Sometimes you come across a product that makes you sit back and go "FiiK". In the past we have covered electric skateboards, off road skateboards, even all terrain boards, but a combination of fun, technology, design and street cred has always been elusive. Two brothers on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia have managed to meld these elements together with their electric skateboards. The company is called FiiK "Future Is In Knowledge", a nod to their ongoing design refinement which began over 10 years ago with a small two stroke motor strapped to a plank of wood. The product has evolved into a skateboard with a magnetic motor, a digital wireless throttle control system, ABS braking system and a ton of urban chic.
FiiK me, I want oneThere are a number of different Fiik boards to cater for different types of riders and terrain. According to Fusionskate, an authorized retailer of FiiK, the most popular board is the retro styled, red striped "Street Surfer" and its easy to see why. This board produces high speeds on the black top with a maximum speed of 37 km/h (23 mph). It has aluminum rimmed, off road pneumatic tires with plenty of grip allowing you to take the board places a traditional skateboard can only dream about, such as tearing up grassy embankments and surfing the hard packed sand at the beach.
The board can also be equipped with super heavy duty tires – larger tires with grippy oversized tread to tackle dry dirt tracks and mulchy off road terrain. The board has an optional lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery giving you a range of around 30 km (22 miles) or 1.5 hours of runtime. A short wheelbase allows tighter turns, while the hardwood deck is concave for better traction while on board.
FiiK manufacture a range of other boards with a variety of deck shapes and more traditional poly-urethane wheels geared towards the street and skatepark. These boards have smaller and lighter battery packs with a short wheelbase for maneuverability. Others have a long wheelbase giving a surfing or snowboarding sensation with a deeper concave deck to give greater control while carving up the road. There is also a range for younger children, light enough to carry on public transport and to use as a regular skateboard if the battery runs flat.
How do you stop this Fiiking thingThe electric skateboards are all controlled by a handgun like device using digital wireless technology. There are 3 speed settings to allow for all skill levels, and the ability to limit the top speed for novice riders. Incorporating a stepless throttle control, the rider pulls the trigger towards them to start moving and away from them to slow down and stop. All the FiiK boards have an ABS braking system to allow the rider to slow down without the wheels locking and potentially throwing the rider off.
The FiiK batteryThe FiiK electric skateboards have a sealed lead acid battery as standard that can be upgraded to a more expensive lithium iron phosphate pack. Sealed lead acid batteries are a cost effective solution that can deliver great acceleration and torque when fully charged but they do have limitations compared to LiFePO4. There are large differences in weight and size – in regards to the FiiK lithium batteries, 3.8 kg (8.4 lb) compared to 13 kg (28.6 lb) and the lithium batteries are over four times smaller.
Other benefits are an extended run time, more torque, faster acceleration and a longer lifespan – 2,000 recharges compared to 500 with no charge memory problems. There is a quick charger in development that promises to drop the charging time from flat currently at 5 to 6 hours down to under 2 hours.
FiiK fanI was introduced to the FiiK skateboards by a friend, Tom Griffiths after he saw them on the Gold Coast in Australia and bought one for himself and his partner for Christmas last year. Tom mainly uses the board for those quick local trips down to the shops and for cruising along the beachfront each weekend, essentially replacing his bike. It took him a couple of weeks to master riding but he was able to get moving a few moments after jumping on.
According to Tom, the attention the board attracts is phenomenal with people stopping him in his tracks each time he takes the board out. "Most people are just in awe of the machine and want to have a go, I have kids and adults chasing me down the street to take a look."
The FiiK Street Surfer with lithium iron phosphate battery retails for US$1600.