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Cruising around on Riptide's $999 R1X electric skateboard

A sleek shortboard with plenty of power.
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I've wanted a classic-sized electric skateboard for a while. A longboard, of course, is more stable and comfortable over long distances. But I'm interested in something that I can easily travel with and charge in a coffee shop without drawing too much attention. Boosted's Mini X is the obvious 'premium' choice, but I wanted to do some market research before dropping close to a grand online. Enter, then, the Riptide R1X -- a stylish shortboard with buckets of power and range. At CES 2019, I spent a good 30 minutes carving around the Engadget trailer on the rideable. My time with the board was short, but I came away thoroughly impressed.

The R1X can travel up to 14 miles at a top speed of 22MPH (roughly 35KMH). Boosted's Mini X, meanwhile, can go the same distance at a top speed of 20MPH (roughly 32KMH). I suspect the difference is barely noticeable on the open road, however. There are many factors, including wind-strength and the gradient of the road you're riding on, that limit a board's top speed in everyday use, anyway. The R1X is a clear improvement, however, over the R1 and R1E that came before. It has a larger battery, softer wheels and an improved remote with brighter lights and an oversized thumb wheel for controlled speed adjustments.

Riptide R1X

Charging around the CES parking lot was a blast. I loved the feeling of the wooden deck, with its single kicktail and pointed nose, underneath my feet. The board was simple to turn, too, by leaning and quickly lifting the nose. That meant I could easily avoid pedestrians, fast-moving golf karts, and slightly concerned colleagues who I had persuaded to take pictures. Oh, and the board is fast. Seriously fast. I'm not sure I would ever want, or need an electric skateboard that can top this in a drag race. (If you do, well, you're a considerably braver and more talented skateboarder than me.)

My only knock against the R1X was its inconsistent braking. My colleague, Jon Turi, noticed this while he rode the board for a few short minutes. I leapt on afterwards and had the same experience -- something about the deceleration felt just a tiny bit off. Maybe it was a bad unit? Or some interference with the remote? It's hard to say. Regardless, it wasn't enough to spoil my overwhelmingly positive experience with the board.

The R1X costs $999, exactly the same as Boosted's Mini X. Picking between the two is a tough choice -- Boosted has the brand cachet, and a slightly cleaner design, but I love the deck and integrated lights on the R1X. If you're in the market for a short electric skateboard, I don't think you'll be disappointed by either. It's really just a matter of personal preference.

Gallery: Riptide R1X | 14 Photos

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Nick Summers is a senior reporter, editor and photographer at Engadget. He studied multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University and holds an NCTJ certificate. Nick previously worked at The Next Web and FE Week, an education-focused newspaper in the UK.

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