How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety

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When you’re looking to buy an electric unicycle, it’s important to take into account your weight and riding style. Your weight will affect the EUC’s range, top speed, and safety.

In this article, I’ll touch on how weight specifically affects each of these factors and what you can do to mitigate any potential issues. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of how to pick the best electric unicycle for your needs.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - rider weight schematic body mass type

Best Electric Unicycles for Heavier Riders

For the highest safety margin and best performance for someone who is over 170 lbs (or 77kg), you may want to consider buying an EUC with the largest battery capacity you can afford. This is because a heavier rider will put more strain on the motor and battery, therefore reducing the range and increasing the torque demands on the entire system.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - top down view of sherman max display

As a middle-weight rider myself who wants a safe, long distance ride (160-170lbs), I always recommend getting an EUC with at least 1600 wh of battery capacity or more. This will often give you enough power to get up most hills and maintain a good top speed even when the terrain isn’t perfectly flat, or if there’s a slight headwind.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - seated riding on a sherman max is affected by terrain

Now, there are reasons for a smaller EUC with lighter weight specs. If you live in a place with lots of hills, then a smaller EUC will be much easier to carry up and down stairs. If you’re trying to save money, or want the lightest EUC possible for traveling, or stunts, e.g., jumping, there are some good options out there too. Just know that the range and top speed may not be as high as some of the other options on the market.


Here are 5 Recommended Performance Electric Unicycles (EUC) for Heavier Riders

  1. Veteran Sherman Max (see more details and review) (Gold Standard)
  2. King Song S22 Eagle (Mid-Range Suspension Technology)
  3. King Song 16x (Most Popular Budget Model)
  4. Begode Master Pro (Big wheel suspension cruiser)
  5. Begode EXN (High power, compact form)
How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - sherman max

These are all great options that will give you the best range, top speed, and safety for your money while still being able to handle your weight. You may also want consider the Inmotion V11 for a comfy, lower-speed ride through your neighborhood.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - v11 Inmotion EUC for good balance and speed

Of course, there are other EUCs out there that may suit your needs better, but those listed above are some of the best on the market right now for heavier riders looking for performance in my opinion.


Your Body Weight and Electric Unicycle Performance

Now, let’s talk about how your weight affects the performance of an electric unicycle. A monowheel requires power to stay upright, accelerate, maintain speed, and brake.

For such a high tech device to operate it must be able to generate a good amount of power, and this is where your weight (including body mass and riding gear) comes into play.

Remember, if you’re wearing safety gear including chest armor and the like, that this will also add to the weight a EUC must bear while operating, and you should take this into consideration.

Your total weight will have an impact on main performance factors: range and top speed, and safety.

  • Top Speed and Range
  • Safety

Let’s take a look at how each is affected by EUC rider weight.


Top Speed and Range

The range of an electric unicycle is determined by its battery capacity and the efficiency of its motor. A heavier rider will require more power to ride at the same speed as a lighter rider, which means that the battery will drain faster and the range will be reduced.

Of course, other factors influence EUC range. This includes the terrain you’re riding on (hills will drain the battery faster), wind resistance, tire pressure, and your riding style. A heavier rider going up a hill will use more power than a lighter rider.

Importantly, the amount of power required to propel a mass against gravity is exponential; it takes four times as much power to move twice the mass at the same speed.

Here’s the formula to determine how much power is required to move you and your EUC up a particular incline:

EUC + rider weight (kg) x 9.8 x elevation gain (meters) / time (seconds) = power (watts).

You may want to add 10% for rolling and air resistance.

The above-mentioned formula can also be used to calculate how long it would take you and the electric unicycle to climb a specific hill during a ride at a constant power output. You simply rearrange the variables in the formula.

This formula also means that you could figure out how much more efficient (or faster) you would be if you could reduce your total weight.

For example, if a 200 lb rider and a 150 lb rider both ride at 20 mph on flat ground, then the 150 lb rider will require 10% less power from the EUC than the 200 lb rider to maintain speed.

When it comes to riding up hills, body weight becomes even more important and the power requirements become more disparate.

If both riders are going up a 3% incline (3 foot elevation gain per 100 feet forward distance) at a constant 20 mph, then the 150 lb rider will require 20% less power than the 200 lb rider to keep the same speed.

All other things being equal, the lighter rider will be able to ride further and faster than the heavier rider.


How Body Weight Affects EUC Safety

The biggest fear most EUC riders have (including myself) is a motor cut out. A motor cut out is when the electric system, including battery, motor and/or controller, can no longer provide sufficient power to keep the EUC upright.

This most common cause for this to happen is when the battery runs out of juice and can no longer provide power to the motor. This either happens when the battery runs too low on voltage (below a specific capacity) or can no longer provide sufficient current (e.g., “voltage pressure”) to keep the motor running with a particular output.

There are other factors involved as well, including failsafe systems built into the controller hardware/software that prevent over-current through the electric system which could damage components, e.g., burn them out; or if the battery management system (BMS) determines a dangerous situation is about to happen, like an overheating, explosive hazard. In the latter, the BMS will cut off power to prevent such a catastrophe.

A cutoff is especially dangerous at high speeds.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - cutout video screenshot
You can see a similar cutout situation in this video.

Power-to-weight ratio for riding an electric unicycle (EUC)

For the intuitive, you will understand that when more weight is placed upon an EUC, there is naturally a higher demand on the system to provide power. As mentioned above, the relationship between body weight and power needs in the EUC device is non-linear; as weight is increased, the power required to move the EUC increases at an ever-increasing rate.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - speed versus power requirement graph
The required power (in watts) required to maintain a particular speed increases at a non-linear rate. As speed goes up, the power requirements increases with a progressively higher amount.

So, when your total rider weight goes up, the safety margins for protecting you against a cutout diminishes, exponentially. That is, a 200 lb rider will require significantly much power to move at the same speed as a 150 lb rider. When accelerating or braking, the same is also true.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - riding an S18 with heavier riders

The take away from this is that you should always try to ride within the safe weight limits for your specific EUC model.

For instance, the Inmotion V10 has a max weight capacity of 265 lbs, which is 20% more than the average adult male’s weight in the US (195 lbs). For the Gotway Tesla, it’s recommended that you stay below 220 lbs; for the Kingsong S18, 190 lbs.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - the mighty begode mten3

If you are a heavier rider, it’s best that you purchase an EUC model that is rated for your weight. Even better is if you can find an EUC with a weight limit that is at least 30% more than your own riding weight (with gear). For instance, if you are considering carrying cargo on your EUC (e.g., a backpack, dog…uh, whatever), make sure to stay within the max weight capacity for both the rider and cargo.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - a puppy on a Onewheel Pint

Rider weight will also affect braking distance of an EUC. The heavier the rider, the longer it will take to brake. This is due to both the extra weight that needs to be brought to a stop, as well as increased power demand that needs to be delivered from battery to controller to motor to decelerate. Time is not your friend in an emergency braking situation.

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - Sherman max veteran on a wall with sky

To account for this, always give yourself plenty of stopping distance when riding, especially when going downhill. If you are carrying cargo such as in a backpack with your fast charger, snacks, etc., or on your EUC that extends your braking distance, consider dismounting and walking the EUC until you feel more comfortable with the increased stopping distance.


Things You Can Do to Improve EUC Performance

There are a few things you can do to help improve the performance of your EUC, especially range.

  1. Try to avoid sudden starts and stops. This is hard on the battery, motor, and controller, and will decrease your range. Instead, start off slowly and gradually increase speed. When you need to stop, do so gradually as well.
  2. Keep your EUC as light as possible. If you don’t need it, don’t carry it. Every extra ounce of weight will decrease your range. The lighter the better, all else being equal.
  3. Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure. This will help with rolling resistance, which in turn will help with range.
  4. Avoid riding in wet or muddy conditions if possible. Water and mud can cause problems with the motor and controller, leading to decreased performance and range.
  5. Consider nutrition and fitness in a weight loss regime. Even though we have powered devices, that we can sit on, a 10 lbs loss in body mass will have a significant impact on performance. You will be able to ride further and faster, and be less fatigued at the end of your rides. Yes, your feet will likely feel less fatigued as well.

Keep these things in mind and you’ll be sure to get the most out of your EUC!

How Body Weight Affects EUC Range, Top Speed, and Safety - off road EUC trail riding video perspective
Where is your next EUC adventure?

Conclusion

When choosing an electric unicycle, riders need to take into account their own weight as well as their riding style. Heavier riders will require more power to ride at the same speed as lighter riders, which can reduce range and top speed while increasing stress on electric motor components and tires.

Yes, the following are powerful, performance EUCs that many in our community would recommend. They are indeed some of the more popular EUCs on the market for a reason. But, they are merely a tool for your ride. Pick the EUC that fits you well and performs reliably.

  1. Veteran Sherman Max (see more details and review) (Gold Standard)
  2. King Song S22 Eagle (Mid-Range Suspension Technology)
  3. King Song 16x (Most Popular Budget Model)
  4. Begode Master Pro (Big wheel suspension cruiser)
  5. Begode EXN (High power, compact form)

I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Happy riding!

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