InMotion has added to the growing list of portable urban "transport appliances
" by showing a redesigned version of its flagship R2 device and a companion unicycle at CES 2015
. Gizmag took them for a ride in Las Vegas.
Riding a unicycle is kind of like juggling or playing the bagpipes, in that it's infamously hard to master. While some people might say that that's the whole point in learning to do it, others just want to get riding that one-wheeled bicycle ASAP. If you're among the second group, then you might like Inventist's uniquely-designed Lunicycle.
Six years ago, Chris Hoffmann's 13-year-old daughter Lauren said, “Daddy, I’ve been thinking about this one-wheeled motorcycle I saw in a video game. Could you actually build something like that?” What happened next changed his life. In the next few months, Chris' new company begins shipping the Ryno
, a self-balancing, one-wheeled US$5250 personal mobility device that has caused tidal waves of interest across the globe. This is Chris Hoffmann’s story of what happened in the intervening six years, in his own words, and that's 20-year-old Lauren with daddy's one-wheeled motorcycle.
“It has a top speed of 6 km/h, it balances itself, and you couldn’t crash it if you tried. How can you possibly see that as one of the biggest thrills of your life?” That was the response from an automotive journalist colleague at the Tokyo Motor Show after I eulogized riding Honda’s UNI-CUB β personal mobility device. After a lifetime of journalism covering every form of technology, cars, motorcycles and "boys toys,” from driving and riding exotica worth a decade's wages, this was one the greatest thrills I had experienced – being one of the first to ride a landmark personal transportation device as important as Henry Ford’s Model T.
It seems strange to be saying that there’s now another
self-balancing electric unicycle on the market, but hey – that’s technology for you. Joining the likes of the eniCycle
, we now have the LED-light-strip-adorned EcoBoomer iGo.
Having dealt with all the things you are not getting for Christmas this year
, it's time to turn our attention to what Santa's elves have really been hammering away at. So from consumer favorites to clever innovations to quirky surprises, here's our selection of the top 10 things you CAN have for Christmas 2012.
Inner city congestion, rising parking charges, pedestrian-only zones and other measures to persuade folks to leave the car at home can seem a little at odds with the increasing pace of our busy working lives. Getting the train to work is all well and good but if the office is quite a distance from the station, then workers are faced with hopping on more public transport or taking along a portable personal vehicle like a folding bicycle, mini scooter or unicycle. If you want to avoid having to hit the showers before sitting at your desk, then motorized versions of most are now available. Regular readers will already know that we're quite fond of the electric unicycle, particularly when it's combined with self-balancing mechanisms. One of the first to be featured was the SBU
from Focus Designs, the third version of which has just been released.
Two things are certain in this crazy world - unicycles are cool and unicycles are seriously hard to ride. Well no longer. Now anybody can clown about on a unicycle and what's more, you don't even have to pedal. Thanks to Focus Designs and several years of development the learning curve required to master the unicycle has been reduced from several weeks to an average of 20 minutes, making it a viable and incredibly cheap-to-run personal transport.
The fat wheeled eniCycle
, the stylish and graceful U3
from Honda or the slightly scary prospect of the UnoMoto
have all shared more in common than being one-wheeled, self-balancing personal transport solutions. They've all had somewhere for the user to sit. Inventist's Solowheel is a little different – you ride this electric unicycle standing upright, like a Segway or skateboard. It has a useful carry handle and fold-away foot platforms, is gyro-stabilized and the Li-ion batteries offer a range of about 12 miles between charges.
We’ve seen a few vehicle designs that have had a crack at bringing the unicycle out of the circus and onto the street, such as the self-balancing eniCycle
, the UnoMoto
, the EMBRIO
and Honda’s U3-X
. Here's a very different approach. Although it is a one wheeled motorized vehicle, there's nothing self-balancing about the FlyRad – the design requires the rider to wear a pair of inline skates while they sit, stand or simply get dragged along.