Electric Skateboards and Speed Wobbles – What Causes It and How to Avoid It
The simplest and quickest technique to reduce speed wobbles on your electric skateboard is to tighten your rear truck slightly more than your front one. A longer wheelbase and a lower degree baseplate are also beneficial (drop through trucks rather than top mount). However, avoiding and coping with speed wobbles has a lot more to do with your posture and skill level.
As you may expect, dealing with “death” wobble is not as straightforward as it appears. I mean, there’s a reason it’s called death wobble, right?
What causes the speed to sway?
We are the ones that produce the wobbling. That’s right, as amazing as humans are, we’ve evolved to the point where we have trouble managing our own bodies. Our bodies, which aren’t naturally adapted to rolling on concrete on top of a piece of wood, try to auto-regulate and correct our posture and balance to compensate for the road’s inconsistencies and imperfections, especially while riding at high speeds, such as 25 miles per hour on an eskate.
This is mostly determined by two factors:
- Neurons in muscles, tendons, and joints manage our conscious balance control (or proprioception).
- Our reflex arc, or the neurological circuits that control our reflexes, effectively bypasses our brains to prevent time-consuming delays.
It’s simple to state that our board setup effects speed wobbles and has a direct impact on avoiding them, but let’s be honest: we’re not going to be able to sidestep thousands of years of evolution so easily.
Practice, as previously said, is the greatest and most long-term solution for preventing speed wobble.
How to work your way out of speed wobbles one step at a time
First, practice without the use of electricity.
If you’re new to eskates (or skateboarding in general), your best option for avoiding wobbles is to start with a non-motorized board, as suggested by the r/ElectricSkateboarding Reddit community.
You can grab a decent standard longboard and loosen your trucks to get a sense for how it feels to wobble. You won’t need to go at breakneck speeds to get a sense of it, believe me. Always use the appropriate safety equipment, and set aside some time each day to ride and acclimate your muscles and instincts. Expect it to take a month or two to complete the procedure. The importance of consistency cannot be overstated.
Start paying attention to how you stand and where your feet are placed.
Because your front foot dictates the majority of your skateboard turning (which is why you’ll see a lot of downhill longboarders putting practically all of their weight on their front foot and only leaning in with their back foot), it’s critical that you shift your weight to the front while riding.
It’s time to start focusing on your carving once you’ve had some practice with turning and just going straight at reasonable speeds. Swing your body from side to side, noticing how your weight varies as you lean in each direction. Always try to push yourself a little harder than before.
Switch to eboards (and concentrate!)
When you’ve had enough wobbles, switch to an electric board and repeat the process. Because of the speed you may reach even on flat surfaces with eskates, you’ll need to be proficient at managing wobbles even if you don’t plan on going downhill. As a result, any time you can devote to practicing will be well worth it.
As a side note, one thing I learned early on after my e-board collided with a car (thankfully, it was only the board), is that riding requires complete concentration.
Your fifth and sixth senses (balance control) must be fully involved in the experience. As a result, wearing headphones is a no-no. This is due to the fact that listening to music reduces your awareness of your surroundings as well as your own body. While practicing, stay sharp and attentive.
You will definitely feel the wobbling the first few times.
Even if you’ve been practicing for a while on a regular longboard. When this happens, simply decelerate your remote and remain calm and relaxed. As you slow down, the board will adjust and stabilize.
Return to it once the shaking has stopped, trying to keep low and lean forward. You’ll develop a solid feel of how to deal with it if it arises with experience, and you might even be able to prevent it totally.
What tweaks can you make to your setup to eliminate eskate wobble?
These won’t stop your board from wobbling, but they will slow down the time it takes for it to start wobbling. However, they’re important to remember both while choosing your e-board and in general, in order to understand how it operates and what to adjust if necessary.
Make sure your trucks are secure.
Tightening your trucks decreases the board’s capacity to turn, which reduces the likelihood of speed wobbles (pun intended). Some suggest loosening the front truck and tightening the rear, but I believe it’s more about finding the proper balance of what feels nice, and it also depends on the type of riding you do on a regular basis. If you prefer long, rapid rides, you can get away with the trucks being very tight.
If, on the other hand, you need to be nimble and flexible to navigate turn after turn, I’d recommend giving yourself some manoeuvrability leeway and experimenting with loose front trucks and slightly tighter back trucks until you think the risk of wobbling is minimal.
A word of caution: don’t overtighten your trucks to the point that the bushings appear to be collapsing. If you require stiffer bushings, you should get stiffer bushings.
Baseplate with a lower angle and a truck mount
The component of the truck that connects it to the board is the baseplate. These come in a variety of angles, each of which affects how much you can turn. If you’re not building your own board, take attention to the type of vehicle the one you’re purchasing supports. If you already own a board, firmer bushings can help overcome a high degree baseplate, as previously indicated.
It’ll once again be a case of figuring out what works best for you and choosing between carving ability and speed.
Consider drop through boards as another option to experiment with your proximity to the surface and distance from it (picture below). Their trucks are fastened to the top of your board, lowering it to the ground. Again, a lower position means a smaller turning radius.
Top mount boards, on the other hand, raise you higher off the ground, making carving easier but also making it easier to face plant after a speed wobble.
A drop down board, which has a similar feel to a drop through but can allow more carving range, is an alternative to modifying how your trucks are linked to the board. Boundmotor is an electric skateboard company that produces high-quality drop-down boards.
The distance between the center of the front and rear wheels is the wheelbase of your electric skateboard or longboard. A smaller wheelbase (short board) makes it more likely to wobble than a larger one, as I painfully illustrated by falling like a bag of potatoes with my Boosted Mini (longboard). This is also linked to turning ability.
A short board is easier to turn than a longboard, but it also allows for more speed wobble.
That’s why, if you’re new to electric skating, many people recommend starting with a longboard. So keep that in mind while you choose your board. If your DIY board allows you to alter the wheelbase, start with a larger one and gradually reduce it until you find your sweet spot.
Practice, practice, and practice some more
To reiterate, learning how your body reacts throughout your ride with your unique board is the only way to truly deal with and ideally avoid deadly wobbles with your electric skateboard.
Yes, you can make changes, but they will not be your long-term solution.
As you advance and enhance your skill level, your brain and muscle memory will need to be trained and utilised at increasing speeds. So go out, have a good time, stay focused, and workout.
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They don’t, however, have to be the end of your riding career. It’s often necessary to go through the bad in order to appreciate the good. The same may be said for skateboarding and other aspects of life. If you follow the steps outlined above, you will notice less speed wobbles and electrics skateboards
Keep riding and stay safe!