Uno (dicycle)

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Inventor Ben Gulak riding the Uno cycle

The Uno is an electric-powered vehicle that bears a resemblance to a motorized unicycle. Described in news reports as either a "one wheeled motorcycle" or "electric unicycle", it is more accurately a dicycle, created by placing two closely spaced uniaxial drive wheels side-by-side at the centre-point of the vehicle. The Uno III is based on the original Uno with the addition of a third wheel that allows it to transform from a dicycle to a tricycle.[1]

Description[edit]

The original Uno is controlled in forward motion by the rider shifting weight over the centre of gravity. When the rider shifts forward, the vehicle speeds up to regain balance, when the rider leans back, the vehicle slows. Steering is controlled by side-to-side motion of the rider. The vehicle senses this shift and raises one of the two wheels to allow the vehicle to tilt in the desired turn direction.

The Uno III has two configurations, as a dicycle and as a tricycle. As a dicycle it operates much the same as the original Uno with forward and back motion of the rider affecting acceleration. The Uno III also utilizes a hand throttle to affect acceleration and braking. Instead of using rider side-to-side movement to control steering, the Uno III uses a rotating handlebar.[2]

Background[edit]

The Uno was conceived by Milton, Ontario teenager Ben Gulak in 2006, following a trip to China.[3][4] After witnessing major smog pollution caused by heavy use of small motor vehicles, he decided he wanted to create an eco-friendly alternative.[5][6] His initial design efforts consisted of an angle-iron frame with wheelchair motors, batteries and gyroscopes.[6] He described his very first test-ride as "absolutely terrifying" and resulted in a crash and a chipped kneecap. [6] Other early problems, including a series of electrical fires, arose, and he was then joined by California robotics expert Trevor Blackwell, who had previously designed a eunicycle, a single-wheeled gyro-stabilized vehicle, as well as a two-wheeler that resembled a Segway PT, to iron out the initial problems.[6] Blackwell and Gulak refined the Uno's gyro control system so the machine would properly balance and move smoothly.[6] Gulak then used the revised plans to develop a prototype vehicle with the help of engineer Werner Poss, Veltronics Ltd. of Brampton, Ontario, John Cosentini of Motorcycle Enhancements, a custom motorcycle builder in Oakville, Ontario, and research partner Jason Morrow.[5][6][7][8]

The vehicle had its first public unveiling at the Toronto Spring Motorcycle Show in 2008,[9] and was awarded a Top-10 prize on Popular Science's list of 2008 Invention Awards [10] In an episode of the CBC series Dragons' Den, Gulak obtained $1,250,000 of venture capital for a 20% share in further development of the Uno cycle. However, the deal fell apart in due diligence and only W. Brett Wilson paid his $250,000 portion.[11][12][13][14]

According to Ben Gulak, in order to improve the safety and usability of the Uno his company BPG Inc developed the Uno III to be able to transform from the classic Uno dicycle into a motorcycle.[2] Though not a motorcycle in the classic definition, the 'motorcycle mode' is actually a tricycle with the two rear wheels coming so close together that they resemble a single wide wheel.[15] The Uno III transforms between these two modes while being ridden.[16]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gyro Technology". Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "BPG Motors UNO". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Uno Electric Motorcycle, or MotorUnicycle". Matt Embrey. Green Upgrader website. May 8, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Electric Uno has two wheels but it's not a motorbike". Motoring. June 29, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "It's Unique - but can it Pop a Wheelie?". Glenn Roberts. Motorcycle Mojo. May–June 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Uno and only". James F. Quinn. Chicago Tribune. June 29, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "'Uno' You Want It. - MIT hopeful Ben Gulak creates an eco-friendly bike chock full of power and 'cool'". Sean Rushton. Innovation Canada. July 24, 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Uno motorcycle reconfigures itself on the fly". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  9. ^ supershowevents.com, Toronto Spring Motorcycle Show, accessed 01-02-2009
  10. ^ "2008 Invention Awards". Popular Science. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  11. ^ Kerry Gold (May 17, 2011). "Dragon's Den success stories - The Uno". MSN Money Small Business Center. Retrieved 2012-07-17. "The hugely-impressed dragons all eagerly jumped on board with a $1.25 million investment in exchange for a 20 per cent share in further research development." 
  12. ^ "Episodece 6: All Dragons want part of Uno deal". Financial Post. November 14, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  13. ^ a b "Motorcycle Mojo presents footage of Ben Gulak on the CBC show Dragons' Den". Motorcycle Mojo. Motorcycle Mojo website. Retrieved 3 January 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ "UNO deal falls through with all Dragons except Brett". 
  15. ^ "A novel vehicle generates polarizing opinions". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "BPG Uno III Transforming Scooter Unveiled". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Inventor's dream of electric bike brought to life". Josh Max. New York Daily News. June 30, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Inventor of electric unicycle a L.E.A.P. graduate". McMaster University. June 4, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  19. ^ "Inventor of the week - Ben Gulak". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. August 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  20. ^ "Unicycle inventor piques Dragons' interest". National Post. November 17, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Who Is Ben Gulak?". James S. Robbins. National Review. August 13, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  22. ^ "Uno Motorcycle Looks Like It's Riding On One Wheel". Michael Kwan. Mobile Magazine. April 25, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  23. ^ "Hold on tight! The world's first unicycle MOTORBIKE". Daily Mail. April 29, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  24. ^ "The Zero-Emissions One-Wheeled Motorcycle". Bjorn Carey. Popular Science. May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "YSF Alumnus, Ben Gulak's "Uno" featured on cover of June 2008 Popular Science". Youth Science Foundation Canada. May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  26. ^ "Teen's electric unicycle a sensation". Trish Crawford. Toronto Star. June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  27. ^ "The Uno Motorcycle - A One Wheeled Motorcycle?". Steve. Biker News Online. April 25, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  28. ^ "Uno: a Unicycle-Motorbike-Segway Hybrid". Kit Eaton. Gizmodo. April 25, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  29. ^ "The Uno Electric Cycle : Fun and EcoFriendly". George Delozier. Inventor Spot. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "The Uno: An Innovative Electric Bike". Optimal Ride. May 2, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Teen Designed Motorcycles". Mary Teresa Bitti. Trendhunter Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 

External links[edit]