4wd vs 2wd mountainboard

Alright so I’m in the process of creating a new build and keep changing my mind :rofl: originally I planned for a 12s 2wd board that is now 16s and debating on making it 4wd. It will be mainly used on dirt roads, trails, etc. with a small amount of street riding. I live in Utah so my back yard is the rocky mountains. My main concern with 2wd is traction. And hill climbing abilities. What would you guys suggest.

Also keep in mind I would like the board to be geared for at least 40mph. Wich is typically where I ride my street board at.

Motors are still a debate depending on if I go 2wd or 4wd

If I go 2wd I’m thinking of doing dual skp 6485 173kv, 16s battery, 9" tires, 1:5.2 gearing. Would give me a higher top speed than I need but would allow me to put 8" tires on and hit the street without changing gearing

Build list:
Board- apex 2023
Trucks- mbs matrix III
Wheels- mbs fivestar
Tires- tramps shit slingers 9"
Gear drives- boardnamics m1-at
Esc- makerx d100s
Battery- 16s6p 40t


Where in Utah?

From the little mountainboarding I’ve done (gravity w/brakes) Braking with only 2 wheels can sometimes be a little silly.

My question might not be “how much hill climbing do you plan to do?” but rather, how braking do you want to have to rely on?

I’d also be curious to hear from people how much steering and maneuverability penalty there is from having 4wd.


I’m up in cache valley. Are you from Utah as well? I am curious about the braking as well I didn’t even think of that till you said something.

I should also note a don’t plan on doing a ton of hill climbing. Mainly trail riding just don’t want to have to walk up the trail when it gets to the steeper spots

Hey there!
Curious about what the community as to say.

For me, didn’t see much of a difference on street cruising between 2wd and 4wd, but i only tried one prototype board on 4wd, and not even on dirt paths so i might not be the most reliable source.
To be fair i’m not even sure this board was working with the 4 motors at once at this time, but that’s another story.

The only times i got ‘‘stuck’’ with a 2wd was in forest trails, when the board was at a standstill against roots and I wanted to start moving again…
Beside this i never really had any inconvenience, speed makes up through terrain :rofl:

That said, it rise the question : What do you call hill climbing? I’m not familiar with the rocky mountains as a Frenchie.

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Thanks for the input. I’m completely ok with traction issues if they are from a standstill against a root or something. Just not sure what kind of traction these get on dirt uphill.

I should have worded it differently I don’t necessarily mean “hill climbing” more just steep sections of trail. I’ll put a pic I stole from Google. This is the type of stuff I have in my area but I won’t be on trails this steep most of the time.

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If you’re riding stuff like this fairly often I would def go for 4wd, especially for the added braking going down a steep hill on loose dirt.


I would say I’d be on that type of trail maybe 10-15% of the time and a grade like this picture the rest of the time

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Do you think the skp 6465 would be a good 4wd option if I go that route or would I be better off going like a 6473 or 6475. Being on 9 inch and wanting around 40mph loaded

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I do agree on 4wd, i would also go for torque over speed, it would give less struggles on the motors, possibly :thinking:
Do you have a plan on which gear ratio you want to go for?

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Sounds like 4wd is probably the way to go. I won’t sacrifice the speed because that is my favorite part with these things. Slow is boring. I do get that I need torque though so I am willing to do 4 big motors if I need to. My electronics are more than capable. I was planning on running the m1-at gear drive at 1:5.2 and probably 170 kv

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That was also part of the thought of going 16s. It lets me run high enough kv to get those speeds hopefully without to much torque loss since I will still be geared at 1:5.2 and I don’t know of any good gear drives that can be geared much lower

I’m still learning all this but my limited knowledge and math skills tell me with a 2wd 6485 setup I would lose .33 nm per motor, .66 nm total, and 3.43 nm total after gear reduction going from 12s 205kv to 16s 173kv. But I would have 38.5 nm total after reduction on 16s so that 3.43 loss doesn’t seem like much to me. But I would gain a lot of speed. Hopefully @Skyart can either verify what I’m saying or tell me I’m an idiot and why :rofl: I did steal this data from his charts but i could have screwed it up on the way lol.

Definitely depends on how many amps you want to run/average riding temperatures for you, but 4wd is also something that will reduce load across all motors and help to keep temps down. I would play around with this calculator for sure: Force calc - Google Sheets


Ooh thanks for that I was wondering if there was one for force. Looks like 4 of the 6485 would give me way to much power at 916 newtons of force :rofl: and that’s not even at max amps. I like the power of the 6465 but looks like skp doesn’t have them in 173kv. Those would put me at 509 nm of force at 50 motor amps. My current longboard before I re geared was 540nm and I couldn’t stay on top at full throttle. It’s now at 398 and still pulls pretty hard.

I wanted to rise the concern of negative torque, aka breaking. Could be helpful during downhill.
But i guess that could be plenty torque already :sweat_smile:
You don’t want the board to stop while you aren’t :joy:

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This is coming from an Ohio “hill” rider who does about 70% offroad 30% street. 2wd is fine for the Pic you posted above but would kill you on braking in the first Pic you posted (cycling).


4wd feels much less squirmy when putting power down on rough terrain, besides the obvious traction benefits. It’s quite a good improvement.


4wd gang here, and i would recomend all 6465 and 205kv. With your gear reduction and the amount of current these can handle…its going to be a very powerful ride.
150kv would be amazing too, in fact if thsi is a pure offroad build, i would go with the 150kv.

@Shadowfax maybe can chime in, his 4wd is set up very similar


I am normally camp 2WD for a mountainboard, the extra weight on the front axle really hinders me when I want to jump or just lift the front to assist with turning.

However, 2WD definitely lacks braking power. Downhill offroad you would have next to no grip. So if you want to ride trails like the one you posted with the cyclist, go 4WD.

You definitely don’t need anything more than the 6465s on the front though, so don’t oversize the front motors. Maybe the 6455s would already be enough for the front.