Electric Motorcycle Rocks One Wheel

We had to call it an electric motorcycle in the title because electric unicycle just sounds lame. But the video after the break shows you that this prototype is anything but lame. It takes minimalism to the extreme when you’re talking about powered transportation. The self-balancer is reminiscent of a Segway but the rider sits astride one wheel rather than the standing form-factor that [the Woz] loves so much for gaming. Looks like Ryno Motors is trying to gather capital to put these into production. We’re not going to hold our breath until we see them in the wild, but we’d be surprised if they don’t pop up on the big screen at some point in the near future.


60 thoughts on “Electric Motorcycle Rocks One Wheel

  1. The Ryno looks slightly more practical than a Segway for use on the street albeit not by much. A toy for the rich and famous, and a model for hackers to try to duplicate in their home shops. With the self balancing feature, it’s probably no more dangerous that a motor cycle or a slow bicycle. The safety down side is the low visibility to others on the road. How ever those who do see it may cause accidents as they take a second look at it.

  2. Ok maybe i should rephrase, how does leaning alone turn a one wheel vehicle. If not by creating a cone shape from the wheel.

    Also, i’m pretty sure unicycles do not turn by simply leaning. The rider likely uses his body weight and friction on the tire to torque the system into a new orientation.

  3. @bzroom:

    Conservation of angular momentum is part of it. The wheel spinning is like a gyroscope, which exerts a counter-torque when you try to change the direction of the rotation axis. On a unicycle, you don’t have all that much mass, and it can be pretty hard to maintain balance. I suspect it gets easier with a big wheel like this one.

  4. Gyroscopic effects only contribute a little to bicycle and motorcycle handling [http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~fajans/pub/pdffiles/SteerBikeAJP.PDF]. Turning requires a combination of leaning and steering.

    Stopping this vehicle requires a burst of acceleration to position the wheel forward of the CG before controlled deceleration. It looks like braking is motor powered, and therefore far less effective than a motorcycle’s brake.

    I’m not at all surprised by the 25 mph top speed. It is really tough to build an efficient electric vehicle with fixed gearing; limiting top speed help a lot. Also, the “up to” 30 mile range sounds sounds optimistic (downhill with a headwind, anyone?), but all electric bicycle vendors offer rosy range numbers.

  5. Sick as hell.

    Monobikes have been features quite a bit in anime, awesome to see another part of sci fi become reality. There are a few other examples out there of course but it’s cool to see more people doing it.

    Google “venus wars” for some cool anime monobikes.

    30 mile range and 30mph with a footprint smaller than a bike? yes please. Perfect for going around town when i don’t feel like pedaling.

    slightly OT, but would something like this be possible via the same mechanism?


  6. It’s so cool but also so dangerous.
    I would like to see a James Bond Scene with the antagonists minions chasing Bond on one of these.
    They’ll need to make it go faster though.

  7. epic hack, 10/10 for ingenuity.

    only problem i can see (other than whether it is road legal with all the ‘ealth & safety Stasi) is that if the battery fails or goes flat at high speed the failure mode will be uhm, painful.

    perhaps a backup battery would be a sensible idea.

  8. The reason leaning turns you on a forward-moving unicycle is that your center of mass is to the side of the wheel. This means part of the thrust generated by the wheel against the ground goes into rotating your body instead of pushing you forward, and you turn. The way you stop turning (since by definition you’re kind of falling over when you lean) is by using your lower body to turn the unicycle so that the thrust vector is pointed directly at your center of mass, and running the cycle back up under yourself. On a pedal powered unicycle that is just touring, not doing tricks, the offsets aren’t large, just a few inches off-balance can have a dramatic effect but is also easily corrected. (It’s been many years but I have ridden one.)

  9. Y’know I dont get the whole one wheeled thing. Twisting to turn that could lead to long term issues with your lower back. sure its compact and space saving but wouldn’t two wheels in the center side by side work better? Oh wait. someone did that…

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