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How do self balancing scooters work?

The self balancing scooter is an electric powered board that allows the driver to control speed and direction through touch sensitive foot pedals. Leaning forward on the board causes it to accelerate and leaning backwards slows it down. Turning is controlled by the amount of pressure applied to each foot pedal – when the driver puts more weight onto one foot the board turns. Tilt sensors inside the board function as a balancing system, allowing the driver to maintain balance whilst leaning forward and travelling at speed.
Swegway Board (Black)

Are self balancing scooters easy to drive?

Yes, they are designed to feel very natural to drive. Beginners normally take around ten minutes to get used to balancing on the boards, after which time the brain adjusts to the balancing mechanism inside the board. Follow these steps if you’ve never driven a self balancing scooter before.

1. It’s best to hold onto something before stepping on for the first time. Place one foot onto the board and slowly shift your weight onto that foot.

2. Once all your weight is on the foot which is on the board, place your other foot onto the board too. Concentrate on trying to remain still for the first minute – hold on to something to begin with.

3. Once your brain has adjusted to the board, lean forward and accelerate slowly. Try moving along next to the side of a wall, letting go of the wall when you feel comfortable.

4. Practise turning while standing still. The scooters have a remarkably small turning circle and learning how to turn in tight spaces is a useful skill.

5. Experiment with faster speeds as you begin to feel more confident. Try driving over small cracks and on slopes to really test your balance.

6. To get off, carefully shift your weight onto one foot and balance on that foot as you move the other foot onto the ground. Make sure to shift your weight onto your ground foot before removing your other foot from the board. Getting off is hazardous for beginners and is one of the hardest parts of driving.

How fast can self balancing scooters go?

Most boards have a stated maximum speed of 7 mph (11 km/h). This is roughly equivalent to running speed. Some boards with larger wheels are able to travel slightly faster (reaching maximum speeds of 10 – 12 mph). Driving downhill on a smooth surface will allow you to travel significantly faster.

How long does the battery last?

The battery life of self balancing scooters varies between 3 and 5 hours on a single charge. This will take you between 5 and 10 miles, depending on how fast you travel. Nearly all scooters use either Samsung, LG or generic batteries. Whilst it might be expected that branded batteries last longer, there is no evidence that this is the case and some reports have indicated that generic batteries actually last longer.

How much do self balancing scooters weigh?

Smaller boards with 6.5 inch wheels weigh 22 lbs (10 kg). Large boards with 10 inch wheels weigh 28 lbs (13 kg). Second generation 8 inch boards with Bluetooth speakers weigh 24 lbs (11 kg).

Do self balancing scooters have a weight limit?

The stated weight limit for 6.5 inch and 8 inch boards is 220 lbs (100kg). For 10 inch boards the weight limit is 265 lbs (120 kg).

How practical are self balancing scooters?

The smaller 6.5 inch boards are great for roaming around indoors: at school, in a warehouse, around the shopping mall or anywhere with smooth surfaces. Those working in the video industry have noted that the smooth ride and hands free nature of the boards are well suited to video recording on the move too. However, on rough surfaces smaller boards are less stable and struggle to drive across grass at speed. The larger, 10 inch boards are much better suited to driving outdoors and glide across difficult surfaces like grass with ease. However, the increased size of 10 inch boards makes them more awkward to navigate tight spaces with.

The impressive battery life, speed and manoeuvrability of self balancing scooters make them an attractive alternative to bicycles and skateboards as a means of personal transportation. Their weight makes them heavy to carry around for extended periods of time though.

What different boards are available at the moment?

There’s currently a few different self balancing scooter models, best categorised by wheel size. The most popular is the 6.5 inch scooter (6.5 inch refers to the wheel diameter), available in a range of colours and outer cases. This board is the lightest, cheapest and has hard plastic wheels that are well suited to indoor use. The 10 inch scooter has inflatable rubber tyres that are better suited to outdoor use. This larger board has a higher top speed and feels more stable to drive but weighs a few pounds more and has a slightly shorter battery life. There is also a second generation board which features a cross design on the foot pedals and is often referred to as the ‘Lambo’ or ‘Transformer’ hoverboard. These boards are newer and sometimes feature Bluetooth speakers on the underside of the board. They are available in both 8 inch and 6.5 inch. Listed below are the different boards alongside their specifications.

Please double check the product details on Amazon before purchasing. The specifications below are general to each board and different sellers may offer boards with slightly different top speeds/ battery life etc.

Are there any useful accessories?

A carry case is the most useful accessory for self balancing scooters. The irregular shape and weight of the boards makes them awkward to carry for extended periods of time. You can pick one up on Amazon for really cheap. Some sellers include carry cases with scooter orders too.
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