if you plan to have a build that would go above 30km/h. I definitely recommend using channel trucks.
Bindings range from simple velcro straps to adjustable ratchet straps. Bindings all work in a very similar way and can be easily upgraded. It was the less important parameter in my search.
Most wheels on mountainboards are 20cm (8 inches) in diameter. There are different hubs and tires available, such as metal hubs and 9-inch tires, but for an electric mountain board, standard plastic hubs with 8-inch tires will be fine.
Complete boards recommendation
I recommend buying a kit with the deck, two trucks, 4 tires and the bindings. Here is a selection of nice bundles for your electric mountainboard project:
The vertigo trucks are squares and I found that designing the motor mounts for these was very easy, as well as designing the wheel pulleys and adapting it to the Hypa Hub. I am very happy with the quality of the deck. I propose some kits of motor mounts and wheel pulleys adapted to the Vertigo Truck and the Hypa Hub. I can also make some adaptation for any Trampa hubs or MBS hubs.
You can configure everything in you board from the deck ply number to the color of your trucks, springs, tires…
I heard a lot of good things about MBS boards and especially about the Comp 95. This was my second choice and their new Matrix II channel looks great. I think that it would be a bit more complicated to adapt a motor mount on it, but nothing impossible. This is a lighter setup made of composite, the bindings are very comfortable and the hubs look very strong! I tried the older version with regular channel trucks and it was very nice. FYI, The older trucks’ profile were more complicated to adapt a motor mount on.