Uno Transforms from Parallel to Inline Wheels

Uno electric motorcycle - in single track mode

Uno electric motorcycle - in single track mode

Uno in single track modeRemember the Uno? That's the parallel wheel unicycle (dicycle?) built by Canadian, Ben J. Poss Gulak. The young student, now an MIT sophomore, found riding the original a little scary once he began to pick up speed. Like a Segway, the Uno moved forward when he leaned forward, but, though it worked, he knew he would have to do something different if he was going to get others interested in riding on the potholed city streets where it was intended to be used.

The original garnered a lot of attention, and as the video below shows, he was able to round up $1 million in investments and found BPG Motors. Hiring some engineers and renting space to work, the team came up with a radical idea, when the Uno accelerates past 20 mph, electric motors transform the frame from the parallel configuration to inline mode with the wheels on a single track. No more worries about taking a dive if you hit a bump in the road.

The video below is his bid for financing on what appears to be a TV program called the Dragon's Den where entrepreneurs pitch their idea in return for investment capital.

No matter what you think about how practical the Uno is or will be, Ben designed it, built it and went on to create a company and then this new transforming variation of the original. Ben is definitely a "doer." Very cool!

Link: BPG Motors via Popular Science
Related: The Uno - Parallel Wheel Electric Motorcycle

Photo and video below:

Uno electric unicycle / motorcycle - in parallel and single track mode

Uno electric unicycle / motorcycle - in parallel and single track mode

Comments

  1. bkowal says

    I am impressed. Not with the design of the unicycle (it has been done before many times), but with how far he has gone with getting interest (and money) in his project. Milk it while you can Ben!

  2. kneeslider says

    bkowal, I, too, am curious about the “done before many times” comment. Are you referring to gyro controlled parallel electric unicycles or just those that transform on the fly to inline motorcycles? Either way, I can’t think of any. Do you have some examples?

  3. bkowal says

    I was referring to the original single wheel monocycle, not the newer “transformer” version. There are many examples of this out there. Is having two parallel wheels the same as having one wider wheel?

    Some examples:
    http://hackaday.com/2008/07/10/motorized-unicycles/

    A smaller version that actually works pretty well:
    http://polizeros.com/2009/08/22/gyroscopic-electric-powered-unicycle/

    I would like to see a video of the newer model transform from unicycle to motorcycle, Like the V22 Osprey, this could have some interesting stability issues as it transforms. Hmm.. come to think of it I actually built the reverse of this when I was a kid in the 70’s (Google: swing bike)

    I don’t

  4. says

    While I am a big fan of the concept and the fact that he did build it and it works, it looks ridiculous and I couldn’t see myself riding one for anything other than a once-off to see what it was like.

  5. pabsyboots says

    I am speechless at the idiocy of the concept as I am with anyone putting money here
    However congrats to this inventor for raising funding, imagine what he’ll accomplish when he has a good idea!

  6. Scotduke says

    I don’t think I’d want one myself but I admire the guy’s vision and engineering skills.

  7. johnny says

    a bit disappointing- it’s lost all the style and uniqueness of the original concept. the technology involved must be amazing, but it looks like a home made mini bike right now. ..and you would have to ask, if it’s mainly used in the ‘two wheeled’ mode, what’s the point of swapping back to ‘one wheel’ mode ? so you can go around shopping aisles? he’s still a genius though.

  8. FREEMAN says

    Accomplishments aside: I’m with johnny on this one. It’s practically a regular motorcycle now. No point to this thing at all except to be an expensive novelty. It was much simpler and appealing in the original design. Save yourself the trouble and get a Brammo.

  9. dave432 says

    The Uno is fine if you want to look cool going to school at 15 miles an hour but the other contraption is called a motorcycle. Been done before son and congrats on getting the greedy basturds to invest in the idea.
    Are you any relation to Paul Moller, you know the guy who’s building the Skycar for the past 20 years and gone through millions in investments. Stick It To The Man Bro.

  10. Ry_Trapp0 says

    That is one of the weirdest damn things I’ve ever seen! Props to the guy, that had to take a lot of work, and a lot more brain!

    Like the others though, I can’t say I would want one.

  11. Kenny says

    Run for the border, kid! Or Panama!
    Before they catch onto the scam!
    Seriously though… from the look of it he’s realised that he’s competing with the likes of these guys http://www.yikebike.com/ for inner city personal transport.
    And the Uno is still essentially a motorbike that has to be parked up outside work and can be stolen. It’s bigger and still in the prototype stage, especially the control system from the looks of it.
    But hell…who am I kidding I still want one!

  12. H W Pfabe says

    Kenny, I’ve never seen the Yike Bike before but, I have to admit, it looks fun.
    The fact that this thing can fold up and get carried with you, or you can keep one in your trunk, is a HUGE deal I think.

    Getting back to the Uno, I think it is hilarious that what this guy brags about it isn’t the self-balancing or anything like that, but the fact that it could lead to more less polution in cities; does he think he came up with the idea for the electric scooter/small displacement motorcycle?

  13. Spitz says

    I´m curious about what kind of solution he´s thinking about for curves, slalom, bumps, higher speed and hard braking. Using side-by-side wheels don´t allow it to tilt on curves.
    Now we can realize another step to solve it.
    Although I´m really impressed with the technical achievement of the early Uno, now they are approaching a traditional bike layout, probably with a big lack of ride sofistication. 20mph is a high speed for a side-by-side layout. And faster it´s better to think how to manage high Center of Gravity x short wheel base and no caster angle.

  14. Paulinator says

    The investors/entrepreneurs that sit on the panel of \The Dragon’s Den\ tout their own expertise as advisors and mentors for the up-starts that they take under-wing. Ben needs some of that right now. His first effort was a dentist’s dream, but it had a “look”. His latest effort (wait for it) comes up short…