– Mar. 13th 2021 7:00 am ET
If your biggest problem with motorcycles is that they are just too darn safe, then I’ve got just the product for you! This week’s entry in the Awesomely Weird Alibaba EV of the Week series is the strangest one-wheeled self-balancing electric motorcycle you’ve ever seen. And also probably the only one you’ve ever seen.
If you thought things couldn’t get weirder around here, then you surely haven’t been paying attention.
It appears to be the functional equivalent of an electric unicycle, yet with the un-functional equivalent of a little sport bike body thrown on top.
And you’ve got to love the attention to detail, like the trellis frame and faux gas tank. I admire the commitment.
If I’m spending $1,850 on this thing, then I want to be sure that from just the right angle and distance on a dimly lit and foggy night, it just might be mistaken for a Ducati.
And considering I can already buy a brand new decent-looking two-wheeled electric motorcycle for $2,500 in the US, this single-wheeled concoction needs to be coming in pretty hot here.
As cool as it looks, it’s when things start moving that you’re likely to be cruisin’ for a bruisin’.
In fact, my publisher’s first response to this glorious abomination was that it should come with a 5-gallon tub of road rash cream. I couldn’t find one that big, but Amazon can get 4 pounds of the stuff to you in a day (they must be familiar with this one-wheeler already).
With 2,000 watts of power and a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h), this rolling abnormality isn’t kidding around. This thing could seriously mess you up in a crash. But at least the whole contraption only weighs 88 lb (40 kg), so it’s not like you’ve got a giant motorcycle to crush you mid-tumble.
And hey, I’m not your momma. I’m more like your well-intentioned friend hyping you up for what is obviously a terrible idea. If you look at it a different way, it only has half the wheels of a 60 mph electric motorcycle, and so 30 mph seems fairly logical, no?
If you do decide to pick one of these up for yourself, you’ll be pleased to know that you could outfit it with up to 1,360 Wh of battery. The manufacturer claims the Panasonic battery has enough capacity for 35-60 miles (60-100 km) of range on a charge.
Those figures seem a bit on the optimistic side of things, but maybe with half the wheels of a typical motorcycle, it ends up with twice the efficiency. That’s how physics works, right?
The charge time is listed as 3-12 hours, which feels like the engineering equivalent of “stop asking, we’ll get there when I say so!”
If you’re wondering how you operate this monstrosity/thing-I-didn’t-know-I-needed-until-literally-today, then join the club. I guess in theory you just lean forwards and backwards like on a Segway, and it balances underneath you.
Pitch your face towards the pavement to go, and then lean back in an asphalt trust-fall to slow down.
The guy test riding in the video below sure makes it look simple!
But then there’s a brake lever on the handlebars, which has me scratching my head. If this is a self-balancing vehicle and the motor always slows down or speeds up as necessary to keep me centered above it, then wouldn’t pulling a brake just throw me over the front end? If I do start leaning too far forward, the motor should actually accelerate to keep me centered.
This whole bike (err, uni-ike?) has me scratching my head.
But that’s ok – I have 15-18 days to figure it out. That’s how long the seller informed me that the shipping would take to the US, though he gouged me with a crazy $2,200 quote. That includes tax and customs clearance, though, he kindly reminded me.
Or for the comparably bargain price of $1,500, he can send it to me with sea shipping.
The fact that last month another vendor offered to ship me an entire electric dune buggy for just $390 has me questioning that shipping quote. Maybe you can negotiate him down better than I could.
Should you buy this one-wheeled electric motorcycle?
My regular readers will know that this Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week series is mostly for fun. I’ve bought tons of weird stuff on the platform and its retail-oriented sister site AliExpress, but window shopping is just as much fun (and vastly cheaper).
For anyone who does decide to make purchases like these on the platform, I always recommend communicating very carefully with the vendor to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting. I’ve made plenty of purchases and very rarely ever had an issue. The few times I have, I’ve been able to get my money back thanks to the company holding your money in escrow instead of passing it immediately to the vendor.
If anyone actually does end up buying this thing, please update me and let me know what you think! You’ll find my contact info in my author blurb below. And if anybody discovers their own awesomely weird electric vehicle on Alibaba, feel free to send me a link – it just may get featured in one of my future columns!
Before you go, if you enjoyed this week’s entry, then you might want to check out some of the other fun and odd EVs I’ve covered in previous weeks:
- $1,000 four-seater electric boat
- $3,800 electric RV with only three wheels
- $390 electric go-karts
- $4,000 electric pickup truck
- $1,700 electric two-seater Jeep
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