30 Jul How to Ride an Electric Longboard
If you’re here, you’re probably asking yourself at this moment: is riding an electric longboard any different from riding a normal one? One just has a few extra parts so they are essentially the same thing right?
Whilst riding an electric longboard is a VERY similar experience to a regular one, there are some things that you need to know before riding the electric-powered one. Overlook these differences, and you could be missing out on the full potential of your ride.
This article is going to explain how to properly ride an electric longboard and delve into some of the finer details of its use. Some of the topics covered here will seem very familiar to regular longboard users, such as stance, kicking/pushing, and turning.
Beyond the usual subject matter though, we go further to explain how to use the remote and what to expect when the motor is being used. Spoiler alert: it can feel a bit funky at first.
In short: we’ll cover as many aspects as possible when it comes to using both electric longboards and regular ones.
Class is now in session.
How to stand on an electric longboard
This is probably the single most important thing to consider when you start riding your electric longboard.
There are a handful of stances that one can use when riding – each one is better for different styles of longboarding.
Know the basic stances and you will remain balanced on your board without falling. Know them all and will become a samurai street warrior, capable of handling any situation you encounter.
First and foremost, you need to discover whether or not you ride regular or goofy.
Regular means that you ride with your left foot forward and right foot back. Your “strong” foot is in the back whilst your left foot is at the front and is responsible for balancing. When you aren’t using the electric longboard motor, the strong foot is the one used for kicking and pushing.
Regular is the most common way of riding by far.
Goofy is the opposite: the left foot is in the back and the right foot is in the front.
Not sure which foot is your strong one? There’s an easy way to find out! Grab a football, getting a running start, and try to kick it. Whichever foot you use is your kicking foot i.e. the one that goes in the back.
If you don’t have a football, just run and attempt to slide instead. The foot you put forward first is the foot you will also place at the front of the board.
If you think you know which stance you will use, try standing on the longboard whilst stationary and find your balance. Give a couple of pushes and see how you feel. You’re already riding!
Once you’ve found which foot goes forward, you need to check your actual stance. The standard stance will be as follows:
- Feet positioned shoulder-width apart.
- A slight bend in the knees but not too much.
- The front foot should be turned at a 45-degree angle.
- The back should be placed perpendicular to the board.
This is the most foundational stance you will use while riding your electric longboard. 95% of the time, it will be like this.
If you have a Linky e-board, it’s even easier to find your stance – because the board is broken into two pieces, you will know exactly where to put your feet.
Be aware of your center of gravity in relation to the board as it will shift depending on what you’re doing. When cruising, it will be slightly forward; when accelerating, it will be even more forward; when braking, your center of gravity will naturally drift back.
The electric motor and braking system can also affect your center of gravity depending on their placement. We’ll dive deeper into these next.
How to accelerate on an electric longboard
Now that you know how to stand on a longboard, it’s time to actually ride the damn thing! This will require a bit of practice as electric longboards come with a bit – but not too much – of a learning curve.
Most people when riding electric longboards for the first time just hit the accelerator and go full speed right out the gate. This is a good way to lose your feet and eat shit.
Rather than hitting the gas immediately, take a couple of pushes first and build some momentum. If you’re already moving when the motor kicks in, you’ll ease into the acceleration.
Once you’re using the electric motor as well, whatever you do, DON’T GIVE IT EVERYTHING. You should gently accelerate by gently moving the joystick forward on the remote. Some electric motors offer very little in the way of damping and will shoot like a bullet out of a gun.
Once you’re moving, the goal is to stay up without falling off.
The key to riding an electric longboard successfully is balance. You must always know where your center of gravity is and have control over it. For example, when you’re ready to accelerate, you’ll want to lean forward a bit before actually accelerating. This will allow you to maintain balance because when you do accelerate, you’re body will naturally rock back.
Keep in mind too that the placement of the motor on the board will also affect your balance. People riding front-wheel-drive boards may feel like they’re being pulled forward harder when accelerating and will try to compensate. On the other hand, those with rear-wheel drives may have a tendency to lean back more instead.
The reality though is that it doesn’t matter so much where the motor is, be it the front or the back: your board will accelerate the same either way. Keep this in mind and avoid over-compensating.
How to turn on an electric longboard
Before we can become urban carvers and downhill demons, we need to learn how to turn first.
Turning quickly and accurately takes quite a bit of practice but is arguably the most gratifying part of longboarding.
First, don’t try to cut anything too close in the beginning. You’re first turns are going to be slight probably and not too dramatic.
Second, take it slow. Decelerate a bit when you’re preparing for a turn and slowly accelerate again once you’ve completed the turn. Like cars, accelerating whilst turning could possibly lead to a loss of control and being tossed.
Be sure to maintain visibility as well. Novice riders have a tendency to look down at their feet when turning and try to watch what they’re doing. Riders should always be watching the road instead. You may hit that turn, but if something suddenly appears after, you’re not going to see it.
Here’s more on how to turn on an electric longboard:
- Make sure your feet and body are in the right position.
- Bend your knees slightly (don’t squat) and slowly apply pressure to your toes. If you’re riding regular your boards will turn inward to the right. If you’re goofy, you’ll go left.
- To turn the opposite direction, apply pressure to your heels instead.
- Keep your torso in line with the board and your center of gravity in the middle. Use your feet and heels to turn the board, not your body. Doing the latter will cause you to lose your balance.
How to brake on an electric longboard
This is the part about electric longboards that (literally) trips everyone up.
Using the electric brakes on an electric longboard can be weird. Some braking systems offer some sort of dampening; other systems apply the brakes immediately; a few actually work by running the motor in reverse!
No matter which braking system your longboard uses though, the story remains the same: NEVER hit the brakes suddenly and completely. Do so and you will most assuredly be sent flying.
The key to using the brakes on an electric longboard is to do so gently. Anticipate that you will need to stop and slowly apply the brakes. If you need to stop on a dime, you might be better off using your foot as a brake, at least until you’ve gotten a feel for the longboard’s braking system.
Also, like accelerating, be aware of the change in the center of gravity when you decelerate. When braking, your body weight will naturally shift forward so lean back a bit before you actually do.
If you’re riding a Linky longboard, you will actually be recharging your battery while braking! This is because, when the motor is running in reverse, it is putting charge back into the battery, much like a dynamo. This feature is called “regenerative braking.”
Everything gets better with practice! You may struggle at first using your electric longboard but after some trial runs, things will get easier.
Before hitting the busy city streets, ride around somewhere a bit less hectic, like an empty parking lot or basketball court. Get used to the braking system and slowly accelerate more as you become more comfortable. Eventually, you develop the confidence to ride in busier environments.
If you plan on commuting with your longboard, this practice period is vital. The worst thing you can do in the beginning is to get in over your head. This is when accidents and injuries happen.
Keep at it and in no time at all, you’ll be carving up those streets like a Christmas ham.
Other things to consider
For heavy riders on electric longboards
Most commercial electric longboards have a weight limit of around 200-300 pounds. Specific weight limits will vary across different brands.
Whilst it is generally ok to toe the line, you don’t want to go too far over the weight limit. Otherwise, you might run the risk of burning out the motor or compromising the brakes.
If you’re a heavier rider, there are specially made boards that can handle the extra weight. Look for something made with strong, flexible materials, a powerful motor, and good brakes.
Know your remote
If plan riding an electric longboard, you will need to understand how the controller works before even getting on.
Different kinds of electric longboards come with different kinds of remote controls. All remotes allow you to accelerate and decelerate (usually in the form of a joystick) and connect wirelessly to the board.
Some boards, including the Linky, also allow you to change riding modes. Some example riding modes include “eco” for saving the battery and “sport” for higher speeds.
It is a terrible idea to start riding without knowing what to do with the remote control. This is when people jam on the acceleration and lose their board under a car wheel or hit the brakes too hard and get chucked. Know how your controller works and practice with it as you would with the board itself.
Don’t forget to make sure the remote control batteries are charged as well!
Riding electric longboards safely
We’ve mentioned several times in this article that you need to know how to ride your electric longboard first to ride it safely. It stands to be repeated but there are some other things you can do to ensure you don’t end up in a bad situation:
- Wear additional protective gear, such as gloves and elbow pads. Helmets, as always, are an absolute must.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Consider the terrain you’ll be driving on and potential obstacles.
- Follow local longboard laws.
- Avoid riding in actual traffic. Stick to the bike lanes instead.
- Use lights at night.
- Learn how to fall correctly.
Riding on different terrain
Different terrains call for different riding styles. You’re not going to be able to ride over dirt the same way you could pavement and changes in incline (hills) can be especially tough for electric motors.
If you want to ride your electric longboard anywhere else besides the asphalt, you’ll need to swap out your wheels. Standard longboard wheels will be too smooth and hard for off-road use. Proper off-road tires, which are larger, softer, and more durable, can handle varied terrain much better.
Before, going off-road make sure your longboard is also structurally sound. Going over bumps can put additional force on the board and weathered ones will snap eventually.
No matter which board you have, hills will be tough to conquer. Generally, your board will slow down as the motor deals with the additional incline and you can relax a bit. Linky e-boards can handle hills with a 12-degree incline.
When your battery dies
A lot of people ask if they can still ride their electric longboard once the battery is dead and the answer is a rousing…hell yee!
It’s one of the great benefits of using an electric board: if all the electric bits fail, it just turns into a regular board.
For this reason, you should still know how to kick and push on a board. It seems like common sense, but there’s a specific way to do it that will help you conserve energy and maximize energy.
If you’re less keen on perfecting the art of the kick-push, we suggest taking care of your battery and keeping it charged.
Other electric longboard riding stances
If you feel very comfortable with the standard stance and want to try something else, here are some other electric longboard stances you can use:
- Pushing stance – Although you won’t be doing it as often – instead of relying upon the motor – you will still need to know how to push to get going and ride if your battery dies. When pushing, your knees are bent more to create extra momentum and your torso is facing more forward.
- Carving stance – Your front foot is placed perpendicular rather than at 45-degrees, like the back foot. Your torso position and the amount you squat change naturally as you actually carve. This is a more advanced stance and urban carvers generally have a lot more practice.
- Speed stance – Your torso is leaning much further forward and your squatting very low on the board. The heel of your back foot, still perpendicular to the board, lifts a bit so you’re on the ball. Most of your weight is over the front foot. This stance cuts down on wind drag and allows for faster longboard speeds. Only try this if you’re comfortable with your board and high speeds.
- Freestyle stance – This largely depends on which kind of electric board you have and how good you are at “tricking.” The trick you are attempting will also dictate your stance. Here are a couple of longboard tricks for beginners.