‘Self-Balancing Unicycle’ gets major upgrades in V2.0

Posted by on October 15th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Self Balancing Unicycle - SBU-9

SBU creator Daniel Wood.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Remember the SBU — the electic Self-Balancing Unicycle made just north of Portland in Camas, Washington? I got acquainted with it back in February when I ran into its creator, Daniel Wood of Focus Designs, at a local e-bike shop.

Daniel dropped me a line the other day to share that he’s made some major improvements and is now selling a “V2.0” design (which can be yours for $1,499). He’s also had a slick video made (watch it below) to show the new SBU in action.

Whether you are into this concept or not, you have to respect the engineering and execution of this thing. As someone who rode the first version, I can attest that this thing is pretty brilliant. Watch it in action below and try one out for yourself at The E-Bike Store in North Portland. More details at the Focus Designs website.

Check the video below, which features several shots of the Springwater Corridor Trail…

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hanmade
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hanmade

What about stopping? This looks like a fun device, just not in an area of traffic where a quick stop might be required.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

handmade… it runs on a gyroscopic-type thingy sort of like the segway so stopping is easy and instant… you just either step of or tilt hips back slightly.

boneshaker
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boneshaker

That thing could really use some arm rests & a cup-holder.

Refunk
Guest
Refunk

Very cool, want to ride one! The silly sense of humor on their web site is good, while they still manage to be informative.

It seems, however, kinda suited to very specific applications… Can’t make it go any faster? It’ll hold up dense urban traffic in the street.

I presume that 1KW motor meets Fed & State power limits for an electric bike on MUPs and the road, etc. Maybe it could be de-governed or something for higher speed (ebikes are limited to 20 MPH – I think?).

Or would that kinda speed be too nuts on a unicycle? (as if people don’t Zoobomb or longboard down mountains…) Perhaps operation at higher speeds would require licensure out of safety concerns, but hell, any cadaver can get a motor vehicle driver license around here and that’s clearly more dangerous!

How does it fare legally in the districts of downtown Stumptown & Vantucky where bicycles are verbotten on the sidewalks by local ordinance? (do unicycles come under that code?) If it can’t ride in the street or on the sidewalk downtown, that’s sort of goofy, tho’ of course, it could be operated outside these areas (like Camas?).

Looks like a shoe-in alternative to the Segway for security patrols or light fieldwork (e.g., meter-readers, factory maintenance, maybe even delivery).

I don’t agree with this line from their web site – “and simply wear out the rider with all the stinking pedaling.” – in reference to pedaling an unmotorized unicycle being a “stinking” act, but it is certainly a cool gizmo.

Jene-Paul

Whyat
Guest
Whyat

That is way cooler than I expected it to be. Way cheaper than a Segway.

Anne Hawley
Guest

I can’t think of a use for it personally, but it looks like fun. And damn, it’s good to see innovative design and manufacturing happening–and locally! Great stuff.

sabernar
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sabernar

20 minutes on a charge won’t get you very far.

Douglas
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Douglas

sabernar…I believe 20 minutes is the length of time it takes to learn to ride the SBU, not the length of a charge. Focus Designs’ web site claims more than 12 miles between charges and a 10mph top speed. That works out to about an hour and 15 minutes between charges.

The SBU looks like fun.

Dan Woodard
Guest

Nice design. The technology and engineering to make that work is remarkable.

Jack
Guest
Jack

Maybe v2.0 is different, but 1.0 easily surpassed 10mph. Though, having ridden it, 10mph felt fast enough.

It is capable of stopping quickly, but the act of doing so requires some technical prowess; much like on a traditional unicycle with a brake, or a fixie with no brakes.

Impressive execution, great idea, but like all things unicycle, it will never go mainstream.

John Lascurettes
Guest

What a fun device. Would love to try one some time.

Did he really need to show a guy on a phone using it?

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Screw riding it.
Use it as a one wheel mobility platform for Jetsons style personal assitance robots that you build right on top.

Red Five
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Red Five

This looks cool. But would it appeal to the obligatory stoner hippy wearing a Dr.Seuss hat?

James
Guest
James

Isn’t this just a segway that you control with your crotch?

Robert
Guest
Robert

Even lamer than a segway. Dude looks like he’s laying an egg while chick is actually doing something worthwhile and looks cool doing it.

I’m sure it was fun to design and will make into “Stuff White People Like” 2nd.Edition.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

no brake, not legal on roads…

why not just get an electric folding bike for cheaper?