eWheels Comparison Electric Unicycles & Scooters.
Many people are surprised to learn that Electric Unicycles have been around since 2013, but until quite recently they were expensive, slow, with limited range. For illustration, the original Solowheel was priced at $2,000, had a maximum speed of 10mph, & only 6 miles range. Today, there are Electric Unicycles priced at under $1,000 that are 5x more capable in terms of performance & range.
At the time of this writing, November, 2017, there are four main manufactures of Electric Unicycles.
- King Song: established reputation for finding the balance between construction quality, performance & safety. At the hardware level, the King Song Electric Unicycle range have similar specifications as their main competitor, Gotway, but with overall better construction quality, reliability & safety.
- Gotway: the most dynamic & innovative of the manufacturers, releasing on average three-four new models a year. Their key strength is their ability to push the boundaries of what’s technically possible today. Their Wheel line has a full complement of Wheel sizes, ranging from a tiny 10″ MTen3 with a 3″ wide tire, to the ‘Monster’, which is fitted with a gargantuan 22″ tire.
Where the company is to a degree let down, is in the quality of the construction, primarily on areas like the body, handles, pedals, etc. On certain models like the ACM, MSuper, Monster, if the Wheel takes a hard blow, the shell body can become separated & be damaged quite easily.
- Inmotion/Solowheel: in the US, Inmotion have rebranded the V5F & V8 Electric Unicycles as Solowheel Gide2 & Glide3, with a corresponding 60% price increase. From Solowheel’s website, it seems they have now discontinued the previous S300, Scorpion & Extreme models.
- Ninebot/Segway: on April 1st, 2015, the Chinese company Ninebot acquired Segway, since then they have introduced the S1. This Wheel doesn’t really stand out in any particular area. It is neither powerful, nor lightweight, it lacks padding on the sides, no night-time running lights, & has no retractable handle.
The above brand Comparison to try to help the prospective buyer understand the different strengths/weaknesses of the available manufacturers.
If the key areas are collected into a weighted-score, especially those that Customers are most interested in—like performance, range, value & reliability—then at this point time, King Song comes out as the clear winner. Their line of Wheels may not be the absolute fastest, nor do they have an exotic micro 10″ MTen3, or at the other end of the spectrum the 22″ Monster, as Gotway offer, but across the 14″/16″/18″ Wheel class, for general dependability combined with excellent performance, features & value for money, most first-time buyers who have done their research, end up purchasing a King Song.
While for the most part the hardware is mature & reliable, the same cannot be said when it comes to ‘official’ Apps. Except for Segway/Ninebot, all Manufacturers fall far short of what a modern App ought to be. Fortunately for Electric Unicycle Owners, there are some 3rd party Apps, like WheelLog & WheelInfo84v (for Android) & DarknessBot (for IOS), that make the reliance on these Apps practically unnecessary. These have near universal connectivity for all the major brands, presenting a clean & informative layout.
Because of it’s simplicity, in theory, an Electric Unicycle should be incredibly reliable.
I’m new to Electric Wheels, which model is best for me?
That depends on a number of considerations, such as your weight, how far/fast you intend to ride, your budget & personal preference.
The single most important factor of the price of an Electric Wheel is its performance & range, as higher performance components & battery packs cost more money to make.
If you are under 200lb or don’t intended to push Wheel very hard, then a V3Pro or V5F/V5F+ is likely be suitable first choice. ALL Wheels have their limits, for you safety it’s important to not push the Wheel beyond what it’s capable of performing & choose one that matches your intended requirements.
How hard is it to learn to Use Electric Wheel? Is there something that I can buy & start using immediately?
Much depends on the individual: there are some people, without any previous experience, who can use, but this is exception. For the average person, who is reasonably fit & active, the recommendation is that the learning sessions are broken down into around 20 minute intervals spread out over a couple days. Given a little patience & practice, nearly everyone will be able to learn how to ride.
If you’re looking for something that you can start using immediately, or perhaps you feel that mastering this skill is beyond your reach, then consider either the Inmotion V3Pro of the L6 Electric Kickscooter. Both of these have practically no learning curve & are also great fun to use.
What other Consideration Should I be looking for beyond the Specifications?
Information like the Wheel diameter, battery size, & motor power provide some indication about how the Wheel will be like to ride; however, there are several other important characteristics that are not captured in a specification table.
- Ergonomics: how comfortable is it to ride? When either starting out for the first time, or trying out a new Wheel, there is usually a transition phases, of getting familiar & comfortable with it. The difference between an ergonomic Wheel, & one that is not, is that as an experienced Rider you can continue ride for a longer duration with less of foot or leg soreness & cramping.
- Response Mode: this is how the Wheel responds to your learn input (also referred to the ‘hardness’ settings). Some Wheels like the Solowheel are what many consider to be ‘very soft’, while the Inmotion models are the ‘hardest’ or most responsive; in the King Song & Gotway Apps you can control the response mode from ‘very soft’ to relatively responsive. The general consensus among experienced Riders seems to be that the more responsive the Wheel, the better.
- Pedal Height: there are some eWheels that when you turn sharply, the edge of the pedal can scrape against the ground. In most circumstances it’s not more than an annoyance, but it can also pose a safety if you’ve never experienced this before. Inmotion’s eWheels are among the best in this respect, with the highest pedals & contoured edges, both make it practically impossible to scrape the pedals while turning. Gotway & King Song Wheels are both pretty good at making sharp turns.
- Additional Features: all of the King Song eWheels are fitted with Bluetooth speakers, so too is the V3Pro. The retractable, or foldable handle, is found on all the Wheels except the Gotway ACM & Monster, but there are external bolt-on options available for these. All the Wheels that we sell have Smartphone App support, where you can change various ride characteristics & view speed/battery level information from.
There are some Electric Skateboards & Kick-Scooters that Claim up to 2000W of Power, is this True?
In short, no. The power output of a personal electric vehicle is governed by the capability of the battery pack, control-board & electric motor. With an Electric Unicycle the entire diameter of the Wheel is the motor, therefore it’s potential power is vastly greater than any tiny motor found in an eSkateboard. This quickly demonstrated in any head-to-head acceleration or uphill test.
One questionable method that some manufacturers use in quoting their power is the momentary maximum ‘peak’ that battery pack or control-board can deliver, but in practice, this is a meaningless number.
There is also generally a link between the price of a Wheel & the power/capacity of the battery pack. For under $600 you can acquire an excellent Wheel, such as the a130 or V3Pro. With a budget of between $600-$1,000, will get you a V5F (the V5F+ is the same Wheel but with a larger battery) or L6 scooter. Above $1,000 are the heavy weight Inmotion V8 & KS18″ Wheels.
Here are some other considerations when making a purchase:
- Even with the best designed eWheel, chances are that at some point it will need a repair or service. If buying from abroad, the shipping costs & restrictions make after-sales servicing practically impossible. It’s best to buy your eWheel from a reseller who has local parts & services.
- Many manufacturers greatly exaggerate the performance/range specifications of their products; at eWheels, we put these claims to the test.
- As a general rule, the range & power figures are directly connected. Look at either the Wh rating or type of batteries; if it’s above 240Wh, the available power/safety is typically at least double that of the low end eWheel. Our entry level IPS a130 has extremely powerful batteries that you will not find in any other entry level Wheel, custom made to our requirements.
- More power = more safety. There’s nothing worse than feeling the pedals give out while you’re riding!
- The quality/type of batteries that are used are extremely important to the safety of your Wheel. Simply having a battery from a large supplier like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung or LG is not enough to ensure a minimal level of performance from the Wheels; it’s the model of cell that matter most. In most of our Wheels, we specifically source batteries which have up to three times the performance of many manufacturer preferred types.
- Brand matters. There are only a handful of established & mature manufacturers who have been making Electric Unicycles/eWheels for years. The brands we offer are widely considered to be the best available today.
I Bought an Entry Level Wheel to Learn With, but Now I want a Fast & Powerful Wheel. What Should I Get?
Both the King Song 16″/18″ and Gotway eWheels are all within this category. All can comfortable cruising at 19MPH or more & can sustain long >30 mile cruises.