I took a quick spin on the "self-balancing" electric unicycle from Inmotion tonight. It was a slick-looking device that promised to play my favorite tunes if I plugged in my phone. As for the "self-balancing" part, however, I can't say I found that to be true. Like George Bush on a Segway, I managed to crash several times, even with the kind folks from Inmotion holding onto my arm like a grandchild assisting an elderly man on a walk.
With a max speed of 18 kilometers per hour and a range of 25-30 kilometers on a single charge, the V3 is meant to help carry you on that daily commute through congested urban area. It takes two hours to recharge the batteries, and the whole thing sells for $799.
Our own Sam Sheffer spent some time this fall learning to ride another self-balancing electrical unicycle, this one from Focus Designs. He fell off twice, scraped his elbow, and sprained his wrist. After many tries he got the hang of it. Suddenly he felt like he was riding in the future, and everyone he passed wanted to stop and stare. Maybe with a few hours of practice I would feel safe riding the Inmotion. As it was, I can't imagine taking it on bumpy streets, since I barely survived on smooth hotel carpet.