A short time ago, you saw a hoverboard in action – and it was majestic. The way it smoothly glided across the sidewalk transfixed you. You asked the rider a few questions, did some Googling, and now you’re here.
Ready to dive headfirst into your new favorite hobby? Below, we’ll break down everything you need to know about hoverboards. Then, we’ll show you how to pick your first ride. Let’s get right into it.
What Exactly Is A Hoverboard?
Sadly, hoverboards aren’t Marty McFly’s toy from Back To The Future II. Rather, these self-balancing scooters take their inspiration from the Segway. Back in the early 2010s, Chinese-American inventor Shane Chen came up with the Hovertrax. He struggled to sell the concept, only garnering a few thousand sales.
However, firms hungry to capitalize on Back To The Future II’s 2015 anniversary soon happened upon Mr. Chen’s work. It didn’t float, but its smooth ride made it the next best alternative.
Before 2015 was over, people around the world were drifting around their neighborhood, drawing gape-mouthed stares from onlookers. The hoverboard had arrived.
How Do Hoverboards Work?
When you look at a hoverboard, it isn’t immediately obvious how they move. You pedal to make bikes run, and push off the pavement to make conventional scooters go. So, how do hoverboards work?
It centers around a device called a gyroscope. Gyroscopes sense shifts in mass – when they do, it sends commands to your hoverboard’s motors & wheels. Lean forward, and you’ll roll forward. Hang back, and you’ll move backwards. Lean to the left or right, and your wheels will turn.
To power these functions, your hoverboard draws power from a lithium-ion battery. Depending on the model you choose, you’ll get 1-6 hours of action from these cells.
Hoverboards From A To Z
For newcomers, the hoverboard market place can be overwhelming. These rides come in a variety of colors, sizes, styles, and prices. In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of self-balancing scooters you can buy.
This hoverboard is the one most are familiar with. These models consist of a single self-balancing board with wheels on the ends. They come in a variety of colors, wheel sizes (6.5-inch to 10-inch), and features.
As impressive as conventional hoverboards are, they have one central weakness – their tires. Engineers have designed most hoverboard models for use in controlled environments. That is, in homes, or on smooth sidewalks/pavement.
They do not handle bumps, gravel, inclines, and other obstacles well. But, off-road hoverboards can. Manufacturers have made these models more rugged. To get through dodgy terrain, they transmit more power to the wheels, and they have tires that feature aggressive treads.
Thanks to these features, you can take your hoverboard onto unimproved surfaces without risking permanent damage.
Self-Balancing Electric Unicycles
Prior to the release of the hoverboard, another self-balancing scooter had been prowling the streets. Modeled after the unicycle, self-balancing electric unicycles use gyroscopes and accelerometers to propel their riders forward.
Picture yourself riding a circular saw blade – only the blade is a tire. That’s a self-balancing electric unicycle.
Self-Balancing One-Wheeled “Skateboards”
Want to ride more like a skateboarder? Opt for a self-balancing one-wheeled skateboard. These models come with a board built around a wheel in the center. You may not be able to do reverse ollies or tail drags, but you’re sure to attract attention.
Intrigued by hoverboards, but scared you’ll fall off? Perhaps buying a “mini-Segway” would be your best option. Now, these aren’t Segways in the literal sense (otherwise, companies selling them would get sued into oblivion). But, they offer a central post with handles.
With a place to put your hands, you’ll find it easier to balance. Often, you’ll find this option on off-road hoverboards, which access much dodgier terrain than more conventional models.
How To Pick The Best Hoverboard
Ready to buy your first hoverboard? Follow us as we walk you through the process, step-by-step.
Check Weight Limits
Most hoverboards can withstand weights of up to 220 pounds. Naturally, this can pose problems for bigger adults. Reputable hoverboard manufacturers offer models that can handle riders up to 400 pounds. Always check weight limits before you buy.
Want a hoverboard that can run on gravel paths? Want to listen to your music as you cruise the neighborhood? Pay attention to the features offered by hoverboard models as you scroll through e-store listings.
Pick Your Style
Your board – your identity. Hoverboards come in many colors and patterns that will announce your arrival in style.
Top Hoverboard Accessories
Once you own a hoverboard, you will enjoy hours of fun zipping around your house and neighborhood. However, by buying accessories, you can further enhance your riding experience. Below, we’ll talk about some of our favorite add-ons.
Hoverboards have a bit of a learning curve. As you get used to the controls, you may take a spill or two. Protect yourself by kitting yourself out with some basic safety gear. A helmet is a solid start, but we also recommend elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards.
Want to emulate Mario Kart in real life? You and your friends should purchase go-kart attachments. This fun accessory mounts atop your hoverboard frame, allowing you to glide around the neighborhood in a seated position. Have fun, but watch out for banana peels!
Hoverboard Carrying Case
Sooner or later, you’ll get tired of riding in your driveway and neighborhood. A hoverboard carrying case allows you to easily transport your unit to a friend’s place, or any other place where riding is legal.
Afraid you’ll fall off your hoverboard, but don’t have the cash to splash on a “mini-Segway”? Get a balance stick. Many models are tailor-made for specific hoverboards, so always buy direct from the manufacturer.
We probably missed a few things, as new hoverboard accessories hit the market regularly. If you’re looking for more ideas, here is a good list to check out.
Welcome To Your Brand New Obsession
You are about to invest in a hobby that will give you countless hours of enjoyment. Use this guide, and we’re sure you’ll find a hoverboard that will fit your lifestyle.