First Impressions of the M1 Electric Skateboard
This past week we were fortunate enough to receive the new Inboard M1 Electric Skateboard to demo. Since its launch on Kickstarter, we’ve been eagerly following the M1. With the motors incorporated within the wheels on the board, the M1 brings something truly unique to the electric skateboard market.
Not only does this give the board a very streamlined, clean look, but it also allows the board to roll freely like a traditional skateboard. This is distinct from brands such as Boosted, Yuneec, or Evolve that utilize a belt-drive system to power the board.
Fortunately, we still had a first generation Boosted Single Electric Skateboard at the shop to compare against the M1. How does it stack up? Read on for our first impressions.
It’s hard to not be immediately impressed by the Inboard M1 when you first get your hands on the box. The M1 is very cleanly and deliberately packed, and comes with a bag for transporting the board (a great addition for travel). The board requires little assembly – you simply connect the battery, place a rubber gasket around the edge of the battery cavity, and secure the compartment cover by hand twisting the plastic latch 90 degrees.
This makes the battery easily accessible and swappable, allowing you to easily extend the range of your board by carrying additional batteries. This differs from first generation (non-swappable) Boosted Boards, which require the untightening of six hex screws to access the battery. The battery does need to be removed to be charged on the M1, the charger securing magnetically to the battery pack.
The RFLX Remote, used to control the M1, is without a doubt the most comfortable remote I’ve used yet. Its ergonomic shape fits naturally over your hand, and stays in place even if you open your palm. For power delivery, you simply hold the front button and roll the joystick forward. It feels very much like a Wii Nunchuk. If you prefer the remote without the tail, it can be simply removed with the aid of a screwdriver. Don’t want a remote at all? The board can be synced and controlled with your iPhone via their app.
The M1 is turned on by simply holding the power button on the RFLX Remote. Front and back lights turn on upon powering up the board. These can be turned off by holding the front trigger and clicking the power button once. These lights provide extra visibility, especially useful at dusk / night, but are not actually sufficient for safely illuminating your path at nighttime. Left on, they seemed to have a noticeable effect on battery life, but more comparison tests would be needed to validate that claim.
The board has three different speed modes. The first is clearly for novice skaters or young kids, accelerating slowly and having a much lower top speed. The middle mode accelerated slightly faster, and reached a higher top speed. This mode has more of an auto-pilot feel, preventing extreme remote reactions from causing extreme board responses. The third mode can be considered expert mode. This has extremely fast acceleration and input reaction. While fun, and my preferred mode, this can make the board feel a bit twitchy until you smooth out your inputs. Acceleration and top speed felt very similar to the first gen Boosted Dual+.
As for board feel itself, the M1 is much stiffer than Boosted’s loaded deck. For heavier riders or those looking for more responsive turning, this is going to be a welcome feature. I personally much prefer the extra flex in the Boosted deck, especially when riding on subpar roads or when traffic requires I jump on the sidewalk.
After a three mile commute home on the M1 that involved roads of varying quality, I could feel some tenderness in my legs / feet from the vibrating that I haven’t felt while making the same commute on the Boosted Single. On smooth pavement however, the M1 rides like a dream. The stiff deck gives you a very traditional skateboard experience, only at 20 mph.
The fact that the M1 glides like a traditional non-motorized skateboard due to the motor being internalized in the wheel is another big draw. Disengaging power, the board freely rolls, giving the M1 a very authentic skateboard feel. Comparatively, Boosted Boards experience a slight drag due to the belt-drive system. I didn’t notice the free-rolling as much as I thought I would, as while testing I found myself either applying power or braking most of the time. I think with more frequent use I would utilize the free-roll more, especially in congested urban areas where short-burst kick power would suffice.
Both M1 and Boosted feature regenerative braking, great for extending the life of your battery. I found myself able to get about 3 ½ - 4 miles on the M1 before running out of power, but again I was riding it on the fastest mode and was constantly engaging the board. With smarter free-rolling and more conservative power use, I think I could push it to 5 – 6 miles. With the $100 battery upgrade on the second gen Boosted, they purportedly will have a range of 10 – 14 miles. To achieve similar distance on the M1, you’ll have to purchase a second battery for $299.
With regard to pricing, the Inboard M1 will retail for $1399. Additional batteries are $299 each. The Boosted Dual+ (the most appropriate for comparison) will retail for $1499 or $1599 with the larger 199 wh battery. Additional battery costs are yet to be disclosed by Boosted. With Boosted, a Motor Belt Service Kit will be occasionally required to replace worn belts, costing $25. It should be noted that both the M1 PowerShift and Boosted standard battery fall under the 99 wh airline restriction, and can be carried onto commercial airlines. The upgraded 199wh battery offered by Boosted cannot be taken on commercial flights.
So, which board is right for you?
It all depends on what you’re looking for in a board. Personally, I’ll probably pick up a Boosted Dual+ v2 board. I prefer the softer, more forgiving feel the deck affords and am excited for the additional range without having to carry around spare batteries. For heavier riders or those who want a more authentic skate feel, they’ll likely want to get the M1. Both are very refined products however, and honestly, neither will disappoint.
Make sure to check back soon when we get our hands on the second gen Boosted Dual+.