Hey eskate squad! It’s been a while since my last article, but fear not! The wait is over. Tons of you have been messaging me asking for updates to my One Wheel adventures. It HAS been a while since the 300 mile review, and I am happy to report that I have wracked up ~1,000 miles between my One Wheel Plus and XR, but today I would like to discuss something a little bit different. Allow me to introduce you to the SoloWheel Glide 3, and outline my love affair with this little one-wheeled beauty.
For those of you who are new to my content, my eskate journey has been interesting. I started off as a sponsored downhill skateboarder in 2011, purchased my first One Wheel in 2017, and since then I have ridden tons of different boards of all shapes and sizes. My love affair with single wheels has always persisted however, and whenever the going got rough, I would always reach for my trusty Plus to get me to work.
All of that changed when I received my Glide 3 review unit.
…well, not at first.
Out-of-the-box this wheel is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to ride unless you have prior experiences with unicycles. I assumed that my vast experience with skateboards and One Wheels would give me an advantage.
I was wrong.
Learning to Ride
I spent the first 5 hours of my Glide 3 ownership in the parking garage at my workplace, precariously rolling forwards 2-3 feet at a time. After 3 or so hours, I was able to ride through the garage with relatively few incidents, and after a total of 5 hours, I felt comfortable enough to take the wheel out on the open roads of Cambridge.
One of the first major differences I noticed between the Glide 3 and the One Wheel is that the Glide 3 does NOT stay still. If you are not constantly rolling forwards, you will lose your balance and have to step off. At red lights, where I used to roll back and forth on my OW, I now have to dismount, or ride as slowly as possible and wait for the light to change. That being said, dismounting and remounting can be quite hard until you have the practice. It was about 2 weeks before I wasn’t making a complete arse of myself when the lights turned green.
Pro-Tip: Set the neutral angle of your EUC in the app to tilt forwards slightly (not as much as in the picture above). I found that this helped with comfort when maintaining speed. No one wants to feel like their wheel is pushing them over backwards while riding.
Once you are comfortable on them, EUCs ride like a dream. They are super maneuverable, very stable at speed, and offer a fairly comfortable riding position that allows you to use your knees to absorb any bumps or potholes that the roads might throw at you. When I was still in my first couple of weeks on the wheel, I experienced a very unsettling oscillation when exceeding 10 mph, which was very reminiscent of ‘speed wobble” on a skateboard. This ended up not being a problem once I relaxed my body a little bit and built up the muscles needed to keep the unit stable (also much like dealing with speed wobble).
Once through the initial learning stages of riding, I found myself continually surprised by what this wheel could do. Curb-drops were no problem, the large, 16-inch tire eats up the bumps and vibrations of road riding, and off-roading was easy!
The 800W motor, combined with the low ride height and centered weight of the rider, makes for a truly confidence-inspiring riding experience. Even after 1,000 miles on One Wheels, I still always feel like I am walking a thin line between cruising at a high speed and nose-diving into a potentially serious injury. Conversely, you really have to work hard to get the Glide 3 to set off its warning alarm (GREAT feature. Take notes Future Motion) and even then, I have never felt in danger of getting dumped by the wheel.
The performance numbers on the Glide 3 are also amazing. With a cruising speed of 18.6 mph, and 24 miles of range on a single charge, all in a sleek and sexy 30-pound unit, there are few other personal electric vehicles (PEVs) that can even TRY to compete with the Glide 3. At the $900 price-point, there are none that even come close.
Power delivery is smooth and consistent, inspiring confidence at all speeds, but there is something to be said for the significant voltage sag that occurs once the Glide 3 reaches ~60% of its battery capacity. On longer rides, I have found myself limited to a cruising speed of around 15 mph after about 5 miles have passed. While this doesn’t sound too bad, it can be quite annoying when you are on group ride and have to keep up with a large pack of Boosted boards cruising at 18.
Currently it is pretty cold in Boston, so I had to do my 100%-0% range test in 40 degree temperatures. I have no doubt that this, along with my 185 pound body, impacted the battery life, but I was still able to squeeze 16.5 miles out of the Glide 3 before it kicked me off for dangerously low battery. InMotion advertises “30 miles of total freedom” but I think that this claim might be a bit of a stretch. Certainly a lighter rider, cruising at 15 mph in a more temperate climate might be able to stretch that range a bit better than I did, but 16.5 is still a far cry from 30.
This is where the Glide 3 really shines. I have never encountered an electric board that has integrated itself into my daily commute so well! For the sake of keeping this simple, I have divided this section into several different categories:
Holy mother of eskate, this is the single best feature that I have ever encountered on a device that I have reviewed. The one thing that SUCKS about commuting on any sort of PEV is lugging that huge piece of technology up stairs, into trains and buses, and then into your place of work/home. I am by no means in bad shape, and I cannot STAND lugging my 30-pound One Wheel more than a couple of blocks. Boosted boards also have a large footprint and I cannot even imagine what it takes to get a Kaly build or LaCroix up a flight of stairs.
The Glide 3 features a telescoping handle, much like you would find on your airport luggage, that allows you to guide the wheel around with ease. The handle allows you to engage the internal motor on the Glide 3 which takes all of the strain out of pushing or pulling it to your destination. Simply tilt the handle in the direction that you would like to go, and the internal motor takes care of the rest.
With the handle extended and the LEDs turned off, the Glide 3 has all of the appeal of a slick piece of rolling luggage. I have been allowed into bars and clubs that have denied me access because I had my One Wheel or skateboard in-tow simply because the Glide 3 looks like it BELONGS.
I thought I got a lot of interest when I carried the One Wheel around, but I was wrong. Since bringing the Glide 3 on my daily commute I have spoken with all sorts of people. “What is that thing?” is a refrain I have heard so many times at this point, that I have a whole pre-scripted explanation ready. I have even had older gentlemen in suits stop me in the elevator to ask about the elegantly designed Glide 3 on a daily basis.
One you put the handle down, and turn on the side LEDs and front headlight, you go from a sleek and sexy Batmobile to a rolling discotek. Where most eskates require several aftermarket installed lights to stay visible at night, but the Glide 3 has everything that you need to be seen from all angles at night pre-installed. There are also additional patterns you can set in the app!
(The lights also have the side effect of drawing college students and homeless people to you like moths to a flame, so be mindful of this when operating your Glide 3.)
The headlight itself is also quite serviceable up to about 7 feet in front of you. This is enough to spot most obstacles in your way at lowers speeds, but I would like a little more light when I am trucking along at 18 mph on the dark, notoriously crappy streets of Boston.
At 30 pounds, the Glide 3 is not the smallest wheel out there, but its slim profile and fold-able footpads make it shrink down to the size of a standard bicycle wheel in seconds. Even in a crowded rush-hour train, I can easily fit the Glide 3 between my feet. When I get into the office, I can hide it easily under my desk, and at the bar, it sits nicely under my chair.
(This is my preferred hiding spot for the SoloWheel in a crowded rush-hour train)
Unlike all but the most expensive eskates, the Glide 3 comes with an IP55 waterproof rating, meaning that it is rated to withstand jets of water. This, combined with the enclosed design that keeps spray from the wheel off of your backside, makes it an ideal commuter for wet or rainy days. Unlike my One Wheel, which seems to erratically shut off every once-in-a-while when riding in the wet, the Glide 3 has been nothing but perfect in the 200 miles that I have logged on it. In fact, I get tired of being wet long before the wheel does. It is now my go-to choice for bad weather, though I have not yet ridden it in the snow.
(At the tail end of my “Torrential downpour test.” Expect my Glide 3 snow-ride review to drop sometime in January…)
PSYCH, it snowed RIGHT before this review went up, and boy did it snow a TON. Cars were stuck all over Boston when this unexpected 4 inches of wet and slippery snow hit us. Naturally, being the crazy person I am, I decided to take the Glide 3 up the 10% grade hill that I normally use to test hill climbing power at the height of the snow storm.
As you can see from the photo evidence, I was able to make it up most of the hill before sliding out at lower speed. The next day, I took the Glide 3 out in the settled (less wet) snow and it performed admirably. This is absolutely my new go-to choice for snowy weather and actually amazed me with its performance. Most cars would not have been able to make it up that hill during snow that heavy, but the Glide 3 made a fairly easy time of it.
You would think that with its gorgeous design and mainly plastic body that the Glide 3 would be a pretty fragile machine. You would be wrong. My review unit has been crashed, slid countless times, even been hit by a car, and so far has only sustained cosmetic scrapes. Not a single part of the wheel has broken or malfunctioned in over 200 miles. If having a scraped up shell bothers you, you can always buy a replacement one for $25. In fact, you can buy almost any replacement cosmetic parts that you need on the InMotion website.
If you don’t believe me, check out when InMotion went to the Braille house and absolutely beat the stuffing out of these machines.
This is one of my favorite pieces of eskate content out there, and a great testament to the abuse that these machines can take. (My contacts at InMotion told me that they only had to replace the plastic covers on the units used in the Braille video before they were 100% good-to-go again!)
Everyone has a weakness right? Superman has kryptonite, Aussies have Vegemite and Metallica made St. Anger. Unfortunately, the Glide 3’s Achilles’ heel comes in the form of the InMotion app. This app is such a garbage-fire, that I have decided to air my grievances in the form of a bulleted list.
The InMotion app is guilty of the following:
- Showing me the TOS and making me agree to it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I start the app.
- Featuring a weirdly gamified social aspect that seems to reward proprietary currency when you complete items listed in the “Task Center” (fun!).
- Having a VERY inaccurate range estimator that starts at 30 and appears to tick down at pre-set increments of battery capacity, with no regard for rider weight or prior power consumption. If I relied on this app function to plan my rides, I would have been stranded a LOT.
- Resetting my top-speed limit to 14 mph within SECONDS of me setting it to 18 mph.
- Having some very hard-to-understand English that could be fixed by a quick once-over by a native speaker
If InMotion can boil the app down to the important stuff: setting lights, top speed, ambient tilt, showing speed/range, then this is an easy fix, but as it stands now, the app is barely functional. I have heard from other EUC riders, that this is one of the better apps in the industry and I believe it, but it is worth mentioning that third party apps like DarknessBot are the accepted standard if you buy a EUC from a major manufacturer.
I hope you guys are in the mood to see a lot more EUC content because I do not plan to stop riding my Glide 3 anytime soon. The great range, functionality, and durability offered by this product make it the perfect choice for my commute, and as the days get colder, we will really be able to see how it performs in adverse conditions. I love my Glide 3, and I am certain that other people will too. The only problem standing in the way of the massive popularity of these machines is the pretty large learning curve that goes into riding one. If you can get past the initial 3-5 hour investment, I think you will find this machine as one of the best options for mid-to-long commutes, and one of the easiest PEVs to use in your day-to-day life.
Fun Fact: The “hands-free” nature of the Glide 3 means that you can hold an umbrella while riding it! I used this advanced strategy to keep my body dry while flying to work in less-than-perfect conditions!
If you are interested in buying a Glide 3 or other InMotion products, I have wrangled a special coupon code “DFR10” that you can use at checkout on the myinmotion.com website for 10% off of your order!