(new member) Advice for building an all-terrain drop-down deck board?

Hello folks, new here, found this forum after buying one of those 2-wheel self-balancing ‘hoverboards’ for the office, having huge amounts of fun with it, and now wanting to have that similar kind of fun outdoors…

So after reading around on KickStarter/IndieGogo and a few other places, here’s what I liked by far the most: http://www.skate-pods.com/videos/ - particularly the black one shown in the third/last videos.

Unfortunately those folks are working on something else right now, so I guess building my own is the way forward :slight_smile:

So, here’s what I reckon I probably want: (?)

  • drop-down deck, for stability: new to skateboarding, and think I’ll like that self-correcting-under-gravity feel
  • all-terrain/pneumatic wheels: I’m based in the UK - roads/pavements here aren’t like the ones in CA :wink: Also I mainly want it for un-paved footpaths/trails around my work
  • those trails have some hills, and I’m new to all this, so at the moment think I’m looking for torque over speed please :slight_smile: (presumably I can change pulley ratios as I get more into it…)
  • VESC ESC: read up on it it, looks awesome
  • ideally, foot controls, but get the idea that wii nunchuck control will be easier, so I guess foot switches can come later
  • don’t need much range at all, if it only goes a couple of miles between charges that’s fine at this point
  • budget: ~$1,000? (less is better, but I could go to that, depending on advice here…)

I’ve found enertion, but not too sure about the exact details (there isn’t an off the shelf complete kit with off-road wheels, so I’d need to make sure I get everything I need separately and not buy parts I don’t need…), and what other options there are - for instance, their battery looks fancier than I probably need at this stage…

And maybe something like this as a base? (haven’t researched that side of things all that much yet) http://longboardreviews.net/2014/12/16/yocaher-professional-speed-drop-down-stained-complete-longboard/ )

I know I’ve gone on too long for a first post, so… any advice hugely appreciated :slight_smile: Cheers, and greetings from the UK… Dan


Hi dsmudger, welcome to the forum! I will go through your list of components here and tell you if they will work or not.

Drop-Down decks aren’t a great idea. The reason why is because if you are going over a curb or something the components can scrape along the ground. If you are getting pneumatics there could be an exception though. Personally I wouldn’t risk it and go with something like a drop-thru deck.

Pneumatic wheels are great but Enertion has taken them off their website until they research or something. You may have to wait a while if you want these. Hopefully onloop can tell you the release date for the new ones.

If you are going to go up hills maybe get 2 5s batteries and wire them in series (basically connect 2 5s to make 10s)

VESC is an excellent choice and I think Enertion sells them. If they don’t is releasing them soon.

Wiiceiver is not a bad choice but apparently they have had lots of connectivity issues. If you want something small that is great you could buy a FlySky GT2B and 3d print BadWolf V2 GT2B enclosure via shapeways. These are great and have no connectivity issues.

Batteries are an easy choice and I would highly recommend Enertion’s. It is great for beginners, easy to charge and has great anti-blowup technology :wink: But if you don’t want to go that route then these are a great choice: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/_19894__ZIPPY_Flightmax_8000mAh_5S1P_30C_AU_Warehouse.html?strSearch=8000mah%205s

I went with an Enertion Single Motor Mount PRO kit and 5000mah 3s batteries (I am not going up hills so I don’t need 10s) Also an iCharger is a great charger.

You didn’t mention a motor so here are a few options. You will NEED something under 300kv (under 200kv preferably)

I bought one from hobbyking and you will have to dremel a flat spot on the shaft if you go this route. If you don’t want to do this get the Enertion R-SPEC.

so This build here was under the 1,000 dollar USD mark, but if you were to change something it’d be to go dual motor…

specs: 5 inch enertion pneumatics (I think he is out of stock currently, but I know Jason has been working on some 6 inch pneumatics aswell as some other sizes to replace the current ones…0 space cell torqueboards 12s esc (VESC would be cheaper, and works alot better with the space cell- if I were to do it again, it would be dual motor with two VESCs) castle BEC for reciever enertion motor mount enertion 190kv motor (great motor- highly recommend for a build where you need torque) caliber trucks on an old stella deck. standard rc remote (I originally got a wii nunchuk setup with it, but the wii nunchuk feels like it will kill me: it isn’t perfected, and I fell like the throttle isn’t all that responsive. I would just go with a flysky gt2b like @lox897 said- I currently am running with that.

so originally, I bought an original skate 41 drop freeride deck for this build. It is a sweet deck, but you have to worry about everything @lox897 said plus a couple more that I found from personal use: With big wheels like pneumatics, the wheels will hit your dropdeck on turns, if you don’t have more spacing than a normal board. Even on the stella I have now, full turning = wheel bite. also, the motor mount (the enertion one that is) faces inward (as seen by the pic) which litterally puts it right where your drop is: so you either put risers on the trucks and ruin the point of a dropdeck, or it doesn’t work. torqueboards motor mount just came out, and it can hang off the back of the truck, which would be ideal for this setup. I modded my old enertion gen1 mount to face the rear as seen in the pic below.

Honestly though, I would stay away from the board you linked. It has a serious drop: I know guys who have it, and mounting components is gonna suck- especially when you need to protect them from rocks on your bumpy roads

check out this deck (this was just when I ghetto mounted my components)-

I have it, and love it. favorite skate deck I’ve used to date, and its a drop. not as seriously as a drop as the one you linked, but still really stable: I have the 41, but they also have a 44: http://originalskateboards.com/longboards/drop-freeride-44

and the 41:http://originalskateboards.com/longboards/drop-freeride-41

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Heres an early prototype, all terrain dual drive… I am still working on this project and will have some exciting news in the next few months

Yeah, had seen that too, does look like just the kind of thing what I want - maybe I should just wait then :smile:
Already some useful info here though (e.g. didn’t know dual motors needed two VESCs…), I’ll keep reading/researching… if I see a build I reckon I could successfully copy, I might just go for it…

ok, been researching a bit more, found some parts in the UK that might work - appreciate any comments and perhaps advice on batteries to go with this? (would any of the 7s batteries from Hobbyking be ok? e.g. there’s a 5800mAh for ~£50 - is that reasonable?)

Wheels: http://www.aliendrivesystems.com/store/p117/Urban_5_-_Black_hub_only_special-_4_pack-.html £60

Mount: http://www.aliendrivesystems.com/store/p118/Urban_5_-Single_Drive_kit_-___6374_motor_10mm_or_8mm_shaft-For_use_with_the_Urban_5_Black_Hub_set%28_no_wheels_included%29.html 2x £99 (it’s 63mm, but I’m guessing 50mm motors will fit, and leave room for future upgrades, also it’s a bit cheaper than the 50mm kit…)

ESC + motors:


I would recommend getting that mount and drive system but not the esc and motor from there. If you are going up hills I would get TorqueBoards 12s esc from and the r-spec motor from enertion. That mount requires a minimum of 10s so is the way to go. The r-spec can support high voltages and it has an 8mm shaft so it works with the drive system.

So if you agree with this comment you will have this part list now:






Enertion space-cell is a great battery and very user friendly. It is 10s which you will need for those wheels.

Drop down decks are a great choice with pneumatic wheels! I have the same deck height as all of my longboards and I still have a ton of clearance with all electronics under the deck.

ok priced up the suggested parts and ouch: wheels/mech: £260 2x ESC +UBEC from DIY-ES: $329 +£44 import taxes -> £260 2x enertion motors: £129 +£26 import taxes -> £155 hobbyking 8000mah battery: £54 board: ~£80? hand held throttle: ~£30? =£840 or in other words ~$1,310 - that’s a fair bit more than I was expecting / seems like a lot to spend for someone just starting out…

Ideally I’d prefer to get parts in the UK due to the import taxes (or at least from just one place if I’m buying from abroad - might be worth waiting for the ‘coming soon’ kits on enertion, they sure do make nice looking parts…)

What about the more powerful APS stuff? They have 6KW and 6.4KW kits at £299 and £329 respectively (http://alienpowersystem.com/product-category/e-board-kits/) - the 6KW would save $180 (£116) over the enertion+DIY-ES combo.

Or indeed if I just give up on going up hills for now, stick with the 4.4KW ESC+motors from APS (£189) and see how I get on, upgrade later if I feel like I want more power? That’d be a total ~£613 / $955 - maybe bit more bearable entry price for a new hobby :relieved:

In any case, I guess either way I can get on with getting a board, can mess about with that before I have the rest…

Here’s some stuff I can get on Amazon UK that I like the look of (looked mainly at wheel clearance, and under £100)

prob. the front runners:

Others that came close:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/MAXOfit®-Deluxe-Longboard-Atomic-Canadian/dp/B00LW3OGIG/ (prob. too much drop, but could ‘ghetto mount’ on top…) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Longboard-Through-Maple-Quality-Purple/dp/B011JEXPMA/ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Drop-Skateboard-Longboard-New-Abec-bearings/dp/B00RH75HM0/ (hard to tell if there’s enough wheel clearance - the top-down vs underside pics look quite different)

Ok. Here is a part list: http://www.aliendrivesystems.com/store/p117/Urban_5_-_Black_hub_only_special-_4_pack-.html


Both of those are out of stock unfortunately, but I see what you’re getting at - bigger ESC rather than the 8S ESC + motors set… Well, OK, it’s just an expensive hobby - I may well just have to take a deep breath and get the 6/6.4KW kit (http://alienpowersystem.com/shop/e-board-kits/aps-150amp-6-4kw-twin-motors-e-board-diy-kit/)

Anyone have any opinions for/against any of those boards, or is it a lot just down to personal taste and somewhat hope for the best…

The MAXOfit one looks like it has the most clearance from the wheels, but I might be a little tight on ground clearance - better pics of it here: http://www.x-atv.de/Sport-Fitness-und-Freizeit/MAXOfit-Longboards/MAXOfit-Deluxe-Longboard-Atomic-No-3-106-cm::1579.html )

The Atom also has a lot of clearance from the wheels, but a lot less drop - I’m guessing that’s going to be a bit less stable / bit harder to learn to ride for a newbie - it also costs a bit more: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atom-Artisan-Micro-Drop-Longboard/dp/B00M3GWC14/

The others seem somewhere in between on price / wheel clearance etc - hard to be sure from the photos, those first two seem like the best bets though just with the different trade-offs…

Hey dsmudger. Looks like they’ve got you mostly squared away…

I’d personally avoid all of the APS ESC’s. They have a very high failure rate, especially the built-in BEC. Getting the correct firmware is time consuming and the guy at APS doesn’t seem to know which one will work best, so it’s a lot of work trying firmwares until you stumble onto the right one. APS ESC’s are rebranded Flier ESC’s - do a quick google search and you will find a lot of threads on these problems. I bought one of the dual 8s ESC’s (that can’t handle 8s fully charged voltage) and had to return it. A PITA and took over a month to refund the $. Not a pleasant experience and i personally will not buy from APS again.

ADS however has been great. They being local to you, in the UK at least, i would recommend you try to see what they have and suggest you use. Very knowledgeable and responsive when i spoke with him. Having used their motor mounts, Enertion’s current, and DIYes v1’s - they were the most difficult to adjust and keep in the correct position of the 3. But being on Paris trucks they at least were fully adjustable to set at the exact angle you want to clear the deck regardless of drop deck.

As for [quote]10s which you will need for those wheels.[/quote] Not true. Not how it works i’m afraid. It’s all about gearing. If you want to move larger diameter wheels like the pneumatics - you will need it geared down correctly. You will lose top speed. I don’t recall your goal speed, but i build my non-pneumatics with a 25mph top speed limit to try and avoid hurting myself… because i will go as fast as it lets me (stupidly). Look at the ADS pneumatic kit and ask questions - i bet he will let you know some general gearing suggestions that i would start off with. Now 6,8,10,12s will depend on your ESC primarily and will give you some more power and be more efficient, but starting out you don’t need a 12s setup to run big wheels like this.

On a budget i’d skip the “cool” (it is really nice) power button. Just put an inline XT-90 to use as on/off. If you use an xt90 anti-spark plug you will also get an anti-spark function which is nice when you run >6s.

Re-read your first post - glad you are already looking at VESC. Probably the best ESC hands down for eboard builders. Amazing features and functionality for the price.

Nunchuk - not a bad idea, but beware disconnects. Soldering it direct is supposed to help. Or spend the $25 on a GT2B Tx/Rx. Then later you can move it into the Badwolf v2 enclosure and make it smaller/pocket sized. I have a how-to i wrote to help with that conversion here.

I could’ve sworn i already responded to your thread, so if i’m going senile and posting this twice, my apologies.


Ah ok, thanks, un-recommendations are super useful too :relaxed:

Unfortunately VESCs are out of stock until early November, so that leaves only DIYes if I want something now: product/dual-motor-4400w-electric-skateboard-electrical-kit/

Although I think it might be worth the wait - this kit would’ve been ideal / expecting whatever replaces it should be super nice (premium components, everything you need from one supplier / matched up to work together, and unlike the other options a (nice) battery and throttle are included, so good bang for buck): http://www.enertionboards.com/diy-electric-skateboard-kits/enertion-10ah-battery-ESC-complete-power-kit/

No worries, I’ve signed up to the mailing list, hopefully it won’t be too long :sunglasses:

How fun is this to ride as compared to your othe board without the 5 inch wheels?

Also, do you feel that the clearence is enough for the trucks to do light off-roading? Or is it better suited for very rough pavement and sidewalks and the occasional short sandy or rocky path?

Also I can see what you mean abt it being better to have a dual set up…both rear or diagonal?

Thinking abt building one.

I prefer the skate wheels in my neighborhood and local trails, but when I’m spending a ton of time at the beach during the summer (where the sidewalks are crap, and there is obviously sand everywhere, making normal wheels slip) I much prefer the pneumatics.

My only gripe was that single motor didn’t do it any justice… You basically need dual, and I’d say dual rear. At that time, I didn’t want to drop any more money to go dual, so I just ended up trading the wheels to @longhairedboy

Humm… Ok def something to consider … Really only ride streets…and really wouldn’t want to tear around the desert since it’s either private land or owned by the govt …

I don’t want to build something that is a novelty …and I’ll want to tear it apart in a month… @onloop s demo looks pretty sick…and I guess there is no other real option to get clearance unless you go with a whole different type of truck/suspension system, which he has done…

Think it best to hold off … Must decide now if I do a dual set up… Should it be both rear or diagonal ??:thinking:?? If you have any input on this as well…would appreciate it.:facepunch:t2:

I’ve got plenty of clearance with my 6" pneumatic mounted on a drop deck…

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