At the beginning of April 2019, Gotway announced their new model Nikola. In rensponse KingSong announced 16X in July, posing it as direct competition to Nikola. However, KingSong got delayed with the official launch of 16X and the first lucky few did not get their devices until August. The interesting thing about the initial presentation of both the new models for the Gotway and KingSong brands is that both companies turned to one of the most famous YouTubers in the niche – Kuji Rolls – who presented the arrival of the devices. More about the first impressions of Kuji can be seen here:
First Impression of Gotway Nikola:
First Impression of KingSong 16X
The design difference between the two wheels is clear. The obvious difference is displayed in the different handling of the devices, which also lends to a different style of operation and maneuverability.
The design of KingSong 16X is completely changed in regard to the previous models of the brand. Turning away from the traditional design they usually use, we can say the new one is more aggressive and innovative. It can easily be described as the most unique looking wheel. Its shape and size contribute to the light and ergonomic feel, which also leads to better control over the device. 16X also has a much tougher shell. Even in very hard crashes, the damage is relatively little compared to Nikola.
The design of Gotway Nikola resembles a disk – or a space ship. Along its body, Gotway has placed a high density LED ring, which runs throughout the device and makes Nikola more cool looking at night time thanks to better LEDs. Its dimensions are bigger in comparison to 16X and contribute to a heavier feel in the legs. If you want to look more colourful and to be noticed from afar at nighttime, then Gotway Nikola can definitely offer you that. The drawback of this design may turn out to be the weaker body related to the weight of the wheel. Heavy damages are possible during hard crashes.
I definitely rank 16X higher in terms of design.
As you can see, these 2 wheels are very close in terms of technical specifications and the main competitors in this class in the market. The things that make them different are:
Side Padding – 16X has it, unlike Nikola
Bluetooth speakers – 16X has 4 х 5W + 1 x 10W Subwoofer, while Nikola has 2 x 25W.
Front Lighting – Gotway Nikola has с 5W/500lm, while 16X offers 5W/800lm.
Small weight difference – 16X is lighter at 23.5 kilos, while Nikola weight 1 kilo more.
The pedals – 16X has bigger pedals.
We can give the lead to 16X again.
The Tire Innovation
The new 3” Wide х 16” tire has the purpose of achieving the golden balance between maneuverability of the standard 2.5” tires (currently typical for 16” wheels) and the 4.1” tire of Ninebot Z10, which offers unique stability and feel on rough terrain. The tire treads are different, with the 16X having the drawback of going along with the lines of surface (matching the grooves), just like the Ninebot Z series. Some people within the community have replaced the stock tire for a different one and are very pleased with that change, describing the stock tire tread as unsatisfactory.
Nikola wins this round.
Speed & Acceleration
Both electric unicycles have a max speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), but that does not mean this speed is safe. The acceleration is unbelievable, the turning is very easy, with a high degree of control. Both unicycles are direct competitors to the 18” wheels in terms of power and range. With 16X the acceleration is a bit better than that of Nikola. At speed 16X is more stable and by any means this does not mean Nikola is not stable, just the 16X feels better.
In terms of speed and acceleration, 16X has to get the mark.
Riding & Maneuverability
We have to start with the fact that both the feel and driving style of the two wheels are totally different from anything you have tried so far. Nikola handles very well but definitely 16X handles better. Of course, the stability is determined by other factors as well, such as tire pressure, but when both tires are configured in the same manner 16X is more stable. Even the most hardcore fans of the Gotway brand say that they did not expect so much maneuverability from 16X. Both of them are very smooth and stable on any surface. In off-road situations, both wheels perform very well. They are so similar during off-road rides that we cannot give any of them the lead.
As a whole 16X is the winner of this category.
You have already seen from the technical details that both devices differ the most in terms of Features and Design. This is the first time Gotway innovatively integrate Bluetooth Music Speakers for use in electric unicycles, and they bet on 2 x 25W speakers. The speakers of Nikola sound better than those of 16X. The sound is louder, while with 16X it is more muted. With Nikola, we also see for the first time an integrated voltmeter, which gives the rider a much better sense of battery. They have also added a push-to-disengage button underneath the handle.
There are innovations with 16X as well. The first thing to note is the bigger pedals size of 16X. People who have used 16X describe the pedals as the best. They no longer use springs, but magnets instead. They are placed higher, which means an almost impossible contact with the surface even during extreme maneuvers. At first glance, the front lights have the same power with both wheels, but the light of 16X comes with more lumens, which means it is brighter. KingSong has officially released an additional accessory – a seat, which can be ordered separately and is an excellent addition during longer trips. The lack of side padding in Nikola can make the experience and control on rough terrain a bit unpleasant.
2 USB ports versus 1 USB port places 16Х higher, with its second port having the option to be used for a second stock or third-party fast charge device in order to shorten the charging time, which is otherwise long.
Gotway Nikola and Kingsong 16X have raised the bar in the electric unicycles niche. These are two very maneuverable and at the same time powerful wheels. If I have to describe them in a short way, I would say they are Agile, Powerful Beasts.
While KingSong were a bit hasty with the release of KingSong 16X and continue to release firmware updates one after the other to clear out problems (updating the firmware to at least 1.05 is an absolute must), their competitor Gotway released 2 more modification of Nikola with more battery and more power for less money.
Still, if I have to say which electric unicycle is better, then taking into account the entire comparison I did, I think that the KingSong wheel is the better performer.
My personal opinion is that 16X is the best city wheel when it comes to long-range, durability, and convenience.