Belt- vs- Hub-driven Skateboards – all you need to know

There has been a lot written about hub- vs. belt driven skateboards. I don´t want to bore you, let me just wrap up the “must-know”-stuff.

Get the wording straight

First of all: get the wording straight – both hub and belt driven skateboards rely on brushless electrical motors. Typically these motors are either directly part of the wheel (“hub”-driven) or placed underneath the skateboard deck with a belt that connects the motor to the wheels (“belt”-driven). There are some exceptions (hybrids) like “geared hub”  or “direct drive” which I do not consider here for simplicity.

At the beginning, ALL electric skateboards were belt-driven. The first electric skateboards with hub motors entered the market in early 2016. Since then, hub-technology has advanced but still the belt-driven systems seem to be more mature.

If you consider buying an electric skateboard TODAY, I`d consider the following pros and cons of HUB-driven boards:

Today´s pros

+ looks pretty much like a regular skateboard
+ not easily brakeable
+ less prone to wear out (critical parts are better covered)
+ often fully water resistant
+ skateable like a regular board when battery is empty
+ slightly higher efficiency esp. when it comes to braking
+ tend to climb worse

Today´s cons

- rather young and therefore less perfect technology
- typically slower acceleration (no gearing)
- cannot easily change wheels for fun
- tendency for a harder ride (simply missing some suspension from a full wheel)
- prone to heating or other failures (motor slipping inside the wheel)
- noise can be an issue

There are exceptions and the pros & cons actually depend very much on the specific board.

Try it yourself

As you can see, the decision whether or not to go for a hub-driven skateboard comes down to the decision what type you prefer personally. Before actually buying a hub-driven electric skateboard I thus strongly recommend to check both drives yourself – in the street! I am sure every local e-skateboard shop will give you the chance to try  out before buying.