Riding the Onewheel, the skateboard of the future

This is the next best thing to a hoverboard.

Mar 1, 2020, 12:57 pm*

Tech

Selena Larson 

Selena Larson

Photo by Onewheel/YouTube

If you mashed up the look and feel of a skateboard, snowboard, and surfboard and combined them with the wheels of a go-kart, you’d get something like Onewheel. It’s a new extreme sports product that can cruise through all types of terrain at up to 13 miles per hour. Riders can even take the board uphill.

Onewheel has a powerful motor hidden inside its large central wheel, with a battery on one side, and electronics on the other, secured beneath wood paneling bolted together with thick, metal siding.

It’s remarkably simple to operate—when someone steps on to balance, it automatically engages, and as weight shifts back and forth, the board moves with their body. It can hit tight turns, too, and its durability is similar to that of a skateboard, so riders can hit tricks at top speeds without fear of smashing the gadget.

The original Onewheel maxed out at a top speed of 8 miles per hour, but Future Motion, makers of Onewheel, released an iOS application at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week that adds granular controls to riders.

The “Extreme shaping,” mode gives users the ability to increase speeds up to 13 miles per hour, tweak acceleration time, and even take shorter turns, as well as see real-time battery updates and a history of the distance they’ve traveled. The battery lasts about six miles and can recharge in just 20 minutes.

With each firmware update, riders will get even more advanced controls, and Future Motion says that it will be like riding an entirely new board each time the app gets updated.

The company launched Onewheel as a Kickstarter last year, and it blasted through it’s funding raising over $600,000. You can now order it on the Onewheel website for $1,500.

I got to test out Onewheel this week in Vegas with Future Motion CEO Kyle Doerksen, and although I’ve had some experience snowboarding, it took me a minute to get my bearings on the board. Doerkson literally held my hands as I got the hang of it, but eventually I felt confident enough with turning and stopping.

Of course, most riders won’t be taking Onewheel for a spin in a packed convention center.

Photo by Selena Larson

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*First Published: Jan 9, 2015, 1:59 pm