I Bought an Electric Unicycle: I Have No Idea What Im Doing

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Hello! My name is Pat. I’m 42 years old. I’m about 6’ tall and weigh 200 pounds. I’ve never ridden a skateboard, and I bought an electric unicycle. It has been in my possession for nearly a week. I am the opposite of an expert.

Maybe you’re an older, tubby guy like me, and you are thinking about looking at e-bikes, e-skateboards, OneWheels, and EUCs. I’m here to tell you that I believe in you. I am confident that you can ride one of these unicycles.

I chose the InMotion V5F SoloWheel Glide 2 electric unicycle (EUC)

Don’t just go out and buy what I bought. I did even more research after I started learning to ride, and I found out that everyone says your first wheel should probably be a used wheel. They say it is easier and safer to learn with a heavier, more powerful unicycle. It sure sounds like you can find beefier unicycles than mine for $200 or less on the used market.

I checked Craigslist for used unicycles before I ordered my refurbished InMotion V5F. I either don’t know what to search for, or there just aren’t any unicycles for sale near here!

That said, I’m quite happy with my choice. I bought my refurbished unicycle directly from InMotion. It was $399 shipped. They said it would have fewer than 150 miles on it, and the app says it had 13 kilometers on the odometer. It had a few scuffs, but nothing serious.

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My electric unicycle arrived. I tried it out in the back yard before I plugged it in to charge. Getting on is tricky. It probably too a half dozen attempts before I could ride ten feet while holding onto the side of the house. I've never ride a skateboard, but I did have an actual pedal powered unicycle what I was a kid. I've already ride this thing farther! It weighs 25 pounds, has 15 to 20 miles of range, and a top speed of 18 mph. It is as fast as my ebike, has more range, and weighs half as much. Should be much easier to load this into the trunk for #fpvfreestyle adventures! #fpv #fpvracer #drone #drones #droneracing #droneracer #fpvdrones #fpvrace #multirotor #quadcopter #fpvfreestyle

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I own a Hover-1 XLS folding electric bike. I wanted something lighter, easier to put in the car, but with similar or better range.

I looked at the OneWheel XR. These cost $1,899, weigh more than my unicycle, and they have less range. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I might look cooler riding a OneWheel, though that is unlikely. They also seem to be much easier to learn to ride. For less than $1,899, I could have bought InMotion’s biggest, fastest unicycle.

I also looked at Brian’s Exway X1 Riot Pro longboard. The Exway weighs quite a bit less than my unicycle. It has about as much range as my e-bike, but not as much as the InMotion V5F. The X1 has a higher top speed, but I doubt I’d ever be able to use it.

That 14” wheel is so smooth!

Learning to ride a skateboard like Brian’s Exway X1 was tempting. The weight is right. The range is good. The price of an Exway X1 Pro is pretty comparable to a new InMotion V5F, and Exway has cheaper models that would suit my needs, too.

The giant diameter of the unicycle is what really sold me. The $399 price tag might have been a big influence, too, but the giant wheel really does make the unicycle a great fit for my use case.

When I followed Brian on his skateboard last month, he told me that could feel every bump on the bike path. Every time you transition from one slab of concrete to the next, the skateboard’s tiny wheels get caught up a bit. The 7” air-filled tires on my Hover-1 XLS don’t feel those bumps, so I figured a 14” wheel would do even better.

I would also like to be able to ride on grass. Electric skateboards can kind of manage this, but not really. I’d like an electric vehicle that I can ride out into the field when I crash my FPV freestyle quad 1,200 feet away.

I’ve already ridden my InMotion V5F on the grass, and it moves along just fine.

How proficient are you after a week, Pat?!

I haven’t quite had the EUC for seven days, and I didn’t ride it the first two days. I also didn’t keep track of how many hours I’ve put into this. I can say that I don’t feel like I’ve spent all that much time at all, so most definitely fewer than eight hours. I’d guess something more like four hours.

Friday: I farted around in the back-yard, and my skills plateaued rather quickly. I used the side of the house to help get myself up on the unicycle, and I propped myself up while I moved 10 or 15 feet along the wall.

The narrow sidewalk next to the house was beyond my skill level. I couldn’t ride in a straight enough line. This problem ended my practice.

Saturday: I took the EUC with me when I met my friends to fly at the local abandoned golf course. The parking lot there has some incline to it, which definitely slowed my progress. It didn’t take long before I could get up on the unicycle by holding on to the car, then ride 100’ or more in a straight line.

I managed to turn and ride rather a few times, but on Saturday, I never made it back to my starting point. Coming down the hill was scary and difficult.

My friend Tanner did better than me. Saturday was the first time he’d ever seen a EUC in person. By the time we went home, he was able to hop on without holding on to anything for support, and he was circling the parking lot.

We used about 1/3 of the charge of the battery on Saturday.

Sunday: We were back at the golf course again. I learned how to climb onto the machine without holding on to something. I am not successful every time, but I’m getting there. I rode much farther on a single attempt, and I was able to make a lap around the parking lot.

At this point, Tanner was doing top-speed runs. He managed to get the V5F to squawk at him, because he was going too fast.

Monday: I was rained out, I think.

Tuesday: Our city has some amazing bike trails running through its park system, and I happen to live about two doors away from those trails. I was able to ride to the trail, and follow the trail. I did stop a few times on each trip, but only one of those was due to the wheel getting out of control on me.

It was cold and gloomy. I didn’t go too far. I was worried that I would get tired. On each trip, I went about half a mile out. At the beginning of the trail, there is quite a long stretch going down hill. It is enough of a hill that my e-bike can only climb it at about half of its top speed.

It was scary going down that hill the first time. Going up the hill on the way home was murder on my feet!

Wednesday: It is cold and damp outside, so I’m writing this blog!

Riding the unicycle is REALLY tiring at first!

I didn’t mention this above, but I didn’t practice nearly as much as I anticipated on Saturday. I was going to be out there flying for three or four hours, and I didn’t bring any water. It was warmer than I expected, and riding the unicycle was much more tiring than I expected!

I knew that if I rode too much, I’d get thirsty.

Once Tanner started to get the hang of it, he was making laps around the parking lot, and he was sweating quite a bit. Once he got more comfortable with riding, he wasn’t using much effort to ride at all.

For your first few miles, you’re going to be tense. You’ll be balancing hard when you don’t need to. You’ll be waiting for bad things to happen. We got through the worst of that rather quickly.

I’m no longer sweating or getting thirsty when I ride. I am not doing so well going up hills, though. Each of the three times I rode home from the park, I had to stop at the top of the hill.

My feet start to hurt quite a bit from all that heavy leaning forward I have to do to get up the hill! I hope this will get easier as I ride more, and I’ve heard that it might help if I put my feet an inch or two closer to the front of the pedals when I ride. We’ll see how that goes!

My electric bike is awesome because anyone can ride it

Most of my friends poked fun at my e-bike. It is big. It looks silly. I’ll look like a goof when I’m riding it. The first time I took it to the park when we went flying, every one of them rode my bike, and they all had smiles on their faces the entire time.

Whenever people on the bike trail at the park comment on my Hover-1 scooter, I offer to let them take it for a ride. Some of those folks accept the offer, and every single one has been able to ride the bike.

Nobody will be able to ride my unicycle. It takes 10 minutes of practice just to figure out how to stand on the thing.

This is a bummer.

Conclusion

I’ve already written about my new electric unicycle three times in less than a week. At least I’m spreading the words across two different sites, right? I’m just too excited!

My next goal is to be able to ride with a small backpack, so I can take my flying gear to the park with me. I’ve already charged some batteries for my diminutive TinyHawk Freestyle, and my little 9-pound backpack is filled with gear and ready to go. I’m just waiting for some warm, dry weather.

I’ll try to keep my excitement off the blog until I manage to discharge the entire battery on a single trip. In the interim, you can follow my EUC shenanigans on Twitter and Instagram!

What do you think? Was the InMotion V5F a good choice for my first unicycle? Do you think I’ll need to upgrade in the future, or will this meet most of my needs just fine? What should I have bought instead? Do you think I’ll ever use my e-bike again? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

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