If you thought an electric scooter was an outlandish way to travel, you better hold on — you haven’t seen anything yet. This summer, it’s all about balancing your way down the street on various one-wheeled personal vehicles.
These remote-free vehicles are all electric and use self-balancing tech to hurtle you surprisingly fast toward your destination. All of the products are different, but to me, most of them felt like learning to ski or snowboard for the first time. Crouch, stay low to the ground, and look forward.
It’s a balancing act.
The Kiwano KO1+ one-wheel scooter, which features a giant wheel and handle bar, came out earlier this year and is a beast of a machine. The electric device can go up to 15 mph, and its thick wheel can handle tough terrain. You ride the scooter by standing on foot pegs on the side of the wheel; just push on the battery and go. Like most self-balancing devices, the scooter responds to your body positioning. Move forward and it accelerates, lean back to slow down.
They may look similar to the Segway Drift e-Skates from last summer, but these hover shoes from Jetson are their own thing. Turn on the electric shoes, step onto the self-balancing platform, and you’re ready to go.
The Kicks sense pressure, so you can control your ride to move as fast as up to 7 mph. You’re not strapped in, but just standing atop the hovering wheel, so focus on balancing and staying upright. Though the shoes light up, riding them at night seems a little scary; during the day at least you can see what you’re about to crash into. One charge takes you up to 6 miles, which seems like a lot of distance to cover while teetering on the wheels.
The MotoKicks are available online, and will be in stores starting Aug. 5.
This self-balancing rideable ball is just that: a ball you can ride. Foot pegs flip out so you can stand on the 20-pound electric rotating ball and move along at 12 mph. It’s a self-balancing situation in which your body movements affect the ride, so bend your knees and tilt your body and head where you want to go.
It’s supposed to start shipping in August.
OneWheel is known for its one-wheeled motorized board, but a few months ago it shrunk the vehicle down to a 23-pound, 2-foot-long device that’s 4 pounds lighter and about 3 inches shorter than the full-size version. The Pint — like its bigger predecessor — requires only body movement to propel it forward or to make it stop. The smaller version is supposed to be more accessible, not just in size but with a handle to carry the board when not riding. It still zips around up to 16 mph, only 3 mph less than the bigger one’s max speed, and one charge lasts up to 8 miles.
The Pints arrive starting next month. The personal vehicles are made in a San Jose, California, factory.
5. Leiftech’s Summerboard ($1,547)
This electric skateboard board has summer in the name, so we had to include it. It’s a bit like a snowboard, but on land. Yes, really. So it’s not a one-wheeled device, and it requires a remote to accelerate with an electric jolt, but you can carve up the sidewalk just like you would the mountainside. The electric, swappable battery sits on top of the board and allows you to go up to 25 mph.
Why not rove the green or pool grounds this summer on a personal standing electric device? With four wheels and a handle bar these are much more stable, meaning you can hang 10 a bit easier, with far less balancing required.