In 2012, the Zboard was a pipe dream, a Kickstarter project started by two college students who wanted an easier way to get around campus. That dream very much became a reality — and a real business — and Ben Forman’s company has since shipped ZBoards to riders in all 50 states.
Today the company is launching another crowdfunding campaign — this time on Indiegogo — for the ZBoard 2. The new model comes in two flavors: the $999 Blue and the more-expensive $1,199 Pearl. If you get a pledge in early, you can get $100 off both models. I had the chance to ride a pre-production ZBoard Blue here at CES 2015. It’s what the original model should have been.
Even at first glance the ZBoard 2 looks noticeably different than the original ZBoard. The footpads are now bean-shaped and positioned closer together on the board. The deck’s shape has also changed — its curvature and carve-outs make it much sexier than the original surfboard-esque ZBoard.
You can now comfortably carry the ZBoard 2 in either hand, thanks to the new second handle. It also doesn’t hurt that the company’s new board shed a lot of weight; the first time I lifted the ZBoard 2 I was absolutely shocked at how light it was.
Both versions of the ZBoard 2 are lighter, faster, and have longer ranges than their predecessors. The Blue weighs just 16 pounds (compared to the 25-pound Pro model, and the 32-pound Classic model) and can travel 16 miles on a charge. The Pearl weighs 18 pounds because of its bigger battery, which gives it an increased range of 24 miles. Both boards go up to 20mph.
One of my biggest gripes with the original ZBoard was the lack of a battery indicator — there was visually no way of knowing when the board was going to die. Thankfully, the ZBoard 2 has a ring with LEDs at the nose of the board that displays certain colors based on percentage. The company also moved the power button from the side of the battery pack to the top, and the changing port is now under the front trucks. In addition to these minor, yet impactful changes, the ZBoard 2 has headlights and taillights. As a frequent night-skater in NYC, I’m glad to see these on the new model.
So what’s it like to actually ride the new ZBoard? It’s exactly like riding the previous models — you lean on the front footpad to accelerate and lean on the back footpad to decelerate and go in reverse. The ZBoard 2’s footpads are way, way more sensitive, and as I mentioned above, they’re closer together. These two changes in conjunction with the deck’s new shape makes riding the board even easier. You no longer have to apply as much pressure on the footpads, and reaching them is easier too. The deck’s new shape made carving a breeze. As an experienced ZBoard rider, I had absolutely no trouble getting right on and cruising around the LVCC parking lot — and I did so for about 30 minutes.
The new ZBoards are better than any of their predecessors. Speed, range, weight, and charge time have all been improved, while pricing has more or less stayed the same. The one thing that separates them most though, are the slimmed down batteries and deck shapes. If you’ve held off on buying an electric longboard and have a nice chunk of extra cash laying around, consider the ZBoard 2.