Have I Outgrown My InMotion V5F Electric Unicycle?

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The simple answer to this question is no. I have not outgrown my little $399 refurbished InMotion V5F. For my personal needs, I can still get a lot more out of this little guy. It has no trouble taking me to the park with my laptop backpack so I can work there. It can take me to fun little flying spots for my FPV miniquads nearby too.

The InMotion V5F is definitely holding me back. I hit the 15 mph speed warning quite often. For the most part, I am OK with this. That’s the speed limit on the bike paths at my local park, and I feel like going much faster than this will be the different between being able to jog to a stop when I fall off the wheel vs. landing flat on my face and breaking my jaw.

NOTE: I am aware this isn’t footage of an EUC. I haven’t yet had a chance to get some drone chase footage of one! I’ll update it when I get the opportunity!

I didn’t buy my unicycle to go fast. I didn’t buy it to do tricks. I bought it to take me on the last few miles of my journeys.

My riding friends are outgrowing my unicycle!

My wife has been going riding with me most days of the week since the coronavirus hit. She was riding my old Hover-1 XLS scooter, and I was able to keep up with her, and my V5F has a little more range than the scooter.

She’s upgraded to an Aventon Pace 350 electric bike. The Pace 350 can reach 20 mph with the throttle, and can reach even higher speeds if she pedals. The Hover-1 XLS maxes out at 17 or 18 mph. She’s been using the pedal assist most of the time instead of the throttle, and she’s managed to go 12 miles on the Pace 350 and only use about 10% of a charge.

That’s the bigger problem now. She has significantly more range than me!

Our friend Tanner bought the absolutely insane Gotway MSX Pro electric unicycle, and he’s been riding with us a few times a week. His monster of a machine can reach 37 mph, and at the lower speeds we ride at, he probably has nearly 100 miles of range.

Brian’s Exway X1 Riot Pro skateboard can easily reach speeds over 20 mph too. At least he doesn’t beat me on range, though, right?!

Tanner and my wife can ride pretty much anywhere without getting range anxiety. Last time we rode together, we had to chose a route home where I wouldn’t run out of juice. That was disappointing!

I’m writing this blog post to help me decide if I should upgrade!

I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I’m going to order a bigger EUC. I will most likely do it when I’m finished writing this post. I figure writing things down to explain my reasoning to you might manage to change my mind. I doubt it, but I’m going to give it a try anyway!

I didn’t anticipate riding just for the fun of it

At least not as often as I have been. I expected the unicycle to be just like my scooter. I would take it out mostly when I wanted to go somewhere. I blame COVID-19 for all the fun I’m having just going out for rides.

Until recently, I only rode by myself. Now my wife rides along with me most days, and Brian and Tanner have been joining us a few times a week. We aren’t going out to accomplish anything. We’re going out just for the sake of going out.

I expect this to slow down when it is 105 degrees in the shade every day in July, and it might also slow down if COVID-19 ever goes away. I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to assume that riding electric unicycles is one of my new hobbies!

What I like about my InMotion V5F

We already know what I need to improve. The V5F doesn’t have enough power or battery capacity, but there are things I really like about the little guy!

I bought the InMotion V5F because InMotion had a refurbished unit in stock for $399. I didn’t even know if I’d be able to ride a unicycle, and even if I could, I didn’t know how much I would use the thing. At that price, it was a no-brainer to give it a shot.

I really like the weight of the InMotion V5F. It comes in at about 25 pounds. That’s half the weight of my Hover-1 scooter. Tanner’s beefy Gotway MSX Pro is more than twice as heavy. The unicycles I’m looking at are probably 80% heavier than my V5F.

This is a pretty big deal to me. The first time I rode Tanner’s MSX, I leaned into what would have put me into a turn with about a 6’ diameter on my V5F, but it was barely enough to force that big machine to change lanes! The InMotion V5F feels like a Miata compared to these other wheels.

I’m realizing that the things I like about the InMotion V5F all revolve around its light weight. It is easy to carry, and it is so much more maneuverable than a heavy wheel.

My experience with heavy unicycles

I’ve probably only put a ¼ mile on Tanner’s MSX Pro. As someone who learned on a light wheel, riding the MSX Pro was such a weird experience!

NOTE: I can’t decide if I’m supposed to call the thing the MSuper Pro or [MSX Pro]. Both seem to be acceptable, so I’m going to stick with the simpler form.

When I tried to get on, I had a lot of trouble puzzling out just how hard to shift my weight to set the thing level. I put my second foot up, and the wheel was leaning a bit to one side, so I shifted my weight hard to the other side, and MSX didn’t budge. If I leaned that hard on my little InMotion V5F, the thing would have tumped right over!

Turning these heavy wheels is a lot more work, but they are definitely more stable. I’ve taken Tanner’s MSX onto the grass a few times. His wide 18” wheel handles the lumpy terrain so much nicer than my narrower 14” wheel. I also noticed that on his wheel, I can start climbing a grassy hill, come to nearly a complete stop, then lean forward and power up the rest of the hill. My little 550-watt wheel can’t do that!

On the same day I tried Tanner’s MSX for the first time, we ran into our new friend John near the end of our ride. He offered to let me ride his King Song 18XL. I was already tired from riding 10 miles, we were on a narrow sidewalk, and I was nervous about dropping a stranger’s EUC. He said it would be OK if I dropped it, but I still didn’t want to.

I had the same problem mounting John’s 18XL as I did Tanner’s MSX Pro. I figured it was going to feel much like the MSX to me, and I didn’t want to drop it, so I decided not to take it for a ride. I’m only just learning right now that the 18XL weighs nearly 50 pounds, so it is a pretty hefty machine too!

I’m envious of how well Tanner can handle going up steps. No, he can’t climb real steps. I’ve watched him transition from the grass to the sidewalk when the sidewalk is 2” or 3” higher than the grass without any problems. I sometimes get hung up on my smaller bumps, assuming I’m moving too slow.

Which electric unicycles are you looking at, Pat?!

The day I rode Tanner’s MSX Pro, I came home and browsed the selection at ewheels.com. I saw that the King Song 16S was on sale for $1,150. It is currently listed at $1,250. I’m not sure if this is a problem with my memory, or if the price went up.

This seemed like a fantastic fit. I’m getting 14 to 15 miles per charge on my InMotion V5F, and the 16S has about 2.5 times the battery capacity. Even if I ride faster, it should still have at least double the range. The King Song 16S claims to have a cruising speed of 22 mph, which should be more than enough to keep up with Chris’s Pace 350. The King Song 16S’s 1,200 watt motor easily outclasses my V5F’s 550 watt motor, too!

  InMotion V5F King Song 16S Gotway Tesla V2
Weight 25 lbs 38.5 lbs
Cruise Speed 15 mph 22 mph 30 mph
Power 550w 1200w 1200w
Range 14 miles 35-40 miles 40-50 miles
Full Price $699 $1,475 $1,575
Sale Price $399 refurb $1,250 $1,350

When I checked the prices last night, I was surprised that the 16S was listed for $100 more than I remembered, but now the Gotway Tesla V2 is on sale for $1,350!

The Tesla is a pretty big upgrade over the King Song 16S. In fact, it would probably be more fair to compare the Tesla to Tanner’s MSX Pro!

The Tesla has a 30 mph cruising speed, more than 3 times as much battery capacity as my V5F, and its 1,900 watt motor is nearly four times more powerful. It is quite an upgrade over the KingSong 16S for only $100 more.

The InMotion V5F is a steal at $399

If you’re looking to buy your first electric unicycle, and InMotion has a refurbished V5F in stock for $399, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend buying it. You get a ton of value for your money. The trouble is that there are almost NEVER refurbished V5F wheels available in the InMotion store.

At its full price of $699, I don’t think I could recommend the V5F. You can get a King Song 14D with a more powerful motor from ewheels.com for only $50 more.

Another interesting option if you’re on a budget is the Gotway MTen3. It is only a 10” wheel, so it won’t be as stable as the InMotion V5F, but it has an 800-watt motor like the KingSong 14D, and top speed of 23 mph. The MTen3 is quite a value at $599.

I’ve been envious of the MTen3 for a while, but I wouldn’t want my only wheel to be a 10” wheel. Now that I’m about to order a Gotway Tesla, I’m really wishing my extra wheel was an MTen3!

You’re going to bang up your first electric unicycle

I’m so glad I bought the refurbished InMotion V5F for $399 as my first unicycle. This poor thing has so many scuffs, scrapes, and cracks in it just from me learning to ride the thing! Not only that, but I tried to teach my wife to ride it, and Tanner learned to ride my V5F before he even ordered his Gotway MSX Pro.

Everything I read said that the underpowered 550-watt motor on the V5F would make it a difficult wheel to learn on. I’ll never get to learn again, so I have no way to know just how true this is.

I think it is a good idea to learn on a wheel that you don’t care about dropping. That might be a $399 refurbished InMotion V5F, or a used unicycle. That’s what I did, so now I expect it will take quite a while before I make my new Gotway Tesla look ugly!

Why not go all the way up to an MSX Pro?

I believed there was a good chance that my wife would wind up stealing my InMotion V5F from me. If that happened, I would have shopped for a faster, more powerful EUC for myself, but weight would still have been a concern. The Gotway Tesla that I’m contemplating ordering would have been at the very high end of my weight limit.

Chris didn’t learn to ride a EUC. She ended up ordering an electric bike. That means I still have the V5F available whenever I need it. Weight doesn’t matter if I can always just throw the V5F in the car for short rides, right? Why not buy a 55-pound unicycle?

I did think about it. I decided that the MSX Pro is overkill for my needs. I don’t need that much power or range. I’m also hopeful that a 38-pound 16-inch wheel steers less like a truck than the 55-pound, 18-inch MSX Pro.

The Tesla seems like the MSX Pro’s little brother

I’ve decided that the King Song 16S is the Camaro Z28 to the entry-level Camaro of my V5F. The Tesla, MSX, and MSX Pro are like a Corvette, Corvette Z06, and a Corvette ZR-1.

With the Tesla, I’m getting 80% to 85% of the performance of the MSX Pro at 65% of the cost. The only math I did to back up this claim is on the price. The other two numbers are a rough guess, but I bet you’d agree that I’m not far off.

If you’ve ever owned a sports car, you know that you don’t get to open them up all that often. Even when you do have the opportunity to be aggressive with the throttle, you don’t usually get to open them up all the way. If we’re both commuting to work, and I’m driving a ZR-1 and you’re driving a base Corvette, there’s nothing different about our commutes.

Even if we get to drive them wide open for a stretch, we’re probably not going to notice the difference. If you take both cars to the track, it is going to be a different story. I know exactly how often I used to get to take my car to the track when I was into that sort of thing.

My Corvette analogy breaks down a bit when you consider that the MSX Pro was just released while the King Song 16S and the Gotway Tesla are models from more than two years ago.

Conclusion

I had already talked myself into ordering the Gotway Tesla from ewheels.com two or three headings ago. It has already been ordered. I have a tracking number, and it is supposed to arrive in three days.

I’m a bit disappointed that I’m upgrading my starter unicycle less than six months after I bought it. I blame Tanner. If he didn’t buy a 37-mph EUC, I wouldn’t be constantly struggling to keep up!

What do you think? Are you already riding an EUC, OneWheel, electric skateboard, or an e-bike? Do you think I made a good choice when I settled on the Tesla? Should I have opted for something even bigger, or will I think even the Tesla is too big? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

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