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My first unicycle: looking for advice.


MaximB
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Hi!

I have been reading this forum for a couple of days now, but I can't make my final choice what unicycle to buy.

At first I was considering Ninebot (Segway) One S2. But at a gadget store I was suggested better to pay attention to Inmotion V8. To me it appeared as a marketing trick, because they didn't have S2 available. However after reading reviews and this forum, indeed, V8 looks superior, though more pricey. Now I know that there are also other brands like KingSong, Gotway and maybe others that could be a good choice too.

Another story is Android app. As a newbie I need a simple way to configure the device and record some metrics during ride. I tried Inmotion app, and it looks just horrible. It requires insane permissions (why would it read my SMS or manage my phone calls?), and it crashes if I disallow some of permissions. Inmotion app also suggests to download some apk file and install it locally (really?). It behaves like a malware. Really, it alienates me from considering V8 as my first unicycle.

Segway app looks better. But it is hard to learn more without actually pairing the app with a device.

I also found WheelLog, which looks pretty nice. It seems to work with KingSong and Gotway.

I need a suggestion, given following conditions:

- My weight is 70 kg;

- Budget: up to $1000 (maybe slightly more if it would make a difference in quality);

- Handle is very desirable (to be able to take unicycle to a store or a train);

- Main goal is to commute to work: around 25 km per day;

- I live in rather hilly area;

Thank you!

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1 hour ago, MaximB said:

Hi!

I have been reading this forum for a couple of days now, but I can't make my final choice what unicycle to buy.

At first I was considering Ninebot (Segway) One S2. But at a gadget store I was suggested better to pay attention to Inmotion V8. To me it appeared as a marketing trick, because they didn't have S2 available. However after reading reviews and this forum, indeed, V8 looks superior, though more pricey. Now I know that there are also other brands like KingSong, Gotway and maybe others that could be a good choice too.

Another story is Android app. As a newbie I need a simple way to configure the device and record some metrics during ride. I tried Inmotion app, and it looks just horrible. It requires insane permissions (why would it read my SMS or manage my phone calls?), and it crashes if I disallow some of permissions. Inmotion app also suggests to download some apk file and install it locally (really?). It behaves like a malware. Really, it alienates me from considering V8 as my first unicycle.

Segway app looks better. But it is hard to learn more without actually pairing the app with a device.

I also found WheelLog, which looks pretty nice. It seems to work with KingSong and Gotway.

I need a suggestion, given following conditions:

- My weight is 70 kg;

- Budget: up to $1000 (maybe slightly more if it would make a difference in quality);

- Handle is very desirable (to be able to take unicycle to a store or a train);

- Main goal is to commute to work: around 25 km per day;

- I live in rather hilly area;

Thank you!

 

You will be better served by a powerful wheel with a large battery, which will be impossible to do at $1000 new. @Tishawn Fahie reviewed the Inmotion V8 and felt the range was overstated and only 15 miles at top speed on level terrain, so you might expect the same or less range in your geography. You may be able to find a used mSuper V3 or KS18A which are 18" wheels in your price range.

As for the current lineup of Ninebots, they are just out of date, and will not meet your needs. The motors are less powerful but adequate for new riders at your weight on level terrain at first. The S2 and E+ batteries are appropriate for the wheels (320Wh) and their original purpose; they are very easy to swap but the added cost does not make them a good value in most cases.

Edited by litewave
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As already mentioned the V8 is absolutely the better of the two wheels you saw. If your commute is 25km one way then you would need to buy a second charger or carry one with you. I suspect however this is round trip (otherwise you wouldn't have considered the S2)  in which case I will say given your information the V8 would just about make the whole day on a single charge. I get about 35km per charge and we weigh about the same but expect cold weather and hills to sap some of that range. Ideally you should have a second charger at work either way which adds some expense. If you can save a little more funds then a KS16S is probably the more appropriate choice. With 4 parallel cell banks vs 2 in the V8 the load on the battery is halved. This could make all the difference in cold weather. You could also do a 25km round trip with plenty to spare in the battery so no additional charger needed. 

In summary, a V8 would work and fits your budget but the KS16S is more appropriate if you can wait and save a bit more cash. 

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Oh, and as for Apps... I can't speak for KingSong wheels but for the V8 it is fine to download the newer apk that the official Play Store Inmotion app points you to at startup. Sketchy I know, but it is just the way these companies roll (pun intended). However, the latest version of WheelLog, which is not in the Play Store and can be downloaded from the appropriate thread here,  can do almost everything the Inmotion app can do only better. It is fully compatible with Inmotion wheels now and you can even set the tiltback speed, pedal angle, speaker volume, and control all the lights. The only things you need the original app for is to change the Bluetooth password, update firmware, and sensor calibration. The first two you'll only use one or twice for the line of the wheel and the calibration maybe once every one of two months. 

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Thank you all for your kind replies.

Yes, 25 km is round trip, and I plan to charge at work.

In a local shop Inmotion V8  costs $870, and they seem to provide adequate service and warranty.

I also checked out KS16S and KS14D. KingSong is poorly represented in Ukraine and unicycles are available only for online orders. The price for KS16S is $1500, KS14D costs $910. KS14S in not available for sale.

Based on your positive feedback about V8, it will be my choice too.

KS16S looks powerful, but the price is too high for me. KS14D looks nice, but I think I will prefer 16" wheel over 14" for more safety. Also KS14D costs more than V8.

As for WheeLog. These are great news if it can work with Inmotion, because I didn't like official app at all.

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25km round trip gets sketchy, as I commute each day about 2/3rds that, and so I'm on a wheel for 20 minutes each day. I feel I'm on the edge of what can be reasonably commuted on a KS16s. I'm a bit faster and more comfortable on my MSuper but then the speeds are dangerously fast, and really EUC are inappropriate beyond "last mile" transport.

Edit; I just noticed you're in the Ukraine. If it's not snowing then you'll be just fine as cities as cities are more walkable than in the US.

Edited by LanghamP
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Sounds like a good decision for the budget and situation and charging at work will mean you should have no range problems. For commuting a 16" wheel is a better choice than a 14" as it is more forgiving of mental lapses or cracks and bumps. For cold weather winter use just be mindful that the batteries have a harder time providing max power so keep them well charged and don't push the wheel as hard when accelerating, on rough terrain, or up hills. Also, as with all wheels do not go down large hills with a full battery. If you start your journey with a long descent then be sure not to fully charge or to ride some energy from the battery first.

With the money saved you can pick up a spare charger for work or better still invest in a set of wrist guards and a full face helmet. Spend some time looking around here and you will learn a lot. 

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24 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

25km round trip gets sketchy, as I commute each day about 2/3rds that, and so I'm on a wheel for 20 minutes each day. I feel I'm on the edge of what can be reasonably commuted on a KS16s. I'm a bit faster and more comfortable on my MSuper but then the speeds are dangerously fast, and really EUC are inappropriate beyond "last mile" transport.

Edit; I just noticed you're in the Ukraine. If it's not snowing then you'll be just fine as cities as cities are more walkable than in the US.

Is 12-13 km too much for a single ride?

Anyway my plan is to ride to a train stop, while I will be learning to ride, which is 3 km from my home.

But when I become more confident, I would be glad to run whole 13 km path to my work.

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10 minutes ago, MaximB said:

Is 12-13 km too much for a single ride?

Anyway my plan is to ride to a train stop, while I will be learning to ride, which is 3 km from my home.

But when I become more confident, I would be glad to run whole 13 km path to my work.

In sumertime i drive ~12km to work and then back again quite regularly without a prob on my ks16.

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43 minutes ago, WARPed1701D said:

Sounds like a good decision for the budget and situation and charging at work will mean you should have no range problems. For commuting a 16" wheel is a better choice than a 14" as it is more forgiving of mental lapses or cracks and bumps. For cold weather winter use just be mindful that the batteries have a harder time providing max power so keep them well charged and don't push the wheel as hard when accelerating, on rough terrain, or up hills. Also, as with all wheels do not go down large hills with a full battery. If you start your journey with a long descent then be sure not to fully charge or to ride some energy from the battery first.

With the money saved you can pick up a spare charger for work or better still invest in a set of wrist guards and a full face helmet. Spend some time looking around here and you will learn a lot. 

Thanks for your advice. I already have a helmet as I am a cyclist. I used to go to work on bicycle during summertime.

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4 minutes ago, MaximB said:

Thanks for your advice. I already have a helmet as I am a cyclist. I used to go to work on bicycle during summertime.

„Normal“ bicycle helmets unfortionately don‘t help if one faceplants - for this one needs a helmet with a chinguard.

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13 km are easily doable with the V8. He just meant for such a long route, he personally would want more stable wheel (18 inch), and he does not like EUCs for longer commute rides apparently, but that's his opinion.

A good estimate is 20km/h average (waiting at lights, etc., of course it depends on the route) so that would be around 40 minutes for your 13km.

It's great that you have this train option if the weather is bad or you don't feel like riding!

---

A bike helmet (and wrist guards) should be enough for the start, you can judge for yourself how safe you want to be when you have some experience with the wheel.

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50 minutes ago, MaximB said:

I wear a Respro mask (http://respro.com/) while cycling, that should protect my chin. It doesn't provide strong protection though.

I used to wear something very similar when I rode through London on my bike. It was amazing how filthy the filter got after just a few rides. They are a great idea to protect your lungs (hot though in the summer). 13km on the V8 will be a breeze as long as the route you take is not technically challenging or stressful due to vehicles. I do 8.2km each way every day and do not feel tired at the end of it. One day when I forgot my work pass I rode 25km (there, back, there again). It was no problem. Be mindful of the cold though. It can take it out of you especially when you are just standing there on the wheel.

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1 hour ago, MaximB said:

Is 12-13 km too much for a single ride?

Anyway my plan is to ride to a train stop, while I will be learning to ride, which is 3 km from my home.

But when I become more confident, I would be glad to run whole 13 km path to my work.

What @meepmeepmayer and @Chriull said. Your commute sounds about the perfect commute as it can be as long or as short as desired since you have that train station(s). Hmm, that sounds just about perfect. I'm envious.

My experience with wheels versus bikes is that while bikes can be reactive (that is, you can hit a bump and react to hit) wheels are anticipatory. On a wheel you have to spot everything in front of you, then correctly deal with it. Or else you crash. You pretty much crash all the time while figuring out dealing with threats, things you would not even notice on a bicycle. Not fast crashes, just little "oops" crashes.

It's fun but exhausting to maintain that concentration for a full forty minutes, and if you're tired or lack sleep (recovering Russian alcoholic) then your chances of crashing increase drastically.

Edit: also, what @WARPed1701D said. I suspect vehicles are your biggest threat, they will kill or injure you if they can. Because that's what they do; it's a design feature not a bug.

Edited by LanghamP
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I read several topics in Inmotion brand specific section of the forum and have an impression that V8 has occasional issues that could be very dangerous to a rider. Now, I am not convinced about V8 again.

Also, I found a dealer for Gotway unicycles:

- Gotway MSuper V3 680 Wh - $980

- Gotway MSuper V3 820 Wh - $1130

- Gotway ACM 680 Wh - $905

- Gotway ACM 820 Wh - $1020
 

How do these models compare to V8? These Gotway models cost slightly more than Inmotion, but I am ok with it if Gotway models are better.

What would you recommend MSuper V3 or ACM or Inmotion V8?

Thank you in advance.

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I can tell you that an MSuper around other people in public transportation is somewhat risky and perhaps just plain dangerous.

The trolley handle allows the wheel to flop to one side or another easily and uncontrollably, and combined with the inability of the wheel to shut down results in a spinning and out of control wheel. My MSuper is so dangerous, in fact, that I do not use the trolley. I've had too many close calls that I just push the damned thing with the handle. I've been lucky that I haven't crashed it while trolleying it.

I actually would go with the V8 especially since it has the cutoff button. Lift and it turns off. The V8 might just be the perfect wheel for a city + public transportation.

Also, the lights mesmerize girls and might get you laid.

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You have to make the decision that makes you the most comfortable. I know next to nothing about those Gotway models so will leave it to others to comment but Gotway wheels in general have been known to have more quality issues that the other main brands. You may want to look at this recent thread:

Inmotion is still the leader when it comes to reliability and build quality.

All I can say is that my V8 has operated flawlessly since new and I am very happy with it, however I did my homework. I know good battery care techniques to ensure longevity and a balanced battery pack. I appreciate that it is a mid level wheel with a mid-level motor and mid-lower level battery pack and so where conditions deteriate I ride accordingly (terrain, temperature, etc). On transitions between surfaces (footpath to road) I slow across the transition mindful of the increased loads bumps and camber changes can put on the wheel. I seek out potholes and bowls in the road surface and act to avoid them (but have hit several big ones at speed and not had an issue beyond getting the "high load at speed" beep). I'm also only 70kg whereas some riders are pushing 100kg which I feel is the limit of the wheel.

I don't think the V8 is a bad wheel at all as long as the rider remembers it is a mid-level wheel with mid-level capabilities and takes the time to learn good care and maintenence of the battery. Of course things can and will break and so even the best EUC will see failures sometimes regardless of the rider's knowledge, ability or the conditions. That is a risk we opt to take when riding a unicycle.

Continue your research on the forum and you will come to a decision that makes you the most comfortable and that will be the right one.

Edited by WARPed1701D
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If you want quality but a different wheel, get one of the latest Kingsong models (16S o 14D/14S).

Gotway isn't exactly known for quality (though in the end, very little happens with them too, they're great wheels, and they have no board problems unlike many other wheels).

Gotway vs. V8, the V8 is certainly better built and more reliable. Only thing that can happen more easily with the V8 is overleaning it (you go faster than it can go, so you fall forwards) because it has a less powerful motor and a smaller battery, but you just have to be mindful and not speed into high-demand obstacles (big potholes, steep inclines) without slowing down a little first.

Basically it's like this:

  • V8 is a great option for a reasonable price.
  • A bit newer and more powerful (= faster and safer against overleaning) wheels (with bigger battery) would be the Kingsong 16S or the Gotway Tesla (quality seems to have improved with the few weaks points the older wheels had removed). But they're both going to be more expensive. If you find a Tesla for a good price, this would be a good option too, but it's probably going to be around the 16S price point.
  • The ACM and msuper V3 are great wheels, but people prefer the (more expensive) 84V variants (1300Wh and 1600Wh). The ones you mentioned (with 680Wh or 820Wh) are 67.2V variants (a bit weaker and slower than 84V). They're not bad wheels and certainly more powerful than the V8, but I would not recommend those for commuting, also not sure if I'd still recommend the 67.2V variants. Heavy and not pleasant to carry, and no trolley handle (the msuper handle counts as unusable, it really isn't very good).
    For commuting (like carrying on a train), the V8 really has the best weight and features (handle, cut-off button for lifting).

So I'd say, check whether you can find a Tesla seller (ask the Gotway dealer - also 84V highly preferred for the Tesla) and what the prices are, but it's probably going to cost as much as a 16S. Then you have the choice between the V8 or one of these more expensive ones.

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Also have a look at the Rockwheel GT16. Very fast and powerful, good quality in general, but a few bad points (small shell clearances, not very water resistant, no built-in trolley handle but an external one is included, also it tries to kill you when you switch a setting during riding). Only available via Aliexpress from the manufacturer who sells there:

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Rockwheel-GT16-powered-unicycle-global-booking-84-v-voltage-858-wh-speed-surprise-Electric-bicycle-mini/1748730_32772917120.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.522fa92eUe46ZR

It's a bit of a side recommendation (not sure what to think of it, but the people who have one seem to be quite happy e.g. @Scatcat). But you should know it exists.

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