How do you know when you have a product that’s actually cool on your hands? A place to start is to notice how people’s eyes light up, they stop and stare, and all your friends keep asking you to use it.
From the top, and even the sides, this Boosted board is just a regular longboard—a skateboard made to more closely mimic surfing. From underneath, however, it’s a completely different beast. Something with the potential to change how you think of personal transportation and getting around town.
There are lots of cool, eye-catching, products, but rarely does one capture a person’s imagination so quickly. Boosted’s motorized skateboard calls to you and begs to be experienced. Why? Because the second you see it, you can instantly imagine how fun it could be, or even how it could improve an aspect of your life.
Boosted isn’t the only motorized skateboard available, there’s actually quite a few companies in the personal transportation space beginning to take off like Zboard or Onewheel. But Boosted is probably the most familiar looking of these new transportation methods.
The board is a standard, high quality Loaded brand, board with a battery and electric motor attached to the bottom. It isn’t your average DIY weekend project, however, the board and overall package looks sleek and well designed. That’s part of the board’s initial appeal, its unassuming and graceful appearance. Flanked with bright orange Orangatan wheels and no option for customization, Boosted’s design is both high quality parts with a touch of fun for the overall look.
Boosted currently comes in three different models starting with the Single Boosted for $999, Boosted Dual for $1299, and Boosted Dual+ for $1499. I tested the Dual+ which, like the middle Boosted Dual, has motor belts on both wheels. The differentiator between the two is the Dual+’s ability to climb a higher grade of hill—25-percent versus 20-percent—and a top speed of 22 miles per hour compared to 20 MPH.
The board is operated with a remote control connected via Bluetooth—just like you might control an RC car. The remote has a trigger which acts like a kill switch when disengaged and a rotary knob for forward and reverse. When you do spin the knob in reverse it kicks in the regenerative braking and takes the energy created from the friction and puts it back into the system—the same way Tesla Motors’ electric car’s braking works.
Out of the box, Boosted was ready to go. I willfully consented to all the death threats this thing presented—by law, I’m sure—and was eager to get started. I quickly flipped through the manual to make sure I was on the right track, but hitting the power button on the bottom of the board and holding the remote’s multi-button for a few seconds got everything powered up and connected.
I held the trigger button and gently eased on the throttle knob and I was flying through the air, sorta. I was astonished that I was able to get familiar with the board so quickly. I was hitting full throttle within minutes. The only problem was that it didn’t feel like I was going very fast, especially up minor inclines. I definitely wouldn’t be racing away from any neighborhood bullies without getting caught on this thing.
The problem, I later realized, is that Boosted has multiple modes and ships in a beginner mode. It’s limited to 11 MPH and can’t really handle any hills in this mode. Although I felt a little foolish for not consulting the manual longer initially, I was happy to learn everything was performing normally.
Most people won’t stay in beginner mode too long, but it’s a brilliant move to make all types of people with different skill levels feel comfortable. My wife gave it a go and was moving forwards and backwards will little problem right away despite being pretty apprehensive about falling.
Pushing the multi-button three times switches modes which is indicated by the number of beeps. In the higher modes the throttle is definitely touchier and the take-off can provide too much torque if you aren’t careful, but the board performs like you’d hoped it would. Most hills are a breeze to race up and the top speed is almost always too fast.
The advertised battery life is in distance, not in time. For example, I was easily able to use the board on a single charge over the course of a week when riding in short spurts each day. I was also able to ride for more than 45 minutes straight with two out of five dots remaining on the battery. I also took a few round trips that were roughly four or five miles with no issue.
On paper, six miles doesn’t seem far, in the way an electric car’s limited 100-200 mile range doesn’t seem like enough. But in practice, it’s almost more than enough for everyday tasks. Actually traveling six miles in one direction on a skateboard is a hard thing to do in itself, so I didn’t find the restrictions to have any real effect on my desire to use the board.
The times I did take the board on destination trips, hills weren’t a problem. The hardest part about going somewhere is tight turns. When you’re cruising, taking the long and graceful way is fine, but when going from point A to point B, making quick turns isn’t easy. Left and right T-shaped turns are difficult at any speed because of the board’s tight suspension. This makes sense because at high speeds, or any speed really, you want to feel stable. It’s a mandatory trade-off that doesn’t prohibit transit use, just makes it a little less convenient.
There are a few other issues that should be considered as well—beyond just the monetary cost. First, the board is quite heavy. If this is your last mile vehicle, that means you still need to lug it around once you get wherever you’re going. If you’re carrying a bag with laptop and possibly other gear, the roughly 15-pound board could quickly be untenable.
The other consideration is wear and tear. I was consciously very careful, but still managed to scrape up the bottom-side hardware. Riding uneven sidewalks, going over larger-than-normal curb inlets, and general street riding can garner some minor cosmetic issues. The wheel motors wrap around the trucks which cause a lower clearance than would typically be available. I should be clear though, this never hampered or obstructed riding wherever I normally would on a skateboard.
The great thing about Boosted is that it doesn’t need to be justified. For some it’s an expensive novelty, but for others it might be an essential travel tool. In the same way a quality surfboard or expensive hobby might end up costing you a pretty penny, using Boost just for recreation might be enough.
I spent some time with the board as both a means of transportation and entertainment. Both proved to get whatever job they were doing, done—same as a bicycle.
No matter how you slice it, even the entry level Boosted board isn’t cheap. And the value of it will be unique to each person. But from my time with Boosted, I can say that it delivered on both its explicit and implicit promises. It provided as much fun and excitement as I could have dreamt, but it also provided a practical way to get around.
If you can afford it, or budget for it, a Boosted board shouldn’t disappoint. It’s the real deal.