The Problem With Over-promising and Under-delivering
Back in June 2017, Huger Tech a new entrant into the electric skateboard market launched a line of three electric skateboards via an Indiegogo campaign. Huger Tech put together some very compelling marketing materials for their line of products. Cinematic videos, glossy photos, exploded parts diagrams and impressive spec sheets. The Indiegogo campaign generated a lot of positive buzz and the campaign quickly exceeded the initial goal. Industry experts were skeptical of another Chinese electric skateboard manufacturer with a California address posing as the next great competitor to Boosted Boards.
Prototypes were sent out to YouTube influencers for testing and the feedback was mixed at best. FabTrav in his review stated, "I cannot recommend these boards. They have to change a lot." He goes on to state that the wheel base is too short, the trucks are too high from the ground and the brakes are scary. As someone who backed the Indiegogo campaign, I was disappointed after the initial reviews, but held out hopes that Huger Tech would make changes based on the reviews.
Huger Tech's communication with their backers has been really weak. An excited group of over 400 backers have been very engaged in the comments section of the Indiegogo campaign page, but Huger Tech has been very quiet about production and changes. Delivery was originally slated for early October 2017. On October 25th Huger Tech issued an update that they were making improvements to the boards based on the prototype testing and that would delay shipping until November/December. Even with the delays they continued to push out marketing materials trying to sell even more boards. The community began to grow impatient as the Christmas holiday neared and still no signs of the boards. Boards finally began shipping the week of Christmas with the first backers receiving boards right after Christmas. Mine arrive on December 26th. Many are still waiting for their boards. Boards have been shipped missing parts and some have had issues with batteries not charging properly.
The Travel Board Review
The packaging looks really nice, another sign that Huger Tech is more interested in marketing than the product itself. My package was supposed to include advanced user bushing and a t-shirt for being an early backer. Neither were included. The board is heavier than I expected at 15 lbs (site stated 14.6) and it is quite short. After charging up the remote and the board I took it for a first spin. The board looks great. The grip tape is nice, the maple deck looks cool, the battery housing is clean and solid, the quick disconnect cables to the hub motors are nicely routed and the lights are super cool. The remote is ergonomically comfortable and seems well designed.
For my first ride I set the remote to low speed mode and found it to offer a nice ride. The throttle is responsive, but not too torquey and the brakes worked well. The board is really stiff and unforgiving over bumps. It doesn't turn very well. I re-adjusted the trucks with the included skate wrench and headed back out to try out fast mode. In fast mode the board is insanely torquey. The Android or iOS app allows you to adjust the torque, but even set at zero the board is offers too much torque. I found it wanting to do a wheely. This is an issue that is compounded by the short wheelbase. With practice I have gotten better at feathering the throttle on the remote to overcome the torque challenges. The brakes are overly responsive as well, but this tends to be an issue on all hub motor boards. The Travel board has some unique features such as LED lights in the top of the deck that are supposed to show direct arrows when using a GPS for directions. I have not figured out how to make this function work yet. The LED headlights and tail lights are pretty cool and great for riding at night or at dusk. The tail light comes on when the brakes are applied. The app allows for control of the ambient lighting color. There are several colors to choose from. The app also allows the user to change the horn sound, however the horn is too quiet to really be heard when riding.
Range and Speed
Huger Tech advertised the range as 22 miles. In my testing I have not been able to get over 12 miles even riding on flat smooth pavement at an average speed of 13 mph. I have been able to achieve the advertised top speed of 20 mph which is a bit scary on this board because it is so short and so stiff. Longboard electric skateboards with bamboo decks absorb bumps much better and offer better carving ability. The board definitely has the 20% hill climbing ability that they advertise.
- Sexy Packaging
- LED Lights are Cool- Headlights, Tail Lights and color changing ambient lights
- Phone App- Cool to have range, battery power and other features
- Swapable battery
- Horn is fun
- Range is far less than promised
- Board is too stiff
- Board is too heavy
- Board is too short
- Torque control and brakes need refinement
- Late delivery and missing parts
- Wheel wobble
- Rattling sound (not sure where this is coming from)
Huger Tech made a good effort to bring to market a quality product. The board still feels like a prototype that needs further refinement. I am concerned about customer support and updates via software. Replacement parts may also be hard to come by. Their website still redirects people to the Indiegogo page which promises a November 2017 delivery. The price for the travel board now is $799 which is quite high for a product that still needs work. At that price point there are several competing boards that are more refined. The rattling noise and the fact that the hub motor wheels seem out of balance and wobble is most concerning. These appear to be quality issues that may not have been addressed because the product was already late. Since my biggest complaint is really with the Travel boards deck, I am considering swapping out the deck for a 38" bamboo longboard deck. I have a hunch that the board would ride much better and that the Huger Tech driveline and batter would work well. I would lose the front and tail lights but a minor thing to give up for a better ride. I really wanted to love this board, but for now it is just so so. For a budget priced electric skateboard the Blitzart GT for $449 is still my top pick and favorite.