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Genesis Tomahawk electric skateboard review

You can't stop riding this electric skateboard, even if you want to

When we started our review of the Genesis Tomahawk electric skateboard, we got a lot of looks while testing. Some were good but some of them were downright sour.

The good came from people who were amazed to see someone speeding past bicyclists and going up slopes without the help of even one kick. The bad? This occurred anytime we rode on even the slightest bit of uneven ground with everyone within a 500-foot radius trying to figure out where that horrible rattling of metal and wood was coming from — the Genesis Tomahawk is a lot of fun to ride but between the noise and its weight, it just might not be worth the trouble.

Over the last few years, electric skateboards slowly became a new alternative to getting from Point A to Point B in style. Today, New York City’s Genesis hopes its line of electric scooters, skateboards, and bikes help make its name synonymous with electric transportation.

Perhaps its other electric longboard and skateboard offerings might accomplish this but the Tomahawk likely won’t win over any non-believers anytime soon.

With great quality comes great weight

The quality of the board itself is fantastic. Even without a battery-powered motor, the Tomahawk’s 45 inches of 8-ply Canadian maple wood and squishy 3.5-inch polyurethane wheels make for a high-speed, smooth ride down any slope or street.

However, once you throw a nearly 4-pound battery onto the bottom of the board, it gets a little heavy — to the tune of 17 pounds to be exact. That weight makes it difficult to carry around, especially since it’s unevenly distributed. Every time you go up a flight of stairs, board a bus, or hop off to walk through foot traffic, you’re going to be uncomfortable and wish the board could shed a few pounds.

Enjoy the ride… kind of

Once you turn on the battery at the bottom of the board and flip on the wireless controller, you’re good to cruise. Like other electric skateboards, the Tomahawk uses a wireless controller to control the board’s speed, as well as to brake. It’s a little tricky at first but after a couple tries, you’ll start to get the hang of the controls.

It can’t be stressed enough: Don’t use the brakes while riding.

The big draw to the Tomahawk is its speed. The board travels upwards of 20 miles per hour, which makes it one of the fastest electric skateboards out there (but not the fastest).

The speed of the board is controlled by a toggle stick on the front of the controller that’s highly sensitive to even the slightest touch. If you move the stick too far forward too quickly, the board flies from under you. Conversely, hit the brake too hard and it’ll send you flying off the front. But just like most other things with the Tomahawk, you’ll get used to the controls after a couple rides — you’ll even start to have a bit of fun finding alternative, faster routes you wouldn’t have had access to before.

Keep the lead finger at bay

Turning the board at high speeds is intimidating at first but a simple loosening of the trucks fixes that — for the most part, that is. What becomes problematic with the Tomahawk is slowing down or abruptly stopping.

Like a car, you have to keep on the board’s accelerator in order to maintain speed but unlike a car, if you stop holding the stick, the board slows down so quickly you’ll feel an abrupt jolt under your feet. At slower speeds, the jolt doesn’t feel too impactful but if you’re going 18-20 mph, you’re going to have to gently slow down if you want to avoid the risk of losing control.

Pushing the toggle stick backward makes the Tomahawk abruptly stop, no matter what speed you’re going. It can’t be stressed enough: Don’t use the brakes while riding. It’s imperative to stop on the Tomahawk similar to how you would with a regular long board, which is kind of a bummer since other electric boards have figured out how to build brakes that won’t make you brace for impact.

Once you get used to the Tomahawk’s controls, it’s a rather simple and fun board to ride around. It’s just unfortunate the brakes are so abrupt and dangerous, especially since the Tomahawk has so much power and speed behind it.

Climbs hills with ease

What’s also great about electric skateboards is their ability to ascend hills without requiring the need for a kick off the board. We found the Tomahawk to climb gradual slopes with ease but anything more than a 20-degree grade was too difficult. This may be an entirely different experience for other riders depending on their weight, however. Since the board’s rated to hold up to 264 pounds, the lighter the rider, the better it may charge a larger hill — in theory, at least.

Downhill, the board is a pure adrenaline rush. Its long length and weight make for a speedy but stable downhill experience. The board does have a bit of resistance downhill (or when you’re kicking off it) because of the mechanisms inside and surrounding the Tomahawk’s front wheels, but it’s not too much of an inconvenience.

A noisy nuisance

As we mentioned earlier, though, the Tomahawk has a tendency to be incredibly loud if you’re not riding over smooth asphalt. We took the board on a variety of terrain ranging from brick to sidewalks and virtually any time we hit the slightest bump, we’d hear the board rattle as it shook our legs — so much so that after the first day, the protective rubber case covering the battery housing fell off.

To be fair, nothing happened to the battery but it’s still a touch concerning. After all, not every pathway or street offers the convenience of smooth pavement. It’s also worth pointing out that the steel protective case surrounding the battery scored a number of scratches as various rocks or twigs rolled under it during our tests.

Worth the investment?

Skateboarding’s a great alternative to biking or taking the bus for two reasons: fun and convenience. It’s fun to go cruising around town and ride in and out of traffic via a simple kick off the ground, and it’s great to be able to pick up your board and walk wherever you need to without worrying about locking it up. The Tomahawk makes for a fun ride but fails at convenience. Around the time we realized the board likely wasn’t worth the trouble was exactly when we started missing our old (and lighter) cruiser. Even if it does lack the speed native to the Tomahawk.

But, if you live in the suburbs, have a relatively smooth commute, or want a board that doesn’t compromise speed, the Genesis Tomahawk is exactly what you’re looking for. There are other boards a bit faster or a bit cheaper than the Tomahawk’s $500 price tag, but the mix of its length and build make for an unforgettable ride — if you don’t ride solely on trickier terrain, that is.

CJ Garcia
Former Digital Trends Contributor
CJ loves reporting on the newest tech innovations and products, even though he still refuses to replace his iPhone 5. When…
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