Unaffordable from down under

  • Hi All, Ive been wanting to buy a onewheel since kickstarter, but living in New Zealand with our exchange rate and the over priced shipping costs plus import taxes im looking at close to $4000 NZD, thats $2722 USD which is more than i paid for my car, mountain bike and snowboard combined. So anyway ive ordered the chinese style "clone" for $1200 NZD which includes 5 day international shipping, (no waiting time), and from what ive read and the videos ive watched it performs much the same at the onewheel, actually has twice the range, and accelerates faster. It doesnt look as good, its aluminium and looks kinda cheap but performs very well. It doesnt have a field orientated controller, its just a standard controller and its a bit chunkier but its range is good. I dont expect the onewheels price to go down ever so its never going to be affordable for a lot of people. I think its fair to say that the trotter (terrible name) looks like a onewheel because its a fat tyre, but actually its just a electric unicycle with a fat tyre. Its the same design that others built years before the onewheel was built. So its not a direct copy, its just that onewheel were the first to mass produce something that had already been invented. The trotters algorithms are modified EUC (self balancing unicycle) specs so its not even the same feel as the onewheel, but very similar anyway.
    Anyway Id still prefer a onewheel, due to its better workmanship and support. I did contact the company 6 months ago and asked about international franchising and if they could lower the shipping cost. Well that hasnt happened so Im going with what I can afford.
    I will let you all know how it performs when it arrives in a few days.
    Cheers and no offence intended to any purists here.

  • i very well understand you situation, because i had the same thoughts before i found myself a second hand onewheel some months ago, which still felt very expensive at that time, but somehow managable to invest.

    however i am afraid i have to say that having used the onewheel in a lot of very rough conditions (offroad,. ..) since that, I think that anything else (especially the trotter) is completly crap compared to the onewheel, which is really awesome quality which you can see and feel easily.

    after you have owned a onewheel for some time, your perception of the price/fun ratio will dramatically change within a very short time.
    it is not only worth every penny, i would now even pay twice the price you mentioned if i had to, now that i have experienced it...

    sorry to say, but i am afraid you made the wrong decision.
    yes, it might be more expensive than you car and stuff, but is more fun for sure and worth the money.

  • @awakekiwi I can't afford a Tesla, but I won't pretend my Honda Fit is just as good because it also has 4 wheels.

  • I remember the trotter; it was taken away from CES for copyright infringement.

  • @megabuen0 As a proud owner of a genuine OneWheel, I must rebut your statement. Future Motion actually withdrew their patent infringement claim over a month after convincing US Marshals to raid Trotter's (worst.name.ever) booth at CES (sauce). There is actually prior art for a self-balancing-single-wheeled-skatey-scooty as found in this Instructable and this guide. As much as I hate to say it, Future Motion's actions there amounted to little more than patent trollery and now the Trotter people are counter-suing FM over the whole ordeal.

    That being said, I would never, ever recommend anyone buy a Chinese-made knockoff of OneWheel at this point, but I absolutely welcome the impending storm of Trans-Pacific competition that will help motivate FM to continually improve their product(s) to everyone's benefit.

  • @bmtka appreciate the update but factually what I stated did indeed happen. I acknowledge I did not provide the adequate update that you have done and so rebuttal accepted!

  • @megabuen0 Fair enough!

  • yeah i prolly should have waited and saved for the real deal

  • But no, i simply cant afford it so im happy with my choice (i didnt really have a choice) and from speaking to others who have tried both they perform basically the same and trotter has twice the range (bigger battery and hence chunkier board frame) and one guy who has both says he prefers the way the trotter rides so... im happy to have something off road and with a distance that means I can use it to get to work.

  • @awakekiwi definitely understand the cost concerns for you as it's much more than the majority of ow owners who live in the states.

    Let us know your initial impressions and how it rides in comparison to ow...if you have had a chance to ride ow. And then also if you have any issues with it.

    My biggest concern would be durability and support. You are an early adopter and what are you going to do when it breaks? How much will it cost to send it back for repairs?

    Ow is built like a tank, is highly water resistant, and support covers 100% including shipping first year, which makes it super easy to constantly try new things and push the limits....something I wouldn't try with your trotter if I were you.

    Good luck with it!

  • @awakekiwi would love to hear from folks who have tried both. How many folks do you know that have both? Would you encourage them to post here? Video, pics, etc. Ideally not folks trying to sell us something. Just folks who are legit trying to compare.

  • Ok time for an update.. so my "trotter onewheel" arrived after a bunch of issues with chinese customs and finding the right courier to send it. Turned out DHL was best but the battery had to be sent separately. Both items arrived within 4 days from china so that was pretty quick, and no import duties to pay (usually have to pay import taxes in New Zealand for anything over $400).
    Considering the battery is likely the most expensive part of the product this allows it to be sent to me without any extra taxes. So my total cost was about $750 USD incl 4 day express courier from china. Not bad.
    Ok, so the issues. Quality control is waaaay low but thats to be expected from china sadly.
    It looks like they have put together the bare minimum of care and attention to get to market a working product. It does perform well, has good torque and handles well.
    I wouldnt say its water proof, the controller is in a water proof container but id say its splash proof at best. It had an intermittent fault right out of the box. Would cut out when hitting a bump and then require a few knocks to get it working again. I suspected a lose connection somewhere so I took it apart. Pro is that its easy to take apart and have a look inside.
    Its basically the same insides as a electric unicycle. Very easy to understand what does what. I quickly found the fault to be poor soldering on the main board including a number of "dry joints" on the power transistors, basically on side of the transistors hadnt been soldered at all and was just barely making a connection with the board. Luckily im an electronic techy guy so I whipped out my solder gun and put plenty of solder on the board and put everything back together and now all is well.
    Another problem is the bare internal drill holes in the aluminium where the wires are run. They are sharp cuts and over time would quite possibly cut into the wires and cause shorts.
    Overall I was pretty disappointed with the poor attention to detail and quality control.
    But thats exactly what you would expect.
    I now have a decent machine that runs well and can take the knocks. But yes as others have pointed out, if your not a tech guy like me you would be struggling to get any support from china and would have to pay for return shipping. One advantage is that all internal components are cheap and easy to replace. If I couldn't fix it myself I could have got a replacement control board pretty easy and fixed it.
    I may post some pics and videos at some point. I havnt used a onewheel yet so I cant compare the ride. There are likely only a few onewheels in New Zealand currently, probably less than 5 in the entire country id say, so I likely wont get to try one for some time.
    To conclude, futuremotion have nothing to be concerned about whatsoever. Maybe in a couple of years a chinese company might produce a decent version like has happened with some electric unicycle companies, but I wouldnt hold my breath on that one.
    Its just strange the logic of the chinese, they really dont give a toss about build quality or features. They just do the bare minimum to get something to market. I can already see a dozen ways they could have easily improved their product without any extra cost, just a few common sense things like rubber bungs around drill holes and more simplified led lights.
    Anyway it appears to work well and is solidly built but its not even close to a onewheel.
    There is no bluetooth or app or different ride modes. "You get what ya pay for", so having said all this I am happy with what I paid for (now that ive put generous amounts of solder on the critical components on the main board.)

  • @awakekiwi glad you are able to make it work for you. If you were able to get a ow for double the cost including all expenses it would be so worth it. Thanks for the update. I thought about ordering one for my kids but I'm not as technically inclined as you so I think I'll pass for now.

  • @awakekiwi: considering your knowledge and capabilities it seems that this will work for you for some months, but as soon as you are feeling famliar with it you might try some harder stuff like tricking, going into the woods and so on, do you think it can handle that?
    i would say you now have a device which provides a simmilar feeling for the the first steps, but better look for a second hand onewheel in the meantime...

  • Ok another update

    Ive tested this clone in various conditions but as i havnt rode a onewheel its hard to compare except for youtubes and comments in this forum.
    Its likely that the onewheels stability over bumps and at speed is way better than the trotter.
    Im enjoying riding it but its limitations are pretty clear now.
    It seems to work best on smooth dirt tracks and roads where i can get up to a reasonable speed and carve much like on a snowboard, but as soon as it hits a bump it struggles to maintain balance.. there is no way you could land a jump on this clone.. it can handle dropping off a curb ok (if its a smooth transition, smooth take off) but the stability in general is pretty poor.
    It has a pretty low safety zone or margin of error when riding close to top cruising speed of 14-15 km/h (8-9 mph), you need to concentrate in case of a sudden bump or transition from one surface to another..
    Im getting better but just doing fun things like turning around a cambered bend is tricky, but id imagine a lot easier on the onewheel.
    I can now turn sharp on the edge of the tyre no problems and recover from wobbles, my body just knows what to do now, but i can see its limitations are big.
    It handles grass and dirt quite well at about half speed as long as its fairly smooth..
    The foot sensors work well and had no problems with them.
    I just feel the motor and controller are under sized for the job. It really struggles to recover from sudden changes in angle and road humps etc..
    Top speed is about 15 km/h (9 mph) on this clone.. (advertised as 18-20 km/h)..
    Its fun, and feels very much like snowboarding or wakeboarding.
    I can flick the front around quickly sometimes when needing a quick adjustment to direction much like you would on a snowboard. Also my stance is pretty much the same as on the snow, leaning forward slightly and so on..
    I will definitely get a onewheel at some point in the future as my financial situation improves.
    I was going to import these chinese clones and sell them but i dont feel they are safe enough to be honest.
    Im curious however how it compares to onewheel. Ive let some air out of the tubeless tire of this clone to improve handling on rough roads..
    From watching amateur videos of onewheel on grass and off road areas it looks like it handles minor bumps pretty well at a reasonable speed.
    This clone does not!
    I feel the hub motor isnt up to the job. Its no transverse flux hub!
    But interestingly I googled the patent number on the main board of my clone and read the link.. it says that the controller uses Field Orientated system for balancing and increasing torque and reducing engine noise and improving range. I was surprised. It also says the controller is designed to run motors up to 1000w, so it might actually be capable of the 700w peak output as advertised.
    heres the patent for those interested in a read.. might be a copyright issue also..


  • @awakekiwi said in Unaffordable from down under:
    very interesting to read, thanks for sharing!
    i hope you get the chance to try out the original one, to see which of the limitations are due to technical limitations and which might be just part of a learning curve. that would be interesting for me!

  • @awakekiwi thanks for the update. Yes, ow handles small bumps well especially if you keep tire psi around 15. Carving is also a breeze on ow. And of course one of the best parts is how durable it is and the one year warranty. Tonight I did my normal night ride around 5.5 miles on a road with a bunch of really big/deep sealed cracks Which is no problem for ow. If you are maxed out at 9mph, that would be the equivalent of classic mode for ow. But at classic mode speed ow has more than enough extra power to push you back if you go too fast and stabilize you going up hill or on rough terrain. What kind of range are you getting?

  • I'm also a New Zealander keen to buy one but baulking at the US$300 shipping cost. If only there was a local distributor or someone prepared to import some in bulk....

  • Thanks for the thorough review awakekiwi,
    I am in a similar situation here in Australia.
    I was wondering 4 things if you had the time.
    -Would you use the trotter as a commuter?
    -What kind of real world range do you get?
    -How long does it take to remove/install the batteries?
    -You mentioned that you saw the software, how easy is this to view and modify?

    I also wanted to get some clarification on Onewheel costs from others. I did some quick numbers on the onewheel.
    Upfront costs would be $1800USD, which is not too bad.
    -For Franky or anyone at FM, if it breaks does the 1 year warranty free shipping include international buyers? I don't see future motion paying out $600 for two way shipping... So let's assume 1 fault in the first 2 years... Thats $600 in repairs.

    • I'm estimating 2000 miles a year, so that's two tire changes a year from what I've read on the forums (change every 1000 miles, is this accurate?), or another $2600 over 2 years.
      Basically, unless I can order spare parts for the onewheel and put them on myself, I would expect a single onewheel to cost around $5000USD over the first two years of ownership. That's hard to justify when I could spend $1000 to trick out a trotter (or build a flying nimbus from scratch and get double geek cred!).
      I would love a onewheel, just wish that it was closer to the US price, or at least self-serviceable.

    Anyway, my questions for everyone are:
    -Has anyone tried changing tires themselves? Shipping for tire changes is about half of the expense for international buyers (and would mean not having the board for 20-30% of the year)
    -Would FM ever consider having instructions for doing basic things like this and recalibrating the boards ourselves? I'm sure many internationals would be fine doing this and voiding their warranties.

  • Hey guys,
    Just FYI - I do have a 3 week old Onewheel I can send ya. - Technically if it is a birthday gift there is no customs charges. - So if you buy mine, ill ship it from USA and well, if it's a gift there is no customs costs.

    Just a thought. PM me if your interested. - Purchased directly from Onewheel April 4th. I think I got it by the 18th or something so just about 3 weeks ish.

Log in to reply