There are electric scooters, and then there is the summer board, the electric skateboard with motorized spinning wheels. It gives you the feeling of snowboarding anywhere you can skateboard. I spent a few weeks getting comfortable with it, and right off the bat I’ll tell you that it’s not easy to learn, but it’s tremendous fun once everything fits together.
The model currently available for sale on the Summerboard website is the SBX. It has a top speed of 27 mph and a range of 12 miles. Pricing starts at $ 1,600 for the board, a remote, and a charger. More expensive packages are available that include other accessories, such as foot supports to keep you on the board when jumping, or Freshies, which are wheels that have better shock absorption for rougher roads.
The SBX’s battery is different from other electric scooters in that it sits on top of the deck, freeing up the bottom for tricks like slides. You can exchange them easily, they are also flat and light, so you can have a spare in your backpack on longer trips. They take 4-5 hours to fully charge.
The Bluetooth remote control itself is pretty standard. There is only one knob at the top to control the motor and a status display that will tell you its speed. It charges via Micro-USB and there are two buttons at the bottom: one to power on and one to change the speed units on the screen. It has a bit of a rugged feel, which is good, because it’s likely to slip out of your hand a few times as you learn to ride.
Riding the Summerboard SBX
The key to riding the summer board is balancing on the center wheels, almost like a scooter. The other four wheels on the outside essentially act as the edge of the board. Just like when you lean on the outer edge of a snowboard to carve into the snow, the outer wheels of the summer board are there to grip the road so the board doesn’t spin out of control. When done correctly it really feels like you are snowboarding.
The SBX may not be the most affordable or comfortable device to take to your destination, but that’s not really the point. It’s meant to be driven with skill and style, and there’s definitely a unique kind of fun in that.
Learning to ride the Summerboard is like learning a whole new sport. I spent the first session riding a few feet and then falling over and over again. It was frustrating and a bit embarrassing considering I learned to skate and snowboard over 20 years ago. But after a couple more sessions, I was able to confidently navigate my neighborhood.
There is a great series of short training videos on the Summerboard website. The exercises are divided into three days of driving plus some additional exercises and challenges to improve your skills. I found them very useful while learning.
Who is the Summerboard SBX for
Comparing the summer board to other electric scooters is like apples to oranges. It is something very own that serves its own purpose. If you are looking for something to get around the city this is probably not for you, there are. The summer board is difficult to learn and riding requires a lot of effort. But that also makes it great. You can have a great time riding this without having a destination in mind.
Riding on the summer board can also be great exercise. Although there is an electric motor that powers it, your body is constantly moving while you maneuver. In my experience, I used to sweat a lot 15-20 minutes after riding and was exhausted after an hour.
Don’t get me wrong – the SBX has the range and speed to keep up with other electric scooters. The battery always beat my stamina, and it was pretty fast for my comfort level, and something else. It just depends on whether you want the skateboard to take you where you are going or what the activity itself is. Check out my video on this page and see it in action.