V10F Electric Unicycle Review: Enthusiast Perspective
Posted by Tom Lee on
There's been much talk about the upcoming Ninebot Z series wheels in terms of their pitched off-roading ability, however, one of the most important considerations in conditions with uneven surfaces and unexpected obstacles and drop offs is clearance. Low pedals aren't going to cut it no matter how wide the tire is.
Speaking of pedals, let's take another look at a direct comparison to V8 / G3:
Yes, the pedals are quite a bit larger all around. I know I wasn't the only one asking for larger pedals, so this is a welcome addition. Not that this wheel has any issue with pedal clearance whatsoever, but given the chance, I would actually refine the corners down to an angle or rounded shape similar to G3. That space simply isn't needed, and for the most part we really didn't need wider pedals at all. The extra length is definitely helpful though.
While the rubber pedal inserts are extremely comfortable (my 5+ hour ride can attest), I feel that in most riding scenarios I would prefer a hard surface with grip tape. Usually I'm going to want the maximum amount of control over such a high performance wheel. And while it doesn't often rain in San Diego, I know I would feel a little more secure with grip tape instead of rubber.
All of that said, I do feel that overall the pedals are quite nice as they are. I just would like to have an optional performance insert that I can swap out for those times I want performance above everything else.
Firmware / App / Ride Mode Adjustments
For those of you who've been riding long enough - you've probably noticed that as speed and power has increased, there has been somewhat of a more progressively sluggish feel that comes with this boost in motor power and speed. I tend to equate it to being stuck in 5th gear. When I first spend a good chunk of time testing out the pre-production V10F a few weeks ago, my immediate thought was "damn.. here's that same feeling on the V10. I guess there is nothing they can do about that." Granted, I did feel it was an improvement compared to competing high powered wheels, but it was still noticeably sluggish feeling compared to the G3 I've grown to adore so much. Naturally, I adjusted to it as with any new wheel I've spent good time riding. I learned to put more of my body weight into it, and soon enough it was feeling like less of an issue. But it still felt a little stiff and not as playful as I'd have liked.
After multiple discussions with Bob, I was told they were working on adjustments / options for the ride mode in the new InMotion App. And with the arrival of the first production units today, I was able to test it out on the pre-release version of the new app. Instead of offering different preset modes, a slider to adjust the "Footboard Sensitivity" is provided - a range from 2048 to 4096. The default setting is the stiffest: 4096. The first thing I did was crank it down to 2048. The next 10 minutes of riding turned me into a little kid again because I could barely contain myself. It's quite a bit different compared to the softer modes you may have tried before. Instead of a slow, linear angle adjustment as you lean, this softer setting gives the pedals a stiff spring-like response. Not too much bounce. It's subtle, but totally natural and very stable. Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of 2048. This single feature increased my excitement about getting my own V10F in the next batch by about tenfold because it brought the playfulness back to the table I felt it was missing.
Speaking of that new app- I've got to say it's pretty neat to be able to check your power output, efficiency (Wh/km), speed, and temps all in real time. It really gives us an easy way to check how specific riding scenarios are affecting the power available to us. Beyond the live feed seen in the screenshot above, there is also a view to show tons of statistics averaged / maxed for your current riding session. So if you want to go for a particular challenge run, there is a nice glanceable view of your performance and efficiency.
If it wasn't obvious, I am big fan of this wheel. V10F is a beast of a wheel inside a gorgeous package, and for me most importantly: it simply feels amazing to ride because great care was taken to not make sacrifices where it mattered. I feel like this wheel gives me much more confidence to ride on the road when needed yet still nimble enough to feel at home on the sidewalk near tons of pedestrians.
If you are a fan of InMotion's previous advancements in the world of electric unicycles but found it hard to resist the lure of more range and speed - they've now answered your call with a well rounded and refined machine that brings the whole experience up to par instead of just raw specs.
Jeffrey Will, Experience Manager, InMotion USA