R1 & Justina - 2017-01-21 06:33

Unicycle essence, namely IPS Zero – zero has never meant so much before

IPS Zero is a 14''-diameter-based model of a unicycle, released per 2016 as a flagship of renowned IPS company. The world debut of this product took place near the end of 2015 (year-ends make the most popular periods for presenting new models meant for following years in the unicycle market).

The unofficial (at least initially) name of Zero became well received in the market. It was definitely associated with the philosophy behind how the designers of this wheel approached this model.

The outer look – Zero compromises

The shape of IPS Zero is enclosed within a nearly perfect circle. Well-profiled casing elements and scrupulously hidden details stand for true minimalist art in this case. When compared to other models of this manufacturer, as well as the models released by its competitors, this one stands out as offering above-average style – nobody will pass by it indifferently.

Well-composed, folding and magnetic pedals of light alloys are basically the only elements disturbing the smooth side line here. The lack of side calf pads is a characteristic feature of IPS Zero and it definitely reduces the weight and size of this device. What is more, the producer has managed to respond to IP65 class requirements in terms of resistance to dust and water with its flagship model.

There is no room for compromise – this is the essence of the unicycle.

Battery that will never drop to Zero

IPS Zero, depending on the version that is indicated with a specific code, may come in different parameters, different by the capacity and battery type, motor power and maximum speed:

  • IPS141 - 340 Wh by SONY – the effective range of 30 km (40 km according to the specification), the maximum speed: up to 30 km/h, power – up to 1000W,
  • IPS142 - 260 Wh– the effective range of 20 km (30 km according to the specification), the maximum speed: up to 25- 30 km/h, power – up to 800W,
  • IPS143 – 130 Wh – the effective range of 10 km (15 km according to the specification), the maximum speed: up to 20 km/h, power – up to 800W.

The capacity of batteries influences the maximum motor power and – particularly – the range offered by a given model; this is why IPS141 version seems to be the best choice. 

Zero weight

The weight – if large – is definitely the downside of every device of this kind. This is why their manufacturers compete with regard to the use of lighter and lighter materials or solutions of increasing effectiveness. For now, nobody has gone so far as IPS in the said category.

Reaching the weight oscillating around approx. 10 kg is no mean feat that anbody else has attained so far. Additionally, we need to remember that 10 kg is the weight of the heaviest version of IPS Zero, equipped with the most capacious battery of 340 Wh. The lightest version, having the battery of 130 Wh, only weighs about 8.7 kg. Such weight allows for easy carrying of the device even in the case of the most petite women, also while going upstairs if a need be.

People over 100 kg may start wondering whether the device would break or not after they have applied their weight on it but these thoughts are unnecessary. The wheel will carry even those users who reach 120 kg with their weight.

Below is where you can see the comparison of the highest version of IPS Zero (IPS141) with other popular EUC's of 14":

Dimension Zero

IPS Zero, aside from the smaller size of its tyres (14") among typical unicycles (16"), does not have any protruding parts attached to its casing (except for foldable pedals and a handle).

It is not only so that the model leads its category with regard to weight but it is also so that its dimensions are only slightly larger than the size of wheel and tyre themselves combined – 481 mm x 382 mm x 168 mm. What is more interesting, all IPS versions have the same dimensions.

This is why we may accommodate it inside a backpack or bag. It needs to be underlined that barely any "rideable wheel" allows for it. It suffices to check the dimensions of most models and compare them with the size parameters of the largest backpacks present in the market – in most cases (if not all) there will be at least one not compatible dimension identified (e.g. its width or depth).

We may complement an IPS Zero with the purchase of an original and reasonably priced backpack, also convertible to the form of a wheelie suitcase due to its telescopic handle.

Such a backpack will not only make it possible to easily move around with our unicycle but it also has a lot of spare room, e.g. to accommodate for a charger and petty purchases. The size of a backpack may be adjusted with the use of stripes. It does not pose any problems to take it on board of a bus or train, if setting off for a journey. The additional advantage is that when your unicycle is inside, nobody may even realise it. It simply looks like a normal travelling suitcase.

If – for whatever reason – we will not decide to purchase a backpack like this, we may quite freely carry IPS Zero in our hands at shorter distances – it is the lightest in the market, after all.

The power of three Zeroes

Despite its lightweight design, IPS Zero may boast the power level reaching 1000 W. The IPS engineers are also known for creating their own Battery Management Systems (BMS) that are integrated with their in-house motherboards.

IPS Zero is also equipped with the system of braking energy recovery.

Years of experience in creating electric wheels made IPS systems popular all around the world due to their safety of use. Thousands of users worldwide have trusted the dedicated solutions of IPS electronics, created with a specific unicycle model in sight from beginning to end.

The motor of IPS Zero 141 allows for efficient moving around at the speed of up to 30 km/h. Our tests indicate it that only the approximate value of a half of power available is used while riding at the speed of about 20 km/h.

Taking care of the safety of new users, the manufacturers have limited the initial maximum speed to 12 km/h. The limit is increased to 20 km/h after having covered a short distance of approx. 5 km, while covering further 45 km allows for raising the level to the maximum 30 km/h offered.

While approaching the speed limit, there activates the so-called tilt-back effect, namely an intensely experienced, automatic and intended inclination of one's unicycle backwards. Whenever it occurs, the device also emits a sound signal, warning the user of approaching the speed limit.

The possibility to choose riding modes (one of the two available) is another interesting function of IPS Zero:

  • Comfort – a default mode that is characterised by slower acceleration (more intuitive one), more "fixed" riding – pedals are kept at the same level, with the exception of bend-taking or accelerating/braking; in such cases the vehicle slightly leans to the front or back in order to make manoeuvring easier,
  • Sport – this mode is characterised by immediate and rapid acceleration and braking, as well as more intensely experienced inclinations to the front or back, designed in a way making the riding experience more dynamic. The sport mode does not make the wheel save its energy and it is supplied to the motors exactly according to how much of it is needed. Even the slightest shift of one's body weight to the front triggers the rapid maximisation of performance.
Both modes are very pleasant and they may be changed even during a ride, with one click within a proper mobile app only.

Zero darkness thanks to LED lights

IPS Zero is equipped with two slats housing LED lights, placed on both sides of it under black circles. The attached mobile app allows for the free configuration of them. The most significant mode that should be of the interest of a EU citizen is related to the lamps that are activated after dusk. IPS offers a special mode that switches on 8 diodes at the front (white) and back (red) of the device, as shown in the picture attached.

The arrangement of diodes in IPS Zero is very similar to the one adopted within Ninebot One, while it is better with regard to a few aspects:

  • The diodes of IPS Zero are visible under each angle. In the case of Ninebot One, the diodes are only visible on its sides, while the front and rear parts are devoid of any lighting.
  • The diodes are mounted in a way that allows for the source of light to fall along the adopted route, thanks to which it is possible to shed stronger light from the level of the back and front parts of the device instead of its sides, as offered by Ninebot One.
  • The lamp modes (as referenced to in the picture) present in IPS Zero fulfil the legal requirements referring to the question of vehicle lighting. Additionally, the light is so strong that it suffices to have one's rides taken at night within at least partially lit city. On the other hand, the diodes are not as strong to blind other traffic participants (cyclists, drivers or pedestrians). In the case of Ninebot One, there is no possibility to additionally lit the front and rear parts thereof in the same way without the necessity to buy separate lamps.

At the same time, IPS company has once more proven its concern over the safety of its users by deciding not to introduce any flash mode to the device, in order to avoid the danger of so-called "target fixation". We encourage you to read a separate article which explains why the flashing lights of bikes and unicycles cause accidents.

Regardless of settings chosen, IPS Zero is equipped with a permanently activated braking indicator light. It needs to be admitted that the functionality operates perfectly, including the working aspect of additional 6 red rear diodes (10 of them altogether) during the activity of braking.

When it comes to the maniacs of "complete darkness rides" – these need to take the necessity to additionally purchase a lamp to illuminate the road into account, as the built-in front lighting may turn out insufficient. Luckily, the handle of an IPS Zero may have any type of a bicycle-compatible lamp (optimally – using rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones) mounted to it without any problems or additional accessories involved.

The stylistic design of IPS Zero reverberated loudly in the market of the vehicles of this kind. The aesthetics of Zero lights, when juxtaposed against those of other "rideable wheels", may be compared to Ferrari – it simply gives an outstanding impression.

Mobile app – many more options than Zero

IPS company decided to release a separate app, specifically dedicated to IPS Zero. Named "I am IPS", the app was published to operate within Android/BlackBerry and iOS platforms. The movie containing its presentation may be watched in our "Tests" section.

Certain functionalities of the app:

  • Updating the firmware of the vehicle, encompassing e.g. the improved drivers of its motor, further optimised energy consumption, new algorithms of bend-taking support, new lighting modes, etc. It works similarly to the updating measures present in Tesla cars,
  • The selection of riding mode: Comfort (default) or Sport,
  • Setting the speed limit (12 km/h, 20 km/h or 30 km/h with regard to 141 version),
  • Displaying the real-time speed and motor power use,
  • Displaying the status of battery charging,
  • The use of a horn,
  • The possibility to change the lighting mode (including many ready-to-use modes complemented by animations, a variety of colours, etc.),
  • Displaying the whole mileage of a vehicle due to the lack of possibility to reset the functionality (it is a great solution while attempting to buy a second-hand unicycle) or the display of mileage covered since the beginning of most recent ride,
  • Sharing one's performance parameters in the form of a screen-shot or within the worldwide IPS ranking (a functionality similar to the one present in Ninebots),
  • Displaying the vehicle's technical data, the recent battery voltage, etc.,
  • The calibration of gyroscopes of a given device (it is not necessary to use the function in most cases.

Zero disappointments

IPS Zero has been made for all those who care about small dimensions and light weight, a good price and – additionally – the high quality of a device. It needs to be repeated that this is the essence of a textbook electric unicycle – a vehicle that serves fast commuting with no traffic congestion involved. IPS Zero perfectly responds to the definition and it does not need to be complemented with any Bluetooth speakers, a telescopic handle or other stuff like this.

Zero has been equipped with the most significant features of an electric unicycle and it presents itself amazingly.

Its dimensions and weight appeal to many. These are why we do not feel any unevenness under our feet while riding an IPS Zero.

Taking a ride by this IPS model means Zero worrying over anything and Zero disappointments. It is a pure pleasure.

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