Interview with Bioboards founder Markus Johnson

Markus Thorium firedry backpack 5
April 09, 2020

About a year and a half ago, the market for electric skateboards was rocked to its foundations. Thus far, there had been no elite performance longboards on the market. A team of enthusiasts, led by Markus Johnson, thought it was time for change. Biobards Eskate was born.

We have met Markus for an interview.

Markus, Bioboards has a fascinating story to tell with its range of electric skateboards. They are way beyond what the market had seen thus far. What was your motivation when developing your first generation of high-performance electric skateboards?

We are actually enthusiasts who love to push the limits. When we developed our first longboard, we had a vision to create something extraordinary. We wanted to make a high-performance electric skateboard that would beat anything that had been seen on the market so far.

Truth be told, we weren’t even sure if there was a market for that kind of thing. But as we started to sell our products, we noticed that the market for high-performance boards were much larger that we could have thought.

Looking at the results, I can only conclude that it has been quite a journey. What have you learnt during your first year in business? How’s the market?

Well, one can say that we were a bit too careful in our prognosis of what kind of longboards had a chance to succeed. What we see is that more people than what we had expected ask for the most expensive, the best and the fastest of all our longboards. That’s why we’ve decided to put full focus on developing the successor of our large electric skateboard Thorium, which is now called Plutonium.

Constructing longboards is not the average business idea, to say the least. What is it like to be a longboards manufacturer?

It’s tough. It has often meant staying at work until late into the night. During the start-up phase margins were tiny. We’ve all had our work at Biobards as an almost full-time extra job without any pay.

One big challenge was – how do we ship the batteries from outside of Europe? We’ve teamed up with some of the best battery manufacturers in the world to solve all the logistics for battery deliveries. This year, we’re much better prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.

One could tell that you are not a mass-producer. We’re talking about small series production with lots of passion put into every longboard shipped. What are the challenges?

The biggest challenge was how to make an electric skateboard that has great performance but at the same time  long durability. We planned it thoroughly. As a result, we’ve had very few warranty claims despite the fact that most of our customers probably give our boards a much tougher “treatment” than what other boards get!

All Bioboards have gear drive. Having tried it myself I can tell that the feeling of direct control is unbeatable. But tell us, what’s the fuzz around gear drive all about?

Yes, we actually call it the gear drive revolution. We believe gear drive will have a fundamental impact on the motorized skateboard market.

Having done thorough tests during development we decided to go for 100 % gear drive on all our longboards. Looking at the advantages of gear drive, it was actually not a very difficult decision to make.

Gear drive, in contrast to belt drive, has a very direct response with minimal friction and less rolling resistance. This gives you both better acceleration and breaking. The range improves as well.

The simplicity of a gear drive system also makes it less prone to failure. It’s a sealed system so dust or small stones cannot ruin your ride.

There’s no doubt that the market has appreciated your decision to focus on small quantity – high quality. In 2018, Bioboards Thorium X4 was chosen as the best longboard on the market. What’s next?

It was a great honour to see the fantastic feedback on Thorium X4. It’s been very motivating to continue developing our electric longboards. The response from our customers has also been overwhelming. Our new board, Plutonium, is up next. It’s built on everything that we’ve learned from the Thorium. But every part has been newly developed and improved. That’s why we’ve decided to give our new electric skateboard a new name.

Thank you, Markus. I’m looking forward to testing the new Plutonium electric skateboard soon!

April 09, 2020
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