What exactly is an electric self-balancing unicycle?
It has one wheel. It has an electric motor. It has built-in sensors that determine whether it is leaning backward or forward along the disk-plane of the wheel. If the sensors determine that the centre-of-gravity is forward of the axle of the wheel, it speeds up the motor to try to keep the device balanced. That makes you speed up. If the sensors determine that the centre-of-gravity is behind the axle of the wheel, it slows down the motor to try to maintain balance. That makes you slow down. Lean forward to accelerate and lean back to brake. Simple.
This doesn’t do a thing for falling over to the side, but in cycling, motorcycling and the world of electric, self-balancing unicycles, we refer to falling over to the side as controlled carving of turns, and consider it an exhilarating and delightful part of getting around.
None of these will keep you dry in the rain, although the Airwheel and SBU V3 do allow you to carry an umbrella. However, will one of them keep your clothes cleaner as you ride through puddles? In that case, the airwheel’s almost fully enclosed wheel is a big plus. After market seat post clip-on bicycle fenders are available for the SBU V3, but that’s a poor second best and many people will end up with stripes up their backs and soaked pants. The RYNO’s fairly massive seat will keep the upper clothes clean, but shoes and pants won’t be as protected.
So which one is best?
If you are doing a daily commute of five kilometres one way solely by unicycle, the SBU V3 gives you up to ten minutes extra per day when you aren’t commuting. And if you live in or ride into really hilly places like much of San Francisco, the SBU V3 gives you much greater comfort that you won’t be sweating the last hundred meters.
If you need the SUV of electric self-balancing unicycles, with saddle bags capable of carrying groceries for a family of five, the only choice is the RYNO. This is the one for suburban soccer moms, at least the ones who live pretty close to the grocery stores where there are good sidewalks. And who have bigger bank accounts.
Personally, I made my choice months ago. I picked the Airwheel Electric Scooter and I’ve been very happy with it. For sheer minimalist awesome, the Airwheel wins hands down. Fold down the pedals, step on and glide away. No hands, no seat, just magic carpet. It’s also the lightest and is the most convenient to carry around.
No one questions me carrying the Airwheel onto subways, into grocery stores or into the backseat of taxis. It’s the size of a round briefcase and has a handle on top. I buy groceries, pick up sushi and ride to the office. I was expecting to be nerdy on the airwheel, but the most frequent comment I get in Singapore is “Cool!”, and that is from every age group, both sexes and every degree of dressed up and down.