The Exorider: Challenging, But Fun

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Exorider
Taking the Exorider out for a spin. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Exorider is a self-balancing motorized unicycle that’s a lot of fun to ride, but is also quite challenging. Let me just start with this: it’s a good thing it comes with training wheels.

First, the specs: the Exorider retails for $999, goes up to 11 miles per hour with a range of about 10 miles, and has a max load capacity of 230 pounds. It’s a self-stabilizing, single-wheeled, motorized vehicle. Basically, a little bit like a Segway, but with only one wheel and no handle.

You can watch it in action here:

As described in the video, there are two foot plates that fold down from the sides, normally held shut with magnets. There are optional training wheels that you can attach to the foot plates, and I highly recommend keeping those on until you get the hang of it. However, the weight of the training wheel brackets can make the foot plates fall open, and also makes the Exorider a little harder to carry since there’s a wheel sticking out the side.

When you turn on the Exorider, it makes a loud beep and the wheel rights itself. You hop on the foot plates, and then just lean forward and backward to move. Turning is tricky, though. With the training wheels on, you can pivot on them a little bit by leaning left or right, but I imagine the way you’re supposed to turn is more like a unicycle: swiveling your hips and legs left or right quickly, or else leaning to one side to make a large arc. There are large rubber pads on either side of the wheel that you grip with your lower legs, but they’re angled in as you move down, which makes it a little awkward unless you’re bowlegged.

Exorider
My middle daughter demonstrating what she calls her “old lady” driving–hunched over and very slow. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The strap just clips to the handle and gives you something to hold onto while you’re getting used to it, but I did find that it’s not too hard to do without once you know how to get onto the Exorider. Removing the training wheels is another matter–I’m still nowhere near staying upright without the training wheels. I imagine that, like a bicycle, it may be more stable vertically at higher speeds, but I tend to lose my nerve before I hit maximum speed anyway.

Exorider
My oldest daughter seemed pretty comfortable on the Exorider right away. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I did let my kids try it (though technically the manual says it should be for riders of age 14 and up). They both do roller derby and are pretty comfortable on wheels, so I thought it’d be okay. My oldest took to it naturally and got going pretty fast; my middle daughter was a little less adventurous and tends to crawl along. But both of them really enjoyed riding around on it.

The videos on the Exorider website of a guy weaving along a crowded sidewalk are cool, but it would definitely take a lot more practice before I’d be comfortable doing something like that.

With the limited range and speed, I don’t know that this would be as practical for a regular commute, compared to something like the e-TWOW electric scooter. It’s certainly small enough that you could take it inside wherever you’re going, but it’s heavy enough that you really wouldn’t want to be carrying it for too long. To me, it seems like it’s more of a recreational vehicle, something you take for a spin for fun but not because you’re actually going somewhere. That could be different if you lived in a denser downtown or worked on a large campus, of course.

You can order an Exorider directly from the company, or from online merchants like Amazon. I received my demo unit from Touch of Modern, a site that has short sales on lots of different gadgets: it’s currently on sale for $549.99 until noon on December 9th, so if you’re looking to give it a spin, now’s a pretty good time to order one.

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