Is drifting the new walking?
The «Segway Drift» e-Skates are quite a challenge for your mind and feet to begin with. But then once your nervous system starts firing differently it’s so much fun. Now you can’t stop me rolling.
First of all let me just say, yes, that thing jerking around like a cow in the final stages of BSE is me. Hopefully that hasn’t traumatised you too much to read this article. When I stepped onto the new «Segway Drift» for the first time, it was like different laws of physics applied.
The hyperactive wheels under my feet interpret each hesitant movement as a command to walk. All it takes is a slight wobble and they’re already zooming ahead. Rowing with my arms combined with some leaning backwards and I’m changing direction. I don’t think it’d be quite accurate to say I had the situation under control or that I was showcasing the moves you’d want to on flashy e-Skates like these.
But anyway, all I can do is hope for the Segway effect. In other words praying that the thing that bamboozles me at first will soon start feeling like the most normal type of movement in the world.
Drift. You heard it right: Segway Drift. I know most people think of the classic Segway whenever they hear that brand name. You know those transporters that are so popular these days for city sightseeing and have groups of tourists buzzing through old towns like swarms of bees?
But that’s not the only thing Segway makes. The brand has since been bought by the Chinese company Ninebot and they manufacture a range of other Segway e-mobility products, which you can find in our shop. For the moment, the «Drift» range is just e-Skates. You can think of them as a Segway for each foot.
Drift W1 (12km/h)
Gliding, spinning, dancing or doing tricks - the possibilities are endless.
- The Segway Drift e-Skates (the pair) come in at 7 kg and can carry 10–100 kg.
- The maximum speed you can go on them is 12 km/h (7.5 mph). When you charge up the battery for three hours you can then skate for about 45 minutes.
- The battery is water resistant (IPX6 rating) and the casing offers IP54-rated protection.
- The Segway Drift doesn’t like wet conditions or inclines greater than ten degrees.
Really easy but comes with a thousand warnings
The packaging itself is fairly unspectacular but the Segway Drift itself feels like quality to its core. On the side you’ll find the charging sockets, the power button and the battery display. And then on the base you’ll see the LEDs, the carrying loops and the wheel, which is a bit like a rubber roller.
The pros are: the mat you stand on is slip-resistant. Also there is no left and right or front and back when it comes to these e-Skates. It doesn’t matter which way around you put them on.
Here’s how to get them moving. You put your Drift on the ground, switch it on and use your hand to get it to balance. Now it’s ready for you to step on. As these e-Skates are so easy to use, the remaining instructions are basically just a collection of warnings. The summarised version is this: don’t do anything stupid. And if you do, we warned you. There’s no point sueing.
Just two of a huge number of warnings. Damn, I almost forgot you can’t wear high heels on them
It’s one weird feeling when your legs stop obeying you. But it is pretty good when you barely need them anymore because you’re leisurely rolling along. I’m rather tense for the first 15 minutes I’m on the e-Skates. Even the soles of my feet hurt. I keep trying to get the ideal position and slip on slight bumps on the ground – something that does have certain consequences.
The Segway Drift reacts to the slightest input. Even when they’re just sitting in front of you and you gently put your finger on the front or back of the mat, the e-Skates already start to speed off. Having the right position is a basic requirement and essential to get both feet going in the right direction. The flatter the area you practice on, the easier it’ll be.
And the tree is about to fall. Kidding. I did eventually manage to get to grips with inclines
At some point it all just clicked into place for me. That’s the Segway effect. Now there’s no stopping me leisurely gliding forwards. I’m more bothered about the speed limit, which slows me down with a warning signal.
At one point I had to jump off the Segway and run because the e-Skates kept on rolling without me on them. When there’s no weight on them they’re supposed to stay still. Wouldn’t that be nice? Without a doubt the skates are most dangerous when you’re no longer standing on them. Either because they go careering off or because you pick them up without switching them off. And that’s when the wheels start to spin. That warning in the instructions is certainly justified.
Apart from that, the e-Skates are easy to handle – the Segway Drift manufacturer even says they’re suitable from age six. My daughter is testament to that as she’s in that age group and it only takes a few minutes before she’s grinning and gliding across the living room.
The Segway Drift is fun whether you’re six or 36. It’s a completely different experience, even if you’re used to hoverboards or the «classic» Segway. If you have even a slight sense of balance, you’ll quickly get the hang of turning and start cruising.
The e-Skates will cope with inclines and slopes as described above and in the instructions. If there’s any doubt, the warning signal will let you know you’re overdoing it. The biggest killjoys when it comes to playing with the Segway Drift are grooves, bumps in the surface underfoot and little stones, which you’ll either stumble on or get jolted by.
If you’re still playful at heart and have the right gadget budget, the Segway Drift is definitely something I’d recommend for you.
15 October update: you can’t use the Segway Drift on public roads. You can only use it on private roads and places.
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