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Bone Crimes
Mar 7, 2007



Looking for a new way to ride around town and be away from folks during the pandemic?
Looking for a way to look like a weirdo alien and break dogs’ brains?
Want to try something totally different that kinda feels like you’re floating/flying?
Well then you might want to try a Onewheel or electric unicycle (EUC).

Wait what are these things?

Onewheels:
Onewheels are considered a ‘board sport’ as their stance is similar to a skateboard or a snowboard. They look a bit like a skateboard, but there’s a 12” gocart tire in the middle of the board with an internal motor which provides balance, acceleration and deceleration. They can be ridden on the street or on trails, and can get up to about 20 miles per hour.
In the U.S. a company called Future Motion owns the patents for this concept and has most of the market, though you can find grey-market imports (Trotter) or self-builds. Future Motion is on their 4th generation (or so) of onewheels. They currently sell 3 models, the Pint, which is their entry level model with a range of about 6-8 miles and a top speed of ~16mph, The PintX with a longer range of about 15 miles and a top speed on 18 mph, and the ‘about to be released’ GT which has a claimed 20-32 mile range, and a 20 mph top speed. They also just discontinued the XR, which was their previous flagship model (to be replaced by the GT) which has almost equivalent specs to the PintX.





Electric Unicycles:
Electric Unicycles or EUCs are essentially the same concept as the onewheel, and actually came first, and have the wheel’s axle perpendicular to your feet with the wheel between your legs. There are 4 main manufacturers (InMotion, Gotway/Begode, KingSong, and Veteran, all based in China. There is intense development going on here, with new models coming out all the time, especially at the high-performance end. In general, they have much larger wheel diameters, much larger batteries and much more powerful motors than the Onewheel. As such they typically can go much faster and further. There are so many models of EUC that any summary here would be immediately old, but overall they range from 12-20” wheels, with top speeds anywhere from 15 to 55mph.





How they work:
Both Onewheels and EUCs use sensors to self-adjust/correct the balance of the wheel when pushed forward or backward. If you lean forward, the device will tilt, the sensor senses this, and the computer will tell the motor to move to ‘catch up’, creating a feedback loop to maintain balance. To slow down, you lean backwards, and a similar feedback loop regenerates power back into the battery. To turn, the rider leans or unweights the device to one side or the other, and the wheel will carve. To go faster, you lean forward more, and the board will go faster to ‘catch up’, to slow down you lean back, and the board will decelerate to maintain balance. You can generally ride Onewheels and EUCs backwards as well.
They both have a significant learning curve, though you probably could ‘ride’ a Onewheel in your first session – EUCs have a much steeper learning curve. In general it’s considered that Onewheels are ‘easier’ though I didn’t feel I was a confident rider till I had about 700 miles ridden.

How they fail:
Ooh boy, they can fail pretty spectacularly! There’s a few things about these devices that are unique:
1. They have a top speed. I mean most vehicles have a top speed, but that is a speed beyond which they can no longer accelerate. For Onewheels and EUCs there is a speed beyond which *they cannot go without catastrophe*. This is because they self balance, and if the speed/power requirements go beyond the motor’s capability, they won’t be able to keep balanced. When this happens you get a ‘Nosedive’ on a Onewheel, or a ‘Cut out’ on an EUC. There are warning signs on each device, on a Onewheel you’ll get ‘Push back’ which means that the board will raise the front of the board to warn you it is near the end of its performance. On an EUC there is typically an audio warning where the wheel will beep at you. If you’re pushing performance on an EUC, you are ‘Riding the beeps’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THW1QtXfRy8#t=25s

https://imgur.com/gallery/kjZn0XU
https://imgur.com/gallery/tgvit0y

2. They don’t have brakes. I mean not real friction brakes, all braking is done with regenerative e-brakes. This means there is a limit to the amount of braking force, as it is subject to the same limitations of the motor power and battery status as acceleration, which is different than most vehicles. Also, I hear you asking “Hey, what happens if I live on a hill and I charge my board to 100% and try to go down?” - well, that is a great question, as the battery is full, there is no where for the regenerated energy to go, so the board will just shut down mid ride.
3. Speed wobbles. With only one wheel, it is much easier to get into situations where you have a positive feedback loop for a wobble, where it grows and grows, and you lose control. Typically this is a problem at high speeds and during braking.

I hear you saying “Wow, that sounds pretty dangerous, why do people do this?” And, well, yes it can be pretty dangerous, but it is a lot of fun. I think the key part is to start slow, and really only push limits once you’ve got the basics down. Its easy on these devices to get good enough to balance, then go super fast without understanding what you’re doing. Or you know, you could just never push the limits – it’s risky enough without pushing to the edge. Also, always wear protective gear, at a minimum wrist protection and a helmet. I wear a padded Kevlar motorcycle shirt, helmet, padded shorts, wrist protection, and knee-shin guards and have never regretted it.

Why people ride them:
Well, they’re a completely different experience from riding a bike or other forms of transport you can ride. They’re super fun, nimble, and have attributes of bikes, unicycles and skateboards, but are their own thing. They are relatively small, and can be hand carried (in the Onewheel case) or rolled around like a piece of luggage (EUCs), which makes them good for multi modal commutes in cities. There are EUC and Onewheel ‘Scenes’ in major cities, particularly New York, Portland and Seattle (and lots of other places). They’re an expensive buy, and range from $1,500 to $3,000, but are a one time cost, which compares favorably to a mountain or e-bike. Overall they’re cheaper than skiing/snowboarding on a mountain (considering all in costs), and you can ride them year-round. I really enjoy mine when I can carve around the neighborhoods around me at night, like skiing down a slope. You can also do a number of tricks with them, if that’s your thing.

Why the thread:
There’s been more discussion of these devices in other threads, but there doesn’t seem to be any threads specifically for Onewheels or EUCs, and I think I’ve seen enough posting about them in other threads to have a central location. Have you seen folks on Onewheels or EUCs? Have questions? Want to share experiences? Please do!

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Bone Crimes
Mar 7, 2007



I currently have an Onewheel XR.

I originally got interested in Onewheels back in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, and finally bought one, the lower-specced model Pint in July of 2020. It was a bit of work to get better at it, and luckily the Pint comes with a different stopping method call ‘Simple stop’ where you can just go backwards for a bit to have the board turn off. This was important as it took me a while to learn the ‘heel lift’ technique -which is the more advanced and useful stopping method. After about 300 miles on the Pint I realized I wanted more, and upgraded to the XR. The XR is a larger board, has a bit more power, but mostly has longer range and a slightly bigger wheel so it’s better for longer rides. It comes with a more ‘squared off’ tire than the pint, and is thus more stable, though you can buy after-market tires to change this.


I was also interested in EUCs, and last January I got an Inmotion V11 EUC. It was one of the new generation of suspension wheels at the time. I learned how to ride over the course of a few months, and it was a challenge, though I did get better. One of the challenges is that there are so many things that can effect the way you ride including the wheel (tire pressure, modes, tilt), environment (street, bumps, incline), riding stance (foot position, squat, lean). Also there is a speed at which you have to change how you ride, at slow speeds you need to twist more, whereas at higher speeds you need to lean and unweight to turn. It all takes quite a bit of time and dedication to get to the point where you trust your wheel and yourself to ride in traffic and in tough situations. I realized around this time that while I liked the EUC, I really preferred my Onewheel for cruising around and relaxing which is my main interest. So after about 500 miles I sold it.


I have almost 1,500 miles on my XR now and still really love it. Its especially great riding around the city at night when there’s less traffic and you can just carve all over the street.

wjs5
Aug 22, 2009


I am interested in hearing more about these suicide machines.

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!



Bone Crimes posted:


Why the thread:
There’s been more discussion of these devices in other threads, but there doesn’t seem to be any threads specifically for Onewheels or EUCs, and I think I’ve seen enough posting about them in other threads to have a central location.

I dig it! Thanks for making this thread!

I'm always surprised when I see EUC people in Manhattan essentially competing with cars. Those things can really move!

Bone Crimes
Mar 7, 2007



Future Motion (makers of the Onewheel) released a new flagship onewheel - the GT a few weeks ago. It has not gone very well. It has several new features that riders were looking forward to, primarily a better power band, and much larger batteries for torque and range.
But, the release was pushed back several months after taking preorders, which caused some grumbling. After the first boards were shipped out, there were quite a few dead-on-arrival which was not a good look, also there have been a number of changes to the board that prevent user servicing and aftermarket parts, to the point that big right-to-repair advocates have taken up the cause.

Also some new GT boards have had an issue with ghosting, which is when the board keeps moving after the rider is no longer is on the board - which is v. bad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRbFMmhIrTw#t=4s

All that said, I have a GT from the first batch, haven't had any problems, and really like it, except for the tire. I was regularly running my older onewheel battery all the way down every night, but this new one has so much more range it easily outlasts me.

Warbird
May 23, 2012

America's Favorite Dumbass



Bless this site, there's a thread for everything.

I've long been vaguely interested in getting a longboard for cruising around but never got around to it because of laziness/breaking my old man bones/people would probably laugh at me/the wife would say no/out of shape. More recently I've seen the Onewheel models around from time to time and have mused about getting one but never really considered it. Today the Mrs. mentioned wanting one after seeing some college kid scoot by on some model and I thought it might make a nice Mother's Day surprise for me her first time getting to benefit from the holiday. Looking around this seems like "a whole thing" and I'm mulling over the best way to start messing around with one of these things and hopefully not killing myself/the wife/the baby in the process.

Can I get away with a used model? I know that the OW company are apparently assholes in the "right to repair" debate and while that is a bummer I don't put much faith in the AliExpress pool to be decent and not explode.

How are these on non-paved surfaces? The primary use case I'd see for use it just around the subdivision but I do know the local college has a cross country trail that could be fun. I'm not really interested in going fast or tricks or whatever. I used to really just enjoy biking around and the experience of rolling/light carving before I got horribly out of shape.

Bone Crimes
Mar 7, 2007



Warbird posted:


Can I get away with a used model? I know that the OW company are apparently assholes in the "right to repair" debate and while that is a bummer I don't put much faith in the AliExpress pool to be decent and not explode.

How are these on non-paved surfaces? The primary use case I'd see for use it just around the subdivision but I do know the local college has a cross country trail that could be fun. I'm not really interested in going fast or tricks or whatever. I used to really just enjoy biking around and the experience of rolling/light carving before I got horribly out of shape.

You probably can get away with a used model. You probably want a Pint, (either the older 'Pint' or the newer 'Pint X)' as it has something called simple stop, which means you can lean back it it will automatically stop and turn off the board. I needed that, as I had a tough time learning the heel lift when learning. The other board you might see used is the XR, which you have to learn the heel lift to turn off, but has the advantage of a very square tire that is very stable, which is also helpful when starting out.

The XR, which just was discontinued, is generally more expensive (likely $1200 to $1500) used. The cheaper model is the Pint, which is $1100 new, and the pint X, at $1400 new. You likely can find older used pints under 800. You should have the seller ride it for you to make sure it works, and also show the board charging on the charger. You're taking a little gamble on the state of the battery on a used board, but typically the way they degrade is that they just get reduced range, which shouldn't be an issue when learning. Your feet will tire before the battery dies. If you like it, you can always upgrade.

I wouldn't go the Aliexpress route, especially as your first board. The quality of the board is much lower, and the control software is very bad unless you want to tinker with the firmware.

Onewheels are pretty good on non-paved surfaces, but I wouldn't learn how to ride by riding off-road. Lots of folks love riding trails, and the pros typically reduce the pressure in their tires to better grip and manage roots/bumps.

You should absolutely wear a helmet and wrist protectors when riding, at a minimum. As I am old and fragile now, I ride with the wrist guards, knee/shin pads, and have a kevlar jacket. You probably don't need those last 2 when learning, but if you ride fast I def recommend it. I ate it at 17mph on pavement and they totally saved the skin on my arms and knees!

The other thing I'd add, is that while I would love to have a electric skateboard, the quality of the pavement and trails (bumps, cracks, drops) around me means that it's just not possible, even with large 6" skate wheels. One wheels have the advantage with the larger diameter wheel. So consider where you'd want to ride in the equation.

Warbird
May 23, 2012

America's Favorite Dumbass



The Mrs. shot down the idea for now, but seemed open to it down the road a bit. Ideally renting one would be a good avenue to try it out as I agree with her sentiment that it's a lot of money to get a thing sight unseen. I know someone in our neighborhood has at least a couple and I'm asking around in some other places to see if I can get some time on someone else's.

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Bone Crimes
Mar 7, 2007



Warbird posted:

The Mrs. shot down the idea for now, but seemed open to it down the road a bit. Ideally renting one would be a good avenue to try it out as I agree with her sentiment that it's a lot of money to get a thing sight unseen. I know someone in our neighborhood has at least a couple and I'm asking around in some other places to see if I can get some time on someone else's.

Cool, hope you find a way to try. Wear a helmet!

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