Onewheel Versus Electric Unicycle (EUC): Which Should I Get?

by freshlycharged

Pop quiz:

  1. How many states are there in the United States of America? 50. Easy. We can all agree on that right? Good.
  2. Which state in the USA is the best? Also a pretty easy question, right? But if I were to poll a group of people, I would have a hard time getting everyone to agree to the same answer.

The first question as straightforward. And even if someone didn’t know the answer, they could easily look it up and there would be no further discussion. The answer is this, there are 50 states in the USA.

The second question may not be hard to answer but it is certainly harder to get a group of people to agree. Why? Because while the first question was an OBJECTIVE question with an OBJECTIVE answer based on fact, the second question, which state is the best, is a SUBJECTIVE question based on opinion which can yield many SUBJECTIVE answers.

What does this little quiz on the United States of America have to do with my comparison between the EUC and OW? The comparison between the two devices can be debated for hours. Hard core EUC fans will defend their wheel, boasting of range, speed, portability, and cost only to have OW fans say, “Well, the Onewheel is just cooler and more fun.” It is an argument that cannot be won and both sides are often left unsatisfied.

I’m not here to settle the argument. That can never be done. I’m here to help you understand the objective data, the facts, that the United States has 50 states, and the differences between the EUC and OW in terms of the objective data, range, speed, portability, and cost.

At the end I will also share with you some subjective data: for example, why I think Colorado is the best state in the United States, and why one of the self balancing wheels is better than the other.

Objective Data:

These metrics are based on facts, an undeniable fact such as the United States has 50 states and that the earth is round, and no one can seriously argue those facts. I’ve tried my best to remove subjectivity from these factors, but I’m human, so here we go.

Range: Without a doubt, the EUC wins this and it’s not even close. My middle tier wheel, KS16s, gets me over 30 miles on a charge. My Nikola advertises 70 miles on a charge (I have yet to do a range test) and there are other wheels that can go even further! The flagship Onewheel, the XR can get 18 miles on a charge while the newest entry level Onewheel, the Pint advertises 8 miles on a charge.

Speed: The EUC wins this category too. Comparably priced EUCs have greater speeds than the most expensive Onewheel. My KS16s has a cruising speed of 22 mph while my Nikola has a cruising speed of over 30 mph. My Onewheel XR on the otherhand reports a top speed of 19 mph and the Pint top speed is listed at 15 mph.

Portability: The EUC wins this again. The trolley handle is amazing, allowing me to use the self balancing capabilities to easily walk my EUC into any store, gym, classroom, restaurant or coffee shop without difficulty. The Onewheel needs to be carried and no matter how you carry it, doing it for any distance ends up being a drag.

Safety: Any device that requires a machine to keep you from crashing is dangerous and is susceptible to failure. That being said, there are safety measures that can be put in to prevent catastrophic failure.

With the OW, the main safety measure built in to the board is pushback which is basically the nose of the board tilting up to notify the rider that you are approaching the threshold at which the demands on the motor exceeds its ability to keep you upright, resulting in a nosedive.

The next OW safety measure is… well… there isn’t any. No audible alerts. No significant backup capacity to keep you upright if you surpass the top speed. There is a little buffer between the advertised top speed and the nosedive threshold, but when FM advertises the OW with a top speed of 19 mph, while people have gone several miles faster than that, there is not much built in reserve power to keep you upright and speed racers that like to push the limit will crash at some point.

The EUC has a few more built in safety measures than the OW. Those features may differ slightly from maker to maker, but in essence, you have tilt back, which is the EUC equivalent to the OW’s pushback, where the wheel tilts back as a physical notification that you are going too fast.

The next safety feature is an audible alert where in the board notifies you that you are going too fast and as for my KS16s, it tells me to, “Please decelerate.” If you push through those two warnings, the EUCs have built in reserve power, a safety margin to keep you up that is more robust than anything I’ve seen on a Onewheel. Disregard the tilt back and the loud audible warnings and what happens next is your choosing.

The last safety difference between the EUC and OW that does not get much attention, is the difficulty level it is to learn the device. Some may say this is subjective and not objective, but I think most will agree that learning how to ride a OW is easier to learn than an EUC. While the ease of learning how to ride the OW has been great to grow the popularity of the device, it often results in the all too common story of wreckless beginners growing overconfident, going too fast, and then wiping out before they even know what a nosedive is.

Because EUCs are more difficult to learn, there is more understanding of how the device works and a respect for the machine develops during the learning process. The steep learning curve may put many people off and prevent them from trying the EUC, but it’s this same steep learning curve that keeps EUC riders safe.

The EUC wins safety. Does that mean you will never fall on an EUC? Heck no. People will push their devices beyond their limits and get hurt. Mechanical parts will fail. Things happen. Single wheeled self balancing technology has its inherent risks that we accept when we ride, but the EUC is safer than the OW.

Cost: This metric is a little tougher to compare because there are multiple companies that make EUCs and each company makes several models while the OW only has 2 models in production right now. For the specs you get in terms of speed and range, my mid tier KS16s sells for less than the flagship OW XR, yet the KS16s outdoes the OW in every objective measure. As far as price for specs, the EUC wins.

Subjective Data:

These metrics are very hard to compare because the are subjective. It’s based on opinion and preference, not fact. But you can’t disregard opinion and preference because it’s this subjectivity that causes terrible songs to rise to the tops of the charts or politicians

This is why I can say Colorado is the best state in the USA while many will disagree. I can give objective data to back it up like… we have the mountains, we have skiing, we have 4 seasons, we have more sunny days per year than San Diego, CA… for many, it’s the subjective data that matters most, ie I love New York because I love the energy of the city or I love Seattle because of the vibe. These are subjective metrics that vary from person to person and is hard to measure but I’ll try to do it anyway for the EUC and OW.

Fun Factor:

The biggest factor most people give as their reason for getting one of these devices is because it looks like so much fun. Sure you can say you need it for a transportation solution but in the end, you will get what you get because it is fun to you.

When you boil it down, the OW is an EUC only with a smaller diameter and fatter width tire that you stand on sideways instead of forward facing. But it is those minor changes that make a huge difference to some people.

Something about that sideways stance resonates with people. It sparks that kid inside of you, hearkening back to your skater adolesence or that unforgettable scene in Back to the Future 2 where Marty is trying to get away from Biff and his goons.

Or maybe you love snowboarding or surfing but because of where you live, you don’t have easy access so you thought a OW could satisfy that itch. There’s something about that sideways stance of the Onewheel that gets people excited.

The EUC is fun too. Going fast and far, feeling like you are in a rollercoaster that you can control, is pretty amazing. And not having to stop and charge as frequently keeps you riding for longer and farther than on most other personal electric rideables.

The other thing that some consider fun about the OW that the EUC does not really have is the third party and DIY customizations. As much as Future Motion, the makers of the Onewheel, tries to ignore the third party market, they have to credit that community for building an entire micro industry developing and selling modifications to Onewheels from custom fenders to foot plates to rail guards… it is pretty amazing and has lead to an amazing community.

People love customizing their Onewheels just like when I was growing up people liked modding their cars. The Honda Civic was and still is popular, in large part because it is one of the most customizable cars on the market and there is a huge third party market that supports it.

Honda Civics with lights, decals, huge fenders and other mods to make them look cool and to make them personal. The Honda Civic was never the best car, but it had a cult following because of the ability to customize and make it personal. This is very similar to the Onewheel. The EUC community does not have as big of a customization culture.

That brings me to the last point, community. Both have active online forums, but I will say that the Onewheel groups seem to be more engaging and fun than the EUC groups… again, this is all subjective.

Conclusion:

So who wins? If you look at the objective data, based on facts and metrics, the EUC beats the Onewheel in those categories, including speed, range, safety, portability and price.

While specs are certainly very important, they aren’t everything. So much of an experience depends also on emotions, feelings, biases, past experiences, and perception. Certain products can evoke a powerful emotional connection with people and I think that’s where the Onewheel wins.

There’s something about the onewheel that just get’s people excited. It’s like that scene in Ratatouille where the food critic tastes the food and all these positive past emotions from his childhood come rushing back.

The Onewheel does that for people, especially middle aged men. It reminds them of their skater days as a kid, only cooler and requiring less physical work. It let’s snowboarders and surfers feel like they are doing what they love without having to go to the mountains or to the beach. It makes them feel like they are living out the most iconic scene of their favorite childhood movie, Back 2 The Future 2.

Whatever the reason, the Onewheel has won the marketing department and the public perception of the OW being a cooler device than the EUC.

But I have great news. The two devices are not mutually exclusive. Just because you love one does not mean you have to hate the other. Instead, the two can be enjoyed and used for their strengths so I recommend giving both the shot if you have the chance.

I love the Onewheel for methodical cruising, carving, tricks, and community.

I love the EUC for thrilling hands free speed, long distance travel and exploration.

How to support my blog and channel:

If you find my blog or YouTube channel helpful, you can also support my work by purchasing scooters and EUCs with my affiliate link: https://www.ewheels.com/oneradwheel
my IG: https://www.instagram.com/oneradwheel/

If you want to support my channel, check out my merchandise. Half the proceeds go to support our local Denver Rocky Mountain Onewheel Group and the other half of the proceeds go to support my channel so I can keep making sweet content for you to enjoy.
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EUC Comparison Tool

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the EUC options, so we made an interactive EUC Comparison Tool. You can sort, filter, and include or exclude data as you see fit. I hope you find this tool helpful!

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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