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  1. Review of the Rockwheel GT16 Update (13 Sept 2017): See “One Month On ...” at the bottom of this article. It’s been more than a week since I received my GT16 v2, and oh boy do I love it! I've always liked to experience wheels that are the "first" of their kind here, from the first Gotway (MCM2) to officially hit our shores, to its rival the Kingsong 14C, then the revolutionary Kingsong 16B, and now the upstart kid the Rockwheel GT16! A Rockwheel had always been something that I’d wanted to own since back in the days when they produced their distinctive geared wheels. Those were noisy wheels to be sure, but I’d always likened them as the Harley Davidsons of EUCs. Iconic wheels of their time with a unique and throaty growl that set them apart from other wheels. The exalted elite amongst the backdrop of the mediocre and the wannabes. Yet reported problems of their geared motors put a sad end to my interest and ambition. Then this GTR of wheels came about. Herein lies my honest review of the GT16, both the good and the not-so-good. Design & Build Its beauty cannot be denied. Not since the Ninebot One has another wheel been produced with such a distinctive look. Its “exposed-tire” design is reminiscent of the classic IPS, but where the IPS looked minimalist and rugged in a subtly sexy sort of way, there is nothing subtle about the Rockwheel GT16. The combination of the “exposed-tire” with a slim and futuristic looking chassis brings to my mind the image of a hired assassin clad in a flowing night dress, with one long slim leg peeking out from the side slit, the hilt of a dagger peeking out. Rockwheel had also thoughtfully included a retractable mudguard at the rear of the wheel. Nicely designed, and certainly very useful on wet paths. Given it’s speed and the exposed tire, you’ll certain need it! The trolley is not integrated like Kingsong or Inmotion, which is a shame. However, it is made to measure for the GT16, fits like a glove, and overall feels quite solidly built. Once retracted, you’d almost not notice it (unless you’re anal about integration). Performance & Handling Unlike a Kingsong 16B or S, the weight of this wheel is very well-centered and balanced, and you should not feel it pulling you down when you’re half-mounted (one leg on the ground, the other on the wheel). Incredibly, it is also extremely easy to maneuver, so much so it almost felt like a 14’ wheel! Easily the most agile 16’ wheel I’d ever had or tested. And the GT16 continues to be stable even at higher speeds. No feeling of wobbliness or imbalance. As an ex-KS16 owner (KS is very popular in my country), I dare say that the GT16 is much more stable than the stock KS16B/S. Keep to a lower PSI if you wish to improve the stability even further. Does it need a 2.5 modification like the KS16B/S 2.5 (a locally modified version where the 2.125’ tires are replaced with 2.5’ to greatly improve its stability)? At this point in time, I don’t think so. The performance is incredible. The motor packs plenty of power, and acceleration is effortless. When I demanded similar power from other wheels, I could always feel the effort once past a certain point. But never with the GT16, which only hums smoothly to my demands. On paper, this should only be natural given its higher performance specs, yet feeling it is believing. Wow! Any enforced reduction in power/speed at low battery levels like the KS? Nope. So rejoice! But please manage this freedom with care. Powercut or faceplant from a lack of power/torque? You shouldn’t. Not with its 2000W motor (3000W peak). Heavy riders or steep slopes should not be a problem. During my rides, I tried going over tricky terrain, and sometimes encountered unexpected holes or obstacles that caused me to suddenly dip or lean forward at a steep angle before I caught myself and quickly leaned back (Amen to a stronger core from more than 2 years of wheeling). The wheel just continued on normally. If it had a voice, it probably just went “Huh? What do you mean something happened? I didn’t feel anything!”. Mobile App Compared to competitors, the Rockwheel mobile app is pretty basic. You get to set the ride mode, the alarms (usual 3 levels) and the tilt-back. There is no option for a firmware update like what is available for Ninebot and Kingsong. Design & Build The beautiful body, with its little nooks and crannies, ironically makes it a little difficult to clean. And the GT16 certainly kicks up a lot of dirt and mud from the roads, given its performance and how “open” the wheel is. Expect the body and the mudguard to get dirty easily. I also noticed that the mudguard can be a little difficult to pull down, and might be due to the tight integration with the chassis. It’s easier to extend if you leave it drawn down a little instead of fully flushed into the chassis (don’t worry, it’s tight enough not to drop when riding). Another issue with the mudguard is that when fully extended, it is very close to the tire, and might rub against it when you’re riding. So my advice is don’t fully extend it. Perhaps my biggest disappointment of all is the softness of the body. For example, it picks up cuts and scratches easily. A simple drop of the wheel is enough to leave scars on the chassis. So don’t wipe out, which shouldn’t be a problem if you are wheeling safely. I’ve heard feedback from friends that during one-leg maneuvers, the wheel rubs onto the tire. Personally I’ve not experienced it when I did such stunts. If I had to theorize, it might be due to the softer chassis that causes it to “flex” inwards from the pressure. However, I do know that the chassis is designed so that it can be simply lifted off from the tire (unlike other wheels that tend to be designed differently), so the internal design might also be a factor. Regardless, it’s something to keep in mind if one-leg stunts are your daily thing, Comfort & Safety The pedals are a little small, somewhere between an X3 and a Kingsong/Inmotion. If you’ve used small-pedaled wheels before (e.g. Airwheel-resque), then it shouldn’t be a bother once you’ve adjusted to it. Newer riders used to (or spoiled by) the large pedals of modern wheels may find it harder to get used to. The result is more fatigue on your feet over long distances. How much harder? Well it depends since YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). It’s also disbelieving to me that the rubberized top of the pedal (which you step on) is completely ... flat. Yes, it’s flat and smooth with no markings whatsoever. Was Rockwheel plain lazy/cheap, or was it thinking that no amount of rubber markings was good enough and so it forced riders to install grip tapes onto the flat surface (well, flat certainly makes the installation easier)? I hope it’s the latter. I must also point out that the area where your ankles touch the wheel is flat and hard. There is no depression or rubber padding to soften the contact, and new riders will likely feel uncomfortable or even painful during prolonged rides. Having used the older generation of wheels with similar design issues, I’m used to it and experience little to no pain. Riders will get used to it with practice. Wear comfortable shoes/socks in the meantime to protect your ankles. Lastly, the side padding is a little small (compared to e.g. the KS16), with a depression in the middle to accommodate the leg. Sounds good in theory, but at the beginning, my legs rested at the back end of the padding, almost on the edge! I tend to ride with my feet closer to the back of the pedal, as it allows me to hard brake more easily when I encounter unexpected obstacles (like dumb pedestrians!). I’ve adapted to the padding, but new owners should expect some transition time to get used to it. Compare a family car to a race car. The former has leather seats, lots of bells and whistles, maybe even executive features. The domesticated you will feel comfortable and sleepy sitting in it, and you’ll not hear complaints from your wife or the in-laws about it. But the race car is pure adrenaline and power packed into a carbon-fibre body with hard suspension and race seats. Your wife and the in-laws might complain to the heavens about it, but you and your hot girlfriend certainly ain’t complaining. The GT16 v2 is the race car, pure and simple. Sure, you might have to adjust from having driven your sedan for so long, but hey you’re not compromising when you choose it. You simply know what really matters to you in the end. Everything else is pure marketing. And no, I don’t have a “hot girlfriend”. That’s simply a figure of speech It's been exactly one month since I published this note, and at least 6 weeks since I started using my GT16 v2. I figure that it's time to share my post-notes on this wheel. First, I haven't tired of the look of my new mistress ... I mean wheel ... lol! Second, the handling remains exceptional. I'd written of the improved balance and ease of handling, and there is no better example then during daily use like when you are playing around with it (e.g. reverse, twisting, jumping, etc), going amongst crowds, or encounter sudden obstacles. For example, start-stops and slow riding amongst crowds is easy. And in a few recent moments, I "flew" over high-profile cable covers that I realized only at the last minute, and was able to land safely; the centred weight helped a lot, and the smaller chassis (compared to other 16' wheels) was no hindrance to me at all. Third, foot position and comfort. In particular the full-on, no bullshit, no rubber padding between ankle and chassis. It may be due to my early experience with old wheel models, but I don't notice it anymore now, so that has become a negligible point. Fourth, the side padding with its depression. I'd adapted a little by shifting my footing forward. I also realize that during cruising, as I tended to lean forward anyway, my legs would naturally rest into this depression. Even during times when my legs were resting outside the depression, I still felt comfortable. Fifth, hard braking. Due to my foot position being further forward, it affected my ability to hard brake when I use my heels to press down hard on the rear end of the pedals. This has now significantly improved for me ever since I adopted a crouched (squat) position more often during braking, which I also think is a better and safer approach in general. Sixth, the wheel has continued to perform without slip-ups on slippery surfaces. I avoid obvious danger zones (e.g. glass, smooth metal), but even when I do go onto some dangerous areas like carpets, rocks, smooth tiles and wet areas, the stock tire continues to perform well, and the centred weight and good handling were immense help in keeping me stable. I did have 1-2 minor slips, but the great handling allowed me to easily shift and control the wheel to regain my balance. The GT16 v2 has continued to check all my boxes one month on, and as expected when you change wheels, a short period of adaptation is needed. I remain delighted with my purchase, and it's a wheel that I will highly recommend to others. From a fan of Rockwheel:https://www.facebook.com/notes/eugene-pos/review-of-the-rockwheel-gt16/10155038737669842/ If you had any doubts and suggestions,please discuss with us.
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