A Three-wheel Build: 13s4p Custom deck


I’ve been making skateboards and electric boards for a while. A few years back I started work on a three-wheel design, and I came to the realization that if it is done right, the three-wheel design opens up a world of possibilities to the esk8 builder. 48v and 60v motors are available. Handling, speed, efficiency and traction can all be improved upon by using a single, large back-wheel as the drive-system. By using just one motor and one ESC you can out-perform dual-motor set-ups handily. Also, with this specific design you can use whatever truck and wheel combo that you want up front. Off-road and surf-skate can both be done on the same board. Just switch your set-up.

I’ve seen some other designs for three-wheel boards. Most haven’t made it of the drawing board. Others have tragic design flaws. This design is refined now and works really well. There have been several iterations and many are on the road now. The reviews are good and anyone that demos it comes back with a euphoric look on their face:) I have some videos of last years proto on my website https://3sk8esk8.com/video-gallery/

I’d like to help others create their own three-wheel boards. Maybe you’ll find that the fourth wheel is just a vestigial appendage left-over from good old, foot-powered skateboarding just as I am.

To make one, the biggest barrier, as far as I’m concerned, is getting a deck for the build. You may be able to rig a metal frame to a regular board, or you can do what I did and make your own skateboard. Believe it or not that isn’t too hard. You can buy a kit and learn everything you need to know about it at www.roarockit.com . There is also a wealth of info about this subject on the web. Once you know how to make your own decks… the sky is the limit:) This big upgrade that I do with all of my esk8s and, especially for the three-wheel design (to reinforce the forks), is that I do fiberglass reinforcement. Again, that technique is all over the web and YouTube.

Once you have a deck, you need axle brackets. This one isn’t covered on the web, but it isn’t difficult. I used 1 1/4 inch angle-iron that I found at the local hardware store. With a grinder, metal drill-bits and some creativity anyone can do it. Most wheels that you might use for this type of design come with lock washer that keep the axle from spinning. I MIG welded mine onto the bracket. This isn’t necessary but I highly recommend it. Either powder-coat these or spray them with some kind of rust protection. I used some extra angle iron to fashion a foot-stop/hood-ornament/bottle-opener for the front.

The board in the pictures is outfitted with a 48 volt 1000 watt motor. I like this wheel specifically because it is compact and rolls from side to side really smoothly. Also, the tire is molded rubber so it can’t blow out. I used a 13s4p battery pack that could run a golf-cart. I weigh 175 pounds, and I have reached 29 mph on flat ground. 25 mph up hill and it climbs like a champ. I outfitted it with VESC 6 hardware and a custom-made race remote that is based off of projects found on electric-skateboard.builders… with a little of my own special sauce. Refer to “A Race-Remote Project” for more about my remotes. Also, I made a custom enclosure by heat-molding 1/4 inch ABS. It makes a super-durable yet flexible enclosure. It can be done in your home oven with a wood mold. That’s project that I will post more about.

Anyhow, I’d love to get feedback and help others make their own boards. Check out my website and tell me what you think. 3SK8esk8.com

Happy Riding!

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I wanna see some ride video. How well does it turn?

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Follow the link to see some video of last year’s proto-build. The turning all depends on the front-end. In the video I’m riding with 218mm Tracker Dart standard king-pin trucks and Seismic speed-vents, so turning is meh. With Carver CX surf-skate trucks you can do little loops. The Seismic Aeon RKP Trucks pictured here a favorite of mine. They provide a good balance of various performance aspects.

Cool build man! What do those hub wheels cost? And do you plan on selling your specific boards in the future? Or is this more of a FYI/diy type thing?

My dude! Someone finally speaking my language. The one large wheel drive train is awesome for street cruising. You are right on the money about opening up larger motor options.

My turning radius was slightly worse on my first 3sk8. Mad credit to you for coining that, I will be using it regularly now.

Prepare yourself, I built this before I even knew real esk8 or these forums existed.

You’ve been warned.

I’d love to build another 3 wheel board with all the knowledge of what’s available vesc wise. The motor mounts are the hardest part to figure out. Great to see someone exploring this area. Definitely following.

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I knew you would get hard!

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Just tell me you sacrificed a OneWheel to build this and I’ll be happy.

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In theory, because it only turns from the front, you have only half the turning radius of a 4 wheeled skate. But I guess it can be compensated with a super turny front truck like the SideWinders/Evolve.

I have used a kind of similar 3 wheeler board on a kite mountainboard after bending a truck and destroying non standard sized bearings, so I kind of brought it back to life as a 3 wheeler, but it made it directional and it didn’t turn that great anymore, although sliding it is always an option when powered with a kite. And I graduated to a buggy, so it didn’t get much more air time after that.

But sure looks interesting as an electric vehicle! You could even have some sort of kicktail, with the back foot behind that driving wheel, like on a OneWheel for tight turns, while keeping some stability when riding flat.

hell yeah, I love it! what’s with the photos at the skatepark, were you shreddin some rails with that thing? :stuck_out_tongue:

This is very interesting to me. I’m looking at the hub motor on your website and trying to size it up against some spare boards I have. The tire says 200x90mm (so about 8"x3.5") Can you tell me the distance between the mounting points for the axle?

Your ride is pretty sick, but it certainly doesn’t look like it can turn at all.Have you evolved your design? I made this one several years back from parts that I scavenged from a weird Chinese toy. It’s actually what got me started with esk8s. As far as adapting to vesc is concerned, It’s just a single-drive hub-motor system. Also, I think there is plenty of room for competition in the world of 3sk8. I welcome it and can’t wait to see the innovations of others.

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As the fat back-wheel begins to rock over to one side during turning it does create a turning radius. Infact, a skilled rider (not me) could do perfect donuts with this design. Turning isn’t a problem here. Certain trucks don’t work well with it, but it actually turns as good as, or better than any esk8 that I’ve ever ridden. You’d have to ride it to believe it.

Unfortunately, no “clown-wheels” where hurt during the build of this esk8.

Well you’ve successfully navigated out of the grey area in Florida according to recently tabled legislation that describes personal mobility vehicles with three wheels or less and handedly leaves electric skateboards in the undefined zone where they have remained forever.

I’d love to try one of these with knobby tires on a dirt track too. Fuck yeah.

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I have ridden in a bowl with this thing, but it isn’t easy. The skatepark is by my house. It made a nice place for a photo shoot.

132 mm including the washers.


The MotoX is in the works. I found a 60v 10inch knobby wheel that will work perfectly. The whole board needs to be redesigned for this. Which can certainly be done. The problem is that the finished product will cost as much as a small motorcycle.

$2.5, $3k? Or more? I would tear that shit up on some horse trails.

$2.5k would be realistic.

Built one on Saturday, didn’t like the turning and stability. So back to 4 wheels for me. I need different kv motors also. I guess ill let my kid have this one.

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