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Monocycle Market Review 2019

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There is still snow in most of Russia, but it’s already time to think about how to spend the summer. And it is difficult to imagine something more pleasant than hovering over the sidewalk, an effort of thought to move wherever you want. Of course, not exactly "floating" and not exactly "effort of thought", but the feeling of riding a monocoach is as close to this picture as possible. And a few weeks, while the snow is melting, you can spend on choosing the model that pleases you the most.
Monocycle Market Review 2019
Photo of Moscow Electric Club, source

Introduction

Required disclaimer I am not affiliated with any manufacturer or seller of monocycles, I am not advertising any of the models, manufacturers or sellers mentioned below and I am stating my opinion only, based on my own experience and information from specialized forums, chats and sites. Also, to avoid accusations of advertising, none of the video reviews below were produced by Russian stores or dealers.

If you compare the market situation with last spring The previously announced models came on the market during the year, but almost no wheels were released which were not known about last March. All in all, this is not surprising – the explosive growth of 14-16 is over, and new models are less different from older models and between manufacturing firms. Fortunately, just towards the end of that period, monocars in general became great machines and full-fledged vehicles.
For the sake of impartiality, manufacturing firms are presented alphabetically.

Gotway

Gotway wheels are notable for their variety. The company makes the largest wheel (22”), and in ’18 appeared as yet unconfirmed rumors of a resumption of production of the smallest (5”) model. In addition, models with wheels with unusual diameters of 17" and 19" were recently released (everybody got used to 14-16-18" wheels).
In ’17, a big problem for Gotway was reliability and poor vendor and customer service. An important sign that these problems are at least partially solved is that a major Russian monocoach dealer has returned Gotway to its price lists after a rather long exile.
The smallest wheel produced is the ten-inch Mten3. It has an 800-watt motor that allows an adult to ride safely, a top speed of 35 km/h and a 512-watt*h battery that lasts for about 35 real kilometers. But at the same time, the weight (11 kg) and price make it too close to "serious" monocars, so the usefulness of this model, in my opinion, doubtful.
The 14-inch range features the MCM5, which appeared in 2018. It is a fast (40 km/h), powerful (1500 W) wheel with small (340 W*h) and large (770 W*h) battery options, but heavy (17 kg) and with a strange design. Personally, what surprises me the most is the handle notch closed on one side, which does not allow you to hitch a strap or take the wheel with your left or right hand arbitrarily. At the same time, the model has handy features – a button that disables the raised wheel, a retractable handle, a headlight, and a USB port for charging gadgets.
Gotway has two wheels in the "middle" range – the 16” 2017 Tesla and the recently released 17” Nikola. The novelty can go at 50 km/h for a distance of under a hundred kilometers (battery 1554 Watt*h) thanks to the 2000 Watt motor, but weighs 24.5 kg and may not be comfortable for the legs because of the lack of side cushions. It also has all the fics of a modern monocoach – headlight, speakers, wheel disconnect when carrying, backlighting and a flip-up handle.
Gotway’s "heavy" weight boasts the 2018 MSuper X 19” model, the result of a long evolution of the MSuper series (V1, V2, V3). The updated case looks nice, but it’s missing the auto-carry-off and the speaker. The funny thing is that this model is slightly lighter than the Nikola, 23kg with very close specs.
And in the extra heavy weight, there’s the Monster 2017 22” model, which with its 32kg weight raises the question of whether such big wheels make sense.
Gotway used to be known for its powerful, fast and laconic (without lights and speakers) wheels, the new models follow the general trend more, for example, Nikola is noticeably similar to Inmotionwheels. But the original solutions may seem uncomfortable to some. If practice shows that there are really less problems with quality, this company will be back in the group of market leaders.

Inmotion

A year ago Inmotion only announced the new V10/V10F model and piqued interest with photos that didn’t make much sense. Eventually it turned out that the V10 was actually a weighted down model of the V8 (one of the best in 2016): very similar design, 2000W motor instead of 800, 960W*h battery instead of 480, 40 speed instead of 30, wider tire and speaker. Alas, it had to pay for it in weight – the wheel got almost 10 kg heavier – 22.5 vs 13.8. And, as it often happens with new products, there were some bugs – the design of the housing near the battery was made poorly, and the water could get there. After several unpleasant stories, the Russian dealer conducted a recall campaign for waterproofing, and new copies were modified.
Professional acrobat Damien Gome shows the capabilities of V10.
In general Inmotion have a reputation for making great but not the cheapest wheels, the V8 has been very successful. It has too small a battery for my tasks, if not for that, I would have had a hard time choosing a wheel – both the looks and performance were impressive.

KingSong

In 2018, KingSong completed an upgrade to their lineup by releasing the 18L model in a body similar to the 16-inch and 14-inch wheels. As a result, you can choose the wheel that best suits your needs :
For those who want to save money there is a 14-inch model 14M with a minimum battery of 170 Watt*h, on which you can drive 10-15 km. The 800W motor seems weak against the competition, but that’s an illusion. Safe monocycles start from the power of 500 W, and only very heavy riders (> 90-100 kg) should look for models with a motor more powerful than a kilowatt. But it is not possible to accelerate on this wheel – the weak battery limits the maximum safe speed of 20 km/h. Also the speakers and the LED strip are removed to save money.
The base model in 14-inch diameter is the 14D. The 420 Watt*h battery allows you to travel 25-30 km at a maximum speed of 30 km/h and benefits from a low weight of 13 kg. It comes with all the conveniences – retractable handle, speakers, headlight/stop light, USB charging for gadgets, there is only no automatic shutoff when the wheel is up in the air.
For those who are not enough mileage 14D, there is a variant 14S (in the Russian Federation it is also referred to as 14DS) with a battery of 840Wh. On it until the battery is completely discharged I have I was able to drive 53 km. Also, with the batteries taking up more space, there are comfortable and padded side cushions. The weight has increased slightly, to 15 kg. Last year the 14" cases boasted quick-release fuses, but in the new batches they were moved back to the controller board, and now you can’t get to them without disassembling the case.
In the 16-inch range, the original 16A model has been replaced by the updated 16S variant – motor power has been increased from 800 to 1200 watts, and the maximum safe speed has increased to 35 km/h. The weight remains within acceptable limits – 17 kg with a battery of 840 Watt*h. Because the 16-inch body was the first to appear, USB charging has not yet been added to it, but the speakers, headlight and retractable handle are here.
Well, finally, the latest 18-inch body pleased with all the possible chips – in addition to the retractable handle, headlight, speakers, USB charging, they added sensors in the handle bars that fix the wheel lift, so that it turns off automatically, without spinning in the air. Motor power has increased to 2 kW, which allows you to accelerate up to 50 km/h (please take care!). The model is available in two versions, with a battery of 1036 (-18L) and 1554 (-18XL) Watt*h. Alas, you have to pay for everything, and the weight of this wheel is 22 (-18L) or 24 (-18XL) kg. Also, unfortunately, the launch of the new model was not without annoying bugs – the wheel would randomly catch controller hang-ups when moving with the handle extended next to the host ("frizzes"), and the headlamp would not cool well and degrade quickly. In the new versions, the headlight design was changed, and the frizzes were at least partially defeated.
In general, it is also worth noting that, unfortunately, in 2018 there were more comments on the quality of manufacture of wheels – retractable handles began to break more often, and in one case, the wheel purchased was without a waterproofing gasket of the controller. At the same time, service statistics indicate that wheels are generally quite reliable – controllers, motors and batteries rarely fail. If KingSong does not let the quality of assembly drop further, they will remain one of the best manufacturers. Personally, I drove 2300 km on the 16A model and 1400 km on the 14S and I believe that this line has not only the most beautiful and logical design, but also the most rational characteristics for a compact and lightweight city vehicle.
There have been rumors of a new model for the past few months, and the first video of the KingSong 16X appeared on March 14, which is not expected until the summer. The novelty goes with the trend of late – wide tire (3”), powerful motor, big battery (1554 Watt*h), but the wheel will inevitably get heavy.

Ninebot

Announced back in August 2017, the new Ninebot Z6/Z8/Z10 only reached Russia in the fall. Feature of the model is tubeless tire diameter of 18 inches and a width of 4.1”. It is the widest of all commercially available monocycles, so riding on this wheel has its own characteristics. Users note a sharp deterioration in handling at speeds above 20-30 km / h. Also, despite the vast experience with segways and electric scooters, Ninebot was not able to catch and fix all the problems of the new model – there are cases where the wheels do not turn on immediately from the box, and some quickly fail the controller. The disadvantages also include the maximum weight among the common wheels – 26 kg, only a rare 22-inch Gotway Monster weighs more. But in these pounds fits a motor rated at 1800 watts, allowing you to accelerate up to 45 km / h, the battery 995 W * h and almost a full set of features – retractable handle, turn off when climbing, lights, speaker, there is only a USB-port.
Ninebot had an excellent reputation, around 2015 his models were among the best, but with the "evil" (slang name in Russia – z10 – "zlo") so far, things did not work out. According to available information, the medium model Z8 has been discontinued, and only the light and heavy variants remain. Thanks to the production of excellent scooters and segways, the company will survive the not-so-successful model and may yet please us in the future.

Other companies

IPS released a compact S5 dual-motor wheel last year, but judging by the lack of information online, it’s produced in small batches at best. If the company has any problems, it’s really sad because the ultra-compact i5 (2017) had a completely revolutionary design.
Rockwheel announced the IRON 100 with a 2 kW motor, 16” wheel, and a 1-2 kWh battery. The rectangular design is not particularly inspiring. The last GT16 model had problems with both design and reliability, so Russian dealers don’t show much interest in the company, and Rockwheel wheels are almost never seen in Russia.
Solowheel released a compact "colobus" Iotatrax, although, judging by the comments of the backers, not everyone who supported the release with money managed to get them. But you can find reviews online, at least in the West the wheel is found.
Uniwheel, the only monocycle company with Russian developers, almost had its first model ready for release, but suddenly fell silent. A Western monocycle forum has post of a man who walked by their London office, called, but was not opened. The company could have either moved or closed altogether. Alas, their only model was obsolete before it was even released.

Conclusion

Monocycle developers listen to the wishes of users, and this could lead to a paradoxical effect.The most active are fans who want to ride even faster and farther, and the issue of inevitable weight increase does not bother them. As a result, fresh models from different manufacturers have powerful motors and large batteries, but become noticeably heavier. Only practice will show how representative such an active group is. Fortunately, the monocycle market is quite diverse, and you can choose the option that best suits your needs. Also the summary table of characteristics of monocycles for diameters can help 10-14 inches and > 16 in.
Supplementary Materials :

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