Evolve Pintail Bamboo Lightning Review: Go Go Gadget Skateboard

Seriously, how big is this parking lot? You've been walking for a good five minutes and your company's office building is still just a speck on the horizon. But with this self-propelled pintail, that hike through the car park will sail right by.

What Is It?

A belt-driven electric skateboard that goes uphill as easily as it goes down.

Who's It For?

Commuters looking for a gas- and sweat-free last-mile solution.

Evolve Pintail Bamboo Lightning Review: Go Go Gadget Skateboard

Design

The bamboo pintail deck sits on 83 mm ABEC 11 wheels running ABEC 9 bearings. A 36 volt 7ah lithium polymer battery is bolted onto the underside of the deck which powers a belt-driven three-speed RWD brushless motor. The handheld pistol grip remote pairs with the motor via a Bluetooth connection and switches between low, high, and reverse speeds with the press of a button.

Evolve Pintail Bamboo Lightning Review: Go Go Gadget Skateboard

Using It

Tap the power button on the left side of the battery pack to turn on the motor, tap the left button on the remote to power on the controller, and they'll automatically pair with one another. Kick off and squeeze the trigger to engage the motor. Simple as that.

The Pintail has an advertised top speed of 22 mph and though I couldn't independently verify my exact rate of travel, I was certainly able to keep up with traffic on residential streets. The battery lasted about an hour and twenty minutes to an hour forty during my tests, remarkably close to the advertised limit of two hours, and went from zero to fully charged in roughly two and a half, three hours.

The Best Part

Good golly this thing is fast. At 6'1" 210, I'm by no means a small man (and am actually just under the board's recommended 220 lb weight limit). But you wouldn't guess that with the power at which this board accelerates. I went from a standstill to top speed on a flat surface in roughly 10 car lengths. The ride is also exceptionally smooth, without even a hint of speed riveting thanks to its sturdy 26-inch wheel base.

Tragic Flaw

This thing is Fat Albert heavy. It tips the scales at just under 20 pounds. That's enough weight to affect your stopping distance, and though you don't really notice the extra mass when you're moving, you will when the battery dies and you have to either carry or push it to your destination.

Evolve Pintail Bamboo Lightning Review: Go Go Gadget Skateboard

This Is Weird...

It's so quiet. Like a ninja skateboard.

Test Notes

  • Always wear safety gear and be not drunk while riding.
  • Pull the trigger for acceleration, press the trigger away to engage the brakes. As with all electric drives, this board takes off in an instant thanks to its massive torque. Conversely, the braking mechanism is a bit underwhelming once you're moving at speed.
  • This board was built for carving, preferably on flat land. With the added weight of the motor and battery, I needed a long runout and some extra shoe leather to stop safely at the bottom of Golden Gate Park's even modest hills.
  • This uses the same brand drive belt as my car.

Should I Buy It?

With an $1,100 price tag, this is definitely a toy for big, monied kids. It doesn't offer the same utility as an equally priced bike, but jeez if it wasn't the most fun I'd had long-boarding in a long time. If you've got the cash and are looking for a unique medium-distance transportation alternative, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more exhilarating option. Otherwise, just stick to the gravity-powered version.

Evolve Pintail Bamboo Electric Skateboard Specs

  • Dimensions: 41.6" length, 26" wheelbase
  • Weight: 19.5 pounds
  • Motor: 5000 RPM brushless
  • Battery: 36 volt 7ah lithium polymer
  • Top Speed: 22mph
  • Weight Limit: 220 pounds
  • Price: $1,100 at Evolve