Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Senior Member Falchoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Oz
    Posts
    845
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Segway newspaper article

    Not sure if Segway belongs on bicycle forums but anyway the article is interesting.



    It was meant to revolutionise the way we move around cities. Garry Maddox tests the $200 million Segway.
    My great Segway tour was going brilliantly. Having started at Bondi Beach on a magical summer morning, the "self-balancing motorised scooter" that was once touted as the future for personal transportation was proving a real attention grabber.

    A German surfer with a board under her arm asked what it was. A shaggy-haired toddler holding his mum's hand beamed as I rolled smoothly past like a friendly Dalek on a morning constitutional. A road worker called for his mates to take a squiz. There were wows, cools and awesomes as the Segway proved a match for the sometimes patchy footpaths of the eastern suburbs.

    There was even a wolf whistle, presumably for the machine rather than the rider. At traffic lights, bystanders wanted to know how much petrol it used (easy question: it's battery powered), how far it goes (40 kilometres without a recharge) and the top speed (20 kmh).

    The plan was to test whether the Segway is a shimmering hope for Sydneysiders sick of traffic jams and unreliable public transport.

    Six years ago, after almost $200 million in development costs, 50-year-old American inventor Dean Kamen launched the Segway Human Transporter, claiming the eco-friendly gyroscopic scooter would replace cars in crowded city areas. He predicted that riders would be zipping around on footpaths for just 10 cents a day.

    "We believe that Segway HT is a technological advance in short-distance transportation that can change the world for the better," Kamen said, amid bullish forecasts from financial backers that it would make more money in its first year than any start-up venture in history.

    And then, after all that hype, the Segway seemed to disappear. You occasionally see one of these futuristic machines around the city - being operated by a security guard at a shopping centre, a tour party at Sydney Olympic Park, a commuter or a disabled rider. Overseas, the Segway has more of a niche. You can take one on a tour of Paris landmarks. Elsewhere in Europe and the US, police and security staff use them to patrol airports, railway stations, parking stations, movie studios and college campuses. Some golfers prefer them to buggies. There is even an off-road version for motorised trekking.

    But despite rising petrol prices, the promised revolution - streets full of eco-friendly machines silently transporting commuters and shoppers - is not even close. It's not that they're difficult to operate. It took 45 minutes of instruction from Tony Burke, the managing director of Segway Tours Australia, to master the basics near his East Sydney office.

    "To make it go forward, you lean forward," he says. "To make it stop moving, you stop leaning. Lean back to go backwards. It's a very subtle shift of weight - toes and heels."

    The scooter's intuitive qualities were quickly apparent. An hour into the tour, around Woollahra and Paddington, I only had to think of stopping, slowing or turning and a subtle shift of weight made it happen. As a piece of technology, it was ingenious. Weighing 45 kilograms and moving on two large rubber wheels, the Segway might look like a lawnmower but was as smooth as riding an airport travelator. When a pedestrian stepped onto the footpath, you slowed almost instantly to walking pace. When the path was clear, you accelerated quickly and turned smoothly. Uphill, it automatically upped the power.

    Around Taylor Square, the Segway seemed to have developed a personality. Waiting for a "walk" signal at an uneven kerb, it skittered like an impatient horse. Near the Capitol Theatre, I swear it momentarily connected with a delivery driver's trolley, like a highly trained house dog recognising a primal connection with a rangy wolf.

    I was a fan. But then I met Chloe Mason. "Hey," she yelled as the Segway rolled smoothly past. "You're not supposed to be doing that!"

    I stopped to find out what she meant. A consultant to a Roads and Traffic Authority review of motorised pedal cycles, Mason saw red when she spotted the Segway on the footpath, insisting it was dangerous to pedestrians. Having been politeness personified throughout the tour, I didn't agree but promised to call her for a fuller discussion afterwards.

    Heading down a crowded street at walking pace, a fit pedestrian jumping the lights kept overtaking for the best part of a kilometre.

    In Chinatown, the most common question was: how much does it cost? When a Chinese grandmother heard it was $9400, she threw her hands in the air and muttered darkly. Her teenage grandson translated: "She says she can get a second-hand Merc for that."

    Around Darling Harbour, Pyrmont Bridge, Hickson Road, under the Harbour Bridge then around the Botanic Gardens, life could not have been more perfect. More smiles, enthusiastic comments and questions about where to get one. The only awkward moments were dismounting to roll the scooter up and down stairs and kerbs without ramps.

    Heading down crowded George Street, no one seemed fazed to be sharing the footpath with a mechanical intruder travelling at a relaxed crawl. But the dug-up Market Street was tricky when pedestrians were funnelled into narrow detours.

    Across the bike lane on Anzac Bridge, the Segway was in its perfect environment. With no one else around, it cruised smoothly at maximum speed, while motorists heading in the opposite direction hooted their horns. By Lilyfield, it was time to get the scooter back to the shop and find out more about why it hasn't taken off.

    Burke says the price - twice as much as a cheap motorscooter - is certainly an obstacle. So is its image. "It's got a bit of a geeky label," he says. "And the Segway marketing leaves something to be desired. All their initial marketing was very American. The people they used, the film clips they made, there was nothing sexy about it at all."

    But the biggest problem is that the Segway is not designed for roads although the RTA considers it unsuitable for footpaths. That leaves it stranded in no machine's land. When I spoke to Mason, she put a case for electric-powered pedal cycles as the future for eco-friendly personal transportation rather than Segways. She believes the Segways' weight and top speed made them hazardous for pedestrians.

    An RTA spokesman confirmed they were illegal on roads "or road related areas" because they don't comply with vehicle safety standards: "In simple terms, riders are way too exposed to mix with general traffic on a road and too fast, heavy and consequently dangerous to other users on footpaths or cycle paths."

    Even though some commuters use them around Sydney, Segways are only legal on private property or approved areas such as Sydney Olympic Park. The RTA spokesman says the manufacturer's claims of easy and safe usage were damaged when US President George W. Bush fell off one in 2003.

    That last claim left Burke fuming. "It was turned off!" he says of Bush's tumble. "It was like sitting on a bike and stopping pedalling. Of course you fall off!"

    Burke says the Segway is not dangerous because of its stopping ability, manoeuvrability and low centre of gravity and believes the RTA should allow them on shared footpaths. "It's just like using a bike on a footpath. Bikes are not allowed on footpaths yet how many bicycles do you see on footpaths? When people use them with the appropriate courtesy, nobody gets too worked up."

    The verdict on the Segway?

    Terrific technology and great fun. But unless it can operate on a better network of bike paths and Segway-friendly footpaths, the inventor's vision is a long way off in Sydney.

    In NSW, Segways can be bought from Segway Tours Australia for $9485 to $10,795. They can be rented for $220 a day or $660 a week. Tours at Sydney Olympic Park operate on weekends - $99 for two hours - with private tours and corporate events during the week.
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/...e#contentSwap2
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.

  2. #2
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Take a deep breath, and ask--What would Sheldon do?
    My Bikes
    Nishiki Nut! International, Pro, Olympic 12, Sport mixte, and others too numerous to mention.
    Posts
    21,575
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    "That last claim left Burke fuming. "It was turned off!" he says of Bush's tumble. "It was like sitting on a bike and stopping pedalling. Of course you fall off!"

    I don't think I would have said that, considering how much Mr. Bush rides his MTB... .

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Nor~Cal
    Posts
    1,671
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm not sure if the inventor way being sarcastic when he said that walking needs to be replaced. Frankly, they don't go that fast and a lot of people really need the exercise.

  4. #4
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    parts unknown
    My Bikes
    surly steamroller w/coaster brake, electra single speed cruiser, specialized rockhopper commuter, no-name single speed folder, 700c ultimate wheel, 24" unicycle, specialized bmx lsd, single seat single speed huffy tandem, pink upsidedown parade bike
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    He was totally serious, and totally clueless.

    What that article doesn't cover is that in the US the company sent out lobbyists to most, if not all, state legislatures to give the legislators Segway rides and try to push through bills that would change the wording of state laws so that Segways, but not any other kind of electric scooter, would be allowed on sidewalks. It worked in over a dozen states.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  5. #5
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    1,040
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The only one of these I ever saw (in person) was in the Philadelphia Airport, where I saw a cop on one. Other airports I've been in, I've seen cops riding mountain bikes, which look like a much better solution anyway.

    I did see Adam Savage on one in an episode of Mythbusters......but I wonder about ol' Adam, anyway.

    Locally (Cincinnati, OH) there was a legal firm that bought some for use by their paralegals that had to deliver papers from the law office to the various court buildings, etc. The city banned 'em from inside the courthouses.
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  6. #6
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    parts unknown
    My Bikes
    surly steamroller w/coaster brake, electra single speed cruiser, specialized rockhopper commuter, no-name single speed folder, 700c ultimate wheel, 24" unicycle, specialized bmx lsd, single seat single speed huffy tandem, pink upsidedown parade bike
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've only seen two in person being used by non-police or security people. One was a handicapped guy, the other was a lawyer who rode it to work all of twice before being banned from the courthouses here as well.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Nor~Cal
    Posts
    1,671
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've seen them a number of times, I've heard that my city has segway tours also.
    I mean they're cool, but pretty useless actually.
    Oh yeah, and I've seen Weird Al ride one on stage.

  8. #8
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    parts unknown
    My Bikes
    surly steamroller w/coaster brake, electra single speed cruiser, specialized rockhopper commuter, no-name single speed folder, 700c ultimate wheel, 24" unicycle, specialized bmx lsd, single seat single speed huffy tandem, pink upsidedown parade bike
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    They have a few practical uses. Very few. I'd want one if I was a security guard who had to walk around for 8 hours a shift, for example. If I wasn't allowed to ride a bike. The tour groups are dorky, but better than sitting on a bus spewing diesel exhaust.

    Interestingly, the USPS rejected them after letter carriers in the pilot program complained that they were colder in winter when riding than when walking. The local police here have a couple for downtown business patrols and put them in storage during the winter for the same reason. That and because the range goes way down in the cold.

    They're the least practical solution for able bodied 'civilian' applications. Compared to other available electric bikes or scooters you can get the same range and speed for a fraction of the price. And be street legal. And able to lock up when you get there.

    Last Segway factoid for the day: they've been recalled 2 or 3 times. One of those for "randomly falling over when riding with a low battery". Ha.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  9. #9
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    My Bikes
    '88 Specialized Sirrus, '89 Alpine Monitor Pass, two '70 Raligh Twenties, '07 Schwinn Town & Country Trike, '07 Specialized Sirrus Hybrid
    Posts
    2,509
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Falchoon View Post
    Not sure if Segway belongs on bicycle forums but anyway the article is interesting.



    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/...e#contentSwap2
    They are pretty cool; however, there are not the congestion cure-all that they were initially billed as. I would have to say that in many situations a good bike is a whole lot more efficient and practical. (Not to mention cheaper.) In a very large building like a warehouse where space is at a premium when it comes to parking I believe a Seqway would shine. On a very large open air campus I'd take a bike (maybe something like a new production Raleigh Twenty if such a critter would happen) that has a quick adjustable seat post and stem that rapidly configurable for different people.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jimisnowhere's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Lynn, MA
    My Bikes
    60's lowrider, 80's Cavaletto Centurion, 94 Specialized Rockhopper sport
    Posts
    473
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Its the H2 of alt transportation. Uses for them can be contrived but really, no one needed it to exist.
    I can ride the solarcycle with no hands.

  11. #11
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Dallas area, Texas
    Posts
    10,303
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I remember when this came out, how pointless it seemed- a solution without a problem as it were. I can't imagine anyone ever thought this was the future of transportation. All the disadvantages of a bicycle with none of the advantages.
    Last edited by StephenH; 01-04-08 at 11:37 AM.

  12. #12
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    RANS V3, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
    Posts
    11,125
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've seen them in use by staff and officials at FIRST Robotics competitions, which is not surprising since Dean Kamen invented the Segway and founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology). Always interesting to wander around the pit areas and look for the occasional application of bicycling technology/hardware on the robots. If Segways cost the same as bikes, we would have a race. But, can't see that a Segway has any real advantage over a $200 bicycle.

  13. #13
    Bruise collector Blais's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Worcester, Ma
    My Bikes
    Gary Fisher Mullet, Centurian Le Mans, a stripped Schwin, some random frames and parts.
    Posts
    247
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Umm...
    Alt BIKE culture forum.
    Segway=not a bike.

    That said... The segway will never replace bicycles on any large scale nor do I see it becoming a popular form of urban transport any time soon. If ridden in the street, motorists will have a fit over segway riders' lack of agility and 20mph top speed. They certainly don't belong on sidewalks. So what are they left with? Special segway roads that you aren't alowed to walk or ride a bike on? Yeah, let's see that happen. Most countries can't even effectively accommodate bicycles in larger cities, how the **** are they going to deal with segways?
    Quote Originally Posted by ThunderChunky View Post
    i think hotbike made that piece of ****.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Nor~Cal
    Posts
    1,671
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Blais View Post
    Umm...
    Alt BIKE culture forum.
    Segway=not a bike.

    That said... The segway will never replace bicycles on any large scale nor do I see it becoming a popular form of urban transport any time soon. If ridden in the street, motorists will have a fit over segway riders' lack of agility and 20mph top speed. They certainly don't belong on sidewalks. So what are they left with? Special segway roads that you aren't alowed to walk or ride a bike on? Yeah, let's see that happen. Most countries can't even effectively accommodate bicycles in larger cities, how the **** are they going to deal with segways?
    Drop that 20mph down to 12 and a half.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    115
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    anyone else seen cops using them? Not that I had much respect to begin with, but now I've lost it all....
    "Inappropriate signature removed by forum administrator"

  16. #16
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Take a deep breath, and ask--What would Sheldon do?
    My Bikes
    Nishiki Nut! International, Pro, Olympic 12, Sport mixte, and others too numerous to mention.
    Posts
    21,575
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Capn ˇFUN! View Post
    anyone else seen cops using them? Not that I had much respect to begin with, but now I've lost it all....

    I don't think we have them in Seattle. Got plenty of bike cops downtown, but no Segway riders.

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    So Cal
    My Bikes
    Specialized Hardrock Comp w/FreeRadical
    Posts
    154
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Capn ˇFUN! View Post
    anyone else seen cops using them? Not that I had much respect to begin with, but now I've lost it all....
    Here in So Cal, the cities of Riverside and Redlands use a couple of them for downtown patrols. I always wondered how you dismount on of those at speed when running down a perp. Do you just jump off and let it careen around the mall?

    As many others have said, it's the answer to a question that nobody asked. I rode one at a trade show last year. It was a lot of fun, but I wouldn't have one instead of a bicycle even if they were the same price.

    Eric

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •