Airwheel X3 review

What Airwheel X3 electric unicycle offers is an affordable way to start off with something simple and straight-forward

Product overview

Airwheel X3 is probably one of the most popular electric unicycle models that is a solid starter for new riders. Its light weight (9.8kg) and rather compact design make it a worthy player in the EUC market. With lots of other models flooding Europe, Airwheel X3 might not be the best wheel for learning anymore, but what it does offer is an affordable way to start off with something simple and straight-forward.

Tech specifications

  • Weight: 9.8 kg
  • Speed: 18 km/h
  • Range: 5 - 8 km
  • Full charge time: 90 mins

 


  • Rated motor power: 350w
  • Battery: 132wh lithium
  • Tire: one 14" wheel

Inside the box

  • The electric wheel
  • Charger

 


  • Training belt
  • Manual with tech instructions
  • Some of the later package designs include supportive wheels

Design and ergonomics

Visually, Airwheel X3 is a good representative of the early generations of e-unicycles - design is very similar to the Solowheel (the pioneer product). The outer look of this unicycle has rather simple shape and clean design that doesn’t really stand out from the crowd a lot. Sometimes though, this simplicity comes with a price: the learning process can be a bit more tiring in comparison to InMotion V3, for example.

The good thing that compensates: this Airwheel is relatively light - 9.8 kg. The handle is reliable and well-designed, making it easy to carry around.

The on/off button positioning is debatable: it is easily reachable provided you have relatively big hands and carry the wheel in left hand. However, if you have small hands, it is relatively difficult to reach. There is also a positive side to it: you can’t turn the electric wheel off by mistake. The charging socket of Airwheel X3 (similar to the majority of electric unicycle models) is covered by silicon cover to protect the insides from water damage. if you use it at the raining conditions

Battery LEDs might just be something that inspired other EUC producers to use four lights to indicate the charge level: 4 LEDs refer to full(ish) charge, 3 - 75%; 2 - less than 50%; 1 - less than 10%. However, we spotted that the majority of wheel models tend not to accurately represent the battery condition. It mainly depends on the terrain and the driving style of a rider to clearly say how much of the riding time is remaining.

Pedal size and design is pretty sufficient for beginner riding, although not nearly as wide as Ninebot One’s. What you need to be aware of when using Airwheel X3 is the edgy shape of pedals that might do some collateral damage. Unlike some of the advanced models, this Airwheel’s pedals are solely metal without any non-slip rubber, making it a little risky to ride in rainy weather. Magnets in the wheel’s body keep the pedals upright: the mechanism is not too tight, so you can open the pedals by hitting the ground or with your feet.

Silicon pads on this electric wheel are rather thin, so you’re unlikely getting any practical value from these. Additionally, there is a sharp top edge (a drawback of the original design of the EUCs), which bites into your calfs; for it it needs a bit of extra paddings to be usable on a daily basis, which can be a nice addition to your purchase (your calves will thank you later).

What should also be noted is, in practice Airwheel X3 has quite durable plastic shell. Although Airwheel’s body does get scratched easily and these are visible, it is pretty difficult (yet pretty realistic) to break it. What does cause problems time to time is screw housing that connects two parts of the shell together: plastic parts are made out of rather cheap ‘ABS’ rather than ‘Polycarbonate’ like some of the more upmarket products. Typical failing scenario is breaking of the screw housings resulting in the wheel splitting down the middle and the handle cracking, making it very difficult to carry. All things considered, Airwheel X3 can be a good wheel to rent out - even a learner can hardly deal significant damage to it.

Plastic parts are made out of rather cheap ‘ABS’ rather than ‘Polycarbonate’ like some of the more upmarket products. This means they are more likely to break or crack under impact, typical failure modes are; braking of the screw housings resulting in the wheel splitting down the middle and the handle cracking, making it very difficult to carry.

Test-ride

350W constant motor power doesn’t seem to be a lot for an electric unicycle when it comes to urban commuting: a rider of over 60 kg will most likely feel uncomfortable on it. You’d need to be careful over bumps and not over accelerate, especially if you are heavier rider. Generally, it is sufficient for calm and relaxed riding, but definitely is not for you if you need speed or want to make tricks on the wheel.

Moving uphill is not a favourite exercise for Airwheel X3, but in practice this unicycle can climb up to 15% slopes steep at a moderate speed (weight, again, might be needed to consider).

132Wh Lithium-Ion battery does the job once again: test riding the Airwheel X3 gave us satisfactory results.  During the test we tried to recreate normal daily trip conditions, with frequent stops and different terrains, which led us to 7 km overall range, equivalent to approximately 30-50 minute riding. A bit over an hour of charging is usually enough to keep Airwheel X3 “four-lighted” and hungry for an adventurous ride.

Acceleration and braking of this electric wheel is smooth and easy to control. It is definitely enough for a beginner, whereas advanced riders might prefer different modes that can be offered by Solowheel or Ninebot One. Trying to push Airwheel X3 to its limits is doubtfully a good decision, especially somewhere on the streets, mainly because of the risk of overpowering motor. On the positive side, Airwheels have a relatively well designed BMS which does not cut out like some of the other cheaper models.

The maximum speed lies somewhere around 18 km/h, according to the manufacturer. In safe testing conditions, we used to get the maximum of 17.3 km/h. At around 12 km/h mark the pedals start go up to protect you from falling forward. The angle rises as you start to go faster and annoying beeping mechanism turns on as well. Thus, the realistic cruising speed is around 10km/h, which seems to be enough for urban commuting.

Turning is easy - Airwheel X3 is quite an agile wheel. In contrast with Firstwheel Gizmo’s setup, the design of this unicycle allows you to promptly do sharp turns - the pedals are positioned well above the ground, which leaves some space to serpentine turns.

Amongst other features of this wheel there is also the top speed alarm: pedals rise if you reach top speed or when battery dies. As annoying as it might be for some people, this is a crucial add-on that can help beginning users to feel and control weight distribution. Developing this unicycle, Airwheel haven’t had a chance to pack it with something fancier, like a voice messaging system or security block, but in many cases simpler is better, is it not? You to judge.

Results

You could say that experienced riders look for something more reliable and better performing than Airwheel X3. What it does offer for the rest, though, is durable and affordable electric unicycle with compact and light design. Some don’t like to overcomplicate things and enjoy the simple feeling of riding. If you are one of them - Airwheel X3 may just suit you.