Meepo Level Up: Upgrading from 1.0 to 1.5!

Author Samuel James December 18, 2017

(This Article is Written by 
Samuel James and was published on Medium, all rights belong to THAT ESK8 LIFE )

It all started a few months ago when I decided to lay down the cash for a Meepo Board. I’ve been known as a bit of a budget board skeptic in the past and thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is. So I bought the board and put it through its paces. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s genuinely a great performer. Best in class (budget class)! You can check out those articles here and here if you need to catch up.
I think it’s important to preface this article by saying, from 1.0 to 1.5, my overall opinion of the board remains the same. Performance wise it’s hard to fault. Speed, range and hill climbing capability, for the price, it really is a no-brainer! But just because the board performs as well (and in some cases better) than some of the “premium boards” out there for three times the price, this does not make the Meepo Board a premium board in its own right. If you buy a Meepo Board expecting to be able to treat it with the same level of abuse Casey Neistat treats his Boosted Boards and expect the Meepo to take that level of a beating and not break, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.
The Meepo is a simple board, made from budget, generic, wholesale parts. This is why there are so many similar boards out there at similar price points. If you spend more than $1500 on a board that’s comprised of a lot of proprietary parts, you’d expect it to be able to take a large amount of heavy use and abuse and stand up to it. But when you’re spending less than $500 on a board, even if the performance is the same/similar/better than the $1500 board, we’re talking about a completely different level of quality, durability and longevity. Remember that.
But when you’re spending less than $500 on a board, even if the performance is the same/similar/better than the $1500 board, we’re talking about a completely different level of quality, durability and longevity. Remember that.
Thus my statements in my previous articles still stand; a Meepo Board is not a replacement Boosted/Evolve/Metroboard etc. It’s not the board to get because although you really want a Boosted/Evolve/Metroboard, you can’t afford one, so instead you think about purchasing a Meepo Board and have a mind to treat it in the same way as you would a Boosted/Evolve/Metroboard. Don’t do this. If you want a Boosted/Evolve/Metroboard to essentially replace your car, save up and buy a Boosted/Evolve/Metroboard. You buy a Meepo Board if you already have a Boosted/Evolve/Metroboard and want a second/back-up/travel board, or perhaps you only have short, campus distance commutes on forgiving terrain, or perhaps you just want a little run-about board for running errands in your local suburb. The Meepo is great for these things, but less so for daily, arduous punishment in harsh conditions.
The Meepo Board is a light use board. It’s great for short trips on easy and forgiving terrain. I’m convinced a Meepo Board can and will give its owner years of faithful service if the owner treats it right, i.e. treats the board for what it is a sub-$500 budget board. Treat it as such and it will treat you well in return. Start really over-using and abusing it, and yeah, things are probably going to fall apart pretty quickly… It’s a sub-$500 board, what do you really expect?
So, with all that out of the way, let’s get into the upgrade!
Why I decided to upgrade
A little less than I month ago I actually decided to put my Meepo Board up for sale. It served its purpose, which was to write a few articles and, I guess, to discover for myself what all the fuss was about. Having ticked those two boxes, and with future plans for new and different boards for the board room, it was time for the Meepo to move on. If I was going to keep it I had a mind to do a deck swap as well as a bunch of other improvements, but in the end I didn’t see the point in doing those things if the Meepo’s ultimate destiny was to be sold. So I left it stock-standard and put it up for sale.
It was around this time I touched base with Kieran to ask him where my replacement remote was. To go back a step, my original remote only had fast mode no matter what position the switch was in. Kieran said he’d send a replacement and I wanted to ensure I had the replacement remote ready to hand over to any potential new owner. The remote was en route and turned up a couple of days later.
To my surprise the remote was one of the new remotes that Kieran had only just started recently promoting. The power switch was now a button, there were now 3 speed selector positions, and most importantly the reverse button had been “filed down” (for lack of a better term) and was now flush with the face of the rest of the remote, significantly reducing the risk of accidental activation.

1.0 remote (left) compared to 1.5 remote (right). Note the on/off switch vs button on the bottom of both and the nicely embedded reverse button on the 1.5 harder to accidentally activate.
Clearly the remote is a wholesale item from a shared original equipment manufacturer, as several boards share this design, but it’s awesome that they (whoever they are) are listening to the esk8 community and are improving things as they go!
As I jumped online to update my ‘for sale’ ads around the place to include the new remote, I noticed something. The forums appeared to have exploded with the news of the new Meepo Board 1.5! The Meepo Board website had been completely redesigned and all of the boards and products were now grouped into three categories; 1.0, 1.5 and Sanyo Meepo. There was also something else that stood out to me on the Meepo website�6�6—�6�6the ‘That Esk8 Life’ logo, which led to one of my articles on the Meepo 1.0! I had no problems with this, but Kieran needed my real logo as he was using some kind of replica at the time. So after sending that to him we had a bit more of chat about the 1.5. I said I’d be happy to write about the improvements if I could test them in real life. He said he’d be happy to send me the 1.5 deck and battery so my 1.0 would essentially become 1.5 if I’d write about the differences and improvements from an independent, third-party perspective. Deal! And here we are.
So, what does this mean? It means yes, I did receive the 1.5 deck and battery from Meepo Boards at no cost (full disclosure), but I have not been paid or remunerated in any other way to write this article. I actually think it’s a testament to Kieran that he was willing to go down this road with me. Me, a guy who’s usually pretty harsh on budget boards. I think he really wants to ensure a good, balanced and objective opinion on his product is out there for his customers.
With the 1.5 deck and battery en route, I pulled my Meepo Board from sale. At the same time it suddenly dawned on me that maybe the travel board solution I’d been trying to figure out for so long was staring right at me. The Meepo’s battery pack (1.0 and 1.5, not the Sanyo pack, unfortunately) is under 160Wh, which means it can legally be taken on as cabin baggage in Australia for domestic flights. Remove the battery and check the board in as a regular longboard and that’s it! There’s the minor hassle of four screws between me and removing/replacing the battery, but this can be done in less than 5 minutes with a standard skate tool. No problems! With the 1.5 deck and battery improvements, the Meepo had just become the obvious choice for a travel board. I can even use the foam protectors for the trucks and enclosures that the board came packaged with to add extra protection for travel. Now all I need is a decent bag. Going snowboard bag or golf club travel bag shopping soon! Yay!
So there you have it. The Meepo stays!

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Is my Meepo a 1.0, 1.5 or something else?
My Meepo Board started life as 1.0, then it was upgraded to the new remote, as my initial one was faulty. Then my board was upgraded to the 1.5 deck and battery. It’s missing the upgraded urethane on the rear hubs, so I guess it’s not quite a 1.5. I guess it’s more like a 1.4, but I didn’t quite stop there.
As I’m now keeping the board I decided to give it a little more love. I upgraded the bushings, pivot cups and bearings.
Bushings are now Venom 90a barrels board side and cones road side. Pivot cups are now RipTide 90a’s and bearings have been upgraded from the stock bearings, which seem to be abec 1 at best, to some spare abec 9’s I had laying around.
So, what is my Meepo? A 1.4.5? Yeah, let’s go with that 1.4.5!
The only other thing I would consider upgrading at this point would be the front wheels to some genuine American urethane instead of the Chinese clones. I’ll probably wait until the stock wheels are knackered, but other people might not want to wait. Some suitable options would be genuine ABEC11 90mm Flywheels, Enertion 90mm R-Spec Ghost (front) wheels or Ollin 90mm Popoca wheels. Stick to 90mm centre-set wheels, which all of these are, and you’ll be sitting pretty. Me, I might do this when not only the front wheels are on deaths door, but when the rear hubs are knackered too. Whichever comes first, I’ll do all four corners at once. Hopefully by then there’ll also be a replaceable sleeve option for a newer version of the rear hubs… We’ll see.
The upgrade process - What do you get?

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If you get one of the pre-assembled decks, like I did, it will come with everything you need to simply move the drivetrain from the old deck to the new. Literally plug ‘n play! Doing a deck swap on a Meepo1.0 would usually involve sourcing a new deck between $100-$200 on average, routing a channel along the top of the deck for the for the ESC-to-battery cable run, drilling holes for said cable to run into the enclosures, drilling the holes for the enclosures to screw onto the deck and then re-gripping the board. For some people that’s a hell of a lot of hassle, particularly for tool-less, shed-less and yard-less apartment dwellers!
The 1.5 pre-assembled deck comes in at just over $115USD, and not only takes care of all of this for you, but it also has that concave we were all craving in the first place! The channel routing is done, the cable is installed, the deck is gripped, all holes are pre-drilled and the foam pads that help seal the enclosures are all already installed! You even get a bag of extra screws and some fresh shock/riser pads!
Transferring the trucks is as easy as you’d expect, but I did hit a bit of a snag with the enclosures. I don’t know about the newer 1.5 enclosures, but transferring the 1.0 enclosures onto a deck with concave edges isn’t a smooth transition (other 1.0 deck-swappers know what I’m talking about). The trouble I found is that I needed longer screws to deal with the concavity of the deck. The shorter screws of the 1.0 deck and even the screws that came with the new deck (which were the same) weren’t long enough to reach all the way through the thicker deck, foam, gap created by the concave, through to the other side of the enclosures. I’m sure with perseverance they probably could have (why would Kieran supply them otherwise), but there just wasn’t enough thread for me to feel confident that screws and enclosures would be secure. So, off to the hardware store I went for some more screws of the same type, but about 10mm longer. Bummer, they only had them in silver!
Another minor issue is where the screw heads on the 1.0 tended to sit flush with the top side of the deck, on the 1.5 upgrade there’s about a <1mm gap that you just can’t screw down. Now, this might be due to the type of screws I’m using, a change in the deck material and the new concavity, the fact that I went about this process only with my skate tool at home (no power tools), or a combination of these factors. Maybe they’ll nestle in properly with time and some repeated re-tightenings, who knows? But for now, at least, my enclosure screw heads aren’t entirely flush with the top of the deck. Not a big deal, but thought I’d let you guys know.
The 1.5 battery is the same dimensions as the 1.0 battery, so it sits perfectly in the enclosure without any trouble. Again, plug ‘n play! The difference between the 1.0 battery and 1.5 battery is in the type of cells used. The 1.0 used Samsung 22P or LG MF1 18650 cells, whereas the 1.5 exclusively uses Samsung 20R 18650 cells, which are much higher quality and more expensive cells.
The choice to upgrade the battery for the 1.5 is clearly a response to the battery sag issues riders were experiencing with the 1.0 in the last half-to-third of the battery’s charge; acceleration, top speed and hill climbing capability would drop considerably with the 1.0 as the battery depletes lower and lower, which is pretty normal battery behaviour, but better cells reduce the impact of this effect, which is what Meepo have done.
The reported specs with the 1.5 battery remain the same. Same top speed, same range and same hill climbing as the 1.0. The difference now is you can expect peak performance for a lot longer with the new batter far less sag or drop off effect as the battery depletes. We’ll put this to the test a little later in the article.
The 1.5 battery comes complete with a new charging port, which you can either use or clip off and plug the battery straight into the existing charging port on the enclosure, which is what I did.
If you actually want more range from your more Meepo you have the option to even further upgrade your battery from the 1.5 Samsung 20R 18650 cells to the Sanyo pack, which is made up of even bigger 20700B cells. Kieran says this pack adds about 10km (6.2 miles) of range over the new standard 1.5 pack. However, the Sanyo pack comes at a significant investment, about $300 on its own or about $200 to order outright as part of your board purchase.
I was using the Samsung 20R 18650 (new standard 1.5) pack for all the testing to follow, not the Sanyo 20700B pack.
We’ve already spoken about the upgraded remote, so there’s no need to cover that again here except to say that I think it’s great. The throw of the throttle and brake is bang on and there’s no lag at all. I’m actually a big fan of this little, cheap remote!
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So how does it�0�2feel?
It feels pretty damn good. Leagues ahead of the 1.0! The bow in the length of the deck has been reduced from the 1.0, but that wasn’t too much of a problem to begin with if you ask me (I actually would have preferred if a bit more of the bow had been retained as it creates more flex). The problem, of course, was with the lack of concavity across the width of the 1.0 deck, particularly where the board cradles your feet. The 1.5 deck cures this by offering a mild-to-moderate W concave, particularly around where your feet are typically placed on the board. Thank God! New Meepo 1.5 owners no more deck swaps, you lucky ducks!
Check out the convex of the 1.0 (above) compared to the concave of the 1.5 (below)! Far more secure and comfortable ride!
The overall flex is about the same from the 1.0 to the 1.5, although there is perhaps a little bit less rebound in the 1.5 than there was in the 1.0 due the loss of the bow in the length of the deck.
The bow/arch or the 1.0 (above) compared to the 1.5 (below). There’s a little less “rebound” in 1.5.
The 1.5 deck is also about an inch to an inch-and-a-half longer than the 1.0, increasing the overall stability and comfort of the board.
EDIT: January 2018 The Meepo Board 1.5 has undergone another little design tweak. The deck now comes in an all black finish! Check out Kieran’s announcement video. It looks sleek!
I highly, highly recommend changing the Meepo’s bushings too! The stock bushing have nothing in the way of rebound or response. If you enjoy a responsive carve, get those bushings out of there for something better right away!
The new deck plus $20 on new bushings make the Meepo feel an entirely new board!
Performance
For this section please note I that weigh 92kg/203lbs, ride in fast mode all the time and ride flat-out as often as it is safe to do so (which is most of the time).
Top Speed In my last article about the Meepo 1.0 I achieved a top speed of 33kph/20.5mph. After that article was published I later achieved top speeds in the realm of 35kph/21.7mph in the right conditions. With the 1.5 battery my upgraded Meepo now achieves a top speed of 36.7kph/22.8mph!
Top Speed of 36.7kph/22.8mph
Range Previous 1.0 range was about 11–13km/6.8–8mi depending on what level of sag you were willing to put up with. With the 1.5 battery my upgraded Meepo now achieves a solid range of 13.3km/8.2mi! Can a lighter person with a less aggressive riding style get the advertised range (in real world conditions)? Probably.
(I always like to mention that I can only achieve about 6km/3.5mi on a standard Boosted with the same aggressive riding style. I’d wager the Meepo 1.5 would probably match the Boosted’s extended range battery quite easily in real world conditions. The Sanyo pack would beat it, definitely)
Range of 13.3km/8.2miles
Hill Climbing The biggest hill around my area suitable for testing is a 15.7% incline. The Meepo 1.0 made it up on a full charge no problem, so the 1.5 was going to make it without question. A better test would be to see whether or not the Meepo 1.5 could make it up on about half battery. Check it out:
Meepo Board 1.5 Hill Climb Test
Clearly the 1.5 made up the 15.7% incline on half battery with no problems, both from a standing start and obviously with a run up. I’d say the board is still capable of tackling close to 20% inclines on a half battery as long as you had run up! Sag The 1.5 battery is stronger out-of-the-gate! It just feels like it has a lot more to give straight out of the box. The sag does indeed come on a lot later in the ride probably the last quarter as supposed to the last third (or nearly half) of the 1.0 battery. The sag, when it hits, is also more of a “ridable” sag all the way down to the end of the battery it still moves with reasonable pace. With the 1.0 when the sag hit I got off and walked, as it was faster! On the 1.5 I drained it all the way to the end, which got me the solid 13.3km/8.2mi range. Never once did I think walking might be quicker, even at the very end. Below are some screen shots of my phone taken whist riding (do not try at home). Each one was at the top speed I could achieve at the time as the battery depleted:
Still hitting advertised top speed 5km into the�0�2ride
Still hitting close to advertised top speed over 8km into the ride. Would have been well into the sag on the 1.0 by now!
Starts to slow down a little past the 10km range.
Achievable top speed starting to reduce a lot in the last 2km
Sag in full effect for about the last km. Still gets 25.5kph. The 1.0 would have been crawling (if it was still going)!
Don’t expect miracles. It’s still a battery/battery pack and all batteries sag, but yes, this is definitely a step up from the 1.0!

One issue

I mentioned this in my initial review of the 1.0, the Meepo (still) suffers from “micro-seizures”. Very occasionally one of the motors will reset in a fraction of a second as a result of hitting something in such a way that it must disturb the motor sensor. This could be something small or large, hard or soft, whilst going fast or slow. I’ve found it to be fairly indiscriminate. All-in-all this is an extremely rare occurrence and as long as your stance is good you’ll barely notice, but it’s something that will catch inexperienced riders off-guard.

Worth it?

If there ever was a time to buy a Meepo, if you were sitting on the fence about it before, now is the time! The Meepo website has been optimized for multiple currencies and shipping is now included in the price. All of the hard work has been done for you now! The charger even comes with your regions specific power plug now. No more travel adapters! The Meepo Board 1.5 is now priced at $419USD (that’s about $547AUD for my fellow Aussies) to-your-door! No additional expenses. No need for a deck swap anymore either! With the new battery that’s gone into the 1.5 you’ll get all of nice little performance gains I’ve mentioned here in this article. Even more so if you upgrade further to the Sanyo pack! Spend $20 on some better bushings and the Meepo is priced to suit a lot people. It’s a perfect local area errand runner, campus commuter or second board for seasoned esk8ers who have a more heavy duty board for the tough mudder, but want a good back-up board and/or travel companion. People say it all the time, but it’s true: For the price, what you get from a Meepo 1.5 is simply amazing! It has all of the performance of boards thatcost three times as much of course it’s worth it! But remember, take care of your Meepo. Look after your Meepo and will look after you.
Check out Meepo Boards now at meepoboard.com!

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(This Article is Written by Samuel James and was published on Medium, all rights belong to THAT ESK8 LIFE )

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