There’s no denying the genius of Walt Disney. As a man of vision he leveraged technology against entertainment and created an entirely new level of amusement. Not all his visionary ideas turned into fireworks and cotton candy though; his Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) was a grandiose tribute to applied science that was received with tepid enthusiasm. More than likely this was caused by an insufficient amount of one key component – fun.
Such is the case with RYNO Motors Micro-cycle. Tech savvy with a futuristic esthetic, this battle-dressed unicycle on steroids is billed as half the bike, twice the fun. The only problem with this is that when it comes to the fun component, the numbers don’t quite add up. With a maximum range of 10 miles and an apathy-inducing top speed of 10 mph, this battery-powered motor-driven personal transportation vehicle is more Segway than cycle.
A gyro sensor works in conjunction with a processor to control the RYNO – lean forward and the micro-cycle moves forward; lean back and it comes to a stop. Steering is achieved using the same look and lean technique that’s used with motorcycles and scooters. The seat and handlebar relationship also borrows heavily from existing motorcycle standards, but from what I can tell riding position seems to be similar to the rigid posture required to be a Victorian-age debutante or undergoing a proctology exam at an army field hospital. Spinal cord compression is mitigated on the micro-cycle using a small shock absorber for the seat.
While I imagine that nailing a pothole on this thing would probably result in some form of colorectal surgery or unintentional vasectomy, there’s a good chance I’d never get the opportunity to – exactly where this thing can be ridden seems to be rather vague. Their website states that the RYNO moves in the invisible lines between the roads and sidewalks, urban parks and office elevators. Hotel lobbies, outdoor malls, amusement parks. This could be where the fun really begins, engaging in a spirited debate with a traffic cop or hotel security personnel.
Another thing that seems rather vague is exactly where the RYNO’s target market lies. The environmentally conscious commuter is the obvious choice, but in terms of fun I can really only imagine two groups being intrigued by the micro-cycle: people who want to arrive at Comic Con in style and paddle board enthusiasts who are looking for a thrill on land.
A price tag of $5,295 will narrow this market even more; that’s more than twice the cost of a Honda scooter which, coincidentally, has more than twice the RYNO’s top speed. It’s also more than a brand-new Honda CRF250L, which isn’t nearly as fuel-efficient as a scooter but it will move effectively in the invisible lines between roads, sidewalks, and hotel lobbies. Yes, this would probably result in another spirited debate with a law enforcement official, but think of how much more fun you’ll have before that happens.
Although I struggle to comprehend exactly where the fun factor lies with the RYNO, it’s obvious others share their vision. BRP (a hyphenated heavy conglomerate of Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, and Can-Am & Bombardier) unveiled the Embrio over a decade ago, a one wheeled hydrogen fuel cell powered concept vehicle that could be the RYNO’s fraternal twin. The Embrio is constructed using lightweight materials but still tips the scale at an eyebrow-raising 360lbs. To put this in perspective, a Honda XR650L dual sport motorcycle that’s burdened with additional components like long travel suspension, a swing arm, an extra wheel, and brakes weighs 10lbs less.
But even Honda has jumped on the one-wheeled bandwagon with its U3-X personal transport, which has a much more practical esthetic – it looks like a portable bar stool. It also barely nudges the scale at 22lbs and features movement in all directions (even diagonally) using a unique Omni-Traction system. The U3-X does top out under 4 mph which is probably a good thing after a long night of bar hopping.
There’s no question that the engineering poured into the design and development of the RYNO and other one-wheeled self-balancing vehicles is brilliant. The big question is, if this is to be marketed as a recreational vehicle, will anyone buy a ticket to ride? I can only think of one group of end users that have the power to unleash a micro-cycle’s full potential for fun: liquored up college kids. Now that would be highly entertaining.