Exway Flex (Riot) Review (600+ km)
In this post we're going to have a close look at the Exway Flex with the belt-driven Riot drive train. I am in no way sponsored or affiliated and bought the board myself.
I started skating on a regular skateboard 1.5 years ago. Shortly after I tried a colleagues longboard at work, so I got a cheap longboard. I learned pushing, breaking, pretty basic stuff until I was confident enough to use the board in traffic. We have a lot of bike roads here in Copenhagen. I decided to not buy an electric board before the next summer. This makes me a beginner to intermediate rider and I've never tried any other electric skateboards, so keep that in mind when reading on :)
On April 22nd (2020) I checked out an Exway Flex with belt motors and I received it around the end of July. Now it's the beginning of September and I've gone over 300 kilometers and made about 80% of my co-workers try it.
It's changed my commute since I can now go all 4.5 kilometers to work by board, safely on a bike road for most of the time.
My experience of how other people react is 98% positive. From kids that point and shout:
Look dad! Electric skateboard!
to cyclists that ask me how far and fast it goes at a red light. Sometimes I just let strangers try it that seem super fascinated and if I'm not super busy.
Overall it's pretty much like having a puppy and people are very curious about it. For safety I wear a helmet and I have strap on bike lights from ABUS that I can ride with and still be visible.
The deck has little parts that go upwards where your feet are placed, called flares. Compared to my regular (flat and stiff NKD freeride) longboard I don't notice much of a difference in how well I stand. Also it has some padded grip tape which doesn't really make a difference for me either.
The flex is really nice and takes some of the shock when going over cobblestone or a bump.
The remote was an important part for me so I paid attention to some other reviewers who described it as precise and safe. It was important for me to have a "dead man switch", so that it would stop accelerating when I let go of the remote for what ever reason.
You can turn it forward for acceleration and backwards for braking or reversing. You can choose which one of these options you prefer in the Android or iOS app.
Maintenance and Repair
On the subreddit /r/exway a few people actually report problems with the Exway Flex. From snapped decks, to motors that run very asynchronously, batteries being completely empty at 25% alleged charge left and so on.
I don't have a lot of these issues. I knew that I was buying a budget board, so I don't expect everything to be 100% and super refined. I definitely notice battery drag when below 20% battery. Below that point the board will not accelerate the same and the top speed will suffer to the point of barely moving (at about 5%). I managed to run out of battery, which was on purpose, so I could see what happens for myself.
I've had one incident so far that required me to take off one wheel and the belt cover on one of the back wheels. The symptom was that one mother was making a knocking sound when running and I could feel that the belt felt different and generated more resistance. It was really easy to remove the wheel with the included T-tool and the two other wrenches.
A few days later one of the belts actually snapped in traffic on my way to work, but I only noticed it because of the sound. I could still get to work, order replacement belts and then just go to the nearest train station on one belt. Pretty happy with how the board didn't do anything unpredictable and I guess after about 300km distance and some stones in the belts (although removed) this isn't too bad.
Replacing the belt on an Exway Flex is really easy, removing one bolt and two screws is all you need to do. However, I recommend keeping track of the distance discs and the order in which they go around wheel and pulley.
Overall I love it. Sometimes, especially in bad weather, I'd probably take a bike instead if I had one. It's the most fun way to get around for me!