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A monowheel is a compact and economical type of electric transport, with the help of which citizens quickly move along the streets without polluting the air with exhaust gases. We will find out how a unicycle is arranged, by what criteria to choose it, and what models manufacturers offer in 2020.

What is a unicycle?

Self-balancing scooters are called monowheels or unicycles. This is one of the types of street electric transport, which is used both for getting around the city and for entertainment.

Monowheel

Features of the unicycle device:

  • they have only one wheel and two folding steps – on both sides, on which the rider puts his feet;
  • the wheel moves due to the torque transmitted by the electric motor;
  • the device is controlled by tilting the body.

Despite the fact that a person on a unicycle does not have to pedal or apply other mechanical effort, travel is still healthy. The rider has to balance on the wheel, and this requires the tension of certain muscle groups.

The unicycle can move not only on asphalt roads, but also on unpaved ones. It also moves effortlessly over grass, sand and snow (if it’s shallow).

Story

Attempts to create a unicycle began in the 19th century. In 1884, the unicycle concept of a bicycle was created, but it was not developed. Almost all developments were carried out in the USA.

In 1904, the first unicycle with a gasoline engine was created. The user was inside a large wheel. This unique device was presented at the Milan exhibition. Further, a variety of designs were created, but most of them did not find a response from manufacturers and consumers.

In 1932, the grand apparatus Dynasphere was created – a steel wheel with a diameter of 3 m and a weight of 450 kg, driven by an engine.

A breakthrough in the idea of ​​a unicycle was a unicycle equipped with an electric motor. Its author is Shane Chen, founder and owner of Solowheel. The inventor decided to make the device as compact and environmentally friendly as possible. Today, unicycles that reach speeds of up to 20 km / h are produced all over the world.

Device and principle of operation

The unicycle is designed to move one person weighing up to 120 kg. The unicycle does not have a steering wheel, but it may have a transport handle, with which it can be rolled along like a travel bag.

Monocycles consist of the following elements:

  • electric motor (located inside the wheel);
  • plastic body;
  • battery (usually from Samsung, Panasonic, Sony);
  • wheel with a diameter of 35-40 cm;
  • panel for managing and obtaining information about the battery charge level;
  • balance controls – located inside the wheel (help the user maintain balance);
  • a system of hygroscopic sensors – they capture the user’s intentions, directing the wheel in the right direction.

Monowheel

Almost all models of unicycles have a headlight and a brake light. Most modern devices are equipped with Bluetooth modules that are synchronized with a smartphone. For decoration, LED backlighting is often placed on the case.

In a monowheel, movement occurs due to the interaction of magnets attached to the rim with electromagnets that are inside the wheel. When the wheel changes position, the computer sends an appropriate signal, after which the electromagnets are powered.

The resulting electromagnetic field affects the magnets that are on the wheel rim. The work of the unicycle, its movement forward or backward, is determined by the position of these magnetic elements.

A gyroscope is a device that responds to changes in the orientation angles of the body on which it is installed. The simplest example of a gyroscope is a spinning top, a spinning top.

The balance on the unicycle can be maintained by a gyroscope, which sends information to the computer, and it, in turn, sends commands that change the charges of the magnets. When the gyroscope tilts, it sends a signal to the computer and the wheel accelerates forward.

Monowheel control

The control of the unicycle is almost the same as that of the hoverboard. But on the latter it is easier to maintain balance, since it has two wheels and a plane that connects and stabilizes them. It is more difficult to manage one wheel, since the user has to maintain balance on their own.

Unlike a hoverboard, turns are made without braking with one wheel, but exclusively with body tilts. Before hitting the road, the user must familiarize himself with the nuances of management.

Monowheel control

How to prepare for a unicycle ride:

  1. Read the instruction manual.
  2. Lower the footrests and turn on the power while holding the unit with your hand.
  3. Make trial movements forward and backward, standing on the footboard with only one foot.
  4. Stand on both footrests with both feet and try to steer the wheel in one place. Practice until you feel confident.
  5. Get on the road, but not far. Make a few stops, turns, and speed changes along the way.

On average, it takes 1-2 hours to master the unicycle, no more. The main thing is to learn how to maintain balance and master the techniques of control.

Specifications

Despite the simplicity of design and a minimum of elements, the unicycle has many technical characteristics by which its capabilities can be determined.

Technical characteristics of monowheels:

  • Battery capacity. It depends on the power reserve. At 110 Wh, you can drive 10 km, at 240 Wh, 20 km.
  • Power. Medium range – 250-800 watts. It depends on the maximum driving speed. Usually the vehicles move at a speed of 20-30 km/h. But there are also more powerful unicycles – 1000 W, they can accelerate to 45 km / h.
  • Build quality. Monowheels must have high-quality moisture protection. Not only the service life of the device depends on it, but also the safety of a person.
    If it closes the controller contacts, the control is blocked and the power plant fails. In this case, the machine brakes sharply, which may cause injury.
  • Body material. Monowheel panels are made of polymer and composite materials, carbon fiber. Thanks to them, unicycles have a relatively small weight and a fairly durable design.

There is another parameter by which unicycles are distinguished – the diameter of the wheel. It is commonly used to classify unicycles. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular options.

Types of unicycles

Monowheels offered on the market differ in cost, design, technical characteristics. But the main difference is the size of the wheel, according to which devices are usually classified.

Monowheel

On sale you can find devices with both small 10-inch wheels and large 22-inch wheels, but the following wheel sizes are the most popular:

  • 14 inches. It is a compact and affordable device. It is light weight and easy to handle. These unicycles are ideal for beginners. It is also convenient to perform various tricks on them.
  • 16 inches. If the device has already been mastered and you want more speed, you can switch to a larger diameter. Devices with 16-inch wheels are faster and more comfortable than 14-inch counterparts.
  • 18 inches. Such devices go even faster than the previous ones. They are easier to ride on rough roads. These devices are chosen by riders with experience who prefer to ride at high speeds.

Unicycles with large wheels have only one drawback – they are problematic to transport in vehicles. But they always have batteries with a large power reserve.

Pros and cons

Monowheels cannot replace all existing urban transport. This device occupies its own niche and is designed for a specific target audience. This electric transport, along with obvious advantages, has several serious disadvantages.

Pros:

  • compactness – can be stored in the hallway, on the balcony, transported in transport;
  • light weight and handle – the device is easy to carry from place to place;
  • there are models with large wheel diameters – the permeability of the unicycle increases;
  • there is no clearance, since the device has only one wheel.

Clearance is the gap between the lowest point of the vehicle and the road surface.

Minuses:

  • If the battery is completely discharged, the machine will stop. It will not be possible to roll it like a bicycle or a segway, you will have to carry it in your hands.
  • It is more difficult to master the technique of riding a unicycle than on a hoverboard. You can’t just get up and go right away, you have to practice a little. Some learn to ride in half an hour, others take a whole week.

Safety

Despite the fact that the unicycle develops a low speed, care and certain safety measures should be taken while riding. If you violate the rules of movement, there is a risk of falling and injury.

Monowheel

Security measures:

  • Do not drive on the road.
  • Be careful when driving on sidewalks where there are many pedestrians. You run the risk of colliding with someone, and not only you, but also those around you can suffer.
  • Never accelerate if there is a heavy traffic on the sidewalk, and do not make sudden maneuvers that can cause a stop and a fall. Do not do any tricks where there are people.
  • Monitor the technical condition of the device. Check the battery level and the health of the unicycle systems. If any malfunctions or malfunctions occur, immediately contact a specialized service center.
  • Despite the presence of special hygroscopic sensors, the user must observe the maximum permissible body angle. You can find out about its size in the instructions for the device.
  • Avoid sharp turns and maneuvers – they can lead to a fall. Do not make sharp bends forward or backward.
  • Take extra care when driving on wet and slippery road surfaces. Frozen snow and ice are especially dangerous. Viscous and liquid mud is also not suitable for safe driving.
  • Do not drive for a long time in rainy weather. Avoid puddles deeper than 10 cm. Do not immerse the machine in water or direct a jet of water at it.
  • Do not ride the unicycle at temperatures below minus 10 °C.
  • Do not speed up if you hear a speeding alarm.
  • Do not step on the unicycle until it is turned on.
  • Do not look at your smartphone while driving.
  • At first, try not to stand on the wheel without support.
  • Wear protective equipment – helmet, knee pads, elbow pads. They provide additional security.
  • Install a safety strap to keep the unicycle on the move.

The best unicycles of 2020

Among the popular unicycles, there are both budget and more expensive options. They differ in functionality, technical parameters, appearance. But they all have a fairly high-quality assembly and are ideal for moving around the city.

Ecodrift X5

Budget model with 14″ wheel and 400W motor. The device is capable of accelerating up to 18 km / h. On a battery charge, the wheel can travel up to 18 km. It takes 2 hours to charge. The calculated load is 120 km, but in practice the motor pulls well if the weight of a person is not more than 90 kg.

Ecodrift X5

This model is suitable for beginners who do not impose special requirements on the device.

Pros:

  • fast charging;
  • reliable case;
  • stylish design.

Minuses:

  • there is no enhanced moisture protection – you should protect the device from moisture;
  • not good enough to lift.

The cost is 30,000 rubles.

Airwheel Q3 260WH

This model belongs to the budget segment and has optimal stability indicators that are suitable for beginners. Design feature – twin wheels of the same size. This solution speeds up learning and makes the structure more stable on a dirt road.

Airwheel Q3 260WH

450 W motor, acceleration – 18 km / h. On one charge it travels 30 km. It takes 3 hours to recharge.

Pros:

  • high-quality protection against moisture – you can ride in the rain and through puddles;
  • high-strength body;
  • large power reserve;
  • structural stability.

Minuses:

  • overpriced;
  • average speed.

The cost is 28,000 rubles.

Ninebot One A1

This unicycle has a futuristic design and built-in lighting. The motor power is 400 W, and the charge capacity is enough for 15 km. The device is suitable for teenagers, children and short adults. The battery is charged in 2 hours.

Ninebot One A1

Pros:

  • fast acceleration;
  • operational charging;
  • high control sensitivity.

Minuses:

  • small power reserve;
  • low engine power and low traction.

The cost is 25,000 rubles.

HOVERBOT S3

A modest unicycle with a bright plastic body. The footrests are designed for teenagers or adults with small shoes – no more than 43 sizes. The power of the device is 800 watts. It is capable of speeds up to 18 km/h.

HOVERBOT S3

The maximum range on one charge is 25 km. The model is suitable for beginners or users who do not place high demands on the speed and power of the device.

Pros:

  • high-quality moisture protection;
  • light weight;
  • sufficiently high power.

Minuses:

  • insufficiently stylish appearance;
  • uncomfortable footrests.

The cost is 25,000 rubles.

HOVERBOT X-6P4

Model from the middle price segment. A practical unicycle that can withstand a load of 120 kg. The maximum speed is 20 km / h. On a single charge it travels up to 30 km. The manufacturer focused on comfort, not power.

HOVERBOT X-6P4

This unicycle is suitable for everyday use, as it has excellent system protection against moisture. There is a wing that prevents splashing of the pants with water. The weight of the device is 13 kg.

Pros:

  • ergonomics;
  • beautiful body and comfortable sidewalls that do not cause leg fatigue;
  • short charging time – only 1 hour.

Minuses:

  • power is low;
  • average mileage per charge.

The cost is 32,000 rubles.

In Motion V8

Thanks to the powerful 800 W motor, this unicycle is capable of accelerating up to 30 km/h. One charge of a high-capacity Li-Po battery is enough for 50 km. Charging time – 4 hours. The maximum load is 120 kg. The weight of the device itself is 13 kg.

In Motion V8

Pros:

  • stylish design, there is an integrated backlight;
  • ergonomics;
  • the ability to pair with a smartphone – the user sees the battery charge, engine temperature and other useful information;
  • powerful drive and high speed.

Minuses:

  • insufficiently bright front light;
  • high price.

The cost is 54,000 rubles.

KingSong 16S SPORTS 840WH

This 16-inch super unicycle is equipped with a 1200 kW motor. Its battery is designed for 80 km, and the power unit provides excellent traction when driving on hills and forest paths. It takes 7 hours to charge.

KingSong 16S SPORTS 840WH

Pros:

  • due to the large diameter of the wheel, there is practically no shaking on rough roads;
  • wide support deliveries for legs;
  • the engine is able to withstand heating up to +60 ° C;
  • quality assembly;
  • high control sensitivity;
  • reliable protection against external influences;
  • excellent moisture protection – you can safely ride through puddles and in the rain.

Minuses:

  • weighs a lot – difficult to carry;
  • expensive.

The cost is 65,000 rubles.

What to look for when buying a unicycle?

When choosing a unicycle for yourself or as a gift, pay attention to the maximum speed, height and power reserve. Please note that the case is always made of plastic, and if it says carbon on it, this only indicates the color.

What to look for when buying a unicycle:

  • Check the warranty period.
  • Take a dark unicycle, scratches are less visible on it, which will certainly appear during training.
  • Pay attention to the power of the motor – the higher it is, the faster the device will move. In cities and hilly areas, it is recommended to take a model with a power reserve.
  • Weigh the device in your hand – whether you can easily carry it. Wheel weight 8-22 kg.
  • Choose a device that has a large capacity battery – the power reserve depends on it.
  • Look at the carrying handle – a straight version is more convenient than a curved one.
  • For beginners, devices with small diameter wheels are suitable; if necessary, it is easier to jump off them.

When choosing the power of a unicycle, consider the weight of the user – for 50-60 kg, 400-500 W will be enough, for 100 kg, at least 1 kW will be needed.

Girl on a unicycle

Buy or not?

If you just want to have fun, then the unicycle is ideal for this purpose. If you need transport, for example, to travel to work, you need to consider the quality of the tracks. If there are ideal sidewalks or bike paths in the area, and about 2-5 km to work, then in the summer season a unicycle can become a full-fledged vehicle.

The unicycle will be useless where there are no smooth paths for pedestrians or bicycles. The device cannot move normally where sidewalks are being repaired, it is not able to move over the curb, it is afraid of rain and strong wind.

A unicycle is a specific vehicle that requires certain skills. If you are full of energy and desire to move quickly, this street transport device is made just for you. When choosing a device, consider not only its characteristics, but also your physical parameters.