If you’re someone that’s into regular skateboards, you’d know that Backfire is a well-known name around most parts of the US. They make good, quality skateboards, and their customer service is one of the best in the industry. But enough about them, let’s talk about this electric longboard; the Backfire G2T. They’ve used all the expertise, craftmanship and experience they got out of the regular skateboarding world and made one of the best boards out there; not just for their own price range. This one can compete with the big names, like Boosted, thanks to its quality for price ratio.
Backfire G2T – Powerful and Budget Friendly
Backfire boards aim to strike the perfect balance between affordable price and high quality. Premium electric skateboards cost way more, while cheap Chinese electric skateboard either costs more or has cut more corners. G2T is the 2019 improved version of G2, also known as Backfire Galaxy. In short, this is one of the best and most affordable electric skateboard for short distance (within a 10-mile radius) commuting or riding on paved roads.
Features and Specs:
- Power: 700W (Two 350 W motors)
- Battery: 30Q 10S2P 36 V 6.0 h SAMSUNG 18650, about 3 hour charge time with a 2.5 A charger
- Max Speed: 23.5 mph
- Max Range: Ideally, 15 miles, but realistically about 12 miles, depending on the wheels used
- Brakes: Electric Brakes, no E-ABS
- Deck: 8-ply maple
- Light: Included LED headlight
- Weight: 16.3 lbs
- Max Load: 260 lbs
- Remote control: Remote with great ergonomics and a good OLED display
- Controller: Beginner-friendly Hobbywing ESC
Design and Build
The deck is made out of hard 8-layer maple, like most skateboards are. The board has a bit of a convex going on, it’s not 100% neutral but it’s not aggressive either. Deck has a medium flex, a very mild camber, a very mellow kicktail. It’s obvious that this is a beginner friendly board, made excellent with the years of experience that Backfire has in the skating world.
The next best thing about the board is the 50 degree Caliber II truck . These famous trucks are one of the best on the market, not something you can see on a budget-friendly electric skateboard. The rear truck that houses the hub motors is a generic one.
The wheels are good; they’re regular polyurethane, with a tire hardness of 83A SHRAA. The rear motors have swappable PU sleeves; these used to be a problem on the older boards but they’re now reinforced with steel cores on the inside of the wheel. This prolongs their life and shock-absorption considerably.
You get two sets of wheels, 83mm and 96mm, but no options in between. The 83mm wheels are too small for off-road but they offer better performance and torque. The 96mm wheels are tall, which gives you better range and high speed but are harder to maneuver with. There’s a small issue with the back-wheels; they come out of the box brand new and as smooth as glass. Grind them down a bit by holding down the board and turning the hub motors on. About 30-50 seconds of grinding will make your wheels nice and rough.
The entire board weights about 16 lbs, which is fine. Most other e-boards are within this weight range. While it’s certainly heavier than a longboard, it’s light enough to carry on a bus or train and not take up too much space.
Power and Speed
The G2T has two 350 W hub motors. It’s got about 700 W of power, which is a bit on the lower side. But it’s good enough to feel extremely fast for a newcomer to the longboarding world. Backfire company claims it can reach 23.5 mph, but the best we got was about 22 mph. Still plenty fast.
The rider’s weight and height has a considerable effect on the range, speed and felt torque and acceleration, and most manufacturers use relatively light test riders that get great specification scores. Your results may vary, but they’ll always be near to what the manufacturer got.
While the manufacturer claims this board climbs hills up to 25% gradient, it already struggles at about 20%. It will beat that hill, but it slows down considerably. There are claims that some people in San Francisco use this board with no issues, but we’re skeptical about that. Climbing steep hills was not fun with this board. Smaller, 10% gradients were easily beaten.
The brakes are good. Really good, especially for this price range. In Eco mode, the brakes are mellow and slow to stick, but this is fine considering that only newcomers use the Eco mode.
In the Sport mode, the brakes are a lot stronger and have a small learning curve. Sometimes the wheels lock up, as there’s no E-ABS (though asking for one at this price-point is rather pointless). The brakes also behave like this in Turbo mode, which is a good thing because you don’t have to get used to a whole new braking technique.
The board features 3 modes. The Eco, Sport, and the Turbo mode (30 seconds). The difference between Eco and Sport are how much torque and acceleration the board applies (and conversely, how sticky the brakes are).
Turbo mode is a lot of fun, it lasts for 30 seconds and has no top speed limit; we pushed the board to about 22 mph but we believe it can go even faster. There’s a 30 seconds cooldown after every turbo mode, and that wasn’t that fun. The brakes were just as sticky as they were in Sport mode, which is a great deal.
Turbo mode has to have a limited duration and a cooldown after because there’s a risk of overheating or excessive wear and tear. After the turbo mode ends, there’s a sudden loss of speed, but it wasn’t dangerous or unsafe.
The only caveat we had trouble with was the fact that you had to enter Turbo mode from a standstill; you couldn’t just add some extra power while you were already in motion. Turbo mode is also useful for beating hills and inclines.
This board uses the Samsung 30Q 10S2P 36V 6.0Ah 18650 LiPo battery. Let’s break that down into smaller numbers and explain what it actually means.
The 18650 Samsung 30Q batteries are one of the best on the market. You’ll find them in most personal electric vehicles like electric scooters. Most other boards use generic batteries that aren’t as safe or high quality at this price range.
The 36 Volts mean that this EV’s maximum speed will be about 20 mph. Voltage = Top Speed. Most scooters and e-bikes have batteries with more voltage and can reach higher speeds.
It has 6.0 Ah (or 36V*6Ah = 216 Watthour). Ah = how much juice the battery can hold, and this translates to a range of about 12 miles (might go to 16 in Eco). Due to the battery having so much capacity, the charging time is about 2.5 hours with the included 2.5 A charger. Our real-world test was a bit longer, and the board was charging for 3 hours.
What about the voltage sag? There’s barely any. On the last 25% of the battery, the board slows down a bit, but it can keep going right up until the last 10% or less of the battery. Some other boards have a continuous, gradual loss of performance on use; this is called “voltage sag” and it really dulls the fun you can have with a board.
The board will slow down a lot before it’s out of juice, and you won’t accidentally drain the batteries (LiPos that get completely drained are completely ruined and unusable).
G2T uses Hobbywing ESC, which is mellow, beginner friendly and not too aggressive. Its evil, older brother is the LiYing controller is much more aggressive (and a bit more fun). Most people prefer the mellow feel of the Hobbywing, and this is a better beginner board that most others that we reviewed.
Still, we did miss the automatic power-up the LiYing controller has, as you have to turn the board around and press a button every time you wanted to ride instead of just jumping on.
You get two sets of wheels on this electric skateboard, the 83mm and 96mm ones. This is one of the rare only boards that ships with an extra set of wheels free of charge.
In the box, you’ll get a fantastic mountable LED headlight, if those are your jam. Many riders believe a helmet mounted light is a lot more useful, but this one has fantastic performance. It’s one of the best lights we’ve gotten over the years.
You also get a cool shirt, which was a very welcome surprise. You can choose one of the 4 graphic designs, and they’re quite good.
Backfire G2 vs G2T – What’s improved?
Prior Backfire skateboards have had their set of problems. Let’s not beat around the bush here. G2S had an annoying motor vibration problem due to the shoddy manufacturing process of the PU hub motor sleeves. They weren’t tight enough and they’d start to vibrate; while this didn’t considerably influence the way the skaters used their boards or wear the components out any faster, it was an annoying problem.
It’s fixed by adding a small steel core to the rear PU sleeves; this gives them more stability and lessens the wear and tear.
G2T uses two 350 W motors instead of the 300 W motors the earlier boards use. Coupled with the higher quality battery, the G2T has about 20% more range compared to the old backfire skateboards. The other cool modification Backfire did is make the trucks wider; a wider wheel span gives you a more stable ride.
Despite popular criticism, the remote was okay. It wasn’t anything special, but it worked. The new improved remote with OLED display was made with the community’s feedback, and it’s fantastic. You can even link it up to some other boards, but most of the time the cruise control and the turbo boost option won’t work.
When we compare the ESCs, the G2S has a lot more voltage sag compared to the G2T. The new controller fixes this issue by closely controlling the current and the hub motors, providing a much more stable and smooth experience.
Not really a problem with the board, but in the beginning, Backfire customer service wasn’t the best, but they fixed that too. You’ll get trained, quick-to-reply service now that’ll take care of any problems while under warranty. In short, they’ve made everything better with the new version.
How to upgrade the G2S to a G2T?
It is possible to upgrade a G2S skateboard to a G2T using an upgrade kit. In the package, you get a new ESC and remote control, which you can install. It’s quick and easy to install, and you’ll get all the new features like cruise control and Turbo mode (if you have the Samsung 6.0 battery).
You’ll still have the regular G2S 300 W hub motors; buy the 350 W hub motors from Backfire if you want to upgrade them too. It costs about $300 to upgrade a G2S to a G2T; it’s a lot more cost effective to just buy a new G2T, but we’re very happy that the option to slowly upgrade your board over time is there.
Interestingly, if you’re interested in making your own Backfire e-board, buying the wheels, the battery and the upgrade kit gives you an amazing base and makes your upcoming build quite simpler.
In short, we’re impressed with Backfire skateboards, especially the G2T. This is one of the best cheap electric longboards out there; for the price, its only rivals are the Ride1Up boards. This board is just a few steps below Boosted boards, for a third of the price. In a sea of budget electric skateboards, backfire skateboards are among the most popular ones, and after testing one, we understand why. Take look at a video from our fellow skateboarding enthusiast to get more insight into the awesome Backfire skateboards.