Two Wheeled Electric Skateboard – Yiiboard (and others)
Last couple of years were groundbreaking for electric skateboards. The industry has exploded and we’ve seen an abundance of different designs, innovative technologies from startups and established companies alike. There is a deck shape and a feature pack for almost every preference, and if you can’t seem to find a pre-made board you like, there is a number of kits and parts to build your own. But all of these boards have had one thing in common – four wheels. Until now.
The electric skateboard community has always been secretly wondering if it would be possible to make an electric skateboard with two wheels. And I’m not talking about one of those self-balancing gimmicks unrightfully named “hoverboards”. The concept of skateboard on two wheels is actually nothing new. You have probably heard of those wave boards, or caster boards that require you to do that funny wiggle in order to keep moving. And there is also the Razor Ripsurf, a two wheeled skateboard designed to allow riders to carve and cut like a real surfboard, but on dry land. Well, it makes perfect sense that someone would want to try and motorize it.
Yiiboard – “The first two-wheeled electric skateboard”
The first official production two wheel electric skateboard is called Yiiboard, by a Chinese startup Yiimix. It is essentially a board, with two wheels and a 400 W brushless hub motor in its rear wheel. What sets this board apart from other electric longboards (I mean besides the obvious) is its improved agility and the ability to make sharp turns easily mainly because of its front wheel that rotates just like the wheels of a castor board. The body is made of aircraft grade aluminum, which makes this skateboard lightweight, but durable and also waterproof. The length of the board is 33.8 inches, so it fits the standard size of a skateboard, and it features a kick tail for improved maneuverability. The weight is about 13.5 lbs which is not heavy even for kids, and it has got a pair of cutout handles, so carrying it around is pretty easy.
All the components are cleverly built in the body, including the 18650 Panasonic rechargeable lithium battery. And since everything is protected you can ride it through puddles and even in light rain. The top speed is 12 mph, which is just enough to have fun while riding. Advertised range is 18 miles, but this is a very new product, so there are no real tests apart from those conducted by the Yiiboard production team itself. The regenerative braking technology should help you recover some battery power while slowing down. Yiiboard can climb hills up to 15 degree angle and it has maximum load of 330lbs.
The board is controlled by a handheld remote with a slider. There is a button on the side that allows you to select a speed mode. When it is pushed downward, the board will be in beginner mode where the maximum speed is 6.2mph. When pushed upward, the board will be in its pro mode, allowing you to hit the maximum speed of 12.4 mph. The remote is rechargeable and it has got LED indicators that show how much power is left in the board’s battery. It takes 3-4 hours to fully charge the battery. Yiiboard is equipped for the night ride as well, with LED headlights and tail lights.
The Yiiboard started as an Indiegogo campaign. Released in November last year, this device has never reached popularity and the funding campaign was unsuccessful, since only about 15% of their funding goal was raised. It’s strange that this interesting board didn’t get more attention. “Interesting” is an understatement, Yiiboard actually looks like it’s tons of fun! It’s cleverly designed, it looks cools and the price is great for what you get.
How do you ride this thing?
Well, unfortunately, I don’t have a personal experience with this board. I can only assume what it feels like to ride it. I believe it is pretty similar to riding a wave board, only you do not have to move your feet to make it go, because the electric motor does it for you. It certainly has a much steeper learning curve than a regular electric skateboard. The two wheel design requires some time to get used to. It’s just like when you started learning to ride a bike without training wheels: it was hard at first, but it become easier when you realized that the bike balances itself when in motion. The same goes for electric skateboard with two wheels. Just take some time to practice and make sure to wear a proper safety equipment. If you have ridden a wave board or a ripstick, it would be much easier for you. The ride feels just like street surfing, powered by electric charge.
Other interesting two wheeled skateboard projects
Speaking of RipStick, last year Razor launched their version of RipStick with an electric motor but earlier this year it was recalled due to fall hazard. I don’t know if you can still buy it in stores or online, but you can read more details about the recall in the US SPSC report.
UPDATE: Razor Electric RipStick is available on Amazon again
Despite being only one you can officially purchase, Yiiboard is not the only electric skateboard on two wheels that hit the streets. While researching I found couple of awesome DIY projects, both on Esk8 Builders forum. There was also one on the Endless Sphere, but all three of them look muck more like a scooter without a handlebar than an actual skateboard. They are very inspiring though, so I decided to share them here.
The first one is a custom electric two wheel board called Pave-X, with almost every part homemade, from the wooden deck to the plastic battery cover. Here is what it looks like:
And you can read more about this awesome build here.
The second one is a full DIY electric board with two wheels, with all the parts hand cut, without the CNC machine. This monster is able to reach top speed of 27mph! Check out the video:
These two designs were mainly inspired by a thread on Endless Sphere forum featuring a mechanical engineering design project, a two wheeled scooter/skateboard hybrid with 8” diameter wheels. Considering it is an actual university research project, it is very well documented, and you can find all the details in this thread on the Endless Sphere forum.
So what do you think of this two wheel concept? Do you have a personal experience with Yiiboard. Have an interesting DIY project you would like to share? Or a question? Please write in the comment section below.