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DIY Onewheel – open-source self balancing skateboard (bytesizedengineering.com)
193 points by johnsonap 22 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 101 comments



Nice video series!

With some incredibly odd timing, I documented building a onewheel right before the commercial ones existed, for a 2014 writeup:

https://transistor-man.com/flying_nimbus.html

So jealous that off the shelf hub-motor in wheel assemblies exist now, i had to build a custom hub and dealt with the oddities of planetary backlash, then ended up fitting an early direct drive motor.


It really is amazing how much the state of the art in hub motors has come since 2012. Building silly electric vehicles is almost too easy now that you no longer need to wind your own motor and write your own bldc commutation firmware...


'incredibly odd timing'. I pray that I live long enough to develop such equanimity, assuming you got ripped off.


It's a pretty big planet. At any given time, probably thousands of engineers are simultaneously thinking of building the same "next new thing."


There's a named phenomenon for this... I can't put my finger on it. Something about discoveries/inventions all independently piling up at the same time whenever all conditions are right in history.


Maybe you're thinking of the concept of multiple discovery: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_discovery


If you're remotely interested in this sort of thing, definitely check out the VESC project (https://vesc-project.com), which is kind of the secret sauce that makes this sort of thing accessible to mere mortals.

There are a lot of hardware variants at different price and quality points but it's a great, hackable, open-source (GPL3) motor controller for smallish motors (in the 24-44 volt range—they typically use a gate drive/power supply controller with a 60V limit).


Do you mean 24-48? 44V is pretty odd, and I assume 48V means <60V?


I don't really know if there's a firm consensus as to the official nominal voltage of a lithium ion cell, but I was going off of 10 cells (in series, aka "10S") being considered a 36V system (that gets up to ~42V when fully charged).

12S seems to be considered the highest voltage that the original VESC can reliably handle, which works out to 43.2V at 3.6V per cell.


this is cool, BUT as a onewheel owner who's spent way too much time learning about them and the knock-offs, it's not the hardware that's the tricky bit. It's the software.

the knockoffs are NOT GOOD and thus even _more_ dangerous to ride because no-one else has figured out how to get the balancing software right.

so, yeah, if you go into this project, know that regardless of how awesome your hardware skills are, the software is the bit that's _really_ going to take a lot of time if you want an experience anywhere close to the official one.


This is cool and horrifying at the same time, just be very careful if you are trying such a thing.

We just had an initial support for VESC NRF/HM10 devices added into Gadgetbridge if this is of interest to anyone fascinated in this subject.

https://blog.freeyourgadget.org/release-0_64_0.html


Managing the size of the gaps between the wheel and the platform seems like one safety centric issue. Too narrow and it can suck up some skin into the narrow hole. Too wide and it pulls in a whole shoe, or leaves not enough flat surface. I'm curious what the optimal size is, and whether there are more ways to safeguard it.


As the owner of a commercial onewheel, The gap is pretty small on those. Maybe 1/4".

However, the real solution is to just get a fender since riding on anything but clean pavement leads to a lot of dirt being flung around.


Yeah I was noticing how wide the gaps were on his


How well did the force sensitive resistors workout over time? I found these switches that are used as push-buttons on public buses they work fairly well and survive splash/grime [1] [2] I contacted them ages ago and they sent a demo kit for free.

1: https://www.tapeswitch.com/ 2: https://transistor-man.com/PhotoSet/flying_nimbus_MKIII/P108...


I'm a daily rider of a Onewheel XR. I've got a few thousand miles on mine, and I do a ton of trail riding here in Colorado. I'm pretty obsessed with these things.

All that aside, I would advise anyone who wants to try going this route to watch their ass.

A standard Future Motion developed Onewheel is an extremely dangerous device. I always, always wear a helmet on mine. If you wear a helmet, the device pretty much stops being fatally dangerous, and just becomes a source of rather mild injuries if/when you fall. I rarely fall on mine now, and when I do, I don't get injured due to standard skateboarding/mountain biking pads. All that being said, FM put a TON of energy and learning into their firmware. A onewheel that cruises on a smooth surface is relatively straightforward compared to one that can be reliably ridden in rough conditions, handle bumps/voltage sags/etc gracefully, and just be super durable as well.

I could definitely see an open source onewheel eventually becoming on par with FM's XR. But if you're an early adopter of this thing, be ready to fall, A LOT.


I'm really surprised trails allow motorized conveyance anywhere in Colorado. Are you sticking to jeep trails or something?


See my exchange in another thread. Depends on who manages the land the trails are on. National Forest doesn’t allow them, but rangers don’t enforce it. National Wildlife Refuge allows them. County open space where I ride only bans gas powered vehicles. Bans of “motorized” vehicles enacted decades ago were intended to keep loud, polluting, fast, and heavy dirt bikes off trails. Electric motors that top out at under 20mph have been swept into this. Eventually, like mountain bikes, people will realize the bans make no sense and allow them.


Mountain bikes still severely fuck up trails, there's a reason lots of trails are for hikers only.


I never understood why these self-balancing toys are so underpowered. I want to see one built on top of a dirtbike engine that you need to wear serious body armour to use.


What you're looking for is an EUC, Electric Unicycle. Most of the people in the local onewheel group I'm a member of that ride EUC's wear full motorcycle protection. At least one of them can go upwards of 45 mph.


They can be pretty dangerous if you are an idiot. IE this crash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pahL4MPPOek


I am sure that man has many hours of safe riding. It is always the 10 seconds of deadly and uncontrollable trauma that necessitates safety gear. Self-confidence is often the hubris of humanity.


I ride a OneWheel and it can test your nerves sometimes. However, just looking at the speed and stance of a EUC makes me more nervous. You could just open your arms at 45mph and embrace the car in front of you.


Holy shit I just googled EUC's, those things look insane


They are insane. I bought one and learned how to ride it. It took a while and it was very frustrating before it clicked.

It's surprisingly intuitive once you get going.


There are a lot of practical problems trying to build a balancing vehicle around an internal combustion engine.

They can't produce any torque at zero speed, they can't smoothly reverse direction, they likely can't produce enough negative torque at higher speeds, and their control bandwidth is probably inadequate for anyone but an extremely skilled rider.


Well, they already have a reputation as pretty risky to ride[1]. I am sure you could scale the motor and wheel up some, but I'd want some wearable airbags...

1: https://dailyhornet.com/2021/onewheel-lawsuits-pile-up-after...


Wow, I never knew folks had died on these


If something moves, and someone rides on it, someone has probably also died on it.


very good point, I was more talking about the cause of death being a defect


But was there actually any defect? Anyone can claim anything in a lawsuit.


There is broad consensus that the One Wheel could do more to warn riders of an impending nose dive.

For example, an audible tone the moment it shuts off the motor while underway.

There are other design changes that could reduce the danger of a nose dive that 3rd party manufacturers have pounced on including small wheels that allow the product to potentially slow instead of come to a dead stop when an edge hits the ground.

I don’t know what product liability is for continuous mounting evidence that an existing design is lacking obvious safety feature and choosing not to make changes or acknowledge this.

But I suspect ultimately this will end in a class action suit.


Interesting. I bought the original model when it was new and I've been happy with it. I always just viewed it as something that was inherently risky, but worth it. The board does have a way of "communicating" with you when you're pushing it too hard, by leaning you back, and it seems pretty intuitive to me. Then again I used to be a skateboarder, so maybe my risk tolerance is outside the norm.

I assume these are the wheels you're talking about[1]. Pretty ingenious idea, although it does mess with the look of the board

[1]: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1069745398/onewheel-xr-safety-w...


The risk tolerance of skateboarders is probably the gold standard.

Expectations for safety have changed a lot,too. I raced ski team in high school. Helmets were optional and very few rec skiers wore them.

Now it seems unusual to see someone without one.

I’m aware of the haptic feedback the board is supposed to give when it is getting tired, though there are many claims of it not being produced prior to a nose dive.

Yes that product you linked is what I was describing. Note their description describes nose dives on the OW as “inevitable.”


Even with a correctly functioning OneWheel, pushing too hard into a hill or headwind can get you a into a nose dive without feeling any pushback.


> For example, an audible tone the moment it shuts off the motor while underway.

If it has the ability to monitor battery life then it can certainly do stuff like emit an impeding dead battery warning tone and then gently decelerate to a stop.

Though I bet its an issue where the battery level is simply monitored via voltage. So lets say a 15% charged battery has enough current to push the rider along on level ground, BUT, the moment the rider hits an uphill, the current increases beyond what the now weaker battery can provide, the voltage drops below the battery threshold and the battery protection circuit shuts down. Very unsafe design.

A proper design would allow the battery and motor drive to cooperate so when the motor current demand rises to maintain velocity, the battery pack can tell the motor, sorry, I cant give you anymore and the motor drive can then decelerate or simply refuse to continue accelerating.


The main problem is that to push you back, the motor actually has to go faster to get in front of your center of gravity and this is exactly what is hard when the battery is getting weak. That's why nosedives often happen when users want to go too fast, ignoring the pushback from the wheel and actually "rinding the pushback". At some point, the motor does not have enough torque to counter the push down on the front and give up. This causes the front side to collapse and we can all imagine possible results when feet "want" to stop and the head is going 20mph+. It's not that battery management will simply turn the device off (although it may also be an issue in some cases). Usually motor just becomes too weak to counter rider push for a short moment and the front part of the board hits the ground.

I do not have experience with Onewheel XR, but pushback on the Pint series is rather noticeable and hard to ignore when you hit set speed limit. Onewheel XR is said to have weaker pushback.


> A proper design would allow the battery and motor drive to cooperate so when the motor current demand rises to maintain velocity, the battery pack can tell the motor, sorry, I cant give you anymore and the motor drive can then decelerate or simply refuse to continue accelerating.

These are good thoughts though even in your solution I suspect it points toward the idea that the design is fundamentally unsafe.

The reason is if the motor decelerates you still must be prepared for your weight to shift, even gradually.


On a self balacing PEV, if the motor decelerates on it's own (without a weight shift from the rider), the resulting weight shift will not be gradual. You might tip forward slightly slower in comparison but the nose dive would still happen pretty much immediately. This is because in order to maintain speed, the CoM must be in front of the balance point.

The design of self-balancing PEVs isn't fundentally unsafe, but it (like most sports and means of transportation) does carry risks that you should be aware of and compensate for.


Thank you for the context!


you make a valid point


Have you ridden one before? I hit 15mph on a onewheel once and have no desire to ever do it again.


I rode 100 miles on one two years ago, and planned to take it to the Burn but after my second fall I decided to sell it and get a Space Horse from All City.

I was padded up for both falls but still sustained a sprain to an ankle and some pretty mean scrapes to my shoulder and arm.

My worst fall was due to the motor cutting out on a moderate acceleration uphill climb from stop. This is not unusual on the OW but is normally associated with a lower battery level.

I was pretty good with it, but in the end I could justify the potential for falls once every 100 miles, let alone 50.

They are fun to ride, though.


I put about 2400 miles on mine. You fall a few times in your first 100-200 miles but after that it really doesn't happen much, and normally only when you do something stupid.


I've heard the phrase: You see people going fast on one-wheels, but you never see the same person doing so twice.


I don't think the go-kart wheel in the middle of a skateboard layout would make for a good ride above ~35mph. Too twitchy in yaw and too limited in braking power by the geometry of the thing.


It's for legal reasons in a lot of places. Most places have laws about the max speed of motor powered devices. It's normally around twenty.

I've gone up to 24 MPH (on flat) when I had one, and have hit the ground going twenty. I'm honestly not sure more speed is a good idea as it just takes one little crack in the road you weren't anticipating to throw you balance off.


Single wheel vehicles have no brakes worthy of the name.

After all, when you brake hard with a car or motorbike or bicycle, it's the front wheel, well in front of the centre of mass, that does almost all the work.

In a single wheel vehicle, the wheel well in front of the centre of mass.... isn't there. In a unicycle that means you're flying off the front (it's even worse in a monowheel) so you'd better not be going faster than a man can run.


... which is why you lean back on these to brake, to shift your center of mass back so the wheel can slow you down. same thing in reverse for accelerating, otherwise you'd see people fall off non-stop at the beginning for the same reason you claim they can't stop.

your stopping speed is limited by how fast it can decelerate you, which is essentially the same as how fast it can accelerate you. it's not super fast to stop, to be fair, but neither is a bicycle going at high speed (though I'd expect the bike to be a little bit quicker to stop).


My issue with EUCs is the complete lack of options in the case of power cutting for any reason, whether it be overheating or low battery charge or a resistor burning out.

Leaning back is not an option once the motor stops pushing the wheel towards you - it’ll roll and then tumble to a stop much more quickly than air resistance slows you down, so you’ll fly off the front.

I’d like for there to be a magic solution to this problem since the size of an EUC is very attractive. Rolling to a safe stop on my electric scooter is preferable in the meantime.


yeah, an instant loss in acceleration would certainly make you eat pavement in many cases. definitely a fair concern. I might claim that "I hit a rock slightly larger than that small rock I can usually roll over and now I'm in an impromptu pole-vault competition" is a more common issue with small scooter wheels than random power losses, but there's more personal control over that. (personally: crossing train tracks were my #1 fear and #1 fall cause on scooters)

either way, safety gear safety gear safety gear. especially since basically all these electric personal mobility enhancing whatsits are horrifyingly injury-prone compared to anything the size of a bike or larger.


If you need to stop super fast you lean back so hard you're actually dragging the tail. There's a reason a lot of people put additional plastic armor on the bottom of these things.


Have you seen the original Australian bushpig?

https://youtu.be/0OV33C2JgIE


You are limited in how fast you can safely go by how fast you can stop


>As far as the battery goes, the XR has a 324Wh nickel manganese cobalt oxide battery (that’s a mouthful!) while the one I built has a 960Wh Lithium Ion battery pack.

NMC is a type of lithium-ion battery. The cell voltage of the ebike battery he's using is 3.7v, which means it also uses NMC cells.


Ah, yeah. Seems a bad communication consequence of Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt-Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) going by the "NMC" nickname.


I like one-wheel type devices but will always prefer electric unicycles. They have more range [0], more safety over large bumps (due to a larger wheel and facing forward) and are easier to carry around when you're walking. Unfortunately, due to liability laws in america most of the EUC manufacturers are based in China. I CANNOT wait for an american company to start producing EUC's!

I learned to ride an InMotion V8 [1] during the pandemic, and although there was a significant learning curve, it's now my favorite way to get around new york city. Definitely wear a full face helmet and wrist pads though if you decide to learn to ride!

0 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1aRPKyjzj0 1 - https://www.ewheels.com/product/new-inmotion-v8s-728wh-batte...


I'm sorta terrified of this. I know more then one rider that broke bones, or got other injuries from the official version of these just randomly conking out. A DIY version made by a lot of people seems even more likely.

Also seems super inconvenient to move around. The XR was already annoying to take into shops as it was heavy and long. This is heavier and longer. Though the extra weight might smooth out the ride a bit. Surprised he went for a smaller tire. I feel like a larger one would take bumps better.


Agreed. As a longtime rider, I will unequivocally state that 95% of serious injuries on these things are from new riders who get overconfident (and ignore every single piece of advice on the website and on the tons of Youtube channels) and suffer nosedives when their small muscles in their legs (and nervous system as well) experience fatigue and trigger involuntary tremors. (any rock climber here will know what I'm talking about: When you see a newb climber getting this fatigue and their leg starts shaking like Elvis...)

The smaller wheel is a bad idea. Period. Can't fault the heavier weight though. Future Motion machines their aluminum rails from single billets. It's not something that you can replicate easily without tremendous capital expenditure.

I'm planning on buying the new GT soon, but it's even heavier, and my god is it awful carrying those things around.


I haven’t used these but I can ask say from general experience is that you get injured when you do something outside your skill level. So sometimes you’ll hear about someone getting injured doing something but I find it to be a meaningless data point usually.


There's also the accidents happen thing. Sometimes the wheel slips, sometimes you didn't quite think the crack was as offset, sometimes the wind blows unexpectedly and causes you to swerve. It's not just the people pushing it that get hurt though that is a lot of the injuries.


I've never heard of a onewheel randomly conking out. I've ridden one for three years now.

When you are going so fast that the motor is at its brink, the onewheel will raise the nose as a warning. Ignoring this will toss you off the board, maybe that's what people are experiencing?


I had 2.2k miles on my Onewheel+ going through urban traffic before someone took it off my hands, so I think I had a decent amount of experience.

Mine cut off semi-randomly a couple dozen times when I was well past the 300 mile mark. The worst/most annoying cases would be when trying to re-engage it when the traffic light would go green, but the onewheel wouldn’t re-engage and it’d just look like I was tripping forward in traffic. I’d have to step over to the curb and restart it a couple times before it ‘worked’

It was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had commuting, but the fact that I couldn’t trust it to simply just not shut off on me in traffic made it feel pretty impractical.

Apparently a couple causes for this could have been a bad battery and also a bad footpad. For now, I’m just sticking with my ebike, since a battery failure there is a bit less catastrophic!


I did the same, both in distance and the switching to ebike. I realized that I didn't want to end up in the hospital and I was at a much higher chance riding it then not. I had moved and the roads were a higher speed limit, and not smooth at all. A bad combinations.

I'd say in the active group of people there were maybe 2 that this happened to, out of maybe 10-20.


Huh, interesting. What model was it? My pint has been rock solid through 2k miles.


Onewheel+. The version before the XR. Definitely not claiming the issues I had were common at all. But experiencing the failure cases firsthand definitely just put me off from feeling comfortable riding the board long-term. It was definitely a fun year when I had it.


> I've never heard of a onewheel randomly conking out.

Well, now you have. I ride OneWheels and one of mine (all stock except tire) has developed an issue where it does randomly nose dive, even at medium speeds (10-14mph). I'm logged about 2k miles and I'm well aware of when the board can nose dive due to pushing too hard up a hill or into a headwind. I've had 4x nose dives on that board (specifically in the last dozen rides) that were not caused by any of the standard issues. It seems to be a footpad sensor issue since after the dives, the footpad won't engaged fully without some well targeted "precursive maintenance."

Personally, I think a lot of people ride them way to fast for the amount of gear they wear and their skill falling safely in that gear. I like to ride slower and carve. It's more fun and much harder to break a bone if you know how to fall well.


I ride really slow and just use riding as my time to think about things. I wonder if they've improved the foot sensor issue on later models? I have a pint and I've not heard of any foot sensor issues with pints. That's pretty scary though, yikes.


Oddly enough I saw someone riding one today carrying a fairly big potted plant. He was going somewhat slow but all I could thing is that's an accident waiting to happen.


Skeptical at first but this thing looks pretty sweet. Total BOM estimated at ~700$, and similar performance to the 2500$ onewheel XR it seems!


I like how the control algorithm doesn't even appear in this project because there is so much tech already made and cheaply available. That's a testament to electronic commodities: all of these specific little control devices ... gyros, 9D IMUs, ESC, etc. ... are available online for a few bucks. Still blows my mind.

EDIT: Whoa, the VESC stuff is really expensive.


https://archive.fo/bpFyg I am unable to read this, not sure if it's a hug of death


FFS someone please convince the author of this page to recompress these photos using high compression and a lossy format like jpg. Over a minute and still not loaded here.



Love it! I just got a PintX and have been learning how to shred on it. But naturally I was curious how much work would go into a DIY model.


Are any of these usable with a totally passive payload? Would make a dandy ghost for a haunted house


I personally prefer walking 30 minutes over standing still for 10 minutes ...

Never understood the Segway either.


Haha, fair point. To be clear, the production Onewheels are a very good workout to ride. Unlike a segway, they require a lot of balance and hip/leg movements. Additionally, they are extremely maneuverable. I ride mine on mountain bike trails here in Colorado. Not sure you are into mountain biking, but one of my favorite aspects of riding is hitting the berms at a moderately high speed and cruising up the wall like i'm riding in a pool at the skate park.

You get sweaty as hell, and new riders can only ride for short periods of time before suffering lots of fatigue in feet/legs/hips.

Edit: One of my favorite trail riding videos on onewheel

https://youtu.be/_jyAGgaxPv4?t=25


That looks really fun. Yet I get the feeling that the wheel and the board should be a little bit bigger.


I must confess that it looks cool, a bit like snowboarding without snow. How do you control the speed?


The OneWheel operates based on balancing mass. So you put more mass on one side, the OneWheel moves that way. Put more mass, it goes faster. Some people drive using their hips (me included), some people drive using their shoulders (I don't understand why one would do this)


When you put more pressure on your back foot, it triggers regenerative braking. The regen brakes are actually very good. You can easily go from a pretty good clip to walking pace very smoothly and extremely quickly. Acceleration is almost instantaneous as well.


> I ride mine on mountain bike trails here in Colorado.

You shouldn't be. Those are motorized vehicles and are not allowed on non-motorized trails.


How do you know the trails I ride on don’t allow ebikes and light electric vehicles (Onewheel falls into this category)?

You don’t, and the trails I ride on allow them. In Boulder County, that’s not the case. I ride in other counties. But thanks for the lecture, dad.

Regardless, it makes zero logical sense to ban a 2 horsepower, silent, electric motor vehicle that is lighter and slower than a mountain bike, but allow mountain bikes. It’s hippie logic: horsepower produced by human legs augmented by fancy mechanical gears and chains is “natural” enough to allow, but if it’s powered by something else, ban it before the heathens desecrate the sacred space.

Thankfully, most of Colorado is people stoked about what they are doing, instead of pissed about what others are doing. You fall into the latter category. Boulder is your kind of place. Meanwhile, I’ll be somewhere else menacing the public safety with a 25 pound vehicle with a top speed of 18 mph.


Your One Wheel can't be classified as a Class 1 bike because it isn't pedal assist. So at best it would be a Class 2. Across the state of CO, Class 2 bikes aren't allowed on MTB trails. All E-Bikes are not allowed on National Forest MTB trails. So unless you are riding private land or 4x4 trails, you are taking a motorized vehicle on non-motorized trails.

Your disrespect for public land deserves to be called out.


It’s not an ebike, it’s a light electric vehicle. Also, you don’t know what you are talking about with the laws of Colorado. The mtb trails fall under multiple different jurisdictions. I frequently ride on mtb trails in a National Wildlife Refuge that has a pilot program for LEVs. Jefferson County governs mtb trails differently than Boulder County.

Please explain to me how I’m “disrespecting” public lands? A Onewheel is as quiet as a mountain bike. It’s slower. It’s tire distributes weight on a bigger surface are and doesn’t ruin the trail with ruts. I don’t deserve to be called out, you just like rules and lording them over others. Go tell someone else what to do, Karen. Unless you obey the speed limit to the letter everywhere you go, you have no leg to stand on. After all, if I go 57 in a 55, I’m “disrespecting public roads” in your logic.


E-Bikes on National Wildlife Refuges must have 2 or 3 wheels, pedals, and less than 1 HP [0]. You're OneWheel doesn't meet any of that criteria (you claim 2HP in another comment, but it's really besides the point). I wasn't able to find any reference to "light electric vehicles" in the actual ruling [1].

I'm aware that Boulder has different rules than most of CO. JeffCO allows Class 1 bikes on MTB trails [2]. A OneWheel isn't a Class 1 because it isn't pedal assist.

You disrespect public lands by violating the rules that govern them. There are legal ways to skateboard on MTB trails, but they don't include a motor. Earn your turns, or stick to paved surfaces.

[0] https://www.fws.gov/refuges/biking/e-bikes.html

[1] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/11/02/2020-22...

[2] https://www.jeffco.us/3618/e-bikes


I’ve owned mountain boards in the past. You go far faster and pose a bigger danger, since you have to hit long downhills for it to be remotely fun. Without the smoothness of regenerative braking, stopping is far more difficult. You essentially have to brake and power slide simultaneously. It’s very destructive to the trail. But since we are all lemmings who follow rules blindly, sure, I’ll switch to that and create more negative externalities than I was when I rode an unholy, evil, dirty filthy MOTOR, and desecrated the holy shrine of the chain and sprocket with the dark one’s tainted electrons.

Or... I’m going to enjoy Colorado and the fact that most people don’t have a need to be hall monitor busybodies, and keep doing my thing.

I’ll be stoked on what I’m into, and leave it to others to be pissed about what others are doing.


You want to ride non-motorized trails, but you aren't willing to put in the effort to get good with a mountain board. Instead you are adding a motor and riding it on non-motorized trails. There are plenty of dirt bike trails in CO that you could instead ride on legally, but you choose not to.

You're just selfish and disrespectful of public lands.


I'm great on a mountain board. I built my first one from parts on the internet in the early 2000s. No brakes on that one. Broke my collar bone on it. I can ride one on the trails anytime I want. But the onewheel is a better experience. Mountain boards have 4 wheels, and are infinitely less agile on rocky trails due to this. The 4 points of ground contact create constant instability that is limiting compared to a onewheel.

By the way, I do a ton of riding on Jeep trails and roads as well. But the challenge isn't on par with single track.

The intention of banning "motorized" vehicles was never about the power source itself, but instead the negative externalities created by the power source. It was about preventing the negative externalities that "motorized" created in decades previous to the current one, when virtually every motorized vehicle capable of being on a trail was powered by an internal combustion engine. With ICE, you have to have a ton of horsepower (compared to EVs) to get enough torque to handle trails. There was no such thing as a "motorized" vehicle that was silent and non-polluting. They had top speeds in the 40s and up, and due to the engine are hundreds of pounds and therefore dangerous, on top of the noise and exhaust.

You've ignored the "spirit" of the law, or the reasoning behind why they were put in place. You've fixated on a technicality, out of a misguided sense of purity, where everyone on the trail needs to "earn" the right to be there through direct physical effort. The people who banned mountain bikes had the same argument as you, viewing any form of wheels as "cheating". It's a quasi-religous viewpoint, it's not logical, and therefore you are forced to resort to technicalities without explaining the logic of how a onewheel makes the trails less safe, less intact, noisier, less hospitable to wildlife than a mountain bike does. You have no answer to this. Instead of examining your viewpoint, you stand on the letter of the law. It's a sign of a very weak position.

> You're just selfish and disrespectful of public lands.

Please name a single way I am hurting anyone else on the trail that differs from a mountain bike. Name a single example. What does my onewheel do to interfere with other people's use of the trail that a mountain bike doesn't? You may have an extremely insightful point that I haven't thought of. If you do, it might change my mind. I don't have any desire to "disrespect" public lands, or hurt others. How am I hurting others? How am I hurting the trail?


Does that also hold for e-bikes and such?


I primarily ride on trails on county open space that explicitly permit light electric vehicles. I also ride in a national wildlife refuge where the rangers have voluntarily signed on to a pilot program for ebikes/levs.

That being said, in places that don’t allow them, the rangers shrug, say “cool, glad it’s slow and doesn’t disturb wildlife” and go on about their business. I had a ranger near Leadville trying mine, and he later bought one. Boulder County is a stark exception. They were one of the first places in USA to ban mountain bikes from their trails in the 80s. An organized, well funded lobby pushed for that to change and got the ban removed. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of citizens who gleefully will call the police if they see you on a mountain bike trail with an LEV. They won’t say anything to you, they’ll dime you out as soon as you get out of sight. Boulder rangers will give you a court summons. I was on a trail in the summer when a fire had made a smoky haze. The trail was deserted, due to the poor air quality. A member of a super expensive ashram saw me and my son from a balcony, and called the rangers. I went to court. The judge thought it was absurd, openly stated that the motorized vehicle ban was enacted in the 80s to bar gas powered ATVs and dirt bikes, and fined me 100 bucks. She said it was the same fine a mountain biker gets if they go on a hiker only trail.

The Karen in this thread is one of these people who don’t like sharing trails. It’s not about the motors, it’s about their belief that motors will bring the_wrong_kind_of_people. The kind of people who weren’t wearing masks outdoors on windswept, sparsely populated trails last summer like they were (glad they finally caught up with rest of us and science and stopped shaming people who understood how aerosols work).

FYA Boulder has a few trails explicitly designated for ebikes, so they are slowly evolving.


> It’s not about the motors,

It 100% is about motors. Get a mountainboard if you want to ride legally and stop acting like a martyr.


Why are chains and gears ok? You make no sense.


Because they are human powered and not motorized. I think you'll find that I'm fairly consistent in my definition on non-motorized vs motorized.

MTB: Non-motorized

Dirt Bike/E-Bike/One Wheel/Jeep: Motorized


E-Bikes are classified as motorized vehicles in the context of the National Forest.

> E-bikes are not allowed on trails designated for non-motorized use. Non-motorized trails include trails like hiker, horse, or mountain bike trails. E-bikes, like other motorized transportation, also are not allowed to travel cross-country off trail. There are no exceptions.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/psicc/recreation/bicycling


The OneWheel is great in SF, I can take it 1.2mi to drop something off at the UPS store and back in 15min.

Doing this with mass transit would take an hour, walking would take an hour, driving would be a pain because of parking.

It's great for all sorts of little trips like this, probably up to a 6mi round trip (I have the pint).


You're gonna love the 'bicycle'.


Large, hard to store and carry upstairs, often stolen, more limited in where you can easily ride them.

I’ve been tempted by an ebike and have a fancy bike for long cycling rides, but the Onewheel is just easier for lots of quick small stuff. Plus it’s fun.


But then you don’t get to feel like riding a hoverboard




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