After mastering your Onewheel on the pavement it’s time to hit some trails, here is where the real fun begins! To make your life easier here are some tips for off-road and trail riding with your board.
If you have never ridden off-road before, it really is quite different from the pavement. A good idea is to practice around your neighbourhood, going up down driveways, off curbs, grass, bumpy dirt patches, etc before heading out on the trail.
Off road or trail riding requires you to pay attention to your surroundings, watch the trail ahead to anticipate obstacles in your way.
- Use the right setting for trail riding
- Turning contact to the ground
- Tire pressure
- Train your muscles
- Sunglasses – eye protection
- One foot or wheel slip alarm?
Use the right setting for trail riding
The setting of your board really changes the way it rides and handles on the ground. For trail riding torque and clearance become important factors for you to be able to climb hills and handle bumps without hitting the ground or nosedive.
For the Onewheel XR the best mode (if you are not into custom shaping) is to use Delirium. It gives you the max torque for powering over obstacles and pulling out of holes.
I common question asked is if you should use Elevated instead for Delerium, definitely use Delerium for the torque. There is enough clearance for the board, else go into custom settings.
As stated above Delirium is a good start but may not be for everyone. Every rider has their own style of riding, based on their skill, body type, and weight. If you want to go into custom settings for off-road I recommend starting with +2/0/+5 for better control and stability. Then customize it to your own liking after riding for a couple of miles.
The Onewheel Pint doesn’t have any custom settings so here there is only one option to turn up the torque, use Skyline.
The stance is one of the most important things to master when riding off-road or over obstacles. Always keep your knees bent. The knees will help you to absorb all kinds of imperfections, roots, lumps and bumps in the road. Once you get good enough at the knee bend they will act as shock absorbers and you will be able to go over bumps at almost normal road speed (or as fast as you feel comfortable with).
Ankles need to be loose, the board will twist and turn when travelling on the ground, fighting this will result in an unstable ride and foot fatigue. The goal is to keep the body straight above the wheel and the ankle following the board’s movements.
Your head should be facing forward, keeping your eyes looking in front of you so you can anticipate what’s coming ahead so you can react accordingly. When trail riding you will need to be able to anticipate and prepare yourself for the terrain, bending keens, shifting your body weight to overcome the obstacles. If you’re always waiting and reacting, you’re more likely to get surprised and caught off balance resulting in a fall.
Turning contact to the ground
Trails often consist of slippery surfaces like fine dirt, sand, mud or worse case water puddles. When going over an obstacle try to keep the board as flat as possible (along the motor axle axis). Keeping the board flat will increase the possible surface area of the tire that’s in contact with the ground. Reducing the risk of the wheel slipping and losing traction.
When you turn, instead of carving on the edge of the tire, try to turn by swinging your hips and feet. Like you are doing a 180. This gives an increased contact area and better traction to the surface.
Another good tip regarding tire contact is to always have the board under you directly when making a transition from one surface to another, and try to be horizontal keeping your center of gravity above the tire.
To gain more traction to the ground it’s recommended to lower the pressure of your tire before hitting the trail. Check your tire pressure, if you normally run at 18-20 try a couple of PSI lower. Don’t forget to pump the tire back up when you go back to riding on the pavement. I use an electric pump from Xiaomi Portable Air Compressor making these changes a breeze when switching between off-road and commuting to work.
If you are uncertain use my Onewheel tire pressure calculator, It got both the imperial and metric systems.
Train your muscles
Your muscles need to strengthen, the easiest and most fun way is just to ride more and remember to rest when you are getting foot fatigue. The body will start to train and adapt, getting more muscle memory of how to handle obstacles like bumps and dips.
I always recommend riding with protection, especially when trail riding, you will most likely fall, it is a part of the ride. A key difference when starting to hit trails is the risk for sticks and stones. It’s, therefore, better to ride in more protective clothing like pants and jacket/long sleeves in case of a fall.
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If you want to up your game there is always a possibility to upgrade your ride. This is not necessary to do as a beginner, and I strongly advise you to not upgrader or ad additional accessories before you have become comfortable with your board and feel like Onewheeling and floating is for you. The only upgrade I would recommend for new riders are to add front wheels to your board to make it a bit safer.
Changing the tire is a more advanced upgrade. You can do it yourself and there are great guides online. I haven’t done it myself and there are Onewheel or tire shops that will help you to break and seat the bead.
The stock tire is a lot more rounder than the XR, making it a little bit more wobbly when riding on trails. You will need to work more to counter this compared to your XR friends, get used to using your arms. Upgrading to a flatter tire with or without treads will make a big difference for trail riding. There will be less strain on your ankles reducing the need to counterbalance and adjust with a wider tire.
You can upgrade to a treaded tire if trail riding is what you want to do the majority of your time. Else start riding with your stock VEGA.
Better control and locked in feel
Adding accessories like the Flight Fins will make you feel a lot more secure on the board and address the risk of bumping off the board on the trail. Flight Fins make you locked in with the board and for heavy trail riding, this is for sure a great addition to your board. For more casual riders this is not a necessity.
Concave footpads and Griptape
If you’re having issues with the grip of your board, and have a good shoe, then I would recommend replacing the grip tape with a coarse and adding a concave rear pad. This will make you more connected and reduce the risk of your foot gradually bouncing around and off the board mid-ride.
Sunglasses – eye protection
The beauty of riding trails is often the big range and changing of scenario, you can be riding up a sunny hillside to next going into the woods and sunlight hitting you from in between the trees. When riding through this changing environment with high shade/sunlight contrast, normal sunglasses are not optimal. They make it difficult to see objects on the trail.
Instead, use glasses with a yellow/orange tint, they allow for a better shadow to light transitional vision. Using glasses also offer eye protection from dust, branches and trees that might hit your eye.
If you are riding in the darkest of forest with all shade or on the hillside in full blasting sun then use what’s best for that trail.
One foot or wheel slip alarm?
If you are getting the alarms and your phone are beeping/bussing all the time then you should just turn off the one-foot alarm and wheel slip in the settings. It was one of the first things I did, it’s not needed.
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Is Onewheel all-terrain?
The Onewheel is made for all-terrain riding. Compared to electric skateboards it can handle grass, trails, sand and heavy off road riding. This is because of the big Go Kart tire that will move over obstacles and track on all terrains. Whether you’re carving streets or crushing trails.
Can Onewheel go uphill?
The Onewheel handles going uphill on a variety of terrains as long as the slope is below 15%.
Can Onewheel go downhill?
The Onewheel handles going downhill. When it’s too steep so the tail hits the ground it’s possible to carve down the slope. Breaking and slowing down to control the speed going downhill will recharge the battery.