Electric transportation isn’t new where I live in San Francisco, California. While the city battles with upstarts from Bird to Lime, there are plenty of electric transportation options available to the tech-forward inhabitants of the city.
Most of these options are paid on a per-use basis, giving you a quick shot from one part of 7 x 7 square-mile city to the other (Ok not exactly, but it’s close). Most get you in and out for a couple of bucks depending on far you go, but it can add up over time.
While renting cheap transportation whenever you need a quick boost is an exciting prospect, many users would prefer to own their own hardware. But bikes are big and easy to steal, and many San Francisco residents wouldn’t even consider owning a car in the city.
This is where Boosted comes in. Meet the Boosted Mini X.
The Boosted Mini X is an electric skateboard, aiming to miniaturize its traditional electric longboard offering. At just 29.5 inches, this thing will remind you more of a miniboard than something you’ll see coasting by the beaches of Santa Monica. The goal here is to offer the same quality and power of the original Boosted boards, while making it more portable for those living in hybrid transport cities like San Francisco and New York City.
So is the Mini X worth buying? We find out in our Boosted Mini X review.
Design and form factor
With all the potential mobility you gain from a board this small, the Boosted Mini X is still quite heavy. At 16.8 pounds, this miniature board is only marginally lighter than the longer board. This translates to a system that is incredibly dense, and a bit awkward to hold if you’re walking through an area like the subway, where skating simply isn’t an option. I opted to carry this board on my shoulder during my street-subway hybrid commutes, but the board still felt a bit too heavy to be considered a no-brainer.
The board is heavy for a reason. The Boosted Mini X has a range of about 14 miles on a single charge, meaning you could theoretically just about skate the entire perimeter of San Fransisco without needing to plug in. I probably only used about two to three miles a day getting to my destinations, since I usually finished off the day with four of the five battery indicator lights still illuminated.
The benefit to the size to weight ratio is how well this board coasts while you’re not engaging the motor. If you’re only going a short distance or simply ran out of juice, you can still use the Boosted Mini like a regular skateboard. This was something that didn’t work nearly as well for me on the original Boosted Board, and it’s nice to have this option if I’m simply rolling down the street to my next destination.
The Boosted Mini X has plenty of power under the hood
The motors in the Mini series are no joke. Boosted says they can handle inclines of up to 20%, but I far exceeded that while commuting around San Francisco. Some of steepest hills of any city on the planet are in the surrounds here, and I never encountered a street it couldn’t climb. The board offers regenerative breaking too, meaning you can charge the batteries while slowing yourself down on a big downward incline. Nifty.
Unfortunately, the compact design of the board forced the company to stick the battery right in the center of the deck, so it’s not open to flex. Lack of flex is a pretty big problem on the roads of San Francisco – a city riddled with uneven pavement and potholes. Flex is very important on a skateboard, because it allows the rider to go over dips and bumps without getting tossed off. There were multiple instances where I was skating down the street at a fairly high speed and was nearly thrown off due to the lack of flex, and I would really like to have seen Boosted go with a split battery design to help ride smoothness.
The tail of the board is raised in order to let you turn easily, and this helps immensely when trying to pivot on the fly. You can also do tricks like you would on a traditional skateboard like ollie-ing over curbs to never stop your ride, but good luck. I’ve only seen the massively talented Stephan from Boosted perform this in the real world.
You can also adjust the trucks of this board to be able to turn easier, but it comes with the trade-off of speed wobble. While I love the ability to make a quick turn on the fly, I often found my board wobbling quite a lot once I got to about fifteen miles per hour. You’ll need to test different tightness levels in order to achieve a compromise you’re happy with, but it isn’t hard to do after a few rides.
The controller of this board is the same pistol-style offering seen in the bigger boosted boards. You pull the trigger to engage the motor, and roll the wheel back and forth to speed up and slow down. This is the best controller I’ve used in an electric skateboard to date, but I would like to see improved materials in the next generation since the plastic build scratches and scuffs incredibly easily. The controller also still charges via USB Mini, which is close to legacy to the point where I only use this cable for my extensive mechanical keyboard collection.
The controller allows for three different acceleration modes depending on the skill of the rider. I was able to use the expert setting with no problems since I have a fair bit of experience with electric skateboards. This mode offers the most initial kick and acceleration over time, but I would recommend the beginner or novice setting for those just getting their first taste of this thing.
The Boosted Mini X is a fun little board for people that need to get from point a to b but don’t want a huge piece of equipment to do it. The roads in San Francisco can be pretty crappy at times and I would have preferred a bike in a lot of these situations, but in a less hilly grid-based city like New York this board would fit in perfectly.
The Mini X is the more advanced of the company’s Mini line. Boosted also offers the Mini S, which is a bit lighter at 15 pounds, with the tradeoff that it will only support seven miles of range vs the fourteen on the X, and it caps out at a top speed of 18 miles per hour vs the X’s top speed of 20 miles per hour. Mind you, the Mini S is currently listed as sold out
The Boosted Mini X will cost you a cool $999 for a new unit. The top-of-the-line Boosted Stealth is a cool $1,599, and $600 cheaper makes sense if you just want a fun mode of motorized transportation that you can take with you.