Unnecessary? Sure. The best part of my commute? Absolutely.
I’m pretty lucky to be able to test gear and call it work. Although it’s pretty unusual, one of the most fun products I’ve tested in my two years at Outside is the Evolve GTX All-Terrain electric skateboard ($1,780). Evolve loaned me a board, and I’ve been using it to commute the 1.5 miles to work nearly every day for the past two months. It’s so fun that I usually take the long way home through the Santa Fe suburbs just so I can get a little extra cruising time.
What Is It?
The Evolve GTX is a fully automatic electric longboard. It’s controlled by a hand remote and powered by a rechargeable lithium battery with a dual belt-drive system to the rear wheels. Think of it as a beefed-up Boosted Board, the ubiquitous orange-wheeled boards that were made famous, in part, by YouTuber Casey Neistat. Evolve claims a range of 18 miles on a single charge and a top speed 26 mph on the flats, although I regularly cruise at around 30 miles per hour.
The most annoying part is pairing the Bluetooth remote with the board, something you have to do every time before you ride. Pairing time varies—sometimes it’s instantaneous, other times it can take a few minutes. The remote has four different speed settings that limit your speed and acceleration. The idea is to start easy and switch modes as you become comfortable. My only complaint: I always ride in Fast mode, but the remote starts in Slow, meaning I have to manually switch modes every time. It only takes a second, but it would be nice to be able to permanently set your desired setting.
I’m not much of a skateboarder, but riding the GTX is pretty intuitive. Just plant your feet and pull the trigger. It feels a lot like a regular longboard, except you never have to push, meaning you can cruise up hills with ease. The remote also has a very responsive brake so stopping at lights and Stop signs is a breeze.
The wheels are what makes this board so fun to ride. I’ve also tested a Boosted Board, which uses standard polyurethane longboard wheels. Going 20 miles per hour over rough pavement on those is terrifying. Not so on the GTX, with its eight-inch rubber wheels, which, like bike tires, swallow up cracks and potholes and are very reassuring at high speeds. It also means you can cut through grassy parks or conquer gravel bike paths without a second thought.
- It’s super fun.
- The all-terrain wheels make it more versatile than any other electric skateboard on the market.
- It can be a viable mode of transportation, especially in smaller, less-congested mountain towns.
- It costs as much as a budget mountain bike.
- Bluetooth pairing between the remote and the board can be finicky.
- You don’t get the fitness benefits of commuting to work on a bike.
Should You Buy It?
If you can afford the $1,800 price tag, absolutely. The Evolve GTX costs nearly the same as my previous commuter bike and is half as expensive as our favorite electric bikes. The build quality is top-notch, and after three months of almost daily use, it shows little signs of wear. I have no doubt that I will be able to use this board for years to come (though skateboards aren’t for everyone, and electric versions are probably even less appealing to most people). Plus, there’s no denying that the Evolve GTX is an absolute blast to ride.