A broken belt or flat tyre is an esk8ers worst nightmare!
Especially if it occurs during that night time group ride you have been planning for weeks.
Let me set the scene; Your squad grows rapidly impatient as you fumble around in the dark looking for the speed washer you dropped.
Even worse, that time when you didn’t bring any spares and you limp home with tail/board between your legs.
Back in 2018, Backfire made a board called Ranger X1
Since launching, the Backfire Ranger line of electric skateboards has always stood out from the crowd due to one very polarising feature! Unlike most all-terrain electric skateboard on the market, that use belt drive, satellite motors and pneumatic tyres, the Ranger line of all-terrain boards is equipped with two large direct-drive hub motors cleverly disguised as 165mm Wheels.
A bold design choice, but one that will ensure you never hold up the squad on a group ride due to the common mechanical or maintenance issues that most other all-terrain boards on the market can suffer from.
With an ever-expanding line up of electric skateboards backfire is rapidly becoming known as one of the go-to brands for electric skateboards. It seems every quarter Backfire have one, or two, brand new upgraded models available for pre-order or in many cases in stock ready for immediate dispatch from their global network of warehouses scattered across 4 continents, America, Europe Asia, Australia.
Backfire’s growth in the electric skateboard market has been phenomenal to watch and they just keep delivering better & better specifications with each new iteration of board they release, and as of this week, their latest offering is shipping out, the eagerly awaited, Upgraded, All-terrain flagship, the Ranger X3
Backfire’s New Flagship Model - The Ranger X3
KEY PERFORMANCE UPGRADES
- 12S Battery with 21700 Cells, Max Battery output current of 90 amps
- Thanks to the battery upgrade, More Power to motors, now 1500W each
- Also, New Motors offering a higher max top speed of 42km/h
Randy, the CEO of Backfire tells me there is a big difference in torque output with the new Ranger X3
In terms of aesthetics & design, the Ranger X3 looks very much a premium board. In terms of price, at $1499USD it also takes the prize as the most expensive board on backfire’s direct to consumer online store www.backfireboards.com - It’s $500USD more than the next cheapest option, rightly deserving the “Flagship” Title.
In terms of hardware, what you get for your hard-earned moola easily justifies the $1499USD price tag. Don’t forget the price also includes shipping to your door. Look, Backfire as a brand isn’t historically considered to have over inflated prices, they are generally considered as extremely good value across the board (pardon the pun) with their most affordable complete electric skateboard, the Backfire G2 currently on sale for $409USD - This is smack bang in budget board price range!
When comparing Ranger X3 to other all-terrain options on the market, the Ranger X3 isn’t the cheapest, nor is it the most expensive all-terrain offering. It seems backfire is strategically positioning themselves to become your next premium board purchase at an affordable price point that won’t upset the wife. Randy, the CEO of Backfire, must know that old saying, happy wife, happy life!
Backfire offer a range of affordable boards, have a good reputation and offer good support.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the hardware, The Ranger X3 is built on an extremely strong carbon fibre composite symmetrical drop-down flexible deck.
Bolted onto the deck is a set of top-mounted double-kingpin trucks (DKP), no points for originality here. This “setup style” for all-terrain style builds was made famous by evolve electric skateboards years ago. I guess evolve was onto something? as now this setup has been adopted as a standard by countless other electric skateboard manufacturers, I’m not even going to name them, this trend is everywhere at the moment.
Look, speaking personally, I’m not a fan of double kingies, but this setup looks great. This style is tried & tested, loved by thousands of riders across the globe, especially those who love the surfy, carvy, deep leaning turns that this geometry offers. It’s fun & it’s functional and it would be fair to say that this truck setup will be suitable for your everyday average rider, doing everyday esk8 stuff. The truth of the matter is, it’s really hard to be innovative with truck design, so running with this setup is perfectly acceptable & a safe design choice by backfire.
The relationship balance between Designer & Engineer is an age-old conundrum!
The relationship balance between Designer & Engineer is an age-old conundrum! When it comes to Direct drive motor & wheel integration the engineers already have a tough job on their hands to make a robust, reliable, torquey & powerful motor in a compact size. So it is welcome to see that the Ranger X3 rear hub motors have the same aesthetic design as the front non-motorized wheels.
This might not sound like a big deal, but having a matching pair of shoes is actually quite rare in the world of hub-motor-driven electric skateboards. Just remember, these subtle design changes have a high cost, it requires expensive molds to be made & there is no real-world performance benefit, it tells me that backfire cares about how their products look and that is awesome. I applaud Backfire for their attention to detail, oh & the extra speed & torque is nice too!
WHAT COMES WITH THE BOARD?
You get heaps of nice accessories FREE with the Ranger X3
Skate tool, Spare power switch on/off - Yeah that stuff is very thoughtful for sure… However, most notably, the Ranger X3 comes with wheel covers & headlights, WOW!
For commuting to work, these “mudguards” are priceless add-ons and you get them free in the box! very few places of employment would be ok with you turning up to work wearing soiled clothes. This makes the Ranger X3 a viable choice for commuting unlike many of the other all-terrain alternatives on the market.
However, I would strongly recommend you buy the upgraded charger though, the 2.5AMP charger might become annoying if you’re impatient or forgetful.
RANGER X3 SPECIFICATIONS
- Range: 28-35km / 17-21miles (80kg rider S mode 30km/h speed flat road)
- Speed: 42KM/h / 25MPH
- Battery: 50.4V 518Wh
- Motors: 1500W X2 Ultra-High Power Ultra-High Torque Hub Motors
- Deck: Flexible Drop Down Deck
- Wheels: 165mm / 6.5 Inch Thickening Honeycomb Airless Rubber Tires
- Trucks: Front & Back Double Kingpin Trucks
- System: 12S High Voltage and High Efficiency Electronic System
I haven’t ridden this board, so I cannot tell you my first-hand opinion of the raw performance. Honestly, I’m not expecting it to do burnouts, or make me wee my pants during taking off like some of the crazy DIY builds I’ve ridden.
This is how backfire describe themselves in their mission statement;
“to create high performance and affordable electric skateboards to bring you a smoother and better skating experience”
Honestly, I am expecting it to do what it says on the box, the Ranger X3 isn’t designed to be a drag machine, or launch you into a backflip off a 10ft kicker, or send you up a hill at 70mph, companies like backfire aren’t interested in making people wee in their pants and potentially injure themselves. That’s why DIY electric skateboards are a thing.
What I do know is that key performance upgrades have been implemented, specifically, a nice powerful battery is onboard that can output much bigger current, current equals torque, so that should translate into a whole lot of extra fun in the real world.
Remember, these boards are designed to be reliable, capable and practical machines that get you out & about and make your life better. This is also the 3rd generation Ranger, so I have no reason to doubt this product will fail to tick those boxes.
Once I get to try a Ranger X3, I will return & update this article with my full opinion about the performance.
To see more real-world performance, check out this full review video from a 220-pound rider.
I like the idea of a ZERO maintenance board, No belts to replace, No flat tyres to repair. That fact alone may end up being the biggest selling point for this product. Assuming the electronics are on point this should be a very reliable machine that can take you anywhere you desire in your local urban wonderland. It’s also backed by a 12-month warranty with local repair agents in USA, Canada, Australia, Germany & China.
It’s true, you will never convince those guys who love rolling on air tyres that an airless tyre with a hub motor inside is superior… But people are stubborn and who cares what they think anyway… If they don’t like vibrations and bumps they should get some fancy gel innersoles for inside their shoes or take up knitting or something less intense.
The most important thing here is that you have a board that does the job you purchased it to do! If you need a board that has minimal chances of breaking down, is great for commuting in wet conditions and can also get your carve on during the weekends, I think this board could be your best choice.
At $1499USD delivered with plenty of useful accessories, it is hard to beat to Backfire Ranger X3