Look, I try pretty hard not to be overly negative about any products or ideas, there’s so many cool things out there and everything has it’s place and market. But, while this product is super cool, and fun, it does come with a strong warning from me – It can hurt, and that can cost you big bucks.
I’ve seen these silly scooters at tech trade shows all over the world. Each time I’ve seen them I’ve also seen people fall off, pretty funny stuff to be honest.
So when a reporter at A Current Affair called me to discuss a story idea, I got right on it. The story being, there are concerns that these self-balancing scooters which are becoming widely known as “hoverboards” (although clearly they are not hovering at all) would and could catch fire – that’s a worry.
Turns out there are many reports of cheap inferior products exploding while being charged. This is because cheap factories are pumping out low quality versions with poor battery technology and electronics which wouldn’t pass muster in Australian retail stores.
I arranged to get hold of a couple of these scooters. From a reputable Aussie company called SkyWalkers.
Their scooters have been thoroughly tested and meet Australian standards. I had hoped that both the reporter and I could try them out to understand what all the fuss was about, given these were quite clearly the hottest gift idea this Christmas.
I got right into it, wizzing around the garage learning how they worked it was great fun.
Perhaps though I foresaw the issue in the caption above. The next day I popped home in the early afternoon to meet my wife before we went to my Daughter’s pre-school Christmas concert. With time to spare, I jumped on the Skywalker.
Going quite slowly, I rolled around and a moment later the left wheel hit a small bit of lego. That wheel stopped, the left foot pushed back spinning the Skywalker around and throwing me up in the air – and down onto the hardwood floors. It hurt, but more because I looked like a goose than anything else.
My wife later said I complain more when I stub my toe. I enjoyed in some discomfort (in my arm) the Christmas Concert, and went back to work.
Movement in my left arm got more and more restricted before that evening when I recorded Two Blokes Talking Tech with Stephen Fenech. Remarking on the level of discomfort I said to Stephen “I might have to go to the hospital after this”. And I did. An x-ray showed a possible fracture.
So a half-cast was applied with bandages around to keep it in place.
This sums up my week…. hilarious really:) pic.twitter.com/HLlQWUWyus
— Trevor Long (@trevorlong) December 3, 2015
The next morning, a specialist Doctor at the Emergency Department took a look at my X-Ray and phoned me to tell me I should see an elbow specialist ASAP.
Within days I’d had a CT scan and saw a specialist. The Radial Head was broken. I could see that quite clearly.
I had surgery that day, and two pins inserted into the bone.
— Trevor Long (@trevorlong) December 15, 2015
No Cast, no sling, and every day movement gets better in my arm.
The Skywalker? It’s packed up, ready to be shipped back to the company. My review is finished.
Would I recommend one? Not personally. But if someone really want’s one remember this, they go 20km/hour, imagine coming off at speed. So, keep that in mind and consider getting your kids some knee and elbow pads, let alone a helmet.
I fear a spate of post-Christmas injuries are about to hit our news headlines if people don’t treat them with the care they need.
Is it fun? Hell yes, scooting around a bike park is loads of fun, but in reality, with bans on them in lots of public places, it could be an investment you struggle to get back with the amount of use you can get from it.
As a commuter device? Amazing, but they weigh 11kg, so good luck lugging it to your office desk!
Total Cost? Between $700 and $1000 – plus pads and helmet.
My Cost? Skywalker sent it to me to review, but I’m happily sending it back, although at $3,255 after claiming all my medical expenses with medicare and private health, I might list it on eBay and see what I can get:)
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.