Transitioning to a More Powerful Wheel
Written By Larry Zarcoff
My name is Larry, I live in Los Angeles, and I’ve been riding EUCs for about two years now. Beginning on a used InMotion V5F, I learned the basics and rewarded myself with an InMotion V10F.
Last fall, after over 1000 miles on my V10F it was stolen as it leaned up against my car. Someone in a van grabbed it, according to eyewitnesses. I never heard them or saw them.
Now I found myself in a predicament: While I loved the V10F, it’s only a 960Wh wheel. “Wh” stands for watt hours, and it’s one way to tell how far you can ride on a single charge. Our Los Angeles riding group requires at least a 1600Wh wheel to participate in group rides. So, I had already begun my research into my next wheel. Riding alone has its singular joys but I wanted to reach out and meet other enthusiasts.
My first requirement was a wheel that met or exceeded 1600wh. Since my house has stairs, I also wanted to keep the weight manageable. I figured I could carry up to 60 pounds of wheel if necessary – which ruled out Gotway’s Monster. I had also read up on which wheels do best with which scenarios, and I am mostly a street-rider. For me, paved is the way; in traffic, on bike lanes and residential hills. This led me to deciding on a 16” wheel, which ruled out 18” varieties.
After checking with my more knowledgeable friends I was able to focus on two wheels: The King Song 16X and the Gotway Nikola. It was a close call, but at that time, there were two variations of Nikola – the 84v base model and the 84v 2100wh long range model, and the longer range really appealed to me.
And so I bought the 84v/2100wh Nikola. My time without a wheel was only 48 hours!
As you can imagine, there was some “transition time” needed to move from the V10F to the Nikola. The overriding lesson for me was that my V10F body mechanics were very deeply ingrained, so as I began riding the Nikola I learned a few things I can share with you:
- The V10F was thin and tall compared to the Nikola. When I mounted the Nikola I kept thinking my feet were way too wide on the wheel, but they were right next to the shell. I’m sure we’ve all been coached not to “squeeze the wheel” so don’t be afraid to move your feet wider. That will take some getting used to.
- The Nikola’s pedals have a more pronounced dihedral angle than the V10F- That means they tip up where the V10F’s were parallel to the ground. This gave me a little short-term foot fatigue, but it was gone in a week.
The good news was I found the Nikola to be easier to mount because the pedals are slightly lower and the tire is wider, making the wheel very solid and stable at idle or very low speeds.
- The wider 3” tire on the Nikola is just awesome. It grips the road and provides a ton of stability. I had read that the wider wheel made turning troublesome, but that wasn’t the case for me. I’ve found turning in tight circles to be one of the easier skills to port over from the V10F. Thanks to that wide tire I feel supported and solid in every turn.
- The Nikola has lower torque than the V10F because it is heavier. That means when you accelerate it takes a little longer to get up to speed. But when you get up to speed, watch out! The Nikola continues to accelerate where the V10F would simply tilt back and slow down. I learned about this the hard way on my 2nd ride…
I just wanted to have fun.
About 10 minutes into my ride I noticed the scenery flying by me. I came out of my Zen riding state and realized I was going really, really fast... Too fast! I grabbed my phone as I started to ease back on the pedals and saw I was traveling at 35.8 mph! Over 10mph faster than I’d ever gone before.
So I braked quickly, got terrible speed-wobbles, and completely wiped out. The wheel was fine- the handle was bent but otherwise everything worked. Me? My pride was destroyed, but nothing else, thanks to all the gear I was wearing.
(Please wear all your gear all the time, okay? Okay.)
- If I can communicate anything to you about moving from the V10F to the Nikola, it’s this:
Respect your muscle memory. The reason for my speed wobbles, I think, is that in the moment I was breaking the V10F, not the Nikola. I hadn’t given myself time to adjust my body mechanics and paid the price for it.
So now that you’ve got your Nikola, some tips for transitioning to the new wheel, and your gear, you’re ready to ride!
Since purchasing my Nikola I’ve got over 2800 miles on it. Last week I did my first trail ride from Alta Dena, CA to the top of Mount Wilson, CA. If you’re a trail rider you can have confidence your Nikola will do the job on a tough mountain trail as well as the smooth winding asphalt.
Enjoy your ride!
*NOTE * Since the time of my purchase, the 100v Nikola Plus has become available that might have a little more torque than my 84v variant. If you’re a speed demon or an aggressive trail rider you may want to investigate the 100v model; but remember- you will give up some of those valuable watt hours. The EUCO staff will help you with your choice.