Can You Ride A Onewheel On Dirt? What You Should Know

A onewheel dirt Jumping

If you are wondering, can you ride a onewheel on dirt? The answer is yes, you can ride a Onewheel on dirt. The Onewheel is very capable of riding on the dirt and on all kinds of rough terrain. In fact, most riders think dirt trail rides and off-road riding are the most fun.

But “dirt” can mean many things, and there there are some things that you should avoid and consider when riding a Onewheel board on dirt.

We will also discuss the stock wheel and how it performs on the dirt, as well as some safety gear and safety tips for riding on dirt.

Can You Ride A Onewheel On Dirt? Types Of Dirt Riding

All Onewheel board models are capable of working well on dirt but not all dirt is good for riding on.

Hard Packed Dirt

A Onewheel ready for more dirt trail riding.

Hard packed dirt trails used by walkers and hikers are often the first thing that comes to mind and these dirt walking paths can be a lot of fun.

We spend a lot of time riding trails that are often somewhat maintained by other riders or hikers. Using a Onewheel on maintained and hard-packed dirt paths is my preferred place to ride. However, not all paths are smooth and easy to ride.

Loose Dirt and Wet Dirt or Mud

Less-used paths with soft dirt or loose dirt, or muddy trails should be avoided by less experienced people. The dirt and debris found on these paths can get stuck in the treads or between the wheel and foot plates.

Wet or muddy dirt may also cause problems and if it’s too wet it may even damage your onewheel board so look ahead and watch for puddles, streams, or mud.

A muddy trail can also be slippery and although the stock wheel that comes on the Onewheel board has decent traction, it’s still possible to lose traction in slippery mud. You can also search for upgraded wheels that are designed or better suited for the dirt.

Remote and Rough Dirt Paths and Slopes

A trail with rocks
A remove onewheel trail. Look closely and you will see baseball sized rocks that can be a major hazard on a onewheel.

Dirt paths through fields and forests can often be too bumpy or have many hazards like potholes, ditches, branches, or rocks which can all end up causing an accident and or an injury. These paths are best used when riding with friends.

A remote dirt path, a hillside path, or a mountain path may have other obstacles like tree roots, stumps, and side slopes.

A side slop is when your Onewheel board needs to be sloped to one side or another.

Riding on a side slope can be tricky and requires the rider to shift their body weight and hips to balance themselves.

On this type of path, you need to be extra alert. I would even leave these paths to the experts.

Obstacles Are More Prevalent In Dirt

A forest trail with obstacles
A forest dirt trail with obstacles.

Going through obstacles on a dirt trail also requires extra energy as you will be shifting your body weight and balancing and using your knees and legs to absorb the shocks and turns and so you don’t hit anything.

Obstacles certainly give an adrenaline rush that riders, especially adventure-loving riders find so much fun. It can also be harder on the body, so keep this in mind.

Of course, the tire you use can also help with absorbing some of the shock from rocks and stuff. I have a tip below on this.

However, using a Onewheel board on dirt can also cause problems or damage to your Onewheel due to an accident, or just the abuses from all the bumps, so keep this in mind.

While navigating the different types of dirt is a lot of fun, there are some important factors and rules that you need to follow also to avoid accidents and hurting yourself. 

Speed Control.

If and when I wipe out on the trails it often involves speed or is related to my me going too fast for the conditions. How badly I get hurt is also related to speed. Of course, I wear my safety gear to protect myself, but the faster you are going when you hit a rock, a tree, or a hole, the less your accessories and safety gear will help.

Therefore, my tip is to slow your speed down, especially on dirt trails with lots of potential hazards, such as sticks, rocks, and holes.

Learn to watch far enough ahead and slow down on corners, or when you see potential hazards on the path, and then if you have the need for speed, go fast on the straight sections and sections that you can see far ahead of you.

Riding A Onewheel On Dirt Bumps

The Onewheel board is capable of going over most bumps easily, but often bumps are harder to see at a distance than stuff like rocks or sticks or branches.

The larger Onewheel XR and the Onewheel XT tend to handle the bumps better than the Smaller Onewheel Pint and Pint X.

Onewheel and Hills

A hill or slop with a fallen tree branch half way down.

Rarely is a dirt trail going to be flat everywhere. Going up or down a hill is part of the game when using a Onewheel off-road.

Look ahead, and be aware of any hill descent or hill climbs, and adjust your speed accordingly. I speed up going up a hill and slow down before I descend a hill.

With more power in the Onewheel GT or the old Onewheel XR, getting up a hill will be easier, however, unless it’s a steep hill, the Onewheel Pint or Onewheel Pint X should also do hills just fine.

Caution. Going downhill can be more difficult to slow down, and its also hard to see what’s down the hill until you are already descending it.

I have encountered many times when a tree is in the way or some big boulders are in the middle of the path and its tougher to stop if you are going down hill quickly.

Dirt Riding Safety Gear

A rider getting ready to ride a onewheel on dirt with all his safety gear on.

There have been serious injuries and even deaths while using Onewheel boards on easy to ride on flat pavement, Using a Onewheel on dirt can be more dangerous.

Although I think it’s just common sense to always ride a trail with proper safety gear, I still see guys using their Onewheels without even the most essential safety gear there is, a helmet.

I recommend using a good quality helmet and a helmet that fits your head well. The helmet can absorb serious shock and head trauma that could kill you.

Safety accessories you should consider: Knee pads, wrist braces, and elbow pads are also a smart idea when trail riding.

Gloves are also a great idea.

Pros Of Riding A Onewheel On Dirt

Adventure: There are lots of obstacles that make dirt riding more fun. The thrill of having to be highly alert keeps the adrenaline pumping.

You never know when there will be a rock to avoid, a ditch to stay clear off, a puddle, or a stick to jump over. All of these unknown factors make the ride interesting and more dangerous, for this reason riding with friends is also advised.

It builds experience: Dirt riding requires more energy and skill, so by practicing in the dirt, you are training your leg muscles to handle more pressure.

This training will come in handy in the long run, as you will get more experience and be a better rider on any terrain you ride on. If you can ride well on the dirt, street riding will be easy.

Also, there are certain curves and turns you will need to make to get through a dirt trail so your balance will greatly improve. Having good wheels with decent tread will help you handle riding any path and navigating turns more effectively.

Cons Of Riding In The Dirt

  • High danger rate: Because of the unknown, riding in dirt can be dangerous and riders are more likely to fall and injure themselves when riding in the dirt.
  • Damages can be incurred: When riding in the dirt, your tire is more susceptible to punctures or damage. Frequent dirt riders will upgrade their tire to off-road tires with better tread. This is common practice after their original tires get damaged.
  • Water, Mud, Dust: You are more likely to run into mud and puddles on the trail and this can be a problem. It’s possible to ride a Onewheel through very shallow puddles but it’s not advised to get the onewheel too wet as this may cause issues or damage to the motor, and electronics, and possibly cause corrosion on metal parts and bearings. Even fine dust may get inside the Onewheel and start to cause issues.
  • Sand, Rocks, and Gravel: Although the onewheel will ride on these types of terrain, they can also cause damage but can also be a hazard to traction issues which can cause a wipeout and rider injury or damage to the board. I discuss the hazards and how to maintain your board when riding in the sand in another article. Learn More at: Riding a Onewheel In Sand.

Tips For When You Ride A Onewheel On Dirt

A Onewheel with a more aggressive tread
A more aggressive tire tread is better for dirt riding and less tire pressure is also better.
  • Always be fully protected and wear all your safety gear, whether on dirt or on the road it’s important.
  • Choose your lines well. This means picking the safest lines along the path to avoid obstacles.
  • Be sure your feet are firmly planted on the board and you shift your body weight as needed.
  • It is best not to go alone and we recommend riding dirt trails with a partner that can help in case you sustain an injury.
  • Make sure you have a level of experience suitable for trails before you ride a onewheel on dirt trails or off-road.¬†Practice and get good on the road first.

  • Tire pressure is different for the dirt. Reduce the pressure level of your tire for a softer ride and to improve tire grip. A softer tire will also keep your speed and range down but slower is safer. A softer tire will also reduce stress on your feet and body. Once back on the road increase your tire pressure to the maximum recommended pressure for your tire.
  • Use a tracking app or GPS to help you get back home. One of my favorite trail apps when I’m out in forests I’m not familiar with is Strava. Strava is accurate, it works in most areas, and it’s free is often all you need.
  • Wheels with good treads are better on dirt so you may want to upgrade.

What About Sand?

Yes, sand is dirt, and yes, riding a onewheel on sand is something you can do, but there are different types of sand, and certain types of sand is a whole other set of issue and fun.

Can You Ride A Onewheel On Dirt Q & A

We have answered the question can you ride a Onewheel on dirt and provided some tips, but if you have any questions or advice, or comments that you would like to share with me or the reader, please do in the comments section below.

Graham and The Board Sports Team

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