Tips For New Onewheel Riders
So, you finally got yourself a Onewheel. First, welcome to the gang. Second, what took you so long? This electric skateboard with a go-kart wheel stuck in the middle of it is an absolute blast. With a little bit of practice you’ll be floating all over town, but starting out can be a little intimidating.
We’re here for you! Read on to learn all about that new Onewheel of yours, and we’ll have you up and floating in no time.
Sure, most of this information (ok, all of it) is included in the user manual that came with your Onewheel. And you should absolutely read the user manual before climbing onto your Onewheel. But, since we know there’s zero chance you have actually done that, we’ll repeat the important stuff.
First things first, make sure to turn your Onewheel on by using the power switch. Then, step onto your board. The front pad has two sensors on it. You need to make sure that your front foot is firmly pressed on both sensors at all times. This is how the Onewheel knows that you are on the board.
Slowly shift your weight onto your front foot. The Onewheel will engage when the board reaches a horizontal position. This part can be tricky when you are first starting, so have a friend nearby so you can lean on them for balance and support. You don’t want to be the person who wipes the second you get on the board!
Once you are standing on the Onewheel and the motor is engaged, moving around is incredibly easy. Simply lean forward to accelerate and lean back to slow down. Turning side-to-side is as simple as shifting your weight to your toes or your heel. Start with small movements until you get your legs under you, then gradually pick up the speed as you get more and more comfortable. Remember to keep that front foot firmly pressed against the front plate at all times, putting pressure on the two sensors!
Dismounting is simple but might take a few tries to get the hang of. Start the dismount by slowing down and coming to a stop.
Then, simply lift the heel of your front foot so that it is only hitting one of the sensors. This signals to the Onewheel that it needs to deactivate. The self-balancing will turn off, and the back pad of the Onewheel will come down to the ground, allowing you to easily dismount.
As simple as that is, a lot of people still struggle with it at first. So the other safe way to dismount is to slow down and come to a stop, then jump off the board.
Yeah, that’s right. One of the official ways to properly dismount the Onewheel is to jump off the thing.
What you should never do is lift just one foot off the board. That usually ends with some jerky motions, quick acceleration, and a lot of pain.
Which brings us to some tips on safety. Yes, the Onewheel is easy to learn. The company says you can be a complete beginner and still be up and riding around in just 5 minutes, which is completely true. But what is also true is that the Onewheel takes a while to master, and even lifelong skateboarders or snowboarders should protect themselves at all times. This means at a minimum, you should be wearing a helmet. And ideally, you’ve got the full range of protective gear on. Kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards… the whole nine yards.
Look, the last thing you want to do is get a brand new Onewheel, then wipe out so badly that you don’t want to get back up on it again (or can’t ride it again). Be smart. Nowadays you can still be stylish and be safe at the same time.
The Push Back
That being said, we know that at some point you are going to want to push the limits of the Onewheel and see just what it can really do. We’ve been there! Just be on the lookout for one thing: The push back.
The Onewheel unfortunately does have its limits. Luckily, the Onewheel was designed to let you know when you are approaching those limits, in the form of the push back. During push back, the nose of the board will lift up, informing you that you are approaching the limits of the board and that you should slow down immediately. Push backs often occur when you’re going too fast. As you are approaching top speed, the nose of the board will lift up. When that happens, shift your weight to the back foot and slow down. Once you slow down the board will begin riding normally again. The Onewheel takes into account everything from how much battery is left, to tire pressure, to the weight of the rider, and more. So it’s impossible to say at exactly what speed you’ll experience pushback.
Absolutely, positively, never ever ignore the push back. If you struggle through the push back and continue to push your Onewheel, eventually you will push it past its limit. When that happens, the board can shutoff.
I know you’ve heard of Newton’s first law of motion. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force. So in this example, when that Onewheel shuts off, YOU are the object that will be staying in motion until “acted upon” by an external force, which is often the pavement, a tree, or any other number of unpleasant options. Respect the push back.
The Onewheel App
Make sure you download the Onewheel app from the iOS or Google Play stores. The app allows you to sync your phone and your board up through Bluetooth. Then, from your phone, you can see all kinds of great data. Want to see how fast you’re going? Check. How far you’ve gone? Check. How much battery you have? Check!
You can also “shape” your Onewheel right through the app, allowing you to customize the board to fit your style. Carve Ability allows you to change how sensitive the board is to your shifts in weight, allowing you to get a smoother ride or a more responsive board. Stance profile changes the angle at which you stand, and aggressiveness determines how strongly the board corrects itself to get you back to a level position.
You can even save multiple presets, allowing you to easily set up the board for a smooth ride to a friend’s house and then instantly switch to a more responsive board perfect for doing tricks in the park.
Here are some more tips to get you started with your new Onewheel:
- Take it easy at the beginning. Go slow and take baby steps in your progress until you are comfortable.
- Practice on a smooth surface. Falling on grass hurts a lot less than falling on pavement, but the unevenness can make the early stages where you are finding your balance difficult. The smoother the surface the easier the ride.
- Work on your dismount. There’s nothing wrong with setting up in your garage on rainy days perfecting the heel lift dismount.
- Don’t assume that your years of skateboarding and snowboarding will mean you can jump on a Onewheel and be an instant expert
- Check your tire pressure! The wheel should be inflated up to 20 PSI. Also, make sure to check your tire often for cuts in the tread and sidewall.
- Decelerating while going downhill recharges the battery on your Onewheel. Overcharging the battery can be an issue, so you might get push back when going downhill on a fresh battery. Stop and go back uphill until you can drain the battery a little.
- The LED light on the power button is also a status indicator. Long pulses with the LED light off means the battery is running out of power. If the LED light blinks, count the number of blinks to see the exact issue.
- Each model of Onewheel has different riding modes, which control the level of push back. You can change each mode in the app.
- Get to customizing! Fenders, bumpers, rail guards, footpads… you can customize everything and truly make your Onewheel unique.
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