Parts and setup for really technical off-road trails (like mountain bike trails, etc.)

Recently I’ve been riding a lot of technical off-road trails. These are mostly trails that are made for mountain bikes, or sometimes dirt bikes, so they are super narrow (mostly one-way tracks), very twisty, and there are often rocks, tree roots, and stumps that make taking the ideal ideal line, especially with trucks, tricky. It’s a great challenge for building skills but also for challenging the board. Turning and traction are constant challenges.

I’m curious if anyone else is doing such riding and what they’ve found works for them in terms of parts and setup. I’m currently using a build with Bro deck, Matrix III 420 trucks (soft bushings back and front) with extended axles on the rear only, and Jump Drives running on 8" Mud Pluggers.

My most recent change was putting a narrower truck at the front which has been great for turning but I’ve had to try to remember that I’ve got a wider truck at the back. One of the first times out I forgot about this and picked a line with the front wheel passing right near a tree stump and then of course clipped the stump on the back wheel!


I should also mention that most other things I’ve tried including running on 9", all-wheel drive, other trucks, have been challenging. I’ve found there’s a lot of tradeoffs with setups for this kind of riding. There are definitely times when the motors don’t have enough torque to start in some places, or only two wheels can’t get traction and are just spinning, and I miss my 4WD, but the extra weight and torque on the front is too much of a penalty. Also, 9" could help with getting over some of the crap on the trail but the penalty for agility is also too much.


I think the only way to do it is an independent suspension - you can only get so far with trucks.

Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of options for affordable independent suspension boards. I’m working on a design but it will require a lot of custom work and will probably break a lot for a while.

I’ve also been thinking about 4WD but with much smaller motors at the front wheels, maybe an 80/20 or 70/30 mix which would afford me the ability to put a small ESC up front so not a horrible weight penalty.


That’s a very interesting thought. I wonder what steering would be like with suspension. There are some boards out there with suspension that don’t really have the best turning or break easily.

My 4WD board is currently in pieces. I was running 6384s on Apex Airs on it and it now has Maytech 6355s on it and I just moved it all to a Trampa deck. I just need to do some machining of the clamps to get them to fit on the Newbee RTKP trucks. I saved about 2 kg going to the smaller motors. Sure I could probably put a smaller ESC up front but it’s going to save much compared to all the other stuff (I’m currently running Stormcore 60D+s both front and back).

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The steering dynamics scare me, especially stuff like bump steer, but I figure if a car can do it at speed I should be able to get to something that doesn’t kill me at 18mph. Plus offroad is inherently safer since my speeds are almost always slower and less road rash.

I’ve lost my mind and am thinking about a single motor on the rear with a differential, which is mostly just folly because by the time you compare the weight of 2@6374’s vs 1@ 64110 and a diff it’s likely the same. But I already bought the 64110, so…

An interesting engineering challenge, plus the unsprung weight is really low.

On the other hand the list of things that will probably break is really high :slight_smile:

setting a weight budget is a really good idea. My last street build was a 12S5P of 2170’s and is about as heavy as I want to get.


The good thing is this kind of riding is definitely slower so you don’t cover a lot of ground and can get away with tiny batteries. I have a Pelican 1200 on both mountainboards and can pop in 8P, 4P, or 2P and invariably 2P is enough for a decent session of this kind of riding.

I have serious range anxiety, but you’re right, I suppose I could go back to 14S of 18650’s to get a bit more power across the 4 wheels.

with such small front motors I could probably get away with VESC 4.12’s which weigh nothing.

But in terms of viable off the shelf independent suspension boards I think there’s just the Ecomobl’s and the Baja’s.

And Propel

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For narrow technical trails I think we might have to switch to 2 wheeled boards / vehicles, like the speedboard / swiftboard. Maybe something with both wheels fixed in place, and turning by using the curvature of the wheel would work? :person_shrugging:

I hate moments like these


What about straight axle belt drive off set to one side. Diff would be great in therory but when you need drive and one wheel is airbone your stuck and spraying everyone with 100’ with dirt :grin:

I feel like the biggest issues are with the front end, trying to navigate through narrow places. The idea of only having one (larger?) wheel up front is interesting as long as you could steer sharply with it.

I’m actually thinking for trucks that the Matrix III 400 hangars would be helpful since they are narrower.


I have my doubts a onewheel has the torque to handle these kinds of trails. EUCs though are definitely more capable on them.

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Oh. Yes. I forgot to mention it has to be mostly flat and not very bumpy… Lol

But windy it can do quite well.

I’ll let you know on the EUC here in a while.

I have put some mild consideration in making an off-road specific board that emulates the Hadean maybe with wider DKP trucks. And a top mount battery.

But it was with windy trails in mind and after watching Evolve videos…they have nice riding videos on YouTube…

I have ridden some of these kinds of trails with EUC riders and holy shit they just slay them. One of the craziest things is one place where it’s really steep uphill and muddy and I can guarantee no 2WD board can make it up there, and almost near the top, there is a big friggin tree root across the trail. So you have to have enough traction to get up the hill and then you somehow have to execute a jump over the tree root while on the really steep incline. Yeah well the EUC riders were able to make it. Not all of them but the more skilled ones could (and possibly also some of them had more powerful EUCs).

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Where are you at?

Ottawa, Canada

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I hope you are enjoying summer. And I may have missed. But on the matrix III did you use the inside bushing positions on both ends?

Basically right now I’m starting to think to modify my 4WD build dramatically and instead of the RTKP, go with Matrix 400 with the standard axles and instead of the Jump Drives, go back to 4GS, and then go back to 9" tires. The extra clearance is helpful for getting over some things. Right now on my 2WD board I have 420s with extended axles since the Jump Drives need the extended axles. 400 with standard axles would be a whole 60mm narrower.

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