Electric hoverboards, also known by some as self-balancing scooters, have taken Australia by storm over the past few years. They’ve been seen everywhere, from under the Christmas trees of families, all the way to national news programs. If you’ve been out and about within the last few years, odds are you’ve seen them in person too!
Electric hoverboards, or self-balancing scooters, are portable personal transporters consisting of two motorized wheels connected to a pair of articulated pads where the rider places their feet. The rider controls the speed by leaning forwards or backwards, and direction of travel by twisting the pads. If you think this sounds a bit complicated, think again. The good news is… riding a hoverboard is really quite easy!
How Easy are Self Balancing Scooters to Ride?
“The most important steps for riding an electric hoverboard are the ones you take to get on and off”
Learning to ride a hoverboard is just like learning to ride a bicycle. If you were a little apprehensive or nervous about how you would handle your bicycle the first time, learning to ride a hoverboard might evoke similar feelings. And you know what? That’s okay!
It might take a little time to overcome your nerves and take the step onto an electric hoverboard, just like it might have taken you a while to hop into the seat of your bike. All that matters though, is that you take the first step. You can be sure you won’t regret it! The most important steps in riding a hoverboard are the first and last steps you take to get on and off it.
Getting on and Getting Going!
To get on the hoverboard, step on the board using your dominant foot. If you’re left-handed, use your left foot and vice versa. Then, put your non-dominant foot on the board. You’re now hovering! Pretty easy, right?
When you are on the hoverboard, make sure that both your feet are laid flat on the footpads to give you maximum control. Having good non-slip footpads is crucial as it gives riders the grip required for maximum maneuverability.
Make sure that your feet are at least level with your shoulders and as close as possible to the wheel. This position improves your centre of gravity, giving you greater stability. When standing on the hoverboard, it’s important to relax. Doing so will allow you to sway your body back and forth on the hoverboard with ease.
If you find that you simply don’t trust your balance yet, try holding onto a table or a wall while getting on your hoverboard. This will help boost your confidence in your balance, and you’ll find that you’ll be zooming around like a pro in no time!
When it’s time to step off, make sure the hoverboard has completely stopped. Step back with your dominant foot, then quickly step off with the other foot.
Time to Move It!
“An internal gyroscope with acceleration sensors and a hi speed chipset, will support and move the board based on your centre of gravity.”
Moving your hoverboard back and forth is as easy as getting on it. A hoverboard moves through what’s called dynamic equilibrium, which is generated by the shifting of your body weight. An internal gyroscope with acceleration sensors move the board based on your centre of gravity.
To move forward, just lean forward slightly. The hoverboard will start moving in the direction you are leaning. To go backward, do the same but in the opposite direction. You do have to be aware of slopes and gradients when using hoverboards though as these may also make the board move forward or backwards. Some hoverboards are equipped with regenerative braking, meaning that the battery life can be extended when going downhill, which is a really useful feature!
Though hoverboards are easy to ride it’s a good idea to ease into it, at least when you first start. Begin by riding the hoverboard slowly and gradually quicken as you gain more confidence.
Spin It Around
Turning your hoverboard is not as daunting as you might think. Hoverboards turning methods will vary, however they all operate on the same principle.
The universally used technique for steering and turning on hoverboards is to twist your body in the direction you want your hoverboard to go. This shift in weight is picked up by the board and before you know it, the board will begin to turn in the direction you have leaned.
This method is very intuitive and after some practice becomes almost as easy as walking. However, always make sure you read the user manual for your hoverboard and check out its full tutorial on turning before you start riding.
Take it Slow
While hoverboards are easy to ride, some are easier to control than others. One major factor that determines the difficulty of riding a hoverboard is its speed. Slower hoverboards are easier to ride and control. As the speed increases, so does the difficulty.
That said, the basic riding principles remain the same, whether it’s a standard hoverboard, off-road hoverboard, or a professional sport hoverboard.
Turn on the Lights
When you’re having fun, you can lose track of time. You could be caught with the setting sun in the middle of your riding adventure. When that happens, you’ll want a hoverboard with LED lights. Automatic headlights use ambient lighting sensors to automatically turn on the headlight in low-light situations. Notification lights give you vital information such as the battery levels, so you’re never caught off-guard.
More importantly, look for a hoverboard with integrated movement indicators, or turning signals. This will let passers-by know when you’re on the move, braking or turning.
But How Do They Work?
There are four main components that allow a hoverboard to function:
The gyroscope helps maintain balance by adjusting the hoverboard’s tilt. The motor aids in balance as well by providing power to the wheels, allowing the board to propel forward or backward.
Microprocessors regulate the power output to the wheels, and the battery stores the electrical power necessary to make the scooter do its thing. All these elements work together to let the user balance on the hoverboard while it moves.
Why are they called Hoverboards?
After all this information you’re probably itching to hop on and start riding but you first might want to ask the biggest question of all about hoverboards. Why are they called hoverboards if they don’t hover? Some have fancy lights, some have rugged all terrain wheels and some come with a free carry bag. Sadly, no matter which electric hoverboard you choose, you won’t find one that can actually hover above the ground – not yet anyway!
The reason for this name is hotly debated on the internet. However the general consensus is that the name comes from the pop-culture vehicle seen in countless films and TV shows. Sure, a self-balancing scooter doesn’t float like something out of the future but the principle remains the same. It’s a one-person board designed for transportation!
One thing’s for sure, whether you’re flying above the ground or flying across it on two wheels, riding hoverboards sure is a whole lot of fun!