HOVERBOARD 101: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING ONE.UN
If you are looking to have a little fun or even gift someone this year, the hoverboard must have crossed your mind. These ‘toys’ have gained popularity since 2015 and continue to do so all over the world. In fact, there have been some pretty cool advancements in the ‘hover world’ thanks to the Lexus hoverboard (that actually hovers!). Unfortunately, boards of its kind are not in the market due to the expensive production cost incurred (sigh!). So let’s get back to hoverboards that are actually available for you!
Hoverboards can be used by anyone irrespective of gender and are so much fun to ride. What most people don’t realize about them is that they are an excellent tool for core strengthening amid all the fun and goofing around. Despite all these benefits, these smart gadgets can be quite injurious even to a professional user. Due to this, many potential buyers are left wondering if hoverboards are worth the trouble while governments are busy banning and setting regulations for them. To know more about this and many other issues on hoverboards, read on.
WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
The name hoverboard can be quite misleading as these devices do not levitate but rather move using two wheels. They are therefore more of a Segway without the handle or a balance board with wheels. But what’s the fun in such a name?
They are usually electric and come with a rechargeable battery that powers the device. Two motors and sensors are placed in each wheel which rotates the wheels and detects motion respectively. A gyroscope and logic board are also found in the board both responsible for executing motion depending on your body posture. They also ensure the board stays upright at all times.
By stepping on the board, your feet trigger switches on the foot pads which triggers an infrared LED light that is used to control the sensors. When your feet are flat on the board, the LED light stays on relaying information to the logic board not to run the motor. By leaning forward, the LED light goes off hence the sensors tell the logic board to run the motor making the wheels spin.
To increase your speed, lean slightly forward after gaining your balance and lean backward to reverse or slow down. You can spin around in your hoverboard by pressing one foot forward and the other backward. This is enabled by the motors separately placed in each wheel being independent of each other.
These boards can travel at a speed between 5 mph and 10 mph while some can even go for 15 mph. Each model comes with varied features some even with the ability to lock out unauthorized users.
CHOOSING YOUR HOVERBOARD.
Although all hoverboards work using the same principle, there is room for some variation giving users some options…
Size, in this case, is determined by the wheel length giving you three options to choose from. You have 6.5, 8 and 10-inch wheels. While larger wheels are more stable and recommended for rough terrains, they usually contribute to the weight of the device making them more cumbersome to carry.
Also, keep in mind that most small wheeled hoverboards usually come with a weight limit of about 220 pounds. This might be limiting for some individuals.
In most cases, you ought to consider the frame of your board when looking for a reliable make. Some brands such as IO Hawk and PhunkeeDuck come with sturdy hence durable frames that will allow you to conquer every tough terrain you come across.
In some, you will find extra features such as dual direct drive motors (meaning more power and range), key chain remote control for locking and to some extends, wide range Bluetooth for music. This, of course, comes with some extra charges.
It is quite hard to determine the build of a hoverboard while purchasing it online. You are therefore better off buying from a physical store. If you are sure of a certain brand’s build, by all means, do an online purchase. But be sure to read other user’s reviews.
Try to avoid products from countries other than the U.S as they tend to be knockoffs. This is why cases of hoverboards exploding have increased as some manufacturers produce cheap board. I will be talking more about this so stay put.
SPEED AND RANGE.
Most models can move at a minimum speed of 2 mph and a maximum speed of 10 to 12 mph. A few can move at a maximum speed of 15 mph. This may seem quite sluggish but considering you are trying to maintain your balance, it is just right.
Range, is in many cases relative as it is affected by the terrain among other things. Most hoverboards can afford to travel up to 15 miles without needing to be recharged. The Swagway model brags of an impressive 20-mile range giving you the freedom to use it as a mode of transport. Bottom line, do not settle for a device that can last for less than 10 miles unless you plan to use it indoors.
In as much as it looks cool to carry your hoverboard under your arm (like a skateboard), this can be quite tiring. Mainly because these devices come with a weight ranging between 20 to 30 pounds despite their slim looking design. So, when going for a hoverboard, look for one that comes with a carrying bag. Bags prove to be very convenient in terms of easing the burden of carrying and they also allow you to bring along accessories such as your charger when needed.
BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING TIME.
The battery life of your device can make or break its functionality. Most hoverboards can last for 4 hours while others can go 6 hours without requiring a recharge. Don’t get any board that lasts for less than two hours lest you have your battery die on you mid-journey.
The charging time also matters as it determines whether you will spend most of your time charging your hoverboard or actually riding it!
THE PROBLEM WITH HOVERBOARDS.
Owning a hoverboard can be fun and adventurous and even save you a few bucks in terms of transport cost but they also have their issues. Some will even surprise you.
It’s all about balance, or else…
Hoverboards are quite hazardous and can result in all kinds of injuries ranging from mild to fatal. Even if you master the art of riding one, you still face the risk of falling off. Just pray you don’t go down head first. (I talk about this some more in the safety section).
This board is on fire!
Before you give up on hoverboards all together, you must know that not all brands behave in such an aggressive manner. Original, high-quality brands are usually built to withstand and even regulate the excessive heat.
While I will not be naming names, (for legal and moral reasons) beware of cheap brands with a flimsy or generic make as they are the ones prone to exploding. As I said, stick to U.S models and if you must buy makes from other countries, at least read some customer reviews to rest assured.
Love hoverboards? Put your money where your mouth is!
Unfortunately, hoverboards come at a very hefty price. It is no wonder not many people can afford to acquire them. Most usually range between $300 and up to a stunning $2000. Well, unless you are ok with the exploding type, be ready to pay through the nose!
Ride that hoverboard some other place!
If you plan on using your hoverboard at your workplace or mall, you might be in for a rude shock when security comes for you! This is because many businesses and cities are banning the use of hoverboards.
Some cities like New York are restricting hoverboards to private property meaning that you cannot even ride them on sidewalks. This restricts you to using them within your compound and if you have a tiny home you may be at a loss.
Airports too are being cautious with hoverboards due to their newly discovered behavior of spontaneously combusting. Some have even gone to the extreme measures of banning them from being carried as luggage. This was experienced by a certain famous celebrity at a certain famous airline (again, no names).
KIDS AND HOVERBOARDS.
It goes without saying, hoverboards and children is a dangerous combination. It is wise to keep your kids away from these toys until they are at least 12 years old.
Even when they attain this age limit, precaution must still be taken to ensure you minimize the chances of any injuries. To do this, go with bigger wheels on your child’s hoverboard as they offer more balance. Also, consider a hoverboard with a slow maximum speed (6.5 mph) for obvious reasons.
You can also opt to go all in on safety and get your kid a hoverboard with a handle. It looks more like a Segway but comes with the features of a hoverboard so it will be a win-win for both you and your kid. A good example is the Ninebot which comes with knee rest features for balance.
KEEPING YOUR BALANCE.
Hoverboards are harder to ride than they seem. This is because they use sensors to steer so, every body movement while on the board is a command. You, therefore, have to attain maximum balance and coordinate your movement accordingly balance if you want to avoid falling off.
The thing with balance is that it comes with great core strength and this is why people with a weak core or abdominal muscles might find it hard staying on a hoverboard. The result of falling off may be some broken body parts and in some cases, even a concussion.
This is why I cannot stress enough the need for safety when using your hoverboard. You may not look as cool as going unprotected, but you will be the last man standing.
Safety tips for using a hoverboard.
- Wear protection. When it comes to hoverboards, protection goes beyond using a helmet. This is because you are totally exposed while riding one such that you can fall in any direction injuring your arms, head, or even back. This calls for wearing elbow, knee and at times, even back pads.
If you feel confident in your riding skills, it is ok to ditch the protection after some time. After all, balance has a lot to do with confidence.
- Try and avoid crowds until you are great with your board. No matter how good you look riding your hoverboard, not everyone will take it lightly when you bump into them.
- Do not by any chance, ride your hoverboard with earphones or any kind of headsets on. Avoid any distractions especially when in the streets.
- If you have any mobility issues, a hoverboard may not be meant for you so please avoid them until you recover. Also, hoverboards are not quite safe for use by the elderly or children under twelve years.
BEST BUY: AVOID CATCHING FIRE!
Thanks to the hype this device has received (especially from celebrities), more and more hoverboards are being manufactured and sold all over the globe. This makes finding a genuine hoverboard (that will not explode on you) a very intimidating process.
What you can do about this is to rely on famous brands. I know, I know, some of these brands cost a fortune. But in all honesty, I would rather buy an expensive genuine item than a generic one that puts my life in danger. But that’s just me!
If you are into a hoverboard you are not so sure of, try reading customer’s reviews and ratings off the internet. Or, go to the store and test it out. This might save you a whole lot of money and disappointment!
Finally, have fun my good people but remember to stay safe!