A fat-wheeled electric unicycle is the toy you buy when you already have everything else — or if you’re James Cameron, it turns out. Sean Chan, the inventor of the Uno E-unicycle, knew he was on to something unique when the world-famous director became his first customer.
“What inspired us to build a unicycle was [to see] if it was even possible,” Chan explains. “Now our third version is complete. The second version was not released to the public but we ended up selling the V2 to James Cameron's production company. Expect to see the V2 in the upcoming James Cameron movie, Alita: Battle Angels, coming out next year.”
When Chan began designing the Uno Bolt, he didn’t have Hollywood in mind. The design was created for everyday folks who want to get around in an efficient, if also strange, way. The Uno is best described as a Segway crossed with a bike. It navigates on a gyroscope and is controlled by an electronic braking system. And even if your coordination skills are less than unicycle-worthy, the Uno has any athletic insufficiencies covered with a built-in stabilizer and sensors that do all of the balancing (and moving, in that case) for you.
Really, the Uno Bolt can’t be compared to a bike at all, except for the fact that it can get away with traveling in the bike lane. Chan designed the Uno for efficient and affordable commuting. “The Uno Bolt is intended for anybody, especially for the busy city worker, college students living on campus, and to any individuals wanting to commute to point A to point B without the hassle of pedaling but wanting to get to their destination quickly,” he says. The pedals that are attached to the E-unicycle are actually just footrests, so even though it may appear you can use leg power, there is no “manual” mode on the Uno.
The Uno Bolt can travel up to 20mph, charges completely in 45 minutes, and comes complete with plenty of nice little touches that are reminiscent of an automobile, including a review mirror, electric horn, and a LED headlight. To ride the Uno Bolt you simply lean forward to accelerate, lean left or right to turn in that specified direction, and use the brake lever when you want to slow down, stop, or reverse. The all-terrain tire allows you to travel off-road and over rough ground — and it even keeps you from tipping over by auto-adjusting and dispersing air to keep the Uno balanced on tight or overextended turns.
Other companies have created comparatively fun and ridiculous one-wheeled toys. The Onewheel board operates on similar gyroscopic technology and is the self-powered, off-roading snowboard/skateboard version of the cycle-esque Uno.
Motorized hybrids like the Uno and Onewheel don’t come cheap, unsurprisingly. On its Kickstarter page, the Uno is currently listed at $999 and will be delivered in December of this year while a Onewheel board retails for $1,300.