Electric Unicycle Reviews
OK, unicycles and the people who ride them are pretty cool, but electric unicycles are a fun and unique way to get around town. Everybody is going on at the moment about “hoverboards”, those mini-Segway like electric scooters, but the truth is that they don’t come close to the practicality of a good electric unicycle.
Compared to hoverboards, electric unicycles come out on top for just about every important factor. They’re faster, have better range and can take more weight. The one downside is that they take a bit more effort to learn than a hoverboard does, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be flying around the place in no time.
I’ve put together a collection of mini-reviews to let you know which of the most popular electric unicycles are worth investigating. If the unicycle you’re considering isn’t on this page, then be sure to have a look at our short electric unicycle buyer’s guide for a recap of the most important things to look out for.
I’ve put my top picks first, but be sure to have a look at all the reviews; the perfect fit for you is out there.
The Beginner’s Choice: Segway One S1
Unlike most other electric personal transports, electric unicycles take quite a lot of bravery and practice to master. Of all the electric transports, the unicycle is the one most likely to have you throw in the towel. That’s bad for business, so Segway have tried their best to make their unicycle as user-friendly as possible.
According to the reps from Segway, some new riders have been able to get going on the S1 in as little as an hour. That may sound unremarkable compared to the original Segway or most hoverboards, but the truth is that this is a great time for a unicycle. To help you out, there’s a companion app that has a new rider tutorial, but also lets you customize and monitor all sorts of aspects of the unicycle.
In terms of looks, the S1 is very slick indeed. These unicycles have definitely come a long, long way from the boxy monstrosities that we first saw rolling around parks. There are very few seams and it really looks like a prop from a Sci-Fi movie. The range is respectable at 15 miles, and it’s pretty quick too, topping out at 12.5 miles per hour. Recharging this wacky wheel takes about four hours, which is not bad considering that it has two batteries to top up.
The feedback from S1 owners is mostly positive. The claim of new riders getting up and running in an hour is probably a little optimistic, but it seems about 2 hours is realistic, which still tells me that the S1 is pretty friendly for a unicycle. It also gives us insight into the build-quality of the S1. There are people who claim to have done hundreds of miles on this machine. Even older riders seem to get along with the S1, so the claim that this was good for riders up to 50 years old was not just an idle boast by Segway.
The asking price is average for a unicycle like this, but is still a significant chunk of change. So it’s a good thing that it seems to be worth it in terms of performance and quality. If you’ve seen people riding unicycles and feel that’s what really speaks to you, the S1 is a great place to start.
The Midrange Monster: INMOTION V5F/V5F+
The Inmotion V5F and its slightly upgraded V5F+ cousin are a pair of handsome looking electric Unicycles. These are not entry-level wheels, but at the same time they are not super-expensive elite either. It’s still close enough to the middle of the price-range to count as a mid-range wheel.
If you’re wondering what exactly the “+” model has that the regular V5 doesn’t. It’s literally just the battery capacity. The V5F+ ships with an uprated 480Wh battery that will take you further before needing a recharge. How much further? It will almost double the range of the standard model, so it’s quite the difference.
Both V5Fs have the same top speed of 15.5 miles per hour, and for the V5F you’re looking at a range of 15-20 miles depending on your weight and the route. Go for the upsized battery and the range is rated for 25-30 miles. That’s pretty darn good actually, and I think even the lower model would do for most people’s urban commutes or school runs.
On a standard charger you’ll go from empty to full in just over three hours. That’s not too bad, but it does support fast charging if you buy the optional 2.5A charger. That will fully charge the wheel from empty in two hours flat. Take that into account when planning your regular commute.
In terms of actually riding this unicycle the general feeling is quite positive. People who have never ridden an electric unicycle seems to get the hang of it after an hour or two, given that they can get through the frustration all these vehicles come with. That being said, this seems to be a particularly beginner-friendly unicycle.
For one thing, it’s got a decent amount of ground-clearance for cornering. By all accounts it corners pretty well and you really have to overcook it in order to foul the pedals on anything. Another really clever design feature is the switch under the handle which switches off the motor. So if you need to get off to do something like crossing a street or get up a curb, you can do it safely and be on your way.
I quite like the V5F, in either model. It has all the things you want in a unicycle. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either. The performance is just fine for most users and you do also get smart features via an app. I find it difficult to think of anything bad to say about the V5F, so all I can say is that if your budget is in this part of the range, buy the V5F and you’ll be stoked.
Best Entry-Level Unicycle: IPS a130 Turbo
The Airwheel X3 has been a popular entry-level electric unicycle choice for a long time now. In fact, at one time it was my main recommendation for people who wanted to get a decent unicycle, but did not want to spend a fortune on one. Time does not stand still however, and the competition at the lower end of the market has heated up a lot since the debut of the X3. This dinky little wheel from IPS is a strong new challenger in the space occupied by the X3, so if you own an old X3 or want to spend that sort of money, this is a machine you need to take note of.
To say that the a130 looks basic or unrefined is an understatement. The only way they could have made it any more basic is not bothering to give it an enclosure at all. The design is clearly aimed at being functional, minimal and to save as much cost as possible. I won’t go as far as saying the a130 is ugly, but it’s not going to win any aesthetic design awards. There is some concession to looks though, since you have a choice of several basic colors apart from the truly mundane black option.
This is the “turbo” edition of the a130, which differs mainly in terms of its battery power. IPS says that the batteries in the a130 are three times as powerful compared to something like the Airwheel it competes against, or its own non-turbo a130. It’s clear that the motor is kicking out about 50% more power than other wheels in this class, which is probably due to the advancement in battery technology, heat management and energy density over the past few years.
Despite the tripling in battery power, this is still just a 20 lbs machine, which means most people will have no issue lifting or lugging it by the generous handle.
Another advantage of those 20A 172Wh LG batteries is the speed with which the machine can be charged. Although the range is relatively small, you can have a full battery in as little as one hour.
Despite the word “turbo” appearing in the product name, the a130 is not the fastest wheel I’ve seen, but in this price and product class it’s certainly no slouch. You can see as much as 11 miles per hour from this baby and keep trucking for a maximum of 12.5 miles. It will take moderately hefty riders too, with a max rider weight of 200 lbs. All while taking gradients as steep as 20-degrees. Not bad for the price at all.
I honestly think this is the new entry-level king and unless you really don’t need the increased performance and range I would not bother with the non-turbo unit. The a130 presents a great balance between price and performance, something that even more expensive (and attractive) unicycles will have a hard time beating. For the exact amount of dollars that IPS are asking, the a130 Turbo is a killer deal if I’ve ever seen one.
The Most Advanced Choice: Inmotion V8
The Inmotion CSV V8 is one of the coolest-looking electric transports I have ever seen. All black with red rings of LEDs, this is like the unicycle that Batman would ride. Actually, these are RGB LEDs that can take on 65 000 different colors and can display various patterns. Great for nighttime rides, although people who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy might want to look elsewhere.
The specifications are quite frankly impressive and amongst the highest on the market. It’s a little heavy at 30 pounds in weight, but it’s sturdy and can accommodate riders that weigh up to 265 pounds. It’s fast at almost 19 miles per hour, and Inmotion claim a maximum range of 30 miles, which is fantastic. Responsible for these figures is a stonking 800W motor and 480Wh of battery power. Still, somehow it manages to be pretty thin (a common problem with unicycles is their thick central bodies, which can contribute to lower leg bruising when things go a little wrong).
I also quite like the companion app that comes with the unicycle. It has one of the most complete info dashboards that I’ve seen and if you’re a real tech geek I think you’ll appreciate it.
Something you may not notice straight away is how high they’ve managed to make the pedals. Usually what you want is to go as low as possible to lower the center of gravity, but Inmotion claims that even at 151mm above ground their cycle is still safe. The advantage of such a high ride height is a more nimble transport. It means you can lean it over more without the pedals fouling the ground.
I’m really impressed by the Inmotion V8. It advances almost every specification and design decision I know of in past electric unicycles. It uses some pretty fancy materials too. There’s high-end magnesium, aluminum and titanium in its construction. Some of that quality goes into the crash-resistant battery enclosure, inside of which you’ll find 40 individual cells instead of one huge flammable LiPo pack.
As far as I’m concerned, if you have the money to cover the asking price, this is about as good as the technology gets today.
The King Song 14B
If you are riding a gasoline scooter and fuel gets low, it only takes five minutes to fill up again at a gas station. If the battery on your electric transport runs out you’re looking at at least an hour or two, even with the latest fast-charge technology. On top of this, the actual range on a full charge is not all that great.
One way to extend the range is by swapping batteries. You could have an extra unit in your backpack and when you reach the limit of the current charge, you can change them out. Easy right? Except that lots of these vehicles are not designed to make battery removal easy or even possible without major disassembly.
That’s where King Song’s 14B comes in. According to the maker this is the only “eWheel” that has a removable battery pack designed to swap in and out in seconds. This would indeed be a game changer, however the actual range you get from one battery in the 14B is 5-8 miles, which is not exactly amazing. Most electric transports can do between 10 and 20 miles.
Despite the relatively short range, the cruising speed of the 14B is a respectable 15 miles per hour. That’s fast enough for most people and I don’t think speed will be an issue.
Another good thing is that the King Song 14B comes equipped with both a headlight and a taillight. Even cooler, it has a built-in light sensor, so the lights come on by themselves and there’s nothing you need to do but concentrate on riding.
The styling of the King Song has me a bit divided. On the one hand it looks pretty cheap and uninspired compared to the futuristic sci-fi looks many competitors have. This does not look like something from I Robot or Minority Report. On the other hand, it does look like something from pulp 70s and 80s sci-fi, which I find quite endearing. In fact it reminds me a little but of robots from movies like Silent Running, which it would not have looked out of place in.
So it’s not ugly per se, just an acquired taste. I think there are plenty of people who would quite like the King Song, given the chance.
The Airwheel X3
Airwheel is one of the big players in personal electric vehicles and a pretty strong brand in the industry. The X3 is a budget-oriented model that weighs in at 22 pounds and will take you 14 miles before running out of juice. Its top speed is about 11 miles per hour and the total payload shouldn’t exceed 265 pounds. All in all the X3 is a great entry-level model that has specifications that should make electric unicycles at twice the price nervous. The range isn’t amazing, but given that a full charge only takes 90 minutes for the 130Wh battery, you’ll be back on the road in no time. In fact, it will quick charge to 80% in an hour, which I find pretty damn impressive. The wheel is a bit smaller than usual at fourteen inches, so you may want to peel your eyes for small holes or cracks on your ride, but the aluminum pedals make for a smoother ride, and the tilt and low power protection will ensure that you don’t end up with a cracked skull. Apart from the lack of Bluetooth and app integration this is almost everything you could want in an electric unicycle at a price that isn’t crazy. Like all the Airwheel unicycles, it does suffer from incessant beeping when you hit top speed, but this can be solved by simply cutting the speaker wires if you really can’t stand it. There isn’t much to say about its looks; I doubt anyone will be blown away by the functional design, but it’s a great little wheel for the price.
The Best “Git’ Er’ Done” Choice: The IPS FBA
The (not so) snappily named IPS FBA unicycle is a no-nonsense workhorse. It has a pretty standard 16-inch wheel, a beefy 1000W motor, and a capacious 340Wh battery. Total weight capacity is a very reasonable 264 pounds and it will tackle hills with inclines of between 15 and 20 degrees, depending on how heavy you are. Depending on the deal you get, the FBA is in the sub-$700 bracket and represents great value for money. It’s Bluetooth-enabled and has a companion app. This isn’t just for show either – you’ll want to use the app at least once to fully unlock the unicycle. Instead of including training wheels IPA has limited the top speed of the FBA to just over twelve miles per hour. Once you’ve put thirty miles on the clock you can use the app to unlock the actual eighteen miles per hour speed that is the true capability of the system.
There’s a model that has a lower-capacity battery which drops the maximum range from 25 miles to just over eighteen, so make sure you get the right one if that’s what you want.
The FBA looks just OK; various combinations of black, red, white, and orange are available, but the boxy shell doesn’t exactly excite me. Still, it offers great specs at a reasonable price, so I’m not complaining too much.
The Best “Middle of the Road” Choice: Airwheel X8
The X3’s bigger brother, the X8, comes in a faux carbon fiber finish that is quite attractive. It’s about $200 more expensive than the X3 in general and has basically the same design and aluminum pedals.
The specs are also nearly identical, but the X8 is slightly heavier, appears to have a better quality battery, and comes with a sixteen-inch wheel instead of the X3’s fourteen-inch unit. In other words it’s a bigger, better version of the X3. Are the improvements worth $200? I have a hard time justifying it, to be honest. Between the two I’d probably save the money and spend it on safety gear instead.
The Best “Money’s No Object” Choice: The Airwheel Q6
The current top-dog of the Airwheel line, the Q6 has a much more modern look than the Q3 it replaces. Like other “Q” models the Q6 has dual wheels, but it’s still a unicycle and needs to be rolling to stay upright.
For some reason the Q6 has half the claimed range of the Q3 at 14 miles. I guess I can understand why that is, since I don’t see most people enduring 28 miles on a single charge. Instead Airwheel has worked on addressing the weight issues, shaving between 2.4 and 4 pounds depending on the battery you choose.
Overall the Q6 is a much more refined version of the Q3. It doesn’t look like a prototype product and it has many more safety considerations, such as the LED night lights and an instant brake system.
At just over $1300 the Q6 represents the very top of the range. If the nearly $800 premium between this and the X3 doesn’t bother you and the additional size is not a problem for your intended route, then go for it. Between this and the Q3, price difference notwithstanding, you should have no trouble picking the Q6.
The Ninebot One E+
Ninebot is one of the big names in personal electric transportation, with good reason. The Ninebot One E+ combines the things that you really want in a product like this, with the minimum of compromises.
The Ninebot One looks like a 21st century product, Its design is futuristic without looking like plastic junk. The profile of the unicycle is a simple circle, like one big wheel. Other electric unicycles look like they have a big box jammed in the middle of them, but Ninebot has come up with an amazing design.
The One E+ also comes with included training wheels, so you can keep yourself and your expensive new toy pretty as you learn the ropes.
With a top speed of nearly 14 miles per hour and a maximum range of just under 22 miles, the One E+ hits a sweet spot. It’s not the fastest and it doesn’t have the longest range, but both are better than you’re likely to need. The One E+ can take up to 264 pounds of payload.
The Airwheel Q3
Airwheel did the impossible and made unicycle transport even weirder. It’s a unicycle with two wheels. More accurately it has two wheels in the middle, so there’s still only one point of support. The Q3 is one of the most high-end electric unicycles Airwheel makes. Rather, it used to be; it’s now been replaced by the Airwheel Q6, now priced at the Q3’s old $1333 tag.
The Q3 has therefore received quite a price-slashing and represents great value for money. It’s fallen into the same price range as the entry-level X3. Obviously the Q3 outspecs the X3 in every way, but don’t be too hasty when choosing between them. The Q3 is bigger and heavier than the X3, and you can’t ride this double wheeled monster everywhere the superlative little X3 can be taken. Still, it has an impressive 28-mile range and a reasonable 12 mph top speed, although this is electronically governed.
The Q3 represents yesterday’s premium product at today’s entry level price, but give some thought to your intended route before pulling the trigger.
The InMotion Mohawk
The MoHawk is a dual-wheel unicycle not made by Airwheel, believe it or not. This guy is filled to the brim with tech gimmicks, but at around $800 it’s not the most expensive one out there.
It has one of my most despised features: a Bluetooth speaker. Please, if you have a speaker on your unicycle don’t roll down the street blasting your music and annoying everyone. It’s great if you’re having a picnic with your friends or something, but keep people who don’t enjoy your weird indy garbage in mind too.
The MoHawk has fancy touch-sensitive buttons and “intelligent” LED lighting. The headlight changes direction based on your tilt, so that it illuminates the way ahead regardless of your speed or braking. There an app too which will show you live data, speed, GPS position, headlight controls, and battery info while you ride. So maybe invest in an arm strap or something for your phone, since that sounds sort of dangerous.
That said, some people report hundreds of trouble-free miles, while others have had serious issues, including being unable to find replacement inner tubes. As cool as the features are, I think this one should be avoided. InMotion has a new, single-wheeled version on the horizon which may be a better candidate for your hard-earned cash.
The Fastwheel Eva Pro
The looks of the Eva Pro evoke a lot of things for me. It seems to be part Cylon from Battlestar Galactica and part gun turret from the Portal video game series. There’s a bit of KITT and HAL 9000 thrown in for good measure. Specification-wise it’s OK. It has a 11 miles per hour top speed and an 18.6 mile range. The maximum load is 265 pounds. The Eva Pro is priced pretty well and has Samsung batteries. It also has a range of smart features that go with its iOS and Android apps.
This all seems to add up to a pretty good unicycle, especially given the sub-$600 price. There’s one big, or rather small, problem – it has only a twelve-inch wheel. If you want to ride this on anything but a very smooth surface, you may want to look elsewhere. Otherwise the Eva Pro seems like a perfectly good little killer robot.
There you have it, my top picks and a few other unicycles worth mentioning. I’m pretty confident you’ll find the right product for you among these choices. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always wear a helmet and only ride within your limits. Have fun!