What is an Electric Unicycle?
The electric unicycle (or EUC) is a self-balancing, one wheeled personal mobility device. It uses simple technology, combining a lithium battery, a powerful motor embedded in the wheel, and a control board (operated by software). With the electric unicycle you can ride on paved roads, walkways, gravel dirt tracks, or anywhere that a bicycle can go. Electric unicycles are amazing fun and offer what feels like freedom to those who use them.
Electric unicycles offer a sense of freedom that you cannot get from any other type of transportation. The popularity of the electric unicycle has only increased, with its large following continuing to grow.
Types of Electric Unicycles
If you’re coming from the bicycle world, then you’ll have already guessed that any personal electric rideable is going to be as diverse as their users. Just look at the types of bicycles you can get; road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, fat bikes, trikes, recumbents, and many more. Within each of these categories you can further subdivide bikes, too. For example, within mountain bikes, you have hard-tails and dual suspension frames. The list goes on.
When it comes to electric unicycles, you’ll find 3 major types based around wheel diameter, primary riding behavior, and capability. These characteristics for the different EUC are interrelated, e.g., “form follows function”.
- Small and nimble
- Large and comfortable
- Full suspension
1. Small and nimble
You have a number of EUCs with small wheels (usually under 18 inches). Of course, smaller doesn’t mean slow or lacking power. As compared with other personal electric vehicles (PEV), like e-scooters or e-bikes, a small-wheeled EUC is very nimble.
This category of small EUC also tend to have a lot of torque, or the ability to exert quicker, more robust acceleration for the rider upon demand. A small EUC, like using the climbing gear in a mountain bike, will also generally have better ability to propel a rider up an incline with less effort from the rider (or the motor), as compared to a larger, heavier electric unicycle.
Of course, there are exceptions to this, and not all small electric unicycles are capable of providing more torque or go up inclines better than larger wheels. Without going into the granular details, what’s important is that what type of small EUC you choose will be largely dependent on what your riding needs are.
2. Medium or Large and Comfortable
The large-wheeled EUCs (18-24 inch wheels) are what most people think about when they see an electric unicycle cruising at a good speed down a road. This category of medium to large diameter wheeled electric unicycles are probably the most popular and the most widely sold.
Of course, the majority of manufacturer’s of EUC devices have a larger line of these category of electric unicycles. In fact, the variety of electric unicycles in this size range makes it hard to summarize their best uses and capabilities.
For example, you have high-torque electric unicycles with 18-19 inch wheels that climb very steep off-road inclines. On the other hand, you have 24″ inche monster sized EUCs that can cruise happily on paved roads at speeds over 40 mph for miles on end.
A larger electric unicycle will provide a rider with more comfort and the capacity to travel longer distances on a single battery charge, as compared with a smaller EUC. Finally, you’ll find that this class of medium- to large-sized EUCs have models that serve as “all-purpose” rideables, or designed with more specialized niche use, e.g., off-road, climber vs. on-road speed.
3. Full suspension
A full suspension electric unicycle is similar to the dual-suspended mountain bike. These are a more recent development in the EUC world, and new models are slowly emerging from EUC production companies. Like their fully suspended mountain bike cousins, a full suspension EUC gives a rider a mechanical advantage when riding over rough, unpredictable terrain.
This added traction for the full suspension EUC is what sets it apart from its counterparts. Unlike with a rigid EUC, where the rider must bodily compensate for bounces over rough terrain, e.g., cracks, potholes, tree roots, a full-suspension electric unicycle will have more stability. This allows users of suspended EUCs to ride at relatively faster speeds off-road with more comfort.
Of course, there are limitations to a full suspension EUC. Independent of EUC model, the suspension matrix in this class of EUC adds weight to the device. As a result, this class of EUC is generally heavier than what you’ll find in smaller or medium-sized electric unicycles. This reduces the range and battery life of the EUC. Moreover, a full suspension EUC has additional moving components that can break, and may have a shorter overall service life than its non-suspended EUC siblings.
Electric unicycles are a great way to get around when you need some fresh air or want an alternative mode of transportation. They can be used on the road, in parks and other destinations (depending on your locale and regulations).
There are many reasons why people love electric unicycles. They have a level of freedom that is unmatched by other modes of transportation. The sensation of what it’s like to fly with a jetpack at low altitude over the ground is as close as you can get without actually being in an airplane.
There are many electric unicycle brands on the market, and more emerging all the time. This site is chock full of information and we hope you stick around to join us on this single electric adventure on a single wheel.
Do you ride an electric unicycle? Curious to start? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.