Dis-assembling and re-assembling nearly 100 Beta 2.1 boards has been a major undertaking but we've learned lots of valuable information during the process - information that we believe will accelerate our manufacturing timeframes once we're in full production.
Check out some of our building, testing, packaging and shipping in the video below:
Early Feedback from Beta 2.1 Riders
As boards have started to arrive this week we've been receiving pictures and videos from customers:
Latest ZBoard 2 Details
We have now finalized the details of this latest batch of boards:
As discussed in the last update, the ZBoard Beta 2.1 units have all shipped with 4 tuning modes: Beginner, Normal, Expert, and Ludicrous modes. Be sure to read our last update closely to understand the differences between these modes and how to switch between them.
Also, even if you're a long time ZBoarder we recommend you try all the modes. Expert and Ludicrous are great for when you have open, smooth roads, but Normal and even Beginner can be better in tight quarters or when you want to have a high degree of speed control at low speeds - for example when riding along with friends who are walking.
Each ZBoard Beta 2.1 unit has shipped with Temperature Warning Mode and Overtemp Mode. Be sure to read the previous update and know how to recognize when the board is in one of these safety modes.
Though our original intention was for the ZBoard 2 to be sealed against water as much as possible, our shift to our outrunner motor now means you will need to avoid riding in the rain or on wet surfaces. While rolling through the occasional sprinkler runoff may not cause an issue, any standing water or extended exposure certainly risks water damage.
Riding Conditions Clarification (updated 10/5):
The ZBoard 2 is designed for use in dry conditions, though it is intentionally resistant to occasional sprays and splashes from sources such as sprinkler runoff and small puddles. Our goal was to make it robust but without compromising safety, performance, or other features. This has always been our intention, and it is what we are delivering. It is “splashproof” in the sense that you can ride your board through a puddle or sprinkler runoff without worrying about damaging the electronics.
However, the ZBoard 2 is not waterproof. While it is resistant to momentary splashes of water, it is neither designed to be submerged, nor to be ridden in the rain or on pavement with any standing water that can cause continuous exposure or ‘rooster tails’ or water flung up by the wheels.
The battery enclosure on the ZBoard 2 is sealed with a molded rubber lid under compression, and a combination of IP65 and IP67 waterproof connectors, press-fit grommets, and additional gaskets and sealants. Other components are molded to fit tightly, sealed with gaskets under high compression, and protected from dirt and water in other ways. Your electronics are safe under normal and intended use.
Our original designs utilized an inrunner motor, but the shift to an outrunner motor now means it is no longer completely sealed. Just like any other outrunner style motor, there is an increased sensitivity to water and debris, though we have made a number of proprietary improvements to the motor design to further protect it.
Even brief water exposure can be damaging or dangerous. Wet pavement can have unpredictable traction with the wheels, and a wet deck can have unpredictable traction with your feet. Although bearings in the wheels and motor have seals and are treated for resistance to corrosion, they may need to be replaced prematurely. And when it comes to wet roads, the dirt and other residue the water has in it can cause additional problems even after the water has dried. Riding in wet conditions is extremely dangerous on any skateboard - electric or non-electric - so for the safety of both the board and the rider, don’t do it.
Note #1 - The timing of this announcement is meant as a reminder after results we saw from the Beta Round 2.0 riders. A select few of these riders rode their boards in extremely wet and/or muddy conditions which may have contributed to certain performance or reliability issues. We do not want other customers to experience these same failures, so in addition to taking steps to prevent them we are reminding everyone of the proper use cases. If you want your board riding great and for a long time, we recommend you stay away from riding in the conditions discussed above.
Note #2 - Initially, the board was advertised as “splashproof.” This is a claim based on internal testing and experience with prototypes and Beta production units, and is not intended to imply any specific certifications. Please understand that this does not mean “waterproof.” We’ve spent hundred of hours testing, improving, and re-testing resilience to water, and we stand behind our product to work as intended when used as intended.
Riding and Ownership Tips
In general, we recommend beginning with a push start. The board has plenty of power to launch you from a standstill but this event uses up significant battery power and is amongst the most stressful moments on the electronics. Extend your battery life by getting the board rolling forward - even if just slightly - before hitting the throttle.
Footpad sensitivity is heavily favors the back pad and braking. This means that if you have weight on both pads, the ZBoard will brake. But, if you are moving rapidly forward and you press the brake while also on throttle, you will experience less braking force than if you remove your foot from the throttle and *only* press the brake. Be sure to practice all types of braking in a smooth, flat location at low speed before riding in more complex conditions.
We recommend wearing thin-soled shoes when you start - something that allows you to put down pressure with different parts of you foot. Thick soles, like those on dress shoes or boots should be avoided, especially when first learning.
Active Coast vs. True Coast
When you are moving forward and you release the throttle you'll enter Active Coast. During Active Coast the motor is still powered, though at a very low level . We've set this in such a way where it will gradually slow you down when you release the throttle. This is done intentionally as a safety mechanism, especially on hills. Think of it as leaving the car in gear compared to coasting in neutral.
When pressing the brake and releasing, the board will enter True Coast. This is a completely unpowered mode, the board will coast freely with just the friction from the drive train.
Thus, if you want to kick push your board, make sure that it is in True Coast. Also, if you are descending a hill and pressing the brake, and you release the brake, know that the board may accelerate more rapidly due to gravity in True Coast. For maximum control, we recommend keeping your foot on the rear pad when riding down a hill by pressing down when you need to brake, then modulating the amount of force on the rear pad to increase or decrease braking strength, rather than repeatedly pressing and releasing the brake.
During the previous period of testing we found that drive belts were coming loose for two reasons: 1) Occasionally the motor arm would become misaligned out of place 2) The belt had fine tension when shipped, but then the belt loosened with heavy usage and vibrations.
To counter this we've adjusted the way we mount motor arms and shipped all belts slightly tighter than before. These belts will naturally loosen over time until they are "just right." You may notice slightly increased drag at first, with improved range and speed as the belt and motor break in.
Timeline Going Forward
We've had to move the timeline back 2 weeks from the timeline stated in the last update. The reasons for this include some additional unexpected complexities surrounding Overtemp Mode and Head / Tail Lights. These have now been ironed out.
We will be shipping the rest of the Beta 2.1 units next week. We will then have a testing period. If this testing period to confirm changes as we retool for production. If this testing period is successful we will begin shipping out production units the week of 10/17:
From the Founders
Its really exciting to have boards shipping out again. And these aren't just any boards - these are the best boards we've ever built. The board has enough power to pull a full pallet, the nimbleness to weave through crowds, and the temperature controls necessary to ensure you'll be riding for a looong time. As always we're incredibly gracious for your patience and support. We can't wait to get you riding.