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Just how much rain / moisture are you comfortable operating in? (Glide 3)

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Took my Solowheel Glide 3 out yesterday morning in a dense fog, like a Stephen King novel. It wasn't raining, but there was enough moisture in the air to create that mist effect on my body as I propelled forward.

Being a new owner it was enough to scare me off, so I brought her inside and shut down.

Then I read other people saying pretty much only a complete submersion under water could possibly damage the motor.

So what's everyone's tolerances for exposure to rain or wet roads? This morning I even dismounted and picked it up to cross a small puddle...

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Posted (edited)
  • In theory, any moisture is scary as no manufacturer really cares about systematic waterproofing - even the wheels with some certification always have a warning saying to basically not use them in any significant rain.
  • In practice, you'll give up from rain before the wheel does (unless you're very unlucky with the tiny actual danger).
    There hasn't been a single report of a wheel failing in rain that I know of. People rode through hundred meter puddles (or rather flooding) with water above the pedal height. I've personally ridden in foggy moisture that ended up being a small ice/frost coat on the front of my ACM. I've personally ridden around on an Inmotion V8 (identical to the Glide 3 which is just a rebrand) in uninterrupted light drizzle to medium rain for an hour. Rode for a few minutes through a massive rainstorm downpour until I could find cover, 2 days ago on my ACM. People even dropped their wheels into water (fully submerged), pulled them out some seconds later and nothing happened. Just don't have one in your truck when that rolls into a lake and gets submerged and towed out an hour later, we know from experience wheels can't survive THAT:efeebb3acc:
    So there's a residual danger but I'd say it is smaller than the danger from riding a self-balancing, inherently instable, you-mercylessly-fall-if-any-electronics-fail vehicle itself. So just like with that, all you can do is wear protection and live with it (or not ride, which isn't really a good option).
  • Personally, I'm only worried about puddles so deep that it might become a problem if you involuntarily dismount and the wheel falls over and gets submerged (and in the case of my ACM, thrashes around aka "Old Gotway Dance"). Other than that, I ride in rain if that isn't too cold (as it usually is here). If I were to ride in a tropical rainstorm, I'd probably just put a plastic bag over the wheel, but any less water shouldn't be a problem, and it would probably also work without the plasic bag. Rain is still a bit scary, but realistically I'd say there's no extra danger compared to everyday riding.
  • It also depends on how your wheel is built, the Rockwheel GT16 apparently has more or less direct rain ducts from outside to the board (non-coated, at least it used to be, probably coated on the current revision of the wheel), while on my ACM with the side mounted board and the foiled battery in a compartment above it, hard to see how rain could even get in to where it could do damage. The 18S with vents on the top, right above the board, was shown to survive a "pour a bucket of water over the thing" test.
  • As far as the motor is concerned, if water gets to the axle height it is more likely that some creeps into the motor, that is going to cause damage.
  • But usually with rain, it's the board/electronics that would be in danger. I don't think any other water (like spun up by the tire, or just fog) can ever be a problem. You could put your wheel in your fridge and then ride around on a moist hot day and see if you can get so much condensation that something happens. But still, likely nothing would happen:efee47c9c8:

TLDR: Use your usual protection (or lack thereof:efee8319ab:) and just ride in any weather you can take. Certainly don't worry just about "moisture" instead of pouring rain.

Edited by meepmeepmayer
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2 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:
  • But usually with rain, it's the board/electronics that would be in danger.

@meepmeepmayer yeah I guess that's my biggest concern - every now and then on these forums and others we read a horror story about a wheel inexplicably shutting down while coasting on flat terrain, no overlean and with good battery charge. I have to wonder - did their board fail because of some past water incursion? I guess somebody would have to do an autopsy on the wheel, and know enough about electronics to recognize a fault due to moisture.

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That's usually only mosfets blowing because manufacturers don't seem to buy well-enough quality-controlled ones. Can't recall any board death where earlier water incursion was even a suspicion.

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Fog. No problem. Ridden in it lots of times. I've arrived at work with wet clothes, wet wheel, and droplets on my eyebrows and lashes. Can't even wear my glasses while riding as they get a mist on them. Never caused an issue.

Puddles have also been OK. I try not to ride in actual rain but will ride him right after a passing Florida storm (lots of water). I try to be sensible but short stints through an inch or three have not been an issue.

The water will allow some dirt to get between the outer and inner shells below the pedals but never near anything important.

I would not allow the wheel to sit in water any higher than the rim as the motor is not fully waterproof. Higher than the pedals would risk ingress around the motor bearing and access into the mainboard protective housing via the motor wire exit hole. There is a seal around the housing but where the motor wire exits at the bottom there is a small gap.

I've not done it but I understand light rain is OK but heavier rain should be avoided on all wheels.

The biggest concern in wet weather riding is not the wheel's water resistance, but loss of traction. Keep your eyes open.

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6 minutes ago, owheely said:

@meepmeepmayer yeah I guess that's my biggest concern - every now and then on these forums and others we read a horror story about a wheel inexplicably shutting down while coasting on flat terrain, no overlean and with good battery charge. I have to wonder - did their board fail because of some past water incursion? I guess somebody would have to do an autopsy on the wheel, and know enough about electronics to recognize a fault due to moisture.

The V8 control board is housed in it's own casing with a rubber seal around the top. Water CAN get in as there are holes for wires to exit but you would really have to get the V8 wet to get moisture onto the control board via these small exit points.

The prototype V10 did fail due to water ingress into the battery which damaged the BMS. InMotion kindly provided an autopsy of the problem with pictures and blamed the problem on substandard battery wrapping due to it being a prototype. Apparently not an issue on the production models. The good news is that the water had got in there days before it failed and up until the failure it rode without a hiccup although it did have some power on glitches. Even better was that the failure occurred when the rider went to turn the wheel back on rather than a failure while riding the wheel resulting in a faceplant. I'm hoping this is by design rather than a fluke.

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