Taking back what we said about Electric Unicycles — a Review of the Ninebot One

What? Sgscooters doing an electric unicycle review?

Why did we not believe Electric unicycles would go mainstream?

As you know, we at Singapore Electric Scooters have not really been sold on the more exotic PEV options like electric unicycles and other self-balancing vehicles. This isn’t because we do not know how to use them or do not like them. Its just that we do not find that they integrate seamlessly with current public infrastructure in how public spaces are designed and how roads and pavements are currently built. Also, the learning curve on them are steeper than those of the 3 wheeled or 2-wheeled scooters. Some may even describe the experience as learning how to ride a bicycle.

What changed our minds?

However, we aren’t close minded and have come across one such unicycle company that deserves special mention for the design work they put into their products. Known in the market as the Ninebot, it is backed by Xiaomi and recently acquired the original Segway. The Ninebot has deep pockets to invest into further development of their range of PEV products and what they have come up with are two very wonderful products — the Ninebot and Ninebot ONE. What we are more interested in will be the Ninebot ONE considering that we focus more on everyday portable e-vehicles.

What was our experience with the Ninebot One like?

We recently got hold of 2 demo units of the Ninebot ONE to test drive and play with. First we simply had to try the bluetooth connectivity using the Ninedroid app. Once downloaded from Google Play, we could use our app to easily connect to our demo unit, adjust the acceleration, top speed and even activate an electronic lock (of course, someone could still carry your unicycle away if you leave it unattended). Theres also the frilly stuff of being able to adjust the TRON style LED light display of your Ninebot.

What’s different between a regular unicycle and their electric cousin?

After about 3 hours of practice, we finally managed to get moving on the Ninebot. We will run a video of how we got through those 3 hours so stay tuned. Now, we haven’t really tried a real unicycle before but we are pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to master the unicycle anywhere close to the time it takes for their electric cousin. The thing is, the electric version helps you in balancing on the forward and backward axis and all you have to do is to master the balance on the left and right axis. Without having to worry about 2 dimensional balance, developing the muscle memory to ride is alot easier, hence making it a whole LOT easier to learn.

Having tried the Ninebot together with the airwheel and other brands of unicycles, we can unbiasedly claim that the Ninebot has the smoothest and most intuitive ride experience. Everything about it is well-thought out. When we first started out, we had quite a painful experience especially with our calves rubbing against the hard side padding of other brands of unicycles. The Ninebot made our ride very painless with its soft padded sides. The fact that you can control the speed and acceleration on the Ninebot also made it easier for us as beginners to mount the pedals and accelerate forward without speeding beyond what we are comfortable with. Once mounted, the Ninebot is responsive enough to glide along without any jerkiness.

At sgscooters, we love our toys but what we love even more is to put our toys through some playful use. So after 3 hours of practicing, heres a new game we created — Electric Unicycle Hockey! Since we didn’t have a hockey stick nor a proper ball, we improvised with an umbrella and a roll of tape. Watch what happens…

For actually useful videos on how to learn an electric unicycle, please subscribe to our youtube channel. We will be uploading plenty of tutorials once we have them ready so stay tuned!

The Ninebot One E+ is now available at Falcon PEV — authorised distributor of the Ninebot One.

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