The Charging Ryno!
Are unicycles the new transportation trend? MAC reports on the latest model that has popped up in the States.
Hot on the heels of our story about China’s hot unicycles comes news of possibly a hotter version from our old friends from across the pond in the US of Americaland called, for some unfathomable reason, Ryno Motors.
Looking at the early press photos, the whole idea of a unicycle seems to hint at a black leather-clad version of the Segway, but without some of the drawbacks that the Segway encountered.
Company founder, Chris Hoffman, said, ‘This is a personal transportation product that’s in between the cracks of urban transportation. So I can ride it on the sidewalk, I can go through a lobby, I can go into an elevator, I can go on the train. I can go anywhere a pedestrian wants to go.’ By that we can only assume he is taking a side swipe at the Segway which has been faced with compliancy issues in many countries, Malaysia included.
The Ryno is unique and pretty nifty though, with a curb weight of about 125lbs and all its mechanical bits and pieces fitting snugly within its 260mm wheel which spins on bearings as opposed to a more traditional axle. The vehicle has two electric motors powering a big old chunky tire and two slide out batteries that are said to be good for ten miles with a six-hour recharge on a standard household power outlet. The beastie is kept upright by three silicon gyros and an accelerometer that measure forward and backward, and side-to-side motions, which then manipulates the drive system to keep the cycle beneath the rider.
Somewhat like the Segway, the cycle is controlled by what is described as “Body English” rather than a traditional twist throttle or pull brake. To put it simply, lean forward and the vehicle goes, lean back and it brakes then stops. The handle also has a brake which has been renamed a “stop-assist-lever” (really?); by pulling it, the Ryno puts the wheel further out in front allowing the rider to lean back more and, thus, reduce speed faster. The unicycle allows a maximum 15 degrees of front or back tilt.
Likewise, turning is achieved in the same way that a Segway turns, that is by leaning in the direction you want to go. However, there is an added feature whereby putting more pressure on the foot pedals can make the Ryno turn left or right.
The Ryno is not built for quickness, with a top speed of just 10mph, and there are few creature comforts to boast of at all. The company is already taking orders and you can get yours for just US$5295 and in any colour you want, as long as it is red.
I haven’t actually seen one of the new Ryno’s but all of the reports I have read seem to liken it to some sort of futuristic mode of transport, but, well, I dunno, I seem to remember reading a comic strip in my newspaper in which one of the heroes seems to get about on something remarkably similar to the “new” Ryno…