It was around the time that I cut between two taxis while rushing down Seventh Avenue that I realized how well the Movpak handled. As I carved across the bike lane, crowds of people stopped to stare.
Then again, it’s hard not to draw some interested looks when you’re riding the closest thing to a hoverboard this side of Back to the Future. This is the Movpak, a combination electric skateboard and backpack.
Hitting Kickstarter today, the Movpak comes strapped with an electric motor and battery that let you cruise at a top speed of 15 mph for nine miles before calling it quits.
First things first, though. If you’ve never ridden a skateboard, riding the Movpak might be a little tough. Sure, you don’t have to kick and push like a normal skateboard, but it does require you to maintain your balance and be able to turn at relatively fast speeds.
You don’t exactly have to be Tony Hawk to cruise on this board, but you’ll need some practice before you get the hang of it.
So how is riding an electric skateboard? Based on the fact that I couldn’t keep from giggling like a little kid while flying across 40th Street, I’d say it’s pretty fantastic. Then again, I used to skate.
A handheld Bluetooth controller lets you adjust the throttle speed, but you need to keep it relatively close to the battery pack, which is a bit odd since Bluetooth has an effective range of about 30 feet.
I was riding a prototype device and using an early version of the controller, so this will likely be resolved by the time the Movpak is released commercially.
When you’re not riding the skateboard, it conveniently folds up into its backpack. And, yes, the backpack can still hold your books, gadgets, and anything else you can think to bring with you.
Of course, there’s a catch to the Movpak: its price. When the electric skateboard goes on sale in March 2015, it will cost a whopping $2,000. That’s a lot of cash for a souped-up skateboard.
Early-bird Kickstarter backers, though, can get the board for $999 and could receive it up to two months early, though Movpak is still working out the logistics on that. Standard Kickstarter contributors can get the board for $1,400.
In case you’re wondering, the Movpak does have a roughly 200-pound weight limit, though the company’s co-founder, Ivo Machado, told me larger people have used the skateboard without issue.
Speaking of weight, at 17 pounds, the Movpak is relatively heavy. Toss a laptop and a few books into the backpack, and you could be pushing 30 pounds. Though it has straps, Mochado said he recommends that most people pull the Movpak behind them by its extendable, luggage-style handle.
So should you get the Movpak? Well, if you’re an experienced skater or an adventure seeker looking for a new way to get around, you might want to check out this electric skateboard. For everyone else, there’s always walking.