All-terrain E-freeboard

A lot of baking but no cake

I’ve been working on different types of e-freeboards since 2019 and launched my Indiegogo campaign in 2021 for the Driftboard drive kit There have been a few posts in this forum mentioning the campaign and the build but I’ve never been active but sorta followed the discussions about e-freeboards from a distance.

The campaign didn’t succeed for many reasons and I’ve also moved back to Sweden from the US and a lot of things came between the final product and me. But, in the downwind of Freebord rise again (delivery of the Freebord 5X) it’s time to start over and make an even better build that pushes the interest in e-freeboards further down the line. The aim here is to make a concept board that people can DIY, ride in different terrains (hence the all-terrain in the subject) and upgrade to make it better and better.

My thoughts and learnings so far:

The most important part of an e-freeboard is the electrical slipring, without a functional slipring no e-freeboard. In my book there is only one option for the slipring and it’s the capsule slipring, any other slipring and in particular the pancake slipring (seen on the Summerboard) is not suited for this kind of application. The reason for this is two; the load from the 360 caster is massive and any slipring affected from the load is going to brake or be dysfunctional. The capsule slipring can easily be put inside a large bearing and protected from the load.


The second reason is that a capsule slipring is more resilient against dust, humidity and strong vibrations such as landing a jump or just putting the board on the ground. I’ve tested a lot of other slipring options and the capsule slipring has never failed once.

360-degree rotating casters

The second most important part (that also separates the e-freeboard from a standard esk8) is the two 360-degree rotating casters that makes the board slide and spin in any direction. These casters need to be really, really strong and be able to hold the load from riding the board. My last iteration (4 mm aluminum) was to week and started to bend after some extensive riding (jumps included).

Selecting material for the casters and finalize the shape is still something that I struggle with. On one hand I want a nice-looking caster, pretty much the one you see above but on the other hand it should also be multifaceted and support several different drive trains. The ultimate build should support interchangeable drivetrains. If you first want to use a belt drive you could easily switch to hub motors or later change it to a gear drive. In that sense I think function is more important than design.

When it comes to the material of the caster it should probably be steel that you could bend, drill and shape to a final caster to support the DIY aim of the build.

Spring loaded and spring locked casters?

In the early days of freeboarding the Freebord was equipped with spring loaded casters (see picture) but they were replaced later on with non-spring loaded casters.

The reason for this is not clear, but there is a quite big advantage of having suspension. First, the load on the 360-casters will be less, second, you could adjust the suspension depending on weight, riding style and different terrains. The obvious downside is that the build will have more moving parts and that is something that should be avoided to make the build as simple and maintenance free as possible and probably also the reason why Freebord took that away in the first place.

So, suspension is, good but a lot of moving parts are bad. So how to solve this, is there a middle way? One solution that I really like is @Fosterqc bushing solution, it’s simple and less moving parts compared to a spring solution. This concept is still untested, but the potential is huge.


The other thing to consider is the choice between spring-locked casters and freely moving casters. The Freebord is equipped with spring-locked casters and the Summerboard is not. The Freebord is propelled by gravity and the Summerboard is motorized. Does a motorized freeboard really need spring-locked casters or is that just for going down a steep, steep hill?

The main idea with a spring-locked caster is to simulate the snowboard feeling and the tendency for a snowboard to go straight down instead of moving sideways.

From the Freebord 5X patent:

“A biased caster was developed for more positive control over the laterally-sliding rollerboard. The center caster was connected to a spring and biased through spring-loading to align with the longitudinal board axis, and the rider had to overcome the spring’s threshold force, or moment, so the caster wheel would caster to move the board laterally. Snowboards have a natural tendency to go straight and biased casters were designed to simulate that tendency.”

From my experience, the spring-locked casters makes most use when going in high speeds, when moving slow they are actually making it harder to ride because of the tendency to go straight. When going slow you really have to force the board to turn and probably ending up catching an edge. In my opinion the spring locked casters are the number one reasons why people are struggling with learning how to freeboard when trying the gravity freeboard for the first time. In that sense the motorized version of the freeboard is easier to learn but could experience less control when going really fast.

The complexity of making the spring-based caster function makes it less attractive when making a DIY e-freeboard and the upside is pretty small compared to the whole riding experience of the freeboard.

What kind of drivetrain?

The choice between the different drivetrains, hub motors, belt drive or gear drive is really a personal preference, in my book there is no difference in riding experience but of course there are pros and cons with the different ones, but it shouldn’t affect the riding experience. The difference is more of a maintenance issue, more experience and a lot of tools, use belt and gear drive, with less experience you benefit from using hubs.

My choice of drivetrain has always been the hub motor and for me it’s the simplicity and maintenance free motors that’s appealing. My search for the optimal hub motor has been extensive, I started using a large simple e-scooter hub motor with my first center wheel prototype. The motor worked for a prototype setup but after some riding the rubber wheel started to deform suffering from heat dissipation.

One of the best choices (in my opinion) for this application is the MaxFind M5 hub motor. This motor is really strong and also have the possibility to change the sleve to the CloudWheel donout for the all-terrain setup.



When it comes to electronic it’s no different than a normal esk8. In my last build I used a 216wh Samsung 30q battery pack, Flipsky VX1 remote and two Flipsky Mini FSESC4.20 50A and it worked fine. The search for the ultimate electronic setup is not the aim with this build, this is something that should be different for every kind of setup, just as any other eksk8 build. The aim is to build a base that you could use to build your own e-freeboard.

The new plan

  • Making a custom deck
  • Making a custom enclosure
  • Making a custom 360-degree rotating caster for all kinds of drive systems
  • OTC VESC, slipring, battery, hub motors, trucks and bindings

Your research has mislead you greatly. Hub motors are far from being maintenance free if you want them to last. If you think it is okay or acceptable to have your customers replacing them every year or two then you could call them “maintenance free” with a huge disclaimer stating how not doing maintenance will significantly impact the lifespan of the motors.

This is a mistake made by a lot of people though, and I just wanted to point it out so you are aware of it.

I will give you props for choosing a hub motor with a removable sleeve and hub cap design instead of one that is fused to the motor surface. Only issue is you chose a design where you’re bolting into the sleeve to hold it in place which I am guessing will destroy the sleeve faster than if the hub cap bolted onto the motors metal. Preventing it from sliding off but allowing some movement around the hub motor. I’ve not used or see that brand before so that is just my guess based on using hub motors for too long.

Once the thane has ripped around those bolt holes you won’t be able to use the sleeve anymore since the motor surface is smooth and has no way to rotate the sleeve with it. Not great for long term use IMO since it means a shorter lifespan per sleeve.

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Hey Man! Thanks for the comment. I don’t think I’m mislead but you’re making a good point.

First I’m not going to push anyone to use hubs if they think they suck, they could use belt or gear drive just as well. Second, to change the sleeve of of the hub every or second year is for me just normal but to call them maintenance free is of course wrong (if you refer to not doing anything at all). Regarding the bolting to the sleeve, this is partly correct, the bolts are bolted through the sleeve and into the back of the motor.

I sounds that we actually have the same experience with bad hub motors, the ones that are fused into the metal is really bad, both regarding heat dissipation and if worn down you have to buy new ones.


time to bring back the unlimited motors, but with sensors this time :grin:


This is very much wrong and misleading. There’s a reason why so many brands still sell them.

Hubs can very much be *maintenance free, just like outrunners can be.

Please don’t generalize, just because you had a bad experience.

The hubs i bought second hand just over 2 years ago (thanks @Bavioze ) have seen practically no maintenance whatsoever. The right one got a few drops of lube into the bearing, that is it. The screws that hold the sleeves don’t even have loctite on them. I abuse them, i run them hot, i run them way above their amp rating, i curb them, i offroad them, i ride in the wet, mud and whatnot.

Of course there are lemons and broken hubs but so are ESCs and outrunners.

Those kinds of Motors haven’t been sold in ages by your typical brands

you probably can find some old stock from some random dropshippers maybe.


No point dude, you would have to pass all the wiring for them through the slip ring.

This is one scenario where VSS works really well, I have that running on my DIY’d summerboard


just shfi dude


oh ya

i forgot about that

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it is forever ASS, don’t change my mindd :grin:


I don’t think they need sensors to be honest. They pick up fine without them, even without kick pushing off for me.


too bad i had to liquidate all of mine :smiling_face_with_tear:

til next time tho


In regards to the choice of slipring.


The first step in this project is going to be making my own deck, always wanted to do this and I’m super excited to start. I’ve also decided that I’m going to need to build my own skateboard press for this purpose. I’ve searched the globe and found a bottle jack press that I like, probably not the easiest one to make but it looks really good and sturdy. I found the plan for this at DIY Skate.


The build also includes welding and that is also something I have to learn to be able to pull this off. The welding skill might come in handy later on in this project if I have to weld some caster parts together. Now it’s time to find some steel.


Nice job. Do You have some rails on sides to be leaded upper cavity? Little afraid that You are using Just one press in the middle.


I think it should work but I might consider two presses instead of one to get a more even load.



I have thoughts


Two bottle jacks would probably be better, but I bet you’d get enough rigidity if you substituted the 2 long pieces of 2x2 angle with the same channel used in the rest of the press. The channel substitution with two jacks would really be tits though.




Idk what i expected

Got me some steel.

Pretty hard to get the exact right ones but I bought these angle irons 4x4x0.3 cm cheep at a local hardware shop. I’m going to use only angle iron instead of both channel and angle iron. The build is going to be pretty much the same as the press with the exception that I’m going to make it a bit wider and maybe with two bottle jacks.