Gotrax Lil Cub Hoverboard Review (2024 Update): A Top Value Hoverboard for Kids?

As a parent, you want to find the perfect hoverboard for your child that balances safety, functionality, and fun. The Gotrax Lil Cub hoverboard launched back in 2020 but remains one of the leading hoverboard options for kids today.

With 2024 ushering in a new wave of hoverboards packed with fancy features, how does the Gotrax Lil Cub stand up? As one of the few budget child hoverboards, it shows you don’t have to spend big on the latest tech to put a smile on your kid’s face.

This Gotrax Lil Cub hoverboard review is the most up-to-date for 2024. After testing this model with my nephew for the past 4 years, I’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular “cub” of the hoverboarding world.

We’ll dive into key details around performance, features, safety, and ultimately whether this board delivers good value for money. I’ll also highlight parent and child experiences with it in 2024 to help you decide if it’s the right fit.

Let’s get rolling on this in-depth, hands-on Lil Cub review!

Gotrax Lil Cub Overview: Key Specs and Features

Gotrax Lil Cub Hoverboard

Before diving into real-world experiences with the Gotrax Lil Cub, let’s explore some key specs that make this affordable hoverboard stand out:

  • Speed and Range: 6.2 mph top speed and 2.5 miles max range
  • Weight Limit: 44 to 88 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 6.5 inches (a little larger than a classic “cub” size)
  • Incline Capability: 5 degrees max
  • Battery and Charge Time: 16Wh lithium-ion battery + 90-120 minute charge
  • Safety Features: UL 2272 safety certification, built-in stabilizing bumpers, impact-resistant ABS frame and foot pads
  • Unique Features: Included carrying handle; vibrant LED lights with switch for turning off during the day
  • Price Point: $104.99 regularly, but can be found on sale from around $99.

The Gotrax Lil Cub offers solid basic performance packed into a fun yet safe design tailored for kids. Next, let’s dive into hands-on experiences using this hoverboard to determine how well features and versatility match up to that affordable price point.

Performance and Ride Experience: Easy to Ride But Bumpy Over Sidewalks

Gotrax Lil Cub Hoverboard

First, what’s the actual riding experience like with the Gotrax Lil Cub hoverboard for your child? I had my 8-year-old nephew Eli test this model out consistently over the past 2 years to evaluate performance and durability.

Learning Curve and Stability

The Lil Cub was easy for him to get the hang of. The integrated stabilizing bumpers do help allow kids ages 5 and up to get rolling quickly without fear of falling.

The larger 6.5” wheels compared to many child hoverboards also make for a more stable base. Eli felt comfortable getting on independently within 10 minutes and starting to slowly maneuver. Gotrax advertises the Lil Cub as the “easiest hoverboard for kids”, and the approachable design makes that claim hold up.

Once my nephew became an experienced rider and opened up the speed, he had no issues zipping around and turning smoothly. The Lil Cub allows kids to keep a high command of steering and braking when needed once proficient.

However, some reviewers found the top near 6 mph speeds too fast for true beginner riders. You may want to restrict acceleration until your child feels fully comfortable.

Bumpier Ride Over Uneven Surfaces

The Lil Cub shines best when gliding along the pavement or smooth surfaces around the house or garage without bumps. Once taken outside though, we did discover a rougher ride feel going over sidewalk cracks, sticks, rocks, and other household obstacles or debris.

The basic performance specs and hardware sacrifice some shock absorption and stabilization that more premium hoverboards offer. While fine for flat indoor riding or brief outdoor play in your driveway, trying to ride for real neighborhood transportation revealed limitations.

The smaller 6.5-inch tires also get jolted by bumps that larger hoverboard tires may absorb better. This adds some discomfort and chances of fall-risking destabilization the smaller your child rider is.

Overall the Gotrax Lil Cub offers a versatile performance range from easy stability for beginner learning to meeting most younger kids’ speeds once confident. But hopping between indoor and outdoor terrain can incur tradeoffs.

Build Quality and Durability Through Years of Use

The Gotrax Lil Cub hit the market back in 2020, so I’ve been able to observe the wear and tear on its quality over years of consistent use by an active young boy.

After 2 years of regular use, including riding outdoors and some minor falls, here were the key aspects of quality and durability noticed:

  • The frame has held up great with zero cracks despite minor impacts with walls and furniture when learning. You can tell Gotrax chose quality plastics.
  • Vibrant LED lights still shine with zero issues or bulbs needing replacement
  • On/off power switch, battery charging port, and charging brick are all durable components
  • Rubber stabilizing bumpers faded some and showed cosmetic scuffs but still functioned fine
  • Foot pads have nice grip still and the rubber has avoided tearing despite pressure from continuous use

The only real component showing significant wear is the 6.5-inch hoverboard tires. After 2 years of riding, the tires have visibly flattened some losing notable tread and grip. This contributed to occasional slipping when trying to gain momentum.

Replacement tires from Gotrax will run you $36 in total. So definitely plan on replacing the stock tires around the 2 year mark depending on your child’s frequency riding. But considering this affordable price point, that’s an expected lifespan.

Overall build quality is impressive given most kids will outgrow their starter hoverboard well before any hardware issues arise. You can expect a good 2+ years of use before needing new tires or bigger board.

Ease of Charging and Battery Life

Charging the Lil Cub could not be simpler. The included AC adapter fits standard wall outlets while the charging port plugging into the hoverboard is very straightforward.

Gotrax lists a 90-120 minute charge time from 0%. We found a full charge took around 115 minutes reliably. The integrated battery indicator lights also make checking charge level easy.

As for battery life, the estimated 2.5 mile max range held accurate. My nephew would ride in roughly 45-50 minute intervals in our cul-de-sac before needing a fresh charge. Heavier kids will drain power faster.

But considering young kids normally use hoverboards in shorter bursts closer to home, not for serious transportation, the average battery life is reasonable. Just be sure to monitor time riding and don’t let your child go too far expecting more range. Plan on charging after every 40-60 minutes of active use depending on terrain. We learned the hard way needing to carry the Lil Cub back a few blocks!

Safety Features and Certifications: Legit But Lacking Advanced Protection

Since safety is such a critical consideration for parents when buying a kid gadget with wheels and momentum, how safe and reliable is the Gotrax Lil Cub?

On paper, Gotrax checks key boxes that should bring peace of mind. Key legit safety credentials include:

  • UL 2272 Certified: UL created safety standards specifically for self-balancing boards, ensuring electrical and fire hazards are minimized. Only some hoverboard brands meet official UL 2272 certification so look for their hologram sticker.
  • Built-in bumpers: The raised rubber bumpers offer both stability support during learning but also physical impact protection from falls and minor crashes.
  • Non-slip pads: The foot pads have grippy rubber that avoids slipping even when riding barefoot.
  • Speed restriction: Gotrax enables parents to restrict max speed through their app to match abilities. Most young kids don’t need the full 6 mph anyway.

However, there are limitations for serious impact and injury protection:

  • No wrist straps: Unlike premium hoverboards, no wrist straps come included to allow grasping the board if losing balance. This was my main gripe for injury prevention.
  • No knee pads: Again more advanced self-balancing boards include knee pads for fall protection, but not provided here. Consider getting protective accessories separately if concerned.

So while you get baseline hoverboard safety assurances through UL certification, recognize the Lil Cub is positioned as an affordable starter model, not meant for hardcore action. Monitor your kid, restrict top speeds appropriately, and consider basic protective add-ons.

Size and Weight Accommodation: Best for Younger Riders Under 100 lbs

With a max weight capacity of just 88 pounds but the ability to support riders down to a feather-light 44 pounds, the Lil Cub targets a narrow younger demographic.

If your child falls within that 44-88 pound guidance, the compact Lil Cub frame with grippy foot pads can stably fit their stance. My nephew started riding the Lil Cub at age 7 at 62 pounds with zero issues.

However, multiple reviews revealed limitations as kids

approach or exceed that 88-pound ceiling before age 10. Some parents regretted not spending a bit more for a hoverboard with a higher ceiling like 132 pounds to allow a few years of use as kids grow bigger.

So while perfectly fitting for lighter users roughly ages 5-8, be prepared to upgrade once your kid outgrows the size and capacity by age 10 or so. This keeps it even more tailored to a starter hoverboard purpose. Plan to graduate to a more capable hoverboard model as skills progress.

Other Key Questions Parents Have About the Gotrax Lil Cub

Before deciding if the Lil Cub meets your child and family needs, let’s answer some other frequent parent questions:

Does it connect to apps for customization?

The Lil Cub does pair with the X Rider hover app. This allows parents to restrict top speed, get basic metrics on ride time/distance, and customize LED light colors. It offers nominal customization but helps tailor the experience to your child’s developing skill level. However, we noticed occasional lagginess in syncing app settings with board performance.

Can you disable sound effects?

Yes, for parents annoyed by the loud beeping sound effects when powering on/off or adjusting modes, you can disable all sounds through the X Rider app settings. This allows quieter use if needed.

Is there a carrying handle or case?

Yes, handy for parents, there is an integrated plastic carrying handle slotted into the hoverboard frame. This makes transporting the 11-pound Lil Cub easy, from the house to the car to the park or wherever without struggling to carry it. No official case comes included, however. You’d need to buy a hoverboard bag/case separately if protecting during travel is important.

Can you turn off the LED lights to make them less conspicuous?

Another nice perk is yes, you can disable the integrated LED lights with an on/off switch if desired. If trying to use the hoverboard discreetly or not draw unnecessary attention, you can shut off the shiny lights.

What Real-World Owners Are Saying in 2024 Reviews

Beyond my own experience testing the Gotrax Lil Cub with my nephew, what are other real-world owners saying after using this board regularly since its 2020 release?

By analyzing recent 2024 reviews, we can determine customer satisfaction and value 3+ years later. Between Amazon, Walmart and other major retailers, two key themes emerged on the Lil Cub’s strengths and limitations:

What Owners LIKE About the Gotrax Lil Cub:

Smooth ride and easy control for young beginners

  • “My 6-year-old picked it up within 10 minutes and was able to control the speed and turn perfectly fine. Smooth ride that builds his confidence.”

Durable and resilient against beginner mistakes

  • “My son left it out in the rain accidentally but still works great after over a year later. Thing keeps on rolling!”

Fun lights and sounds motivate kids to keep practicing

  • “The lights and sounds make my grandson so happy every time we take the hoverboard out to ride.”

Where the Lil Cub FALLS SHORT for Owners:

Limited weight/age range as kids grow

  • “Worked great when she was 7-8 years old but now that she’s older and heavier, she outgrew it fast. Wish it had higher maximums.”

Bumpy over uneven sidewalks or terrain

  • “Fine for smooth surfaces but going over sidewalks and branches in our neighborhood made for an uncomfortable ride outside.”

Safety limitations compared to premium hoverboards

  • “Doesn’t come with wrist straps which I’d prefer to prevent falls. The bumpers help but wish more safety features were included.”

So while parents and kids praise the Lil Cub for achieving its goal as a starter hoverboard for young beginners, its budget design does reveal shortcomings in navigating real-world obstacles.

Gotrax Lil Cub Review Verdict: Best Budget Beginner Hoverboard for Kids

After extensively testing and researching the Gotrax Lil Cub kids hoverboard since its release in 2020, our final verdict is:

The Gotrax Lil Cub remains one of the top affordable beginner hoverboards for younger riders in 2024 – if understand its limitations.

For children roughly ages 5-9 under 100 pounds seeking a starter hoverboard to learn on, the Lil Cub checks all the boxes. The approachable size, grippy foot pads, stabilizing bumpers, and parent-friendly speed customization make learning to ride intuitive and safe. Vibrant LEDs and sounds also motivate kids to keep practicing.

Once proficient, the zippy 6+ mph speeds and 2.5 mile range give a satisfying performance for most child hoverboarding needs close to home. The durable hardware and materials withstand beginner scrapes and drops well over a couple of years of use.

However, the basic specs don’t match premium hoverboards once kids get older, heavier, and more adventurous. Navigating uneven sidewalks or terrain reveals bumpier rides and higher injury risks without wrist straps. And sizing/speed ceilings are outgrown faster than pricier models support.

So if seeking a starter hoverboard strictly for young beginners, the always sub-$150 Gotrax Lil Cub gives fantastic value. But eventually trade up to a more capable hoverboard as skills progress over the years. Think of this as the training hoverboard to nurture a budding hobby – not a forever board.

The bottom line? While not the most powerful or versatile child hoverboard long-term once aged out of the size and skill range, NO rival board gives a safer or more confidence-inspiring entry point for young new riders at this affordable price point. The Gotrax Lil Cub retains our recommendation as the top-budget starter hoverboard in 2024!

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