Monday, May 28, 2007

WheelSurf Monowheel: Join the singles club…


That's the WheelSurf Monowheel. Practical transportation...
Monowheels are not exactly new – people have been working on these single-wheeled motorcycles (?) for the last 120 years. In fact, monowheels saw a fair bit of action in the early part of the last century, with interest in these weird machines fizzling out by the 1930s, by which time cars and motorcycles were firmly established as the future of motorized transport.

They thought they were on to the next big thing...
But there are still some who love the concept of traveling in a single-wheeled machine, which brings us to the WheelSurf. It has an engine and one wheel inside which the rider sits. The machine consists of an inner and an outer frame, with the inner frame being in contact with the outer, via three small wheels. Shod with a solid rubber tyre, the outer frame is the actual rotating wheel that comes in contact with the tarmac.

Single-wheeled military vehicle prototype from the 1930s
The rider sits inside the inner frame, on which the engine and propulsion mechanism are also mounted. The whole contraption weighs about 50 kilos, and powered by a two-stroke, single-cylinder, 55cc petrol engine, mated to a single-speed transmission with a centrifugal clutch.

A video of the WheelSurf monowheel in action
The WheelSurf can accelerate from zero to 40km/h (which is also its top speed) in around eight seconds. And yes, you need some time to practice – you can’t just fire it up and ride off in rush-hour traffic. Unless you’re Kerry McLean, that is. In which case you ride a fearsome, V8-powered monowheel – the Rocket Roadster.

That's McLean, with his Buick V8-powered Monowheel
McLean’s Rocket Roadster is powered by a Buick V8, and while it’s theoretically capable of doing 160km/h, it’s actually been clocked at 85km/h – no mean feat since monowheels are difficult to control at high speeds. Why ride a monowheel at all? Says McLean, ‘You may be hauling ass, but you feel like you're floating.’ Amen.

Doing 85km/h on this contraption probably takes more courage than doing 320km/h on a ZZR1400

Kerry McLean was crap at pulling wheelies, which is probably why he dreamt up this monowheel thing...
You can right-click and download this video, which shows McLean riding his Monowheel on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And for more information on WheelSurf, visit their website here.


More one-wheeled action...   :-)


Other crazy machines:
Life in the fast lane: The Peraves Monotracer
Pal V-One: The flying bike!
Allen Millyard's 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!!
JRL Cycles' aircraft-engined chopper
Crazy Quad: The Polaris Revolver Sport
Fast and funky: The Carver One
Special KTMs for women...
Rapom V8: 1000bhp supercharged monster-bike
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest bike!

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