Winboard GT-M8 2.0, an Electric Penny Board [Review]
There are large electric skateboards, actually most of them are longboards, so what models exists when you are looking for a smaller, easier to transport board? Winboard, makers of electric skateboards offer such a model with the GT-M8 2.0 , a rigid deck short skateboard with a battery and some mean in-hub motors.
The company is not at their first product and they are launching at least 2-3 per summer. This GT-M8 2.0 is their latest board, so how does it perform?
The 28” deck is made of wood with an integrated battery, therefore it’s much thicker than other boards with an apparent battery casing below the deck. At 28” it’s only 1” longer than a Penny Nickel , something unusually take with me on my daily commute.
This board is powered by two hub motors of 700W each and a battery of 158.4Wh. The battery is hidden under a plate hold in place by a couple of screws. Around this battery you have the charging port and an ON/OFF push button. No USB ports and nothing else.
On the top you have grip tape and the shape is wider in the front than in the back. The board weighs 5.8 kg (12.8 lbs) so it’s easy enough to carry with you on the bus or subway.
Very similar in design to the Boosted Board remote, you have the same buttons plus one switch to turn it on and one switch to put the board in reverse. Not sure why you would like to do this…
The dead man switch is present but does nothing, it only works with board equipped with lights and turns them ON or OFF. Sadly the quality of the remote is not one of its strong suits, it feels flimsy and that plastic and metal rattling when you release the throttle at once feels like it’s going to shatter in your hands…
Turning it on and connection with the board is quick and I did not encounter any problems or disconnection. There is, however, a small delay, perhaps 300ms when you put the throttle quickly forward. This delay seems lower once you are already moving so it’s not such a big problem most of the time. Just get use to it before driving in traffic!
- 28” wooden deck
- Dual rear hub motors (2x 700W)
- 25-28 kph (15-17 mph)
- 12-18 km (7.5-11 miles)
- Elevation of 25-30%
- Rechargeable in 2h
I like to test boards for a few days to get the hang of them, see how they behave in the wild world. Just by looking at the specs I was really hoping to get a powerful board that could come close to a Boosted Board, or Juiced Board and even have a better range than a Boosted Board. I was in for a deception.
The first charge has to be 3h to fully fill the batteries according to Winboard. So I did exactly that. I took the board in my daily commute which is from my house to the bus stop and from the downtown bus stop to my workplace. It’s a total of 3.6km to and back, so for this board I was expecting to be doing at least 12km so in theory I could do two days on a charge! I was very hopeful as the board does not have multiple modes so the numbers should match real life?
I was able to get to work, that’s the first 3.6km, and then when I wanted to come back home I managed to continue straight to the community mailbox and when I want to turn around the block, the board died on me. So this is about 7.4km with basically no carving and a very flat path all along. No need to say how surprised I was to only achieve 62% of the promised range (that’s taking into account the lower number!)
The second performance metric, the speed. Using the great Ride app, I was able to achieve a max speed of 25.6 kph (15.9 mph) on a slight inclination. That exact same spot allows me to reach 39.7 kph (24.7 mph) with the Boosted Board V2 Dual (not Plus). The promised 25-28 kph was reached!
The cold weather affected the battery life and shortened its range by at least 50%. It required a full charge to get from home to work or vice versa.
One of the features of such a product is the reliability. This aspect of the product was what felt like the worst item to check off the list. Twice the logic board broke down and had to be replaced. When powering it on, all of the LEDs on both the board itself and the remote were lit as they should but the wheels would not turn. Replacing the board fixed the issue, but this type of scenario should not happen.
It’s not water damage, nor physical shock that broke the board. The only thing that happened is that I tried to run the board down to 0% and perhaps some undercharge scenario happened and something fried the board. The manufacturer does not know and I tried to be helpful and sent back both of the boards for them to investigate.
Another problem I experienced is linked to the choice of ON/OFF button. It’s a push button where you set it ON by pushing on it and “clicking” into place. I was riding one day and rode over a crack. The very same crack I run over every day both with a Penny Board and other electric skateboards. The board instantanly shut off. I manually stop and take a look to investigate, the button got moved back to the OFF position because of the crack… Thankfully I’m used to ride at these speeds and I’m pretty good at emergency stopping. But once again, this should not happen!
All in all, the idea behind the board is great but the execution is lacking. It is short and should be great to ride, however, it’s not comfortable due to the hard 1.5” thickness of the board, and its promised range is nowhere near what the board can do in real life. The top speed is in the range promised so at least this is good, but you do need a fair length of road to reach it.
If only the board would not break down, twice, it would have been a OK product. I cannot recommend a board that is designed in a way that all of the electronics are exposed, broke down and turn itself OFF while riding over a crack. Often times, skaters will say that a product was not made by people that do skateboard and I must agree that the Winboard GT-M8 2.0 is a mix or parts made by an engineer that never rode a skateboard for more than a few minutes. Just look at what Meepo does with a product costing half the price of the GT-M8 and offering such a great experience!
It is indeed possible to make a great product with low cost parts, the Winboard products are just not it.
A short nimble electric skateboard, the Winboard GT-M8 2.0, is often regarded as an electric Penny Board, but is it worth the price?
- Great idea (short board)
- Interesting look
- Bad Performance
- Aweful Reliability
- Poor Design choices
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