I’ve been riding electric unicycles since August last year so that’s roughly 10 months (at the time of writing!) of experience. I’ve started like most people on a Ninebot One E+ and then moved onto KingSong KS16-S and now onto a GotWay MCM5. In between I’ve tried various models - KingSong 18L, InMotion V10, Ninebot One Z10… and like most people I’m riding predominantly on tarmac and pavements.
I need the electric unicycle to commute to work so that’s why for me size, weight and the trolley handle are more important than speed, range and tire size. Ironically the things I care least about are the most important when it comes to riding off-road so recently when I went to Bristol for a group ride I realised how uncomfortable the 14-inch MCM5 is when you’re riding on trails.
On the 27th was the second group ride Rich Scull had organised. On the first one it was a great turn out with around 30 people from all over England. For that one I borrowed a KS18L to ride on and everything was brilliant, I had 1 off but nothing serious. I’m not the most confident off-road rider neither a daredevil (like Ian) but because of the Speedy Feet Video Reviews I’ve ridden in the Forest of Dean so I have some experience. Despite that the trails in Leigh Woods were proper challenging especially for people that had never gone off-road.
Let’s get to the meat of the story though, riding the MCM5 off-road. You may have seen some videos where people show how the wheel is doing well going up and down hills and bumps and yes the MCM5 is a very powerful and sturdy machine but that 14-inch wheel is NOT good for off-road. When you’ve been on a KS18L or V10 and then you go off-roading with the MCM5 you will feel the how inferior the experience is. I’m not saying that the EUC isn’t good, just how it’s build it’s not suitable for rocky ground.
Here’s the issue with it, the chassis is low so when if you go around rocks, even if you dodge them with the tire, you catch them on the side panels and if you’re going fast it sounds like you’ve broken the plastic shell. On one occasion a few big rocks were sticking out of the ground so swerved to the right to avoid them but I hit one of them with the side of the wheel and the MCM5 got stuck and stayed there while I continued forward on foot.
Another issue was that because I was messing about with the MCM5 earlier because I wasn’t thinking that I’ll be off-roading with it, when it came to the ride I had less battery so at the end of the day most people there who were on the KS18XLs and MSXs had plenty of battery whilst I was on the beep and couldn’t go fast, especially going uphill I was doing probably under 10 mph because I was on 13% battery.
You can’t help it but compare your riding experience to the rest of the guys who had more suitable off-road unicycles so my cautiousness and the 14-inch tire held me back from the full experience as I was often trailing behind the main cohort. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic and fun day, but comparing the MCM5 and the KS18L on almost the same tracks really showed me how important having a bigger wheel is when you go off-road.