What Is a Onewheel?

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

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Micromobility is a hot buzzword these days, and it refers to the lightweight, electric vehicles that have their heart set on disrupting the transportation industry. Though everything about these vehicles feels exciting and new, a key reason for their success may have to do with their ability to evoke a sense of dewy nostalgia. According to a report published by McKinsey and Company, a consulting firm, riders say that one of the most appealing things about whizzing down city streets on these electrified conveyances is that it takes them back to childhood days spent piloting a bicycle or scooter.

One of the most innovative micromobility solutions is the Onewheel. This vehicle bears more than a passing resemblance to an American classic, the skateboard. But while a skateboard has four wheels, a Onewheel has — you guessed it — only one.

How Does It Work?

The self-balancing Onewheel features an electric motor and a single, chunky wheel.

 

With the Onewheel, a thick deck rests atop a single, chunky wheel. The device is self-balancing, and both the board and the rider are held in a level position as an electric motor gets things moving.

To change direction, you don’t need handlebars or a handheld controller. Instead, the Onewheel is able to recognize changes in the way your body is positioned. Want to make a left turn? Angle your body to the left, and the Onewheel will take the hint. It will speed up if you thrust your body forward and slow down if you pull back. You can bring things to a halt by lifting your heel from the deck.

This little people-mover wasn’t meant just for city streets. Its huge, indomitable wheel makes the Onewheel much more rugged than a skateboard, and it’s sturdy enough to venture beyond paved roads. It’s also built to resist water, so it’s able to withstand mud and puddles.

The Onewheel isn’t scared of a little dirt. It’s rugged enough to tackle unpaved paths.

 

To get started, you need to download a Onewheel app to your smartphone, then connect the phone to the board via Bluetooth. The app has a dashboard that provides information such as current speed, miles traveled and the amount of charge left in the board’s battery.

One more thing: The Onewheel isn’t cheap. Pricing-wise, it has more in common with a small used car than a skateboard. The top model in the range starts at roughly $1,800.

What Options Are Available?

This innovative micromobility vehicle comes in two flavors: XR and Pint.

The Onewheel XR is the larger of the two. It’s 29.5 inches long and 9.5 inches wide, and it weighs in at a not-insignificant 27 pounds. It has a range of 12-18 miles and a top speed of 19 mph, and it’s able to achieve a full charge in 60 minutes.

Ready for action. The Onewheel XR is 29.5 inches long and can travel for 12-18 miles between charges.

 

Pricing for the Onewheel XR kicks off at $1,799. Adding a bundle that includes a home charger and replacement bumpers steps the price up to $1,899.

For those who want something that’s smaller and more accessibly priced, there’s the Onewheel Pint, the runt of the litter. It’s 27 inches long and nearly 9 inches wide, and it tips the scales at 23 pounds. It can travel for 6-8 miles between charges, and it reaches a top speed of 16 mph. The Onewheel Pint can be fully charged in just 50 minutes.

Weighing in at 23 pounds, the Onewheel Pint can achieve a full charge in 50 minutes.

 

Pricing for the Onewheel Pint starts at $950.

Summing Up

Two-wheeled conveyances are all the rage these days, but the Onewheel aims to bring something different to the party. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s purpose-built to serve up lots of open-air enjoyment, whether you’re on urban roadways or rural paths. Consider it the green, mean cousin of the skateboard, that old familiar friend.

 


About the Author

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

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