Today’s product review is on the VibeRide Brakeboard. With clever marketing and an innovative product, these guys have been turning heads all over the skate scene. But is it actually effective? And is there more to their story? Let’s find out …
- Length – 40inch
- Width – 8.75inch
- Ply – 7ply
- Flex – Flexy
- Griptape – Spray on glass (see through)
- Mounting – Drop-through
- Concave – Convex
- Width – 180mm
- Angle – 50deg
- Diameter – 70mm
- Contact patch – 51mm
- Durometer – 78a
- Generic Abec 11
- Complete – $359
- Brake alone – $269
Disclaimer – Viberide sent me this product for free. I will try to be honest and unbiased in my review nonetheless.
Before we get into the review, I want to talk about some disingenuous marketing from Vibe Ride.
I’m all for creative marketing but some of this borders on being untruthful. Most of it is harmless but some of it can get some riders in trouble.
VibeRide created the Brakeboard
VibeRide claims that they created the brake board, which isn’t true.
The Brakeboard has actually been around since 1999, and was created by an Australian called Ben Newman.
VibeRide simply acquired the patent, changed up the design a little bit, and then marketed the hell out of it.
It does seem that the company did make a longboard brake, just not the Brakeboard one. But with how they talk about it, they make it seem like they were the brains behind the Brakeboard design.
I think the misunderstanding comes from the short videos they have on their website and Instagram. But on YouTube, they go into detail about how everything came together.
You can go 40mph and be ok – “you can go bomb ridiculously large hills and be ok”
Technically VibeRide is right here, but they’re also very wrong.
Going that fast safely on your longboard is a result of a balance of skill and using the right equipment.
However, if you’re very skilled, you can maybe get away with using subpar equipment. But if you have neither the right skill nor the right equipment, it’s a recipe for disaster.
So even if you have brakes, there’s a high chance that something could go wrong.
All this to say, unless you have a specialized board, and know how to handle speed, don’t go that fast. And that the Vibe Ride complete, isn’t a board that a seasoned downhill skater would recommend you take up to such speeds.
VibeRide Brakeboard review
Is the VibeRide board good?
Firstly, I wanted to review how the VibeRide complete felt as a standalone product. In summary, it was actually fairly good.
The complete is based on the Arbor Axis bamboo board. It has the same shape deck, the same amount of flexibility, and even comes with the same see-through spray on griptape.
What’s different is the wheels and trucks. It comes with knock-off Paris-style trucks – which feel and ride quite well, but has a different rear hanger to accommodate the Brake system design.
Finally, the wheels come in at 70mm in height.
Altogether as a complete, I’d say it does ride quite well. With the flexibility of the board and how turny the trucks are, it feels quite playful and comfortable to ride.
But because the board is quite large, I think shorter riders may find it a bit difficult to stand across the length of the board and get enough leverage to make aggressive turns. They can still ride it, but I don’t think it’s the nicest for shorter homies.
However, the biggest disappointment for me was the wheels. At 70 mm in height, and without a large core or premium urethane, they were slow to roll and didn’t have much momentum retention.
The wheels aren’t the best
In practice, the wheels didn’t accelerate particularly fast and I had to keep pushing and pushing to keep my speed up.
And the biggest problem is if you don’t like the wheels well tough luck because you’re stuck with them. These wheels have been SPECIALLY made to accommodate the braking system so they’re not interchangeable with just any other set out there.
The wheels (in the back), have a special core to connect the brake, and they use three bearings each. THREE. It’s kinda cool ngl …
But yeah, I think this is something they should have fixed way earlier. They should have gotten large 80mm wheels that have a large core. It would have made the board faster, easier to skate, and made it a more well-rounded product.
They can improve the complete
Whilst it’s decent I do think a different platform would have provided a better all-around skate experience.
But because you can buy the Brake and apply it to any longboard of your choosing, maybe it’s not such a big deal.
Is the VibeRide board good for going downhill?
If you’re looking to hit high speeds, you don’t want this type of board. No matter what anyone tells you this isn’t a board to go fast with.
With how flexible this board is, with the high angle, turny trucks, and with the cone bushings, you’re asking for speed wobbles at higher speeds.
In comparison, a board for going fast typically has a stiff deck, lower angle, less turny trucks, and barrel bushings. All these features lend to more stability and a less likely chance of experiencing speed wobbles.
I could go into detail about why the specific features aren’t great for going fast, but that isn’t the scope of this review. You can read about downhill appropriate boards here.
In summary, this isn’t a go-fast board no matter how VibeRide markets it, and no matter what other influencers say. Those people won’t be there when the board starts wobbling, and they won’t be there when you have to take your first shower after getting road rash.
I suggest you don’t take this board too fast.
Is the Brake system good?
Does the Brake work?
Yes, it does.
The BrakeBoard does work and it will slow you down.
However, in some situations, it doesn’t work very well, and when compared to other ways of slowing down on your longboard it doesn’t work AS well.
But there are some situations where it made a lot of sense and was preferable to other forms of slowing down.
Does the brake, brake well?
Yes, I do think that the brake board does work ok. Leaning back to step on the brakes isn’t too difficult, and even inexperienced riders can do it easily.
However, the brakes aren’t particularly strong, and don’t slow you down all that well – at least in comparison to other ways of slowing down.
Brakeboard vs footbraking
Against foot braking the Brakeboard didn’t perform as well.
From going the same speed, the Brakeboard would take a bit of a longer distance to bring you to a complete stop as compared to foot braking.
Foot braking slowed me down quicker. It felt more effective and I was able to apply a lot of bodyweight getting a ton of braking power.
Being limited to only 2 wheels/disks slowing you down, the Brakeboard just doesn’t have the stopping power to compete … I wonder how bigger discs on bigger wheels would compare …
In an emergency situation, I would much prefer foot braking to using the Brakeboard.
The Brakeboard was easier to use though …
But footbraking wasn’t as easy as using the Brakeboard.
It took a bit of effort, and honestly, the Brakeboard felt significantly easier in comparison. It required less “planning”, less balancing, and less energy to use it.
When just cruising around I felt significantly more relaxed when using the Brakeboard. The brake was never far away.
It was also nice, not to have to worry about my shoes getting shredded. This isn’t much of a concern when I have a brake sole though.
However, footbraking is a must-learn
I do still think that footbraking is a must-have skill.
As I discuss below, there are some situations where the Brakeboard isn’t effective at all.
For example, in emergencies, I don’t think the gradual, mild braking of the Brakeboard would cut it for me. Good ol’ footbraking would be my go-to.
Unless you control the environment you skate in, the brake alone isn’t reliable and effective enough to be the only speed controlling method at your disposal.
Brakeboard vs speed
If I’m going fast the Brakeboard wouldn’t be my first choice method for controlling my speed.
If I’m on the brakes the whole time in order to limit my speed they’re fairly usable, but as a way to slow down from 50mph, I’d say they’re pretty scary and ineffective.
When you’re applying the brakes at faster speeds they take far too long to bring you to a complete stop. You have to plan when you start stopping well in advance and need to ensure you have a considerable distance to make it happen. And if you’re on a steep hill you may not stop altogether.
You could probably make it work with a lot of planning, but when going that fast you want to be able to stop quickly in case of anything.
In comparison, sliding (and even footbraking) is a far more effective way of stopping, especially at higher speeds. The downside is that you need to be a skilled rider to make it happen. But then again, if you can’t footbrake or slide at those speeds, you have no business going that fast.
In summary, the brake will slow you down, but it isn’t effective enough that I’d be comfortable to use it or recommend someone use it for higher speeds.
Brakeboard vs a hill
On a hill the Brakeboard is extremely ineffective. Especially if it needs to slow you down from a decent amount of speed.
I found that some hills can be steep enough that you’ll be fully on the brakes but you’ll still be moving down the hill at a consistent (but slow-ish) speed.
Basically, you won’t have enough braking force to bring you to a complete stop, but you won’t be accelerating either.
I think the force of gravity pulling you down the hill is greater than the force of the brakes. So whilst you won’t be going any faster you won’t be slowed down much.
This one experience I had with them is why I don’t recommend taking them to any steep hills and having them as you’re only braking method. In an emergency situation (car pulls out in front of you, dog runs out into the driveway etc.), you won’t be able to stop in time.
So unless you’re on the brakes the whole time and are descending slow from the top of the hill all the way down to the bottom. I don’t really recommend taking this board to any steep hills (or fast speeds), you’re asking for trouble.
Do you get brake fade?
With the casual skating I did and the mild downhill skating, I didn’t really get any brake fade.
I skated a hill steep enough that it made the brake smell, but I still didn’t get any fade.
Like any brakes with enough torture they will eventually start fading, so I wouldn’t recommend taking them down that 5 mile super steep downhill mountain road.
What if the brake fails?
The brakes didn’t really fail on me but the were situations where I felt a bit scared because the slowdown power wasn’t enough for me.
And really the only reason I was able to take them down hills, or take them pretty fast was because I had other breaking methods available to me. If the Brakeboard failed and I was put in an uncomfortable situation I could rely on foot braking or sliding to bring me to a controlled stop.
So as much as they do work I do recommend having a backup way to regulate your speed because anything can happen.
And if you don’t have a backup, don’t put your self in situations where you may have to use it.
Does using the Brakeboard give you speed wobbles?
The leaning back position that you need to assume in order to use the brakes is frowned upon because that position typically leads to speed wobbles.
If you’re going fast then you suddenly put weight on the back of your board, you’re giving input into your back trucks, and that usually leads to speed wobbles.
The recommended position when skating fast or even skating slow is to stand closer to your front truck, and/or lean onto your front foot. This gives you better control and a more stable ride.
However. I didn’t really get any speed wobbles or any unstableness when I was riding the Brakeboard.
I’m not sure why I felt this way, perhaps because the trucks were quite wide and the back truck was a little bit tight, but the board didn’t feel particularly unstable when using the brakes in that leaned-back position.
Whilst I still don’t recommend using this board at high speeds, I think for casual everyday cruising you’re not really going to have any concerns with stability even when using the brake.
Other Brakeboard disadvantages/problems
The Brakeboard was noisy
Idk if it’s just me but my brake rattled quite a lot. I’m not sure how to fix this, but yeah it was very noisy.
It didn’t detract from the riding experience but it was very noisy.
Sometimes the Brakes would catch
My friend noticed that the brakes were applying themselves even though he wasn’t stepping on the pedal.
Now idk if this happened because I had been abusing the board ALOT. I mean we took it to super steep hills and really put it through its paces, so idk if we broke it.
However, yeah this did happen, and loosening the braking force nut helped alleviate it. And I’m not sure if other boards will have this same problem.
Does it work in the rain?
I didn’t get to test it in the rain, but I’d be worried about locking up the brakes or having less braking force in an effort to keep the wheels from losing traction.
I’d also be worried about having to clean all those parts after a rain skate. There are so many exposed parts and I’m not sure how to take them all apart, which to lubricate, how to put it all together again …
Maybe if you live somewhere prone to rain it’s best to avoid the Brakeboard …
Griptape flakes off
Initially, the sprayed on griptape flakes off, and you get bits of glass everywhere. After the first ride or so, it isn’t an issue, but yes the griptape will flake off.
Where does the Brakeboard work best?
I think the Brakeboard works best for casual everyday riding. Where for example, you’re doing some easy riding around the city, or just skating in a relaxed environment where you don’t need to suddenly stop.
I also think it’s a great option for people with disabilities.
The Brakeboard is a good idea (it’s inclusive)
For people with disabilities who are unable to skate and slow down in the traditional way, I think the Brakeboard is an awesome choice.
It allows them to enjoy the fun of skating but with a reliable way of controlling their speed.
Kassy Jhones below is an excellent example.
I have also seen much older skaters – who aren’t able to footbrake (it’s difficult for a lot of people), use the Brakeboard and enjoy the fun of skating.
So I certainly think the Brakeboard has a place in skateboarding.
The Brakeboard is very fun
Ngl, I had a lot of fun with my friends using the board.
Trail braking into corners, bombing hills fast, and not having to footbrake, it was pretty fun tbh.
But ultimately it was a gimmick for us. There are some advantages but those benefits aren’t worth the $359 price for the complete, and $269 price for the brake kit (plus drilling and stuff).
It does take some effort to footbrake and slide, but skate long enough and those things become second nature. And with brake soles, footbraking can be sustainable and we can keep the same set of shoes for years. Brake soles only cost $20 a set …
I will still be messing with the Brakeboard in the future – and hopefully, make a fun video series on it, but I don’t think it will be a board I regularly use. I think if it came with bigger wheels and bigger brakes it would be a more desirable option.
Other boards I have ride better, are faster, don’t rattle, and with the brake soles I don’t mind footbraking.
At this moment with the price in consideration, it’s not the most well-rounded choice.
Is the Brakeboard worth it?
For the right person, yes.
I’d recommend going through the trouble of simply getting the kit and attaching it to a board of your choosing. I don’t think the VibeRide complete is the best platform.
If the only thing stopping you from footbraking is pure laziness/effort over time, then no I don’t think it’s worth it for you. Learn to footbrake, don’t spend .
If you want to use it to get down hills it’s a good option, but only if you’re descending slow the whole time. Looking to to blast hills? Then no it’s not for you.
If you want to use it to go fast on your longboard, no this isn’t for you. Get a proper downhill board and learn to slide, or stay off the hills for your own safety.
If you’re a person with a disability looking to enjoy skating more safely, in a relaxed environment, it is a good option for you.
What do you think? What’s your experience with VibeRide?
Have you ridden the Brakeboard? What’s your experience with it? Do you think my review matches your thoughts? Let me know!