Video: V11 vs. S18 Initial Comparison
We test out the features of the V11 and S18 in this initial comparison video. Who is the wheel for? What are the strengths and weaknesses of these highly anticipated suspension wheels from premier brands InMotion and King Song? Join us as we find out!
The most notable differences we found between the V11 and S18 were range, suspension, comfort, and maneuverability. As far as range goes, the V11 has an advantage of 400Wh over the S18, with the V11 spec'd at 1500Wh while the S18 packs only a 1110Wh battery. The suspension mechanisms between the two wheels also differ in the way they're designed. The V11 is equipped with a "pedal suspension" system, meaning most of the wheel moves when the suspension activates, while only you and the pedals remain stationary. The S18 has a "tire suspension" system, similar to a car, where only the motor and tire move during suspension activation while the rest of the wheel (and you) remain stationary. While both wheels provided a superior ride and far better bump absorption over traditional non-suspension wheels, we found that the V11 was better for eating up smaller bumps whereas the S18 was better at absorbing larger drops and bigger obstacles, especially when offroading. However, since this video was produced using pre-production wheels, the results may differ when comparing production models.
While comparing these two wheels, here are some of the smaller yet important differences between these wheels outside of their suspension setups:
- The S18 has a single reversible charge port, while the V11 has two directional charge ports for faster charging. Both feature a USB port for charging your phone on the go.
- The V11's headlight is a bit brighter than that of the S18, and both are adjustable. The S18 has three brightness levels adjustable by pressing the power button repeatedly (and will come on automatically if left alone), and the V11's headlight brightness can be adjusted on a scale of 0-100% in the InMotion app.
- The S18's suspension has a lockout switch and rebound dial for further adjustability, while the V11 does not. Both wheels do, however, feature a positive and negative chamber in their suspension systems for fine-tuning your suspension response.
- The V11 has a flip-down kickstand, and the S18 can be stood up by placing its nose and tire on the ground, at which point it will not fall over.
- The V11's trolley handle flips up and features a lift cutoff switch underneath, and the S18's trolley handle is a traditional push-button style that can be a bit more difficult (yet still quite easy) to operate.
- Both wheels feature a battery indicator, but the S18's located on the taillight and can only be seen when the wheel is stopped. This makes the V11's always-on front-mounted battery indicator much easier to use.
- The V11 feels more ergonomic to ride and sits slightly higher on the leg, while the S18 has ankle cutouts for locking into the wheel for a more stable ride or even for jumping over obstacles.
As mentioned above, the S18 features padded cutouts in the shell near where your ankle rests to help you lock in during acceleration and braking, but even with the thicker production padding, it still feels a bit less ergonomic and comfortable than the V11. This is likely because there's much more area to grab onto with your legs on the V11, and the side of the body is nice and smooth with no contoured edges. This could give the V11 an edge over the S18 for commuters and beginner riders, but off-roaders will likely favor the aggressive style of the S18's ankle cutouts.
One of the main differences between these two wheels is where they rest on your leg. The V11 is a taller wheel and thus rests a bit higher on your leg than the S18, and the S18 feels like it has a slightly lower center of gravity than the V11, especially on the production versions. This difference does come down to personal preference, but we found we had to throw our weight around a bit more to turn on the V11 than on the S18. The best way to describe the difference between these wheels is to compare them to their two-wheeled equivalents. The S18 handles much more like a dirt bike, and feels at home on the trails, whereas the V11 handles much more like a cruiser bike, sacrificing some technical performance but proving superior in terms of cruising comfort.
Final Riding Test
To finish our this comparison, we devised a timed obstacle course which includes turns at speed, descending and ascending stairs, maneuvering through a series of tables and poles, and a final stretch of straight road to test acceleration. First up was Aaron, who first took the S18 through the course, followed by the V11. His times were very comparable on both wheels, due mostly to the fact that he was able to get the S18's lift switch to work on the first try (something that was difficult on the pre-production units, but has been fixed in production), and he did note that turning felt easier on the S18. Up next was Connor, first riding the S18 and then the V11. Connor had a bit more trouble with the lift switch, but this would not have been an issue had these tests been conducted with production models. Another issue Connor ran into, this time with the V11, was an overlean going into the first turn. After reviewing the footage, we've determined that the V11 cut out due to aggressive acceleration beyond what would normally be expected from the wheel. You can see that right before the cutout, Connor's head dips forward indicating a sharp acceleration going into the upcoming turn. Essentially, the wheel did not "cut out", it was simply overpowered. This issue has been addressed and fixed with the production version 2200W motor (this video was produced using the pre-production 2000W motor). Ultimately, the results of these tests were a bit of a toss-up, showing how while neither the S18 nor V11 is "better" than the other, they have their strengths and weaknesses and which wheel you prefer will depend on what's important to you.
If you're the type of rider who values comfort over technical performance and wants to get the best range out of a suspension wheel right now, the V11 is the wheel for you. On the other hand, if you don't mind losing a few miles to gain a more adjustable suspension system and better handling off road, then the S18 will be your best bet. What are your thoughts on the V11 vs. S18? Let us know in the comments down below!