We spent three months with the Skatebolt Tornado II, testing its limits and capabilities across more than 120 miles. Discover all the exclusive takeaways in our in-depth review below.
Skatebolt was nice enough to supply us with their Tornado II electric skateboard which is the mid-tier priced offering in their lineup.
Looking at the specifications, I was extremely excited, but also a little skeptical. This is the first time I've seen a $550 board that should be able to do 25 MPH and cover a 25-mile range on a single charge. Evidently, I had to put it to the test to see exactly what it was capable of with my own eyes.
The Skatebolt Tornado II has two 350-watt hub motors that work together to reach a specified top speed of 25 MPH. It features four different speed modes that can be controlled via the Bluetooth remote and Skatebolt boasts that it has a 25-degree hill-climbing ability which is quite impressive. Let's see how it performs in practice...
Using my pro-grade Racelogic VBOX Sport performance meter, I was able to clock a top speed of 25.2 MPH (40.5 km/h), so the electric skateboard definitely delivers on speed.
Every electric skateboard will see a performance drop-off as the battery level diminishes. This happens because the voltage gets lower, thus the motor output weakens. On some boards, this is very noticeable - on others, not so much. The performance drop-off as the battery level got lower was minimal and it was only really felt when dropping below 20% battery.
|Battery Level||Top Speed (MPH)||Top Speed (KM/H)|
|100%||25.2 MPH||40.5 KM/H|
|75%||24.9 MPH||40 KM/H|
|50%||24.7 MPH||39.8 KM/H|
|25%||22.6 MPH||36.4 KM/H|
|15%||17.9 MPH||28.8 KM/H|
If you don't have anything to compare with, let me tell you that these benchmarks are excellent. You'll only really see an effect on maximum speed when the battery is close to running dry.
There are no acceleration details specified on the Skatebolt website, so I took the effort to test how fast the acceleration is from 0 - 15 MPH (24.1 km/h) measured in seconds.
The speed modes are as following:
So the high mode actually unlocks the full speed but for the thrill-seekers and speed demons out there, you can bump it into Pro mode (4th) to get the fastest acceleration possible... So that's what I did, and here are the results.
|Test #||Time from 0-15 MPH|
|Test 1||3.96 seconds|
|Test 2||4.01 seconds|
|Test 3||4.16 seconds|
|Test 4||4.03 seconds|
4.04 seconds is an incredibly good average. Especially considering the relatively modest 700W of nominal motor power. With such swift acceleration, it performs almost on par with the much higher-priced Halo Board Beast and comfortably beats the Maxfind Max 2 Pro.
I recommend you start out in the lower speed settings and work your way up to get used to the Skabolt Tornado II because, as the name suggests, it's capable of causing carnage.
Skatebolt states that the Tornado 2 can handle 25-degree inclines. According to my tests (again with advanced GPS tracking technology), I found that I was able to go at 8 MPH (fastest speed setting) up a 24-degree incline. The Skatebolt Tornado II delivers as promised on uphill performance too.
If you use your electric skateboard for commuting, you know just how important range and battery quality is.
The Skatebolt Tornado II is fitted with a high-potential 42V 7.5Ah lithium-ion battery. This translates to a battery capacity of 315Wh - more than the Backfire Zealot and Backfire G3!
Importantly, the battery management system (BMS) seems to provide all the essential safety needed for the power-dense 18650 battery cells.
The battery charges in about 3 hours and the life expectancy is around 500 charging cycles.
According to Skatebolt, the Tornado II is capable of covering 22-25 miles (32-35 km) on a single charge. That's practically unheard of at this price point, so let's just right into the test results.
When e-skateboard brands conduct speed and range tests, they usually do it in extremely perfect settings. The rider is lightweight, they ride on an even and flat surface without very many stops - all at a slow speed to maximize the range as much as possible.
These clinically impossible range tests usually don't translate well into the real world. You can't blame them, because this is what every company does to stay competitive in a tough market. We have traffic lights, steeps hills and turns, and varying road conditions that greatly affect range.
I rode the electric skateboards at three different speeds from full battery to empty to see how far I could get. These are the results:
|19.7 mph (31.7 km/h)||15.4 miles (24.8 km)|
|15.3 mph (24.6 km/h)||18.2 miles (29.3 km)|
|12.2 mph (19.6 km/h)||20.9 miles (33.6 km)|
As you can see, I didn't exactly get 22-25 miles on a single charge, but during my slow cruise ride (3rd run) I actually got an impressive 20.9 miles. During my first run at 19.7 mph, I was pretty much pushing the speed beyond what I'd regularly do to really put the motors and battery at work. 15.4 miles is, once again, a solid range.
The second run (15.3 mph average speed) is what I'd consider the most accurate real-world range. This is the speed I usually ride at whether I have to run errands or go for a joy ride. Therefore, my real-life range test ends at 18.2 miles. Just shy of the 22 miles but having tried dozens of similarly priced electric skateboards, I can't recall anything matching this mileage.
The Skatebolt Tornado II has a large deck measuring 38 x 11 inches. It is fitted with 8 layers of northeast maple which is a material known to pass the test of time and provide unmatched solidity. The only drawback here is that it is lighter than materials like bamboo but still, the whole thing isn't too heavy.
Its very mellow concave gives you the benefit of better grip and control without sacrificing space for your feet. Compared to the Backfire G2, the Tornado II is notably easier to carve and make sharp turns on - partly thanks to the deck design.
The deck is rounded in at the corners to avoid wheel bite which is when you turn so hard that the deck catches the wheels. This is a welcome safety addition that totally eliminates the chance of a nasty surprise.
The deck itself has little to no flex which makes sense as electronic components (battery pack, ESC, etc.) are fitted through the entire board length below the deck. I do like to see a bit of deck flex on electric skateboards, but despite that, it actually rides surprisingly smoothly and road vibrations are dampened considerably well.
The grip tape is forgiving against your skin and clothes but it still provides lots of grip for your feet when you are riding.
The board is fitted with stock 90mm x 52mm polyurethane (PU) wheels. They are fairly generic but there has been no notable wear and tear through my first 120 miles of riding.
90mm seems to be a go-to size for many electric skateboard manufacturers. The argument is that it's a good balance between rideability, control, and stability. I agree with that. It's enough to easily handle small rocks and cracks in the road.
The wheel hardness durometer score is at 83A which is pretty much right in the middle for e-skate wheels. It balances both grip and drag excellently.
There is plenty of PU around the hub motors to create a seamless and stable ride quality. Some argue that hub-fitted wheels won't perform as well as regular ones and so they opt for belt-driven skateboards but I'd say it gets pretty close with the Skatebolt Tornado II.
The Tornado II uses very big trucks to accompany its sizable design. The wide trucks make the board extra stable and easy to control. They're made from steel which is an incredibly strong material. They are then covered with aluminum alloy.
The trucks and bushings effectively eliminate wobbles at high speed and yield solid return-bounce when turning. It just feels really nice to ride and it carves like butter.
The only downside to the steel constructed trucks is the added weight. They are quite hefty and add some extra weight to the board, so if you're really picky about portability, you may want to consider that.
I really like the remote control design as it houses plenty of functionality at your fingertips.
The display is packed with information: remote and board battery level, odometer, trip mileage, direction, speed and brake modes, cruise control, speed and signal strength.
Note: If you change the wheels for a different diameter (100mm ones can be bought separately), the display data will be off.
The remote control fits nicely in the hand and the design makes it easy to access the throttle at all times.
Almost all the buttons feel like good quality but I did notice the forward/backward switch had quite a bit of resistance.
The remote has heaps of neat features. Here are a few I'd like to highlight:
As a nice addition, the remote will give off a signal to notify you when your battery drops below 25% (both for the remote and skateboard) so you don't end up stranded out in nowhere because you forgot to keep an eye on it.
The remote itself takes around 30 minutes to charge via the included USB cable.
I've talked about individual parts, but I wanted to comment on the build as a whole.
The Skatebolt Tornado II weighs 19 pounds (8.5 kg) which isn't too bad considering its big size and strong construction. This beefy construction also means the board has a high max load capacity of 264 pounds (120 kg) which should be sufficient for most adults.
The overall build is quite impressive and it's evident that longevity and safety is paramount to Skatebolt both looking at their design choices and their informative product manual.
The bulky construction does come at a cost. It isn't as portable as I would've liked it to be. 19 pounds isn't bad but it quickly becomes heavy to carry around. Whether it's a worthy trade-off comes down to personal taste and opinions. I think it's well worth it any day of the week if you have commutes longer than 5 miles.
I don't blame you if you're just here for the main takeaways. Let's take a look at the main advantages and disadvantages at a glance.
The Skatebolt Tornado II is a versatile, value-packed offering ideal for beginners and advanced skaters alike. With its 25.2 MPH top speed and four separate speed and brake modes, there's plenty of room to grow accustomed to the speed before unleashing the full power of this beast.
It's a solid option for commuters with its tested 18.2-mile range in a real-life scenario and the 25-degree hill climb ability ensures you can handle whatever is in front of you.
The board is extremely stable and the truck and bushing system effectively absorbs road vibrations and keeps you steady when carving around the streets.
It has all the most important features you'd want - all at your fingertips with the ergonomic and intuitive remote control that you'll quickly get used to.
If you're after a lightweight and portable solution, there are probably better options out there, however. The Skatebolt Tornado II weighs 19 pounds which isn't crazy overboard it isn't gonna be as easy to carry around as smaller penny-board-like options.
Lastly, if you want something with a lot of deck flex, this isn't it either. However, the design still does a great job at absorbing shocks despite this. It also helps a lot with stability and eliminating wobbles at high speeds.
My verdict is that the Skatebolt Tornado II is one of the best electric skateboards at its price point. It's the best sub-$700 electric skateboard I have tested hands-on and I'm still dumbfounded by the sheer amount of value they've been able to pack into this beast at such a low cost.
If your budget, doesn't stretch for the Tornado II, check the other top-rated cheap e-skateboards instead.
|Top Speed (Manufacturer)||25 MPH|
|Top Speed (Tested)||25.2 MPH|
|Range (Manufacturer)||22-25 miles|
|Range (Real-Life Test)||18.2 miles|
|Motors||2x350W hub motors|
|Weight||19 lbs (8.5 kg)|
|Load Capacity||264 lbs (120 kg)|
|Hill Climb Grade (Manufacturer)||25 degrees|
|Hill Climb Grade (Tested)||25 degrees|
|Battery||42V 7.5Ah Li-Ion|
|Battery Capacity||315 Wh|
|Battery Weight||3 lbs (1.5 kg)|
|Charging Time||3 hours|
|Battery Cycle Lifetime||500 [email protected] 100% DOD|
|Wheels Size||90 mm * 52 mm|
|Deck Size||38 x 11 inches|
|Deck Material||8-layer northeast maple|