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Exotic Motorized Skateboard from Down Under 122

Posted by michael
from the Ginger-candidates dept.
Somnus writes "On the British motorcycle news site MCN, they have a story on this weird device called a Wheelman -- it's a two-wheeled motorized skateboard where you stick your feet inside the rims of the hubless wheels! The top model, Bushpig, puts out 2.5hp and weighs only 44lbs. This would be a fun way to get around campus, if only I could find a suitable U-lock ..."
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Exotic Motorized Skateboard from Down Under

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  • Man, from the sound of it, this thing is two-wheel-drive. So imagine this...you're riding along, smiling smuggly at all the people gawking at your dope new ride, when suddenly you hit a large stick.

    The front wheel stops, the motion continues to pull the board forward (and upward), and you do a nice little faceplant.

    Sounds like fun!

  • I'd suggest that anyone blocking 0-level comments read the ones below. they basically say that this poster is full of shit.
  • by Somnus (46089) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:57AM (#441413)

    Yeah, I didn't notice that (I submitted the story). While I don't know for this specific case, two-stroke motors usually have more punch (torque) at lower RPMs than four-strokers, esp. at smaller displacements. This is why most off-road bikes use two-stroke enginees, while most on-road bikes use four-stroke engines for smoother power delivery, quieter operations and greater fuel economy.

    If I get a Wheelman, I'll get the Stealthman model so I can fill up convenienty at my friendly neighborhood gas station.


    *** Proven iconoclast, aspiring epicurean ***

  • by legLess (127550) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @12:18PM (#441414) Journal
    These types of transportation devices -- small, one-person stand-up units, relatively slow, energy-efficient -- could be the future of the modern city. Look at Chinese cities - a sea of bicycles. If even 10% more of those people had cars, there'd be total chaos: the population is too dense to be able to accomodate large vehicles.

    Compare this with the modern US city: cars, on average, getting bigger all the time; traffic jams getting worse. Christ, there's a whole industry in traffic jams, with news helicopters and on-board computers. Meanwhile, cities continue to get denser and populations continue to rise. There's a clear end to this: cars have to go as the primary means of inner-city transportation.

    Some cities are taking steps already: Portland OR has expanded it's bike lanes over the last 15 years and they're now pretty pervasive. Other OR cities, like Salem and Eugene (college towns) have even more aggressive bike lane programs and laws. bike lanes are clear policy and popular support for smaller, more economical short-distance transportation.

    What's to replace cars? Scooters, perhaps (cf. Ginger [moreover.com]), or something similar. What are the major objections to scooters?
    • Safety. First, the system has to separate cars and small vehicles - they can't interact. Also, there has to be a licensing program, like for cars - we do NOT need thousands of untrained scooter riders - one fuck-up would take out a crowd. Finally, remember the dire predictions about cars? Thousands of deaths? Environmental destruction? (Well, ok, most of those seem to have come true, but why let that stop us?)
    • Social engineering. No, most people won't trade their V-16 Ford Luxohemoth in for a battery-powered skateboard anytime soon, but that can certainly change (look how well the US government managed people in WWII). People don't think they're as susceptible to propaganda anymore, but they're wrong. We just call it advertising now, and it works really well. I don't think this will be a real problem.
    • Climate. Here's the stake through the heart of this little idea. In Portland we get 36" of rain a year, and it's spread out very thinly - 5 or 6 days a week in winter are overcast and somewhat "moist." No way are people going to tool around in the open in a climate like that. So what do we need? Climate control.
    Climate control. How can we get climate-controlled cities? Only in a closed, or at least roofed, environment. And the only real way to do this is with nanotechnology [slashdot.org].

    Thus, as I submit in the title, these types of transportation won't become widely used until we have pretty well-established nanotechnology. Unless, of course, the world eceonomy collapses or gets spread veeeeery evenly, in which case I guess even US citizens will be happy to ride bikes to work in the rain.

    Just a thought...

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • The article questions whether these motorised skateboards will ever be available in Britain. One of my girlfriends works for the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is the government agency responsible for deciding the legality of new products such as this. Based on some of the things she has told me, I am quite sure that they will never allow the sale of these machines.

    One of the Health and Safety Executive's criteria for allowing the sale of items is whether or not the items will place an "undue strain on the National Health Service". In case you don't know, all healthcare in the UK is funded by taxpayers and the standard of healthcare is extremely low. An item such as this, which possesses no brakes, lights, mirrors or seatbelts is almost certain to be outlawed by the government due to the high risk of accidents. Since the government will have to pay for the cost of treatment of the injured, they prefer to make things illegal rather than have to foot the bill.

    It is a shame that because of the inadequacies of our healthcare system, the British are deprived of many fun things. For example, bungie jumping, recreational shooting and parachuting are illegal in the UK. Quad motorcycles, a close relative to these motorised skateboards, are also illegal. Even smoking is outlawed in many regions of the UK (the city of Manchester being the most famous example), simply because of the strain it puts on the health service.

    Sometimes I'm proud to be British, but at other times, the "nanny state" which prevails over here really makes me angry. Does anyone know how I can get a visa to live in the USA? :-)

    --

  • How would you keep your pants legs from getting caught in the wheels?

    Pant legs? Geez, just wear a bikini. Couldn't you tell from the photo on the page?

  • Speaking as a person who spent most of last winter peddling through ice storms and snowdrifts to commute to work, I really don't think the elements are a big impediment. Get some decent winter gear and a pair of ski goggles.

    The reason I haven't been riding much THIS year is because of the two-three foot high piles of iced snow on the roadsides. No place to go when one of those celphone-using, makeup applying 'drivers' dosen't bother to notice you.

    And yes, I live in the Northren Midwest. We get lots of snow.

  • Yes thats what the _article_ said. Not what www.wheelman.com.au says.
  • First of all did you mod your own critics down? Are you a Troll or something?

    This wouldn't be allowed on the public highway, but elsewhere, if people refrain from collateral damage, then there is nothing against it. Use it on the beach as envisaged, no worries!

    Recreational shooting is regulated (you may have heard of Dunblane) so put that AK47 down. However with a Shotgun Cert or a Firearms Cert it isn't a problem. As the others who were modded down, you *can* parachute quite easily, you can paraglide and even microlight!

  • He could be left-handed..... :-)
    ----
  • gas powered with a two stroke engine? Seems like it would be annoyingly loud (notwithstanding the earlier comment about wastefulness).

    I'd want one that runs whisper-quiet and doesn't put out fumes.
  • whoah, thanks!

    I was just getting in the bath to do some ironing, and I almost forgot to take off my clothes.

    All your dangifiknow [dangifiknow.com] are belong to us.

  • The article questions whether these motorised skateboards will ever be available in Britain. One of my girlfriends works for the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is the government agency responsible for deciding the legality of new products such as this....It is a shame that because of the inadequacies of our healthcare system, the British are deprived of many fun things. For example, bungie jumping, recreational shooting and parachuting are illegal in the UK.

    It is a shame that because of the inadequacies of our family values system, us Americans are expected to only have one girlfriend. Deprived of many fun things. Riiiiight. :-)

  • skateboards are dangerous? since when? Ben must be some old fogey workin for the pig dept. And skateboarding is not a bad influence. Those dam lil scooters have caused a good many broken bones already and they haven't been around long.

    --
    Tres_Status
  • However, if you've ever been accelerated from 0-to-60 in 5.0s in a 400hp car
    You don't need 400 bhp, there are a few cars that can 0-60 in 4.5 secs with 240bhp or less. Most are quite light, of course. One of my favourites (here in the UK) was a special built by Westfield based on their copy of the Lotus/Caterham 7. This 'only' had a 1.7 litre ford diesel engine but was quite light - 50-60 mpg (UK) and it did 0-60 in under 6 secs, if I remember correctly. Economical and fun, with decent handling too.

    Of course if you don't want the economy they do the Megabusa, which has a Suzuki Hayabusa 1300cc motorbike engine, they claim 0-60 in 3.1 secs......
    No, I've never driven one, I don't fit.
    ----

  • Well we'd have to have some compensations for not being allowed to parachute etc....

    Which we are, of course.
    I suspect these things wouldn't be legal on the roads but ok on private land.
    ----

  • There are no one-stroke engines.
    He said one stroke when he really meant two (up - intake/exhaust and compress, down - combustion), and he said two stroke when he really meant four (down1 - intake, up1 - compression, down2 - combustion, up2 - exhaust).

    The big problem with two-stroke engines is that the intake and exhaust phases occur simultaneously and there is a big mixture of exhaust and intake so it's extremely inefficiant (plus it burns oil with it's fuel so it's worse than just fuel).

    --
  • heh, if you think Austin drivers are bad (I live in the riverside area), i invite you to take an hour drive soouth on 35 and visit the city of san antonio. I lived there from when i was 5 till i moved up to austin for UT, and they make austin drivers look real good.

    If you want an especially good time, visit san antonio in rain or the once a year "Big Freeze 'XX" (as the local media is so fond of making everything into a really big deal). Its a good show when you either have a 110 car pilup on I-10, or the entire highway system closed.

    /me dislikes san antonio drivers
    /me dislikes san antonio media even more
  • Thats just what America needs..more fodder to build an "extreme" sport around. As if we haven't already embarassed ourselves through politics, we have to further denigrate our prestige by creating a society which prides itself on how quickly one can break his ankle after receiving his new board..
  • $12,000?

    Exactly how many times did you get stopped before you realised the cops didn't like them?
  • Strangely enough, i'm from Philadelphia - I've at least _seen_ UDel's campus (or parts of it, anyway). Yeah, but in my last Little Catastrophe, as I came to (in the middle of the road), I was met by two gorgeous women who had come to my rescue. They walked me home (despite my embarassed suggestions not to).

    The aftermath: My bike is a little messed up, my shoulder hurts, my glasses put a nice gash in my eyebrow, and my helmet is cracked. But I remember everything!

    (I had been leaning too far forward while my front tire plunged into a pothole).
  • This thing looks majorly cool...but..how does it go? from the pics i saw, it looks like you put yer food right were the axle would be on a "normal" wheel.
    also, at 20 mph, you could hurt yourself on one of these things..hell..you could hurt yourself at 2 mph on one of these. Plus, the sticker shock was enough to scare me off...I can kill myself on a wheeled device for far cheaper then >$1K.
  • Reading about this motorized scooter just adds fuel to my thoughts that whatever IT is, it can't possibly be YAMS (Yet Another Motorized Scooter). They say cities would be retrofitted for IT. Well, if IT is a self balancing, stair climbing scooter like everybody thinks IT is, nobody would have to retrofit anything. Existing handicapped accesibility laws already took care of that. Riding scooters, skateboards and inline skates at my college is a breeze because of all the sidewalks, ramps, elevators, etc. designed for the mobility impared (or enhanced).

    Instead, maybe IT is what powers Yet Another Motorized Scooter. Maybe the power source is some sort of improved highly efficient heat engine (Kamden has already built improved Stirling engines and propane powered mopeds, as shown on a recent episode of 60 Minutes II.) A scooter would be an ideal affordable way to introduce a revolutionary new propulsion technology, especially during the current motorized scooter craze, instead of the new technology not catching on because only the super rich can afford a full sized car powered by IT.

    The fact that IT is being called "Ginger" and the fact that Kamden is a heat engine junkie (did you see that huge steam engine in his living room on 60'II??) suddenly made this connection: Dave Gingery (http://www.lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/index.html) published a bunch of how-to books for building your own heat engines. Coincidence?

  • Danka muchly for clearing up that for me, as I put in my post I had no idea whether what he was talking about is true...

    But on that note, if I remember correctly the Stealthman (gotta love their naming technique) is a 4 stroke engine, so wouldn't that be a better one... and make his statement null and void.

    As another point, in that case, is there/would there be a more environmentally friendly engine that could be used for this kind of vehicle? Would some of the electric engines ideas going around work, give the size and weight constraints?

  • Well there IS another type of internal combustion engine that is more efficiant than a piston engine, and that is the Wankel engine.

    It's a purely rotary engine so there's no vibration and far fewer moving parts that require less lubricant and less maintinance.
    It's far superior to the piston engine, but I don't know why it's not used as much.

    Electric engines would be extremely light and efficiant, but would require a heavy battery array, which sort of cancels out it's benefits.

    --
  • This is the best method I've ever seen to get someone to read the Terms and Conditions. On the right you have a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo: "If you kill yourself with the Wheelman it's not our fault" and on the left you have a HOT CHICK in a wet t-shirt complete with nipples poking out [wheelman.com.au] and a sexy smile. For once, I'm glad I read the legal bullshit!
  • Well, I checked out the website and the wheelman seems more powerful than my bigfoot GoPed (www.goped.com), but it is more than twice the price! Also, I doubt if these things are street legal in the US, and as for being able to ride around campus, well you can pretty much forget about that. The cops'll take anything away that uses a motor on my campus at UC Davis. The only way I can get around on my goped is if I don't use the engine on campus.
  • There are tons of human-powered means of transportation, like shoes, bikes, skateboards, and scooters. But few of these are of sufficient technological interest to warrant a mention on Slashdot. This is about news for nerds, not news for powerless transportation consumers.
  • Motoboard??? Check out the F$%*ing MotoSK8!! A 22.5cc 2-stroke engine bolted to the back end of a roller blade, producing a top speed of 25+mph.. Damn!
  • I can see it.

    The local cop pulls me over and asks me for a motocycle license. The would pull you over just because it is so weird.

    and I do not know about wiping out on this. I can see where the road kill potential is a bit higher than I would want.

    Worryingly, there are no brakes and it seems the only way to perform an emergency stop is to fall off. But then, it's designed to be used on beaches and has a top speed of just 22mph, so you're unlikely to hurt yourself too much.

    On the other hand, people do alot of things that I would not do.

  • by TheFlu (213162) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @11:05AM (#441441) Homepage
    Geez, that looks mighty dangerous, not to mention the fact that I'd be out $1500.00 when it gets stolen from my locker. I think I'll just stick to my current mode of transportation [ghettoscooter.com].

    2 stroke geek haven. The Linux Pimp [thelinuxpimp.com]

  • by po_boy (69692) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @11:05AM (#441442) Homepage
    And sure, it has a throttle, but where are the brakes?

    From the article:

    Worryingly, there are no brakes and it seems the only way to perform an emergency stop is to fall off. But then, it's designed to be used on beaches and has a top speed of just 22mph, so you're unlikely to hurt yourself too much.

    That does sound dangerous. 22 mph is a pretty fast clip. You could really get hurt. Try jumping out of your buddy's car at 22mph this weekend and see if you make it to work monday.

    That being said, I think I have to get one. My goped has lost its charm.

    All your dangifiknow [dangifiknow.com] are belong to us.

  • I, for one am glad to see that the technology exists to allow people to easily commute in a clean, lightweight vehicle such as this.

    I notice you didn't say safe. :-)

    Also, since there's no cargo space, virtually no safety features, and it's virtually unuseable in rain, snow, or on ice, I think I'll keep my "silly attachment" to my car, thanks. :-)

    9 out of 10 for coolness, though.

  • So what? Due to the wonders of global capitalism, energy is a pure commodity. Therefore, people who are willing to pay more for gas can enjoy the fruits of their labor with this fun device.

    The two-stroke Bushpig model may not be that environmentally friendly, but the four-stroke Stealthman can't be that bad. Besides, how efficient is it, really, to burn food and take 30min. to get to work on a bicycle, when you can get there in half the time with one of these? To do a given amount of work in a given context, animal power is not always more enviro-friendly than machine power. If you want to bitch and moan, counter that having entertaining devices like the Wheelman disincentives forcibly packing ourselves into subway cars.


    *** Proven iconoclast, aspiring epicurean ***

  • Silly attachment to vehicles.... appartently you live in a nice hot city that doesn't get rain... I live in Canada and I would suggest that in the part where I live there is a NEED for vehicles that can climb icy hills and protect from elements. Even if you're not worried about ice and snow I can think that the average person is unwilling to deal with the elements.
  • I hope the job you land in the states immediately starts paying out benefits because hospitals don't give coupons or price breaks regarding how much safety enginering was put into the thing you just crashed. Not to mention the standard of care your HMO is going to give you might surprise your average cynical european.

    Once you've spent some time in the one of the 44 million without insurance you'll be back in heathrow in a heartbeat.
  • We ar currently suffering an energy crisis, yet are confronted every day by new ways of entertaining ourselves, working, and processing information- each of which consumes fossil fuels or electricity, the majority of which comes from fossil fuels.

    So, where did you get a computer that consumes no electricity while it processes information for your work and entertainment?

  • Yeah as long as you don't go over the rather low weight limit, flip over and die. Many small cars have higher wight limits, and when they roll over the occupants are less likely to be killed. If you do have an attachment to your kids be careful with the suv. It is not the case that for all x, more x inplies more safe.

    Oh, back to the topic. The Wheelman's lack of brakes is exerting major inhibitory influence on my urge to buy one.

    "The good Earth--we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."K. Vonnegut
  • Could this be IT????

    --

  • the standard of healthcare is extremely low

    I'm biased, I work for the NHS. However I have been to various other parts of the world.

    The standard of care in the UK National Health Service is extremely high. Do some comparisons with hospitalsin other developed countries. Don't compare it to ones that charge $2,500 per day. Compare it to what most of the citizens in a country have access to.

    What we are very good at, in the UK, is dissatisfaction. Idiots here will look accross the atlantic and see one of your many fine hospitals and compare ours to them.

    It would be far more use to compare needle exchanges in Harlem and Edinburgh, or the facilities available to someone with an annual income of $5k - who doesn't have their employer pay their medical insurance for them.

    I don't want to criticise the US healthcare system. You have nice hospitals. Our systems are different. You don't have your taxes spent on welfare, just star wars. I can get sick without worrying about bankrupcy. Each to their own.

    (ftr - I am not a medical type. I look after computer systems/users.)
  • I occasionally see people on gas-powered skateboards (probably some MIT nerds, since I'm in that vicinity). Let me tell you, it is close to the loudest thing I've heard on the road. It's higher-pitched than a motorcycle or scooter, which may affect my perception some. It makes this annoying "braaaaaaaap" noise as it passes. And since it makes only 15-20 MPH, it stays in earshot for quite a while.

    I'd assume this aussie thing, like the gas powered skateboard, keeps weight down by cutting out the bells and whistles... like any sort of muffler. Not exactly what I'd like to hear when I head down to the beach or off into the wilds.
  • Motorized vehicles are banned from almost all bike paths, so that's out. Most beaches prohibit motorized vehicles. With no suspension, your knees and ankles would be shot in about 15 minutes of off-road trail use (plus the tires are too small to clear big roots, holes, etc.) What about on the street? Well, it has too much power to be classified as a moped. It doesn't have the DOT-approved lights, turn signals, brakes, etc. needed for a street motorcycle. It certainly could not pass any of the safety requirements for a car. It looks like it could be fun, but I can't imagine where one would ride it in the U.S.
  • I wasn't a hypocrite.

    :)

    I do make attempts to conserve, though they are limited unless I choose to move away from culture completely.

    My apt. has no TV, a minifridge style fridge, an electric stove, a microwave i use rarely, a coffeemaker, 3 small lamps, a clock radio (on most of the time), and a computer.

    I use a Palm device instead of a laptop for my work because it uses less electricity, and is suitable for my needs.

    But I have to use heat and water, trash, recycling, and public transportation, which use more energy. I don't use a car. I do use the streetlights, and all the infrastructure, and of course the Internet, so I am vastly benefitted by a lot of very dirty energy.

    I want more people to be able to choose to cheaply and safely get off the grid, and generate their own electricity as much as possible. I have worked for political candidates in the southwestern US that aim to get as many people as possible on Solar power, which is mostly feasible in that sunny area. Espcially since the energy distribution crisis in California could affect the southwest and northwest if enough megawatts are pulled from the grid.

    By the way, your sig is great. :))

  • Instead of having it imprisoned in your browser, right click on the wheelman movie link in this page: Wheelman Movie Link [shren.net]

  • by jdub! (24149)
    Can't we have a story about Australia that doesn't include the words, "Down Under"? GAR GAR GAR!
  • Probably not. Most of the rumors I heard about "IT" concerned it being very small, light, and easily assembled with a minimum of tools. I wouldn't want to go trying to reassemble a two stroke engine while demonstrating it to venture capitalists.

    -----
    "You owe me a case of beer. Sucka'."

  • I saw them at "Big Boys Toys" too...in Melbourne 1998. They are not exactly new, but good to see them still around. For those asking how to stear, they are hinged in the middle. Can't remember about breakes though. They were riding them around the convention centre. Very cool.

    Zilch.
  • In California, my go-ped is street legal and I can drive it in the bike lanes where available. No fines, just good riding.
  • BTW, don't wear your clothes while ironing.

    hehe That reminds me of Tommy, the 1975 rock opera thingy by The Who. When his evil cousin was playing with him he ironed his clothes while he was wearing them.
    -

  • I think you got that backwards. (: 4 strokes have more torque, 2 strokes have more horsepower. -= Rhyas =-
  • I personally think sticking your feet inside a wheel running at 22mph is pretty dangerous. As a skater, I feel that powered skate must give us a good way to get off it in an instant.

    Here is the Exkate Powerboard [exkate.com] that has been out for a long time. It uses remote control and you can jump off it quickly. It's been around forever.
  • That's the one, sorry, I sometimes get my terminology confuzzled...

    Now on the other hand, there IS a damnned nifty motor from a company making jetboards (surfboards with built in propulsion), is about 3x6x8 inches in size, and can manage around 10-15 HP... When you're talking that size, you can snap 'em onto rollerblades (whoops, already been done)...
  • by metaph0r (261739) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:37AM (#441463)

    Requisite cute girl model notwithstanding, this thing looks a bit tricky to manuever. From what I saw of college kids' ability to pilot a simple bicycle down a street, this thing looks like a road-rash in the making. How would you keep your pants legs from getting caught in the wheels? And sure, it has a throttle, but where are the brakes??

    Guess I'm not seeing how this is an improvement over those gas-powered scooters....

  • Hey, anything new and wierd is good with me :)


    Seeka
  • 35kph aye? I've done 60kph on to a concrete sidewalk and walked away (with a broken arm =/ mmm adrenalin). That was not planned.. the two week old wheel on my road bike (pedal stylez =) gave way when I was going around a downhill corner. I reckon you would probably break your ankle on one of these weird beasts.
  • Any product that can simultaneously satisfy my desire to avoice walking and has an attractive bikini-clad woman demonstrating it's use is a must-buy product in my eyes.
  • I'd still rather have the motorized skateboard from Motoboard.com [motoboard.com]. Theose gas powered rollerblades scare the bejesus out of me though.

    TheGeek
  • I doubt there's any system for person-transport in cities which are half as efficient with regards to energy consumption, and pollution as normal bikes.

    It's not *only* a question of how much energy you use, but also how much emissions you produce. CO2 is relevant in a global perspective, but other fumes are damaging in the close environment. CO2 is *not* what's causing bad air in many cities, infact CO2 is perfectly harmless in the conentrations we typically have. (It leads to global warming if it's from non-renewable sources, but otherwise it's harmless)

  • Take that Dean Kamen and Jeff Bezos!!
  • by PhatKat (78180) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:39AM (#441470) Homepage
    because I am going to give blood until I can buy one of these.

    Ok, so we've seen you can't put organs up for sale on e-Bay. Why not /.? Highest bidder gets my least favorite kidney. Bidding starts at $1,495.

    Oh, and another $179 for the stainless steel.
  • Yeah, it's funny, but this is horribly offtopic and should be marked as such. By not doing so you basically give credence to all sorts of discussion spammers.

    TheGeek
  • Oh, and don't forget that you will be losing blood once you have it. ;)
  • Or does this thing look like a Harley Davidson Fat-Boy minus the seat and Handlebars?
  • They say on the site that there's very little noise emission.

    I'd like to actually hear a couple of these things in action.
    Or at least see some decibel data. It seems doubtful that
    a two stroke engine is "low noise emission" without a bit of work.

    Regards,
    HC


    --
  • Besides, how efficient is it, really, to burn food and take 30min. to get to work on a bicycle, when you can get there in half the time with one of these? To do a given amount of work in a given context, animal power is not always more enviro-friendly than machine power. If you want to bitch and moan, counter that having entertaining devices like the Wheelman disincentives forcibly packing ourselves into subway cars.

    Animal power is 100% renewable, since animals consume foods that are 100% renewable. With respect to CO2/O2 balance, these work on a SHORT timescale compared to fossil fuels.

    Animal power is also dramatically more efficient compared to fossil fuels, since our little cellular engines are quite efficient.

    However, clean energy is generally a mask for electric engines that require fossil fuel burning at a power plant instead of on the road. They help places where loads of cars congregate, but they don't help the global picture.

    If a substantial portion of people use SMALLER gas powered transportation, we save a LOT of total gas and energy usage, of the sort whose CO2/O2 cycle is thousands of years long. And perhaps it would be more popular (result in more savings) than trying to get people to use their own power.
  • If this is a joke then ha, ha, very funny. On a more serious note if you want to see how to lean into sharp turns then learn to snowboard. All you need to do is ensure that you keep your weight over the wheels. (Bend in the middle). As for scooters, they rock, but this looks sooooo fun.
  • Naa, although I don't think the US has an energy problem, I still second that post.

    This gadget looks cool upon first glance, but looses my respect when looking closer:

    • It uses fossil fuels: no bonus point for being ultra cool, because of a hydrogen engine or something like that.
    • It's motorized in the first place: meaning that you can't use it for exercizing.
    • Because it's motorized, it's probably noisy, even if the page claims it's low-noise.
    • It's probably stinking, too. Can't stand that.

    All in all, I prefer my bike and my inline skates any time over that gadget.

    (Damn, it's time for some blading again, why the hell is it so cold outside?!)

  • This is a very cool little toy, and as it was designed to do, it evoked a sense of total gadget lust in me as soon as I saw it. However, common sense soon got hold of me as soon as I saw that these little tech darlings consume fossil fuels.

    Given the Wheelman's tiny mass, it likely gets far better fuel economy than a car, scooter, or motorcycle, and requires fewer resources to manufacture. So inasmuch is it it subsitutes for those vehicles, it reduces net resource consumption.

  • Well, my hat's off to you. You have a sense of humor. The microwave is your most efficient way to heat food and coffee. In the summer, it also does not heat your whole apartment while heating your food/beverage.

    I have a Palm, also, and I use rechargeable NiMH batteries. It's as much for cost and convenience as conservation, but it's less toxic landfill mass nonetheless. I really think that we, as a society, should ban all carbon-zinc and alkaline batteries. NiMH are more efficient, environmentally friendly, and convenient. Sure, you pay $8 for two (it would go down if they became a necessity rather than an option), but you use them hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

    I have less faith in solar power than hydroelectric and windmills for generating power for home use..

    BTW, most /. people don't like the sig, but I'm glad you did.

  • This electric scooter is the way to go http://www.turboscooter.com/Turbo-Z.htm
  • Put your scripts down bitch I ain't gon' shoot you
    I'mma trap you in my sys fscking chroot you

    Still laughing over this line....

  • In addition to what everyone else has said, you're forgetting about people who CAN'T use these for reasons of physical disabilities and the like, way to be judgemental of other countries and cultures though, geez, you're almost as bad as an American...oh..uh, nevermind ;)
  • Not quite the same as the one in BTF but here you go anyway, airboard [airboard.com.au]
  • It might not seem like it while you're coasting through a school zone, but 22 mph feels pretty damn fast when you're scraping across the concrete. As a test for the damage 22 mph can do, get in your car, find a handy brick wall somewhere, and drive into it at 22 mph. Oh... and you can't use the brakes.

    -Restil
  • There is a flaw in the reasoning that smaller motors=efficiency... In the case of those used for folding scooters and whatnot, those are single cylinder, single stroke engines... VERY inefficient... They run fast and hard, which makes them practical for lawn mowers and chainsaws, but due to the nature of the engine, they dump huge amounts of hydrocarbons into the air (partially ejected with the exhaust, which is also not filtered by catalytic convertors or condensors)... The only true solution is to use two stroke engines, which cost more, and are too large to be practical in something like this...

    I would suggest checking out www.corbinmotors.com... they have some very adequate (albeit goofy looking) alternative energy vehicles, from an electric single seater car that can cruise up to one day on a single charge, at freeway speeds, through a more powerful gas powered model that uses a 1600 cc v-twin engine...
  • They had one at the expo and were riding around there and on the beach.

    I've talked with one of the inventors. I personaly think they are crazy considering the video they had at the big boys toys expo in Melbourne. These people come from the bush and their video show guys going through a tropical jungle like area at 25 mph (about 45kmh). The are the kind of guys who are man enough to not need breaks.

    They pull apart weed wackers to get the engines since that the cheapest way to get engines. The thing won't pass California small engine emissions and may be worse than many small cars. It is also quite loud.

    When I first saw this thing 2 years ago, I started looking into exporting them to the US but decided that I had better ways of making money that didn't invovle so many law suits.

  • It is a shame that because of the inadequacies of our family values system, us Americans are expected to only have one girlfriend. Deprived of many fun things.

    I don't think my spice are being unreasonable in limiting my outside girlfriends. Truth is I'm not involved with any women outside the household since cancer got the one "other" woman I was seeing.

  • Nope, on-road bikes do not use two-stroke engines for the simple fact that they are illegal in the US. Go to Japan, most bikes are two-stroke.

    t.

  • I'd buy this thing anyday if it had SmartWheels.
  • Note to Harley owners, you are not riding a real motorcycle but a mobile over-chromed junk yard.

    Kid on a riceburner: "Wanna race?

    Man on a Harley: "Sure. Here to the coast. Let's go."

    Yes the Gold Wing and Valkyrie qualify as vehicles, and I know someone with a quarter million miles on a flat-twin BMW, but those pretend Grand Prix racers you praise are toys, not transportation.

  • "Gross weight limit" would seem to mean that it can carry that much minus the weight of the vehicle itself, not that it could carry that much in addition to itself. Is that interpretation right? If so the question becomes how much does your suv weigh (with average tank of gas)? Another question is how are the odds of rollover affected by straping my car on top of your suv?

    I think I qualified my original post in such a way that your reply doesn't contradict it. I said be carefull with the suv's. Some are surely safer than some cars, but the "some"'s make that sentence pretty vacuous. My statement of caution is motivated by the statistics which show passengers of some suvs are more likely to die in certain types of accidents than passengers of some other smaller vehicles in the same type of accident. All I'm fighting against is the generalization "bigger = safer".

    "The good Earth--we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."K. Vonnegut
  • This wouldn't have any effect at all - it's a 2 stroke, so no engine braking. probably the best way to brake this thing is by scrubbing of speed by slipping the tyres sideways.
  • Good thing you were wearing a cheap suit to protect yourself!

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ..that the "stealthman", the 4 stroke model, has both more power and _less_ displacement than the 2 stroke model "bushpig"?

    And here I was, thinking that 2 stroke engines were generally made more power than 4 stroke ones at the same displacement.
  • Once you've spent some time in the one of the 44 million without insurance you'll be back in heathrow in a heartbeat.

    Most of the "44 million" are people who are briefly without insurance while changing jobs or policies, and that's not much of a problem unless they have some horrible health issue right then before the next job kicks in. Which most don't. The mere fact that one is without insurance for a while is not in itself a tragedy.

    I was one of those tragic "uninsured" people; I chose to self-insure for about a year once. It was no big deal; it just meant that when I went to the doctor I paid out-of-pocket. My dentist gave me about a 40% discount when he found out I'd be paying it myself. Since I had no major health problems during the time I was uninsured, I saved a lot of money. Had I had a major problem it would have been expensive, but at the time I thought the benefits outweighed the risks.

    What I'd really like is an insurance plan with a really high deductible, like $10,000. Insurance shouldn't be used to pay ordinary predictable day-to-day expenses. The whole point of insurance is to spread the risk of unpredictable one-in-a-million costs, not routine ones. Insuring routine stuff is a great way to increase health care costs AND insurance costs.

  • Something else I have noticed with 2 stroke engines are the spark plug foulings.. At work we have a dirt bike with a 2 stroke engine(small family company.. we have a lot of fun on the weekends). The first week we had the thing we fouled out all our spare plugs and any new plug wouldnt get the damn thing started. Instead of going all the way to houston for new plugs, we went to the local orileys shop and asked for a hotter firing plug. We still foul out plugs on it but it is running. I liked the bike a little, but couldnt stand the power band hit on it.. I couldnt drive the damn thing without riding a wheelie.

    I never really liked the bike much, I liked my boss's 4 wheeler Yamaha Raptor, it really kicks some ass. You can do wheelies on up to 4th gear. But this monster doesnt do any good for driving slow, towing or really rough wooded terrian. It runs too fast, it is better ran on clear land, especially when you hit the power band... Hit that power band and you are haulin or on the back wheels.

    Both machines perform well on our dirt track and both can out do a 97 camero off the start line (my boss and another co worker's race proved that, never seen someone ride a wheelie on a 4 wheeler for 200 ft)

  • Oh, that's fine. I've got plenty of good clean blood to spare.

    By the way, what do kidneys do again?
  • 25 miles down the road with trail of oil and engine debris:

    Man standing beside Harley at the side of the road: "Damn, better strip the engine."

    Suzuki/Honda/Kawasaki/Triumph bike owner: "Cool beer by the seaside, what a life".

    Harleys are an overweight under powered pile of crap, useless for anything but posing. Constantly rusting, pathetic tank range, senile electrics. God help you if it should rain.

    Give me a Bandit, Speed Triple or CBR any day.
  • Same a couple of months back. I managed it in quite spectacular style - a brake lever came off and jammed the front wheel while I was doing full speed. I felt it come off, so I was prepared for exit and angled out of the toe clips just right. Over the handlebars, roll on one shoulder with my head down and back up in one piece - Jackie Chan would have been proud! Nasty graze on my shoulder and a chunk out of my helmet, but otherwise intact!

    But it can't top my friend's one - I wouldn't have believed this, except I saw it happen. Cycling back home from uni, he didn't have lights on, and stupidly he was ahead of the rest of us who did have lights. A driver didn't see him and pulled out of a car park in front of him. He hit the car's front wheel square on, throwing him forward over the bonnet. But he had his toe clips on, so the bike came with him. The end result was that he did a complete forward roll over the car's bonnet, complete with bike, and LANDED ON HIS WHEELS on the other side! Unfortunately he was so shocked by the experience that he immediately fell over. :-)

    Grab.
  • I bet riders could get some pretty get vert on one of those. Assuming they didn't kill themselves in the process.
  • That does sound dangerous. 22 mph is a pretty fast clip. You could really get hurt. Try jumping out of your buddy's car at 22mph this weekend and see if you make it to work monday.

    Falling off at 22 mph will hurt like a b@st@rd if you're dressed like the guy pictured with the article. You can expect to receive a fairly serious case of road rash which is deeply unpleasant - I know, I have intimate personal knowledge of the subject.

    However the article was posted on the Motorcycle News web site so you could expect readers to have access to the appropriate protective clothing - Kneepads, spine and kidney protection vest, leathers (with armour) crash helmet etc.
    However anyone wearing all this and riding this scooter thingy would look a total prat.

    My euro0.02 worth

    Ian

  • ...is that you? Would you like us to ban it, due simply to an online article? Why not ban anything that may be even remotely dangerous before it hits the market... Pens, pencils, belts, rubber bands, plastic bags, to name a few things that should be banned. "I for one thing we should stick to scooters, like my razor" Yeah, NOBODY was ever injured on one of those.
  • Animal power is also dramatically more efficient compared to fossil fuels, since our little cellular engines are quite efficient.

    That might be true in terms of chemical caloric content in the foodstuffs we ingest, but not when you also count agricultural, marketing and distribution energy costs. Our omnivorous diet doesn't help either. Also, is it more efficient strap 100 horses to a car, or just have a finely-tuned four-cylinder 2.0 liter motor?

    However, clean energy is generally a mask for electric engines that require fossil fuel burning at a power plant instead of on the road. They help places where loads of cars congregate, but they don't help the global picture.

    Fossil fuel power plants win hands-down in both cost efficiency and enviro-friendliness due to the powers of scale. If you divide the energy produced by a large coal-fired plant in a day by the amount of harmful emissions over the same time frame, the dearth of emissions is actually quite remarkable.

    If a substantial portion of people use SMALLER gas powered transportation, we save a LOT of total gas and energy usage, of the sort whose CO2/O2 cycle is thousands of years long. And perhaps it would be more popular (result in more savings) than trying to get people to use their own power.

    Now that makes sense! However, if you've ever been accelerated from 0-to-60 in 5.0s in a 400hp car, you'll understand how difficult it is to convince people that the environmental savings are worth it; you wouldn't be able to convince me. Perhaps, a suitable alternative is a 150hp motorcycle that can take you from 0-to-60 in under 2.0s ...


    *** Proven iconoclast, aspiring epicurean ***

  • There's a quicktime movie on the site (with sound)...

  • Try jumping out of your buddy's car at 22mph this weekend and see if you make it to work monday.

    You forgot the requisite: don't try this at home, kids. In this day and age of runaway litigation you can never be too safe ... BTW, don't wear your clothes while ironing.

  • Cars that are the size of motorcycles would be a compromise here, eh?

    But, the masses don't think beyond the need to look like they have the longest penis.

    -G
  • I had a go at Big Boys Toys, which is a cool gadget show they run in sydney each year.

    There pretty slow though, they seem to be geared for torque rather than speed.
  • Call me a crank, but the last thing I want is Joe Idiot cruising through the park on one of these things. Bicycles, roller blades, etc. are fine because they're relatively quiet. A 2.5Hp engine is not quiet (not without a bit of work)..

    With that said.. I've always wanted to put together a hubless recumbent touring bike.. So, while I really don't like the idea of another humming nuisance, I do like the overall design of this thing..

  • we are not suffering an energy crisis. Please quit spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

    All your dangifiknow [dangifiknow.com] are belong to us.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan

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