How Does Onewheel Work?

If you’ve seen the cool-looking Onewheel around, you might well have wondered exactly how a device like this works – and exactly how it is possible to stay balanced on it? Well, good news – as this article will tell you everything you need to know to answer the important question: How Does Onewheel Work?

What Is A Onewheel?

Before answering ‘How Does Onewheel Work?’, we are going to look at what a Onewheel is.

Put very simply, the Onewheel is an electric skateboard! Of course, it’s actually a little more complex than that – but that’s probably the simplest way for most people to understand it.

And of course, given the name, it’s probably no surprise whatsoever to you to learn that the Onewheel has only one wheel!

Unlike a normal skateboard, which has four wheels that are mounted on trucks underneath a wooden deck, the one wheel instead has one central wheel that the board sits around. Compared to a skateboard wheel, the wheel on the one wheel is absolutely colossal – coming in at a huge 6.5 inches wide.

The wheel is mounted centrally on the board, with the deck making contact with the wheel at the center allowing it to rotate freely. You stand on it pretty much exactly the same way that you stand on a skateboard. Indeed, it provides a very similar riding experience, albeit with a little bit of a twist.

Of course, that’s only one side of it. Underneath the Onewheel, there are a lot of pretty complex things going on! Underneath one of your feet, there are batteries mounted in the deck.

Under the other foot, the electronics that control the whole thing. And of course, there’s an extremely powerful motor too, which is capable of providing 500 watts of continuous power or a staggering 2000w peak.

It’s certainly different – quirky and unique, it combines the riding experience of a skateboard with the speed and versatility of an electric scooter. It’s an extremely fun toy for a lot of adults.

Although you’re unlikely to be doing the same sort of flips, grinds, and tricks that you’ll do on a normal skateboard, that doesn’t mean that the Onewheel isn’t going to be something you’ll really enjoy riding. People who ride them tend to think they’re a lot of fun!

Of course, this isn’t to say that they’re just toys – after all, they’ve got a decent amount of power, can climb hills, and actually go at a fairly considerable speed considering how small they are!

They are similar to electric scooters in that regard – yes, of course, they are something that you ride for fun, but there’s also an element of practicality to them.

In fact, one of the great things about them even compared to an electric scooter is just how compact they are – they’re small enough to fit under a desk, and you’ll be able to comfortably ride one with a backpack!

So, there is actually a possibility that a Onewheel could be a legitimate solution for your commuting needs – and of course, a fun one too! Of course, you could well make the case that the Onewheel is so much fun to ride that you’ll essentially make any excuse to use it!

But just how exactly does the Onewheel work? And are they difficult to ride and balance? Well, don’t worry – this article will answer all these questions and more!

How Does A Onewheel Work?

Now we know what a one-wheel is, let’s answer the big question: How Does Onewheel Work?

Exactly how does the one-wheel work? Well, of course, you ride it much like a skateboard. However, you don’t have to do any pushing at all. In fact, as there’s only one wheel, lifting one of your feet off will probably do nothing positive for your balance!

It’s actually quite simple to ride a Onewheel, and if you’ve ever used a skateboard before you’re probably in for a very similar experience to that which you’re accustomed to. You’ll essentially assume the same stance while riding the one wheel.

However, to give yourself speed, instead of pushing off with your feet you simply lean forward a little bit. Want to go a little slower? Then all you have to do is lean back! And of course, any mode of transport would be absolutely useless if it could only go in straight lines. After all, even a train needs to be able to make turns!

Well turning on the Onewheel is similar to riding a skateboard too. Essentially you just lean in the direction that you want to turn. So, if you’re au fait with riding a skateboard, you’ll probably find that adjusting to a Onewheel is extremely easy for you!

Others who don’t have as much experience with riding a skateboard, or perhaps who have never ridden a skateboard in their lives, will still likely find riding the Onewheel is a pleasant and fun experience and far less difficult than they may have feared!

It is of course a little bit intimidating at the start – getting used to the experience of moving forward just by leaning does take a little bit of time. Of course, as with anything practice makes perfect!

Obviously, making something like this so easy to use for the rider can only be achieved with some pretty complex electronics. Indeed, the Onewheel is full of the stuff – including three internal accelerometers and gyroscopes that help the Onewheel to know exactly which way it’s oriented in 3D space.

These sensors are essentially the same thing as you would find in a modern smartphone. You’ll likely recall how your smartphone can tell when you’ve tilted it on its side – for example, if you’re watching a video, and you tilt your phone on its side it will flip the video to display it full screen.

This is essentially the exact same thing that the Onewheel does – except it’s not on a phone.

The sensors on the one wheel take measurements somewhere in the region of 14000 times every single second, meaning that they’re constantly watching to see exactly what is going on with the positioning and orientation of the device.

And of course, if the Onewheel knows exactly how far forward or back it’s pointing, it knows how much power you want to apply to the motor. It’s actually a really simple concept – but of course, needs a lot of work behind the scenes to make it so easy for you to use.

In addition to the aforementioned gyroscopes and accelerometers, there is of course a microprocessor that controls everything – taking input from the sensors and using it to calculate exactly how much power the motor should use.

It also uses these to help the Onewheel actually make adjustments that help you to maintain your balance. Without these small adjustments, riding the Onewheel would actually be a lot harder than it is.

And of course, the Onewheel needs some way to know when somebody is actually standing on the board. That’s why there are two pressure-sensitive pads that will detect the weight of a rider, enabling the Onewheel to know that somebody is trying to use it.

Of course, as this uses the same sensor technology that you would find in a modern smartphone, it also means that it’s actually fairly easy to connect the one wheel with a smartphone and tweak some of the parameters of the device.

The manufacturers have created an app for your smartphone that will connect with the Onewheel itself and allow you to change certain settings.

You’ll be able to adjust the performance of the device to your specific riding style, for instance, by adjusting exactly how the board responds to your movements. And of course, you can do other useful things with this app, like see just how much battery life is left!

All in all the Onewheel is a pretty cool and fun toy! It’s packed full of modern technology that isn’t there just for show, but actually is an essential part of making this unique device work in the first place!

Without all of the sensor technology, and the microprocessor that controls everything on the Onewheel, it would undoubtedly be a much less pleasant device to ride.

And of course, without the modern ability to build lightweight brushless motors and extremely compact yet powerful batteries, it simply wouldn’t be possible for a device the size of the Onewheel to put out as much power as it does!

Devices like this aren’t for everyone of course – and for many people, the Onewheel is probably a little too gimmicky. It costs around $1,000, after all! It’s a lot to spend on something that, no matter how cool, will often struggle to compete with a car or a bike in that respect.

However, there are probably more than a few people out there for whom the Onewheell will actually make some practical sense. Those people will be excited at the idea of such a cool, compact, and powerful transport device!


The Onewheel is certainly a really cool little device – and now you understand exactly how it works!

We hope you enjoyed our article on ‘How Does Onewheel Work?’

Cathy Welks
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