Mike - 2017-01-16 21:58

Electric unicycles - riding and performance

At the beginning of one's adventure with rideable wheels, everyone seems to wonder these things: how to ride the device? How to brake? How to accelerate? Is it possible to maintain a lower speed than the maximum one?

You will find the answers to these questions here.

Manoeuvring and performance

Each electric unicycle allows for:

- Smooth adjustment of speed by shifting one's body weight forward (acceleration) or backward (braking), 

- Taking turns by shifting one's body weight to the chosen side – or, more rapidly, through bending/straightening one's legs at a knee level, similarly to riding a bike without holding on to its handlebars.

Due to the fact that the majority of unicycles use a direct drive (an electric brushless motor that is directly mounted inside wheels), they do not have gearboxes, hence allowing for smooth and dynamic acceleration.

Practically speaking, reaching the speed of 20 km/h from 0 km/h (acceleration) may be incomparably faster than... in the case of many sports cars with combustion engines. All of these is made possible thanks to an instant torque and high-power motors (the most popular ones being characterised by 500 to 1000 W performance).

The possibility of taking stable rides within each range of speed makes a great advantage of these so-called electric wheels, being complemented by the possibility to adjust the speed of their acceleration by shifting one's body weight to a chosen side.

It means that we may take our rides between the range of speed that is lower than the pace of a pedestrian and up to the cyclist speed (approx. 20 km/h) or higher (the most typical maximum speed reaching up to 25-30 km/h, while there also exist extreme-purpose unicycles that may even ride at 30-50 km/h).

The law and good practices

There is a new EU Directive to enter into force soon that will classify electric unicycles as "personal vehicles", allowed for moving along pavements and cycling lanes.

Luckily, the authorities of most European countries seem to approve of the presence of these vehicles, as they do not cause any noise or exhaust emission, also being a great solution serving the decongestion of cities. 

For instance, there exists a certain permission to ride electric unicycles along cycling lanes or pavements within Polish cities, even though electric unicycles are not legally classified under any provisions of Polish law (therefore – there doesn't exist any prohibition on their use). In opposition to one wheelers, countries such us the UK have banned riding on two-wheel self-balancing vehicles (like Segways).

Warning! One should respect the permission to ride these vehicles and always use extreme caution. In the case of riding along a pavement where pedestrians walk along, one should slow down to the pedestrian speed. While on a cycling path within a city, one should try not to exceed the speed of 15 km/h. One should also not exceed 25 km/h while on isolated cycling paths outside of city centres.

Bear in mind that one needs to be familiar with road traffic rules as well as have their front and rear lights switched on while riding (with no strobe effect activated), properly indicating turn-taking as when riding a bike.

Remember to start practising how to ride along internal roads as well as to practise and polish your abilities in order to gain riding confidence before you hit the town on your unicycle.

If you still have any doubts or questions, check our section devoted to learning how to ride.

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