Exway Flex Review and Comparison - Budget eBoard With Premium Features
Oct 05, 2020
- Premium parts on a budget electric skateboard
- The deck is awesome
- Great for carving
- Customizable performance with the app
- Smart battery system
- Swappable motor options
- You have to pull up some of the grip tape to access the top of the bolts of the rear trucks.
Before we even get started, I just want to make something crystal clear.
I was not paid to do this review. I didn’t even receive the Flex for free.
I paid for this electric skateboard with my own money.
So, everything in this Exway Flex review is completely unbias.
I must warn you though, this is my overall favourite electric skateboard I own now. So, the review is going to sound like a raving advertisement. But, I assure you, it’s not.
Also, lastly, before we get into the review, this is really in-depth and breaks open everything you need to know about the Exway Flex before you buy it, including the differences between the Hub and Riot kit.
So, it’s really long. You can use the Table of Contents in the sidebar to jump around to the parts of the review that you’re interested in reading about.
Alright, alright. Let’s get to it.
This has got to be one of the best decks on any electric skateboard under $1000.
As its name implies, the deck is extremely flexible. It’s made out of a composite of bamboo and fiberglass to create a deck that is both tough and elastic so, you can comfortable bounce all day with worrying that the deck is going to snap.
The bounce acts as a kind of shock absorption so your ride feels smooth and you don’t get any sore feet after riding it for a long time.
Another thing that helps to minimise the vibration is Exways signature shock-absorbing grip tape. A lot of people question whether this even does anything, but i think it does. Plus, the ever-so-slight squish you feel when you step onto the board is so satisfying.
A big part of what makes the Exway Flex a dream to ride is the shape of the deck. Along with its bounce, the deck has a deep concave shape. What’s more, the edges of the deck that sit over the wheels are flared up even further.
These have three major benefits.
The first is that they help to lock your feet into the board. You can feel these lips on the underside of your feet so prominently that you’ll always know exactly where your feet are on the deck. This means you can spend more time looking at where your riding and not at your feet.
Secondly, they assist in turning the board. Because of the angle that the flares sit at, they give you more leverage when leaning into a turn, so you don’t have to work as hard to get a sharper turn. The Exway Flex has one of the best turning circles on any electric skateboard that I’ve ever ridden, including some shortboards.
Lastly, when you turn too hard on an electric skateboard that doesn’t have these flares, you run the risk of getting wheel bite which is where the wheels end up hitting the bottom of the deck or your feet. This can cause the eboard to stop suddenly, potentially throwing you off. Thanks to the wheel flares, you avoid this issue completely.
Unlike Exway’s previous X1 series where all of the electronics were amazingly hidden inside the deck, the Flex has two separate enclosure, one for the ESC and the other for the battery.
I think the reason Exway decided to do this is simple. They just wanted to offer their customers a flexible deck options.
In order to place the battery inside the deck, Exway had to use a battery pack that was long and thin, meaning the deck couldn’t flex at all. Now with the separated enclosures, the battery can be layered, leaving space in the middle of the deck to accommodate for the bounce.
The enclosures are made of hard plastic and still look very premium. The plastic does scratch relatively easy, but I think it just gives your board a bit of character.
Another benefit of having the enclosures is that you can easily access the battery. Especially with this new enclosure system. It’s held in by three bolts either side of the enclosure. Just unscrew them and lift off the lid to get into the battery.
The stock wheels are Exways own, orange, 85mm with a hardness level of 76A.
Exway makes some of the best polyurethane wheels in the eskate industry at the moment. A lot of other manufacturers have tried, but nothing comes close.
And they are buttery smooth. They help a lot with soaking up vibrations and they grip to the road really well. I’m very comfortable taking corners at high speeds with these wheels, so long as the road isn’t wet or dusty.
On the Hub kit, the PU sleeves are amazing. There’s plenty of urethane between the motors and the ground so you don’t get that typical hub motor feeling while you’re riding. It’s still a very comfortable ride.
But the magic is on the Riot kit. With a set of four full wheels, they ride comfort is unmatched. Comboed with the flexy deck, and you’re in for a dream ride.
There is a lot of hype around Exway’s new trucks and rightly so.
They’re called Trist trucks and they are made inhouse by Exway using a manufacturing process that has previously been reserved for the high-end models of premium skate truck brands.
Because the Trist trucks are forged, rather than cast, they are really strong. Plus, they are cut with a CNC machine making them very precise.
The confidence this gives you while riding is unbelievable. When carving, the board bounces back just as you expect and when riding at high speeds, you get zero speed wobbles.
That’s right. I didn’t get any speed wobbles.
Bushings & Riser Pads
Although they are amazing, I can’t give all of the credit to the trucks. A big part of the comfort of the ride comes down to the bushings and riser pads.
Firstly, the bushings are the cushion that the trucks sit on. So, the harder the bushings, the faster and more responsive the deck will be out of a turn or a carve, while softer bushings aim to provide a slower, more comfortable riding feel.
These bushings sit right in the middle. They have plenty of cushion but maintain enough bounce back for a responsive carve.
The risers, well they’re there to create a bit of space between the wheel and the deck to reduce wheel bite, which we spoke about earlier, and to absorb some of the vibrations in the road.
Hopefully, you can start to see how Exway has made all the right decisions in creating an electric skateboard that is just a complete joy to ride.
You have two choices of motors on the exway Flex. you can go with the Hub motors or you can get the Riot Kit which are the belt-drives. Which one you choose really comes down to personal preference. There are some slight differences when it comes to performance which you’ll see later on when we go through the tests I did.
Once you pick a motor type, you’re not locked into that system forever. It is relatively easy to swap between the two kits. It takes me about 5 minutes to change over the motors using hand tools.
The Hub motors are 2x 1200W while the Riot kit is 2x 1500w. A slight boost in power for the Riot kit which gives it a higher low-end power making it quicker off the mark and better for climbing hills.
Like all belt drives, they make a beautiful whirring sound when you ride. But if you prefer to ride lowkey, then the hubs provide the silent power you desire.
Boy oh boy….
This ESC is one of the best in the eskate game.
The best way to think about this ESC is that it is all about control. And that control comes in two forms.
The first is the control you have when you’re riding the Flex. There is no noticeable latency between your movements on the thumbwheel and when the board reacts so you always know how the board is going to respond.
When I was riding, it felt totally seamless, almost as if the board was an extension of my own body. It’s hard to explain. It’s the kind of thing you only realise after having ridden the Flex.
The second part of the control you have is in the customisation of the ESC.
Using the Exway App, you have full control over the power of the acceleration and braking, along with a whole host of other awesome features to control the board.
I have a video that covers all of the features of the Exway App coming out this week. So, make sure you head over to subscribe and hit the notification bell button to be notified as soon as that comes out.
Exway have developed a smart battery system which is actually smart.
And I realised something about electric skateboard batteries in general only after riding the Flex. Which is what makes the battery so smart.
So, on occasion, maybe 3-4 times per ride, I would get a vibration warning from the remote and the screen would say ‘High Voltage Warning’. It happened mostly when I was going uphill or braking hard while going downhill at a fast pace.
At first, this annoyed me and I thought “ahhh, this is the thing… This is the problem with the Flex, I knew it couldn’t be perfect.”
But then I realised that this is actually a feature of the smart battery. It’s communicating to me that the battery is under more stress than it would like and to please back off a bit.
So what did I do every time I got the warning? I rolled off the accelerator (or brakes). The warning would disappear and I’d be good to go.
The battery is actively trying to prolong its own life. It’s a self-aware battery.
But eventually, all batteries die, even smart ones. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to swap the dead battery thanks to the new enclosure which works a lot like the old Boosted Board enclosures. Unscrew a few bolts, yank out the old battery, and chuck a freshy in there.
Another great feature of this battery is the ability to check, roughly, how much battery is left without turning on the remote and the eboard. You just single click the power button on the enclosure and the ring of lights around the button illuminate to indicate the battery level.
This seems like a gimmick, but I was surprised at how often I ended up using this to check if I had enough to get me to where I needed to go. Otherwise I’d have to take the car… ew.
As for the battery specs, it’s running Sony VTC6 18650 cells with a 259Wh capacity.
Awesome! You’re still with me? Hopefully, you’re now just as excited about the Flex as I am.
But before you pull the trigger on it, let’s put the Exway Flex to the real test.
Exway are using the same Remote that they have been using for their X1 series, and I’m glad they are because I love this remote.
It’s a good size and the matte finish feels awesome.
The only downside is that the LED screen might be considered a tad too small for some people, making it hard to see the information at a quick glance.
Aside from that, you get 4 speed modes (all of which are individually customizable), reverse and cruise control. All of which are controlled using the single button on the remote.
Now, I’ve heard a few people say that they don’t like how everything is controlled with one button. And I understand. Instead of being able to cycle through the speed modes quickly, it instead puts the board into reverse.
But the time difference between clicking the button three times really fast and having to wait for each gear is literally 2 seconds.
Another great, yet commonly overlooked safety feature by both riders and manufacturers is that the button on the remote becomes completely dead when the throttle is active. So you can’t accidentally change speed modes, put the board in reverse or turn it off completely while you’re accelerating.
The board has a standby mode, meaning that when you turn the remote off, the Flex goes into an idle mode where it can then be turned on again by using only the remote. It uses a minimal amount of power to maintain this and I hardly noticed the depletion. You can also change how long the eboard stays in standby mode or you can turn it off completely by using the app.
|28.8mph / 46.4kmh
|30.6mph / 49.3kmh
For a budget electric skateboard, this is an incredible top speed.
It’s faster than the marketed top speed of some of the more premium brands, including Evolve.
There’s really not much to say here. The numbers speak for themselves.
What I will mention, in case you skipped down to this section, is that I didn’t get any wobbles while doing this speed test. You can read why this is in the Trucks section above.
|11.2 miles / 18km
|12 miles / 19.2km
I didn’t quite hit the marketed range that exway claim that the Flex can do, but I am never able to do the range any eboard manufacturer says their eboards can do.
I weigh 198lbs / 90kg, I rode pretty hard in gear 4 which I had customised the acceleration to be 100% power, I had turbo mode on and a did quite a bit of carving.
Lighter riders, without turbo mode on and riding at more of a casual cruising pace of around 15mph / 25kmh will surely get a lot more range than I did.
As you can see, the Riot edges out the Hubs only very slightly in these two tests. The distinction becomes more apparent when we look at the acceleration, braking and hill-climbing abilities.
The Riot Kit undeniably outperforms the Hubs when it comes to braking power.
Coming from close to the top speed to a complete stop, I’d say the difference is about 10-15′ / 3-5m.
It’s hard to add value to this metric but what I would say is, if you’re the kind of rider who wants to get the most out of the speed, then get the Riot Kit, because that difference in braking distance could be the difference between life and death.
On the other hand, if you’re more of a conservative rider, then the difference in braking distance at cruising pace is negligible and You could happily go for either kit.
Hill Climb Test
The way I like to measure hill climbing ability is the boards top speed at a designated hill grade. The reason I do this is because there are very few hills that are above 25%. The majority of hill grades in your area will likely not even be more than 15%.
Obviously, if you’re in San Fransisco, things are different. If that’s the case, get a Belt-drive kit.
At the steepest part of the hill I climbed, the grade was 12%.
With the Hubs, I was rolling up at around 11.8mph / 19kmh. This is a good speed for hubs. It’s better than most other hub motor eboards out there. It didn’t feel like the eboard was ever going to give up but it didn’t feel like I was powering up either.
With the Riot Kit, the Flex pulled me up the hill at about 15.5mph / 25kmh. And you could feel the board powering up there. I had a lot more faith that I’d get to the top with the Riot than I did with the Hubs.
Overall, the Exway Flex is incredible.
If you’re looking for your first electric skateboard, the Flex is perfect. It has great stability to help you build confidence, the deck absorbs a lot of vibrations and it’s really easy to control.
But it’s not just for beginners. Seasoned eskate veterans will love the carveability (not a real word, but it should be) of the Flex, and the ability to customize your ride experience to be just the way you like it with the app.
It’s money very well spent.
Use code ESKHUB for $15 OFF