What’s the deal with the new Backfire electric skateboard?
The Backfire Galaxy is the second generation of Backfire electric skateboard launched in 2013. The v1 was one of many versions of Made in China boards sold under different names (Magneto, LecDec, Falcon, Backfire, Melon Board etc.) but all with same specs: 1200w brushless motor, belt drive, remote connectivity issues etc. I do not know who copied who, and if there is in fact the original board, or they all come from the same factory and are just repainted, that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about newly launched Backfire II Galaxy Edition. Backfire is a brand of (electric) longboards manufactured by a group called Shanghai So-Fun or Hello Skate. When I got an email from a guy named Jason Li from Backfire, about the possibility to include a Backfire II Galaxy edition in the top picks of boards under $500, I decided to do some research and find out more about this new electric skateboard.
Since Jason’s email ends in “helloskate.com” I decided to take a look at their website. I found a website under construction. Then I found out there was actually a Kickstarter campaign for this board. The campaign description was very interesting piece to read:
Yes, I would love to get me lots of fun and speedy.
There is more confusion surrounding this board: at the same time the Kickstarter campaign was running, the board was available on Amazon for a short amount of time, before it was made unavailable. It was also available on backfireboards.com for a full retail price of $499. Not to mention that there is what seems to be the exact same board listed on Alibaba which made people wondering why Kickstarter, when the board is already in mass production.
All in all, the whole thing looked pretty shady. Which was really weird because Backfire is the legitimate brand in skateboarding industry, they have been selling longboards with interesting graphics for quite some time. And they still do, you can check them out here.
So what’s the deal here?
Well, it seems like the creators of the Backfire 2 wanted to get some exposure by offering the board at lower price on Kickstarter under the crowdfunding campaign. Here’s what one of the creators, Jerry Tong said: „We came to Kickstarter at the late stage when we have almost finished the product , so the funds we try to raise here is investment in machines to expand our production capacity and further develop a better board faster and durable.“
Of course, this is not at all what Kickstarter is for, so their campaign was a bust.
Seems like SoFun/Helloskate/Backfire could really use some help with their branding and marketing efforts. All the inconsistency and contradictions can really put people off what seems to be a more than decent board for the price.
Friendly advice for Randy, Jerry, Jason and the rest of the gang: work on your brand and marketing strategy. No serious company should ever allow themselves this kind of promotion:
Backfire 2 Galaxy Review
OK, time to set the story aside, and focus on the important things. Could this board actually be good? Dual hub motors for the price of under $500, it’s at least worth taking a look at.
Specs & Features
- Dual hub brushless motors 2x300W
- Panasonic 36V 6.4Ah battery
- 8-layer Canadian maple deck
- Weighs just under 14lbs
- 80mm wheels
- The wheels covers on hub motors are easily replaceable.
- It’s labeled as waterproof
- Reverse and Cruise Control function
- Regenerative breaking
- The rider weight limit is 265lbs.
Speed & Range
The top speed of Backfire II is 25 – 26 mph, which is pretty good. The advertised range is 18 miles, which is better than Boosted Board.
This board is designed primarily for the smooth roads. The deck has a nice flex, but the wheels are small, 80mm, which does give you more stability because you are closer to the ground, but it is also not the best thing for riding on rugged surfaces. On the other hand, the brakes are nice and allow you to brake gently, but also stop quickly if you need to. And coming from the company originally manufacturing longboards, it makes perfect sense that Backfire 2 will give you a smooth ride and nice maneuverability. Here is the only review on YouTube for now:
The manufacturers claim that this board can easily handle 25 degree hills, and according to initial reviews it seems to be true.
Battery & charging
The 36V 6.4 Ah Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion cell battery pack takes 3 hours to fully charge. The remote is also rechargeable.
The overall build quality is nice, the amount of flex of the deck is really what sets this board apart from other under $500 boards. The front trucks are Caliber-style gravity cast aluminum, the back tracks are also beefy with longer hub motors, and replaceable wheel covers. The battery and electronic plastic covers supposedly make this board waterproof. Overall, the board looks nice and sturdy and the parts are of decent quality. The Galaxy edition comes with a galaxy-inspired grip tape design, so it will definitely won’t go unnoticed.
Who is this board for?
Backfire electric skateboard is for anyone looking for quality budget board. It has power, nice top speed, good range, good hill climbing ability, rides very well, what more can you ask for $500. By its features and performance Backfire 2 beats much more expensive electric skateboards. The only thing that is left to see is whether it will stand the test of time.
My take on it
On paper, this does look like an awesome, yet very affordable electric longboard. I see that the guys behind Backfire 2 interact with the people interested in this board, and it will be interesting to see if the backers from the Kickstarter get their boards and hear their impressions. So if anyone that owns Backfire 2 reads this, please write in the comments below about you experience.