PreBuild Guidance: Urban All-Terrain Commuter!?


Long time lurker here, looking for some guidance on a DIY build I want to start planning for (or potentially something custom from a builder). I am an esk8 noob, but coming from e-bikes/RC/etc/etc, I’m familiar with all the common components and I used to skateboard as a kid (generally cruisers) and limited experience w/ a cheap hub motor board, but am looking for something a (lot) bit more heavy duty. However, now that I start considering all the build options, I’m getting stuck in a bit of analysis paralysis and could use some input from the experts. I’ll have to apologize up front because this could get a little unwieldy since I’m kinda scatterbrained and I’m stuck on step 1 :). I’ll try to organize my thoughts to start w/ though…

- Context -


  • Fun!
  • Max range/battery… like a kWh @ 10-12s, if I could
  • Torque > Top speed
  • Confidence inspiring/stable (…up to a point)
  • Weather resistant (if possible)
  • Bonus points for hybrid-able (switching back and forth from 7" pneumatic to large urethane wheels).

Considerations: I would like this to be an alternative commuter option for me. My commute to work is 15 miles each way and it is is mostly well paved trails and side streets, but there are some bumpy areas, rocks/leaves/grass/etc, and some more rough transitions between trail path and streets… but nothing as extreme as a mountain bike/off road trail (that could be fun too… just not a core requirement).

I’m pretty active, but I’m built like a fat, brick shithouse and am pushing 3 bills, so I need everything to be pretty stiff as well. I want something I can cruise around on effortlessly and can tackle modest hills without pushing the motor to it’s limits all the time. I want something that can hit 20+ mph pretty easily and can handle the distance w/o draining the battery (I’d ideally be charging from 20% (or more) back up to 90% (or less) to extend the recharge cycles (with an occasional charge to 100% for cell balancing)). I know my extra weight is going to kill efficiency (and speed/range), but I don’t know if that means targeting 30+ mph at 80% efficiency 20+ at 50%, etc.

I’m sure I could get by with a board and some bigger urethane wheels, but since the path is a bit rough here and there, I thought some AT/pneumatic wheels would make the ride more enjoyable. I was originally inspired by the Evolve AT setup and was thinking I’d try doing a quad 200kv 5065 setup (vs. their dual ~140kv setup… since those motors can be purchased for so cheap) and do a beefed up custom longboard version of their AT models… but then as I started looking around at more AT stuff, I came across Trampa boards which threw a wrench into my plans :). (the holypro urban carver is the leading candidate)

Budget: I don’t have a specific budget in mind, but I do want to stretch my dollar where I can and get the most for my money. I can’t go completely crazy… but I’d say $2k-$3.5k as a rough guideline, depending on much it can meet or exceed my targets and what I’m getting in return.

Initial Questions: I know the trampa boards can make smaller turns and can carve more aggressively, etc, but I’ve read conflicting info re: people who think the suspension fixes speed wobble vs. others that complained about feeling uncomfortable at higher speeds. Can anyone speak to the riding characteristics between a standard longboard (something like a Comet FSM 2, etc) with AT wheels vs. a trampa board with the same wheels/truck width? IE: Ride quality/stability/enjoyment/limitations/pros or cons for bigger riders/etc.

Are pneumatic tires overkill for my situation (and should be limited to MTB trails, offroading, etc) or a good option for me? Assuming I go 7", high PSI, without a lot of deep tread: is the rolling efficiency comparable at all? Any issues with them feeling ‘bouncy’? I only have experience with polyurethane wheels. I would like the setup to be hybrid between small pneumatic and large polyurethane, but I’m planning to build it out initially as pneumatic as the primary (as of now).

Are there any custom builders who I should consider who specialize in this area? I’ve tried reaching to a couple w/o luck and a couple others I had issues w/… either because of lack of responsiveness, outdated info, or over-inflated costs, etc. I’m willing to pay a bit of a premium for a professional, but that only goes so far.

If I do go the Trampa route, what are people’s thoughts on just buying their deck vs. going for their semi-complete esk8 boards? IE: what are your thoughts on the 136kv motor + mount that comes in their esk8 kit? Decent value? Overpriced? …and maybe a stupid question, but what’s with all the different ‘premium’ ($$) mounting offerings (that aren’t in their ‘completes’)? I’m not clear on what differentiates one from another. Does the extra rigidity increase efficiency… or other? Why not just go w/ the cheap one (I mean… if it fits…)? Would it be better to buy the motors/mounts separately?

…I think that’s it…

Anything else I should know before I start this project :)?

This turned out to be a longer post than I was expecting, but if you made it this far… thanks!


Take a look at this, it might give you some direction…

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Thanks… I had seen the second thread, but not the first. Unfortunately, that’s not really what I’m looking for. I’d say the issue is more that I have too many directions I can go in at the moment vs. the alternative. I could come up with a ton of builds, but I’m looking to nail down some of the more subtle aspects now to avoid re-work later on.

I think maybe my original post may have been too much all up front and wasn’t focused enough.

Maybe I can just start w/ one question pulled from the above:

Given the same truck width/tires, how do the riding characteristics between a standard longboard (IE: a Comet FSM) compare and constrast to a trampa board? (keeping in mind that I’m a bigger/heavier rider)

Thoughts? Thanks.

I’m a 250lb guy and the roads up here in NYC are crap. I needed a board that would push me up hills and also withstand these roads and the occasional off the beaten path wander. I am building a 10s dual 6374 board on 218mm trucks that will be hybrid for 97mm thanes and 7" pneumatics. Should be done in a week or so.

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You going trampa or longboard? I’m very interested to see what your thoughts and impressions are (as well as what kind of range/top speed you see on each tire type). Keep me posted (or if you have a build thread, feel free to send that along :)).

I don’t have a thread yet. I should be seeing about 29mph on both sets of wheels and 10mi range on pneumatics versus 18mi range in thanes.


Cool-let me know if you’re able to confirm those #s (and how easily you get to 25+mph (acceleration/temps/noise, etc)). Also, how big is your battery pack? Did you consider doing an urban trampa/MTB setup? If so, what was the deciding factor for going longboard? How’s the ride height/quality w/ that board+pneumatics? Thx.

I refused to spend the extra money just to be cool and have a Trampa. I dont need the ability to jump curbs and have no desire to ride off-road. I used 10 2s 5ah 30c lipos to make a 10s2p.


The battery pack that @flywithgriff is using is the same as I have in 1 of my boards. Also I have a 10s3p made with samsung 30Q’s in another board. I would highly recommend both. I’m not a fan of 25R cells, some people like them fine but I had a lot of sag.

As far as decks are concerned, if you are looking for a traditional longboard feel then I’d go with something like a Jet Killshot or check out the Red Ember boards by @treenutter, they are lush.

I’ve ridden a trampa board, not electric, and it was fun but it just wasn’t me. I’m not a fan of MBS boards either. You might talk to @Kaly about trampa, he’s built a few.

If you want pnumatics, look at the 6x2 Six Shooters by @psychotiller. They are tough as nails, work on regular trucks and and are seriously fun as hell.

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Thanks-a lot of good info there (I’m a big fan of the 30Q cells as well) and some stuff helpful leads.

Ooh, I do like the look of the red ember boards… I can follow up, but anyone know the dimensions offhand (length/width/wheelbase)? I might want to go drop through if I go longboard + pneumatics… I really like the blacked out one I saw, though.

Those wheels look great/quality. I’m curious how their rotational mass (which I want to minimize where possible) compares.

I know I’d be just fine with a longboard… but having never ridden or seen a trampa board previously, I’m mostly wondering how the Trampa [IE: urban carver] ride compares and if I might like that more :). Since I’d like to commute on the board from time to time, something that absorbs small bumps and imperfections is definitely appealing, but I don’t know at what cost that might come at (IE: do they generally feel less stable/too wobbly… can they be too bouncy…etc). I welcome any opinions on which one is going to be more sure-fotted speeding along in the low to mid 20s on pretty good, but imperfect, roads and paved trails, etc.

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Low 20’s on paved trails, either setup will be just fine. The main difference between a Trampa setup and a longboard setup is the feel. They are not similar and ride completely different.

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Thanks-there are some dirt/grass/gravely patches/transitions, but I won’t be going that fast for those parts… at least not right off the bat :imp:

That’s the part I’m hoping someone will elaborate on :wink:.

@Mikeomania12 loves his trampa, maybe he can shed some light.

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Thanks-I also welcome opinions from those who don’t like them as well!

nice build man !

I’m all for flex, but the trampa decks just feel squishy to me. A lot of people like them, so Im sure it’s just me. I like the feel of good longboard. I didn’t have a feel for how to deep carve on the trampa decks I rode, it was kind if unpredictable.

The only time ever in my life that flexy boards were wanted was racing mountainboards and freeriding them. Every other type of board I’ve had needed to be stiff. Surf, snow, longboarding all perform better when stiff. Flexy boards are great for jibbing though.

The deal breaker for me with mountainboard decks when building All terrain boards is that they are flat. Without the comfort and responsiveness of a nice concave deck it just doesn’t feel as nice.

Yeah, unpredictable would be pretty bad; I’m looking for the opposite of that and want to be as stable/surefooted/forgiving as possible on this build… I was planning on getting the stiffest board (17 ply) and I can see how they could be less responsive overall (secondary for this setup though), but thought they might have an advantage w/ comfort (particularly on longer rides). I was thinking/hoping the lengthwise flex along with the geometry might also serve as a secondary suspension and provide additional absorption for a smoother ride… and I thought it looked comfortable and would have a low CoG. …but thanks, that is the type of info/feedback I was having a hard time finding, but was looking for.

If it was an automobile, this board should be a cross between a supercharged Range Rover and a Ford Raptor (solid, capable, powerful with a surprisingly comfortable, forgiving ride… if not the fastest or most nimble… or efficient).

I’m not sure what part felt squishy or too flexy, but could tweaking the dampa/springs mitigate those issues or is the issue w/ the deck specifically? …those holy pros were lookin’ pretty good in my shopping cart…

is that a standard deck? not sure if it is the angle the image was taken in but it looks to me as if the deck is upside down with the concave pointing downwards.

Lol your eyes didn’t deceive you. The deck is intentionally mounted in a reverse concave direction. The footbed is much more comfortable this way and still provides plenty of stability and grip for carving.