Alternative modes of transportation abound. While once skateboards and scooters littered the pavement, they’ve been usurped by rideables. While these flashy and futuristic-looking gadgets resemble the likes of skateboards and unicycles, they’re battery powered — for faster transport.
These so-called rideables, often electrically-powered, deliver a fun-filled method for zipping around town. Check out the top six rideables for owning the streets and sidewalks!
What Is a Rideable?
Unfortunately, the flying car isn’t quite here.
These strange but fun vehicles essentially combine something from your childhood, like a skateboard or unicycle, with souped-up electronic motors. Electric Rideables defines a rideable as “…something you ride on that also has an electric motor to propel you forward.”
The most popular and well-known rideable is undoubtedly the Segway.
Why Buy a Rideable?
Rideables skyrocketed in popularity. Because they are small, portable, and powerful, rideables offer a quick means of transportation. You can easily whisk around on one of these unique machines, and you’ll look mildly futuristic in the process.
The main incentive is clearly transportation. While promotional videos might showcase neat tricks, it’s tough enough to stay balanced. You won’t get the same workout as running or even walking, but you’ll be surprised at how much of a lower body workout you’ll achieve with one.
Provided you have a pretty simple commute, for instance not driving on a highway, rideables may offer a replacement for your car. Or you may use one to supplement a commute, such as riding rather than walking a mile to the bus stop.
- Fun to ride
- Fast, reliable alternative transportation
What to Look For in a Rideable
- Form factor
- Ease of use
- Battery life
- Charging time
Rideables vary quite a bit. Whereas some come in a unicycle form factor, others remain skateboard-like. Just as with their non-electric counterparts, more wheels yields greater stability. So an electric skateboard is far easier to ride than an electric unicycle. Other important factors are battery life, charging time, top speed, and motor power. These determine how fast you can travel, how long it takes to reach a destination, etc.
A word of caution: These little gadgets sure are fun, but they can also be dangerous. When selecting a rideable, consider your familiarity with similar devices. Like a pair of shoes, if you’re serious about using a rideable, try one before you buy.
The SwagTron T1 is a self-balancing scooter. Whereas many rideables targeting beginners still feature a substantial learning curve, the T1 is fairly intuitive. The Wire Cutter even calls the Swagtron T1 “the hoverboard you should get.” As The Wirecutter reveals, the T1, like the Swagway X1, sports a safe battery, charging system, and electrical drive.
Onboard, you’ll find dual riding modes: one for new riders, and another for seasoned riders. There are a smart battery management system and a short one-hour charging time. Its speed ranges from 2-8 mph, or about 3-13 km/h. The T1 supports riders up to 220 pounds. Chiefly, the T1 rocks UL certification. That means it’s been tested to meet UL’s requirements including a short circuit test, drop test, and crash test. Although, while it’s touted as self-balancing, you’ll still need to use caution when riding. Notably, uneven surfaces present a challenge even for the best self-balancing hoverboards. Despite its slew of features, the SwagTron T1’s best specification may be its extremely affordable price.
- UL listed
- Up to 8 mph (or 13 km/h)
- 1-hour charge time
- Learning and expert modes
- 220 pounds maximum weight capacity
The Yuneec Breeze 4K (our review) is one of the best drones available in 2017. Yuneec also manufacturers the E-Go 2 electric longboard. It’s powered by a 400-watt motor. On a single charge, the E-Go 2 travels up to 18 miles or 30 kilometers. Plus, it fully charges in a mere 3-5 hours.
As the Verge reveals, it’s an electric skateboard that’s reasonably affordable rideable. But it’s not as nimble as the likes of the Booster Board or the inboard M1. Whereas competing powered skateboards deliver higher watts, range and design make the E-Go 2 a solid contender. With its back end, it’s possible to press down and navigate over obstacles. But its remote is a mixed experience. While it’s well-designed, it can be difficult to use in motion. Moreover, moving from a standstill to a hill can lead to a slight slip.
- 400-watt motor
- 18 miles per charge
- Up to 12.5 mph/20 km/h
While the Solowheel stands as one of the best-known rideables, it’s expensive despite a price cut. Plus, as Engadget reveals, it’s tough to tame. The InMotion V3 Pro is an electric unicycle but sports dual wheels. This makes it one of the best rideables for beginners. In its review, The Verge called the InMotion Pro V3 “slick” and “futuristic.” Yet The Verge’s Ben Popper allowed that he kept falling off, and jokingly quipped “I almost died.”
The V3 Pro features a built-in handle which pops up for simple carry. But that’s just one of the many stellar design features which outfit this tiny yet powerful rideable. There’s an information screen on the side which displays metrics like battery life and Bluetooth status. The latter is used for a speaker, and to sync with the companion app which gives insight into average speed and range. But speed maxes out at 11 miles per hour or 18 kilometers per hour. Its 450-watt motor is plenty powerful.
- Dual wheel
- Unicycle form factor
- 450-watt motor
- 11 mph/18 km/h
- Built-in handle
- Bluetooth connection for app and speaker
- Information panel
When it comes to rideables, Segway might not be the first, but it’s certainly one of the most popular. Segway rose to prominence as one of the best-known rideable options. The miniPro is an awesome rideable that’s a bit easier for beginners. Because the Segway miniPro includes a knee-control bar, it’s simpler to master than competing devices. Among its array of safety features, you’ll find head and tail lights.
With a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour, the miniPro is capable of traveling 14 miles on one charge. Plus, there’s app control for changing lighting colors and running diagnostics. In its review, PC Mag praised the Segway miniPro for its smooth ride and superb stability. However, despite its excellent build quality, the miniPro as PC Mag reveals features poor Bluetooth connection and long distance travel is uncomfortable sans handlebar. Nevertheless, with a solid midrange price, it’s one of the best rideables available.
- Knee-control bar
- Companion app
- Up to 10 mph/16 km/h
- 4-hour charge time
- 15 miles range per charge
Like the Swagtron T1, the Halo Rover delivers UL certification so it’s among the safest rideables available. With its chunky, oversized all-terrain tires, it’s definitely eye-catching. Where the Halo Rover differs from the competition is its focus off-roading. But despite the tires and go-anywhere appearance, don’t expect a smooth ride. Tires don’t keep balance on uneven surfaces, to the usual challenges of rough terrain still plague the Halo Rover.
Among its many amenities, you’ll find Bluetooth connectivity and a mobile app, as well as three different modes. There’s one for learning, a normal mode, and an advanced tier.
- Mobile app with Bluetooth compatibility
- Bluetooth speaker and connectivity
- IPX4 certification for water resistance
- UL safety certification
- Up to 10 mph/16 km/h
- 3 ride modes: beginner, normal, advanced
The Solowheel comes in several flavors. Unfortunately. While it’s one of the best rideables you can get, it’s also among the most expensive. The original clocked in at almost $2,000 its newer models offer lower price points. As the Xtreme in Solowheel Xtreme suggests, it’s ruggedized and uses a large 18-inch wheel. Additionally, at the core of the Xtreme, you’ll find a 1,800-watt motor.
Unfortunately, with the power it packs, the Solowheel Xtreme makes a few concessions. Despite its souped up capabilities, it’s lacking a kickstand or headlights. In its review, Engadget noted that though it’s a spectacular rideable, the Solowheel remains tough to ride. Still, with a top speed of 16 km/h and a mere 1-2 hour charge time, it’s the best pick for rideables available in 2017.
- 1,800-watt motor
- 1-2 hour charge time
- Up to 10 mph/16 km/h
- 18-inch wheel
- No kickstand
- Lacks headlights
- Regenerative braking
Ride On: The Best Rideables of 2017
There’s not one rideable that’s best for everyone. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, tons of rideable options populate the market. This means loads of choices ranging from single-wheeled devices to dual-wheel unicycle form factors, boosted skateboards, and more. Among the top considerations, think about how you plan to use your rideable. Elements such as battery life and ease of use dictate everyday use. A powered skateboard like the E-Go 2 might be best for daily commuting, while a unicycle is more appropriate for occasional fun around town. That’s because the skateboard features a lower learning curve, so you can start using it on a regular basis faster than a more challenging device.
For beginners, even a dual-wheeled unicycle might be tough to master. Something like a powered skateboard or self-balancing two-wheeled rideable is best. Plus, for kids options include the Razor Power Core. Yes, the same Razor which made those popular folding scooters which were oh so popular in the 90s. But when using rideables like the Solowheel or Segway miniPro, use caution. As much fun as rideables can be, they’re pretty difficult to ride. Don’t be fooled by the delightful promo videos of users riding on one foot or pulling off flashy tricks. These fun looking gadgets can be as dangerous as Heelys.
Which rideables do you recommend?