I know, I know, there are a lot of Segway haters out there – but part of me suspects that the hate arises from the same places that it always does… jealousy. Segways are not cheap, and the vast majority of people who would like one can’t afford to buy one – hence the hate.
For this reason, the Electric Unicycle might prove to be a winner. The tiny one-wheeled vehicle is capable, by way of its 500W electric motor, of pushing a 160-lb man at a speed of 13 mph for up to two hours on a three hour charge. That range and charge time would put a lot of people within commuting range.
Much like the Segway, the Electric Unicycle is balanced by a gyroscope. Forward and backward movement, which are used for speeding up and slowing down, are gyro-stabilized – sideways movements are not… so you will need to exercise a bit of caution as you learn to steer. In this regard, the two-wheeled Segway has some significant advantages.
What sets the Electric Unicycle apart is the price. At $2,700, it is not cheap, but it is reasonably affordable and it would make for an interesting ride to work if it is able to handle the odd patch of uneven terrain.
From Hammacher Schlemmer:
This is the briefcase-sized electric unicycle that keeps a rider perfectly balanced at all times with gyroscopic sensors. Equally suited for urban commuting and suburban recreation, the unicycle requires a rider to merely stand on its two folding feet pads; gyroscopic sensors detect a rider’s subtle feet movements while accounting for a shoulder-slung backpack or bag for its center-of-mass calculations. Gripping the handlebar and leaning forward results in steady acceleration without jolting, while leaning backward brings the unicycle to a slow, steady stop. A rider controls side-to-side balance and turning with subtle leaning. The unicycle’s 500-watt electric motor propels a 160-lb. rider up to two hours at 13 mph with a three-hour charge of its built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Housed within a sturdy ABS case, the motor spins the cycle’s single 16″ diameter wheel that extends only 4″ from the case, so pant legs won’t snag. Its knobby tire grips surfaces while providing minimal rolling resistance for smooth rides. Includes AC adapter. Supports up to 250 lbs. 25″ L x 12″ W x 23″ H. (57 lbs.)