If you’re a fan of Micro-Mobility like me, you’re no doubt familiar with the company Future Motion, makers of the cult-obsession device known as the Onewheel.
For those who don’t know what this contraption is, picture the love child of a skateboard and a go-kart tire, mixed with some Segway-style self-balancing-gyroscopic technology. Blend it with the durability of a small tank and the result of this incestuous hybrid is basically a unicycle skateboard that can be ridden on roads, sidewalks, trails, beaches and basically anything you throw at it… even light snow. The Onewheel is the ultimate blend of practical last-mile micro-mobility and all-terrain fun-seeking insanity.
But is this bizarre micro-mobility champion a legitimate commuter/short errand solution, or a fun-seeker’s exhilaration-fix?
After riding my Onewheel Pint for 100 miles, I can safely say that it’s both. My 4 mile commute is a lot of fun on this machine, especially when nearly a mile of my journey is on a trail made of crushed stone. Trips to the local store are an enjoyable experience. Sure, I still ride recreationally, but the Onewheel might be the perfect blend of practical transit application and eye-popping fun. The ability to cruise city streets or crush your off-road paths on a device that fits in an overhead carry-on compartment is truly transcendent.
I won’t lie, even for someone who has experience riding longboards, the Onewheel commands a rigorous learning curve. Learning to ride is relatively easy… learning to comfortably commute while overcoming obstacles, avoiding traffic and navigating undesirable sidewalk conditions is a whole different story. While the Onewheel is relatively easy to get started on, using it as a legitimate form of transportation requires a bit of a commitment.
And leg strength. Oh my will your legs and feet hurt the first few times you ride more than a mile or two. The more you ride, however, the more you build up endurance. Learning to “carve” easily is key, as it activates and deactivates different muscles as you lean to your toe side or your heel side. It keeps your legs from staying locked in the same position, giving moments of rest to your legs and feet.
If you’re an electric skateboard commuter, the Onewheel gives you the same exhilarating experience without having to ask the question, “can I roll over that crack in the pavement and not die?” The oversized pneumatic wheel affords you the ability to roll over almost anything. And unlike e-boards, there is no remote… simply lean forward to accelerate and lean back to slow down.
If you’re a fan of electric scooters, I would say that this is a drastically different riding experience, but one that is decidedly more fun. What the Onewheel lacks in the stability of an electric scooter it makes up for in portability and mind-blowing fun. Think of driving a Ford Taurus and then driving a Mini-Cooper. Sure, the Taurus will get you there, but the Mini is so small, nimble and so maneuverable, you can’t help but feel like you’re driving a rally car.
The downside of the Onewheel is two-fold. First, the cost is prohibitive… $950 for the Pint model (6-10 mile range with a max speed of 16mph, and the XR, with a price tag of $1,600 and a range of 12-18 miles). Not exactly equitable transportation/recreation.
The second is, unlike an e-scooter, it takes about 100 miles of riding to truly master. You’re gonna have some major bales and even straight up falls along the way. This is not a device for the “hop-on-and-go” commuter or errand-runner. The Onewheel takes a bit of a commitment to master. But once you do learn how to use this machine correctly, the “fun” factor honestly can’t be duplicated. It’s pretty amazing.
If you want a last mile/car-free beer run transportation solution that’s a ton of fun, and money isn’t an object, buy a Onewheel. I won’t lie, it’ll change your life. Honestly the first thing I’m going to do when in receive the Covid vaccine is take my Onewheel on Amtrak to every city in New York and explore everything.
When portability is a major component in your sustainable, last mile and fun-seeking transportation solution, the Onewheel can’t be beat. If you’re willing to make a commitment to learning a completely new micro-mobility experience, I can’t recommend the Onewheel more!