Mike - 2017-10-25 00:51

Alarming issues with Gotway unicycles... now with Tesla

More and more people are reporting their problems with Gotway unicycles. After having carried out its global servicing campaigns relating to MSuper and ACM models, the company has decided to create a new one, aimed at solving problems affecting the company and restoring its reputation, all of this instead of having touched up the aforementioned models. This refers to the new electric unicycle named Gotway Tesla, having already become a big hype on the net.

The interest in this model, having a not very well-matched name, was considerably high. The large power of this unicycle was supposed to be the main factor in favour of the said model.

Shortly after the premiere, there have appeared problems with the delivery time of the model. In spite of the fact that the number of items ordered had not been considerable yet, the pace of production lagged behind with regard to the manufacturer. At the same time, those users who have already received their new models started experiencing problems that are described below.

As of now, the manufacture of Gotway Tesla has been temporarily suspended. [UPDATE 2017/10/30]: Looks like the Gotway Tesla is being shipped again, what hopefully means the critical issues has been solved.

What do we really know about Gotway?

Gotway is a brand by Shenzen Kebye Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., shortly referred to as Kebye – a company established in 2014.

Have you ever been wondering why it was so difficult to find the website of this manufacturer? It is so because the company's website exists at kebye.com address, as it cannot use the name of Gotway in the territory of China.

The considerable fact of CCC (China Compulsory Certification) non-presence is also a very interesting one that nobody seems to mention. The CCC certificate is as significant a sign as the CE certificate is in Europe. In case you have ever been wondering what the "CE" sign stands for, as placed on literally each product (or its package) that we come across, we are pleased to inform you that this mark states that a given product is conformant with the European standard of Conformité Européene (European Conformity). To make things simpler, this mark indicates that a given product has been manufactured with the use of materials that are locally deemed safe, as well as that it meets the requirement of particular local European authorities. 

CCC is precisely the Chinese counterpart of CE. Due to the lack of CCC certification, Kebye declares the sales of 99% of its products outside of its continent.

You may be wondering now how it is possible that a product that has not met the standards of its local certification could start being circulated on the European market as attributed with CE mark.

There are two potential explanations to this: it is either so that the Chinese certification is more restrictive than the European one or that Kebye has exercised the privilege to issue the said certificate on its own (according to one of the possibilities to obtain CE marking, as based on conducting a self-assessment of conformity by the manufacturer itself, being legally effective until someone proves it is incorrect).

In both cases, the question is of particular concern.

 

Why are we spreading the information?

We have never intended to compromise the reputation of Gotway brand. In fact, we praised the company's products ourselves as recently as two years ago, when the manufacturer would still set new performance limits for electric wheels, considerably enhancing the power and range of its unicycles.

Unfortunately, a lot has changed since 2015. It is always our priority to promote the safety of users, while certain reports on the quality-related problems of new products by Gotway have entailed it that we decided to check it out.

It has soon turned out that the decline in product quality was true. We have come to the conclusion that the company is not ready to keep pace with its own success, mostly due to the increase in the popularity of its products. Despite such problems having appeared, Kebye company has decided not to lose momentum and launch successive models that also demonstrated the aforementioned problems themselves.

 

We warned Gotway on numerous occasions that the decrease in the quality of their products could bring about more problems to the company, so unworthy of the temporary profit it is gaining now. We have refused to distribute Gotway products and urged the producer to improve their quality, all on account of our concerns for user safety.

Sadly, despite the servicing campaigns conducted by Kebye, Gotway products are still unsafe and do not meet global standards. This is why we are forced to warn our users about the said danger.

Self-switching-off Gotway unicycles

So much has been said on automatically-switching-off Gotway wheels that it seems to be regarded as a norm within the community now. Apparently, it is true that an electric unicycle may turn off if overloaded (the lack of sufficient power for further acceleration –  e.g. after the maximum permissible speed of a wheel has been exceeded). Still, there is a way to avoid this – the overload protection. Various safety systems have been implemented by all other manufacturers. Some of them are as follows:

  • tilt-back – the leaning of pedals of a unicycle towards the back, forcing the user to brake. Tilt-back activates while approaching the permissible maximum speed in order to prevent one from exceeding it, as well as while rapidly accelerating or taking overly fast uphill rides, when one's unicycle may be exposed to overloading.
  • sound alarm – a signal tone or voice message that is supposed to warn the user of reaching the state of an overload (certain models even allow for setting a few alarms, e.g. with regard to informing one of having exceeded specific pre-set up speed limits).
  • notifications – notifications sent to one's smartwatch, phone / smartband vibrations warning one of approaching the overloading limits or being close to reach the permissible maximum speed.
  • the speed limitation – in the case of the low level of charging of the batteries of a given unicycle, it will automatically reduce its speed, e.g. to a half of its range, quite frequently with the use of tilt-back and a sound alarm, activated at the same time.
  • blocked spare capacity of power – the manufacturers of professional electric unicycles often leave a specific percentage of power in reserve with regard to the possibility of an overload. It means that a unicycle whose permissible maximum speed has been set to 30 km/h could theoretically ride at the speed of even 35 km/h (as an example), while it could be very risky –  therefore, such a margin is kept to serve hazardous situations. It is confirmed that such a margin in present e.g. in: Inmotion V8 and KingSong KS-16C – both devices might reach the speed of even 35 km/h under optimal conditions, while they have been factory-locked not to exceed the level of 30 km/h, to ensure user safety.

Therefore, why are there so many cases of overloads and accidents with regard to Gotway models? Nearly every professional producer allows for the adjustment of alarms, meant e.g. as setting up the speed of tilt-backs or sound alarms on one's own. Despite that, the possibilities to change certain settings of this kind are limited by producers on purpose in order to prevent completely turning off such safety systems or setting up an alarm to higher values than a given unicycle could perform.

In the case of Gotway, the situation looks different though. This company is the only one (if you know any other, feel free to mention its name in the comment section) that allows for the total deactivation of safety systems, including the switching-off of tilt-back mechanisms and sound alarms. 

It means that, at the moment of exceeding the permissible maximum speed, for example, one's unicycle will not force its user to brake and will not inform them of having exceeded the said speed. Consecutively, the motor will reach its maximum speed and stop keeping its users in balance, which will be followed by an overload of the whole system, affecting the reaction of electronic components of its batteries (BMS) and switching-off the power in order to protect the battery cells of the whole device. As a result of this, both the propulsion and balance coordinators will be turned off and the rider will… fall to the ground. 

As it is easy to guess, with the speed limits offered by Gotway considered – such as reaching 40 km/h and more – such a fall may cause a health impairment of the user, as well as it may pose a threat to the life of user or other road users.

Does it mean that electric unicycles are dangerous? NO. Using a unicycle according to its intended purpose may be safer than riding a bike, on condition that our device was manufactured by a reliable and renowned company (e.g. INMOTION, KingSong, Ninebot, IPS, Solowheel).

Problems with MSuper, ACM and Monster

Last year, Gotway released new versions of MSuper, ACM and Monster models. Each of them is capable of reaching high speeds.

Despite that, each of them also demonstrated serious problems that are threats to user safety.

The list of known and confirmed defects:

Gotway Monster

Gotway MSuper, ACM and Gotway Monster

Gotway ACM

  • Unsecured batteries, catching fire at stronger impacts.

All the models

Problems with Gotway Tesla

This year, Gotway only just perfomed the premiere of Gotway Tesla model, supposed to be the best unicycle released so far, restoring the honor to the brand itself. Unfortunately, the company has failed to draw any conclusions from the failed attempts at the manufacture of their previous models –  this is why it is no surprise that the production of Gotway Tesla has been suspended due to the reports of defects described below: 

  • Overheating of electronic components that may cause damage to the said system and, as a result, bring about the turning-off of the whole device,
  • Low quality of used electronics, that is unable to carry enough power - causes of smoke coming out of devices, after riding uphill (for example),
  • Untested batteries, mounted in a way making them at risk of side effects of an impact,
  • Problems with a telescopic handle – the handle does not block in the extended position but at the halfway stage. While completely extended, the telescopic stick needs to be held to prevent it from sliding down.
  • The recurring problem of the lack of a modular structure of the casing, as well as a low quality of materials and mounting (joining and soldering spots, etc.).

We will inform you of any further cases of this kind. If you have any more info on problems concerning Gotway Tesla, feel free to describe them in the comment section!

Do you want to be a guinea pig?

We love electric unicycles and cheer for the entire market so that it can keep on dynamically developing. Sadly, having one's fingers crossed for Gotway company is not enough. The company may be extremely ambitious but, contrary to other producers, it does not have sufficient technology and human resources at its disposal to thoroughly test their own product before it is launched into the market. Keybe shows it yet again that it does not want to waste its time for testing or perfecting their product. While observing this, one may get an impression of that it is only the product specification that matters, while users themselves are to be "guinea pigs".

Such an approach is wrong with regard to three reasons:

  1.  Accidents related to the defects of Gotway products have a direct impact on the reputation of the entire market of electric unicycles. Many people think that this means of transport is dangerous, while –  in fact – it is not. If you share our love for electric unicycles, it is worth deciding not to support those products that may lead to the introduction of legal restrictions or even a complete ban on the use of electric wheels.
  2. While having spent a considerable amount of money, Gotway customers become "beta-testers" and each ride they take is like a lottery. The way we see it, none of manufacturers should put the health and life of their users at risk, not to mention other road users. Backing above all safety should be the top priority.
  3. New users, who have just bought their first electric wheel, still do not know what sensations accompany taking their rides at 15 km/h, 20 km/h, 30 km/h, 40 or 50 km/h. Basing on their intuition, they are looking for the best product specifications, not being aware of the fact that they will not exceed the speed of 25-30 km/h during their city rides. These are the speed limits that are very high for a vast majority of users, allowing them for taking express rides around the city – even if there is not enough time for them to put on their protectors. The speed of approx. 40 km/h and more is practically not to be reached within crowded cities, while also posing a high risk outside of its borders which makes them require the same outfits as the motorcycle ones. This implies that the high speed limits applied in Gotway devices may be impressive, while also impractical and dangerous, and it is not what electric unicycles are about.

Also, remember to use your powers of reason while on the road and ride carefully. It relies on us how this means of transport will be perceived around the world. Let us set an example!

What instead of Gotway?

What to do? What unicycle to choose? What criteria to use?

Let us begin with that the product considered should have the CCC certification granted. But this is not all. It is worth choosing a brand that is famous for safety, quality of performance and reliability.

Did you know that such products as e.g. INMOTION and KingSong do not only have the certifications of CCC and CE obtained, but also a range of other certificates? When it comes to their number and recognition, INMOTION takes the lead – this company provides their devices to various organizations around the world to let them be subject to independent tests – and so not only with regard to each product recognised as a whole, but also particular elements thereof: batteries, motor, electronic components and even battery chargers. This equipment is also tested under various conditions, such as with regard to its mechanical resistance and resistance to external factors.

You can choose from among of these sure bets: INMOTION V8 or KingSong KS-16Cboth representing similar parameters (we've compared them here). If you consider it as important to receive even a better performance and quality at the same time, check KS-14S and KS-16S.

And what do we do to increase user safety?

  • We are the only ones to perform double-quality checking. For example, other stores sell their products as having been solely tested in the producer's warehouse, prior to receiving them. We check each item after it has been imported. Each one. We make sure that only 100% reliable items will find their place in our warehouse. Despite performing visual inspections, we test product mechanical components, checking their batteries and motors in a computer-assisted way.
  • We are the only store to give you a guarantee for each component. With us, the 2-year duration of one's guarantee stands for real 2 years, including the motor, batteries and other components of a given wheel. One should always check what their guarantee covers, not to subscribe for an offer that only encompasses a three-month guarantee for crucial components.
  • We are the only ones who test new models before they are introduced into our offer. In order to make a given unicycle appear in our store, it needs to successfully pass a number of rigorous tests, both meant as the machine- or IT-wise tests and practical field testing. It is only after a given product has proven to be of a top quality and met our requirements that we make it available for sale.
  • We are the only ones having a great and direct contact with manufacturers – also on a personal level. Due to this, we can have a real influence on the producers we cooperate with which translates into, for example, taking the questions of local legal requirements or our suggestions – also related to safety – into account on their part.

By choosing us, you choose quality.

Gotway – future of brand

How about you? What do you think of continuing problems with Gotway devices? Will the company ever stop being on a bad run? Does Gotway still have a chance to regain our trust and obtain proper certifications? What would you choose instead of Gotway unicycles?

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