Backfire Era 2 Review, Is it too light or does it pass the test?

Richmond Bendu Jul 17, 2023
84 People Read
Backfire Era 2, Backfire era 2 review, backfire era 2 specs
Table of Contents
  1. Build and Specifications of the Backfire Era 2
    1. Deck:
    2. Lighter Than a Shortboard
    3. Enhanced Performance with 10s Hobbywing ESC
  2. Riding Experience with the Backfire Era 2
    1. Ideal for Beginners and Urban Commuters
    2. Cloudwheel Donuts for Added Comfort
    3. Verdict on the Backfire Era 2 – Ideal for Urban Commuting
  3. Backfire Era 2 Pros and Cons
    1. Pros:
    2. Cons:
  4. Conclusion

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only. 

Backfire, a highly esteemed name in the electric skateboard industry, has long been admired for its innovative designs and quality craftsmanship. However, in recent years, the brand faced a daunting challenge in the fiercely competitive entry-level eskate market. Despite the commendable performance of their Backfire G2 Black model, it struggled to shine amidst formidable rivals like the Wowgo 2s Max and Meepo V4s, which boasted superior ride experiences and unmatched performance.

Determined to regain their foothold, Backfire embarked on a mission to redefine what an entry level board would cost. And so, at the cusp of 2022, they unleashed the Backfire Era 2—a revolutionary $399 electric skateboard that defied convention. Instead of engaging in the perpetual power and range race, Backfire chose to tread a different path, focusing on a singular goal: unparalleled portability. With the Era 2, they aimed to cater specifically to the needs of urban commuters and those seeking a swift last-mile solution making it the first electric board to focus mainly on portability.

In this article, we delve into the very essence of the Backfire Era 2, exploring its groundbreaking features, assessing its performance, and determining whether it truly stands as a game-changer in the world of electric skateboards. Join us as we embark on a thrilling journey through the streets, discovering how Backfire's unwavering commitment to innovation has transformed the landscape of entry-level eskates.

Build and Specifications of the Backfire Era 2

Deck: Crafted with high-quality materials, the Backfire skateboard features a premium construction of Canadian Maple and Fiberglass.

Electronic Speed Controller: Powered by a cutting-edge 10s Hobbywing ESC, the skateboard ensures precise control and smooth acceleration.

Battery: Equipped with a reliable 42V 180Wh Li-Polymer battery, the skateboard offers a dependable power source for an exhilarating ride.

Marketed Range: Designed to cover substantial distances, the skateboard boasts an impressive marketed range of 19-24km / 12-15 miles.

Motors: The skateboard is driven by dual 650W in-hub motors, delivering efficient performance and optimal power distribution.

Marketed Top Speed: Experience the thrill of speed with a marketed top speed of 26 mph or 42 km/h, allowing for exciting rides and quick commutes.

Trucks: Featuring Backfire's proprietary 50° 8-inch trucks, the skateboard ensures stability and maneuverability for a smooth and controlled ride.

Wheels: Equipped with 90 mm urethane wheels, the skateboard offers a balanced combination of grip and smooth rolling for a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Deck:

Premium Canadian Maple and Fiberglass Electronic Speed Controller: 10s Hobbywing ESC Battery: 42V 180Wh Li-Polymer Battery Advertised Range: 9 miles / 15 km Motors: Dual 650W In-Hub Motors Advertised Top Speed: 26 mph / 42 km/h Trucks: 50° 8-inch Backfire Proprietary Trucks Wheels: 90 mm Urethane Wheels.

Let's begin with the build and specifications. The standout feature of this board is undoubtedly its slim and sleek design. The deck appears to be of high quality and boasts a stealthy aesthetic. The absence of an electronic enclosure at the bottom of the deck allows for maximum ground clearance.

However, this design choice comes with a tradeoff—the deck is very stiff with almost . In fact, the 38" maple and fiberglass deck has zero flex, which affects the overall riding experience. We'll delve into that further later.

Lighter Than a Shortboard

On another note, the Backfire Era 2 deck features a mild concave that provides secure foot placement. Additionally, Backfire reduced the deck width to 8.85 inches from the usual 9.5 inches, further minimizing its footprint.

Thanks to these adjustments, the board is exceptionally lightweight, the entire skateboard weighing in at only 16 lbs or 7.25 kg. In fact, it is even lighter than some shortboards, such as the Tynee Mini 2.

Inside the deck lies a 5.0ah, 180 Wh LiPo battery pack concealed beneath the grip tape. This provides the board with a moderate range claim of 9 miles or 15 km. During our tests, our 150 lbs rider managed to cover 7 miles or 12 km at a fast pace. While this range is not particularly impressive and falls on the lower side by today's standards, it's crucial to remember that this board is priced at $399 and boasts a sleek design.

Enhanced Performance with 10s Hobbywing ESC

Regarding the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), Backfire Era 2 utilizes a 10s Hobbywing ESC with a smart turn-on feature, which we found to be highly appreciated. Perhaps Backfire opted for a 10s ESC and battery combination to save costs since the chosen motor wouldn't be able to fully utilize a 12s system anyway. The remote control offers two speed modes—ECO and SPEED—and also includes a turbo mode.

Speaking of motors, the Backfire ERA 2 features dual 400W hub motors, which are adequate for daily rides but don't deliver exceptional power. Even the "turbo mode" is essentially a term used for the fourth and highest-speed mode. Overall, the power output is modest.

During our top speed test, we achieved the advertised speed exactly, reaching 26 mph or 42 km/h. As we know, this is a standard top speed for entry-level eskates.

The board is equipped with standard 90mm urethane wheels, which are decent but not particularly remarkable. Nonetheless, they are of good quality and offer high rebound properties.

Lastly, Backfire ERA 2 incorporates the brand's proprietary 50-degree trucks, measuring 8 inches in length.

That concludes the specifications of the board.

As you can see, the Backfire ERA 2 does not attempt to outperform other boards in terms of specifications. Does this mean it rides poorly as well? Let's hit the road and put the Era 2 to the test!

Riding Experience with the Backfire Era 2

As with all Backfire boards, the acceleration of the Backfire ERA 2 is exceptionally smooth. By opting for a 10s instead of a 12s Hobbywing ESC, Backfire emphasizes that power is not its primary focus. The acceleration and braking responses are equally gentle and smooth.

For context, many highly powerful hub boards use 500W motors. While wattage alone doesn't paint the whole picture, the ERA 2 felt slightly underwhelming in terms of power compared to other boards we tested, such as the Meepo V4s and Wowgo 2s Max.

Ideal for Beginners and Urban Commuters

Having said that, I can envision beginners and casual riders appreciating the Backfire Era 2 precisely for its mildness and reduced risk of handling a board that is too powerful for their skill level.

The next crucial aspect to consider is the ride feel, which brings us back to the deck. The concave provides a pleasant grip, securing our feet in place. However, as expected, the stiff deck struggles when traversing rough road conditions. Since the deck is narrower than that of typical eskates, we experienced intense vibrations when riding on poorly paved roads.

Cloudwheel Donuts for Added Comfort

As we anticipated, this board is designed for sidewalk use. Therefore, if you often find yourself riding on poorly paved roads, we highly recommend upgrading to 105mm Cloudwheel Donuts. This is the only way to make the ride bearable.

On smooth roads, however, the Backfire ERA 2 not only provides a smooth ride but is also enjoyable for carving. In our experience, if you decide not to upgrade to Cloud wheels, we recommend limiting your ride to no more than 5 miles (8 km) as your feet may start to feel fatigued.

The trucks offer stability even at the top speed of 23 mph and are highly responsive during turns. Of course, substituting the branded trucks with Paris or Caliber II trucks would enhance responsiveness and make carving more enjoyable. Considering the $399 price point, we have no complaints about the board's trucks.

Verdict on the Backfire Era 2 – Ideal for Urban Commuting

To summarize, the Backfire Era 2 provides a decent riding experience accompanied by a sleek and polished appearance. Compared to other entry-level electric skateboards, the Era 2 does not excel in terms of performance or ride feel.

However, it does possess the advantage of being highly portable. Backfire even includes a free carrying bag to emphasize its portability. Additionally, it boasts an appealing aesthetic, at least in our opinion.

It is rare to see Backfire prioritize aesthetics over specifications, but in this case, the tradeoff makes perfect sense. If you are seeking a last-mile commute to and from bus or train stations, portability and aesthetics outweigh power and top speed.

In urban environments, power and top speed are irrelevant when riding on city sidewalks or within campuses. Why burden yourself with the extra weight of a larger battery

Backfire Era 2 Pros and Cons

Remember that these pros and cons are subjective and may vary based on individual preferences and priorities.

Pros:

  1. Portability: The Backfire Era 2 is designed with a slim and lightweight build, making it highly portable and easy to carry around.

  2. Sleek Design: The board has a polished and visually appealing aesthetic, offering a stylish ride.

  3. Smooth Acceleration: The Era 2 provides smooth acceleration and braking, ensuring a comfortable riding experience.

  4. Beginner-Friendly: With its gentle power delivery, the Era 2 is suitable for beginners and casual riders, reducing the risk of handling a board that's too powerful.

  5. Decent Range: While not exceptional, the advertised range of 9 miles (15 km) is suitable for short commutes and last-mile trips.

  6. Responsive Trucks: The proprietary 50-degree trucks offer stability and responsiveness during turns.

  7. Free Carrying Bag: Backfire includes a free carrying bag to enhance the board's portability.

Cons:

  1. Stiff Deck: The deck lacks flex due to its slim design, resulting in a less comfortable ride, particularly on rough road surfaces.

  2. Standard Wheels: The 90mm urethane wheels, while decent, are not particularly remarkable in terms of performance or ride comfort.

  3. Limited Speed Modes: The remote control offers only two speed modes (ECO and SPEED), with one additional turbo mode. More speed options would provide greater flexibility for riders.

  4. Vibrations on Poorly Paved Roads: Due to the narrow deck and lack of suspension, riding on poorly paved roads can result in strong vibrations and discomfort.

  5. Range Limitation: The Era 2's range of 19-24km / 12-15 miles may be insufficient for riders with longer commutes or those looking for extended rides. It has low battery life in comparisons to many boards with ER capabilities.

  6. Average Top Speed: While the advertised top speed of 26 mph (42 km/h) is standard for entry-level eskates, it may not satisfy riders seeking higher speeds.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Backfire Era 2 presents itself as an electric skateboard that prioritizes portability and aesthetics over raw power and top speed. While it may not outperform its competitors in terms of specifications or ride feel, it excels in its sleek design and lightweight construction, making it an excellent choice for urban commuting and last-mile transportation.

The Era 2 offers a smooth and gentle riding experience, making it beginner-friendly and reducing the risk of riders feeling overwhelmed by excessive power. However, riders seeking a more thrilling and high-performance ride may find the Era 2 somewhat underwhelming.

The deck's slim build and lack of flex contribute to its portability, but it compromises the overall comfort, especially when riding on rough road surfaces. Upgrading to larger wheels can help alleviate vibrations and enhance the ride experience.

While the Era 2's range is moderate, it may not be sufficient for riders with longer commutes or those desiring extended rides. Additionally, the limited speed modes on the remote control may leave some riders wanting more flexibility.

Ultimately, the Backfire Era 2 offers a good balance between affordability, portability, and aesthetics. It is an attractive option for riders who prioritize convenience and style over ultimate performance. For urban commuters and those seeking a reliable last-mile solution, the Era 2 delivers a decent riding experience and a sleek appearance, making it a compelling choice within its price range.

Table of Contents
  1. Build and Specifications of the Backfire Era 2
    1. Deck:
    2. Lighter Than a Shortboard
    3. Enhanced Performance with 10s Hobbywing ESC
  2. Riding Experience with the Backfire Era 2
    1. Ideal for Beginners and Urban Commuters
    2. Cloudwheel Donuts for Added Comfort
    3. Verdict on the Backfire Era 2 – Ideal for Urban Commuting
  3. Backfire Era 2 Pros and Cons
    1. Pros:
    2. Cons:
  4. Conclusion

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.