I just got off the phone to Evolve and they said ‘Hey, we’ve been working on something really exciting and we want to show you what it is.’
So tomorrow morning, I’m flying up to see Evolve at their HQ to see what it’s all about.
Hang around because I want to tell you all about it.
I took a tour of Evolve’s HQ here in Australia and I go to see exactly how it all works behind the scenes.
It was super interesting to see what it takes to bring these boards to life.
I also got to meet Jeff and the amazing crew behind Evolve who have all been working super hard lately to bring you something really, really cool.
After the tour, Jeff and Matty pulled me aside and brought with them two big boxes.
Inside the first two boxes was the brand new Evolve GTR electric skateboards.
The two I got to see first were the Carbon GTR with AT wheels and the other was a Bamboo GTR with AT wheels.
Jeff gave me an entire run of what’s new on the GTR series. And I want to tell you all about it, but first, I just had to take them for a ride.
Let me be clear.
These boards are powerful, there’s no doubt about it, but they’re more than just that.
They are smooth carving machines that have been designed to offer the best riding feel possible.
And after taking them for a spin, Evolve sure have delivered.
Let’s dial the hype back for a bit and take a close look at the specs and components of these new Evolve GTR electric skateboards.
The new GTR boards are completely redesigned from the ground up and share nothing from the previous series.
So, hopefully they have addressed some of the common and renowned issues that a lot of the previous boards have had. Let’s see.
The Bamboo GTR deck is made of three layers of bamboo with two layers of fibreglass.
And the all new grip tape design that is reminiscent of those old muscle cars sticks true to the GTR name.
There’s extra truck holes on the deck, so you can extend or shorten the wheelbase depending on what kind of ride you want to have.
You can lengthen out the wheelbase for long, sturdy cruises, or shorten them for the ability to have fast and sharp turning.
But here’s the great thing about this deck.
Because of the concave shape, you can feel the edges of the board on both your toes and your heels perfectly.
So you always know where your feet are without having to dart your eyes down to have a look.
Along with the concave shape, the Bamboo GTR also has an incredible flex to it.
It really has that old school longboard feel to it, but with the added benefit of electric power!
The ride is silky smooth and you can carve effortlessly all day long.
The Carbon GTR deck, is handmade in China with a brand new design. It has a beautiful matte finish on it and is repping the honeycomb grip tape from the Bamboo GTX series.
It’s also nice to see that the grip tape on the Carbon GTR goes all the way to the edge now too.
The Evolve GTR boards are using the same Super Carve trucks, however, it is now made through a forging process that makes them super strong. Like super saiyan strong.
And that’s for all of the hardware on the board, including the motor plates. It’s all forged metal, so we should see far less, if any, bending and breaking of motor plates and trucks.
The GTR street boards come with 97mm urethane wheels that are made in the USA by the same manufacturer as top end skateboard wheel brands like ABEC.
The chemical make-up of these wheels make them really grippy, so you can carve hard and stay in control but you don’t lose any speed performance.
Evolve offer them in three different colours, white, black and orange. Plus you can put on any other longboard style wheels that have the holed cores, like Kegels and FlyWheels.
The AT setup runs the same Pneumatic tires as the previous AT boards. But now you can also get them in a smaller size of 6”
And they come in a ton of different colour combos.
As for the bearings, Evolve are now using Precision ceramic bearings which offer reduced friction so that you can squeeze every inch of range out of the GTR boards.
One of the things I’m excited about is Evolve’s new battery.
Evolve have custom designed this new battery system that they are calling the Power Flex Battery.
And check this out, you can completely flex this thing around on itself.
The unique thing about this battery system is that it doesn’t have any wires on the pack at all.
The cells are spot welded to a PCB which connect them to the BMS at one end.
A really cool piece of tech.
The battery pack is a 10S4P system running Samsung 18650-35E cells.
Now, Evolve have had battery issues in the past, in particular, the infamous ‘battery sag’ where the battery’s level indicator would drop significantly followed by the board flicking down into ECO while it was under high amounts of stress, like riding up hills or in grass with the AT setup.
Evolve have now fixed this by rewriting their software so that the battery’s level indicator decreases incrementally 1% at a time regardless of the power output.
This will prevent the ESC from thinking the battery is lower than it actually is and you won’t experience any unexpected mode drops.
On top of this, as the board begins to near 0%, you’ll continue to have access to the same amount of power as you would at 100%.
So, climbing hills at 8% battery won’t be an issue at all. You’ll still power up them with ease.
Battery sag, GAWN!
Alongside their standard battery, Evolve are also releasing a travel friendly battery pack.
It sits just under the 160Wh restriction, so you can fly with it, however, you’ll still need to get approval from your airline prior to your flight.
On the Bamboo GTR, the battery also has dual USB ports which can power USB-powered accessories, some of which Evolve are offering, which I’ll talk about in a sec. But, I am also excited to see what the eSkate community comes up with to take advantage of these extra ports.
Both the Bamboo GTR and the Carbon GTR have a silicon gasket around the edges of the enclosure to seal them up tight and prevent any moisture from getting in.
The electrics are then also housed inside a secondary enclosure for added protection.
Both the Bamboo and the Carbon GTR are running dual 1500w belt driven motors. That’s 3000w of total power that these bad boys are pumping out.
But what’s interesting about this motor setup is that they are hooked up with detachable connectors.
The connectors are proprietary so you won’t easily be able to put any set of motors on there, so I’m hanging out to see what Evolve have in store for this.
The R2 remote was one of the other major pain points for Evolve riders.
Failing to establish an initial connection and experiencing complete drop outs while riding were among the most common.
With the release of the GTR, Evolve have done a complete overhaul to their R2 remote.
It still looks like an R2 for the most part, but it’s insides are all upgraded.
The board and remote now connect via bluetooth. And it happens almost instantaneously.
I rode the new GTR boards for over 50km while I was at Evolves warehouse and I didn’t once get a single drop out nor did I ever have trouble connecting the board.
This is a huge sigh of relief for all Evolve riders out there. I would sometimes spend 10-15 minutes just trying to pair my Carbon GT board and remote before a ride.
Welcome bluetooth. Thank god you’re here.
You’ve still got four riding modes on the GTR series, however, they are a little bit different.
It starts at the beginner friendly ECO mode, then moves up to PRO, then the top mode is GTR.
But then, if you click up once more, you’ll find a CUSTOM mode. Here, you can modify the power of your board to suit your exact preferences.
You can set it to push harder than the stock GTR mode, or you can even dial it down to be safer than ECO. And then anything in between. It’s all up to you.
To make these modifications, Evolve are releasing a mobile App where you can easily make all the changes you want.
With the app you’ll also be able to track your rides and see a leaderboard of all riders from around the world.
And the app is not exclusively for Evolve riders either. Anyone with any board can use this app and join in on the fun.
All of the accessories now come in this cool little carry case. In here, you’ll find the charger, remote in its case, wrist lanyard, Y shaped skate tool, spare nuts and bolts and safety manuals.
I love these little cases. It saves me from carrying everything around in my helmet all the time..
Evolve are going to be offering a ton of extras next to their GTR boards.
There will be the Air Safe battery pack, different coloured street and AT wheels, coloured remote casings and a cool set of USB-powered Prism LED strips for under the board.
Evolve have also partnered with the helmet company, Thousand to offer a stylish head protection option.
Because of the limited amount of time I had at Evolve HQ, I wasn’t able to do my full set of tests.
But I did do some, so let me show you what I found.
To do the range test, I had to do it in 4 different segments.
On the first trip I managed 29.9km or 18.6 miles and I went from 100% battery to 38%.
The second trip was 10.4km which is 6.5 miles
The third was 6.1km – 3.8 miles
And the final trip was 3.4km which is 2.1 miles. And that last trip was from a battery level of 3% to dead flat.
When I hit 0%, the acceleration switched off but I could still use the brakes. This safety feature is going to save riders a lot of broken bones and money spent on hospital bills.
So in total, I hit 48.5km which is 30.14 miles. That’s more than any board I’ve ever ridden.
I didn’t do an official speed test, but on my first ride of the range test you’ll see I maxed out at 43.9km/h 27.3mph which is damn fast, and there was definitely still more juice to squeeze.
Here’s my really precise and detailed brake test…
They are damn smooooth.
They don’t jerk, and they are so powerful they can bring you to a stop from 30km/h within 10m. That’s 19mph within 33ft.
That’s confidence to ride at higher speeds and still be sure you can stop in time of any unexpected obstacles.
I took the Carbon GTR out to see what its climbing capabilities are.
I rode up this 16.8º hill which is 30.1%
And it powered up with ease. Loose stones, changing terrain and an AT setup.
Climbing hills in the street setup will allow you to tackle even steeper hills.
So, let’s just go ahead and say that the Evolve GTR boards are going to be able to tackle pretty much any hill near you. Even in San Fran.
So, how do you get it?
Evolve are launching a brand new website which will also have a Board Builder where you can pick and choose your accessories to create your very own unique electric skateboard.
You’ll also be able to get the new Evolve GTR electric skateboards from your local Evolve website and the many retail distributors they have around the world.
As for price, it’s still unannounced at the moment. But keep an eye on the description below, I’ll update it there when they announce it.
Overall, Evolve are living by their name and are truly evolving.
Their mission was to create an electric skateboard that is durable, safe and offers you an amazing riding feel that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
And the ride definitely left me smiling. Their durability and longevity is yet to be seen, that will only come with time. But Evolve have taken every measure to ensure the quality of their parts are second to none.
What I like most however, is that they have listened to their customers.
They have not only fixed the battery sag and remote connectivity issues, but they have gone above and beyond to make the entire experience far better.
Let me hear what you have to say about the new Evolve GTR electric skateboards.
Will you be jumping at the chance to get one or are you going to wait to see how they perform in the hands of riders.
Thanks to Evolve for having me up at their HQ and giving me the opportunity to ride their new GTR electric skateboards.
This video was not sponsored, nor was I given a free board. It’s a straight up review of what you can expect from the new GTR series.
If you have any questions, let me know below. And Like and Subscribe if you had fun watching.
Catch you soon!
I was lucky enough to fly up to the Gold Coast to meet the Evolve crew at their HQ and see what they’ve been working on.
I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t paid to do this review, nor was I given a free or discounted board. To be completely transparent with you, they paid for my flight up there, but I sorted my own accommodation and all other expenses while I was there.
You’ll find that overall, I am very positive about Evolve’s new GTR electric skateboards, and that’s mainly because I am truly impressed by them.
I got to spend two half-days riding around on an Evolve Bamboo GTR Street and a Carbon GTR AT and I loved every second of it.
I didn’t get to do my full suite of electric skateboard tests, but I managed to get a good feel for the board and how it feels while riding.
But let’s get into it so you can learn everything you need to know about these Evolve GTR electric skateboards.
About Evolve Skateboards
Evolve Skateboards is an Australian electric skateboard company that was built out of the founders garage back in 2008.
The CEO and founder, Jeff built his first electric skateboard by buying electronic components from eBay and sticking them to his own longboard.
After his friends saw him cruising around on it, they all started asking him to build one for them.
Being the top bloke he is, he made around ten eboards for his mates.
Before he knew it, he as getting calls from friends of friends.
That’s when he decided to quit his job, sell the family home and pour everything he had into building an electric skateboard company.
What we see today is over 10 years of innovation, hard work and passion that is Evolve Skateboards.
Who Is The Evolve GTR Electric Skateboard For?
These are mid-to-high-end, performance electric skateboards.
I wouldn’t recommend the GTR series, or any Evolve eboard for that matter, for a complete beginner.
If you’re not comfortable at any board sport like surfing or snowboarding, then I think you should start with something that isn’t going to break the bank. That way you can find out whether or not you like it before moving onto the big boys.
Try something like the Meepo NLS. That’s a good starting point if you’re seriously considering electric skateboarding.
Alright, back to the Evolve GTR boards.
If you’re a surfer, snowboarder or other kind of boarder, then you’re really going to feel at home on one of these eboards, even if you’ve never ridden an electric skateboard.
If you’re an eskater who was been cruising around on your Backfire or WowGo and you’re feeling you might be ready to level up, the Evolve GTR series would be the best place to start.
This was by far the longest range test I’ve ever done.
It was more than twice as far as any other electric skateboard range test I have ever done.
It was also, the most fun.
In total, I rode the Evolve Bamboo GTR in a street setup for 30.14 miles (48.5km).
While on the range test I also noticed that the board didn’t drop into ECO mode until the last 1% of riding.
An electric skateboard you can ride all the way to 0% at a speed you would normally ride.
None of this dropping down to 10kmh for the last 10%…
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to do a range test on theAT setup or the Carbon.
The Carbon I’m not too concerned about because it uses the exact same electronics as the Bamboo GTR.
The AT setup however, I would be very interested in seeing the results.
Evolve state the range to be 19 miles (30km), so expect to realistically get 15-19 miles (25-30km).
The highest speed I hit on the Bamboo GTR with a street setup was 27.3mph (43.9kmh) which is a little higher than what Evolve Skateboards display on their website.
And honestly, I think it could have even gone harder if I pushed it long enough.
On the AT setup I reckon you would be able to reach 23mph (37kmh).
If you watched my video, you’ll see that I didn’t do an official speed test.
But I’ll still tell you what I think of the brakes.
These are the most powerful yet smooth brakes I’ve ever experienced on an electric skateboard.
Fair, I’ve mostly ridden cheap boards like Meepo and Backfire.
But, these brakes are unbelievable.
I managed to come to a complete stop from doing 19mph (30kmh) within 33ft (10m) or so.
On eboards this powerful, you NEED brakes that can stop you safely and reliably.
Because too many things can go wrong. And these speeds, it can be very unforgiving.
Nice job right here, Evolve.
Hill Climb Test
I took the Evolve Carbon GTR with an AT setup out for a spin for a change and did the hill climb test on it.
I rode up a 16.8º hill which calculates out to a 30.1% hill grade at made it with no issues. In fact, it powered up the hill.
The terrain was part grass and part loose gravel and the Carbon GTR AT ate it for breakfast.
I have no doubt the Street setup would climb any paved path with no problems.
So, just like the previous releases, the new Evolve GTR series has two deck options.
A Bamboo GTR and a Carbon GTR.
The Bamboo GTR is 38″ long with an adjustable wheel base of 36″ or 37″. There are extra holes at either end of the deck so you can slide the truck plate further to the end or closer to the centre depending on the kind of ride you prefer.
The smaller the wheel base, the tighter turns you’ll be able to achieve, while with a wider wheel base, you’ll get an extremely steady ride.
The concave shape of the deck felt really comfortable under my feet. I could feel the edges of the board under both my toes and heels at all times. It gave me confidence knowing where my feet were on the board at all times. And it made turning the board a breeze.
The Bamboo deck is also very flexible. Not so much that it feels like you’re trampolining around, but enough to absorb a lot of the vibrations from the road.
The Carbon GTR deck is a tad longer at 39″ with a wheelbase of 37″ (non-adjustable).
The carbon fibre deck is very stiff with virtually no give in it. Not so great at absorbing the bumps from the road, but it does keep you steady when riding at high speeds.
One thing to note about the grip tape on the Carbon GTR is that it now goes all the way to the edges of the board, unlike the previous series where it didn’t..
Personally, I prefer the Bamboo deck. The flex coupled with the concave shape makes the board so easy to ride and it really does feel like I’m surfing along the paths, carving side-to-side.
The Wheels & Trucks
Wheels make up a huge part of the way a board rides, so it’s really important that eboard companies get this right.
And I think Evolve may have nailed it here.
The new stock street wheels on the Evolve GTR electric skateboards are now made in the USA from the same manufacturer as other top-end skateboard wheel brands such as ABEC.
This is already a huge upgrade to their previous wheels, which were a little lack lustre. We should be seeing a lot less wheel chunking on these new ones. But evidence of that will only come with time.
The street wheels are 97mm 76A so they are big and super grippy. They feel awesome to carve on and you could probably pump these little rollers all the way home if you needed to.
The standard AT wheels are 7″ pneumatic all terrains, just like their previous series.
On top of this, Evolve are also offering 6″ pneumatic AT wheels. I didn’t get a chance to take these for a ride, but they are going to be awesome for riders who use their Evolve skateboard to commute to work and go for longer rides.
Evolve are still using their Super Carve double king-pin truck on the GTR eboards, however, instead of using a cast metal, they are using a process of forging to create the trucks.
That makes them insanely strong so hopefully there won’t be any braking of the trucks like we’ve seen in the past.
Riding around with this truck setup is a completely different feeling to any other electric skateboard.
They allow for precise and smooth carving and give you a really tight turning circle.
I was actually surprised at how tight you can turn with these trucks.
But I was most excited about the carving that I could get from these trucks. I could whip the tail out and it would fly straight back to centre with very little effort.
This is a BIG one for Evolve.
You’re probably well aware of the battery issues that Evolve riders have experienced with the GT and GTX series.
Well, you’ll be happy to hear that Evolve have completely redesigned their battery system which no longer brings with it the notorious ‘battery sag’.
Battery sag is when the board drops down into ECO mode after the motors are put under high amounts of stress. This happens because the motors are drawing more power, so the batteries supply more output, reducing the voltage. The BMS then thinks that the batteries are at a lower capacity than they actually are and so the ESC drops the board back into ECO to preserve power.
For example, it was common when riders were in an AT setup and riding through grass or riding up really steep hills.
But, that’s all gone now.
Evolve have finally gotten their shit together and fixed this.
In fact, when I was riding I could still pull the same amount of power at 3% battery as if I was at 100%.
So you’ll never need to have any anxiety about climbing hills or cutting grass when your battery is getting low.
Evolve are also releasing a Travel battery that sits just under the 160Wh airline restriction. So you will be able to travel with this battery, however, you’ll still need to contact your airline to gain approval before flying.
The inability to travel with their electric skateboard has always been an issue for Evolve riders, so this is warmly welcomed in the Evolve community.
Another thing to note about the battery is that on the Bamboo GTR there are two USB outlets.
This opens up a huge opportunity for you to customise your board with LEDs or other USB-powered accessories.
However, these USB outlets are only available on the Bamboo version and not the Carbon GTR.
I’m not entirely sure why that is but I speculate that it has something to do with the development of the casings for each board.
If you haven’t already seen the new Power Flex battery system that Evolve have designed for the GTR electric skateboards, I highly recommend you check it out because it answers a lot of questions that people have regarding the battery and there is simply too much for me to cover here.
Evolve have again decided to run with belt-driven motors with no hubs in sight.
Probably a good thing too, because belt-driven motors have historically proven to offer higher amounts of power.
The Evolve GTR boards are wielding dual 1500w brushless out-runners totalling 3000w of power.
Like all belt-driven setups, you still get the whizzing sound, so if you were hoping for a little hush-hush, you’re out of luck.
An interesting thing to keep an eye on here is the connection system for the motors. They are a plug-and-play system.
Maybe they’ve done this for ease of servicing.
Instead of shipping the whole board to Evolve for diagnosing, the rider can now do most of the diagnostics and Evolve can send out the required parts much easier.
Or… There could be another reason for these quick connections.
I’ll also note here that the motor mounts are now also made using the same forging process as the trucks.
This new process has made the mounts 3.5x stronger. So there shouldn’t be any more bending of the mounts. Fingers crossed.
The ESC & Remote
Huge upgrades have come to the redesigned Evolve R2 remote.
For starters, the shape and how you use the remote are exactly the same.
The first change that you’ll see immediately is that they now come in different colours.
OK cool… But whatever. You want to know about its performance.
Well, if it’s the connectivity issues that you’re concerned about, then you no longer need to worry.
The new Evolve GTR remotes are now using Bluetooth for the connectivity.
Turning the board and remote on at the same time resulted in almost instantaneous connection.
Personally, I was taken aback by this because I would often spend 15 minutes or more trying to pair the old R2 remote to my Carbon GT.
I rode the GTR boards for over 50km and I never had any disconnection issues. Nor did I have any problems making the initial connection when turning the board and remote on.
It’ll be interesting to see how this goes during group rides.
As the battery level decreases, the remote vibrates to let you know you are nearing 0%.
The first vibration is at 10%. You’ll feel a single long vibration to let you know.
Then you’ll feel a single long vibration at every percentage interval along the way.
At 5% you’ll get a single short pulse followed by a longer pulse. Then the same at every percentage interval on the way down.
Lastly, on 1%, the remote will vibrate continuously until you come 0% percent.
At 0%, you’ll no longer be able to accelerate, but you will still be able to apply to the brakes up until the wheels come to a complete stop at which point the board will completely shut off.
This is great because as soon as you run out of battery, you’ll still be able to slow down and brake safely.
There are new riding modes; ECO, PRO, GTR and CUSTOM.
So the custom mode allows you to dial in the specific amount of power that you want.
You can set the power to be higher than the stock GTR mode or you can bring it down to something below ECO. Or, you can set it to anything in between that you feel comfortable with.
The way that you set this Custom setting is through Evolves new mobile app.
It’s called Explore by Evolve and will be available sometime in June 2019.
Not only will you be able to create your custom setting, but you’ll also be able to track your rides, share your rides with the world, compete for the number one spot on the leaderboards, along with a ton of other features that Evolve Skateboards have in the works.
The Explore by Evolve app is not reserved only for Evolve riders. Anyone with any board can use it.
This is a massive step towards fostering a global eskate community! Which I am all about!
What's In The Box
Accessories and Upgrades
With the release of the GTR electric skateboard series, Evolve are also launching a huge range of accessories and upgrades.
I’ve spoken about a few here already, but I’ll mention them again along with some others that I didn’t mention.
The most notable is the Travel battery we’ve all been waiting for.
Colour options for street wheels, AT tires, AT hubs and R2 remote.
6″ pneumatic all terrain wheels.
LED Prism USB-powered lights.
And a strange helmet collaboration with Thousand. I say strange because the Thousand helmets kind of look like horse riding helmets, while a large group of the Evolve riders community wear full-face helmets like Ruroc and Bell.
What Could Be Done Better?
The USB ports are only available on the Bamboo GTR. A little disappointing for those who were hoping to pimp their Carbon GTR.
The other thing that Evolve haven’t quite mastered is their battery swap system.
They spent a ton of time and money researching and developing a new system with sleek enclosures only to overlook a key user experience aspect of the system – ease of use.
You still need to drill out the screws from the top of the board to access the battery pack.
They have done an amazing job of making the enclosure as water resistant as possible, but at the expense of having a quick swap battery system.
Maybe I’m nitpicking, but this board could have been perfect, but it’s not.
The Evolve GTR electric skateboards have only just started shipping so there are ZERO customers with the boards yet.
However, if you jump on YouTube, yo’ll find a heap of early access riders with Evolve boards, most of which are Evolve Ambassadors, so take them with a grain of salt.
Overall, the Evolve GTR electric skateboard series is an insanely impressive set of eboards.
They have not onlly fixed the issues that their customers have expressed but they have gone beyond to make the entire experience far better.
This gives me as a rider a lot of confidence in the new GTR series of boards and in Evolve Skateboards as a company who do actually listen to us and give us what we ask for.