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newbie looking for commuter EUC


jol
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Hi! I am new to electric unicycles and looking to get one for my commute. I am in Seattle which means wet and hilly. My commute is about 2 miles each way, through downtown and Capitol Hill, and pretty much all up or downhill depending on which direction I'm going. I don't plan to go very fast and I'd be happy with a consistent 10mph. Ideally it could also fit into a gym locker but that may be asking for too much.

Brief research seems to suggest that the InMotion V5F or V8F might be a good choice. I am leaning towards the V5F since it is smaller and cheaper. Should it be able to handle this commute okay? I'm about 75kg.

Also any other suggestions or general advice you have are welcome!

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With the current market the way it is I would recommend (noting that I am very biased) stick with Inmotion.  Gotway EUCs have suspect waterproofing and KingSong have caused international uproar with their geolocking scandal and weird firmware decisions.  Inmotion EUCs seem to better survive the bad weather and seem to have better build quality, typically at the cost of slightly higher prices for the same performance.

I think you'd find that the V5F would be limiting very quickly.  The V8F is a great EUC and I believe would meet your needs perfectly.  If you did want to use the EUC other than for the commute (which many do) I would definitely consider the V10F for the larger battery, longer range and more powerful motor.

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How steep are the hills? The distance is very small and the v5f could be a good option for that distance, and it’s okay on hills, as long as you approach them slower. 

nearly everyone says that they don’t plan on going fast when they first start. I said it too. When I first started, I topped out my v5f in the first week of learning, and was surprised that that was the top speed. Now I’m happy cruising at 25 mph with bursts up to 30, having started less than a year ago.

Considering the hills, and the tendency for most people to underestimate how fast they will go, you may want to consider a more powerful wheel. 

the mten3 would be perfect for this, but the roads better be pristine cause it’s a very twitchy wheel.

What’s your budget? And what kind of hills are you talking about?

Edited by Denny Paul
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I had similar requirements and got the V8F a couple of months ago. If I were to buy a wheel today, knowing what I have learned since then, I would stick to InMotion (build quality, rain, comfort, etc.). Not sure if I’d go for the V8F or V10F. The V8F is excellent for what I bought it for. But as riding the EUC is turning into a hobby as much as a means of transportation, the V10F would expand my options for what kind of rides I could go on. But then again, the extra weight might not be worth it for me. The weight/size is something I am very happy about on the V8F. I bring it with me into restaurants, it fits in my locker and I can easily carry it around and lift it into/out of the trunk of a car.

My biggest worry is that it isn’t a good wheel for winter use.

 

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Despite the 260 lb absolute load limit, you are pretty close to the v5f max weight recommended by the v5f product page on "Inmotion USA".  Don't forget, you'll sometimes be wearing a backpack full of tofu and watermelons.  With respect to speed, remember that these wheels "tilt back" well before they reach their limit, so it is impractical (and unwise) to sail at top speed for any distance.  Meanwhile, max speed declines when you go uphill and as you deplete the battery.  At the other extreme, the unicycle is tippy if you're going too slow (as is a bicycle).  Sure, with some attention and practice you can go a snail's pace for a short distance amidst people walking, but it's a circus act.  Alllllll in all, and I don't know the v5f myself, but, if you're gainfully employed, you can afford to either walk or get the v8f. 

P.S. By the way, if you need a "deciding factor", the foot plates on the v8f are spacious, which in my experience makes a big difference in ease-of-use.  Last I knew, the v5f had the same small foot plates of the "no-F" v8.

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Thanks all! Honestly if the V8F were $100 cheaper I’d just get it without thinking but there’s just something about crossing that $1k threshold. I will seriously consider it now though based on your recommendations!

On 8/15/2020 at 11:15 PM, Denny Paul said:

How steep are the hills? The distance is very small and the v5f could be a good option for that distance, and it’s okay on hills, as long as you approach them slower. 

nearly everyone says that they don’t plan on going fast when they first start. I said it too. When I first started, I topped out my v5f in the first week of learning, and was surprised that that was the top speed. Now I’m happy cruising at 25 mph with bursts up to 30, having started less than a year ago.

Considering the hills, and the tendency for most people to underestimate how fast they will go, you may want to consider a more powerful wheel. 

the mten3 would be perfect for this, but the roads better be pristine cause it’s a very twitchy wheel.

What’s your budget? And what kind of hills are you talking about?

I’m not sure what the steepest part of the hill is, but I can always take a more gradual route that goes up ~400ft over 1.5 miles. No strict budget but it’s hard for me to justify spending a lot on something before I’ve even tried it. I’d much rather spend more down the line getting a second wheel if I find the need to upgrade.

On 8/15/2020 at 11:51 PM, Kai Drange said:

My biggest worry is that it isn’t a good wheel for winter use.

Why is it not suitable for winter use? Is it the cold or ice or snow or the wet?

On 8/16/2020 at 9:39 AM, Toad said:

Despite the 260 lb absolute load limit, you are pretty close to the v5f max weight recommended by the v5f product page on "Inmotion USA".  Don't forget, you'll sometimes be wearing a backpack full of tofu and watermelons.  With respect to speed, remember that these wheels "tilt back" well before they reach their limit, so it is impractical (and unwise) to sail at top speed for any distance.  Meanwhile, max speed declines when you go uphill and as you deplete the battery.  At the other extreme, the unicycle is tippy if you're going too slow (as is a bicycle).  Sure, with some attention and practice you can go a snail's pace for a short distance amidst people walking, but it's a circus act.  Alllllll in all, and I don't know the v5f myself, but, if you're gainfully employed, you can afford to either walk or get the v8f. 

P.S. By the way, if you need a "deciding factor", the foot plates on the v8f are spacious, which in my experience makes a big difference in ease-of-use.  Last I knew, the v5f had the same small foot plates of the "no-F" v8.

You raise a lot of good points. The higher speed also makes it possible to keep up in the bike lanes. I’ll probably go for the V8F after spending another week mulling it over. :)

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43 minutes ago, jol said:

I’ll probably go for the V8F after spending another week mulling it over.

I'd agree with the other points above, this feels like the right choice for you.  The V5F would likely be a purchase that you'd later regret.

Are secondhand wheels an option for you?  You may be able to find a secondhand V10/V10F for the same money as a new V8F.  If you are prepared to consider KingSong (which I personally wouldn't, but I'm trying to be impartial :D ) the 18L/18XL is purported to be an excellent wheel and could be available used for the same money as a V8F new.

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4 hours ago, jol said:
On 8/16/2020 at 8:51 AM, Kai Drange said:

My biggest worry is that it isn’t a good wheel for winter use.

Why is it not suitable for winter use? Is it the cold or ice or snow or the wet?

The snow/ice is what I am worried about. I live in Norway, and on one random morning every October I get surprised by an "invisible", thin layer of ice that has formed during the night somewhere on my way to work (I'm apparently a slow learner). Then I change to a studded winter tire and I can ride safely until spring. So I expect to have the same problem on my EUC.

The 2.125" V8F tire isn't as wide as some of the other options. A wide wheel would probably be more stable/safer at winter. Also, there isn't a lot of room for a more knobby tire on the V8F. I found one of the right size and installed some studs, but not sure if that will end up working well. It might scrape against the machine. Or result in a lot of flats (there weren't really enough rubber for the studs, so the inside of the tire got bumpy). I don't have a good overview of the various wheels, but I believe something like the Z10 is more winter friendly.

Edited by Kai Drange
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Have you considered a 2nd hand wheel? The V5f is fine for learning but, as everyone else says, it will soon become too slow. The V8f is good but is unlikely to be found used. A V10f is also a good bet, it weighs a bit more but you're more likely to find one used. A KS16S is also a great choice. If you have stairs in your life then look at the weights of the different wheels.

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@jol like StuartL said, second hand opens more options. A EUC should be able to go for some tens of thousand Km (some parts change) so normal wear isn’t much of an issue. You could get a more powerful wheel than the v8f.

@Kai Drange @winterwheel has a lot of experience riding on snow and ice, maybe have a look at his history :)

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Riding in winter is 90% experience, 10% wheel. Studs aren't needed if you keep the wheel steady when you hit the ice and you keep your nerve and you turn very gently. Here's an old video of my V8 with stock tire carrying a 250lb load (me) across a looong stretch of ice on a local bridge.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to say thanks for the advice! I was originally pretty set on the V5F but you’ve convinced me to order the V8F. For my use case it seemed better, and the V10F is too heavy and the pedals seem less grippy. And with the number of obstacles I’ll need to dodge on my commute (pedestrians where they don’t belong, broken glass, unpredictable mentally ill folks, human and dog poop, unaware drivers, uneven sidewalks, etc) I don’t expect to want to go very fast. And if I end up riding just for fun too, I can always get a separate beefier fair weather wheel. Now I just need to learn to ride this thing!

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