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mike_bike_kite

Inmotion V5f (from a beginners perspective)

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For general info I'm 96Kg (211lbs), 192cm (6'3")  and aged 56. I was looking for an inexpensive wheel that would allow me to learn and hopefully still be moderately useful after I'd actually learnt to ride. I didn't want something expensive because I'd likely be crashing a lot and there was a decent chance I wouldn't be able to master it. The V5f looked ideal and the cheapest deal I could find was from GearBest in China however I had to wait 8 weeks for it to arrive. This is obviously way more frustrating than ordering locally and getting your wheel the following day and I admit I found it very hard waiting. I'll also admit I'd forgotten to mention the new arrival to my wife so, when it did arrive and she had to sign for the package, her only comment to me was "an electric unicycle? really?"

I'd been shown the basics of riding 2 months ago by @Wonderwebb but now, 2 months later, it appeared I'd forgotten everything. It took me a good hour to cross the tennis court without falling down. Another hour later and I could circle the court without stopping but I was so knackered I had to stop anyway. You fall a lot while you're learning and it's knackering on you and on the wheel. Luckily I'd ordered a protective cover and some extra foam padding for the wheel. The protection helps but you still end up with scratches on the wheel and scars all over yourself. I think this is fairly normal though. If you're just beginning and someone suggests you spend your money on a fast expensive wheel then just smile at them and walk away.

On the 2nd day I could consistently circle the tennis court without waving my arms about. I also found it important to practice going round in both directions otherwise you end up with hangups about being able to go one way but not the other. On the 3rd day I actually looked like I knew what I was doing and quite a few people stopped to ask about the wheel. I also added stopping quickly at specific points before continuing on with my circuits. On the 4th day I practised doing smaller circles ie doing a circle on one side of the tennis court before going back and doing the same thing on the other side - that might sound like large circles but it felt god awful tight to me. On the 5th day I could do complete turns within a service box and ended up doing figure eights going from one box to the other. Things were going well so I went for a maiden voyage down a quiet road in the neighbourhood - I managed to get all the way down the road and was half way back up when I ended up having a speed wobble at the heady speed of 7 mph. I decided I needed more time on the tennis court and needed to learn how to rearrange my foot positioning so they weren't stuck in whatever random position they ended up in when I boarded. That was pretty much what I did on day 6 though I also managed to do really tight circles by having one pedal nearly touching the ground and altering the weight on the higher pedal to adjust my speed. Instead of resting on day 7, I went back out on the road again to visit a friend who lived a mile away. The foot position practice must of helped because I had no issues on the roads or the speed bumps or the little ramps as you change between road and pavement. I did feel very vulnerable when cars went past though. It was also weird because every single car that passed me also stopped to ask me about the wheel - this in turn meant I had to practice my standing starts,

In case you're interested, practising turns on the tennis court for 40 mins and then going for a 2 mile ride took up 20% of the battery. If you weigh less than me then obviously you'll go further. When I can ride a bit more efficiently then I figure I'll probably be able to get close to a maximum of 14 miles range on the wheel - that probably translates to half that if you don't want to worry about speed limiting etc. I could of bought a wheel with a larger battery (mine's 320mwh) but that would of cost more and added to the weight. Currently, this wheel seems quite capable of accelerating me up gentle inclines to reach speeds that are faster than I want to go. I haven't tried going up or down steep hills yet. I currently top out at about 12mph but this will probably change going forwards. I definitely need to practice doing turns on road cambers but mostly I just need to get more confident when I'm close to moving cars.

This is a review so I'll mention the little issues I've had. One footplate doesn't seem to stay up all the time - I'm sure I just need to tighten the screws on the pedal but I haven't got round to sorting it. If I come off and don't pick the wheel up immediately then the wheel seems to need turning off and on before I can use it again - am I missing something? I should also mention that pumping air into the tire isn't easy with a standard pump and you really need to get a flexible valve extender but I think this is true with all wheels. The valve on my wheel is positioned alongside a wheel bolt which adds to the difficulty. There's a flap on the wheel that folds up to make access to the valve easier, it works well but I've bust one of the little catches that hold it down - my own fault and the flap still fits flush.

Conclusion: I'm now 2 weeks into owning the wheel and I'm very happy with it. It's been great to learn on and quite useful for getting around the neighbourhood. Perhaps I'll need something better in a few months but I want to wait until I'm better on this wheel before upgrading. I haven't heard any beeps from the wheel as I ride so I guess I'm not near it's limits yet though I want to use an app to confirm that. I did demo the wheel to a friend and he was very impressed as I rode up and down in front of his house but then perhaps he was just being polite. The biggest advantage of a smallish wheel is that it's quite incognito so I can take it into coffee shops etc and no-one notices. Overall, I'm very happy with the wheel and I seem to be getting better with every ride.

EDIT - I went for a 5 mile ride today and used about 50% of the battery. I was riding along at a moderate pace (for a beginner) of around 12mph. Near the end I was starting to get a fair bit of tilt back which just meant my speed had to come down a little. I'd heard horror stories about how tilt back comes in but I actually found it quite gentle on this wheel. I still haven't heard any beeps though so perhaps I just need to check my settings. I'm going to revise my estimate for how far I could ride on this wheel to probably around 8 miles. Keep in mind I'm fairly heavy at 92kg (211 lbs), I'm not the smoothest of riders and it's winter. I could picture a lighter rider in summer with a little more experience could get the full range of 17 miles.

Edited by mike_bike_kite
added range update

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3 hours ago, mike_bike_kite said:

I should also mention that pumping air into the tire isn't easy with a standard pump and you really need to get a flexible valve extender but I think this is true with all wheels.

Looks like one of those urban myths. Like the one you just debunked, that the V5F is only of use for ultra light riders because it doesn't have a big enough battery or powerful enough motor, or only for small riders because tall riders need a larger wheel. I have not troubles pumping a V8 with a "standard" mini pump. I can't remember to have ever used a valve extender on any of the three wheels I have owned. I also found that I don't need tubes with an angled valve shaft though it may be that some tubes just don't fit, I just seem to not have tried those. 

pump.thumb.jpg.2d55cdeeeebe935e6e7004a9f9837286.jpg

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@mike_bike_kite, your determined and organized dedication to learning is admirable! And you got the hang of things quite quickly. Now it’s just about riding more and more and more. Your confidence, riding speed, and requirements will likely grow until you can no longer stand the V5F...

@Mono, any wheel can be used by any rider of any weight, as long as it is used in a manner that respects the amount of available power. Riding peacefully at 10mph on flat ground has never been thought to be of an issue, but that’s not what most people purchase a wheel for. If Mike or anyone else of our weight and height keeps pushing a V5F or a V8 hard when going above 15mph, or keeps surfing the top speed tilt-back, or fails to avoid a big enough pothole near the top speed, the wheel is very quickly overpowered.

I rode my first year with a Lhotz and I was very happy with it for many months, despite having a top speed well beyond it’s power. I fell once and jumped off twice due to overpowering the Lhotz during what I now consider a medium braking. My older brother overleaned the Lhotz at the start of an acceleration and hurt his unprotected knee pretty bad. Never rode again. I never got the sense of being near the limits on my 16S, despite pushing it many times harder on many occasions.

The danger becomes apparent if the rider’s confidence allows to comfortably ride at the wheel’s top speed. Which almost always happens with these lower powered wheels.

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@Mono I thought my wheel was scratched until I saw yours - I think mine is pristine in comparison :) It may be possible to attach a standard air pump but I find it's not at all easy. I'm going to start riding with EUC world running on my smart watch. I know I have a little bit of headroom at the moment but it would be nice to know how much.

@mrelwood The V5f was fairly cheap to buy and did exactly what it said on the tin. It's been a pleasure to learn to ride on and I don't feel I'll loose much if I sell it on. Spending £1000/$1000/1000EUR on a wheel to learn on didn't look clever in my books but then I'll admit I'm quite tight with my money. I'll probably start looking for another wheel in a few months time and I like the idea of either a KS16S or Tesla V2 but I want to see if KS produce a quieter/lighter version of their wheel or Gotway produce a more robust Tesla with proper rear lighting. I can't really go bigger than that because the wife will notice I've bought a new wheel, it would also be more likely to attract attention from the police and finally I'll most likely ride too fast and crash. That last point has been a recurring pattern when riding motorcycles and unfortunately I'm not quite as "invincible" as I used to be.

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Yep, I've been out and about on it every day for the past 3 weeks. Yesterday I went for a 5 mile ride which is the furthest I've been in one run. It showed 3 bars left but I suspect, with my weight, I'd probably only of got another mile or two. The wheel has a top speed of about 15mph but that only applies at full battery so for most of my rides I'm cruising along at 12mph on the edge of the tilt back. Weirdly, I actually quite like the tilt back on the wheel as it feels reassuring rather than scary. The limited speed is not a big issue, and certainly keeps me safe, but I'm already quietly looking for my next wheel. I'll hopefully be able to keep up with you a little bit better on a run then.

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On 12/8/2019 at 12:28 PM, mike_bike_kite said:

I'll probably start looking for another wheel in a few months time

2.5 weeks later:

13 hours ago, mike_bike_kite said:

I'm already quietly looking for my next wheel.

Not picking on you personally in any way, this just the way this damn addiction we desperately try to call ”a hobby” goes!

At least you seem to be having fun:

13 hours ago, mike_bike_kite said:

I've been out and about on it every day for the past 3 weeks.

:thumbup:

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