InMotion V5f Reviewed : Is this the Ideal electric unicycle for beginners?

by Jennifer Lee in Review and Unicycle on February 27, 2020

The learning curve that comes with an electric unicycle is one thing, but the initial purchase price is what has pushed many of our interested customers into electric scooters instead. With the average unicycle costing north of £1000, many find it an obstructive hurdle to overcome. Inexpensive, lightweight and compact, InMotion’s V5F makes for the perfect entry-level unicycle, at least on paper; we took it on some extensive testing runs to learn the truth.

InMotion's V5F at a glance

  • Self-balancing electric unicycle
  • 15 mph (24km/h) top speed
  • 25 mile (40km) potential max-range
  • 550w electric motor
  • IP55 rated with optional rear mudguard
  • 320 Wh LG battery charged in 3.5hrs
  • Compact 14inch wheel weighing just 12kg

Sleek polished design

Of all the unicycles designs on the market, InMotion’s ‘wheels’ are by far the most refined. Hard (opaque) black polished plastic side panels give way to soft leg padding and the matt finished handles of the V5F; only the (removable) trolley handle interrupts the symmetrical design. Mixing aluminium, plastic and rubber this unicycle has a premium, solid feel, without weighing the earth.

InMotion V5F Review body front
InMotion V5F Review body side
InMotion V5F Review body rear

Unboxing and powering up

Arriving in a box, in a box (measuring 51x27x58cm box) the V5F is shipped in plastic, secured in large plastic foam sections that can double as a stand in a pinch. Included with the wheel is the charger, UK adaptor cable, a pair of optional ankle pads, mudguard, warranty card, manual and a quickstart manual. The latter is a beautifully illustrated leaflet introducing the product, setup procedure and the basics of riding.

InMotion V5F Review unboxing box
InMotion V5F Review unboxed box contents
InMotion V5F Review unboxed box accessories

Once unboxed you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the wheel. Wrapping around the top like a tail with an embossed rubber grip is the deployable trolley handle, with the power button and battery readout ahead of the release button. A cavity beneath this is the carry handle with motor cutoff switch underneath the grip. The body features soft leather-style calf pads mounted high on the shiney logo’d sides. There is a headlight behind a window at the front, a small InMotion ‘M’ running light at the rear (just above the perforated speaker holes) and both are shouldered by switchable coloured LED strip lights. The grip-tape covered pedals mounted low on the body (manually) swing out to an angle, above hinged panels that provide access to the tyre for maintenance.

InMotion V5F Review unboxed on stand front left
InMotion V5F Review unboxed on stand side
InMotion V5F Review unboxed on stand rear left

Shipped with a storage charge, we recommend fully charging the unicycle before attempting to ride it. With the included 84V 1.5Amp charger the V5F will take around 3.5hrs to charge from completely flat. To access the charge port you need to unlatch the trolley handle. To do this, depress the anodised red button by the pickup handle and hinge out the trolley handle, beneath this the bright yellow charge port (and reset button) are hidden beneath a monogrammed rubber cover.

InMotion V5F Review unboxing charger
InMotion V5F Review unboxing charge port
InMotion V5F Review unboxing charge cable
InMotion V5F Review unboxing charging

InMotion include a discreet, stubby mudguard that should restrict upward spray when the wheel is ridden on wet surfaces, it is well worth fitting.To install this first power down and lay down the wheel, remove the two screws under the rear lip with a #2 Phillips driver, seat the mudguard up against the plastic edge before inserting the two longer screws provided in the bag with the fender.

InMotion V5F Review unboxing mudguard fitting undo screws
InMotion V5F Review unboxing mudguard fitting fender mudguard screws
InMotion V5F Review unboxing mudguard fitting fender mudguard fitted

We recommend following the instructions for the first power-up. Ensure the wheel is stood upright with the tyre on the floor, with one hand around the handle (close to the cutout button) long-press the power button. You will feel the motor power up and forcefully try to balance the wheel (front to back) whilst a confirmation tone is produced and the blue battery capacity icon appears.

Lights, handle, action

Alongside the rear InMotion running light. the unicycle features pairs of strip LED running lights (blue at the front and red at the rear) when powered up. Windowed at the front of the unicycle is a powerful LED, angled slightly it provides a wide trapezoid beam across the terrain ahead of you. It isn’t the brightest and doesn’t have a great deal of throw but is suitable for travelling on paths up to the speeds the unicycle is capable of. To turn on the lights, lightly tap the power button when the unit is running, or drag upwards in the application home screen.

InMotion V5F Review lights front
InMotion V5F Review lights rear

InMotion have struck an excellent balance between weight and quality with their unicycles. The plastic parts are lightweight yet have a great fit and finish. Panel gaps are consistent, the motor cutoff switch action is positive, rubber seals fit tight, calf pads are soft and well radiused, pedal grip tape is securely fixed and rubber stoppers protect the side panels when they are folded. The manufacturer has further backed of all this, awarding the V5F an IP55 (ingress-protection) rating.

InMotion V5F Review detail power up
InMotion V5F Review detail mudguard
InMotion V5F Review detail handle

An optional extra for the original V5, the trolley handle is factory-fitted to the updated unicycle. Self-locking, this extendable handle saves you from carrying the wheel in places where you cannot ride it. Simply lift the rubber handle end up until the mechanism locks into place as seen below.

InMotion V5F Review deploy handle one release
InMotion V5F Review deploy handle two raise
InMotion V5F Review deploy handle three grip
InMotion V5F Review deploy handle four walk

Considering it weighs just 450g, the aluminium trolley handle is impressively sturdy. Deployed it extends to a height of 90cm from the floor, the embossed rubber handle comfortable in the hand. With the unicycle powered up (remember to turn it on before extending the handle as the power button is disabled with it released) it can be pushed around effortlessly, the motor assisting with only small forces required from the user to direct it and stop if from falling sideways. To stow the handle back, depress the red-anodised button and lower it down until the bar seats back into the clasp.

InMotion V5F Review collapse handle one button
InMotion V5F Review collapse handle two collapse
InMotion V5F Review collapse handle three lock
InMotion V5F Review collapse handle four lift

Fixed to the top of the shell with four screws, the trolley handle can be easily deleted. Weighing around 11.5kg with it removed, we found ourselves carrying the unicycle comfortably by the handle up station stairs, or short distances across car parks.

Stepping up

The folding pedals are covered with skateboard style grip-tape adorned with red InMotion branding. Fixed towards the outer edge of the pedal face, the small rubber InMotion icon doubles as a grip point and spacer to stop the grip tape from marking the side of the unicycle when folded. At the largest point they measure 21cm across and extend 12cm from the body and thus are compact under the average sized shoe.

InMotion V5F Review pedals from above

Upon mounting the V5F, the first thing you notice is the rather aggressive pedal angle that can be seen as a ‘V’ shape in the shot below. We measured it at nearly 20°, a big difference to the 8° of our V8F which is fitted with the same pair. Whilst assisting with clearance-to-the-floor on tight turns and allowing you to ‘carve’ putting torque through the pedals, it can take some getting used to.

InMotion V5F Review pedals canted front
InMotion V5F Review pedals canted detail
InMotion V5F Review pedals canted aboard

Getting a grip

InMotion have fitted a 14 x 2.125inch tyre with directional tread cuts (for grip and water dispersion) and a smooth central band for riding on the majority of the time. The tyre is fine for use on solid paths or hard packed dirt but wouldn’t be suitable for off-roading.

InMotion V5F Review wheel flap cover
InMotion V5F Review wheel flap cover opened valve cap inflation

To access the schrader valve, with the wheel powered down, lay it on its side with the etched panel shown above ‘face up’, and raise that flap up. You may need to rotate the wheel to bring the valve stem into view. To inflate we suggest using an extension tube and a track pump to bring it up to pressure. The small tyre is rated for 40-65 PSI (2.8-4.5 bar) and arrives from the factory inflated to around 40 PSI. We found around 50 PSI favourable for a rider weighing 80kg and riders should scale that up or down depending on their weight. You will note that for our initial photoshoot shows the tyre being ridden ‘under inflated’ and ride performance was compromised as a result.

InMotion V5F Review wheel tyre specification two
InMotion V5F Review wheel tyre inflation
InMotion V5F Review wheel tyre specification one

Size matters : our smallest wheel yet

Fitted with a 14inch wheel and measuring a touch over 47cm from the ground, this is the smallest ‘wheel’ we’ve ridden yet. Whilst too big to fit in a backpack, the unicycle can be stashed in impressively small places; we have successfully fit it inside a standard size ‘single’ gym locker! Like its bigger brothers, the wheel can be balanced ‘stood up’ on its end, but we wouldn’t advise leaving it like this on a moving vehicle such as a bus or train.

InMotion V5F Review resting on rear

Power vs Range vs weight

The V5F has a stated max range of 21.7miles. For clarity, these figures are the low end of the estimates given by the manufacturer. Note that InMotion tests their unicycles with a rider weighing 70kg on a warm (25°C) day, their range tests are performed riding at a steady 12.2 mph. In the real world we have seen around 12 miles out of the V5F, using it as most would. For a wheel weighing less than 12kg, that seems reasonable.

Companion smartphone app

InMotion’s app is available for both iOS and Android. Whilst it initially appears polished and is translated better than some of the competition, it isn’t without its faults and bugs. The home screen features the usual speed, remaining range, remaining battery capacity and bearing. Swiping across provides access to the trip computer (with durations, averages and temperatures) an energy meter and a GPS map.

InMotion V5F Review smartphone application android

Dragging up on the app home screen will switch on the lights as seen in the overlay, although the V5F lacks the horn feature that is also displayed on the screen. Access the settings menu by pressing the cog icon. It’s in this screen of this application, where we enabled the motor killswitch/lift button under the handle, as ours was disabled out of the box. Here you can also update firmwares, artificially limit the top speed of the wheel (it often ships with a 20km limiter set) reset the wheel balance or make angle adjustments (fore/aft) for the pedals.

InMotion V5 Review Application Smartphone homescreen
InMotion V5 Review Application Smartphone power info
InMotion V5 Review Application Smartphone base trip computer
InMotion V5 Review Application Smartphone turn on headlight
InMotion V5 Review Application Smartphone turn on lift switch
InMotion V5 Review Application Smartphone re balance unicycle

Compact and agile

Thanks to some clever packaging of the cell pack, the curved battery sits above the wheel on InMotion unicycles. Whilst this adds some height, it means the bodies can be a lot slimmer than the competition, allowing for a more comfortable natural stance when cruising along.

Whilst the side pads at the top of the body look soft and comfy, they don’t come up anywhere near your knee. Those angled pedals mean the inner edges of your calves end up pushed against them which initially feels uncomfortable. Pointing your toes outward (opening your stance) can improve things.

InMotion V5F Review mounting front
InMotion V5F Review mounting rear

The pedals themselves are identical to the ones fitted to the V8 with grip tape and a rubber logo attached to the face. The small platform will result in some overhang for anyone with size 10 shoes or above. Meanwhile applying the sticky-backed ankle pads just below and behind the white InMotion side emblems can give those with small feet, more purchase when riding.

InMotion V5F Review performance tight turn one
InMotion V5F Review performance tight turn two
InMotion V5F Review performance tight turn three

The compact proportions can only truly be experienced when you try to take the unicycle with you in a car, or on the train. Its tiny size means that it will fit behind the seats of even a coupe or between your legs in a taxi, whist it will fit on the luggage rack of the average commuter train with space to spare.

Impressive performance

For such a dinky unicycle, the V5F has some reasonable punch. Up 100w in power from the original V5, the V5 can accelerate smoothly. Whilst 550W of power is respectable, the motor will noticeably struggle when approaching its maximum climbing angle of 18°.

Rated for a 120kg payload, it is enough power for a passenger of that weight to cruise around on at 10mph. However that max speed of 15.5mph is most definitely restricted to lighter riders (sub 80kg), on flat ground, with no head-wind. We’d still recommend wearing safety gear (as a minimum some wrist and head protection) as if you are on the heavier side and you try and push this wheel too hard, you can find its ‘beep’ warning limits quite quickly. Applying a large payload to the wheel will also hamper its range potential with a ‘real world range’ of 20km, rather than the quoted 35km.

InMotion V5F Review riding front
InMotion V5F Review riding rear

A small, light wheel, the V5F is highly agile. Placing your feet towards the outer edges of the pedals allows you to put a lot of leverage across the wheel much like on the MSuperX, this with some splaying of the legs allows for some incredibly tight turns even at walking speeds.

InMotion V5F Review performance tightest turns front
InMotion V5F Review performance tightest turns rear

Deployed, the pedals have a clearance of just 11cm to the ground, which explains why InMotion angled them up quite so aggressively, allowing the wheel to be tipped over for tight turns without grounding out. Whilst you can lean this wheel over very easily, beware that it does have a safety cutout when tipped beyond 45°, something to note before you try and carve a berm!

The ideal first wheel?

Whilst we agree that big wheels are perfectly suited to cruising, many seasoned riders are adamant that a larger wheel with more inertia can be easier to learn to ride on. In our experience, first time riders mounting larger wheels can find the experience daunting, the extra weight also making the impacts that accompany (ankle/leg scrapes) that much tougher on the body. Our novice riders have made fast progress on this more manageable device.

For a new rider, the canted pedals will take some getting used to, but anyone who uses a unicycle regularly will know that some conditioning of your body will be required to ride almost any new unicycle over distance. New riders are likely to be less concerned with that relatively slow 15.5mph top speed, concentrating on developing the core skills for control rather than treating the wheel as a dragster.

We love the looks but find ourselves constantly buffing the fingerprint-magnet, polished body. Should you wish to keep it in good condition we suggest you invest in the wrap around official protective cover (with its reflective markings) that clips over the top of the body.

InMotion V5F Review compact enough to sit between legs
InMotion V5F Review light enough to carry

What will catch most prospective first-time buyers eyes, is the price, or rather the affordability of the wheel. At a little over half the price of other common wheels on the market, it opens up the hobby to a wider audience. If a rider doesn’t gel with the experience (or more likely, should they wish to sell it to upgrade) the residuals in the used market appear reasonable.

Overall we would say that the V5F is a great wheel to introduce yourself into the world of self balancing electric unicycles. A reliable, high quality product, it is safe in use which ultimately is the number one concern when learning anything this risky

How does it compare to the competition?

With an extra 12 mile range and 3mph higher top speed at the cost of 1kg extra weight, the V5F is the obvious choice over the older InMotion V5. The other small sized wheel that often comes up in conversation is Gotway’s Mten3. Fitted with a 10inch wheel, the Mten3 is smaller and with a 30% more powerful motor is also more capable, but costs nearly twice as much as the V5F. Kingsong’s 14D and 14S are a closer comparison both fitted with a 14inch wheel. They feature a longer range but with the usual hike in terms of weight that can restrict the portability of the wheel; they too are more expensive.

InMotion V5F Review alternative unicycles

The scale of the wheel can be gathered from the image above, the V5F is framed by the huge 19-inch MsuperX and the 16inch V10F. As mentioned this is the smallest of InMotion’s unicycles. It is smaller, lighter but not quite as comfortable in use as it’s bigger, more powerful brothers. You can learn more about the differences in the ‘V’ InMotion range in our comparison article here.

Where can I buy the InMotion V5F?

InMotion’s V5F is available on our webstore today, it qualifies for free-next-working-day-delivery, order before lunch and you could be learning to ride before the end of tomorrow. If you find yourself putting some miles on the wheel, we’d recommend picking up a spare charger to carry around or leave at your destination.

InMotion V5F Review folded sat on bench

Spare parts are available for InMotion unicycles. If you are handy with tools the shell can be replaced with white and even gold options available, ideal for replacing yours should you scuff it up whilst learning. Whilst it won’t protect against a big fall, if you want to keep your V5F as scratch-free as possible, we also suggest picking up the genuine protective cover.

Learn about all the electric unicycles we have available in store with our handy comparison. Interested in something a little more serious? Also check out our review of Kingsong’s KS16s and Gotway’s incredible MSuperX!

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