Simply said I have become quite disenchanted with the “pay me now” get you stuff later (maybe) sales model many innovation companies have taken. I will not be the first, but I am here to say- “No one gets my money until I get my wheel(s)!” Ryno, Elio, Inventist and so on have taken advantage of the crowd funding craze and used it to raise capital for development, research and infrastructure setup. The public is taking on the financial risk, and effectively tying up its money where venture capitalists have traditionally invested their cash. However, unlike the venture capitalists the public will never see great reward for assuming great risk- instead the best they can hope for is delivery of their product. Yep, it might have a special edition color or badge the individual “investor” can brag about but this is a high cost for such high risk. I will not be part of this public “investment crowd”.
I am certain that sometime in the near future the US Fair Trade Commission will step in and nip this flourishing branch of the financial tree. Not soon enough I say though. By plopping down your hard earned cash through a “deposit” or Kickstarter pledge” you are given few guarantees. The fine print is quite clouded and enforcement of terms lax. Simply put, the fuzziness of what you get for your deposit or pledge is nothing more that a thank you and addition to a mailing list. The updates you are given as an “early adopter” are marketing driven propaganda that would never pass the stringent requirements a true publicly held company is held to by the securities and exchange commission (SEC). In other words- they can say just about anything they want.
I bit my tongue wanting to give examples I’ve experienced being a pledger and deposit provider for various things that still have not seen the showroom floor or reached a single consumer. I’ve pulled all of my deposits and unsubscribed from the emails. In many cases the task of doing this was so difficult I needed to track down the head of the company to get this accomplished. It was so contentious I have pledged these companies will never receive a single dollar of my money and I will not support their products. For the others, I make no promises, no pledges, no investment in your dream- I only offer a tidbit of advice: Don’t upset your customers before they even truly become a product owning customer. If you want to have me as a customer please be patient and wait until you deliver your amazing product to my hands that are still warm from handing over my hard earned cash.
The geeks of California are buying into the SoloWheel like uni-wheel transporter craze. Some say they are even leading the way. Its been a somewhat slow catch on for self balancing electric wheel people movers despite the obvious advantages to more traditional transportation. It really has become what the creator of the Segway imagined- reduced combustion engine vehicle use in place of electric people movers.
Well I can’t resist cool technology- especially wheel related tech! Today I plopped down a pre-order deposit for the long anticipated Ryno from Ryno Technologies. I’m also thinking I am a sucker for products with a unique spelling, replacing the “i” in a traditional word with a “y”. I own 2 Spyders and will soon own a Ryno.
The Ryno is a single wheel, electric transporter. It uses electronic gyroscopes to keep the Ryno upright and senses your tilt forward to activate its 2000 watt electric motor. To eliminate issues with road regulations they put a governer on it limiting speeds to max out at 10mph. Only time will tell if this is a good decision or not. I was hoping this could be a short distance commuter but at the 10mph speed its more of a recreational vehicle like a bike or kick scooter. Sure you can ride it on the street but it won’t keep up with traffic and lacks the visibility and safety devices (turn signals) to make it truely road worthy.
I’m also concerned that the size and weight of the Ryno beg comparison to a motorcycle or gas scooter which it will not be in the final production configuration. This will occupy a good space in my garage but not be portable like my solowheel which incidentally has the same top speed. I can easily ride my solowheel just about anywhere, put it in my trunk, carry it around, take it on the bus, etc. The Ryno will not have the same portability. It will also be interesting to see how to secure it when I park it somewhere,
Ryno says the pre-orders will need to be picked up at a dealer so the new owners can complete a training before rolling away. The website says Washington DC will have a dealership so I am pretty confident this will not be a big issue for me. For others desiring a Ryno it may be more of a challenge as they work out their dealer network. Then there will be the issue of getting it home from the dealer. I’m not sure how that will work but I know it won’t be a ride home deal. My suggestion would be to deliver them direct to the buyer w/o a key which the owner must then get from the dealer after the training. This would eliminate the need for dealers to stock up and owners needing to figure out how to transport their new transportation home. Ryno can focus on building rides and rolling them out direct without having large stockpiles sitting at dealers contributing to someones overhead.
A few things I will be exploring on the Ryno as soon as I get it:
- Custom paint or skin (production model will be red- no options for different colors)
- Govoner modification (the 10mph top speed limit is pokey)
- Fairing for nose (flyscreen to hide handlebar tree and maybe provide some shielding)
- Upgrade footpegs and grips
It will be interesting to see how long before the official release happens. There is currently no solid release date and it will be critical that Ryno hits an early spring delivery to take advantage of the great press they are receiving right now. There have been no public statement on just how many pre-orders have been placed and I’ve not seen anything on expected production numbers. The Ryno could be the 2014 “thing to own”. Time will tell.
More to come…