Let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to pull off a commute via a Segway or hoverboard, but balancing isn’t everyone’s strong suit, especially at 10 mph. So why not try an electric unicycle? Though unicycles are known for their heavy reliance on the rider’s keen sense of balance, the Uno Bolt is promising riders stability and a statement vehicle.
Similar to the (beautiful and extremely heavy) Ryno Motors unicycle that never came to fruition, Dragon Ball was the main source of design inspiration for the Uno Bolt. Sean Chan, founder and co-inventor of Uno Bolt saw potential in a one-wheeled launch vehicle and embarked on a five-year journey to make it a reality.
Your first thoughts when you think of unicycles probably have to do with the circus or guys who win mustache competitions, but unicycling has gained a cult following in the past decade among extreme sports lovers. Riding back and forth gets boring, so many unicyclists have taken to off-road/mountain unicycling or performing bicycle-like tricks in more urban environments.
Though the Uno Bolt isn’t made for kickflips, it can get you around town with little effort on your part. Weighing in at about 45 pounds, the unicycle is lighter than many of its competitors and its heft can give beginners a greater sense of stability. “Right now it’s a bit too far ahead, but possibly with technological advancements…we could get a lighter vehicle,” says Chan.
Just as with regular unicycling, tires can make or break your riding experience. Another unicycle, the Canadian Moto Pogo, like many others in this market, is geared towards urban use with a sleek finish, a higher price tag, and less maneuverability, whereas Uno Bolt utilizes a tire assist to help riders avoid overextending on turns along with tires that are built for some moderate off-road usage. “With all the e-vehicles…they really don’t offer an off-road type of vehicle,” laments Chan. “You have to be on a very flat surface and you can’t really ride on grass.”
Across the board, these one-wheeled machines are outfitted with gyroscopic monitors and gears to keep you from face-planting outside your office. Most handlebars are just there to help the rider feel balanced, but Uno Bolts have brakes and a reverse lever. The 20 Ryno vehicles out there can actually perform like a motorcycle, marrying traditional steering with leaning.
You have to at least give Uno Bolt points for embracing the fact that it’s a unicycle–not a one-wheeled scooter or motorcycle. If you’re looking for a new mode of casual transportation and you can’t decide between being practical or whimsical, the Uno Bolt is a great place to start.