I have been holding off until I could write a more comprehensive review. Now that I have finally broken 700 miles (according to Wheel Log) I think its time. This is for the 1600 Wh version.
The first thing I noticed when I switched to the MSupser (MS) from the MCMv4 was the inertia of the much heavier wheel. I initially had problems making the thing turn if I got up over about 12mph. I also found it VERY hard to whip low speed turns, like when angling to hop onto or off of a curb. I got a little frustrated in the first week or so because I was having so many issues riding the MS after spending a few months becoming a proficient rider on my 14″ MCM “training wheel.” After forcing myself to power through, reasoning that it took me about a week to even be able to stay on the MCM when I very first picked up this hobby, the feeling of unwieldiness started fading. At this point, I can whip the MS around just like I could my MCM. Now when I take the MCM out, it feels like Im ice-skating, if that makes any sense. Its just too easy to turn the MCM now and I find myself drifting the MCM on hard dirt paths just to make the (lower speed) ride more thrilling.
The added mass of the MS is also apparent when trying to accelerate. I had to teach my body to really “fall into” the direction I wanted to go. It feels really weird to try to get going at first if you are starting from a smaller wheel. Almost like you have to clench the pads between your legs to leverage your weight at the top of the case and force the MS to tilt forward. I don’t advise that method, as you end up bruising your legs and ripping up the pads when your skin sticks to it.
All the transition hardships aside, this wheel is AMAZING. After a couple weeks, and a few newbie-level falls/losses of control at low speeds, I took it out to the mountain bike trails that connect with a major (paved) commute-trail for bikers and pedestrians to really test the MS’s offroad capabilities. This thing just eats all types of terrain, except, as expected, deep dry sand, thick mud, or >8″ rock steps and ledges. I even (somewhat accidentally) took it through 6″ of water that was draining across a paved trail. My shoes were soaked, and the experimental tire sealant (TireJect) that I had been using dissolved by the end of the day after that, but that sealant wasn’t meant for tubed tires in the first place. I was just trying to avoid having to buy a $40 tube so soon and I didn’t want to add more mass to the wheel adding Slime. In my area, there are some innocuous looking plants that will put hundreds of tiny spines in my wheel, so some sort of sealant is a must for me. Especially when I decide to haul a$$ across an open field… because I can on the MSuper.
The fat tire is a huge relief on my joints when it comes to bumps and jumps. It also makes it slightly easier to navigate loose ground, e.g. sand, gravel, mud.
One weakness I did experience was the MS’s difficulty getting started going up a steep slope. If I hit a serious incline >~30 degrees and maintain speed, the MS has no problems. If I stop for any reason on a steep enough incline, it is very hard or impossible to get going uphill again, if the path isn’t paved. Its just too hard to achieve balancing speeds in a short enough time to stay on the wheel in this scenario. I have tracked wattage spikes >4000 on steep hills using Wheel Log. I was aware of this issue and it seems to be an inherent issue with any larger wheel with current motors. Overall, it has a negligible effect on my overall riding experience and is easily managed through experience.
One of the nicest things about the heavier 18″ wheel is its stability at high speeds (~25mph). I could easily catch a death-wobble on my MCM around 19mph. Im not saying you won’t get wobble on the MS, which can be terrifyingly brutal if you’re going 25+. This is especially true, even at lower speeds, if you haven’t built up strength in the different muscle groups required to control the wheel. On one occasion I was traveling 25+ and an unseen utility cover had me fighting to slow down and control a wobble so so violent I almost slipped off the front of the pedals without my PPE… The MS will remind you it isn’t a toy if you start to take it too lightly.
The range on this thing is astounding. I can make a 55 mile commute (~27.7 miles in one direction, carrying a 10-20 lb backpack, averaging about 23mph)) without a recharge, however that range varies quite a bit depending on how I ride. If I am constantly slowing for pedestrians and cyclists, then accelerating hard, I start to dip into the low-power warning in the last few miles of the return trip, which ANNOYS THE CRAP OUT OF ME, however I realize that is the point for safety. If I do not have a bag, Ive learned to bring my double-charger (3A) Charge Dr. with me (thanks Jason!) whenever I venture that far. An hour or two of charging during classes and this is not an issue. If I am just cruising, with no bag, and few stops, I have gotten to ~60 miles before the low-power beep kicks in. I can’t comment on tailback, since I immediately disabled it. I felt like it was more of a hazard than a safety feature on my MCM, so I just listen for beeps and monitor stats from Wheel Log if I need to.
You WILL want a fast charger. 12-14 hours to 100% off the 1.5A stock charger isn’t something I can live with. You should also consider some sort of charge timer, like the Charge Dr or some other solution if you get a high-capacity wheel. The amount of chemical energy in a 1600Wh wheel should terrify you enough to never leave it charging without a cutoff while you aren’t around. Also, make sure you are aware of “battery pack balancing.” Its important.
Lets talk about that top speed… its breathtaking. I have managed, with PPE and a bit of alcohol, 33.1 MPH. That was on a very smooth, newly paved section of trail along a large reservoir dam with no one around, and it was an accident. I couldn’t look at my phone to see it realtime. At those speeds, any little twitch of the wrong muscle can send your face right into the ground. I was just cruising fast and pushed just a tiny bit harder than my 3-beep alarm, which I thought I had disabled somehow. Turns out, I had set it to 30mph. I just hadn’t heard it in so long I thought it was off. In most situations, it is effectively muted. Average “hauling a$$” speeds to me are 25-30 mph. My free-spin cutoff tests tell me 35.7mph is the cutoff. I don’t trust that number, so I pretend 30 is my max.
When I have to take my wheel inside, I just pick it up and switch hands every couple minutes. Every time I’ve tried to use the trolley handle (yes, the wheel was on and I have tried pushing and pulling it) I have issues with the wheel wanting to tip to one side or another. I think its more easily missed by people in a building if I carry it, since it isn’t making the high-pitch whine and it doesn’t take up any more space than carrying a briefcase. I am still looking into some sort of strap so I can sling it over a shoulder like a messenger bag. Possibly something to cover the wheel as well while I carry it. Nobody cares about what they can’t see and a heavy bag attracts less attention than a wheel sticking out of a box with pedals and a headlight.
The headlight is pretty good. If I plan to do night riding though, I still bring a very bright headlamp (Black Diamond Icon). The built in lamp doesn’t provide enough visible distance to travel as fast as I do in the daytime, and I have come very close to hitting deer at night! In general, I find myself traveling about 8mph less than I do during the day if I am relying on the headlight on the MS. Another cool touch is that the MS lamp seems to angle into turns, so it will shine towards where you are turning. Riding backwards and seeing the lamp point the opposite direction I am turning seems to confirm this, but I am only 90% sure the light is actually turning. Still neat.
All in all. This wheel is the perfect balance of power, range, and maneuverability for me. I am still eying a Monster, just to be more comfortable cruising in bike lanes on roads, but Im not sure I could build up the arm strength to make carrying a Monster comfortable for any length of time, or any reason. As it is, being able to toss the MS in my trunk and always have access to it is what I really love. Im a bigger guy, so 50 lbs isn’t a huge problem, so long as I keep lifting it. No doubt the transition to carrying 50lbs in one hand was made easier by getting used to carrying the ~30 lb MCM for a few months before I upgraded.
The large foot pedals are much more comfortable than the small ones on the MCMv4. The added height means I rarely grind the pedals if I am simply turning. I do end up grinding them when I am going off-road or turning down a steep slope at higher speeds.
My advise would be to start on a cheaper wheel. Failing that, wrap this thing in padding for a few months. You WILL mangle it as a beginner. I have plenty of scuffs on mine already and I haven’t crashed it HARD. I would also advise snagging an extra inner tube and/or adding Slime as soon as you get it. You will want to deflate the tire right off the bat anyway to center the tire on the rim. Mine was a little crooked as soon as I got it.
I can’t think of any fatal flaws at all. Perhaps the way mud tends to stay up in the case until you really get in there and clean it out. I still hear a little grinding on my right side when I mount it since I absolutely caked it in mud a few weeks back. Ill need to fully disassemble it when I get my new inner tube to make sure its clean.
Hope that helps!
PS: For the love of God make sure you use good trail etiquette. Slow WAY down for pedestrians, and let people know when and which side your are passing on. I blew by one person I didn’t realize was coming up doing 25ish and it scared them. We do not want people scared of these to start voting to restrict their use. We want everyone awestruck and happy about them so they don’t try to punish us all due to a few bad rider’s actions.