In the year 2013 (almost '14), there's almost no greater testament to buzz factor than if your video gets over 10 million views on You Tube. Meet RYNO. A microcycle, a transitional vehicle, a Segway on steroids. Call it what you will. But whatever moniker you slap on this bad boy from RYNO Motors Inc., know that this single-wheel electric wonder is destined to turn heads once it glides by you on the sidewalk, or in the bike lane.
Its first stop? The industrial/security sector where factory supervisors, warehouse personnel, and security guards will find this ride (which goes up to 20 mph) ... useful. Hey, it beats walking. The zero-emission RYNO (starting at $5,295) might also win the hearts of multitaskers who want to shave some time off their to-do lists -- while also eliminating the number of cars on the road.
Chris Hoffmann is the Detroit-born inventor and visionary behind the revolutionary RYNO. Here's what he had to say about how it came to be, his favorite RYNO features and its future:
Q & A With Chris Hoffmann, Inventor of the RYNO:
- What's the inspiration behind your vision for the RYNO?
- Hoffmann: My 13-year old daughter saw a one-wheeled motorcycle in a video game seven years ago. She asked me if I could build one. For some reason, it struck me and I started thinking about each piece in the process and couldn't come up with a reason why I COULDN'T build one. I started playing around with designs and seven years later, here we are.
- How about the RYNO's design inspiration?
- Hoffmann: The design inspiration was to build something that had an urban/rugged/technology feel to it, but was grounded by simple, useful and efficient parameters. Of course, the one-wheel element also created some unique design inspiration!
- How long and how many trials did it take to perfect the RYNO?
- Hoffmann: It took six prototypes and seven years to get to where we are today. The crazy thing is the very first prototype we built to scale worked the first time! However, there was a lot of work still to be done around steering, ease of use, redundancy, safety, software and performance optimization. It's one thing to build prototypes and an entirely different challenge to take that prototype into production to sell in a retail environment.
- Where do you anticipate the RYNO having the greatest benefit on productivity? Why?
- Hoffmann: I think the greatest benefit on productivity will be in the industrial/security sector. It is cost effective, maneuverable, allows people to interact on a face-to-face level. It mingles well with pedestrians, allows people to cover a lot of ground much faster than walking and produces zero emissions. It's also a hoot to ride! Of course, we also feel it will be utilized in urban environments for short-distance commuting. People will use the RYNO to get from their apartments/condos to work or to run errands without having to get in their cars.
- What are your favorite features of the RYNO?
- Hoffmann: One of my favorite features of the RYNO is the easy swap battery system. If you want to use the RYNO overtime, you can have a spare set of batteries on hand and swap them out in no time. None of our competitors can claim that. I also love the option to be able to buy an accessory rack, which accepts most standard bike pannier bags. It makes runs to the grocery store, carrying a rain coat, or gear for security/industrial work a snap.
- Any revolutionary technology used to create this one-wheeled marvel?
- Hoffmann: I integrated advanced gyro stabilization used in autopilots and helicopters. While the technology isn't brand new, we are doing different things with it to stabilize the RYNO. There is no doubt it looks revolutionary. When we are out in public testing or doing photo shoots, people stop and stare. There is something about the design that speaks to people. They just don't understand how the darn thing works.
- Are these made to order?
- Hoffmann: The first RYNO's will be manufactured in a low-volume environment right outside of Portland, Oregon, and sold to a select group of people who sign up and put a (fully refundable) $150 deposit down on our website. (See www.rynomotors.com for details). All RYNO's will be handmade here in the USA. However, we will build a few to order for some pilot programs in the industrial/security space. We have been in discussions with a few companies and will build a handful of custom units.
- Which geographic areas do you expect to see the greatest adoption?
- Hoffmann: The greatest adoption will be in the industrial/security field. I don't see the scope of adoption being limited by geographic region. However, I do think there will be larger portion sold in larger, urban environments across the globe. We have had interest from countries all over the world, including Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and more.
- How many have you sold thus far? Any bulk orders already been placed?
- Hoffmann: We are currently taking pre-orders and have had tremendous interest. The number of pre-orders has far surpassed our expectations to date and more are coming in every day. We have sold our first bulk order to a security firm that we will work with as one of our pilot programs.
- Can people test drive these anywhere? If so, where?
- Hoffmann: We are in the process of setting up a dealer channel nationwide where people will be able to test ride the RYNO. Our focus will start on the East and West Coast and expand across the rest of the country after. Keep checking our website for dealer locations as we expand in 2014.
The One-Wheel Motorcycle Has Arrived, Meet RYNO
If a motorcycle and Segway had a lovechild, it might look something like RYNO.