Personal transport vehicles are becoming more prevalent in cities around the world. Traditional bikes, electric bikes, and electric scooters are common sights, and this trend is only going to increase. One of the most unique modes of personal transport is the electric unicycle. These are far rarer sights than the other vehicles mentioned, but you’ve probably come across them – a single wheel with a flap on either side upon which the rider stands. It’s very minimalist, and riders appear to glide along, often with their hands in their pockets (which we wouldn’t recommend!). A natural comparison is made between electric unicycles and another electronically-powered device – electric scooters. Since we know a thing or two about electric scooters, we thought we’d weigh in on the debate of electric unicycles vs electric scooters.
The riding experience on an electric scooter is vastly different from an electric unicycle for one obvious reason – the handlebars. The scooter’s handlebars make riders feel more secure and in control which allows for better steering. With an electric unicycle, the rider must rely entirely on using their body weight to steer. The handlebars of an electric scooter also make for easier balancing and better stability, even over bumps and dips in the road.
All of this means that electric unicycles have a far steeper learning curve than scooters. Most people will be able to hop onto an electric scooter and be able to ride it immediately. The same cannot be said for unicycles. The sensation of having to take both feet off the floor to step on the vehicle without having handlebars to hold is unusual and takes time to get used to. As such, it alienates a large group of people who may struggle to balance or feel uncomfortable with such a manoeuvre. Electric scooters, on the other hand, are incredibly intuitive and inclusive in this regard.
The design differences also affect the safety of these vehicles. Of course, there’s a risk involved with riding any vehicle so it’s important to be careful when using either. The handlebars on most electric scooters have brakes on them, making it very easy to slow down and stop in an emergency. The increased control also helps riders to avoid potholes and collisions more easily.
Electric unicycle riders must lean back in order to activate the brake, which takes some getting used to. Some riders may prefer this to traditional braking, but it can be argued that it’s less safe. There is also a considerable lack of sideways manoeuvrability with electric unicycles.
The speed of an electric scooter or unicycle depends on the particular model you buy. Some can travel at approximately 15mph (24kph), whereas some suped-up models have clocked speeds of over 50mph (80kph)! For the most part, however, both e-scooters and e-unicycles will have top speeds of approximately 20mph (32kph).
That being said, the top speed that can be achieved is almost irrelevant since it’s hard to reach such speeds consistently within a city. Roads are bumpy, pathways twist and turn, and you have to stay vigilant at all times, especially when pedestrians are nearby. But it’s nice to know that your vehicle packs a punch – even if you rarely get to try it out.
Pricing-wise, electric scooters and electric unicycles are very similar. They can cost anything from £300 right up to £2000. It all depends on the power, design, range and extra features you want from your vehicle. For example, our very own Fuze scooter has regenerative braking. This means that excess energy that’s created while braking is stored and used by the battery, effectively charging it as you ride. It’s an added feature that most electric scooters don’t have.
Overall, unicycles are great fun for some users, but electric scooters offer a more complete experience for virtually everyone. Their design makes for an intuitive (and fun) riding experience. If you’d like to join in, check out our Fuze e-scooter. With its powerful 422Wh battery (or 576WH in the Fuze Max), a top speed of 25mph (40kph) and an elegant folding design, it’s the perfect personal transport vehicle.
Disclaimer: Currently, electric scooters are not legal for use on pavements and public roads in the UK. However, this is likely to change soon – we hope!