Today, there are technological advancements in almost every market, and one area seeing a lot of positive movement and growth is what tech enthusiasts like to call the “mobility segment.” Technically, this simply refers to devices such as electric cars, electric skateboards, gas-powered mountain boards, and now the One wheel off-road skateboard.
Onewheel off-road skateboards have come about because of exceptionally rapid developments in motion sensors, battery technology, and many other factors that have made the mobility sector the focal point of the brightest tech minds and shrewdest investors.
So, what is the Onewheel off-road skateboard, how does it work, and why should you pay for one?
The One Wheel Off Road Skateboard
Invented by Kyle Doerksen, the Onewheel skateboard is akin to an electric skateboard. It’s a self-balancing board that looks a lot like a snowboard, except it has one giant wheel in the middle.
Here’s Kyle Doerksen explaining what the Onewheel off-road skateboard is and how to operate one:
Riding a Onewheel skateboard offers a unique experience unlike anything else around. It’s a cross between snowboarding and riding a mountain board. The biggest difference is that the One wheel off-road skateboard is intuitive, making the ride much easier and more futuristic. It’s been referred to or compared to as a “magical hoverboard.”
How Does the OneWheel Off Road Skateboard Work?
As you have seen from the video, the Onewheel board is extremely intuitive, making riding it a joy. Where you would use a remote controller to control an electric skateboard, on the One wheel off-road skateboard, your body is essentially the remote controller. This gives you more control and greatly improves your riding experience.
To control the board, all you have to do is carry out a series of body movements:
- If you lean forward, the board will go forward and increase in speed the more you lean.
- If you lean backward, it will slow down until it comes to a stop.
- If you want to turn, all you have to do is apply pressure either to your toes or your heels, depending on which direction you want to turn.
Note: To reduce the amount of pressure on the motor located in the wheel, try to keep your center of gravity above the wheel when tilting or leaning.
One of the most significant advantages of riding a Onewheel skateboard is that they are more nimble and easier to navigate than almost any other board, including the electric skateboard. This is particularly true if you are a fan of the Onewheel Pint and XR. Regular electric skateboards have a difficult time navigating tight corners, an issue that the one wheel doesn’t share.
Another excellent advantage that the one wheel holds over its counterparts is the wheel. While regular skateboards and mountain boards have an assortment of wheels designed to either take on the rugged outdoors, the sleek city pavements, or offer increased speed, the one wheel has one giant wheel in the middle. This wheel can take on almost anything.
You can easily ride your one wheel in the city, where it will be quiet as it glides over the pavements, or you could take it off-roading, where it will smother any bumps and rocks along the rugged terrain.
Additionally, since the wheel on the one wheel is a bit bigger, you will find it a bit more stable off-road. However, if you are keen on going off-road, you are better off getting the Onewheel XR or simply swapping out the regular tire that comes with the Pint for one that has a bit more of a square profile.
Which One Wheel Should You Buy?
Of course, this depends on your personal preference and budget because the price range is just as unique as the one wheel itself. In 2014, Future Motion introduced the one wheel to the market. It was later upgraded to the Onewheel + XR in 2018. The newer version has an increased speed almost doubling that of its predecessor. It offered you a range of 12 – 18 miles an hour as opposed to the previous 6 – 8 miles an hour.
Furthermore, the newer version offered a more powerful motor (10% more) which means you would have an easier time going uphill as well as over rugged terrain.
How Many Types of One Wheel Off Road Skateboards Are There?
So far, Future Motion Inc. has released about six Onewheel boards since they came onto the market. Their initial Kickstarter campaign ran in 2014, and the currently Onewheel lineup looks like this:
- Onewheel V1 (Discontinued)
- Onewheel Plus (Discontinued)
- Onewheel XR (Discontinued)
- Onewheel Pint
- Onewheel Pint X
- Onewheel GT
Whichever you choose will come down to personal preference and budget, as the price difference can quite easily be doubled between the different models.
Is the One Wheel Off Road Skateboard Safe?
Like the skateboard and mountain board, the Onewheel off-road skateboard can’t exactly be considered “safe” to ride. But neither is a car or any other machine for that matter. The beauty of it all is that there are steps you can take to make your riding that much safer.
What makes this unique is that it’s a board on a single wheel with the capability of reaching up to 18 miles per hour. It’s controlled by your body movement, so erratic motions could be disastrous.
So, what can you do to make Onewheel riding safer?
How to Ride a Onewheel Off-Road Skateboard Safely
Your safety depends on your skills, whether riding a Personal Electric Vehicle (PEV) like the Onewheel off-road skateboard or driving a car. Understanding the fundamentals of whatever mode of transportation you use is critical to keeping you and those around you safe.
Since the Onewheel off-road skateboard is extremely intuitive, it’s easy to ride. That, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t some risks that come with riding this PEV. To protect yourself against such risks, you need to wear protective gear when riding.
As you would imagine, most of the gear you’ll need is the same as the ones you’d need when riding a regular skateboard. With that in mind, here are some of the most important pieces of protective gear you should have when riding a Onewheel off-road skateboard.
- Helmet: A helmet is the most important protective gear as it protects the most important part of your body: your head. It’s therefore crucial that you choose the best possible helmet on the market. It’s advisable to go for one that uses MIPS technology. That’s the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). This technology mimics the brain’s protective structure, reducing any rotational forces caused by angled impacts to your head. To achieve this, the helmet’s shell and liner are separated by a layer with low friction. This layer allows the helmet’s shell to slide when impacted, effectively reducing any trauma to the brain when the helmet sustains oblique impacts. One of the main reasons why a MIPS helmet like the Triple Eight Gotham Dual Certified MIPS is important is that these impacts are more common in action sports such as skateboarding than the blunt force trauma that helmets are typically tested against.
- Backpack: If you prefer to use PEVs as your primary mode of transportation, there’s a good chance that you are going to be carrying your laptop when riding your Onewheel off-road skateboard. The best course of action here is to use a hard-case backpack, such as the Point 65 Bobble, to protect both your laptop and your back in the event of a crash. While this particular backpack is designed for motorcycles, it’s still quite effective when it comes to Onewheel off-road skateboards, albeit slightly under-matched.
- Wrist guards: What would your natural reaction be when falling? If you are like most people, you are most likely going to put your hand out to try and dampen the fall. This puts your wrists directly in the line of fire as far as injuries are concerned. When you try to break your fall when going at high speed, your wrists are more likely to bend unnaturally or hyperextend, causing injuries. These injuries take a while to heal and could hinder your day-to-day work or, worse yet, riding. You MUST wear a wrist guard when riding your Onewheel off-road skateboard. Thankfully, there are many different types of wrist guards on the market. You can even find gloves, another excellent form of protection when riding your Onewheel, that have added wrist support. Consider buying gloves such as the Flatland3D Fingerless Pro Gloves.
- Elbow Pads and Knee Pads: You probably would have worn elbow and knee pads even when riding your bike or regular skateboard. This kind of gear is a given. Not only do they protect your elbows and knees from the scrapes and cuts that come with the inevitable fall, but they also act as support for the joints and ligaments that make up those body parts.
- Protective Clothing: You should accept that you will fall at some point. It is almost inevitable, no matter how careful you may be when riding. It’s therefore advisable to wear protective clothing when riding your Onewheel off-road skateboard. This kind of clothing is not only good for protecting your skin, but it also keeps you warm as you ride on those windy days.
The Onewheel off-road skateboard is an exciting alternative for people who love their PEVs. If you have gone through your skateboard phase, have conquered the mountain board, and are simply bored by the electric skateboard, maybe you should consider buying yourself a Onewheel off-road skateboard. Not only is it sleeker than all the rest, but it’s more intuitive and technologically advanced. Riding one is akin to snowboarding on the tarmac. Only smoother!