The only Meepo board I have ridden in the past is my personal board, a Mini V2. I was excited to see Meepo's new product lineup at CES earlier this year, and even more excited when they sent me this V5 to review! Meepo has a reputation for good design and build quality, and they certainly lived up to it with this electrified longboard; really my only gripe with it is the limited range of the standard battery pack, other than that it's the perfect entry-level board.
Design & Build Quality
Part of why this makes a great beginner e-skate is how much it looks and rides like a normal longboard. Yes, the wheels are a bit bigger and if you look underneath you'll see the electronics, but those electronics are so cleanly integrated and the motors are so quiet that most people won't realize it's electric. Well, at least until they wonder how you're going so fast without pushing!
Electronics aside, I was impressed with the component choices and build quality of the V5. The Shredder trucks are at a 45 degree angle which translates to more stability at speed; sure, you have a wider turning radius which isn't always convenient, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff for a board that can go 28 mph (45 kph). The bushings are 19mm tall, which is almost double the height of standard bushings, and on the harder side at 92A. Again this results in more stability at speed, and the added thickness of the bushings can absorb bumps and vibrations for a smoother ride. That's especially nice considering the hub motors in the rear wheels ride more roughly than standard wheels (since the impact-absorbing PU sleeve is pretty thin). Side note, my trucks were very loose at first, I recommend tightening them up a lot so that you don't get any wobbles when going fast.
The wheel size of 90mm x 60mm is pretty standard for an electric board, although they'll seem huge for someone used to standard longboard wheels. That size is important though; it gives the wheels more rolling efficiency, and it allows them to roll over obstacles (small rocks, sticks, etc) that would stop a normal skateboard wheel in its tracks. They feel great at high speed!
Also: I love the carry handle on the V5. It's a small thing but it really makes a difference when carrying it around!
The Electronics: Efficient & Well Tuned
The V5 uses a hub motor drive system, which is quiet and efficient, and requires virtually no maintenance. At 500 watts per motor, this setup is powerful enough to be fun, but not so strong that you risk launching yourself off the back when going full throttle. The main downside of hub motors is that they don't have as much torque as belt or gear drives; anything greater than an 18% great is going to be too steep.
The M5 remote is Meepo's most basic remote, only about half the size of a standard one. The size is definitely a plus; it's very easy to just stick it in your pocket! Unfortunately, it doesn't have a screen, so you can't see any detailed information about the board or your ride, such as your current speed or the total mileage of the board. You can still see your battery level, but there's just four LEDs for that so it's not very precise. You can still tune the performance of the board by changing between four throttle modes and four braking modes, so this remote is just as functional as Meepo's bigger ones, even if you can't see the info on a screen.
The standard battery pack is just 144 watt-hours, which is not a lot. Meepo advertises 11 miles (18 km) of range, and while you might be able to do this when riding smoothly at lower speeds, your "real world" range is probably going to be closer to 7-8 miles (11-13 km), especially if you like riding aggressively in throttle mode 4. If you start and stop a lot on your rides, that will eat into your range even more, because the brakes require power too! This small battery pack is honestly the only thing I don't like about this board, which is why I highly recommend the Extended Range version if you can afford it. That will raise the price to $500 but double your range capacity, and allow you to get a lot more use out of this board without needing to upgrade to a more expensive one. Props to Meepo for using excellent quality cells from Samsung and LG in their batteries!
Who it's for: Beginners & Commuters
If you've never ridden an e-skate board before, you can't really go wrong with the V5 for your first one. As long as you've ridden a regular longboard before, this will be an easy transition; and even if you're entirely new to board sports, the V5 is tame enough that it won't feel overwhelming.
I think the V5 really shines as a "last mile" commuting option; ride it to the station and easily carry it on the bus or subway with you, thanks to the side carry handle. I can see it being very popular with college students as well, providing a way to get to and from class without having to pay for parking or work with bus and shuttle schedules.
If you're a more experienced rider and want something for exploring and longer group rides, this may not be the board for you. Riding aggressively will eat into your battery pack quickly, meaning even with the extended range version you should only expect around 16 miles (26 km) of maximum range; also, more premium boards will have stronger acceleration and greater hill climbing ability, which makes a big difference on long rides over varied terrain.
The Bottom Line:
The V5 is an excellent beginner board, offering a lot of value at a low price point of just $350. The motors are powerful enough to be fun but won't overwhelm new riders, and the natural longboard ride feel will provide an easy learning curve. The main drawback is the limited battery size; I recommend spending a little extra for the Extended Range version so you don't have to worry about range anxiety.