"motorized assist" for steep Ascents!

I was thinking today about the possibility of installing some kind of electric motor to help assist in those steep uphill climbs. I’m thinking like on motorized electric bicycles; the unit would be attached somehwere above the uni wheel, and a small rubber wheel (part of the motor assembly) would be in contact with the uni tire, so that at a push of a button or switch, power would come on and help move the uni wheel forward. The motor would be of compact size and be powered by a lead-acid battery all fitting below the seat somewhere. Is this possible/practical? I think it would be AWSOME if it worked, and make the need for “shuttles” or hiking up hill obsolete! :sunglasses:

hopefully you could implement some sort of Turbo Boost for any rocks you may encounter on the technical uphills

The only problem I’m thinking would be that with a uni you constantly “correct” to keep your balance… if you have something help drive the wheels how will you be able to correct your ballance?
It would need to be weak enough that your pedaling could override it so to keep your balance but if it’s that weak it probably wouldn’t be strong enough to pull you up a hill.

I have thought of that too a while ago. I don’t know how it would work but if it were on a muni then it would probably weigh you down a bit. If it were a coker or something then the extra weight wouldnt really matter. I want to see someone make one.

And make balancing nearly if not totally impossible.

Obviously it would not be feasible where hopping or quick changes in direction would be invloved; I was thinking mostly that it would be most helpful on smoother ground ascents.

And remember I said “assist”, meaning that your pedalling would still be required, and the motor would basically “help” you get up hills by providing maybe 30-50% of the workload. This % could also be adjusted. And when more technical/bumpy sections are encountered and require some hopping or corrective moves, the motor could easily and quickly be disabled. It should be quite do-able.

You could probably do this with a Zap SX Kit. It would be odd to learn the balance at first, but I think it would be feasible.

The thing would double the weight of your unicycle, though.

here is an all-electric uni, that would help up hills but u couldnt pedal at all


that is cool!

In think it is very do-able. Isnt that the kind of thinking and technology associated with a Mo-ped?

I did it. I am working on more torque…

Visit www.gizmocycle.com to see the hub-motor unicycle in action.

i was thinking last night why not a caoster moped uni w/ a power on and off switch, it wouldint be that hard, it would solve the balence isseu, and when you pedal and coast if it was battery it would recharge .good idea

Excellent idea. Take a simple unicycle - in itself a rewarding and challenging thing to ride - then add motive power to make it easier to ride up hill, or long distance.

Maybe we shouldn’t stop there, while we’re brainstorming.

What about an additional wheel to give extra stability on those difficult hills? That would help to counteract the difficuly with balancing brought on by the electric motor.

Of course, the extra wheel would add complication to the steering. I guess that could probably be dealt with by adding, oh, a pair of handlebars.

It’s starting to look a bit heavy, now, especially with the batteries. That means that on descents, controlling speed might be a problem. Brakes would be easy enough to fit, and you could operate them with levers on the handlebars.

But if we go to this level complexity, chances are, we’re going to need suspension to deal with the additional weight. The suspension itself is quite heavy. Batteries have only limited power, and recharging takes a lot of time. I can’t help thinking a petrol engine would be more powerful, and easier to refuel.

If the brakes were strong enough (say, hydraulic disc brakes) then we could perhaps do away with the fixed wheel anyway. That would make the introduction of several gears much easier. With all this engine power and speed available, we could do away with those pesky pedals. That would leave the feet free. One could operate the gear pedal, and one could operate a brake. That would leave one of the two handlebars free for a clutch lever to operate those gears.

Now we have the advantage of a very powerful engine, we can consider things like panniers for carrying camping gear, and a fairing for weather protection.

See what a bit of blue sky thinking does to improve our sport?

Wow… your electric unicycle is even sleeker than Blackwell’s! Nice job!!!

How about building an electric Coker that could go around 20mph… then you could really cruise around town in style!

I guess the problem would be that there might not be enough room on the frame between the forks and the seat to attach the needed components… but then again you could stretch the frame and put the foot pegs up higher, since I suppose there would no longer be any requirement to have the pedals at their normal location dictated by the height of the (axle in the) wheel. Free-mounting may be tricky, though!

Do you free mount your gizmo electric unicycle?

I only ask myself “Why?” The day I no longer have the energy to uni I will content with my rocking chair.

H -
Yes, I freemount. The motor is in brake mode so it doesn’t roll out from under you while you mount. It then activates (within a tolerance) as you pass through earths gravity vector - if you have prequalified it with the activation switch.

G -
Why? Many reasons. You probably drive a car. You probably don’t get mad at yourself for being lazy when you do it. You probably do get mad at yourself for paying high gas prices, however. Also sometimes arriving at a destination without breaking a sweat can be advantageous (no smell etc.)

I do apologize for posting in this thread because this was supposed to be about an assist device. The problem is, that only one master should be in control at a time. Either the rider or the computer. Running both together would result in a non efficient system as the two control systems would fight each other. However, a clutch system that disengages/rengages control to the rider is perfectly feasable. During this time, the rider could still crank, it would turn a generator that re-charged the battery system - crank speed and direction would be irrelevant to motion as the computer and mandatory lean processing would be in charge. Still, the rider could feel like he was contributing. I will leave that project to the next guy!

There is usually a difference. A car is usually bought as a vehicle for personal transport, although it may be used for fun. A unicycle is usually bought primarily for fun, although it may also be used for personal transport.

No one chooses a unicycle as the easiest method of travel. Retrospecctively we sometimes “justify” the practical benefits of the unicycle, but I doubt that many people bought their first uni with practicality in mind.

So what the thread started with seems at first sight to be a contradiction: choose a unicycle because it is difficult (an assumption I make, that was not explicitly stated in the original post) then modify it to make it easier. :thinking:

If you’re saying that it would be nice to have a uni that could get you from A to B with a minimum of sweat, but then be a proper unicycle (with all the fun and challenge that that entails) when you get there then that’s an interesting point. The various geared unis potentially address that to some extent. Cruise there in high gear at low cadence, then uni about in direct drive, then cruise back in high gear.

Another possibility would be to have a detachable tractor unit. Have you seen those circus bikes? Back end is a unicycle, front end is a wheel and handlebars. The back end can be detached and ridden as a uni. Now, one of those with a motor on the front, and somewhere to rest your feet… that might be fun.:slight_smile:

Why apologise? You’re not off topic. And most threads go off topic sooner or later.:slight_smile:

I don’t own a car any longer. Sold my last 1992. Since that time I am the proud bearer of foul smell. The smell of Human Powered Vehicles. Actually I like it a lot better than exhaust fumes :slight_smile:

To me unicycling is exercise, sport and fun. A continous challenge. Technically it would present a challenge to motorise a unicycle and learn how to ride it. But then it would no longer give me any exercise.

Strangely I also think I would feel a bit silly sitting on top of a one wheeled moped. I mean, when you no longer need to work for balance or speed you just sit there doing nothing.

Anyway, the project might well be interesting and if you proceed with it I wish you good luck and hope you will post pictures here.

Using gearing and throwing out the computer all together is consistent with my previous statement. One master in control - the rider. It offers a minimum weight solution - hands down. I think that is what the unicycle purist is after based on responses set forth here.

It comes down to a question of fun. Is a motorized unicycle fun? Well, I happen to know, and the answer is YES!

Goldenchicken is under the impression that you don’t have to work to balance here. I require the rider to provide turning input and lateral stability (Segway solves this with 2 wheels). So is there challenge? Yes, with no sense of balance, you will fall. If this was ever manufactured, people would fall, and they would most certainly blame the manufacturer for their lack of coordination.

Motor-generator. Downhill you charge a high-tech lightweight battery. Uphill you use the charge to boost-assist.

Better: hydrox rocket engine. The downside is control here.