The Mad Rush to the Top of the AT Board Mountain.

Originally published at:

Before we begin our little examination of the state of the budget board AT explosion, I think it’s important to define the difference between “all-terrain” and “off road.” If you’re looking to chase human prey through muddy thickets and thick mangroves wearing a Shatner mask, you’ll want a true off-road board like the impressive Bajaboard.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to blaze dry trails, grass, and the occasional curb, you’ve come to the right article. The all-terrain boards we’ll be discussing are somewhat light duty, but they’ll make all kinds of rides more comfortable and grippy. (Cue the urethane-based hate mail.)

Let’s meet our contestants

The category as of this writing consists of the Backfire Ranger X1 ($899), The Wowgo All-Terrain ($899, though sales are suspended at the moment), and the lesser-known AEBoard AE1 ($629/$709/$809 depending on battery option). We’re not including the DIYEboard belt kit board because of concerns over business practices. (This may change at a later date.)

All of these boards feature large rear hub motors with Hobbywing ESCs, but the battery choices differ a bit. The Backfire has a standard Samsung 30Q 14ah battery offering, Wowgo went with a standard 14ah pack featuring Sanyo cells, with the AEBoard offering a 12.6Ah Sanyo pack in their deluxe version. (We will always recommend the best battery you can afford in an AT board given their serious energy demands.)

But it’s not all giant teddy bear hugs in AT board land.

Some owners of the first batch of Rangers are reporting vibrations and wobbling issues on the rear hubs, Wowgo stopped selling their AT to address the poor review feedback on their sketchy 0-degree rear truck that was oddly designed not to turn. At all. The AEBoard, on the other hand, has not generated any complaints simply because they have not generated enough sales. Almost none reported out in the wild.

Good things come to those who wait

Not the most encouraging time to buy. But if you can wait, three things will happen:

  1. The 2nd generation of Ranger and Wowgo ATboards will come around, and the smart folks in charge will no doubt have figured out the bumps in the road. Literally.
  2. The debut of the Meepo AT. Meepo appears to be jumping into the game late, but that might have been a seriously smart move. They will be able to find a vendor with better motor and truck offerings and launch an AT board without the issues Backfire and Wowgo are experiencing. They also have a working AWD drive system already with their GT board, so they might just offer the first mass-market AWD AT board. Or so we hope.
  3. You can save your money up and put it towards a Metroboard AT board. Though still technically a rumor, it makes too much sense for them not to do it, and knowing the folks at MB, it will be a rock solid offering with a killer battery.

Of course, if you can sell a kidney or two,  there’s always Lacroix,, Trampa DIY and the aforementioned Bajaboard.

What if I can’t wait, Mr. Patient Writer Guy? What then, jerk?

If your money is burning a hole in your pocket and landing on top of your flowered Crocs, then by all means jump into the deep end of the budget AT category. Just do it with the realization that you may get lucky and get a nicely working board, or you may end up kicking yourself for not listening to that brilliant and humble Bill Gordon dude.

You see, warranty/repair issues in the budget board category are a bizarrely inconsistent experience. Best case scenario, they send you replacement parts that you have to install yourself. Next best would be you paying to send your board back for repair, not knowing when it might return. The worst possibility is that you might just get ghosted, or asked to send repeated videos of your issue (though it’s been widely reported), or told that the issue is normal.

In conclusion, none of the current AT boards offered are no-brainer buys. It’s just too early in the category’s maturity to feel good about one or the other. If you still feel the need for wobbly speed, just go in with your eyes and your wallet wide open.


How can a battery be made in a 14Ah variant using Samsung INR18650-30Q cells?


They switched over from LG to Samsung at some point in the development, so I guess they didn’t update the info. From the backfire site:

“Ranger X1 has improved larger battery pack(36V, 14Ah capacity) with Samsung Cells”

They must not be 30Q then.

My tiny brain always assumes 30Q when I see Samsung.

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To me, when a company (always Chinese, it seems) says they use “Samsung” or “Sanyo” or “Company” cells, it’s an immediate sign of shadiness and shittiness, and you shouldn’t deal with them.

That’s like saying your new car will be a “Ford” or a “Chevrolet”

I mean, Ford makes Mustangs and Pintos…so basically it’s telling you nothing at all.


Oh, good point. Otherwise, they would describe it as 30Q.

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Some chinese esk8 companys are actually starting to do that.

why the freck is the system not allowing me to quote the whole post @longhairedboy

i just quoted yours. You mean the entire article? lolz.

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yeah but why doesent it allow me to do it?

That’s fucked up. Let me check your settings.

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cant see anything in the settings that would cause that. Maybe try a different browser?


just did a test and the system edited it out.

I have a Ranger X1. The Samsung cells are 35E types. These are pretty low discharge cells rated at 3.5 Ah. But at 10s4p they have sufficient current delivery to the admittedly current limited stock HW ESC.


Thanks for the clarification.