Stair-Rover by
Po-Chih Lai update


We spotted this stair-negotiating skateboard at ShowRCA 2012 and the accompanying movie became one of our most watched. One year on, its designer Po-Chih Lai has made a new film, updated the design and launched it on Kickstarter (+ movie).

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

The Stair-Rover features an eight-wheel mechanism that allows it to ride up curbs and descend flights of steps.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

Po-Chih Lai's original model featured a maple deck, customised aluminium trucks, and flexible V-frames that connected over the ends of the board.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

Since the initial design, the frames have been shifted beneath the board and connected by a plastic chassis to allow a full longboard deck to sit on top.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

Lai has also created an upgraded Pro version that sports a fibreglass deck and black components.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

This new movie shows longboarders navigating urban obstacles around London, at locations including the Emirates Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall and the Millenium Bridge.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

Lai designed the prototype for the board while studying at the Royal College of Art and we first published the project last year as part of our 2012 graduate show coverage.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

He recently launched the design on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter so backers can pre-order their own board, and the project is around halfway toward it's £50,000 target.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

If the product makes it into production, both the Stair-Rover and Stair-Rover Pro will be available.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

We've featured a few skate parks on Dezeen in the past, including one that covers every surface inside and out of a Californian house and another in a former peanut factory in Calais.

See more design for skateboarding »
See more architecture and design movies »

Read on for more information sent by the designer:

Stair-Rover launches innovative longboard - creators target £50,000 investment

The creators of Stair-Rover have launched a Kickstarter project that hopes to raise the £50,000 investment needed to manufacture the first run of boards. The longboard features a distinctive eight-wheeled design with a unique mechanism that allows it to scuttle crab-like down flights of stairs.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

Beginning life as inventor PoChih Lai’s final year project at the Royal College of Art, the Stair-Rover has evolved through no fewer than fourteen different prototypes and is now ready for manufacture. The Stair-Rover team hope that the new sport will combine aspects of longboarding and surfing, and prompt riders to look at their cities in a new way.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

The Kickstarter project offers rewards to backer for investments of £8 - £600, including branded stickers and clothing and limited edition Stair-Rovers. Both the standard Stair-Rover and the upgraded Stair-Rover Pro are available via the Kickstarter project. The Kickstarter campaign will run until 31st July 2013.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

"Stair-Rover really isn’t like anything we’ve seen before," says PoChih Lai. "It’s about daring people to explore their cities in a brand new way. Stair-Rover is very distinctive looking, but people that have tried it tell us it feels natural – on flat ground, it performs a lot like a conventional longboard. The real difference is the amount of freedom you have on the Stair-Rover. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what our community of riders can do with that freedom."

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

Stair-Rover has attracted the attention of skateboarders and longboarders alike, as well as that of design-aware individuals and publications. Stair-Rover videos have attracted over 500,000 views online and received coverage from CNET, Fast Company and the Huffington Post among others. Renowned TV shows like The Gadget Show, Discovery Daily Planet and Manoto 1 have also featured the Stair-Rover’s evolution.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

The Stair-Rover Kickstarter project will only be funded if at least £50,000 is invested by 31st July, 2013. Please support the project at Kickstarter.

Stair-Rover by Po-Chih Lai

To find out more about Stair-Rover, or to see videos of it in action, please visit

  • Dave Williams

    Is this for skill-less skaters? Real skaters have been going down stair for years – grinding the handrails.

    • boooo

      I think it’s more for a longboard/old-school surfing crowd.

    • Independant

      It’s a long board dumb-ass.

  • Seyeon Jeong

    Although skaters may not need this, it can contribute to other vehicles like baby strollers and wheelchairs for the physically challenged.

  • P. Gaverston

    Aren’t regular skateboards able to go down stairs already? Seen people do that all the time.

  • oldschool

    While I appreciate the cleverness of the design – it is a very nicely designed product – it just allows skateboarders to destroy more buildings and property. As an architect, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to add skateboard deterrents to your design to prevent skaters from grinding your rails or planters. Especially when cities build skate parks for kids to use…

    • RVTvision

      oldschool – nothing is sacred. Skateboarders don’t destroy buildings – the buildings and property are unknowingly built and used by skaters as their natural terrain. They give new meaning to how the landscapes and hardscapes are “used”.

      Subsequently, as many deterrents you may think you are designing to prevent them from using, the skateboarders are natural adapters and will find a new way to approach the architecture. Actually, the designs are feeding ideas for new ways of skateboarding.

    • robert

      As an architect I would say please don’t add deterrents against whatever to your designs. We build things but this doesn’t mean we own them alone.

  • MZK

    Pfff seriously? I’m not a skater and I am an architect, and I think that skaters are some of the only people using the streets, staying there and enjoying it.

    Remove the skaters from the city as it seems to be your dream and the streets will almost just be a place that people are crossing to go from a point to another, free of life.

    And deterioration of an architect’s masterpiece? Aren’t architects supposed to design for people ? How can they complain when people are using it then?

  • richie jackson fan

    It is possible (even if arguably harder) to ride down the stairs on a regular 4-wheel skateboard as well:

  • PeeWeen

    In the video: see a real skater laugh at this at 0:40 : )

  • blehblehbleh

    More “designers” trying to exploit the culture of skateboarding… yes, should have been put on a baby stroller or wheelchair.

  • Adrian

    The technology is brilliant.

    I’m not sure it’s quite the re-invention of skateboarding though.

  • Cass

    As a skateboarder and a designer I can say with out a doubt this one the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. It makes no sense what so ever.

    Why? Everything this thing does, the first skateboards invented could do just as well or better, and yet this thing can’t do a small fraction of what traditional skateboard can do.

    Honestly how does someone justify this? More technology for a less functional and less practical product! What? How? Why

    • ovca

      “The stairs are so retro and like you know cool, and if you could just go down the stairs with a longboard it would look so cool on instagram, you know doing selfie of my feet on the board while going down the stairs. I just wish someone would invent longboard that goes down the escalator.”

      Any skater knows there are only two ways to go down the stairs, you either ollie over or slide down the rail (or die trying). This abomination is just another attempt to exploit hipster market, since they are the only ones riding longboards anyhow. The turn function is an overkill if you ask me, hipsters prefer to go in the straight line.

  • pavvy

    Give the guy a break! However good or bad the skateboard is, he has created something new and it was this kind of thinking that made the skateboard in the 50s, then over time into the skateboard of today.

    So what if it’s not perfect? Not every design is.

    • Cass

      It’s not a matter of being perfect or not. It’s more about whether we applaud things because they are simply new and beautiful yet at the same time a total regression as far as the evolution of a sports and product goes.

      The kind of thinking that went into developing skateboards since the 50s was always to improve the performance of the skateboard to keep up with the evolution of the sport.

      What is the point of creating something new that doesn’t do anything new? Or even better?

  • Hawker357

    From a skaters point of view, yes this design is pointless to the common skater. However, you take into consideration someone who uses a long board to get to work, or the meet up with friends and then this is very useful. A lot of people using long boards as a method of travel rather than a sport have to alter their journey because of stair sets and the inability to Ollie up a curb. So think about it…