There's electric skateboards, and then there's the Summerboard, the electric skateboard with motorized caster wheels. It gives you the feeling of snowboarding anywhere you can ride a skateboard. I spent a few weeks getting comfortable on it and, right off the bat, I'll tell you it's not easy to learn, but it is wildly fun once everything clicks.
The model currently available for sale on. It has a top speed of 27 mph and a range of 12 miles. The price starts at $1,600 for the board, a remote and charger. There are more expensive bundles available that include other accessories, like footholds to keep you on the board when you jump, or Freshies, which are wheels that have better shock absorption for rougher roads.
The SBX's battery is different from other electric skateboards in that it sits on top of the deck, which frees up the bottom side for tricks like boardslides. You can easily swap them, plus they're flat and lightweight so you can keep a spare in your backpack on longer rides. They take 4-5 hours to fully charge.
The Bluetooth remote itself is pretty standard. There's just one knob on top to control the motor, and a status display that will tell you your speed. It charges via Micro-USB and there's two buttons on the bottom: one for power and the other for changing the units of speed on the display. It does have a bit of a rugged feel to it, which is good, because it will likely fly out of your hand a few times while you're learning to ride.
Riding the Summerboard SBX
The key to riding the Summerboard is to balance on the center wheels, almost like a scooter. The other four wheels on the outside essentially act as the board's edge. Much like when you lean on the outside edge of a snowboard to carve into the snow, the outside wheels of the Summerboard are there to catch the road so the board doesn't spin out of control. When done correctly, it really does feel like you're snowboarding.
The SBX may not be the most affordable or comfortable device for getting you to your destination, but that's not really the point of it. It's meant to be ridden with skill and style, and there's definitely a unique kind of fun to that.
Learning to ride the Summerboard is like learning an entirely new sport. I spent the first session riding for a few feet and then falling off over and over again. It was frustrating and kind of embarrassing considering I learned how to skate and snowboard over 20 years ago. But after a couple more sessions, I was able to confidently cruise through my neighborhood.
There's a great series of short training videos on the Summerboard website. The exercises are broken up into three days of riding plus some additional drills and challenges to improve your skills. I found them super helpful while learning.
Who the Summerboard SBX is for
Comparing the Summerboard to other electric skateboards out there is like apples to oranges. It's very much its own thing that serves its own purpose. If you're looking for something to get you around town, this likely isn't for you -- there are. The Summerboard is difficult to learn and riding requires a good deal of effort. But that's also what makes it cool. You can have a great time riding this without having a destination in mind.
Riding the Summerboard can also be great exercise. Even though there's an electric motor propelling you, your body is constantly moving as you maneuver. In my experience, I would typically work up a strong sweat within 15-20 minutes of riding and I would be exhausted after an hour.
Don't get me wrong: The SBX does have the range and speed to keep up with other electric skateboards. The battery always outlasted my endurance, and it went plenty fast for my comfort level, and then some. It just depends on whether you want the skateboard to get you where you're going, or to be the activity itself. Watch my video on this page and see it in action.