Going to a larger EUC
My Impressions on upgrading from a 14″ Inmotion V5F to 16″ V8
I got my Inmotion V5F , catchy name huh, on March 30th 2017 and it took me 3 months 2 weeks to put 1000 miles on it. It was an upgrade from a Ninebot one A1, which served as my learning machine. So 14″ wheels are all I have ever known. I love the portability and toyishness of the 14″ under 30lbs wheels. They prepare you to get bounced off by their very lack of mass and weight beneath your feet. I often wonder why I even need them to glide above the ground, and maybe they are just a crutch for this un-noticed skill I have had all along. Then I hit a hidden salad bowl sized pothole and wonder why I am running all of a sudden with my wheel skidding off to the side. They are fun! So when I decided to get more speed and distance I settled in on the 16″ Inmotion V8 for looks (really sleek even with the dizzy lights), the name (I am a car guy so V8), and the familiarity with the Inmotion ride.
More on the Inmotion V8 specs and review later. After getting the V8 calibrated with the app to unlock the speed and tweak the lights and warnings it was time to test ride. I had tried the 16″ and the 18″ wheels at a gas station during a brief meeting with my local EUC club. They were ACM and Kingsong models and really had a vehicle type of ride stability. They felt like firm machinery compared to my nimble V5F lark. The Kingsong 14S and 16S were not available yet to buy, but on another EUC ride I was fortunate enough to try out an 840wh Kingsong 14C from Jeff and found it to be more than capable at getting me up and down the hollywood hills in Griffith Park. It never labored and has great pick up in acceleration. It was a bit more clunky in the corners than my V5F, but that might have been Beginner Wheel Skill Disorder. BWSD is the term I give for the unwieldy feel that a new wheel will have until your body has adjusted to the different mechanics and foot weight distributions that arise from different wheels. This was what I was feeling with the new V8 as I ventured down my hill towards sunset blvd. It would pull to one side or the other in a different way from my old V5F. Perhaps it is learning my style as I learn its. The phenomenon is still the same if not more pronounced with a brand new out of the package wheel. Inmotion has a – SCV forward correction – function in its app that will work after about 10 miles of use. Other models have ride feel adjustments in their Apps, and it is suggested to dial in or use these functions as it will make the break in time more comfortable, and give you more control. This worked for me as well as my body was adjusting to the new geometry of the larger wheel.
Going up in wheel size doesn’t make you taller, since the pedals are at the same height, but the body of the wheel will rest at different areas of your legs. I have a blister on my right upper ankle and a slight bruise on my left shin as evidence of this. The V8 is only 1″ taller than the V5F with a trolley handle. However the top of the body is 2″ taller. So for a short guy, the physics of leaning due to the taller y-axis(body) makes the leverage from the x-axis(pedals) less. My body either needs to lean out side to side further or with more force. Its not much more, but there does seem to be a natural learning curve. Combined with the additional weight of the wheel, these are some things to be aware of when upsizing, even within the same company. Obviously since all EUC companies have different designs, this happens when switching Wheel companies as well.
I ride my V5F and V8 along the bike lanes and paths of Los Angeles. The streets in L.A. Bow up to drain water to the gutters and the bike lanes and space next to curbs is on a slight angle. This angle can force the wheel into the curb unless I ride the wheel at a little bit more than a 90° angle, leaning slightly into traffic. This has taken some adjustment and learning, so I have had to be more careful even though I have more than 1000 miles of riding experience. Turning is different, not better or worse as far as tightness of turns and control. The wobbles are back as the placement of my feet is adjusted to the new weight distribution, blabbity blah, blah. Enough of the first impressions, Lets skip 50 miles into the future…
I really enjoy the 3mph extra cruising speed and max speed in the upgrade. I got to work within a few minutes of my car time average. The V8 feels both stable and nimble at cruising speeds of 15-19mph. The other day I rode over a bowl type of pothole that used to shake my 14″ wheel, but the 16″ took it in stride even while taking me by surprise. This is only day 3, but the wheel is beginning to learn my unorthodox extreme leaning into the curves. I am still getting used to the larger circumference while turning, because I am so used to the smaller wheel. Its getting much more natural with every new trip. Driving over shallow sand and loose dirt is easier with the heavier V8, but still a lot like dry water skiing. The 800 watt motor easily moves me uphills in dirt and asphalt or to maximum speed without laboring. I like to ride my EUC like a leaf balancing on a spinning top, and the V8 has that sort of stable lightness of a ride.
I am only 145 lbs. but the V8 only gets around 21 or 22 miles, with pushing it to the limits and stopping for stop signs, before you reach the dreaded last bar or 20% battery left. The speaker which usually blurts out “be careful” (gotta get it to speak in Chinese) gives you a warning sound that sounds like the warning sound you’d get when a landline telephone used to get knocked off the hook for too long if you start to push it at this point. It limits the speed and gets a little cranky if you jump off a curb or over a large pothole at a fast speed under these battery conditions. All in all it wants the rider to be safe and reminds you of this a lot when the battery gets very low. Although the range is a little lacking, it took me around two hours to drive 22 miles. A 2 min stop to change out a new battery for another 22 miles is no big deal, and probably needed as a rest at that point anyway. Changing the battery in the V5F is a great undertaking requiring great feats of double speed fast motion photography, unscrewing and unhooking for 15 mins just to get to the battery compartment and unhook it. So get the V5F+ if you are thinking of range for that EUC. I have already ordered an extra battery for the V8 and charging port to hook it up to my chargers.
To sum it all up, upgrading to a wheel to match ones skill level and expanded use is something enriching and easy to do. The options are all around and so far seem to be growing in numbers. I stuck with what was familiar but larger and more powerful. If Kingsong had their KS14S or KS16S available I may have gone with them. One thing to remember- you will use the new wheel in much the same way as the old one for the majority of the time. It should make these journeys more useful and enjoyable. If you can say that about your upgrade, you’ve succeeded. Some other brief thoughts…
– I thought the larger 16″ wheel would be more cumbersome- it is actually just as nimble
– I had no idea how the extra speed would be so natural during the proper conditions. You don’t miss what you don’t experience…
– Upgrading to a new wheel takes time to relearn some basic handling of the new machine.