A Three-wheel Design: Custom Deck, 13s4p


I’ve been making skateboards and electric boards for a while. A few years back I started work on a three-wheel design, and I came to the realization that if it is done right, the three-wheel design opens up a world of possibilities to the esk8 builder. 48v and 60v motors are available. Handling, speed, efficiency and traction can all be improved upon by using a single, large back-wheel as the drive-system. By using just one motor and one ESC you can out-perform dual-motor set-ups handily. Also, with this specific design you can use whatever truck and wheel combo that you want up front. Off-road and surf-skate can both be done on the same board. Just switch your set-up.

I’ve seen some other designs for three-wheel boards. Most haven’t made it of the drawing board. Others have tragic design flaws. This design is refined now and works really well. There have been several iterations and many are on the road now. The reviews are good and anyone that demos it comes back with a euphoric look on their face:) I have some videos of last years proto on my website https://3sk8esk8.com/video-gallery/.

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I’d like to help others create their own three-wheel boards. Maybe you’ll find that the fourth wheel is just a vestigial appendage left-over from good old foot-powered skateboarding just as I am.

To make one, the biggest barrier, as far as I’m concerned, is getting a deck for the build. You may be able to rig a metal frame to a regular board, or you can do what I did and make your own skateboard. Believe it or not that isn’t too hard. You can buy a kit and learn everything you need to know about it at www.roarockit.com. There is also a wealth of info about this subject on the web. Once you know how to make your own decks… the sky is the limit:) This big upgrade that I do with all of my esk8s and especially for the three-wheel design (to reinforce the forks) is that I do fiberglass reinforcement. Again, that technique is all over the web and YouTube.

Once you have a deck, you need axle brackets. This one isn’t covered on the web, but it isn’t difficult. I used 1 1/4 inch angle-iron that I found at the local hardware store. With a grinder, metal drill-bits and some creativity anyone can do it. Most wheels that you might use for this type of design come with lock washer that keep the axle from spinning. I MIG welded mine onto the bracket. This isn’t necessary but I highly recommend it.

The board in the pictures is outfitted with a 48 volt 1000 watt motor. I like this wheel specifically because it is compact and rolls from side to side really smoothly. Also, the tire is molded rubber so it can’t blow out. I used a 13s4p battery pack that could run a golf-cart. I weigh 175 pounds, and I have reached 29 mph on flat ground. 25 mph up hill and it climbs like a champ. I outfitted it with VESC 6 hardware and a custom-made race remote that is based off of projects found right here on the forum… with a little of my own special sauce. I’ll post more on my race remote project soon. Also, I made a custom enclosure by heat-molding 1/4 inch ABS. It makes a super-durable yet flexible enclosure. It can be done in your home oven with a wood mold. That’s another project that I will post more about.

Anyhow, I’d love to get feedback and help others make their own boards. Check out my website and tell me what you think. www.3sk8esk8.com

Happy Riding!

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wow those remotes are sick!


how $$ for the remote on the right?

also want one of those remotes :heart_eyes: but also very cool unique idea my man. Looks well thought out and pretty rugged.

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Interesting, but what if you only have 1 wheel :wink:


How about the weight compare to 4-wheel?

Looks very interesting and really wanna try out lol

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this needs a kicktail :heart_eyes:

one question though, does the back also steer a little bit? or does it act like a zero degree back truck? this thing seems like it’s completely speedwobble-proof!

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Awesome Work.This looks very professional.

Do you know what kind of Wh/Mile your getting with this setup?

@ Vinsanyon This one weighs 27lbs. About 8 lbs of that is battery:) you can’t feel the weight when you ride it, and you never have to worry about carrying it because you can just roll it along like a wheelbarrow.

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@meesie I love me a kicktail. That is the one big drawback of the three wheel design. I haven’t ben able to get speed-wobbles yet. The gyroscopic property of the large back wheel pretty much eliminates the possibility. The faster you go, the more stable it becomes. The back does not steer and I wouldn’t say that it acts like a zero degree truck. I guess you’d have to try it out.

@ducktaperules That’s a really good question. I’ll see if I can find an easy way to measure that. The battery does last forever. Far longer than four-wheel boards that I’ve made… but I’ve never made a four-wheel board with a 13s4p battery pack:)

only one wheel doesn’t feel like a skateboard. This feels like a skateboard.

i recommend a metr bluetooth module. its by far the best way for data logging from your vesc whilst riding. would be interested to see the data from one of your rides

I hand-build the remotes with really high quality components in small batches. They are a royal pain to make at the moment so I charge a small fortune for them, $275. If you made one, I promise you would want to charge much more. I do intend on stepping up production by the end of summer. At that point the price will drop significantly. They are based on the Firefly/Feather Smart remote project. I used a thumbwheel that you might find on an F-14. That was pricey. Also, I included a BLE chip in the receiver so that your board can communicate with your favorite smartphone app.

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Consider a partnership with www.fatdaddy.com for your boards.

He’s based in the Netherlands, Spain, and Denmark. And of course ships all over EU.



I installed BLE on the receiver this week and I’m learning how to use it with various apps. Once I get it dialed in, I’ll record a ride.

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How is the braking, is it strong enough? Can it also be ridden with the drive wheel in front? If so, is there any difference in steering?

@Luvafreeride The braking is very strong. This type of wheel tends to have better braking than skate-wheel motors because of torque and traction. You can even make it squawk a little if you slam on the breaks. I added a foot-stop and course-grit glass to the deck to keep the rider in place :]

@Luvafreeride also, I’ve designed my boards to ride with the wheel in the back. Some changes to the geometry of the board would need to be made for it to ride nicely with the wheel up front.