R1 - 2017-01-19 17:11

KingSong KS14-D - could it be even better?

It has recently started getting heated up in the market of electric unicycles. It is noticeable that the interest in such means of transport is on the rise, as its manufacturers are relentlessly competing for devising new and increasingly more interesting solutions for their products. It provides their users with the possibility to choose the right wheel that will fulfil even the expectations of the most demanding fans of eco transport.

With the season of 2017 in view, there was the debut of a new unicycle model of KS-14 organised in December, 2016, as marked with "D" letter. It is the fourth generation of the 14-inch wheel of Kingsong. The up-to-know manufactured KS-14C model used to be a popular, great and reliable unicycle while its design was left behind many new trends and the functionality of it seemed too poor when compared to its KS-16B older brother. This is why there was its successor created: KS-14D.

External look

The design of this model strongly refers to KS-16. There are two colour versions present in the sales: black and white, both offering a shiny finish. The manufacturer is still considering the release of a special edition of the model – covered with rubber, just as in the case of KS-16. It is noticeable that both the handle and pedals of this model were made of lighter materials: magnesium alloys.

Motor

A tripolar and brushless BLDC motor, based on permanent magnets and of the nominal power of 800 W, is capable of reaching the maximum power of up to 2400 W. It is an unbeatable result in its class. 

Its energetic circuit, as combined with the appropriately matching thickness of its cables and motherboard tracks, is protected against immediate switching off in the case of really great overloads. It handles rapid braking or acceleration really well. This is the most significant functionality aspect of the devices of this kind due to which many users value the brand of KingSong – mainly known for putting the question of safety as its priority. Additional protection is provided e.g. thanks to three-level sound alarms and – in the phase to follow – the "tilt-back" effect whose intensity rises along with the assumed speed. Sound alarms may be configured with the use of a dedicated mobile app.

The manufacturer estimates the motor reliability as reaching 100% with regard to the mileage of 30-thousand kilometers. 

LED lighting

Side LED lights, similarly to the case of IPS Zero, are perfectly visible, The manufacturer has provided many lighting schemes that may be freely changed or permanently switched off through the use of mobile app. Once a given unicycle is at the state of a standstill, the side LED diodes of it inform the user of the battery status of their wheel.

Weight

KS-14D only weighs 12.5 kg. It is slightly more than in the case of IPS Zero (the leader of the field). The main reason behind the differences in their weights is related to the battery capacity of the said models, as well as with regard to the motor power and the presence of accessories within the construction of a given unicycle. In the class of 14", the weight of KS14 may not appear particularly amazing, while it is nearly identical to the one of Inmotion V5F+ (12 kg) and lower when compared to Gotway MCM4 (13.2 kg), while it is still lower than in the case of each wheel of 16" specification, except for Solowheel Classic.

The presence of a telescopic handle puts the considerations over the weight of this device to a halt.

Telescopic handle

The handle has a similar construction to the one of KS16, while the fact that it was made of magnesium alloys considerably increases its durability. A proven solution, borrowed from the construction of wheelie suitcases, adds to the unique overall shape of the device.

This is so far the only model of an electric 14"-wheel present on the market that was equipped with such a solution on a mass scale.

Leading this device at one's side, while having it additionally use its motor-derived electric power, is a pleasure on its own. Thanks to this type of assistance, KS14 becomes a device of lightweight nature while leading it is even more convenient than in the case of pulling even the lightest suitcase behind one's back.

Riding lights

Strong LED lights perfectly deal with a complete-darkness loving  rider, even with the speed of up to 20 km/h involved. The twilight sensor takes care of keeping the light activated and switched on automatically only when we need it. We are always given the possibility to turn it off (e.g. for the purpose of saving the battery status) or switch on permanently with the button placed on its casing / within the mobile app.

The stop lamp of this device works independently, just like in the case of cars. Each time there occurs braking, the rear light is either switched on in red or doubles its lighting power if it has been switched on before. The automatic switching of the lighting direction (similarly to K16, K14 also has white and red LED lights placed on both sides of these devices) makes the product fully symmetrical, due to which one does not need to ponder over how to position their unicycle when firing it up.

Batteries

In the case of KS-14D, there were Li-Ion batteries provided by renowned LG and Sanyo (a Panasonic subsidiary) companies and of 420 Wh capacity used. They have been arranged into two sets, as placed on both sides of the device, in order to perfectly balance the wheel (just like in the case of KS16). The manufacturer declares it that the range of this unicycle is associated with the span of 30-40 km, depending on the riding aggressiveness, the presence of hills, the environmental temperature and user weight. The minimum lifespan of batteries is 500 charging cycles which translates into 15 thousand km of their mileage. With regard to Central European weather conditions, traversing 1500 km a year is no mean feat. One may easily deduce it that the problem of having to replace one's battery with a new one may never arise in the course of normal use.

USB port

There is a USB port placed under a flap of rubber.

Due to this, one's unicycle may be used as a powerbank for mobile phones or other mobile devices. 

Speakers

The functionality of a mobile speaker is yet another interesting additional feature of this model, taking advantage of the power drawn from its solid batteries. 

KS14-D is equipped with as many as 4 speakers and a Bluetooth mode which provides excellent quality and range of sound.

Apps

There were two independent apps developed with the thought of Kingsong unicycles. 

The app provided by its manufacturer is one of them. Thanks to this, it is possible to change the configuration of lighting, riding mode, LED lighting, sounds, speed alarms, calibrate the gyroscopes, as well as update the built-in firmware.

The other app is named Wheellog – excellent software made to register the operating parameters of one's device in real time (instantaneous power, voltage, power, speed, battery status) along with the GPS location. Wheellog app also cooperates with popular Pebble smartwatches. Such watches show chosen parameters of unicycle operation and inform their users of low battery status with vibrations, using the same method to inform them of the exceeding of pre-set speed limits.

This is an exceptional convenience only available to the users of Kingsong and Gotway models.

Could it have been done any better?

Kingsong company has not rested on laurels which they demonstrate by implementing innovative solutions on the grounds of this still new market that electric unicycles constitute. With each successive model, Kingsong proves that with regard to the questions of weight, power and range there is always something that may heve been improved.

The reduction of weight was attained by the change of material used to magnetic alloys.

For a wheel of 14" type, Kingsong has offered a large supply of power, contributing to one's safety.

The question of whether there is any sense in the further boosting of motor power, when confronted with the upcoming traffic regulations intended to legally limit the speed of such devices to the level of 25 km/h, is out of any disputes. We hope that Kingsong will focus on the improvement of other parameters they offer instead.

The range of a given device relies on the question of batteries. The greater capacity a battery has, the higher the weight of its device is, thence the compromise is difficult to attain. The range of 30-40 kilometres is sufficient with a one-day trip in sight (while, in the case of most users, it will suffice to cover a few days of riding to work), while due to the fact that KS14 is charged by connecting it to a casual socket, just like a mobile phone, it is possible to charge its batteries everywhere. The thriving market of efficient and mobile solar chargers is also handy in here.


The multiplicity of additional accessories is out of any competition in the case of this model and it is difficult to come up with anything more with regard to it. The only thing that could also be useful is the presence of a built-in and pull-out foot/prop.


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