What do you get when you combine a unicycle and a motorcycle? The answer is something far more awesome than I would have imagined.
This futuristic, one-wheeled, Segway-like cycle has been in the works for nearly a decade. A sketch done by his 13-year-old daughter, who saw something similar in a video game, inspired engineer Chris Hoffman. And, as kids are wont to do, she challenged her dad to build it. It took six prototypes, but the RYNO is now ready for launch. They’re available for pre-order for an April 2014 delivery.
RYNO’s got dual motors, controllers, gyroscopes, batteries, and brains, all inside the wheel’s hub. While its center of mass may seem low, given that it’s near the rider’s lower legs, it’s easier to ride than one might think. RYNO balances like a Segway, dipping front to back to adjust the rider’s center of gravity. Riders are in control of side-to-side stability, though. The single wheel is big enough to make gaining your equilibrium a bit easier than on a unicycle, though. The handlebars move the seat, rather than the wheel, and there’s a brake on the right that tips RYNO back to put the rider in a position to stop.
Gizmodo’s Robert Sorokanich got to ride the RYNO and describes what it feels like, summed up by the conclusion that “it’s completely intuitive, once you let go of your two-wheeled habits.” Part of that is because the RYNO is easier to ride that one might expect it to be, especially because riders can plant both feed firmly on the ground when stopped, rather than tipping to the ride to get better purchase on the ground. Hoffman says that people can learn how to ride in about 15 minutes, and after a few days, can easily become master riders.
The 160-pound device goes up to 10 miles per hour, which means it’s more like a Segway than a car, and can legally traverse walkways and kitchen floors. It can travel 10 miles on a six-hour battery charge, and soon additional batteries that will enable the RYNO to cruise around for 30 miles will be available. So how much will all this cost? Just over $5,000. It might sound steep, but by all accounts the RYNO has multiple advantages over the Segway. And if you’re on the fence, you can put down a $150 refundable deposit. So who knows, we might folks zipping around on these things in just a few months, especially after Portlandia made it look so hip.