Why I'm glad to have 4wd instead of 2wd or 1wd (Incident occured)

Today reminded me of why I’m glad to have done a 4wd build, instead of sticking to 2wd. I have stated before, that my goal in electric skateboarding to create a serious mode of transportation rather than something to play around with. To do that, we need to create redundant systems, so when (not if) something fails, fail safes are in place.

Today while riding home from class, I experienced a failure in 1 of my 4 motors while traveling down a rather steep hill. I immediately noticed the reduced braking power, as it went to 3wd. However, 3 motors is still more than enough to stop me (200 lb plus my backpack with my laptop weighted 20 lb, so 220 lb total) without any incident. Had I been on 2wd, I can’t say the results would have been the same, considering the steepness of the hill I was going down.

One of the major benefits of 4wd is you create redundancy. If one motor fails like it did in this case, you have 3 more to make up for it. I was able to ride the rest of the way home (about another mile or so) home without any issue with the only effect being I was limited to 20 mph instead of 24 mph (I noticed the board feeling more sluggish, so I pulled my phone out and started measuring my speed on flat straights of my route. I didn’t know the motor was not working at the time). I found the motor not spinning when I got home.

The issue was not the motor broke, but 2 of the 3 cables between the vesc and motor broke. This was because where I soldered the 3 motor cables to the vesc, I stripped away too much wire. As a result, too much wire was exposed, and vibrations mixed with the concave of my board put too much tension forces on the wires and they broke. It was a simple fix and their is no permanent side effects. But having the extra motors added extra safety that allowed me to stop on a hill I could of had a run away into traffic and allowed me to keep riding with little side effects.

There is one flaw in my design, which is if the master vesc fails, I would be just as screwed as a 2wd board. That, I want to find a way to make more redundant (Ideas?). But the same can be said if one of the slave vescs fails. It’s not a big deal, and doesn’t impact safety to have a slave vesc fail.

No one can expect a failure, but they do occur, and we need to be ready for when (not if) this happens. Our boards won’t last forever (nothing does), and cars and airplanes create redundancy and fail safe systems to attempt to avoid catastrophe.

This incident today helped me refocus my energy into creating the safest electric skateboards possible. My vision is to create boards capable of safely commuting electric skateboarders at speeds of 45 mph+ without loosing torque due to hills. 4wd really helps get me closer to this goal. Hills slow me down from 24 mph to 20 mph at worst. With 1 or 2 motors, I would slow down to 12 mph or even less on hills, depending on the steepness. Today, I tackled my first 20% grade hill. I was able to travel 18 mph up that hill.

I don’t want to build toys to play with (of course I still play with them), but a real option that can travel as fast as a car and get me from point a to point b in the same time or less than a car, as safely as physically possible. I’m getting closer to that goal thanks to 4wd, as I no longer slow down significantly on steep hills (which I am surrounded by living in San Francisco) and a single motor or vesc failure does not mean I lose control or the ability to keep trucking on.

(I don’t want you guys to get the wrong impression, this thread is not about bragging. I want to share my experience of riding 4wd for the past week 10 miles a day for the past week (including my first hardware failure which could have resulted in an accident. And why I think 4wd, especially 4wd hub motors, are the future of electric skateboarding.)


45 MPH ?!?!




Best redundancy possible :wink: besides maybe a chute


I don’t think we can today, we’re not building them like high speed transportation devices.

If you want to do 45 mph of roads constantly, you need suspension, air filled tires that can go over large pot holes with no side effects, fail safe systems, and more. I think we are a long ways away from it. Many years, but I do think it’s possible. And I will do everything in my power to keep innovating and working with other innovators until this becomes a reality.

Moving on from the latest drama on this forum, I feel we as a community do need to stop tearing each other apart, and working together, sharing information, and caring less if we profit, but helping this community grow and creating safer boards. No one should be using hardware with know flaws to certain members of the community. We forget how dangerous what we do is. I’m finally setting aside funds to get a tsg full face helmet, and a full leather suit. We can’t do anything if we are brain dead or literally dead.


I think those are a great idea and I’ve had my eyes on them for a while. I would like to have a servo control them instead of a peddle, and activate that servo via a button on the controller as an emergency brake (not a main braking system). But I think 4wd creates the first layer of safety for braking.

1 Like

Ideally i would say you would want both, convenience of being electrically controlled for normal operation and a mechanical pedal if electronics fail. I’m in the process of modelling some precision trucks with inboard disk brakes.

That’s true, cause drop outs are one of the biggest problems to safety I’ve seen in this community. If you have a controller drop out, the disc brakes do nothing if you can’t control them with out the controller.

1 Like

Are you documenting this on this forum?

This 4wd performance is pretty impressive.

45 mph seems very realistic.

A servo controlled Brake Board would be amazing. Would really open up high speed mountain touring.

I suppose hubs could be mated to that axle profile?



Nothing respectable to show yet

Oh okay. I was also thinking of designing something similar for Caliber II trucks. What discs are you planning use?

Using 1/5 scale r/c items, should make it a little easier to make something real to test the concept. Will most likely need beefing up if it has any effect on the small scale

Sweet, that’s what I was going to use. Not sure if buying the kit is even worth it for these brakes.

Someone on endless sphere did it with two discs and it worked quite well. I estimated around 20mph to 0 in 25ft. Nothing spectacular but that’s about as much as you can do without flying off.

Shimano mountain bike parts


Looks like a tidy install, I just can’t look at that style of board and ever think I would want to own it.


yeah maybe with pneumatics on a mountain board.

Onda wheels are kind of utilitarian. Not really for high speeds.

What you say is true, redundancy, but having one component (one motor fail) while being pushed by three others could also do more harm than good on the motor controller. all the way back to the battery feeding it

Yeah besides it is a lot of wiring and money to make 4WD set up.

1 Like

The total cost of my 4wd was about $1800. It’s really not that bad when you consider the price of a raptor or boosted dual+ or evolve gt (which is more expensive). Belt drives have more parts, and when you cut out a lot of inflation that’s been in hubs so far, they are so much cheaper than belt drives. And they are simpler, if you power it smartly and configure it right, you can get just as much torque and speed from hubs as a satellite config.

It’s true, but the point of this topic was more about improving safety. It will likely allow you to still brake if 1 motor fails. This is why single motor planes are super dangerous. And I feel that single motored boards have this weakness (say a belt brakes on your mono drive board down a hill, you could be screwed).

Many people on this forum ride in controlled and environments, or a few times a week or don’t like riding over 15 or 20 mph, but there’s a hand full of us that us it to commute, and want to reach speeds of a car on that commute. And odds are in that environment, something will go wrong with something at some point, whether tomorrow or in 5 years. The question is will you be ready when that happens?

I don’t think a lot of people who like speed realize how risky it is riding over 25 mph without leather or a good helmet (like me). I’m glad to see some in the community like @RunPlayBack involved in telling stories of what can go wrong. They are a good reminder of what can go wrong. There’s a reason the guys who test the nextgen board wear helmets and leather.

1 Like

dude, you are taking this too far. A 45mph Eboard is not a commute tool but a suicide machine. Also 4wd is not saver imo b/c twice the motors and twice the electronics present twice the risk of a failure that could potentially throw you off the board at high speed… and then redundance doesnt do sh*t.