got my battery last thursday. i had received the raptor a while back but could only stare longingly at it. there was non-stop rain here in the bay area. the storms finally let up and i was able to take the raptor out for a spin. i’m no stranger to speed. i’m a full-on thrill seeker and i drive high-powered vehicles that require delicate but deliberate touches and leave little room for error. i drag knees while tracking my heavily modified 2009 Yamaha R1 on racing slicks. over 200hp, and less than 500 lbs makes it a cruise missile on two wheels. very touchy throttle with no traction control. i also have a '68 pro-touring camaro with over 650hp… no traction control either and an even touchier throttle. i can go on and on about drifting cars i’ve had and so on but you get it. the funny thing is that those toys i just mentioned are much more tame and much better daily-driver material than this board was out of the box, and they don’t give as big a thrill as this bad boy.
my first impressions with the raptor were mixed. i love carbon fiber, so i was drooling all over it. even the outside of the rear wheels have a carbon fiber hub. very slick. the design of the deck is great. the deck has four extra holes drilled into the front and back to accommodate other size trucks (newer models will not). i also don’t know if i trust the drive belts to last very long either. i bought extra and will have to keep them handy. otherwise, i love the look and the high-grade quality components.
there were early-assembly kinks to work out too, but it just required me checking and tightening all bolts, which I should do anyway.
then i rode it. yes, high quality components. the wheels are just right. the deck has a kicktail, allowing you to take on corners. it has more power than i expected. whooo! i’m 190 lbs and had lots of wobble at speed even with the trucks tightened quite a bit. i’ll try to tighten them even more but may have to replace bushings. the remote feels great in my hand… but… the remote settings it was shipped with really really really suck. i’ve been hearing about “millimeter increments” but the truth is that even at the lowest signal it is running quite hard, continuing to accelerate even when it’s already at uncomfortably fast speeds. i was hoping it would top out at a reasonable clip but i didn’t have a safe stretch where i could have safely “topped out” (i’m referring here to the lowest sustained speed where the throttle is not off, not referring to wide open throttle/top-speed). so the only way to ride it is to give it some juice and then let it coast and then accelerate and then coast… rinse, lather, repeat. very ghetto. minimum sustained speed under power is already silly, and applying even a few millimeters of more throttle will be X-games territory. i’m sure this will easily be addressed after tweaking the settings. it’s pretty cool that we can fine tune all the settings.
the good news is that the remote settings are supposedly addressed with a bit of reprogramming. i think the remotes ended up with different characteristics than what the controllers were programmed to handle. but we need to buy some obscure usb down adapter part to connect a cable to the VESC and we need to download some linux program and a bunch of other hassles. then i have to go hunt around through some forum posts to find instructions and then deal with trial and error while i fine-tune it. ugh. not a showstopper i guess. it will allow me to fine-tune it to my liking. i’d be less annoyed if it already came with a cable and adapter and some step by step instructions so i didn’t feel like there were so many barriers to overcome. right now there’s a lot of inertia to overcome and it’ll take me a while to get to it… expected hassles of being an early adopter.
then there is the lack of a reliable signal from the remote due interference from the old-style lids. new lids are being sent out that allow for greater signal range. they’re not sexy carbon fiber but i prefer function over form any day of the week. i wonder how long it will take to get these new lids though. in the meantime, the raptor is useless unless i remove the lid altogether or drill lots and lots more holes.
i’m still pleased with the purchase so far. all of the issues are surmountable and look to be teething pains with the first batch. if remote sensitivity and signal reliability are addressed, then it would be an unbelievable product. as far as assembly/quality control, i don’t have the time or electrical skills to assemble it myself so i’ll just accept what i get. to be honest, the thought of soldering wires and shrink-wrapping components makes me cringe and who knows what hurdles i’d run into and how much time i’d sink into building it myself. i know i would have royally screwed that part up and burned several precious weekends. i’m a little conflicted… on one hand i expected a pre-assembled, turnkey unit. on the other hand, i have to accept the reality of issues that come with early adoption of a bleeding edge product. in the end, a little frustration with an early unit will be well worth it, as there is nothing else quite like it.
am i glad i bought it? yes. once i work out the issues with the remote, it will be the coolest commute vehicle ever. right now it’s a thrill-seeking toy, but still cool. i’d rather have this raptor over a boosted board any day, even with the uncalibrated remote. this is much more like a custom hot rod than a production vehicle. as long as i keep thinking of it that way, i’ll have the right perspective as this is the product of a labor of love. i also appreciate the support from enertion by recognizing the issues and coming up with solutions. i gotta admire the loads of time and energy has been spent in R&D to get to this point. this initial batch may have been a bit rushed out the door, but i guess i’m now part of the process (and glad to be part of it).