Ninebot One E+ 16" 320wh Self Balancing Electric Unicycle Review
So, we finally got our hands on the most popular model out there! I've been riding it all day for a little while now, and I am beginning to understand why Ninebot is the leader. Here is our initial review of the Ninebot One E+ 16" 320wh Self Balancing Electric Unicycle.
The Ninebot One E+ self balancing electric unicycle is viewed as the "most reliable" or "highest quality" unit around. It's got the cool factor. This is the iPad. This is the Tesla. At least in image and in peoples' minds.
Let's start with the looks. I know people love this one, so I'm going to just be honest. The Ninebot One looks like a ride-on Roomba to me. For anyone who's watched the video of the cat riding on the robot vacuum cleaner (link here), and felt a little jealous, this is your opportunity to join in the fun. Now you just need a dinosaur costume.
The packaging was beautiful; enough but not too much. All cardboard with a little plastic; no styrofoam for those with environmental proclivities. There was a "new unicycle smell" out of the box, and the first night my lady Justine made me move it from the bed next to us into the other room. She said the whole apartment had a smell.
One problem was that despite being shipped from NinebotUS, we did not receive a USA power attachment. Having discussed this with NinebotUS, we have been informed that this was a short-term inconvenience and the correct cord will be included in the box in all future orders. For folks who received a Ninebot One E+ ordered on our site, if you did not receive the USA power connector, contact us and we will send one immediately. If you purchased a unit from another NinebotUS distributor and didn't get the right cable, you can contact NinebotUS to request one.
Materials Quality and Design
Immediately upon inspecting the unit, I could tell that it was tightly assembled and made with high-quality parts.
I'm an old man, and I like the smooth 16” unis better than maneuverable 14” unis. BUT, I need it to fit underneath the seat at the coffee shop. It's compact for a 16” micro unicycle. It's on the heavier side, and it's a little bigger than it looks in all the pictures. It just barely fits on the bottom of the shopping cart at the grocery store, next to my lady's King Song wheel.
We expected riding the Ninebot One E+ to be similar to feel similar to riding a much higher quality Huanxi H1 (link here), with a round design and nowhere to grasp with your shins. However, the leg pads are very firm and the experience is more of a hybrid - between the round design and the old style box-on-top. It feels medium-width. I like the way it feels, and Justine prefers the security of having more to grab on to, so her preference right now is for the King Song 14" unit (link here).
The Ninebot One E+ employs a closed design on the bottom, near the wheel and pedals. I believe this is for aesthetic reasons. My preference is for a more open design like the King Song or classic style units, because it is easier to access the valve to adjust tire pressure. There have also been reports of closed-bottom-style unicycles having problems with gravel entering the casing, usually causing rattling noises and occasionally causing unsafe riding situations. Don't ride through the gravel on the Ninebot. This is one example of Ninebot choosing form over function, and I hope in the future they offer versions with a more open-wheel design.
Everyone sees the cool retractable handle, and it has advantages and disadvantages. The angle at which it operates makes it a little harder to carry something that is already not easy to carry. I like the handle and hate it at the same time.
Power, Speed, Range, Handling
This is a micro unicycle with a balanced feature set. The 16" wheel reduces acceleration and maneuverability a bit, but not as much as something like the 18" King Song long range cruising machine. The 320wh battery will take you 15 miles or so safely. The 500w motor is not the biggest, and it's not the smallest.
The motor is much quieter than the King Song units, which emit a satisfying continuous whine. The Ninebot sounds much more like the Huanxi H1 than the King Song. Silent when stopped, and a normal motor noise as speed increases. I imagine this is due to higher quality or different style of motor, but that's merely a speculation. Electric motors have been in development for over a hundred years, and almost any electric motor will last basically forever - one thing to consider.
The Ninebot One E+ accelerates plenty quickly, but it doesn't feel quite as quick to respond as the King Song 14", and I think that's because the motors are the same size, but the wheel on the Ninebot is bigger. King Song also advertises a higher peak wattage for the motor, and while according to the nerds this means nothing until independently tested, I think it might be one reason the King Song feels a little torquier. These results are with default ride settings on both units, and both are adjustable through the included phone applications.
Low Battery Behavior
We have begun testing the low-battery behavior of the Ninebot One E+. In fact, it's sitting right next to me with a very low battery right now. On the way to the coffee shop today, my speed was limited and it was almost exactly like riding a beginner unit like the Huanxi. Beeping and tilt-back at about 5mph. I'll continue to test and update here with more detail.
Now, the bad news: according to my electric unicycle forum gurus, the design STILL includes a bad BMS design, which will shut off unexpectedly if the conditions are correct. One wrinkle in the issue is, early models might have a different battery design than more recent versions. It is my understanding that the tolerance of the BMS is "more sane" than other units out there. Thus, reports of unexpected shut-offs are few, and difficult to find at this time.
I will be following up with NinebotUS and Ninebot China about the BMS issue, and should eventually be able to proved official information on the issue.
At this time, I believe the Ninebot design is the safest unit out there under $1000. Of course, we continue to research and test, and love to change our minds!
Brand Recognition and Longevity
Ninebot owns Segway, and is very protective of their brand. They're the "big dogs," and I expect they'll be with us for years to come. This is the brand people want. It's the one your friends think is cool. All that fantastic nonsense.
And I just like being honest, so I'm going to tell you: I'm always a little afraid that Ninebot is going to email me or maybe even threaten legal action if I say the wrong thing on here. They're the ones fighting the legal battle against Solowheel, and I want to be their friend.
The warranty is one of my main concerns when it comes to brand quality. I want to know that our customers are going to receive excellent service, and that they will be able to get parts and conduct repairs in the long term. My interactions with the company have been consistently satisfactory. The first unit we sold arrived malfunctioning, and my customer had a replacement unit within two days. The only bump in the road was, I wasn't able to help much; he had to call NinebotUS himself.
It is my opinion that while many other brands might be fun and useful, and might last a very long time, Ninebot brand micro unicycles are the best long-term investment if you're looking at multiple brands right now.
I'm going to talk about why I chose this brand to purchase for review, and to recommend as our choice for a high-quality, high-end electric unicycle.
- Safer Low-Battery behavior. At low battery, the full slow down, including a verbal low-battery warning and speed limit.
- Good design - aesthetic and functional. The old micro-unis had a design with a big box on top, causing bruises. See an example with the Airwheel X8 linked here. The Ninebot One E+ has popularized the more modern and trendy round style, which should be a much better shape for beginners and experienced riders alike. Fewer leg bruises. Hybrid design gives you something to grab on to with your legs, but not too much.
- Lights integrated in all models. This might seem like a silly luxury at first, but it's actually important safety feature. You want the people around you to know something's different.
- Medium-sized battery. The Ninebot One E+ should have a range of about 15 to 20 miles.
- Speed - These operate at a medium-high speed compared to other micro unicycles. They are commonly accepted as running at the maximum reasonably safe speed for the rider.
- Solid brand with history and projected longevity - Ninebot owns Segway.