Rugged, all-terrain electric skateboards like the Dominator Pro and Gnarboard had better watch their backs. The Triborg is about to hit the dirt and street. Hailing from Lansing, Michigan, this funky aluminum block features a dirt bike-inspired three-wheel design with plenty of power to kick up dirt and roll over obstacles. Its designers think it's the strongest, most versatile board on the planet – will riders agree?
Four-wheel drive is a golden standard when it comes to off-road vehicles of all sizes, right down to skateboards. Both aforementioned trail-ready boards use 4WD systems.
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Triborg's designers have very different ideas, ideas that don't include four wheels, let alone four driven wheels. Instead, they center a large driven rear wheel inside the board's width. Up front, there's a more traditional pair of smaller, knobby-tired wheels mounted to a wide truck.
"While most electric skateboards have a four-wheel design, only one wheel is connected to the motor," Triborg explains on its Kickstarter campaign. "This design causes the board to twist one direction while accelerating, and in the opposite direction while braking. Contrary to that design, the Triborg features a centered rear wheel helping maintain its balance at all times."
To be fair, electric skateboards come in a variety of drive types and sometimes have two or four driven wheels. Both the Gnarboard and Dominator Pro have individual electric motors at each wheel, so Triborg's claims of single-driven wheel issues don't necessarily apply to all competitors.
Another point of Triborg design that strays from the norm is the placement of the rear wheel in front of the rear foot, as opposed to the more standard conventions of mounting the wheels outside or under the rider's feet, seen on boards of various styles, including three-wheel boards. The company explains that the placement of the motor and drive wheel in front of the rear foot helps to add ride stability and eliminate wobble. It also seems to help greatly in lifting the front wheels up onto and over obstacles.
The frame, TIG-welded from laser-cut aluminum, does not look too prone to instability – the motorcycle-inspired metal block looks like it'll be quite solid on either asphalt or trail. A dirt bike-influenced rear suspension helps eat up bumps and obstacles, and keep the drive wheel on the ground for maximum traction. The travel is adjustable, and the base shocks equipped to the Kickstarter model have up to 2.5 in (6.4 cm) of travel.
The Triborg rider rations the 20 Ah of lithium battery capacity by way of a hard-wired thumb throttle and brake. The rider leans into turns just like a skateboard, and Triborg promises a tight turning radius courtesy of the three-wheel layout. He or she will enjoy speeds up to 20 mph (32 km/h) and a range of just under 20 miles.
Triborg is positioning its skateboard as a highly customizable ride. Buyers can customize not only things like colors and wheels, but also motor size (wattage), battery capacity and grip tape. The board is also designed to work with standard aftermarket parts, allowing owners to swap out components like trucks, wheels, motor controller and shocks. Triborg recommends complementing the rear drum brake with the optional US$125 front braking system for riding in mountainous terrain.
Given its $100 goal, Triborg's Kickstarter campaign is more of an advertising and interest-gauging tool than a serious fundraising effort, but the company says that those that put down $2,350 pledges can expect to be riding their 900-watt electric board by August of this year. That assumes that everything goes along as planned. After the campaign winds down, Triborg will sell its boards via its website. It's also looking into brick-and-mortar distribution.
The narration on the below video leaves a lot to be desired, but the 1.5-minute clip does show the Triborg Skateboard in all its terrain-feasting glory.