Onewheel vs. Hoverboards
“Hey, wanna float?”
No, that’s not an invitation to go hang out in a lazy river. It’s not a plea to take part in your local parade. And it’s probably not a euphemism to imbibe some form of herbal substance that may or may not be legal depending on what state you are in.
No, it’s something far better than that.
Float verb // the act of riding a Onewheel™, the sensation of which has been described as very similar to floating on a cloud of awesomeness. / Let’s get our Onewheel™ and float down to the park.
If you’re not familiar with Onewheel™, think of an electric skateboard. No, not that. You’re thinking of a hoverboard. Here, I’ll break down the differences for you.
What the heck is a Onewheel™?
A Onewheel™ is technically a self-balancing single wheel personal electric vehicle. Electric skateboard sounds better though and is easier to visualize. The Onewheel™ has a computer on board that helps keep the board balanced and makes it easy to ride. Riders simply stand on it, lean forward to speed up, lean back to slow down, and shift their weight from their toes to their heels to steer. It is easy to learn, and fun to master.
According to a video on the Onewheel™ YouTube channel, it was designed to mimic the smooth experience of snowboarding. And that’s exactly what it does. The giant wheel is perfect for all types of terrain, from smooth sidewalks to poorly maintained city streets. From biking trails in the forest to sandy beaches. From your backyard to… you get the idea.
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What the heck is a hoverboard?
Whenever someone hears the term hoverboard they automatically think of the awesome flying skateboard used by Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies. Modern hoverboards bear no resemblance to that though. They don’t hover at all! So before we go any further, let’s just acknowledge the marketing geniuses who decided to name their completely unrelated product after a futuristic technology that was widely known and craved for by people all over the world. It is just an exquisite example of superciliousness and hubris. So shocking and outrageous that it is a thing of beauty!
Anyway, back to the hoverboards.
As mentioned, modern-day hoverboards are nothing like the hoverboard from Back to the Future. Technically, real hoverboards are considered to be a self-balancing scooter. Riders sit on top of foot pedals that connect two wheels. And just like the Onewheel™, riders shift their weight and use their feet to control their speed and direction.
To The History Books!
Way back in the ancient times of… checks notes… 2013, the only popular self-balancing personal transporter up to that point had been the Segway. The American public was fascinated by this device, right up until it was revealed that the Segway was the vehicle of choice for Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Paul Blart did to Segways what The Undertaker did to his opponents with his Tombstone piledriver. Another victim shuffled off this mortal coil to become a punchline of history.
The self-balancing personal electric vehicle industry would be dormant until February 2013 when Shane Chen filed a patent for a hoverboard device and launched a Kickstarter campaign later that year. The product was soon endorsed by several different influencers and action sport athletes, which helped to spread its appeal throughout the Western world.
While the hoverboard was getting released to the public, Kyle Doerksen was working on the prototype for what would become the Onewheel™. After 8 years of development, he was able to launch the v1 Onewheel™ with a Kickstarter campaign in January of 2014. The Kickstarter campaign was a massive success, raising over $630,000 in just a few short weeks.
The biggest difference between the Onewheel™ and the hoverboard is the wheels. Onewheel™ has, believe it or not, a single wheel that riders straddle. The tire is similar to those found on go-karts, allowing the Onewheel™ to ride smoothly on several different types of terrain.
Hoverboards have two wheels that the rider stands between. There are several different types of models of hoverboards, and some of the biggest differences between the hoverboard models have to do with the tire sizes. 6.5-inch wheels are perfect for kids and teenagers, while most adults will lean into the 8-inch wheels. 10-inch wheels are also available, which are more comfortable for the rider, but much heavier.
Most hoverboard tires are designed to be used indoors or paved sidewalks. If you want to take yours on tougher terrain, you would need to look into specialty off-road hoverboards.
Another major difference is how you stand on each device. On a hoverboard, your feet are shoulder-width apart, parallel to the wheels, and toes pointing in the direction you are moving. Picture yourself standing on the people-mover at the airport. That’s you on the hoverboard.
With the Onewheel™, your feet are perpendicular to the wheel. Picture Tony Hawk riding a skateboard. Shaun White on his snowboard. Danny LaRusso facing off against the punks from Cobra Kai. THAT’S what you look like while floating on a Onewheel™.
Customization, Oh the Customization!
The Onewheel™ and hoverboards wouldn’t be the same if you couldn’t customize it and have it covered in your personality. Several different companies manufacture hoverboard devices, and they all look slightly different. And if you want to buy a custom skin to change the appearance of your hoverboard, you have to make sure it fits your particular model.
With the Onewheel™, there are currently a total of 4 models. The version 1 original Onewheel™ and Onewheel™ Plus, which have both been discontinued, as well as the currently available Onewheel™ XR and the Onewheel™ Pint. And while you might think that having a limited number of models means each product is going to look the same, you would be wrong.
So very wrong.
Entire companies have popped up offering customization options for all Onewheel™ models. Fenders in all different colors. Foot Pads in various shapes. Handles to carry your board. Float Plates, Rail Guards, Bumpers, the list of items you can purchase goes on and on.
Spread the Stoke
We can’t get enough of the Onewheel™ stoke, and we’re part of a big community that we know feels the same way. Here at Float Gang, we are constantly developing new styles and designs because we are passionate about making our Onewheel™ part of our lifestyle. Looking for ways to showcase your love for the Onewheel™? Check out our shop, with everything from hats to hoodies to t-shirts and even face masks.