2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3, Page #44[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Driver Sits Up Front On One-Wheel Vehicle
Lyall came up with the idea for the RIOT Wheel in a dream. In it, he was flying low and sitting in front of whatever was driving him.
"I thought about it and various contraptions, and I came up with just one wheel. I just couldn't let the idea go," he says. The computer programmer and jack-of-all-trades started picking up parts to build his 1,100-lb. wheel, which uses the concepts of a seesaw and hamster wheel.
The seesaw component is Lyall's weight up front, counterbalanced by 400 lbs. of lead in back. The hamster wheel is an 8 hp moped motor that pulls itself around inside the large industrial tire.
He spent about 18 months and $4,000 to build the vehicle, using a 65-lb. flywheel, shocks from mountain bikes and a Mustang windshield wiper motor, which moves a Volvo jack to level the driver's position (according to weight).
The RIOT wheel travels at speeds up to about 18 mph, but isn't very stable and is nearly impossible to steer.
"There's absolutely nothing practical about it," Lyall says, who calls it a piece of "engineering art".
The RIOT Wheel was part of the Burning Man art show that is held in the desert, and it was on the Discovery Channel and in Popular Science magazine.
Lyall has already gathered parts to build another wheel that would be easier to steer. He plans to make it a hybrid by replacing the lead weights with batteries to power two electric motors.
"There is a speed record of about 53 mph for one-wheel vehicles. I'm interested in building a hybrid vehicle to beat that," Lyall says.
Lyall is interested in hearing from anyone who would like to know more about it.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jake Lyall, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.theriotwheel.com).
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