At first glance, the RYNO Motors Micro-Cycle looks like something that could only exist in Portlandia, the hilarious send-up on Portland, Ore., from Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. But the Micro-Cycle – described aptly by Sustainable Business Oregon as “a cross between a unicycle and a Segway” – appears to be chugging along from wild idea to reality: The company said it’s now working with five engineering students at the nearby Washington State University-Vancouver campus to conduct tests on the machine.
RYNO said the students were building “a five-foot-high dynamometer test stand, which will be used to simulate performance and gather data about the Micro-Cycle’s overall quality and durability.” That feedback, the company said, will be used to make any final tweaks before production begins.
According to the spec sheet on the RYNO Motors website, Prototype II of the Micro-Cycle weighs 125 lbs., has a max speed of 25 mph and a range of 30 miles, and it takes 90 minutes to charge its lithium iron phosphate battery. But the thing you’re wondering about might be this: How does someone not practiced at the art of unicycle riding not fall down when using it? Alas, the “Rider Safety Features” page of the RYNO website is empty.
Hey, it’s a young startup. But designer Chris Hoffmann, who got the idea for the vehicle after his daughter told him about a one-wheeled motorcycle she saw in a video game, has explained in interviews that mechanical and computer-controlled features make it safe and easy to use after a little practice.