Determine your setup
Before going anywhere, make sure you understand how an electric skateboard works and what are the main elements. If you're not sure, go read our guide.
As all the parts work together, you can't just buy random pieces, you have to choose the main ones and go from there.
First thing to chose is the drivetrain. First question: belt driven, hub driven, gear driven, direct drive?
Whichever one you choose will have consequences on your trucks and wheels.
Second question: single drive or dual drive ? This is also important as it will determine the ESC/VESC situation. Wanna go all out? AWD is also possible!
I would recommend looking at specialized esk8 shops for motors (see our list here). They have specific motors for esk8s and it'll help you choose the correct motor.
The motors used are usually one of those 2 diameter sizes: 55mm and 63mm, and then different lengths. For a single drive, better go for a 63mm, it will offer more torque. The best choice would be a 6374 motor (63mm diameter, 74mm length). For a dual drive, the minimum would be two 55mm motors. But you can go higher of course.
Now, don't forget the important parameter in motors: the kv. If you want to use a VESC (see part 5 below), it has a 60 000 erpm limit. If you're going for a 10S or more battery, be careful that you're not going over that erpm limit.
Regarding hubs, the choice is already quite limited, especially when you want to make sure to buy good quality hubs. The good news is that if there's not much choice, it's easier to choose. Bad quality hubs are slow, don't have a lot of torque and have the urethane sleeve not properly attached to the motor.
The choice of direct drive motors is also quite thin. Make sure to do some research first.
3. Trucks and wheels (and more)
If you go for hubs, make sure to get the proper trucks that would fit them.
If you go for pulley, make sure that the truck you buy have motor mounts designed for them. Make sure the wheels are compatible with a pulley out there. Make sure the motor mount can accept the motor size you want to use (55mm or 63mm).
There are tons of different choices for the battery, let's try to reduce them.
First, no more than 12S. 12S is already quite hard on the ESCs/VESCs on the market, going over will make the situation even harder.
Secondly, the type of battery: Lipo or Li-ion. Lipos are cheaper and easier to setup. Li-ion are more expensive, but you can find nice batteries specially made for DIY esk8s. In general, would recommend going from 6S to 12S, depending on your budget.
I would really recommend getting a VESC or VESC based ESC. It might look complicated to setup and it's a bit pricey, but it's really flexible. Good quality VESCs can last for thousands of kilometres. Add a bluetooth chip to it and you can get real time data on your phone to monitor your whole board !
You can also get very good car ESCs, that can handle a lot of power. The downside is that you can't customize them (speed, acceleration, braking...).
6. The remote
There are a few models out there that eskaters really like. The first criteria for a good remote is to be reliable. A remote that looses signal too much is bad and dangerous. Imagine going full speed, and then your board slows down by itself, without warning, just because your remote dropped the signal. If you're not prepared there a good chance for being ejected from the board.
7. The deck
Now that you have an approximate idea of what will go to your board, you can choose a deck. There's nothing much to say here, choose a shape you like and make sure your whole setup fits. Check out our dedicated page.
8. The enclosure
The battery, ESC and remote receivers need to be protected, especially if you think of installing everything on the bottom of the board, like most people do.
Specialized esk8 shops sell different kind of enclosures, I would recommend checking them out. You can also make one yourself or course.
9. The rest
Well, there's not much left. Bearings, hardware (screws, bolts), griptape, truck risers (if needed). Those aren't specific to electric skateboards.