AirWheel X8 Review

From Manufacturer: The most advanced AirWheel X Series Yet!
With stunning Carbon Fibre effect plastic casing, the X8 is sleek, plush and extremely cool.
It might not have won awards… but if there were ‘electric transportation awards’ it sure as hell would win!
The X8 is fantastic for commuters, business professionals and anyone interested in traveling in ultimate style.”

Do you love the circus? Did your dreams of becoming a tightrope unicycler go down in flames when college came into the picture? Well, if you have a decent job then you can make that first dream come true as well by getting the Airwheel X8, the electronic unicycle to end all unicycles!

What’s that? You don’t have a great sense of balance? The Airwheel X8 will do an amazing job compensating when you have had ample practice on it. It has everything to ensure this, from state of the art transport control to an algorithm and a gyroscope system that will keep you suspended on the Airwheel X8 whether you lean forward or back.

AirWheel X8 Specifications

  • Can travel 23 km in one go at 16km/h max
  • Weighs just 11 kg
  • 50% more operating power compared to its predecessors
  • Takes 90 minutes to charge completely
  • Consists of a single wheel and gyroscope for balance regardless of tilt angle
  • Wide aluminum footrests and the top of the unit can be straddled easily
  • Lean forward to go forward and vice versa.

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Riding Experience

Riding the Airwheel X8 is similar to riding an EROVER or even an IO Hawk. As a rider, all you have to do is hop on and control the one wheeled scooter by leaning forward or back. Speed up and slow down or brake the same way and balance yourself by tilting sideways if you start to wobble along the way.

Speaking of maintaining equilibrium, the X8 comes with an in built intelligence balancing chip that comprises of the aforementioned algorithm along with aviation attitude control technique. That, along with the distinctive look the carbon fiber pattern gives it, you will definitely attract admiring glances when you are wheeling down the street on one.

Japanese Li-Ion Battery

The AirWheel X8 is charged by a Lithium Ion battery which can be charged a whopping 1,800 times and has a 3.8 times life expectancy as well. In other words, it will not explode or burn up no matter how long it is ridden. But I won’t take that chance if I were you. Tech is best used cool and will also last longer.

No need to remain wary though. The LED indicators will let you know when the Airwheel X8 is about to run out of juice; when the charge falls below 15%, all four of the lights will start to blink and you will also hear a consistent beeping sound in case you miss them. When your unit comes to a stop, please do your kneecaps and scar free face a favor and DO NOT mount again until it’s fully charged!

The Wheel

Even though the Airwheel X8 comes with a single wheel, it does not compromise on balance. It’s a 16 inches magnified wheel hub that balances the rider well by reducing the roll angle and optimizing grip. The design also goes a long way in optimizing the look of the whole ensemble. Additionally, when the Airwheel tilts to the side at 45 degrees or when it turns over, the control system will kick in and kick-start the tilting protection. This will also stall the motor, thus ensuring the rider remains injury free.

The smart charger reduces charging time (i.e. it takes just 90 minutes to ensure a full charge for 28 km worth of travel in one go).

Speed Control and Warning

To ensure riders do not lose control when they are speeding along, the good manufacturers of the Airwheel set a maximum speed limit. So, if you try to go over 12 km/h, this electric unicycle will first rise a bit and if you feel a bit more adventurous and try to go over 16 km/h, the pedal will go up 10 degrees to the surface literally stopping the wheel in its tracks. This will also prevent you from accelerating further and risking injuries.

The Motor and Weight

As far as electric scooters go, the X8 has a lot going for it. The 800 watt motor is powerful enough to handle almost any surface and the tires are big enough to handle off road adventures. The Panasonic batteries can be charged decently for 90 minutes and fully charged for 120 minutes max. Since it is so lightweight, it can be carried onto a bus or a train easily enough and can also be placed in a backpack if it has ample room.

Additionally, unlike the two wheeled scooters, the Airwheel is slim and doesn’t take up a lot of space whether you are riding it on the boardwalk or storing it under the bed. In fact, it is the number one preferred mobility solution for a lot of mobility junkies and those who can afford the $600 price tag. Yes, it’s not cheap, but if you really want it, then better start collecting today even if you have your heart set on a two wheeler. FYI, those don’t come cheap either, at least not the excellent variety.

Getting On and Off

Riding the Airwheel X8 is not as easy as it seems at first and climbing on the first time can be a challenge for obvious reasons. However, once you get over your jitters and climb over the hump without toppling over, the rest is not so difficult.

Getting on is a matter of practice. Hold the unit with a foot and then jump on the seat quickly without hesitation. If you get scared or hesitate, the wheel will make its escape before your tush comes in contact with the seat! The good news is that since it comes with a leash, you won’t get thrown to the ground as violently. To make this easier, practice by getting on and off the unit next to a wall. This way you won’t damage anything or yourself for that matter. A friend who doesn’t mind supporting your weight as you wobble on the Airwheel will work too.

The ride will be wobbly at first but once you get going, it will feel like skiing. However, the first time you manage to successfully roll without falling, you may forget how to dismount. Jump off the first time; the unit will also fall over, but the motor will also get cut off.

Steering

There are two main ways you can steer an X8. When you are speeding, lean in gently and the wheel will curve around the direction you need to turn and when you are going slowly, a twist of the lower legs will be sufficient to re-align the Airwheel in the preferred direction. This will take some practice to master though.

Safety

Once you can go at high speed, you will feel as if the unit will make you fall flat on your face. There are two aspects that can ensure this does not happen. First, the unit has a max speed of 18 km/hr so even if you do fall over, you will stabilize quickly. Second, the Airwheel X8 is designed to stall when it reaches the max speed limit and will automatically push on the feet supports to slow down. However, the unit only allows shallow turns; try more elaborate ones and you will find yourself on the floor on your back fast!

Don’t expect to come out of the experience unscathed though. Practice makes perfect, but the frequent and clumsy tries may leave you with a couple of bruises along with a painful ego. Once you feel confident enough to take it out on the boardwalk, you will be stopped multiple times by bystanders who just have to try it. Do what I do, start yelling like a maniac when you are riding along so that people stay away from you and learn that you are a beginner too! This will also prevent your unit from getting scratched from overzealous teenagers as well.

The Bad…

Even though you will look completely rad riding the AirWheel X8, your grin will turn into a grimace when the battery starts blaring once it runs out of charge. To add insult to injury, it will also give off a note that will sound like a flat lining heart monitor when you jump off and it hits the ground. Turn it off quick because it won’t stop protesting until you do. Plus, you need to wrangle it when you are turning it off since it will rev up once and propel forward which can lead to scratches and smarting ankles.

However, it is silent when it is in motion and will give you hours of fun if you know how to take care of it.